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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 14:42   #1
magbarn
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New to birding and of course looking at Binos, Are MHG 8X42 overkill?

As my title says. I originally started looking at the Nikon M5 8x42, but then I started reading about the M7 with its much wider FOV, was set on it, finding this forum, now looking at the Monarch HG! For a beginner who's looking at southern california birds like meadowlarks, sparrows, pipits, warblers, and goldfinches is the Monarch 7 good enough? I notice the light transmission is better with the M7 vs MHG, but the almost everything else on the HG is better: less CA, less distortion, Japan vs China made (I shoot Nikon full frame DSLRS and I can easily tell the difference between my Japan lenses vs China ones).

I'm a buy once, cry once kind of guy so I want one that will satisfy me for some time....

Also what about image stabilized binos? I like the VR feature on my Nikons...
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 14:58   #2
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...I'm a buy once, cry once kind of guy so I want one that will satisfy me for some time....

Also what about image stabilized binos? I like the VR feature on my Nikons...
MB,

Welcome to BF!

I like the IS on my Canon lenses, thus considered their IS binos for shake-free glassing. HERE is a good thread that may answer some of your questions concerning binocular stabilization. Expect any IS instrument to be bigger, bulkier and heavier than non-stabilized binos.

Concerning the MHG, I've not looked through them but have read a lot of positive comments and opinions on their optical performance...sure you would not go wrong with those as a first\primary birding instrument!

Good Luck!

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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 17:01   #3
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There's a lot of good binoculars to be had for under $1000, so consider yourself fortunate that you've picked that price point. It is well worth it to try some out in a store to experience the differences, ergo and optical, that will make it more evident what ones fit and feel better. You can also learn a lot by reading through some of the threads in this forum.

If you're into cameras you know that different lenses suit different situations, and that binoculars follow suit: portability vs low light capability for example. Consider whether you'll be carrying them along with a bazooka lens on your full frame dslr, or whether you are sans all the pro camera gear, and really out looking at birds. You might take a different binocular on that outing... ;-)

Exploring gear is great fun, and along the way you may also come to realize that the joys of birdwatching can be equally beguiling and rewarding with a $150 pair of porros (as long as they fit you well, and have decent optics)

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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 17:59   #4
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HI Mag

Welcome to Bird Forum and birding.

Like you I carry a side-load of photo gear when out observing nature so I find it very nice indeed to carry a 30-32mm bino when really loaded down and a 42mm when I am travelling lighter. Since you are clearly a Nikon guy (I am Canon btw ) then I would be tempted by a Monarch 7 8x30 and 8x42, both of which together would come in under your $1,000 budget. There are lots of good reasons to have a 30/32mm model not just for when you are carrying other heavy stuff. When driving distances through good country a model like this is kinder on your neck than a 42 and makes a more unobtrusive tourist model when walking through towns. And you get 2 new toys not just one.

Good luck with your choice.

Lee
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 21:02   #5
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.....
.....
I'm a buy once, cry once kind of guy so I want one that will satisfy me for some time....

.....
.....

