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Best 8x Bino’s for the money (1 Viewer)

Personally, I haven't seen a MIC MHG. Has anyone personally seen one?
I’ll look. It up again, but that is everything I have read including personal inquiries to Nikon.themselves and they have said we won’t tell you where it’s made , but it’s not Japan. So it makes you 🤔🤷🏻‍♂️
 
At some point we all reach saturation with what can be gleaned from the observations and impressions of others. When that happens there just is no substitute for actually handling and viewing through a few of the top candidates. Even though they are all first-rate, the top binocular brands all offer their own blend of features, handling and image characteristics. The viewing experience through a Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski, etc will all be markedly different and only you can decide likes and dislikes. You also didn’t mention what they’d be used for and in what kind of environment.

You mentioned wanting to know the difference between the SF and SFL. Yes, the SFs offer a smidge crisper view and have a smoother focus mechanism than the SFL. The SFs are notably larger but very well balanced and feel light in the hand. However, the SFL is no slouch. I love its very easy and beautifully colored view and they are much more compact and lighter than the SFs. The 8x40 SFL is my go-to glass for the woods. The Kowa 8.5x44 offers very crisp views but to me they are a bit bulky and heavy with tight eye relief. I also own a 42mm NL Pure and many other binoculars that I enjoy very much.

As others have already said, an SF, SFL, Noctivid, or NL Pure would likely offer a lifetime of contented viewing pleasure. An important point to remember is there is no such thing as the “perfect binocular,” they are all a compromise of features, components and function to varying degrees.
That being said, just buy a Swarovski NL 8x32 and be done with it.😁
 
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The more I use mid-priced binoculars($700 to $1000), the more I wonder why one needs anything else? It's still hard to beat a Monarch HG, or a Conquest HD, or a Kowa Genesis, or lately an Opticron Aurora. I've mostly used a Monarch HG, Genesis, or Aurora all Spring. Premium optics just aren't necessary for birding. It''s actually kind of eye-opening that those binoculars are as good as they are. I'll admit to having expensive taste, and that's okay. But I can tell you there has never been a bird I couldn't ID with one of the above that I COULD ID with one of the alphas. And not JUST ID a bird...these binoculars have a view that can only be bettered by something at least 2-3X more expensive.

SOMEONE has to play devil's advocate!
Once I compared a Conquest HD 8x32, a Nikon MHG 8x42, a Canon 12x36 IS III to a Swarovski NL 8x32 just looking at a Robin on a summer day. Not in any way a rare species, but nonetheless an interesting and beautiful bird to observe. I observed him first with the NL and was struck with how gorgeous his red breast was against his gray plumage and how sparkling his dark eyes were reflected in the sun poking in the grass looking for dinner. It felt like I was sitting next to him. And then I tried the other binoculars.

The Conquest HD 8x32 and the Nikon MHG 8x42 gave a good view of the bird, but it wasn't quite the same as the NL. The colors weren't as vibrant, and I noticed more CA around the Robin, even as close up as he was. Then I tried the Canon 12x36 IS III and even though the bird was now much closer, and I could see more detail again the colors were more subdued and there was not near the contrast in colors as there were in the NL.

The bird was just not as "real". In the NL because of its transparency the Robin was magically transported closer to you instead of the feeling that you were looking through a series of lenses. Alpha's are more transparent because of better quality glass and better coatings, and that is what makes them different.

The Canon 12x36 IS III also showed a lot more CA than the other binoculars. I just did not enjoy watching the Robin as much in the lesser binoculars. If you just want to ID a bird, sure a Nikon MHG or Zeiss Conquest HD or Canon 12x36 IS III will ID them, but it not as enjoyable to observe the bird. That is what good optics are about. They give the best possible view of the bird you can get. That is when I decided I am only carrying alphas. I have an NL 8x32 and an SF 10x32 now and that is it. It was a revelation.
 
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I’ll look. It up again, but that is everything I have read including personal inquiries to Nikon.themselves and they have said we won’t tell you where it’s made , but it’s not Japan. So it makes you 🤔🤷🏻‍♂️
I can say for sure...the Monarch HG 8X42 and 8X30 I have are made in Japan. I have read here that they were going to be the last of the MIJ binoculars for Nikon. IDK if that is a fact or not.
 
Personally, I haven't seen a MIC MHG. Has anyone personally seen one?
That is because there isn't one. The Nikon MHG 8x42 binocular is Made in Japan and always has been. I don't know where that rumor started about them being Made in China, but it is false. I emailed Nikon and asked them where the Nikon MHG was made, and this was their email response.

You have a new message.
Hi Dennis!
Thank you for contacting Nikon.

In response to your email question, Monarch HG 8x42, The binocular is made in Japan. I am also including a link that does provide additional information on the optic: nikon.com/company/news/2016/0714_monarch_hg_01.html#:~:text=MONARCH%20HG%20%binoculars%20are%20made,finest%20performance%20among%20MONARCH%20models.

If you have any more questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or contact us at 1-800-645-6687. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9am-8pm EST.

