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Looking for mid-range 8x32s (1 Viewer)

Bob_McBob

Well-known member
The package finally arrived! Upon first impression the Monarch 7 feels significantly smaller and lighter than I was expecting based on the specifications. It's not a "pocket" binocular, but it's extremely unobtrusive compared to even a relatively lightweight and small 8x42 like the Viper HD, and would easily slip under a coat or into a large coat pocket. The size difference doesn't really come through effectively even seeing photos of my own binoculars side by side. The barrels on the M7 are tiny by comparison.

In terms of handling, I can appreciate why many people seem to consider the 8x30 class the smallest "real" binoculars. They're certainly more fiddly to use than my 8x42, but they're still extremely capable. Like previous Monarchs I've tried, the rubber armour has a bit of a "rubbery" odour, and the eyepiece cover sucks, to put it mildly. One other potentially important detail I noticed was after sitting in a cold delivery vehicle, the focus knob was so stiff it was essentially impossible to adjust with one finger without altering the IPD. This could obviously become an issue in Canada.

Optically, eye positioning is somewhat challenging in bright daylight. I don't wear glasses, and the eye cups aren't quite long enough, which means I have to either hold them slightly away from my face or carefully position the edge on the underside of my eye ridge. This means I don't get very effective shading from stray light, and I'm also fighting blackouts. I noticed distortion begins much closer to the middle of the field than any other binocular I've tried, which I later discovered is reflected in the Allbinos review that estimates only 46% of the field is distortion-free. I would say the view otherwise is... pretty okay. It's sharp enough, though I wouldn't say details jump out at me or anything like that. The baffling isn't great, and I haven't had an opportunity to test flare resistance yet. There is significant field curvature which is to be expected, and it does seem to lose contrast near the edges.

I was able to try the M7 "in the field" today (aka sitting by a river with the dog), and it made me realize pretty quickly I need a pair of binoculars this size. They are so easy to carry around I wouldn't think twice about taking them nearly anywhere, and I know having a pair like this will result in me using them significantly more often.

So overall, I would say the M7 isn't the right choice, but trying them certainly was. Would any of the other models on my list improve on the short eye cup issue? I don't have much to go on other than claimed eye relief. I'd also be quite interested to see the Kowa 8x32 or 6.5x32 beside any of the other models to get a feel for the size.
 

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jring

Well-known member
Hi,

sorry to hear you didn't like the M7. Just to make sure, since the eyecups are not extended in your picture - you did turn them all the way up, right?

As for eye relief, what you describe is too much eye relief, so the bins need to be farther away from the eyes and the eyecups are too short. This is a very uncommon problem with this model with its 15mm ER. But of course this also depends a lot on the users facial physiognomy...

As for eyepiece covers, there seems to be a conspiracy among manufacturers to only supply ill fitting and fiddly examples...
I tend to get loose fitting zeiss style rubber ones for my pairs which are attached to the strap on both sides and more or less just lie on the eyepieces and fall off to hang on the strap when you take the bins to your eyes...

If the grease of the focus drive was really frozen solid after a night out, that would be a bummer, but of course can happen with any pair if it gets cold enough... the question is, what was the temperature when it happened?

Joachim
 

Steve C

Well-known member
The Maven B 3 and the Opticron Traveller ED both have screw off eye cup assemblies. A proper sized O-ring can be used to extend the eye cup. For whatever reason the complaints if poor eye cup extension seem to be more prevalent with 30-32 mm class binoculars. That might be a thing to consider specifically as you search, even if it requires a phone call to the company. I don't recall if that applies to the Monarch 7 you have, but since it is in hand I'd check.

jring's first sentence is may be obvious, but obvious things are all too often overlooked.
 
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wdc

Well-known member
I agree with Steve and Jring. Check and be sure on the M7, and then try some others. Both the Maven and Opticron may work better for you, in terms of the eye relief/eyecup issue. Its good to try them for yourself exactly as you are doing to realize how important these sorts of ergonomic/fit issues are on a case by case basis.
You're on the right track. Keep going!

-Bill
 

Bob_McBob

Well-known member
Whoops, meant to post this earlier but forgot to hit submit:

Thank you for asking since it would certainly have been an easy solution, but yes I do realize the eye cups need to be extended |:p|

I spent a really long time researching on the forum before posting this thread, and I came across multiple mentions of non-glasses wearers having the same issue with this class of binocular, though I don't recall which specific models. I think it must have to do with the smaller eye cup diameter leading to them sitting too deep in the eye sockets? The M7 eye cups are about 3mm lower diameter than my 8x42s and have ~3mm less extension from the surface of the eyepiece glass. Basically I can't comfortably cram them into my eye sockets for stability without increasing blackouts to annoying levels under bright lighting conditions.

With respect to the frozen focus knob, temperatures the previous night were only a touch below freezing, so nothing particularly crazy. The low tonight is -19°C! I also didn't notice any issues using them outside for an hour, so it may be that I would have to avoid storing them in freezing conditions.