Then try the Monarch HG - I like mine a lot (I also got the 10x model, which is great too, but does not excite me as much as the 8x), I find it much better than the Monarch 7, esp. off-axis sharpness and straylight suppression. I find the HG a truly outstanding optical instrument, but everybody's eyes are different, so you have to try it yourself.
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 22:14   #6
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The HG is also pretty light for a 42mm bin. I've tried some in store and was very impressed by the HGs - if you can afford them then give them a try!
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 22:20   #7
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Has anyone compared the Nikon with the Zeiss conquest hd in 10x42?
The Zeiss is so sharp just wondering if the Nikon could be as sharp as the Zeiss.
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 22:21   #8
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I am talking center field sharpness
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 05:31   #9
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Wow. Thanks for all the replies. The suggestion to get 2 monarch 7s for the price of one HG is intriguing. Is there an advantage to having a 8x + 10x? Would you end up just leaving 1 at the house? Or going with a lighter x32 and a heavier x42 as mentioned above? I checked some local stores and the highest spec Nikon binos that they carry is the M7...
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 07:17   #10
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Has anyone compared the Nikon with the Zeiss conquest hd in 10x42?
The Zeiss is so sharp just wondering if the Nikon could be as sharp as the Zeiss.
Give me a day or two, I will compare them and report back. I agree that the Conuqest HD is very good, so I am interested myself how the HG compares.
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 07:26   #11
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Wow. Thanks for all the replies. The suggestion to get 2 monarch 7s for the price of one HG is intriguing. Is there an advantage to having a 8x + 10x? Would you end up just leaving 1 at the house? Or going with a lighter x32 and a heavier x42 as mentioned above? I checked some local stores and the highest spec Nikon binos that they carry is the M7...
My humble opinion:
Go for one first, and the best one you can afford.
Try them out before you buy, and choose either 8x (that's what I would do) or 10x, if you have steady hands.
Then later, look for a second one once you know what you might be missing with the first one.
I doubt that combining one 8x and one 10x are usually very useful, you will start leaving one at home after a while.
If anything, 7x combined with 10x, or 8x combined with 12x would make more sense in my view.
But again: just MHO, others might see it differently.
And: be careful not to get infected with the binocular virus - it makes you buy more binos than you really need, and I have been suffering from that illness for a while now ...

Last edited by Canip : Saturday 18th March 2017 at 07:31.
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 09:35   #12
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Hi, I'm sure there's a wealth of birding experience in the replies above but as a U.K. and world birder of 30 years, I believe there are a few unquestionable rules that apply to your query:

Mag. Anything between 7x and 10x will be useful.
7 will give you a wide field of view so is great in enclosed forests. It might be frustrating in many other situations though.
8 is a nice all rounder.
10 good for open country birding where things are a bit more distant but the field of view will be smaller and you might start to get visible shake. Most birders are happy to use 10s without a shake problem though.

Objective diameter. Anything from 30mm to 50mm will work.
30 will give a lovely compact bin that is probably not heavy. You'll be able to wear it all day and not notice.
42 is a bit of an all rounder but the image will be lovely and bright (depending on the mag you choose).
50 is right at the top end and few birders use them these days, they will be heavy.

Quality. I think you need to consider 2 things here.
There is truth in the motto 'you get what you pay for' when it comes to bins.
Converse to that is that one person will like the feel and images of a 400 bin while someone else will prefer a 300 model. We are all different as are bins models.
So you need to combine these 2 elements carefully.

Forget image stabilisation for now, they are not yet compact enough for general birding.

Experienced birders with cash, who know exactly what they want, may own an 8x and a 10x. For starters, I quite agree with the comment above, pick one and get used to that, and get the best you can, and the one that really suits you (you must try it thoroughly at the store, or even better, at an open day in the field. I was allowed a 1 day trial before buying my first Leica).

Personally, I want a top of the range 9x36 but no one makes them. I find this really frustrating.

And lastly, I wouldn't rule out a second hand purchase. If you do go down this route, you need to absolutely convince yourself the bins are perfect, so take time testing them thoroughly. Buying second hand would allow you to step up the quality but stay in your price range.

I've looked through some mates roof prism Nikons recently and while I can't remember the models, the bins were great.

Apologies if you know all the above already but perhaps some of it will be useful. I know I haven't helped much with your Nikon model dilemma...
All the best,
Andy
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 17:35   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canip View Post
Give me a day or two, I will compare them and report back. I agree that the Conuqest HD is very good, so I am interested myself how the HG compares.
That will be great. Looking forward to it.
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Old Sunday 19th March 2017, 11:03   #14
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Has anyone compared the Nikon with the Zeiss conquest hd in 10x42?
.....
.....
I have just now (this is about central sharpness of 10x42 models only).

First, mounting both binos side by side on tripods, and observing a "mixed landscape" with multiple features and nicely structured into foreground, middle ground and background (see pic).

Then, again mounting each bino on tripod and using an A4 format printout of the USAF 1951 test chart (see pic), noting results for 3 different setups (observing distance 10m, artificial lighting):
- bino as is (observing through both tubes)
- putting 2.5x Kite Optics booster behind right eyepiece, observing through right tube only
- putting 4x Zeiss booster behind right eyepiece, observing through right tube only
(Note:I did not use a 6x Zeiss booster which I tend to use for binos with larger exit pupils; here, it did not make sense, because with a resulting exit pupil of less than 1mm the floaters in your eyes usually prevent you from seeing any more details than with lower booster).

