Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 Binoculars Review

Nikon Monarch 5 Review Nikon Monarch 5

Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 binoculars are a more capable alternative to the Prostaff 7S, for a slightly higher price. With its 10 magnification and 42 mm objective diameter, this pair is ideal for the majority of observations in the wild.

Nikon has integrated into the Monarch 5 components usually reserved for high-end models. With a price of just under $400, these binoculars seem to be a perfect choice.

But what about performance? Discover our opinion on the Monarch 5 10×42!

Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 Review

Nikon Monarch 5

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Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 Features:

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Lens diameter (mm): 42
  • Linear field at 1000 meters (m): 96
  • Exit pupil (mm): 4.2
  • Eye relief (mm): 18.4
  • Brightness index: 17.6
  • Minimum focusing distance (m): 2.5
  • Dimensions (mm): 145x129x55
  • Weight (g): 600
  • Interpupillary distance (mm): 56-72
  • Type of prisms: Roof
  • Waterproof: up to 1 meter for 10 minutes


  • ED lenses that deliver a sharp image
  • Very high luminosity thanks to the dielectric treatment of the prisms
  • Fast and precise focusing
  • Rather light binoculars for a 10×42 pair
  • Comfortable grip and good ergonomics
  • Excellent value for the money


  • Poor quality eyepiece protectors
  • A bit high minimum focusing distance
  • Field of view is much narrower than on other 10×42 models

ED glasses achieve high image sharpness

The Monarch 5 10×42 offer a very sharp image. We manage to easily distinguish the contours of the observed object from the background decoration. Whether it is the shape or the colors, everything is easily perceptible.

Overall, with a sharpness score that reaches 8 out of 10, the general level of detail is excellent.

The lenses use ultra-low dispersion ED glasses. Their purpose is to reduce chromatic aberrations that appear as colored fringing on the edges of objects. Their definition then becomes better.

Here, the color defects are well minimized without disappearing completely. Some aberrations persist discreetly in the center and moderately on the edges. As so often, it is mainly the orange and cyan tones that are affected.

Nikon Monarch 5 Nikon Monarch 5

Distortion and coma aberrations are well controlled. They are detected simultaneously on the last third of the lens radius.

However, their intensity is low; they do not degrade the overall sharpness of the field of vision. The lenses also create a curvature of the field since one perceives a slight blur around the periphery of the exit pupil.

The brightness is enhanced by the dielectric treatment of the prisms

The lenses of the Monarch 5 10×42 are treated with a multi-layer coating. Its effect limits the loss of light when it passes through the glasses of each tube. It gives a blue/green tint to the lenses, which is often synonymous with good quality. The lens diameter of 42 millimeters makes it possible to capture a lot of light and makes use less tiring for the eyes when it is dark.

The Monarch 5 features Schmidt-Pechan roof prisms, which are treated with a high-reflectivity dielectric coating. This is the type of treatment that uses the most efficient material, compared to the usual aluminum or silver alloys. Between the objective and the eyepiece, the light transmission is around 88%, which is an excellent score.

The contrast is well-balanced and the color rendering is rather neutral. A slight orange/beige filter sometimes appears when the ambient light is strong, but it is almost undetectable.

The exit pupil has moderate vignetting with 8% to 10% darkening at the periphery. At dusk, you can still see most of the details, although their definition diminishes. At night, even if it is possible to take advantage of the stars and the moon with good clarity, a lens greater than 50 millimeters will be more suitable.

Tuning is effortless and precise

For adjustment, the Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 scored 8 out of 10. The focus wheel has a smooth rotation while maintaining some rigidity. This allows both quick adjustment and maintenance of the ideal position. Its grooved outline guarantees better precision with the finger.

The diopter correction wheel adjusts with finesse but still requires minimal effort to turn. It is therefore unlikely to disturb it inadvertently, especially during hasty movements.

By dint of handling the binoculars, it will nevertheless be necessary to readjust this correction from time to time, but it is not a binding point.

