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Dead-set on the MHG 10x42 - am I getting tunnel vision? (1 Viewer)

Arthur Red Rod

Well-known member
Hello everyone,

Arthur here. First, I apologize if this thread belongs in a different section - I could not find a sub-forum dedicated specifically to binocular recommendations and frankly, I would really love to hear from the Nikon fans about this issue.

About 3 weeks ago, I decided to go against the nagging thought in my head and splurge on a pair of quality, modern roof binoculars with central focusing to use for the purposes of birding and terrestrial observation. Admittedly, I am somewhat of a philistine when it comes to binoculars and have been satisfied so far with a steady diet of military-inspired porros, such as the Fujinon FMTR-SX 7x50 (my darling) and a pair of glazed over DF 7x40's.

After much Internet research, I decided on the Monarch HG 10x42 for several reasons, the most important of which being cost-effectiveness. The apparent field of view made such an impression on me in the store that I developed a strong bias towards it. Granted, I've never had a bino with even a moderate AFOV by birding standards, but I still remember the moment daily.

The other reason would be the class-leading (?) low weight - this is quite important to me, as I will be carrying a throwaway Steiner 8x30 on my neck most of the time and only pulling out more expensive ones for stationary use. Overall, I need this bino to be "good enough" for birding, but also long-distance viewing of terrain on a tripod. Again, the wide FOV really enhances the latter function for me and my current stable of 7x and x doesn't cut it.

Should I be looking at other options, or have I found my new partner?

Many thanks,

Arthur
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Welcome aboard Arthur,

Far from having tunnel vision I think you'd be getting a nice AFov !

I quite like the MHG personally - it's quite well constructed, great ergonomics, nice light weight, bright, and great AFov.

If I didn't already have my existing bin first (Zen-Ray ED3), then the MHG is the bin I would have.

If I could wish for one thing with this bin, it would be more sharpness - not to say that it is unsharp, more that it is just average sharp. As sharp as most bins on the market. No danger of cutting your eyeballs. I find the Zeiss SF noticeably sharper, but then it's also 2&1/2 times the price ! It would want to be !

I think the MHG is a fine bin, and good value for money. I certainly wouldn't choose any of it's peers over it.

One final caveat - the Swarovski SLC has just been discontinued, and you might be able to pick up a deal on new stock for not too much more. It's quite a lot heavier, but a quality instrument, and it also gets you into the famous Swarovski service fold. Something to consider if the extra weight and folding is not an issue.

Otherwise enjoy the MHG ! :D







Chosun :gh:
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
I don't know about what else competes against the MHG 10x42s (weight, price, comfort, optics, etc) but I can't imagine regretting buying them. The 8x42 version of these are my primary bin for awhile now and I flat love them.

You'll get lots of other recommendations I'm sure but the differences, optically, will be subtle so if you like the weight and ergos of the MHGs I really can't see how you can go wrong.

BTW, those Fujinon FMTR-SX 7x50s are a spectacular pair of bins, generally. As if you need me to tell you :t:
Not much of a birding bin though.

Cheers
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

first of all, welcome to birdforum!

The MHG is certainly a strong contender not only in its class but also often compared with alpha pairs. The usual gripe some reviewers have is a bit of CA on the edge of the field. Otherwise it does a lot of things right and also manages to correct its huge field fairly well.

But of course, you are a bit spoiled from your fmtr-sx - which is the de-facto standard for astro for a reason.

Joachim
 

Arthur Red Rod

Well-known member
Thank you all for the wonderful advice. Chosun and Kevin, I was lurker for a number of years before making an account and I must admit, it was your positive reviews that made me consider the HG in the first place ;)

I heard something through the grapevine about the SLC line being discontinued, but I did not realize it was so soon. The precision and image fidelity of Swarovski optics is something I can certainly appreciate, but at the moment I can only justify such cost in some Kahles riflescopes. 3:)

Since my biggest selling point is the moderately well-corrected wide field of the Nikon, I think I may stick with it per your recommendations. My only concern is I will have to shell out a lot more for a Euro alpha with the a comparable FOV if I ever decide to upgrade!
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
If you want the combination of light weight and wide FOV in a 10x binocular with good glass, there's really only two current models that meet the criteria: the Monarch HG and the Vortex Razor HD.

The Monarch HG has a slightly wider FOV (the spec is the same but the Vortex measures a bit less) and slightly higher transmission especially in the red range so they will probably be a bit warmer and more contrasty. The Razor HD will have less CA (color fringing) and a similar sized sweet spot (the FOV is a bit smaller but the % that's sharp is a bit larger).

If you can find a used "made in Japan" version of the Razor HD for a good price I'd consider it. The ironclad Vortex warranty could come in handy if the binoculars take a tumble when you pull them out of the pack on one of your hikes :)

But, warranty aside, I think most would agree the MHG is a slightly better binocular overall.

