Nikon Monarch 7 series 8x42 and 10x42 binoculars

OUR VERDICT: With crisp, bright images with low chromatic aberration, the Monarch 7s are a nice duo, made to Nikon’s usual high standards, and well worth a look.

It’s been quite some time since I reviewed any Nikon binoculars, so I was pleased to be able to check out the recently launched Monarch 7 series 8x42 and 10x42 models, which effectively add an ED arm to the existing Monarch range.

It’s not just about the glass, of course – the body is also different and, in the hand, these two models feel solid and well built from the outset. And so they should be – together with the Monarch X, they sit at the top of Nikon’s mid-range binoculars, the last stop before the top-tier HG L and EDG premium models.

Both models are well balanced and covered with a substantial layer of strikingly non-slip rubber. The two binoculars share the same dimensions and almost the same mass, with the 10x magnification Monarch 7 weighing just 10 grams more than its lower-powered sibling. These weights are comparatively light and contribute positively to ease of use, as do the partly recessed strap lugs which, although positioned just forward of the focusing wheel, do not dig uncomfortably into the hands while the binoculars are being used.

The mechanics appear to be sound. The narrowly milled focusing wheel, which is a little more than a finger’s width, turns smoothly with no ‘play’. Approximately one and a half clockwise turns take the focusing from close-up to infinity. Although both models are specified as focusing down to 2.5 m, I managed to focus sharply on objects at a range of approximately 2.15 m in each case.

The precise, single-eye adjustment is built into the right ocular and provides sufficient turning resistance to prevent it accidentally slipping from its setting. The rubber-covered eyecups twist out and click-lock in three distinct points above the base position.

It’s amazing what a difference magnification makes to a binocular’s field of view, and this contrast is clearly evident between these two models. If you are willing to sacrifice a wide field for a little extra magnification then the 10x version performs well, delivering a noticeably larger image without giving the impression of a narrow horizon. In this respect it outperforms the recognised top-tier binoculars, but against the 8x magnification model I found the image to be marginally darker when I tested both side by side at a gull roost at dusk. There is also a measure of softening in the periphery of the image, which I estimated to be evident in the outer 20 per cent of the field for the two binoculars.

Otherwise, the image is crisp and bright, no doubt as a result of the use of ED glass and fully multi-coated lens surfaces. I found the colours to be vivid and natural and the level of chromatic aberration was pleasingly low.

The outside surfaces of the objective and eyepiece lenses are not coated with a water repellent, but they do have a scratch-resistant layer which will help to reduce wear and tear through a lifetime of cleaning.

The Monarch 7s are a nice duo, made to Nikon’s usual high standards, and well worth a look. They come with the standard accessories of soft, padded neck strap, rainguard, removable tethered objective covers and a soft carry case.

Tech spec

Field of view
Close focus
142x130 mm
650 g
140 m at 1,000 m
2.5 m
10 years
142x130 mm
660 g
117 m at 1,000 m
2.5 m
10 years