Nikon Monarch 5 2 Nikon Monarch 5

The eyecups can be adjusted in 4 steps to adjust the eye relief on each eye. Nothing special here, it’s what we find on other models. The Monarch 5 will of course be suitable for wearers of glasses, the eye relief range being quite generous.

Ergonomics translates into a very comfortable grip

Nikon has always known how to optimize the comfort of use of its products. The Monarch 5 10×42 gets away with a usability score of 9 out of 10.

The rubber coating provides excellent grip on the hands. Of good quality, it does not give the feeling of sticking to the hands, especially when the binoculars take the heat. As with the Prostaff series, the underside of the tubes has a hollow that allows comfortable positioning of the thumbs.

The Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 comes with a padded strap, very practical for your long hiking or bird-watching sessions. The inner side of this lanyard is equipped with an anti-slip coating. It will limit the swinging of the binoculars when they are strapped around your neck.

You can mount the Monarch 5 on a tripod via an adapter, a notch is provided for this purpose.

Good build quality

The Monarch 5s are tough. Their rather compact design and rubber coating will provide some protection against shocks. The elements are assembled together with precision. There is no play between the moving parts, be it the eyecups, the knobs or the tubes.

These binoculars are protected up to 10 meters deep for a maximum of 1 minute. The Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 is also filled with nitrogen: fog will not form inside the tubes. The lenses carry Nikon’s “Eco-Glass (TM)” label, which guarantees manufacturing without the use of lead or arsenic.

Only negative point: the eye protection is bad. In addition to seeming more fragile than the rest, they do not stay in place. Just flip the binoculars over for them to fall. It will then be necessary to be very careful to store the binoculars in their bag, and not directly in a bag, at the risk of scratching the lenses if the covers come off.

This choice is difficult to understand, especially since the lenses are equipped with removable caps that remain in position.

Nikon Monarch 5 3 Nikon Monarch 5

Even without the benefit of materials as good as on models over 1000 bucks, you can be sure that your Monarch 5 10×42 will last over time with a minimum of maintenance.

The minimum focusing distance is rather high

On this part, the Monarch 5 10×42 is doing less well. Below average, the minimum focus distance is 2.5 meters. Without being really bad, this distance is not limiting for the majority of observations that are made over long distances.

On the other hand, it will be quite difficult to do short-range macro-observation. This is not what you are looking for with a magnification of 10 anyway.

The field of vision is much smaller than average

The visual field perceived at 1000 meters is only 96 meters. Even for a magnification of 10, it’s a bad score. In comparison, the Nikon Prostaff 7S 10×42 offers a field of view of 109 meters, at the same magnification. This difference in performance will be noticeable on long ranges, above 100 meters.

What use for the Nikon Monarch 5 10×42?

The Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 is designed for observing animals and nature in general. Although these are more dedicated to daytime use, they will also be suitable when the sun is starting to set, or when the weather is overcast.

During your hikes, your walks and your ornithology sessions, you will have a quality and above all versatile model. With a weight of 600 grams, these binoculars are easy to handle. You will still be advised to bring a strap or tripod if you plan to use it for several hours at a time.

The Verdict!

Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 Rating:

  • Sharpness – 9/10
  • Brightness – 8.5/10
  • Adjustment and Precision – 8.5/10
  • Build Quality – 8/10
  • Comfort – 9/10
  • Min Distance – 8.5/10
  • Visual Field – 7.5/10

For just under $400, the Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 is one of the best models you can buy. These binoculars achieve an image quality almost equivalent to the high-end segment while possessing an impressive quality/price ratio.

Nikon has taken care of many small details such as a flexible adjustment wheel, which combined with a well-adhesive rubber coating, allows the binoculars to be handled with precision and firmness. The Nikon Monarch 7 10×42 binoculars offer even better quality. 

We find a fairly high minimum focusing distance and a narrow visual field. It is the counterpart of affordable binoculars with an excellent image.

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Liam Dean is a Professional Blogger and Outdoor Enthusiast. He completed Masters in Sports Sciences and spend all of his free time doing sports and other outdoor activities. During vacations, he goes hunting, fishing and mountaineering.

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