So you’re trying to decide if the Nikon Monarch 7 (8×42) deserves to be your next birding binocular?
You have come to the right place!
I did my best to review this fantastic optic. After hours of research, testing and speaking with Nikon and authorized dealers, I can honestly say the Nikon Monarch 7 is one of my favorite choices for bird watching binoculars.
Today, I am going to share with you the top 7 reasons to purchase the Nikon Monarch 7.
Compare Nikon Monarch 7 Prices!
A quick note before we begin: This list is tailored for a Nikon Monarch 7 (8×42). An 8x magnification and 42mm objective lens diameter is what I use and recommend for birding and nature observation. But most of this list is still applicable no matter what size Nikon Monarch 7 you select and prefer (10×42 for example).
***Related Link: Check out my complete list and AWESOME comparison chart of The Best Bird Watching Binoculars***
1. Combination of Price and Performance:
I get this question quite often. It’s hard to answer with so many great options on the market. To help narrow down your choice, I always ask this next question:
How much do you want to spend?
With such a competitive marketplace, as a general rule of thumb, the more that you pay, the better overall binocular you will receive. If you tell me your budget, I can quickly give a few of the best bird watching binoculars in that price range.
The problem arises with the high cost of the very best bird watching binoculars on the market. The likes of optics like the Zeiss Victory SF and the Leica Noctivid run upwards of $2,500! They are fantastic pieces of equipment, but expensive none the less.
On the other end, a binocular can be purchased for $20 at Walmart. Unfortunately, you might as well flush that money down the toilet. You will just be frustrated trying to use these cheap paper weights.
Which brings us to the Nikon Monarch 7, which is an excellent combination of both price AND performance.
Let me explain:
With a price around $500, it is not cheap but much more affordable than the very high-end binoculars.
This is where the performance is vital. I think for a serious bird watcher, the Nikon Monarch 7 will satisfy all of the check marks that are most important. It has a wide field of view; the image is excellent (thanks to the extra-low dispersion glass and coatings (see #2)), it’s lightweight, easy to focus, durable and waterproof.
There are some quality binoculars that are lower in price than the Monarch 7, such as the Celestron Nature DX and Nikon Monarch 5. The problem with these is that you are going to sacrifice on performance. These lower priced binoculars are great in their own way. They are perfect for someone that is on a lower budget and/or just starting their birding passion.
I think the Nikon Monarch 7 hits the sweet spot. It has the credibility to impress your bird watching friends at an affordable price.
Perfect for the price conscious AND serious birder!
2. Bright and Clear Image:
We all get obsessed with the specifications and features while shopping and doing research for new optics, but there is only one thing that matters.
When a bird is spotted, how does it look through the lens? Does the bird look bright? Can I see the plumage and field marks clearly?
We want performance!!
The Nikon Monarch 7 delivers big time, especially for its price. Here are some reasons why:
Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Glass:
One of Nikon Monarch 7’s best features is ED glass.
What is it and why does this matter?
If you want to get nerdy just Google “What is extra-low dispersion glass?” and you will get entire pages and posts dedicated to the science behind ED glass, complete with diagrams and lots of talk about dispersion through prisms.
We will keep it simple today.
ED glass is sought after because of its image clarity, brightness, vibrant colors and resolution of details. I would never purchase a bird watching binocular that didn’t feature ED glass.
ED glass is very good at chromatic aberration compensation. Chromatic aberration is the inability for a binocular to bring different wavelengths of light together and into focus, which can produce a faint halo around an object. Reducing chromatic aberration helps to see more detail and create a better image while birding.
In the past, Extra-Low Dispersion glass was only available with very high priced and premium binoculars. Nikon has helped change the game by including this high-quality glass AND keeping the price affordable. Nikon has even included ED glass in the less expensive Nikon Monarch 5, but it’s of lower quality than the Monarch 7.
For more technical details, check out Nikon’s website.
Coatings are one of the most important features of any binocular but also the most frustrating to research!
This is because coatings are a trade secret for any optics company. They have spent many years and countless amounts of money developing their coatings. The last thing they want is for another company to steal their formula!
Why are coatings important? There are different types and layers of coatings applied to the lenses and prisms of any binocular. The goal is to make sure as much light as possible makes it through the lenses to reach your eye and to provide a clear and crisp of an image as possible.
Here is what we know about the coatings on the Nikon Monarch 7:
Dielectric Multilayer Prism Coatings:
One of the issues with Roof style binoculars is that once light enters the objective, much of it is lost on its journey through the lenses to your eye. One of Nikon’s solutions is to apply their Dielectric high-reflective coating on the surface of all the prisms and lenses in the Monarch 7 that transmit light.
With so many layers of the dielectric coating applied (in a gas chamber no less!), almost all of the light reaches your eye.
More light = brighter image.
Phase Correction Coating:
The prisms in the Monarch 7 are also coated with Nikon’s phase-correction coatings. The job of this coating is to enhance contrast, resolution, and color rendition for a sharp, high-resolution viewing experience.
The dielectric and phase-correction coatings each have a different role, but working together (along with Nikon’s standard multi-layered coatings) they provide an outstanding bright, clear and beautiful image.
Why does it matter?
Birds don’t seem to realize I need them to stay still so I can watch them! They tend to fly, flap and flutter around and it can be hard to follow them through the binocular.
Having a wide FOV helps solve this problem. Field of view is measured as the actual visible area that is viewed when looking through your binocular. As you look through your binocular, think of how wide and tall the view is. The bigger the FOV, the better!
The Nikon Monarch 7 has a Field of View of 420 feet!
