Almost since the first day that they started manufacturing lenses, binoculars, and other optical solutions, their Nikon Monarch binoculars line has always been some of the best binoculars available.
Even though most people recommend that you don’t attempt to fix something that wasn’t broken in the first place, in 2012 Nikon decided to do exactly that and almost completely overhaul the Nikon Monarch line of products.
This article is broken down into several sections, you can jump ahead to the section that interests you by clicking on it.
- The 3 Model Solution
- Monarch 3 vs Monarch 5 vs Monarch 7
- Initial impressions of the Monarch line
- Monarch 3
- Monarch 5
- Monarch 7
Nikon Three New Model Solutions
Now offering three different solutions under the Monarch branding (the Monarch 3, Monarch 5, and Monarch 7), you’re going to be able to find the perfect Nikon binoculars for your needs and without any headaches or hassles.
It can get a bit confusing, because Nikon has changed up the Monarch line a few times over the years. You may see references to the ATB, Monarch X, or other combinations of the binoculars.
Nikon only offers 3 simple lines now, the Monarch 3, 5, and 7. They also have a special designation for the extra rugged binoculars. You'll see their Monarch 3 and 5 are now all considered rugged, but in the Monarch 7 line, you will find the standard Monarch 7 and the Monarch 7 ATB (ATB = All-Terrain-Binoculars).
As you can probably imagine, the Monarch 7 is the best (and most expensive) while the Monarch 3 is the more entry-level binocular (and the least expensive).
People that were familiar with the pre-2012 line of solutions are going to be pleasantly surprised with the new updates across the board.
Nikon Monarch 3 vs Monarch 5 vs Monarch 7
Just for fun, let's take all of the Monarch lines 8x42 binoculars and compare them
|Nikon Monarch 7 8x42||Nikon Monarch 5 8x42||Nikon Monarch 3 8x42|
Eye Relief17.1 mm
Eye Relief19.5 mm
Eye Relief24.1 mm
Field of View420 ft/1000 yds
Field of View361 ft/1000 yds
Field of View330 ft/1000 yds
Close Focus8.2 ft
Close Focus8.2 ft
Close Focus9.8 ft
Dimensions5.6 x 5.1
Dimensions5.7 x 5.1
Dimensions6.1 x 5.1
|READ REVIEWS||READ REVIEWS||READ REVIEWS|
Initial Observations About Monarch 3, 5, & 7
The monarch 7 has a massive field of view and the smallest dimensions. Curiously, it is heavier than the Monarch 5 though (most likely due to requiring a better lens system to get that wider field of view).
The Monarch 3 is the heaviest and bulkiest as well. Most likely because it's an entry level product, they don't spend the money on putting higher quality material to keep the size and weight down.
And, as you would expect, the Monarch 3 has the smallest field of view, the Monarch 5 has the next best, and the Monarch 7 has the best.
We've got all the obvious differences between the Nikon Monarch 3 vs Monarch 5 vs Monarch 7, so let's dive into each one a little bit more.
Initial Impressions of the Nikon Monarch Binoculars
Like most other Nikon products, Nikon Monarch binoculars aren’t all that “flashy” when you get your first look at them.
Pretty plain across the board, and honestly not all that exciting to look at. It’s when you hold these incredible binoculars up to your eyes that everything changes.
The second that you look through the eyepieces is the moment that you begin to understand why so many people go crazy for Nikon Monarch Binoculars. High-end lenses (similar to the lenses that they include in their award-winning camera lenses) and new upgraded technologies are included to give you an amazing experience.
Flexible and Comfortable Eyepieces
The eyepieces on each of the three Monarch binoculars are almost exactly the same, which is a great thing because of how comfortable they are over longer periods of use.
Whether you are someone that is just looking to do a bit of recreational glassing or birdwatching, someone that wants to have an elite level optical quality to zoom in, or a military member, law enforcement officer, or professional/tournament shooter makes little difference.
They are made out of some sort of ergonomically molded synthetic solution that gently cups your eyes when looking through the binoculars. There are a lot of other solutions on the market today that promise a lot related to eyestrain relief and comfort but very few (if any) can rival these.
