At this point in the pandemic, no one could blame you for itching to get out more. Quarantine is tough on everyone. To stay safe and get out the house, I’ve taken up birdwatching. It doesn’t require anything except your eyes. However, nothing gets me closer to birds than my Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 binoculars. Here’s why I’d recommend them for anyone that wants to bird.
NIKON MONARCH 5 8×42
The Monarch 5 8×42 binoculars look deceptively simple, but they’re powerful enough to make a bird feel right in front of you when it’s actually one street block away. The design isn’t bulky or paper thin, sitting satisfyingly in the middle. They feel light, yet sturdy. I never experience any strain when using them with, especially with one hand, for long periods.
An outer rubber coating protects the binoculars from bumps and scrapes. It also doubles as a great grip for sweaty hands and wet days. Since the Monarch 5’s are waterproof and internally fog-proof, they’re great for birding in just about any weather condition. Keep in mind, condensation will still form on the outside of the lens when moving from cold to warm and humid climates.
Having a simple design means there’s little to fuss with when it’s time to put these binoculars to good use. Which is a good thing. Less time spent fiddling with the focus knob is more time spent enjoying the view of the birds. Once the protective lens and eye-caps are off, just adjust the eye-cups and focus knob to take in vivid, bright and detailed views.
The focus knob has just the right amount of pressure for quick adjusting without missing the mark. There’s also a diopter control ring just beneath the left eye cup to clear up blurry views.
Having small hands usually works against me in the tech world. However, the Monarch 5’s fit comfortably in my hands. My only gripe with the Monarch 5 8 x 42 binoculars is with the weight. Technically, 20.8 oz is not heavy. However, after birding for more than 2 hours I start to feel every ounce on my neck. Throw in my Canon DSLR and it doesn’t take long to feel my neck straining from both.
The Monarch 5 8×42 binoculars are equipped with fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion (ED) eco-glass lens. Fully multi-coated ED glasses, are great at reducing blurring and chromatic aberrations, the coloring of light sometimes found along the edges of objects. They also enhance brightness, color, contrast and resolution of your view. Eco-glass lens are made without led or arsenic.
The roof prism design of the binoculars helps to keep the binoculars compact and lightweight, while internal blackening of metal surfaces on the inside minimizes light loss.
The view from the Monarch 5 8×42 binoculars is vivid, bright, and detailed. I can clearly see the markings and color of birds within 30ft feet to a block away with ease. One thing to note, the bigger the bird, the better the view at greater distances. When it comes to smaller birds like warblers, the view won’t be nearly as good if the bird is more than 40-50ft away. Sometimes it only takes walking a few feet closer to get a better view of smaller birds.
The Monarch 5’s have a close focus distance of around 7.8ft, which I find to be a sweet spot for where you can get a good look of the birds without the binoculars. The field of view on the Monarch 5 is 8×42, which is narrow and magnified 8 times. I love the level of magnification, but the narrow field of view can make it easy to miss a bird that flies off before sighting it through the binoculars.
Low-lighting is one area where the Monarch 5 binoculars shine! When searching for birds in low-lighting the Monarch 5’s let me see what my eyes can’t, which is more than I expect from a pair of binoculars. It’s like having the binocular version of night-sight from the Pixel phones, noticeably brightening low-lit scenes.
While birding at sunset in Piedmont Park (Atlanta, GA), the Monarch 5’s had no trouble clearly showing me an Eastern Towhee hopping around a poorly lit bush. I could barely see the Towhee with my own eyes. However, I could easily see the male’s distinct black head and its small brown and white body through the binoculars.
Separating birds from foreground and background details is another area where the Monarch 5’s excel. Between this and the lens, these binoculars are like having x-ray vision for birds, letting me see through leafy trees and dark bushes.
BEST MID-RANGE BINOCULARS
I honestly can’t think of a reason to upgrade from the Nikon Monarch 5 8x 42’s and am thankful to Nikon for the opportunity to begin my birding journey with these particular binoculars. Previously, I was using my DSLR as makeshift binoculars. Once I started using the Monarch 5’s, I understood the value a good pair of binoculars can add to birdwatching.
The quality of detail you can see through the Monarch 5 8 x 42 binoculars is impressive and sometimes surpasses my DSRL in optics . They’re also very comfortable to use. Beginners and long-time birders alike would enjoy these binoculars. Price wise, you’ll have to spend a pretty penny, but they won’t break the bank at $300 including taxes and shipping. To me, it’s a worthy investment that you won’t have to worry about making again for years to come.
This post contains a sponsored link and/or a free product. All opinions expressed are solely mine.