Wow! It’s tough to find a FOV that is bigger regardless of your price range. I think that the FOV is one of the Monarch 7’s best features, especially for its relatively inexpensive price tag.
4. Waterproof, Fog Proof and Durable
Let me ask you a question:
In a given year, how many times have you gone birding and the weather is perfect? Sunny, light breeze, the temperature is mid-seventies, and it’s completely dry.
My answer is maybe five times per year. Where I live, the weather is extremely unpredictable. From cold and windy to rainy and muddy to super hot and humid. Sometimes all on the same day!!!
The Nikon Monarch 7 is up to the challenge.
First, in case they are dropped or submerged in water, they are waterproofed up to a depth of 1m.
Second, the Monarch 7 prevents internal fogging by sealing the body with O-rings and filling with dry nitrogen gas. This protects against moisture from the morning dew, summer rain or cold sleet and snow.
Lastly, the entire body of the binocular is coated with a protective rubber armoring. This helps deflect some of the damage done by the occasional drop or fall. I think it also makes the Monarch 7 easier to hold!
5. Light and Easy to Carry:
Does this look like you?
Yea, me neither.
Then it’s important that your bird watching binoculars are light and easy to carry! Birdwatchers spend hours holding them up to our eyes and having them hang around our neck and shoulders. I never want to call it quits for the day because of optic exhaustion. (Yes, I made that term up)
- Related: 9 Of The BEST Binoculars For KIDS!
The Nikon Monarch 7 (8×42) is incredibly light at 22.9 ounces (1.43 lbs or 649 grams). It’s incredible that Nikon was able to pack so many great features into a binocular and still keep the weight so low. I am very impressed!
Compared to some of the other best bird watching binoculars on the market, I don’t think any have the combination of being as light AND good as the Monarch 7.
I have a question: Do you know how long the average business lasts?
There are a lot of statistics out there, but it seems that half don’t even make it five years.
Out of the companies that make it, how many do you think are at least 100 years old?
I’m not sure exactly, but I’m confident it’s not many! Just think how much our world has changed in the last 100 years, not many companies have been able to adapt!
Somehow, in 2017 Nikon is celebrating their 100th anniversary.
Congratulations to them, this is no small accomplishment. Nikon was started in 1917 when 3 leading optical companies in Japan merged to form a single parent company. Their headquarters are still located in Tokyo.
And the rest is history as they say. Since 1917 Nikon has been an industry leader when it comes to camera’s, camera lenses, microscopes, spotting scopes and most importantly binoculars.
Just think, if you choose the Monarch 7, you are taking advantage of 100 years of research and development by Nikon. Many people have spent their entire lives and careers perfecting Nikon lenses, coatings and other technologies and for a relatively small amount of money, you can own some fantastic products.
There are an incredible amount of binocular manufacturers in the marketplace, all vying for our hard earned dollars. Personally, making sure that I trust the company is vital. After owning other Nikon products (camera’s and lenses), I think their attention to detail and product quality is among the best.
Ask around. I think I have yet to meet someone who has been disappointed with anything that Nikon produces.
Do you love paying money for warranties as much as me?
I hope the sarcasm came through in that sentence! I hate paying for warranties and wish that companies would just stand behind their engineering and product design.
Luckily, Nikon believes in their products.
The Nikon Monarch 7 comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. This means that any if any “defects in material or workmanship” are found, Nikon will either repair or replace the binocular at THEIR expense. Let me repeat; this is a LIFETIME warranty. So if there is a defect that is found 30 years from now, Nikon will fix or replace!
There are a few caveats to this warranty:
- It only applies to the original purchaser. The warranty would not cover a Monarch 7 if it were purchased used. Knowing this, make sure to keep your receipt!!! You will need it in case something ever happens!
- The warranty does not apply to accessory items such as lens cap, straps, and cases.
- The warranty does not apply to damage accident, abuse, misuse or neglect.
Although not required, I would HIGHLY recommend registering your new Nikon purchase. Maybe it would help in case you lost your receipt!
The Lifetime Warranty is excellent, but it would be nice to have some coverage for accidental damage! I completely understand why they don’t do this, but many other companies provide this sort of warranty or policy, like Eagle Optics and Zeiss.
Next, please do one of the following two things:
1. Buy the Nikon Monarch 7 from one of these three places:
Are you convinced the Monarch 7 will transform you into the next John James Audubon? If so, I have done a lot of research to find the best places to purchase.
- Amazon: Nikon Monarch 7 (8×42)
- Normally priced around $500. I love their customer service, fast shipping, and amazing prices.
- Check Today's Price
- B&H Photo: Nikon Monarch 7 (8×42)
- Experts at anything optics, photo or video. Prices are sometimes lower than Amazon, and they may even include a bonus giveaway.
- Support a local business!
- Find a local dealer and purchase in person. It will probably be a bit more expensive, but you will receive the expertise of a local professional.
2. Keep Researching!
Buying binoculars is a big decision, and it’s best to take your time and do your research!
I recommend checking out one of the following resource as your next step:
- The Best Binoculars for Bird Watching
- This should give some ideas of other binoculars that would be a great choice for bird watching. It includes optics across all different price ranges. (From $125 to $2,600)
One Last Thing…
I have a serious question, and I want honest feedback.
How can I improve this review of the Nikon Monarch 7?
Please tell the truth. What questions didn’t I answer? What are you still looking for as you search the internet for more answers? I want this review to be the best!
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Thanks again. Happy birding!
p.s. If you end up purchasing a binocular, please use one of the links provided on this page. At no cost to you, the providers may give a small portion of the sale to me. I would appreciate that as it helps keep this site running and lets me know that this content is valuable! 🙂