Originally Posted by Hermann
A question to those who actually own a Nikon HG:
I tried one a few months ago, and even though I quite liked the optics, I wasn't sure it would stand up to hard use in the field.
What are your thoughts? chuck? Bruce? anyone?
I think it should hold up just fine for anyone who takes reasonably good care of their equipment. It does not seem any stronger or weaker than most of the stuff out there.
The mechanics work well. I do not find any play or flex in the hinge. The diopter adjustment is firm with a solid lock. The eye cups are solid with positives click positions. It should not have the diopter issues of the EDG since the diopter is a different design on the right barrel rather than integrated in the focus knob. I have not seen anything to indicate potential focus issues.
The biggest weak point looks to be the armoring which is on the thin side. Also the binocular is not covered 100% in armor but the uncovered areas are out of the way. I suspect this is intentional to keep the weight and diameter of the tubes down. I believe it is the lightest and least bulky 42mm I have used. The compactness brings a trade-off of less armor. It should hold up to normal bumps and such but a drop on a rock could leave some damage.
The Monarch HG has a unique way of mounting the objective caps where a rubber ring fits around the objective tubes. The bare metal ends of the objective tubes are exposed when the covers are removed. Nikon provides two rubber rings to place over and cover the bare metal ends when the objective covers are not used. This is cosmetically nicer and the rubber rings provide some protection. They are not that heavy and there is little extension past the objective ends so I can see that being an area of possible damage if dropped.
In the same class is the Zeiss Conquest HD. It has noticeably thicker and more extensive armor and the armor extending past the objectives is stiffer and extends out more. It should hold up better in a drop.
The Nikon does not have removable eye cups so it would most likely have to go back to Nikon if an eye cup is damaged. The Conquest HD eye cups screw out and can be owner replaced.
Although the Nikon looks like it should hold up fine for normal use, the Zeiss Conquest HD looks like it would fair better in rough use.
One thing to keep in mind is Nikon has had a history of armor issues. There are many posts of armor bubbling on the grey EII models and the EDG I and even some of the EDG II units. It is to soon to tell if Nikon got that right on the HG.
I expect it to hold up just fine so long I do not have a significant accident with it. So far, I have never dropped one (knock on wood!). If something bad does happen, then I will get a chance to test out the Nikon No Fault Policy!