Either way you can't go wrong!

As a side option, if you don't need low light performance you could consider a 10x32/33 model. They will be even lighter -- as an example, the Kowa Genesis 10x33 is on sale right now for $799. The Genesis are superbly sharp and bright with a wide FOV and outstanding control of CA.... although not a huge sweet spot, the brightness and lack of color fringing and terrific "micro contrast" makes them VERY sharp on axis when viewing at a distance. And they are just under 600g / 21oz when "naked", which is 3oz lighter than the Monarch HG 10x42. In good light they will be as bright (or brighter) than the MHG and perhaps even sharper on axis at long distance.
 

dries1

Member
I would go with the Nikon MHG 10X42, many talk about the lack of resolution of the MHG models, IMHO they have improved over time since their inception (I own two models an earlier, and later version of the 8X42). Surprisingly they are also very durable, I can testify to that myself. Additionally one of the earlier posts on the MHG was from a guide in Africa who used them in some very rugged environments. Many birders and hunters have them and are very satisfied with them. Just one thing though, if you want the warranty service you will have to buy a new one.

Andy W.
 

Arthur Red Rod

Well-known member
I would go with the Nikon MHG 10X42, many talk about the lack of resolution of the MHG models, IMHO they have improved over time since their inception (I own two models an earlier, and later version of the 8X42). Surprisingly they are also very durable, I can testify to that myself. Additionally one of the earlier posts on the MHG was from a guide in Africa who used them in some very rugged environments. Many birders and hunters have them and are very satisfied with them. Just one thing though, if you want the warranty service you will have to buy a new one.

Andy W.

That is exceptional, Andy - thank you. Durability in the field was one of the reservations I had about this optic, but with your approval, I think I will buy with confidence. :t:
 

Arthur Red Rod

Well-known member
So, I picked up the 10x42 MHG today and spent about an hour with it in the parking lot. Views were exceptional by my standards and the AllBinos review seemed to be accurate. However, I noticed I was getting significant blackouts and kidney beaning if I my pupils were not placed in a fairly generous sweet spot.

Perhaps this is me just getting used to high-tech roofs after a lifetime of generous porros, but it has me worried about the 8x30 MHG I have on order from Nikon through the same dealer. Do you think I will be hindered at all in the rugged outdoors, or is this more of a training issue?
 

Ries

Well-known member
I totally don't find that with my 8x42, less than with f.i. the Meopta 10x42 which I used before that with less eye relief. Maybe your eyes need a specific eyepiece setting? Try experiment with that. Eyecup design is different in bins, maybe these need some getting used to. I don't know about eye relief and eyecups on the 8x32, sometimes they differ or are the same. Hope you ordered with a good return policy? Any chance to try it?
 

mpeace

Well-known member
Hi Arthur, I have the 8x30 MHG and at first noticed fiddly eye placement, but partly this was because it had been mentioned a fair bit on this forum, so I think I was looking for it. Now though and when out in the field I have no problem with eye placement and don't ever think about it. I think it's about getting used to the bins. So I wouldn't worry and try them out in the field watching birds rather than at home testing the optics. The low weight, sharp optics, super brightness and fantastic field of view are the things to focus on. I hope they work out for you.
 

kevin-h74

Member
I too have recently purchased the 10x42 Monarch HGs. I am extremely happy with the image, but also have some difficulty with eye placement.
I have only ever used one Porro design binocular and am sure it is just a question of adjusting to the new binoculars.
 

Borjam

Registered User
Supporter
I have upgraded from the Monarch 5 8x42 to the Monarch HG 8x42 and eye placement is much easier on the HG.

But I imagine it's more critical on the 10x.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I am pleased to see you guys have purchased the Nikon Monarch HG. I think some advice will
help you to get the best view. The first 2 things that are most important are the IPD, "interpupillary distance",
that means fine tuning the hinge to your eyes. The next thing to set is the eyecups to your eyes, whether
you where eyeglasses or not, they need the proper set. Also the diopter needs setting, first set the focus
on a distant object with the focuser, your left eye, the relax, and set the diopter to your right eye, to make things perfect.
It takes a while to get used to your new binocular, so get to know it, you will enjoy the result.

Jerry
 

Arthur Red Rod

Well-known member
Hello everyone,

I am so pleased to be back home and in a position to do a short write-up on my impressions of the Monarch HG 10x42. First, I want to say thank you so much for the advice and positive messages from everyone. I had a hell of a week - possibly the most physically unpleasant in recent memory - but I also got tremendous opportunities to flex the optics of these bins.

Basically, I had planned a trip to a "self-sustainable" commune in an isolated area in Northern BC upon the invitation of an old friend I had not heard from in years. Unbeknownst to me, the commune was essentially a pseudo-cult exploiting the people there for free labour, so I escaped within 24 hours. That is an entirely different story of fear, existential angst, and catharsis, but it is neither here nor there. Luckily, I had also planned many stops in BC's fantastic nature reserves, so the MHG had plenty of room to stretch.