Razor-Sharp Focusing Capabilities
One of the things that most people rant and rave about in regards to the Nikon Monarch binoculars is the fact that the focus knob is almost over-sized, allowing you to quickly and easily snap into focus with just a quick turn of the dial.
In fact, just 1 ¼ turns of the knob allow you to go from close focus all the way up to the highest possible level – with infinite flexibility in between so you get razor-sharp focus on the fly every single time.
You’ll also appreciate just how smooth the focusing wheel is under operation, while at the same time still being able to “catch” when you want to lock in on a particular focus point.
Thanks to some pretty impressive high-end optics technologies including:
- Nitrogen purged tubes
- Dielectric coating of the optical prisms
- A multi-coated and phase coated treatment
It’s tough to argue with the crystal-clear visual performance you’re going to be able to get out of these binoculars.
Regardless of whether or not you go with the 8X, 10X, or 12X model, you’re going to find high definition quality across the board. Thanks to the amazing optics that Nikon has packed into every pair of their Nikon Monarch binoculars.
Nikon Monarch 3 & 5 Binoculars Video – Watch Below
Performance in Low Light Conditions
In low light conditions, these binoculars will still perform admirably, but they aren’t quite as crisp or as crystal-clear as they would be in bright light situations. There is certainly a bit of field curvature that you are going to experience which can soften a bit of your visual clarity in lower light conditions.
Still, that’s to be expected from binoculars that have been engineered like these ones. It’s not a deal-breaker in any sense unless you do a lot of intense glassing during the early light or dusk times of the day.
Even in those unique situations, the degradation in performance isn’t all that much, but it’s something to take into consideration.
Overall Viewing Experience
It’s just about impossible to argue with the overall viewing experience you are going to enjoy when you press a set of Nikon Monarch binoculars to your eyes and spin the wheel to bring them into focus.
In fact, you’re going to be beyond pleasantly surprised with the impressive capabilities that they offer (especially considering the ridiculously low price tag each of them command).
As mentioned above, each of the binoculars barrels are treated with a nitrogen purged solution and then sealed completely so that they are:
- 100% waterproof
- 100% dust
- Dirt, and debris proof
- As fog proof as any other binoculars available
Crafted out of high-end yet still lightweight materials, and these are binoculars that you won’t feel like you have to baby all that much while out in the woods.
Now, let’s get into each line individually.
Nikon Monarch 3 - Entry Level Binoculars
The Monarch 3 is the lowest quality of the entire line. This doesn't make them bad, just the entry level product.
Nikon Monarch 3 Binoculars Specifications
Generally, in this low price-point, the prism coating is aluminum allow. Here, it is a silver alloy which is a step above.
While this is a good introductory pair of binoculars, it has a close focus distance of almost 10 ft. Unfortunately, that makes it not particularly good for birding though it will do well enough for hunting (or for birding for novices).
You can see that it comes in two primary configurations, 8x42 and 10x42. Both are very comparable in specs with the 10x42 giving you a wider field of view, though darker image because it has higher magnification over the same size objective lens.
Nikon No Fault Warranty
Nikon is so dedicated to their product that they will repair or replace it at no charge, regardless if it's your fault or theirs. Now, that is truly standing behind a product.
This warranty applies for all Monarch 3, 5, and 7 binoculars.
Our Thoughts on the Monarch 3
While it is an OK line of binoculars, we'd recommend either upgrading to the Monarch 5 (for roughly an extra $100) or going with the Vortex Diamondback binoculars over these.
The Vortex Diamondback are at virtually the same price point and you'll find they are lighter, have a better field of view, better close focus, and are smaller/more compact.
Unless you truly want that warranty which is pretty much unsurpassed. Then get a Monarch 3.
Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars - One of the Best Selling Lines, Period.
The Monarch 5 is one of the best selling lines of binoculars due to a great combination of quality and price. So, the value is amazing since you are getting so much at that price point.
These are waterproof, fog proof, and have rubber-armor that helps withstand drops and bumps that are inevitable while in the field.
The Monarch 5 comes in 4 primary configurations, the 8x42, 10x42, 12x42, and 20x56. Since the 20x56 is beyond what most people are using for hand-held bird watching, we'll stick to the first 3.