Sincerely,
William H.
Customer Service Representative
 
To the question "what the best value in 8x" I would answer Nikon EDG 8x42. The dollar/yen exchange rate just hit an all-time record last week. I just checked Kyoie Osaka yesterday - right now I could buy a 7x42 EDG and get it air-shipped to the States for around $1300. That is a phenomenal deal. the 8x should be $1400 or less.

I was just outside yesterday morning, comparing my 8x42 EDG to my Zeiss SF 8x42 and trying to decide which one I liked better. I came back in, and I'm still undecided. The SF price is currently $3,000. So that should answer your question. the EDG are premium/alpha binos for less than half the price.
 
That is because there isn't one. The Nikon MHG 8x42 binocular is Made in Japan and always has been. I don't know where that rumor started about them being Made in China, but it is false. I emailed Nikon and asked them where the Nikon MHG was made, and this was their email response.

You have a new message.
Hi Dennis!
Thank you for contacting Nikon.

In response to your email question, Monarch HG 8x42, The binocular is made in Japan. I am also including a link that does provide additional information on the optic: nikon.com/company/news/2016/0714_monarch_hg_01.html#:~:text=MONARCH%20HG%20%binoculars%20are%20made,finest%20performance%20among%20MONARCH%20models.

If you have any more questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or contact us at 1-800-645-6687. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9am-8pm EST.

Sincerely,
William H.
Customer Service Representative
Dennis,

I'm going to give you an "A" for today! That's exactly what I thought!
 
To the question "what the best value in 8x" I would answer Nikon EDG 8x42. The dollar/yen exchange rate just hit an all-time record last week. I just checked Kyoie Osaka yesterday - right now I could buy a 7x42 EDG and get it air-shipped to the States for around $1300. That is a phenomenal deal. the 8x should be $1400 or less.

I was just outside yesterday morning, comparing my 8x42 EDG to my Zeiss SF 8x42 and trying to decide which one I liked better. I came back in, and I'm still undecided. The SF price is currently $3,000. So that should answer your question. the EDG are premium/alpha binos for less than half the price.
BUT without that huge FOV that the Zeiss SF 8x42 has. If you like a huge FOV, the SF and NL are where it's at, Jack! I always preferred the EL 8x32 over the EDG 8x32 also because it is smaller, has a bigger FOV, it is brighter, more color neutral and has sharper edges. Also, Swarovski still supports the EL, whereas, Nikon does not support the EDG anymore and has no replacement parts to fix it. If you break it, they send you an MHG. You basically have an orphan.
 
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That being said, just buy a Swarovski NL 8x32 and be done with it.😁
Why? That’s misses the entire point of my previous post. The OP would be best served through actual experience and determining his own likes and preferences. Your suggestion of an 8x32NL is certainly not what I chose (or would choose) for my own stable of optics (and I prefer 40-42mm for my primary glass).

The “buy once, cry once” is a proven path. But even then it is best to know if an NL, SF or Noctivid (and which configuration) best suits one’s tastes and preferences prior to dropping that kind of $.

Chuck and others also point out solid options - I cannot image a better value than Zeiss Conquest HD as they are currently on sale for under $800. One can purchase both an 8x32HD and an 8x42 Nikon EDG / 8x40 SFL (or many others) for less than the price of the one 8x32NL.
 
Why? That’s misses the entire point of my previous post. The OP would be best served through actual experience and determining his own likes and preferences. Your suggestion of an 8x32NL is certainly not what I chose (or would choose) for my own stable of optics (and I prefer 40-42mm for my primary glass).

The “buy once, cry once” is a proven path. But even then it is best to know if an NL, SF or Noctivid (and which configuration) best suits one’s tastes and preferences prior to dropping that kind of $.

Chuck and others also point out solid options - I cannot image a better value than Zeiss Conquest HD as they are currently on sale for under $800. One can purchase both an 8x32HD and an 8x42 Nikon EDG / 8x40 SFL (or many others) for less than the price of the one 8x32NL.
Yes, but neither the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32, Nikon EDG 8x42 or SFL 8x40 gives me the big FOV of the NL 8x32. Why not have one alpha binocular that gives you the best view instead of a bunch of binoculars that aren't quite as good. Sure if you tried them all personally, and you like the Conquest HD, EDG or SFL better than the NL that is fine, but I have tried those three, and I prefer the view through the NL, so I would rather have just one binocular. Following your reasoning, you would better off getting 6 Nikon M7's instead of an NL for the same price, but they are not as good.

It is about quality, not quantity. That is where I had the revelation. I used to have a big collection of binoculars, and I just decided to pair it down to two of my favorites. Right now that is the NL 8x32 and the SF 10x32. Preferring a 42mm over a 32mm depends upon how and when you bird. If you bird mostly in the daytime, you don't lose anything with a 32mm, and they are lighter and smaller. I think for most birders, the 8x32 is the best choice.
 
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Nikon HG in 8x42 or 8x30 are looking like a great value play. Can be had for around $700USD with some deal seeking.
The HG market is incredibly soft now. I just sold a pair of 8x30s for $550 and it took awhile to just get that! They’re a bargain at full price. I love my 42s but the eyecups on the 30s were too short and I got blackouts. A real shame as the optics were awesome. Most people won’t have that problem as I bury the eyepieces into my eye sockets and most others don’t.
 
