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Hands-on Gear Review

Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42 Review

Price:   $500 List | $369.55 at Amazon
Pros:  High quality construction, very comfortable to use, great clarity
Cons:  Heavy for backpacking or carrying long distances
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Nikon

Our Verdict

Nikon states that the 7 is the greatest Monarch ever. That is a bold statement. What sets the Monarch 7 line apart is that these models are smaller and lighter than the Monarch 5 or 3 counterparts. The Monarch 7 also uses a higher quality coating on its lenses and prisms than the Monarch 5 or 3 line. We found the quality on par with the top scoring binoculars in our test. In fact, they come in only two points behind our Editors' Choice winning Vortex Viper HD 8x42 in our scores.


RELATED REVIEW: The Test to Find the Best Binoculars

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Glass type Multi - Coating Magnification
99
$2,832
Top Pick Award
HD FMC 8.5
91
$649
Editors' Choice Award
HD FMC 8
89
$500
ED FMC 10
84
$749
Top Pick Award
NS FMC 10
80
$500
ED FMC 10
76
$440
NS CAT 8
72
$189
Best Buy Award
NS FMC 8
69
$439
ED FMC 8
67
$750
ED FMC 8
62
$230
NS FMC 9
48
$159
NS FMC 10

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Michael Payne
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
April 10, 2016

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As one of our top scoring binoculars in this test, we find the Monarch 7 10x42 to be an outstanding performer across the board. This pair is an excellent general purpose binocular with bright and clear optics, and it is lighter weight, more compact, and with a better close focus range and field of view than the low light specialist, the Nikon Monarch 5 8x56.

Performance Comparison


The bright and clear Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42.
The bright and clear Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42.

Clarity


The ED glass and a dielectric phase correction coated prism make for a sharp image with good contrast. Zone 9 was clear on the ISO 12233 chart in our test, with just a little defocusing around the last millimeter or two around the edges. There were no noticeable chromatic aberrations or distortion. Basically, this pair offers everything you would expect from a high-end pair of Nikon binoculars.

Brightness


The Nikon Monarch 7 10x42 has fully multi-coated lenses with a dielectric phase correction coated prism. All of this allows for a very bright view. The Monarch 5 we tested was brighter, but that was due to a larger objective lens and lower magnification.

Ease of Adjustment


The focusing is smooth and fast. We found it very easy to to go from close to far objects quickly without losing fine focus control. The diopter is located on the right eyepiece and was a bit stiff to move and almost. It felt stuck the first time we went to adjust it. There is no locking mechanism on the diopter. The interpupillary distance is easy to adjust and comfortable.

Adjustments are easy and smooth on the Nikon Monarch 7  though the diopter was stiff and sticky at first. This pair ranks high in our scores for both clarity and brightness.
Adjustments are easy and smooth on the Nikon Monarch 7, though the diopter was stiff and sticky at first. This pair ranks high in our scores for both clarity and brightness.

Field of View and Close Focus Range


The field of view is 351 feet at 1000 yards, which makes it a top performer amongst the 10x binoculars. The Nikon Monarch 7 10x42 is able to focus down to 8.2 feet, which again made it a top performer amongst the 10x binoculars.

Comfort


The eyecups are made of a soft rubber that is comfortable on the face. The rubberized coating is easy to grip and hold. The weight and size of this pair is easy to manage. It is much smaller and more portable than the Monarch 5. There is enough eye relief so you don't feel like you have to strain to stare at objects. This is a comfortable pair of binocular to use.

The Nikon Monarch 7 are a good size  smaller and lighter than the Monarch 5  and they are easy to hold and comfortable to use.
The Nikon Monarch 7 are a good size, smaller and lighter than the Monarch 5, and they are easy to hold and comfortable to use.

Construction Quality


Like most optical companies, Nikon is outsourcing its production to China. Who would have guessed? Everything about the Nikon Monarch 7 10x42 moves and operates smoothly. Every hinge point has just enough give to make it flow smoothly without being loose, except for the diopter, which was very stiff the first time. There were no noticeable alignment issues. Everything feels solid and looks good on the Monarch 7.

Best Application


The Nikon Monarch 7 10x42 is a great general purpose pair of binoculars that will excel at most uses. For the weight conscious, these might not be the pair you take with you into the backcountry unless you're out there to view wildlife. For something smaller and lighter, check out the Leica BCR 10x25, our Top Pick winner for compact binoculars.

The 10x magnification pairs in our test. From L to R: Celestron SkyMaster (9x)  Vanguard Endeavor  Nikon Monarch 7  Eagle Optics Shrike  Leica BCR.
The 10x magnification pairs in our test. From L to R: Celestron SkyMaster (9x), Vanguard Endeavor, Nikon Monarch 7, Eagle Optics Shrike, Leica BCR.

Value


At $500 the Nikon Monarch 7 10x42 are in the middle of the pack when it comes to pricing. When it comes to purchasing a product with any sort of lens, the old adage has always been buy the best you can afford. This is a quality pair that won't break the bank, so we think you can't really go wrong here. The Monarch 7 is the third highest scoring pair in our test, and if treated with respect it will last a long time.

Conclusion


The Nikon Monarch 7 line definitely is the best in the Monarch group from Nikon. With the upgraded lens coating, the phase correcting coating on the prism, and a smaller and lighter footprint than the Nikon Monarch 5, we think this pair is just what most people are looking for. However, the Nikon Monarch 7 10x42 are not our highest rated pair of binoculars. There are just small details that missing, like a locking diopter, that keep it from the top spot. To see the two that outrank the Monarch 7, check out the Swarovski EL 8.5x42 and the Vortex Viper HD 8x42.

Other Versions and Accessories


The Monarch 7 line comes in multiple ranges from an 8x30 to these 10x42 ATB ones and a few in between.

Nikon EDG 8x42
Nikon EDG 8x42
  • Price: $2,399.95 ($1,900 more than the Monarch 7)
  • Advanced fully coated optics
  • Field of view at 1000 yards: 403 ft (52 ft larger than the Monarch 7)

Monarch 5 8x56
  • Price: $749.95 ($250 more than the Monarch 7)
  • Less advanced optical system than the Monarch 7
  • Field of view at 1000 yards: 325 ft (26 ft smaller than the Monarch 7)
Michael Payne

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 10, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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