Best 10x42 binoculars in the UK priced £350?

Below is a question from r/Binoculars on Reddit that I helped with:

Hi, I’m looking to upgrade my Nikon Sportstar EX 8x25 to a 10x42’s (mainly to use for bird watching). I want to spend around £350 and have seen the Nikon Monarch M7 10x42 is on sale at the moment for £369. Before I purchase, I just wanted to see if anyone had any better alternatives in this price range to consider instead.

Thanks for your help!

Hi, I have several ideas for you at around £350 that are readily available in the UK – all I have tested and reviewed (either the 10x42 or 8x42 version) and would recommend for birding (In alphabetical order):

  • Bresser Pirsch ED – Best Binoculars 2024 (Under £400)
  • Celestron TrailSeeker ED – Best Binoculars 2024 (Under £300)
  • Hawke Endurance ED
  • Hawke Frontier HD X
  • Opticron Explorer WA ED-R
  • Opticron Traveller BGA ED
  • Vanguard Endeavor ED

Conclusions

From the table above, we can see that yes, for sure the Nikon Monarch is a very strong contender in this line-up. As it is on sale and thus usually costs a lot more and therefore not usually in this price bracket, this is not unexpected.

The strong points of it are excellent quality optics and coatings that include water and oil-repellant ones on the exterior surfaces, which none of the alternatives, apart from the Hawke Frontier HD X have.

They also have a locking diopter ring – not a big deal, but always a good sign of quality and attention to detail

The main weakness of the Nikon Monarch 10x42 M7 is their relatively long minimum focus distance, which may be something to keep in mind if you find that you often like viewing things like birds, butterflies and flowers at close range.

Note: I have added the 32mm Opticon Traveller in as a good example of what you can expect from a mid-sized binocular in this price range – just incase you wanted a more compact, lightweight device.

Hope this helps.

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