A Review of the Nikon Monarch 5 12x42 Binocular
31 October 2016 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
As a former shooter, I am biased toward higher powered binoculars. I like these especially because they 1) are light and fairly small, 2) have short eye relief so I can steady them by shoving the oculars into my eyes and bracing them against my inner ocular brow ridge, and 3) they are sharp. bright and clear in a large center area, with a good apparent field of view, given the way I use them.
They lack the depth of field of my heavier Swarovski 10x42's ($2318 Amazon), but so does almost everything else. Also they are not as sharp toward the edge as those by any means, but I always place what I am looking at in the center of view. Contrast is realistic-- very high in bright sunlight, but flatter in shadows and at dusk, but always focusable and good. Depth of field is very minimal but the focusing adjustment to sharpness is usually slight and quick.
This light, steady, 12x, and wide apparent field of view binocular, with excellent center sharpness and contrast, is truly a delight to me. They gather visual information very well, if used as I do. I pick out stuff at distance that others don't with heavier, bigger and more expensive glass or lesser powered binoculars. And I am quicker to get a fix on bird ID's, too. These are among my favorites of the many binoculars I own. They do lack the WOW factor of my Bushnell Elite 12.5 x 50's -- tops in that regard, but out of production -- ($1600 new) but those binoculars are much bigger, much heavier and much harder to hold steady with their longer eye relief. A bit tiring to use.
Nikon has not produced a Nikon Monarch 7 12x42 at any price increment. I suspect they went to the mat with additional dialectic mirror coatings and phase correction on these and threw in the towel on any 12x42 7's, but I don't know that. The Monarch 5 12x 42 is an excellent binocular and very good buy, IF you can use them as I do ($322, Amazon), which means no eye glass wearers, oculars near your eyes and steadied on your inner brow skull ridge, etc.