Observing the landscape, both binos showed similar central sharpness / contrast, very nice crisp images in both instruments; the Nikon exhibited slightly better peripheral sharpness.

Using USAF 1951, the Zeiss proved to be just slightly ahead of the Nikon, as the following results show (number as per marks on the pictured USAF). Here, I tried to determine down to which size the bars could still be clearly identified as horizontal resp. vertical in each bino:

No booster: Zeiss B6 (possibly C1), Nikon B6
2.5x booster: Zeiss C4, Nikon C3
4.0x booster: Zeiss C6 (possibly D1), Nikon C6

The result doesn't come as a surprise to me. Despite the fact that the Nikon Monarch HG without any doubt is a very fine binocular, in several tests I did during the last few years, both the 8x42 and the 10x42 Conquest HD always came out as surprisingly sharp binoculars, hardly much behind the "very alphas". They still are an excellent choice in my view (you have to find your own way to cope with the "kidney beaning tendency" of the 8x Conquest HD or get the special eyecups which Zeiss supplies).

For what it's worth.
Canip
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Old Sunday 19th March 2017, 14:06   #15
james holdsworth
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I think David would say this result comes down to the quality of your eyesight.....lol.
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Old Sunday 19th March 2017, 14:25   #16
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I think David would say this result comes down to the quality of your eyesight.....lol.
... left eye or right eye ?
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Old Sunday 19th March 2017, 22:47   #17
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I think David would say this result comes down to the quality of your eyesight.....lol.
James:

I agree, eyesight and experience are very important, when judging
optics.

When I see someone posting, who has cataracts or eye problems, I wish they
would just pass.

I hope to try the new Nikon some day. I've learned to just wait
a little bit on the new models.

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Old Sunday 19th March 2017, 23:57   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canip View Post
I have just now (this is about central sharpness of 10x42.....
Using USAF 1951, the Zeiss proved to be just slightly ahead of the Nikon, as the following results show (number as per marks on the pictured USAF). Here, I tried to determine down to which size the bars could still be clearly identified as horizontal resp. vertical in each bino:

No booster: Zeiss B6 (possibly C1), Nikon B6
2.5x booster: Zeiss C4, Nikon C3
4.0x booster: Zeiss C6 (possibly D1), Nikon C6

The result doesn't come as a surprise to me. Despite the fact that the Nikon Monarch HG without any doubt is a very fine binocular, in several tests I did during the last few years, both the 8x42 and the 10x42 Conquest HD always came out as surprisingly sharp binoculars, hardly much behind the "very alphas". They still are an excellent choice in my view (you have to find your own way to cope with the "kidney beaning tendency" of the 8x Conquest HD or get the special eyecups which Zeiss supplies).

For what it's worth.
Canip
So you're saying the Zeiss conquest is a much better $1000 bino than the monarch HG?
What's "kidney beaning?"

Last edited by magbarn : Monday 20th March 2017 at 02:32.
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Old Monday 20th March 2017, 01:41   #19
Robert Moore
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[quote=Canip;3539937]I have just now (this is about central sharpness of 10x42 models only).

First, mounting both binos side by side on tripods, and observing a "mixed landscape" with multiple features and nicely structured into foreground, middle ground and background (see pic).

Then, again mounting each bino on tripod and using an A4 format printout of the USAF 1951 test chart (see pic), noting results for 3 different setups (observing distance 10m, artificial lighting):
- bino as is (observing through both tubes)
- putting 2.5x Kite Optics booster behind right eyepiece, observing through right tube only
- putting 4x Zeiss booster behind right eyepiece, observing through right tube only
(Note:I did not use a 6x Zeiss booster which I tend to use for binos with larger exit pupils; here, it did not make sense, because with a resulting exit pupil of less than 1mm the floaters in your eyes usually prevent you from seeing any more details than with lower booster).

Observing the landscape, both binos showed similar central sharpness / contrast, very nice crisp images in both instruments; the Nikon exhibited slightly better peripheral sharpness.

