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Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 Review (Midsize, Compact & Weatherproof Binoculars)

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Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 Binoculars
Image Credit - Nikon

Magnification: 8X
Power Variability: Fixed
Objective Diameter: 42 mm
Close Focus Distance: 7.8 ft
Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.1 in
Weight: 20.8 oz
Field of View: 330 ft/1000 yards
Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 19.5 mm/5.25 mm
Optics Coatings: Fully multi-coated
Glass: BaK-4
Prism System: Roof
Focus System: Center
Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes
Eye cups: Turn-and-slide
Tripod adaptable: Yes
Rangefinder: No

Best Uses: Hunting, Bird Watching, Hiking, Sight Seeing

Update: Unfortunately Nikon has discontinued production of the Monarch 5 8x42 binocular. For more great options, check out our pick of the top binoculars for under $300 here.

Nikon Monarch 5 8X42 Binocular Review

When you see everything this Monarch 5 has and its price point, you know right off the bat that it's going to be hard to beat. This is because the 8x42 binocular has it all. It's got pizazz, endurance, and the blood of champions in its genes.

The 8x42 Monarch binocular exudes optical prowess with its Eco-glass qualities that are lead and arsenic free. It also features fully multi-coated optics, BaK-4 glass, and Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass. With a glimpse of these terms, you know image quality is going to be right on par for the Nikon brand. Reputation can be everything especially when it's backed up with quality.

Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 Smooth Focus Knob
Image Credit - Nikon

To really make use of these technologies, the roof prism lenses are also coated with a phase correction coating in the form of dielectric coatings. This highly-reflective multi-layer prism coating ensures high-contrast images are produced as accurately as can be as perceived by the naked eye. It also corrects for a roof prism's optical weaknesses that a Porro prism binocular is known to be without.

Moving away from optical quality, the 8x42 Monarch 5 binocular itself has a non-slip, durable rubber armored body to withstand heavy abuse in the harshest conditions. It's also right within its dimensions and weight for a mid-size binocular making it easy to carry, wear, and use in versatile ways for many applications.

This specific 8x42 binocular is a favorite for hundreds of buyers. It's so popular, it's a "Choice" product and an instant buy for many. However, complaints of squeaky focus wheels, locked eyecups, and ill-fitting lens cups tend to be drawbacks for users but not deal breakers.


  • Price
  • Excellent optical quality
  • Easy to use
  • Mid-size/compact
  • Fully weatherproof


  • Squeaky focus wheel
  • Locking eyecups

Nikon Monarch 5 8X42 Q&A:

Do all the Focus Wheels Squeak on the 8x42 Monarch 5?

No. There are very few models that have made it past quality control with this issue. However, this is a manufacturer's defect and should be covered under Nikon's warranty.

What are Locked Eyecup issues?

8x42 Monarch 5 Rubber Eyecup
Image Credit - Nikon

A very small percentage of buyers experienced their eyecups locking into place either in the extended or retracted positions. After some use, the eyecups would seize into place forfeiting the ability to turn and slide the eyecups out or in. This issue should be discussed with Nikon for a legitimate claim under the warranty.

What are Dielectric coatings?

There is a glass surface within the roof prism binocular with no internal reflective properties of its own due to the prism design. This provides a need for a specialized coating to be used on this surface to improve reflectivity, light transmission, and true color fidelity. Dielectric coatings are superior to aluminum and silver mirror coatings since it has potential reflectivity of 99 percent across the entire visible light spectrum.

What is ED Glass?

Extra-low dispersion glass is glass that's been made with extra-low dispersion elements to correct for chromatic aberration (CA). CA are fuzzy color abnormalities you may experience with high-contrast targets within the image. To correct for this, specific glass elements such as calcium-fluoride crystals are used to bring lightwaves into sync by landing into the same point along the focal plane of the optic to allow for true color fidelity, sharpness, and on-point contrast.

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Can People who wear Glasses use the 8x42 Monarch 5 binocular?

Yes! This binocular has extended eye relief of 19.5 mm. This is plenty of room for those who wear glasses to remain wearing glasses while using the Monarch 5 binocular. With turn and slide eyecups, those who don't wear glasses can still find their sweet spot while glassing.

Is Nikon's 8x42 Monarch 5 a good Bird Watching Binocular?

This is an excellent binocular for bird watching, wildlife observation, and catching glimpses of butterflies mere feet in front of you. It has a close focus distance of 7.8 feet, so if it's closer to you than that, who needs binoculars? The naked eye should do just fine at distances less than that. But, needless to say, if you want to use your binoculars for closer distances like 5 feet, you might have to look elsewhere.

How will Nikon's Monarch 5 8x42 binocular perform in low light conditions?

With a max exit pupil of 5.25 mm, field of view of 330 feet, and all the quality glass technologies combined, this will be a low light hunting binocular during dusk and dawn. Even with its 42 mm apertures, the glass quality will make up for the size when the sun starts going down.

Noteworthy Features:

  • Exceptional clarity for the money
  • Excellent optical quality for various applications
  • Mid-size without bulk and heft for convenience
  • Fully armored and weatherproof for use in harsh conditions
  • Nikon No-Fault Repair/Replacement Policy

Our Verdict on the Monarch 5 8x42 Binoculars

To glass it up, the Nikon(7576) Monarch 5 8x42 binoculars are an exceptional optic for stellar glassing for any binocular user. It's a high-performing optic thanks to all the glass technologies that provides crystal clear, bright, and sharp image quality.

We even included the Monarch 5 in our round-up of the best binoculars under $500.

However, keep your proof of purchase handy just in case any defect manifests during ownership.

If you can't quite stretch the budget for the Monarch 5, you should see what the Nikon Prostaff 3S 8x42 can do for you. At more than half the cost of the Monarchs, you can still have the legendary Nikon experience with the Prostaff binocular. You're still retaining the extended eye relief and large exit pupil, and you actually gain in field of view. Worth checking out wouldn't you say?

Within the same budget as the Monarch 5, you might be interested in seeing how Leupold compares. The BX-2 Tioga HD 8x42 binocular is brand new, and it's jam-packed with features that belie its low price. We won't say who does it better, so we'll leave the Nikon vs Leupold debate up to you.

A common adjective used by nearly all Nikon users is "clear." "Clear optics for the money" is nothing new to those who know and buy Nikon. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to say this about any of your binoculars, you'll have the chance with the Nikon Monarch 5.

Update: Unfortunately Nikon has discontinued production of the Monarch 5 8x42 binocular. For more great options, check out our pick of the top binoculars for under $300 here.

Further Reading

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Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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