The Nikon ATB series of binoculars has been a staple of Nikon's bino lineup for years and has been a favorite among hunters for just as long. For 2012, Nikon revised the Monarch ATB into a series of new Monarch binoculars called the ATB, the Monarch 3, the Monarch 5, and the Monarch X. For this review we'll be taking a look at the Monarch 5 which is closest to the Monarch ATB of previous model years.
The Monarch 5 comes in 3 power offerings: 8x, 10x, and 12x all with a 42mm objective. If you're looking for a smaller or larger objective size, you'll need to either look at the Monarch 3 or Monarch X. Currently the Monarch 5 series is offered in black or Realtree APG and our review model is a 10x42mm in Realtree APG.
The Nikon Monarch 5 10x42mm binos in Realtree APG
Optically the Monarch 5 continues the excellent image clarity of previous Monarch models. Overall the image is crisp and clear and has good color separation in the shadows and under low light. Some of this optical enhancement is due to the new dielectric multilayer coatings that Nikon began introducing on the Monarch series last year. This helps when hunting because we often find ourselves trying to pick out shades of tan and brown under trees and undergrowth. The improved color reproduction helps to assure that various shades of brown don't get lost in lower light.
The binos have a rubberized coating covering the entire body of the optics. The "armor coat" is a little on the hard side compared to some of the other models on the market offered by other manufacturers, but it is still easy to grip while wet or dry. The coating also acts as a bit of a shock absorber when dropped on hard surfaces or rocks.
Side view of the binos.
The Monarch 5 has 3 position eye cups that are easy to use even for those that wear eyeglasses. The eye cups do not lock in any position though which would be a nice improvement. The adjustable diopter is on the right eye and works much like other binoculars on the market, although it is not lockable either.
Eye cups completely closed.
Eye cups fully extended.
The diopter does not lock on the Monarch 5, but the body of the binos is contoured for most hands.
The Monarch 5 comes with eye and objective lens covers. The objective lens covers are affixed to the end bell of the binos. Simply snap off the objective lens and the covers hang away from the lens and won't be easily lost. The eye lens covers simply slip on to the eye piece, but are not attached to the main body of the binos, although they can be used in conjunction with a bino strap system. Also included with the Monarch 5 is a soft carrying case and a standard neck strap.
Nikon also includes a warranty on the Monarch 5 which warrants against defects in craftsmanship for up to 25 years. If for some reason you should damage your binoculars while afield Nikon will cover the binos under their No-Fault policy, which basically means the repairs are your fault, but they will still repair the binos for a $10 service fee plus shipping and handling. Currently the warranty and No-Fault policy only covers optics sold in the USA.
Our review model comes in at a street price of about $330 which places it squarely in the middle of the binocular market in terms of price point. In this price point the hunter has a lot of options and the Monarch 5 is definitely worth looking at when bino shopping. It doesn't offer the optical superiority of binos in the $1000+ price range but it offers a great image and matches up well to other similarly prices binoculars on the market.
For more information visit www.nikonhunting.com .