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Old Monday 24th March 2014, 13:53   #1
Petrus82
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Hawke Sapphire 8x42 or Nikon Monarch 5 8x42

These two binoculars seems to have similar features ie. ED glass, dieletric prisms. Has anyone tried both? Which is betteR?
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Old Monday 24th March 2014, 14:38   #2
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Petrus,

I've tried the dual and top hinge Sapphire ED a few times, but the Monarch 5 only once, shortly before trying the Hawks again, so take my thoughts with a pinch of salt.

I thought the noticeably lighter Monarch 5 was was the nicest of the three ergonomically. The glare, CA and colour rendition appeared much improved over MkIII. However, I still found the sharpness a weakness. At 110m @1000m (8x) it has one of the narrower views in the price range.

By comparison I find the dual hinge Sapphire a little unwieldy and heavier. The top hinge was better balanced and more natural to use for me. I'm sure others would disagree. Though improved from the original Frontier ED the focus is still a little slow for my tastes. The colour balance might be a hint warmer than the Monarch, but it seemed to me the contrast was deeper and the colours cleaner. Both models appeared sharper than the Monarch to my eyes, but that day the top hinge appeared best. The 142m@100m (8x) is considerably wider than the Monarch.

Very much down to personal preference (and budget) but I'd put the single hinge Sapphire at the top of that trio.

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Old Tuesday 25th March 2014, 13:00   #3
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I've owned the Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 and liked it alot, despite the clumsy eye-piece covers.

It's bright, with good almost edge-to-edge definition, clear high contrast colour definition, nice and light, certainly very easy to handle, the grip is good and the new rubber objective lens covers are a very good tight fit, both around the barrel and on the objective, nice quality rubber too.

At under 200.00 great value for it's low light performance, I found the degree of resolution to be excellent, but I've not handled the Hawke.

Others have liked it too, the NM5 8x42 came fourth in a competitive field here : http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/2...hart_2011.html

Which is better ? Is the Hawke worth the extra 120.00 ?? The only way to decide is to try both yourself. We are all uniquely sensitive to the various parameters by which we judge value ; one person may experience colour abberation with one binocular that another person may not with the same bin in the same situation. Just compare your own experiences to those of a published mass product overviewer like Best Binocular Reviews and draw your own conclusions.

One thing to consider if you are in chop and change mode or trading up is it's eventual resaleability ; very high with a market leading brand like Nikon. With years of good reviews the Monarch will sell all day long. With a no-name brand ? It's hard to say.
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Old Tuesday 25th March 2014, 19:27   #4
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Very interesting. However, the cheapest I have seen the Nikon Monarch 5 is 299 which places it within the price range of the Hawke Sapphire.
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Old Wednesday 26th March 2014, 08:03   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samandag View Post
Others have liked it too, the NM5 8x42 came fourth in a competitive field here : http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/2...hart_2011.html
However, the Monarch 5 listed in that review is not the latest version which features ED glass.
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Old Wednesday 26th March 2014, 08:59   #6
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Welcome to the world's leading bino forum, Borjam !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Borjam View Post
However, the Monarch 5 listed in that review is not the latest version which features ED glass.
There is only one version of the NM5 and it has had ED glass as standard since it went into production in March 2013 : http://www.nikon.com/news/2013/0325_monarch5_01.htm

The reviewers at birdwatching.com missed the fact that it was now an ED Chin. bin, albeit a good one : http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/2...narch_atb.html

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Old Wednesday 26th March 2014, 10:33   #7
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Sam,

The Monarch 5 did not originally have ED glass. It was just upgraded this past year. We had a thread about the upgrade on here last year. Will see if I can find it.
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Old Wednesday 26th March 2014, 10:47   #8
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Thanks, Frank, I appreciate that the 'Monarch' series did not originally have ED glass but when was the Monarch 5 first released ?

Nikon list the release date for the NM5 as March 2013, and there is no mention in their news archive of an earlier release date unless I've missed it.

I bought a 2103 model that had ED glass ; I'm thinking about buying another.

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Old Wednesday 26th March 2014, 11:19   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankD View Post
We had a thread about the upgrade on here last year. Will see if I can find it.
Found it, thanks.

Looks like it was just a re-badge of the NM III to shift the overstock and not a new product ; nothing to do with the current NM5 but I appreciate that the reviewers at birdwatching.com would have had the rebadged NM III and not the NM5 ED (by virtue of the date of their review !)

Thanks again for pointing that out.
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Old Wednesday 26th March 2014, 16:21   #10
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Was it this one?

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....=Nikon+Monarch
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Old Wednesday 26th March 2014, 16:42   #11
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No, this earlier one : http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....ight=monarch+5.

My mistake earlier ; the reviewers at birdwatching.com would have had the rebadged NM III and not the NM5 ED (by virtue of the date of their review !).

Not sure if the rebadged NM III was ever sold over here as the NM5 [non-ED] ?
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Old Sunday 30th March 2014, 17:22   #12
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The Monarch history is complicated but several years ago Nikon differentiated the line with the dielectric coated version becoming Monarch 5 and a cheaper version with silver coating called Monarch 3 coming out below the 5. So for quite a few years the NM5 was sold here before it had ED glass. Very recently the NM5 was reintroduced with the ED glass and the updated body style of the Monarch 7. So just because in the review noted above they were using a "Monarch 5" doesn't mean it had ED glass.

The Monarchs are always quite compact and ergonomic with excellent focus knobs for a budget bin but I can't stand the narrow FOV in the non-7 versions. They also had smallish sweet spots and poor CA control but I'm assuming the newer ED version (hopefully) has corrected those two flaws, making it an excellent budget bin option for someone who isn't as concerned with the FOV constraints. Even before the current versions the build quality and very nice focuser has always differentiated them in the budget class (plus the Nikon brand name) which is why they've been so popular... most folks aren't going to start hunting down no name brands to get a wider FOV and ED glass, they just don't care enough and the Monarch line has for a decade at least been synonymous with solid budget birding glass.

That said, there are better options now at the price range. The field has gotten a lot more crowded and there is no need to settle for a narrow FOV anymore. Even if you are scared of no name brand china bins the Zeiss Terra ED and several Leupold offerings are better choices. And the NM5 are outclassed by slightly more expensive models like NM7, Vortex Viper, Zen-Ray ED3 or Hawke equivalents etc. If the OP can buy the Sapphire for the same price as the NM5 it's a no brainer unless compact size and ergonomics trumps the optical advantages.

Last edited by eitanaltman : Sunday 30th March 2014 at 17:32.
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