The Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42 is a great binocular, and is just a step down from the Editors' Choice award-winning Vortex Viper HD 8x42 in just about every metric, including price. The Monarch 7 produces a great image, but it is just slightly less crisp and bright than what the Viper offers. The Monarch 7 is also slightly heavier, with a longer close focus range. If you're looking for the best binoculars at a reasonable price, we think the cost savings offered by the Monarch 7 are worth the slight drop in performance. If you're looking for the best image you can get without spending four figures, the Viper is worth the extra money.Editor's Note: This product review was updated on January 11, 2022 to reflect a design update to this binocular.
Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: High-quality construction, very comfortable to use, great clarity
Cons: Heavy for backpacking or carrying long distances
Compare to Similar Products
Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42
|Price||$383.60 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
$458.02 at Amazon
$238.75 at Amazon
$95.28 at Amazon
$158.50 at Amazon
|Pros||High-quality construction, very comfortable to use, great clarity||Very clear and bright, easy to adjust, comfortable, high-quality construction||Excellent brightness, great clarity, comfortable||Inexpensive, good clarity and brightness||Good clarity, small and lightweight, relatively comfortable|
|Cons||Heavy for backpacking or carrying long distances||A bit heavy for the backcountry||Slightly heavy for backpacking||Average construction quality, mediocre low-light performance||Poor low-light performance|
|Bottom Line||Good optical quality, but not the best in the price range||This model is our first choice and offers just about the best clarity and brightness you can get from a binocular without a quadruple-digit price tag||An excellent balance of price and all-around performance with particularly impressive brightness||The most budget-friendly option we've found that offers a good introduction to birdwatching||An inexpensive, small, and packable model that offers surprisingly good optics|
|Rating Categories||Nikon Monarch 7 ATB...||Vortex Viper HD 8x42||Vortex Diamondback...||Celestron Nature DX...||Vortex Diamondback...|
|Ease of Adjustment (15%)|
|Construction Quality (15%)|
|Close Focus Range (7.5%)|
|Field of View (7.5%)|
|Specs||Nikon Monarch 7 ATB...||Vortex Viper HD 8x42||Vortex Diamondback...||Celestron Nature DX...||Vortex Diamondback...|
|Multi - Coating||FMC||FMC||FMC||FMC||FMC|
|Field of View (at 1000 yards)||362 ft||409 ft||393 ft||388 ft||332 ft|
|Close Focus||8.2 ft||6.5 ft||5.0 ft||6.5 ft||6.0 ft|
|Eye Relief||16.5 mm||18 mm||17 mm||17.5 mm||18 mm|
|Size (Length x Width)||5.6 x 5.1 in||5.8 x 5.3 in||5.7 x 5.1 in||5.3 x 4.9 in||4.6 x 4.5 in|
|Weight||24 oz||24.2 oz||21.8 oz||22.2 oz||14.0 oz|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Nikon released the Monarch M7 as the successor to the Monarch 7 ATB we tested. The ATB stood for All Terrain Binoculars, which meant they were waterproof, fogproof, and had a shockproof rubber coating, but now Nikon offers this across all their Monarch binocular models, so they've dropped the ATB from the title. The Monarch M7 has a wider field of view than the 7 (362/1000 vs 351/1000). Below, compare the Monarch 7 we tested (left) to the Monarch M7 (right).
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.
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.
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 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. 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.
Like many optical companies, Nikon is outsourcing its production to China. 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.
The eyecups are lined with 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.
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.
Should You Buy the Nikon Monarch 7 10x42?
The Nikon Monarch 7 line is definitely the best offering in Nikon's Monarch group. 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. For the price, these are a great pair of bins, and if treated with respect, will last a long time.
What Other Binoculars Should You Consider?
The Nikon Monarch 7 10x42 is a great general purpose pair of binoculars that will excel at most uses. But for the weight-conscious, these might not be the pair you take with you into the backcountry. For something smaller and lighter, check out the Leica Ultravid BR 10x25, one of our go-to pairs for its compactness and portability. In a similar price range, we'd recommend the Vortex Viper HD 8x42, which scores a step up across many metrics. If you've got a bigger budget, we think the Swarovski EL 8.5x42 is about the best you can get.
— Max Mutter
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