First, the aforementioned eye placement issue was immediately fixed by adjusting the eyecups all the way out. Upon inspection, I noticed that this was because I place the binos closer to my eyes than most people. In fact, I positively jam them in there until they are causing a near-uncomfortable amount of pressure on my orbital bones. I think I did this instinctively since I started binning in order to stabilize the binos and I hope it doesn't cause any medical issues in the future (Steve Buscemeyes?).

Second, the high apparent FOV has permanently spoiled me. Perhaps I am being arrogant, but I do not think I can ever purchase binos for nature observation that don't come close to the MHG's FOV. I think it would have to take a massive improvement in image quality for it to be worth it to me. The high FOV seemed like a novelty at first, but my God - it makes nature into an IMAX movie experience. There were three viewing sessions with the MHG's during which I completely lost track of time and just spent hours staring at a single tree. At every moment, I felt like I could reach out and touch what was in front of me. In fact, looking at insects was quite jarring, as they seemed so large and life-like. The best analogy I could offer for the MHG viewing experience is BBC's Planet Earth series, except you can make it about whatever you want. I think this also demonstrates the importance of "what" you look at - the parking lot could have never offered experiences like this.

Finally, the ergonomics are just wonderful. The simple thumb cut-outs offer a wide range of gripping options compared to those awkward egg-shaped cutouts in other bins, and the size of the tubes is just right. The diameter and length make them feel so natural in my hand, while the pebble texture is reminiscent of a fine leather surface that just oozes a feeling of old-school quality. I'm sure the hard, composite materials in other bins are more durable, but they make the bin feel more like a heavy-duty appliance. The focus wheel has just the right amount of friction and width for my fingers, though I don't have another high-quality roof to serve as a comparison. The diopter adjustment and locking mechanism worked fine and nothing was of particular note.
The eyecup adjustments lock into place solidly and inspire confidence.

All in all, this purchase exceeded my expectations and I see myself using these indefinitely. Funny enough, the exceptional performance of the MHG's during my trip convinced me to cancel my order for the MHG 8x30's. I just could not see myself being happy with slightly inferior optics, poorer low-light performance, and more fickle eye placement after my wonderful experience with the larger form. Moreover, I was just not convinced that the MHG's in any size could handle the serious abuse and wear my clumsy self would inevitably subject it to (e.g., falling off the car roof as I drive away - happened to the FMTR's I brought).

The x42's were never bought to be used while walking, so this was not a problem, but I needed smaller bins for mobile use. I also predicted that the central focusing would be a problem, as the whole point of the smaller set-up is to have something that always gives a useable image under quick, even stressed raises to the eye. Thus, I took a complete left field and returned to what I know best - virtually indestructible military porros with individual focusing and wide depths of field. I had my eyes on a selection of Hensoldt-refurbished, clean pair of Fero D-16's for about a year, so I decided to go with those. The low AFOV is a disappointment, but these will strictly be for quick glassing with my specs on while rumping through the woods, so durability, ease-of-use, eye-relief and low light performance were of more importance. Of course, I opted for the custom version with the IR filter and reticle removed.

Another point of concern with the 8x30 MHG's was the possibility of not being able to get them repaired down the road, much like the previous Premier series. My dealer had also told me that they were no longer able to order them from Nikon, as they were soon-to-be discontinued. I have no idea if this is true, so any further information would be appreciated.

In conclusion, it was a really rough week, but I am glad I now have a fairly competent stable of professional-grade binoculars optimized for my purposes.

1) MHG 10x42 for general birding, nature observation and long-distance viewing;

2) 7x50 FMTR-SX for marine and low-light use (also great in the car because you can just let it tumble around the floor and not care about proper storage);

3) 8x30 Fero-D16 for "off-the-neck" glassing in hard-use applications - also just looks really cool.

Cheers,

Arthur
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Amazing. I think this is the first binocular review that included an escape from a remote cult commune.

Congrats on the catharsis and finding new bins you love!
 

Ries

Well-known member
You cracked me up with the staring at a tree for hours haha. Congrats on your satisfactory outcome, and thanks for the early morning laugh, and enjoyable review I think voices many other mhg owner's experiences with it, like mine. :)
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Amazing. I think this is the first binocular review that included an escape from a remote cult commune.

A remote cult commune? Sounds a bit like all of us on Birdforum :-O

A very nice review with a happy beginning and a happy ending.

Lee
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Indeed, glad you are enjoying. Nikon potentially discontinuing the x30 MHGs is interesting. I wonder if they're not selling well, if a new model might be on the horizon, or if this is worth considering as additional evidence of Nikon just quietly exiting the mid/upper tiers of the binocular market?
 

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