In a nutshell what Nikon have produced is a tough, solid, waterproof binocular, combined with some excellent high quality Nikon Optics with multilayer-coated lenses and all at a very reasonable price. At first glance it is not hard to see why the Nikon Monarch ATB 8x42 waterproof binocular is the most popular model in the substantial range of Nikon Monarch binoculars. Please note that in Europe, these binoculars are often called Nikon Monarch 8x42 DCF Binoculars.
The lenses on these Nikon Monarch 8x42 binoculars are fully multicoated that deliver the ultimate in brightness and resolution. "Fully Multi-Coated" means that all air to glass surfaces have received multiple layers of anti-reflection coatings, and this is what you want in your binoculars. Many lesser quality binoculars will only have "Multi-Coated", with only some of the lenses being coated.
The Bak-4 prisms have been Phase-corrected as well as coated and all optics have been precision aligned, this gives you a crisp clear image preventing strain on your eyes, that us ideal for long periods of use.
The 330ft wide field of view at 1000 yards if fair and is the same as binoculars like the Olympus 8x42 Magellan binoculars and the Bushnell 8x42 NatureView binoculars but is quite a lot less than the the highest quality binoculars like the Zeiss 8x42 Victory FL and Leica 8x42 Ultravid HD binoculars. It must be said that the latter two are also much more expensive.
Nikon pride themselves on the ultra-rugged lightweight roof prism body design on these binoculars, so lets take a look at the facts. They weigh, 21.5 oz which is one of the lightest quality roof prism 8x42 binoculars on the market. For comparison, one of the best 8x42's (and most expensive) on the market the Leica 8x42 Ultravid HD binoculars weigh 27.9ozs.
I found the protective, rubber-armored coating gives you a good comfortable grip, which should not change even in wet conditions. The rubber protection will buffer and protect these Nikon Monarch binoculars from inevitable bumps and bashes. Overall they were well balanced making prolonged periods of use as comfortable as possible.
Nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed, these Nikon binoculars are fully waterproof and fogproof.
Long Eye Relief Binoculars
The twist up eye-cups give 19.6mm of eye relief, which is excellent which is more than enough for most people to use them who wear eyeglasses.
There is not much to mention about focusing on the Nikon 8x42 Monarch ATB binoculars other than to say that the large central focus knob rolls smoothly making focusing from one extreme to the other fast and accurate.
Nikon believe in helping the nature that we view through their binoculars as much as possible, these binoculars are manufactured responsibly with lead and arsenic-free Eco-Glass (TM)
What else is included:
Nikon binocular travel case, adjustable binocular strap and lens covers.
Nikon Quality: Nikon is dedicated total customer satisfaction and are so sure of the quality of their products that, if your Nikon Binocular requires service or repair not covered by their 25 Year Limited Warranty, Nikon will repair or replace it (even if it was your fault) for just $10, plus return shipping and handling.
Overall these Nikon Monarch ATB 8x42 waterproof binoculars are quality optics at a competitive price, this is something I think Nikon set out to achieve and have done it well. The result being that they are some of the best selling binoculars in their class. Ideal Birding binoculars, that would also not be out of place in any other form of nature and wildlife observation and make good all-rounders. They are also obviously one of the best selling binoculars on Amazon.com, who offer them at a fantastic discount. As such there have been 83 customer reviews: 65 people give them 5 stars, 17 gave them 4 stars and and 1 person giving them 3 stars. Take a look at a few selected customer comments below.
Main Specifications & Features:
Stephen Adams - Source: Amazon.com
I really like these binoculars. They are light, bright, work well with eyeglasses and I give five stars because they are excellent value. I bought these binoculars for a nature trip in the Amazon and I use them in the back yard, on hikes and occasionally at the symphony or opera. My sister, an ornithologist, told me to get the most expensive binoculars I could afford. To her binoculars are a professional tool but I really didn't want to afford a thousand bucks like she was suggesting. She also told me to try out binoculars in dim conditions and to get 8x42 rather than 10x42 because it is easier to find what you are looking for and easier to hold so that the view is not shaking.
In the store I compared these with the same power Leica. The Leica was nice but a lot heavier. I could tell the Leica was better, but not three times the price better. It was dusk, overcast and drizzling (ideal conditions for trying out binoculars). For example, I was looking at the brick work under the awning on a building about a block away from the store. I could see more detail in the brickwork and felt more `there' with the Leica. In brighter conditions the difference is less noticeable and I like the lighter weight of the Monarchs.