Using USAF 1951, the Zeiss proved to be just slightly ahead of the Nikon, as the following results show (number as per marks on the pictured USAF). Here, I tried to determine down to which size the bars could still be clearly identified as horizontal resp. vertical in each bino:

No booster: Zeiss B6 (possibly C1), Nikon B6
2.5x booster: Zeiss C4, Nikon C3
4.0x booster: Zeiss C6 (possibly D1), Nikon C6

The result doesn't come as a surprise to me. Despite the fact that the Nikon Monarch HG without any doubt is a very fine binocular, in several tests I did during the last few years, both the 8x42 and the 10x42 Conquest HD always came out as surprisingly sharp binoculars, hardly much behind the "very alphas". They still are an excellent choice in my view (you have to find your own way to cope with the "kidney beaning tendency" of the 8x Conquest HD or get the special eyecups which Zeiss supplies).

For what it's worth.




Canip[/QUOTE


Thanks for doing the test.

I have looked through all the top binoculars from Zeiss Leica and Swarovski and honestly think the 10x42 conquest hd has the best focus snap of them all. It's like ( Bam ) you know no fiddling back and forth. It's just like a fine Takahashi fluorite doublet refractor telescope.
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Old Monday 20th March 2017, 06:04   #20
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So you're saying the Zeiss conquest is a much better $1000 bino than the monarch HG?
What's "kidney beaning?"
If you are interpreting my words "slightly ahead" as meaning "much better", then: yes. But that's not exactly what I intended to say

btw, nobody please overrates all this testing, nothing here is in any way scientific or statistically significant.
First, I only tested one sample of each bino against another, and we all know how sample variation can influence results.
Second, my tests would have to be repeated by a number of people before we could start saying that we have a reliable finding here.
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Old Monday 20th March 2017, 10:06   #21
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[quote=amears;3539501]

"Forget image stabilisation for now, they are not yet compact enough for general birding."

Andy


Perhaps you could elaborate on this statement.

Thanks

Stan
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Old Monday 20th March 2017, 19:22   #22
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Sure, Stan. I am only speaking from limited experience but also extrapolating from the fact that none of the hundreds of experienced birders I see out in the field here in the U.K. ever use them. So I do stand to be corrected if there's something new out there that I'm not aware of.

Cannon made quite a nice pair but they were heavy and bulky, and certainly not suitable for extended days out. I suspect they were pretty good for birding off a boat though, so again, for those with cash to burn, an option.

I do think it's a great technology and if someone gets it into a top of the range product, and keeps it compact and light weight, they'd be a boon.

ATB
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Old Monday 20th March 2017, 19:44   #23
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Sure, Stan. I am only speaking from limited experience but also extrapolating from the fact that none of the hundreds of experienced birders I see out in the field here in the U.K. ever use them. So I do stand to be corrected if there's something new out there that I'm not aware of.

Cannon made quite a nice pair but they were heavy and bulky, and certainly not suitable for extended days out. I suspect they were pretty good for birding off a boat though, so again, for those with cash to burn, an option.

I do think it's a great technology and if someone gets it into a top of the range product, and keeps it compact and light weight, they'd be a boon.

ATB

Agree that the Canon 10x42 IS is bulky and heavy, but don't think that is anything a comfortable shoulder strap won't offset.
In exchange it offers a wide and bright alpha grade view, with the stabilization a tremendous plus. You really see the bird better with them.
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Old Monday 20th March 2017, 23:04   #24
magbarn
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Thanks for all the replies folks, I've just ordered a 8x42 MHG. My 7 year old also wants in some of the action so I ordered a M7 8X32 for him. It'll also serve when I want to travel light when going on a cruise etc...
Are the straps/cases decent that come with the binos?
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Old Tuesday 21st March 2017, 01:26   #25
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Originally Posted by magbarn View Post
Thanks for all the replies folks, I've just ordered a 8x42 MHG. My 7 year old also wants in some of the action so I ordered a M7 8X32 for him. It'll also serve when I want to travel light when going on a cruise etc...
Are the straps/cases decent that come with the binos?
Congrats on the Optics MB...You are a Cool Dad!

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