The most useful magnifications for hunting and birding are the 8x42 and 10x42, though in some specific situations the 12x42 makes sense.
The biggest difference between these is the higher magnification causes a reduction in the field of view.
Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars Specifications
Lens and Coating
Nikon boasts the multilayer applied to all of the lens and prism surfaces to maximize light transmittance across the entire light spectrum. It reduces reflection and ensures a natural, clear view.
They have Nikon's special Dielectric high-reflective multi-layer prism coating which gives almost the same brightness as perceived by the naked eye. So you will get a high-contrast image that has accurate colors. Color accuracy is extremely important for birding.
Overall, this is an amazing line. You can see that the field of view in the 8x model is 361 ft, which is a really solid showing in this price point. We highly recommend this for both birding and hunting.
Monarch 5 Durable Rubber Body
As we mentioned before, all of the Monarch lineup comes with the features of the all-terrain-binoculars. This includes their Rubber-Armored body which allows it to withstand just about anything you can throw at it.
It also has non-slip grip, so you don't have to worry about dropping it, even in the rain.
Pros of Monarch 5 vs Monarch 3
The Monarch 5 has a better field of view, is much lighter, and is more compact. It also has a significantly better close focus distance.
Overall thoughts of Monarch 5
While you might want a 10x magnification for larger and slower birds such as waterfowl in brighter conditions, most people will do well with the 8x.
Other than that, these are a solid choice and one of the best selling binoculars in this price range.
Their low weight, close focus, and amazing optics all at a reasonable price are all reasons to check it out.
Nikon Monarch 7 - When Nothing But Quality Will Satisfy You
The next in line is the Monarch 7. These boast an absolutely impressive 420 ft field of view, which is absolutely remarkable and definitely one of the best in it's class.
You can see that it is sacrificing a bit in weight and close in focus to achieve that, but these are sacrifices most people are willing to make.
Nikon Monarch 7 Binoculars Specifications
It's true, you will pay a premium to get the Monarch 7 over the Monarch 5 or Monarch 3. That's because it's packed full of quality features
Lenses and Prisms
Their coating goes far beyond conventional coatings. They have their quality dielectric multilayer prism coating, which is applied to every single lens and prism surface (many binoculars apply to some, but not all surfaces). It has higher light transfer, brightness, and gives almost the same brightness as the naked eye.
Their phase correction coated prisms give true colors in high resolution.
All of that along with their premium extra-low dispersion glass makes this the choice for serious hunters, birders, and enthusiasts.
Their ATB lines come with rubber-armor coating and non-slip grip. This is something not generally seen on many other binoculars.
They will be able to handle the rigors of bouncing around in your truck, banging around in the woods, or being dropped on a rainy day.
Lifetime Repair/Replacement Warranty
This is simply something most other brands won't do. Though it doesn't cover lost/stolen binoculars, they will repair or replace your binoculars at no charge, regardless if you dropped them, or there was a manufacturing defect.
Pros of Monarch 7 vs Monarch 5 and Monarch 3
The Monarch 7 features the ED Glass (extra-low dispersion). It also has a massively larger field of view than the other two lines along with clearer images and larger clear viewing area.
Our Thoughts on the Monarch 7 Line
Overall these are excellent binoculars and are a cut above the others in the line. You'll also pay a premium to get them.
If you want amazingly clear images compared to other binoculars in its price range, or just love the amazing warranty, then these are for you.
If it's in the budget, the Monarch 7 is definitely the way to go. If not, then stick with the Monarch 5.
Conclusion of Nikon Monarch Review
Overall the Nikon Monarch lines are amazing binoculars.
If you have the budget, absolutely go with the Monarch 7 8x42 ATB or 10x42 ATB as these are the most versatile configurations for hunters and birders.
If you don't quite have the budget for it, the Monarch 5 is one of the most popular lines as it packs in way more quality at a lower price point than just about anyone else out there.
The Monarch 3 is a maybe. There are good brands that compete very well on specs at this price point. It may make sense to go with the Vortex Diamondback if you are shopping on just specs rather than name and warrant.
Overall, we give the Monarch line a strong "buy" rating.
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