On the Amazon trip I has the opportunity to compare binoculars with other people. Most people had brought cheaper binoculars and I think as a result their wildlife watching experience was compromised. The only people who had brought comparable binoculars were avid bird watchers. They had Opticrons which are in the same price ballpark as the Leica. Again, they are excellent binoculars but not three times better.
I like the hard rubber-armor construction. It does not become slippery when wet. They feel solid but light. I am not so nervous about dropping the binoculars as I would be with the Leica or Opticrons. The firm turn-and slide eyecups (like the Lieca) are a huge improvement over the fussy soft foldable rubber eyecups found on many other binoculars.
Looking for binoculars is a lot like looking for Hifi speakers. As the price goes up, the quality improves. At a certain price point you can no longer tell the next price level is clearly better; it is mostly just different. That is a good place to buy, and is something of a personal judgement. Minolta has some binoculars that are priced between the Monarchs and the high end and I think the Monarchs are every bit as good.
Eagle Eyes - Source: Amazon.com
I did alot of research before deciding on this pair. As an experienced photographer, optical quality was my top priority. I originally purchased them for hiking and long range mountain scanning in southern Oregon, and while initially perplexed between the 10X or 8X version; I found the extra sharpness of the 8X resolution negated the need for a 10X magnification, because they rendered so much detail. With the 8X, I spotted a fire lookout station that I'd never seen before, on a mountain 15 miles out of town. Quite remarkable. Added to that, was the research at Cornell University's Ornithology Center on the web. Birdwatchers extraordinaire; who called them a steal. I concur. I never thought I'd be so happy paying this price for binoculars, but it was a no brainer. Tack sharp, lightweight and well worth owning.
Murphy Shea - Source: Amazon.com
I have recently taken up birding with my father - who's been birding for 60 years. On a recent trip he had his $1700 Swarovskis and I had the Nikon Monarchs - so I was able to test them both out side by side. To my eye they are identical in brightness and image clarity. The Monarchs are comfortable, compact, not too heavy, it's easy to find the bird you want to look at, and they do what all good binoculars are supposed to do: give you the sense that what you are looking at is "right there" in front of you.
The Swarovskis do have that cool groove under each lens barrel to rest your thumbs in, and they look like they'd take a beating a little better. But is that worth $1400?
A few criticisms, although they do not affect my recommendation.
1) the bottom lens caps - which are tethered to the lens barrels - are clumsy and don't stay out of the way. I just took mine off and use them only when packing. The top lens cap only stays on when the binoculars are stowed in the carrying pouch - they fall off instantly if you're carrying the binocs around your neck. But I noticed my Dad wasn't using his Swarovski lens caps either - maybe no one has really figured them out yet.
2) I wish Nikon would include a better neck strap, the one that comes with the binocs is a little flimsy and scratches your neck after a while. You can always get a decent aftermarket "harness" strap for $20, but at this price it would be nice of Nikon gave you a good one.
But all in all: a top-notch pair of binoculars, at a fair price, from a top name in optics.
Mr L Hudson - Source: Amazon.com
Bought these bins recently, they really are excellent, very easy to use, good feel, amazing light gathering and reproduction, and only 1 and 1/2 pounds. If you read Cornell Lab of Ornithology review, there is only 1 set of binoculars under 1000 dollars that beat these,(and they are 6x lenses not really suitable for general birding.)Everything about them feels and works like 1000 dollar lenses with two exceptions, the lens cap and raingaurd, the former in particular would be a disgrace on 50 dollar lenses, i am going to see if i can buy generic replacements. Lots of other web reviews also rave about them, and 98% of people would not tell the difference between these and top range Zeiss, Leica etc. And for 300 dollars you can take them anywhere and enjoy them.
Below are similar pairs of Binoculars that you may also want to have a look at:
Excellent optics for birders and naturalists, the 8x42mm NatureView Binocular is also suitable for watching sporting events and all-around observation
General Price Range: (3/6) Mid Price Binoculars
Below is a link that will take you to a page with online retailers in both the US and UK that sell Nikon 8x42 Monarch ATB Binoculars this page makes it easy to compare prices and then to buy from your preferred option:
Buy & Compare Prices for the Nikon 8x42 Monarch ATB Binoculars
I would love to get your comments and well as your opinions on these optics. Do you want to or do you already own one of these Monarch ATB Binoculars? If so please let us know what you think of them giving both the good and the bad points: