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Kowa SV 12x50 or Nikon Monarch 5 12x42?

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Old Saturday 4th May 2019, 05:01   #1
nkbj
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Kowa SV 12x50 or Nikon Monarch 5 12x42?

Hi.

I would like a 12x to supplement my Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 for long distance viewing over larger lakes or the sea. I do not like to cary a scope when the backpack is filled with camera equipment.

I have narrowed the choice down to either the Kowa SV 12x50 or the Nikon Monarch 5 12x42. They are priced about the same in Denmark and reasonable in size and weight.

Which one would you choose? Does the bigger exit pupil in the Kowa negate the advantage of ED glass in the Nikon?

Greetings from Denmark.

Niels Kristian

Last edited by nkbj : Saturday 4th May 2019 at 09:18.
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Old Saturday 4th May 2019, 14:13   #2
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I would choose one based on how you are going to use it. If you are going to use it mainly in daylight, hiking around and birding I would get the Nikon for it's weight and size advantage. If you are going to use it in a lot of low light situations the Kowa with it's bigger aperture would have the advantage. The ED glass of the Nikon would NOT make up for the much bigger aperture of the Kowa. My personal preference would be for the Nikon because I think in most situations it would be bright enough and I like the 22 oz. weight.
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Old Saturday 4th May 2019, 15:14   #3
John Frink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkbj View Post
Which one would you choose?
Hi Niels,

I have not tried the Kowa 12x50, but I did have the Nikon 12x42 for a while, and I thought the view was a very good value considering the price. It is very compact, and very light weight for a 42 (605 gm).

I hope this helps,

John
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Old Saturday 4th May 2019, 15:39   #4
RobMorane
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You should always try before buying, it had to be said
But I can very well imagine that you can't find 12x Binos at your local shop.

I would personnaly go for the Kowa SV.
The SV serie from Kowa received good reviews, some of them saying they provide an optical quality superior to what's found in their price range.

About the weight, it's an interesting question.
At 12x, it's interesting to check if the Binos are well balanced. I shaked more with 15x56 Conquest than with the Swaro SLC.
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Old Sunday 5th May 2019, 07:51   #5
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Thanks for all your input. I expect to use these binoculars only in daylight and like the smaller size and weight, so I have ordered the Nikon from a vendor with a good return policy.

Niels Kristian

Last edited by nkbj : Sunday 5th May 2019 at 08:22.
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 03:22   #6
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I had to return the Nikon. I wear glasses and the eye relief was just a little to short for me. The Kowa also has a eye relief under 16 mm, so now I am looking at the Vortex Viper HD II 12x50. Are there other options in 12x roof prism binoculars?

Niels Kristian
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 06:22   #7
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The Vortex Viper HD II 12x50 is a very good choice and it has very good optics. I had one for awhile and it has 16mm of eye relief. It is difficult to find a 12x50 with 16mm or more eye relief. If you want the best 12x50 it would probably be the Swarovski SV 12x50 and I would highly recommend it. It has 19mm of eye relief. But it might be over your budget because it is way over the price of your first two binocular choices. Do you have to have a 12x50? I believe there are more 10x50's or 10x42's to choose from which might have 16mm of eye relief or more in your price range. For example, the Nikon Prostaff 5 in a 10x50 has 19.6mm of eye relief and a much bigger FOV than any of the 12x50's you were looking at and is priced in your price range $196.95 at B&H and your original choice the Nikon Monarch in a 10x42 has 18.6mm of eye relief and is $296.95.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...BI%3A514&smp=Y

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...monarch_5.html

Last edited by [email protected] : Thursday 9th May 2019 at 06:36.
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 07:04   #8
nkbj
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I have tried various 10x42 and 10x50 binoculars, but I do not think the difference in magnification is big enough compared to my 8x32. I will go for the Vortex Viper HD 12x50 since the Swarovski over my current budget.

Niels Kristian
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 14:40   #9
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I have tried various 10x42 and 10x50 binoculars, but I do not think the difference in magnification is big enough compared to my 8x32. I will go for the Vortex Viper HD 12x50 since the Swarovski over my current budget.

Niels Kristian
The Viper is a good choice. I had one and in your price range it is one of the best 12x50's around. The Vortex's are MIC now so check it out good when you get it. Mine was fine but there have been reports of shoddy QA. Vortex has an Unconditional Warranty also so even if you drop it off a cliff they will replace it. Hunter's love them for that!
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Old Friday 17th May 2019, 03:40   #10
nkbj
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The Viper is a good choice. I had one and in your price range it is one of the best 12x50's around. The Vortex's are MIC now so check it out good when you get it. Mine was fine but there have been reports of shoddy QA. Vortex has an Unconditional Warranty also so even if you drop it off a cliff they will replace it. Hunter's love them for that!
I have got the Viper HD now and it is indeed a nice piece of glass. A good clear view with only a trace of CA and sharp almost to the edges. The focus is a little stiffer than on my Zeiss but evenly so throughout.

It says "Assy. in Philippines" on the binoculars so I guess they are not all Made in China. The components might be though.

Niels Kristian
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