There’s also a new pair of Conquest 8x42s on Rokslide now for $700. Zeiss is also running a $200 off special now so they can be had from a dealer for $799!
 
Hi Dennis, I’m not questioning your personal preferences or how you arrived at them. Just stating that a number of other experienced users here don’t necessarily share your conclusion that the 8x32NL is the best birding binocular to buy (bit of a bold declaration). To that end, when someone asks for a binocular recommendation my first questions will be about the primary purpose and environment it will be used in. For example, I currently own both NL and SF 42mms. Which one I’ll reach for on a given day will vary with the task at hand. If on a tripod, slowing picking apart a distant landscape or for astronomy I’d certainly reach for the NL. If viewing waterfowl, waders or searching for warblers on a bright, sunny day, I’d reach for my SFs.

On another note if one is finding the HD 8x32, EDG 8x42 or SFL 8x40 in any way inadequate as a birding binocular you are working pretty hard. I currently own two of those and find they provide a consistently splendid birding experience. Will my 42mm SLC provide a crisper, more deeply saturated and CA free image than my HD 8x32? Yes, in some environments it will. However, my HD 8x32’s sharp view and incredibly quick focus will help me ID warblers that using the SLC would simply miss.
 
Ok, so here is a new one for you all, continuing deeper within this Topic. SF 8x32 or NL Pure 8x32? Just comparing those two none others.
Personally not a fan of a 32mm as a main glass. To that end, I’m a huge fan of the 42mm SF / 40mm SFL and enjoy the 42mm NL but not the 32mm SF. I tried them out and just did not find the same easy view as from the 42mm and also experienced considerable blackouts. Other well-experienced birders on this forum love them. Again, although the NL and SF lines are both exceptional which specific configurations within those products lines will suit you best is ????????
 
The HG market is incredibly soft now. I just sold a pair of 8x30s for $550 and it took awhile to just get that! They’re a bargain at full price. I love my 42s but the eyecups on the 30s were too short and I got blackouts. A real shame as the optics were awesome. Most people won’t have that problem as I bury the eyepieces into my eye sockets and most others don’t.
I had the same problem with the HG 8x30's. It is a very common problem with those. The eye cups are too short for the ER. It all depends on how the diameter and depth of your eye sockets.
 
Personally not a fan of a 32mm as a main glass. To that end, I’m a huge fan of the 42mm SF / 40mm SFL and enjoy the 42mm NL but not the 32mm SF. I tried them out and just did not find the same easy view as from the 42mm and also experienced considerable blackouts. Other well-experienced birders on this forum love them. Again, although the NL and SF lines are both exceptional which specific configurations within those products lines will suit you best is ????????
I find the alpha 32mm's to be better, as far as, eye placement compared to less expensive 32mm's. The SF and NL 32mm give me about the same eye placement comfort as any of the 42mm's. They seem to have a bigger eye box.
 
Hi Dennis, I’m not questioning your personal preferences or how you arrived at them. Just stating that a number of other experienced users here don’t necessarily share your conclusion that the 8x32NL is the best birding binocular to buy (bit of a bold declaration). To that end, when someone asks for a binocular recommendation my first questions will be about the primary purpose and environment it will be used in. For example, I currently own both NL and SF 42mms. Which one I’ll reach for on a given day will vary with the task at hand. If on a tripod, slowing picking apart a distant landscape or for astronomy I’d certainly reach for the NL. If viewing waterfowl, waders or searching for warblers on a bright, sunny day, I’d reach for my SFs.

On another note if one is finding the HD 8x32, EDG 8x42 or SFL 8x40 in any way inadequate as a birding binocular you are working pretty hard. I currently own two of those and find they provide a consistently splendid birding experience. Will my 42mm SLC provide a crisper, more deeply saturated and CA free image than my HD 8x32? Yes, in some environments it will. However, my HD 8x32’s sharp view and incredibly quick focus will help me ID warblers that using the SLC would simply miss.
I agree that choosing a binocular should be based on personal preference and usage. I am not talking about astronomy or distant landscapes. Likewise, I have the Zeiss SF 10x32 SF for more distant birding and the NL 8x32 for close in birding. The HD 8x32, EDG 8x42 and SFL 8x40 are not inadequate for birding, they are just not quite as good optically as the SF or NL. They might have advantages in handling and focus speed as you say, but the NL and SF will consistently beat them in the sheer quality of the view and that is what is most important to me.

I have compared the HD 8x32, EDG 8x42 and SFL 8x40 to the NL and SF closely when looking at a bird and I prefer the view through them more. I enjoy the bigger FOV, sharper edges and the more transparent view. There is not a huge difference between a sub alpha and an alpha, but there is a difference, and I immediately notice it and appreciate it. When I go from a Zeiss Conquest HD to an SF for me there is no comparison. The SF is unquestionably better, and it should be at 2x the price. Of course, I have had a lot of binoculars, so I am pretty picky!
 

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