Please don't get me wrong about the M7. Despite the issues I would probably keep them if there weren't any alternatives because I love the size. I was really pleased to discover they fit in my coat pocket today! I just feel like one of the other models on my list would probably work better. For example, the Maven B3 appears to have larger diameter eye cups from side-by-side photos, though I have no idea how much extension they provide since that's not a normal manufacturer spec. They also have removable eye cups that can take an o-ring unlike the M7 (I tried reverse threading the eye cups off several brand new M5 and M7 binoculars last year with no success).
 

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jring

Well-known member
Hi,

no offense meant by asking for eyecup extension... we just get people with all levels of knowledge asking questions in here...

The model which had the most feedback for too much ER was the Zeiss Conquest HD in 8x42. It is loved by wearers of bulky glasses with 18mm ER but the eyecups were just too short for most users without glasses. Zeiss still delivers free longer eyecups on request...

I think in your case it's more a matter of too slim eyecups which completely vanish inside large eyesockets... and I'm not sure if any of the siblings of the M7 from Kite, Opticron or Maven will change a lot.

I'd give the Kowa a try, either in 8 or 6.5x... in the forum post below it looks like it has quite a bit wider eyecups...

https://forum.optyczne.pl/viewtopic.php?p=531862

Joachim
 

Royfinn

Well-known member
Whoops, meant to post this earlier but forgot to hit submit:

With respect to the frozen focus knob, temperatures the previous night were only a touch below freezing, so nothing particularly crazy. The low tonight is -19°C! I also didn't notice any issues using them outside for an hour, so it may be that I would have to avoid storing them in freezing conditions.
My M7 focus knob also freezes under -5 C (or so) and becames a burden to move... :-C

I keep my eyecups non-extended and they have just right eye relief, when I put them on to my eybrows. I prefer that kind of tehnique instead of putting the binos to my eye sockets.
 

Steve C

Well-known member
For comparison to your M 7 the B3 has an upper eye cup diameter on 40 mm. The eye cup extends upward 10mm there is 4mm between the lens and upper eye cup retracted. The Traveller has an upper eye cup of 39 mm. The upward extension travel is 8mm. The distance from the lens eo upper eye cup is also 4mm. Each appear to offer the possibility of 4-5 mm added extension using O-rings.

It would be hard to imagine worse, way too tight eye cup covers than found on the Traveller, there is a suction lock with them on. The B3 are just right. Should not be a deal breaker since after market accessories are available. For a nice light harness get a Rick Young outdoors.
 
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Bob_McBob

Well-known member
Thank you for the dimensions Steve! After some careful caliper measurements, I would call the M7 eyecups 37.5mm outer diameter with 11.5mm of clearance from the glass at maximum extension (perhaps a smidge under 12mm if I'm really generous). The Viper HD 8x42 which provides a very comfortable view for me is more like 40mm diameter with 14.5mm clearance. It sounds like the B3 eyecups are closer to a full size binocular than the M7 and might actually work better for me than either the M7 or Traveller.

And jring, no offence taken, it's always worth considering the most obvious possibility of user error |:D|
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
They also have removable eye cups that can take an o-ring unlike the M7 (I tried reverse threading the eye cups off several brand new M5 and M7 binoculars last year with no success).

Bob, regarding the threading of the eyecups on Nikon Monarch 5 models. I have a 12x42 M5 and the eyecups are indeed removable (see picture attached). I discovered this watching a Youtube video where a user of an M5 had a faulty eyecup, so he ordered some replacement from Nikon and (to my surprise), simply unscrewed the eyecups on his M5 (I can't recall whether it was a 8x42 or a 10x42; but a x42 for sure). So, it seems that M5, at least in x42 format, does have removable eyecups. The question remains whether or not the 8x30 M7 eyecups are removable. I have tried to unscrew my 8x30 M7 with, ahem, "reasonable torque" (reverse unscrewing; this is, clockwise to release, counterclockwise to tighten, opposite to most common threads, at least around here). But to no avail. I guess I could have applied more force, but I'm not sure if that could damage the eyecups. If someone volunteers ;)

As you can see in the picture, the 12x42 M5 have a usual thread for the eyecup, I guess you could insert an O-ring there. However, both the thread on the binocular and the one on the eyecup are plastic and don't look particularly sturdy, so threading and unthreading is not something I would want to be doing on a daily basis. I have the sneaky feeling that the very thin and delicate thread could be damaged if not extra-carefully and slowly used.

While on the subject of eyecups, I'm sad the M7 didn't work for you because it's actually the eyecups on the M7 8x30 one of the parts I value more, after having tried other exceptional 8x30 models with too small eyecups for my liking. Two binoculars that I hated to let go because of issues with their eyecups were the Habicht and the new Companion CL. Both awesome binoculars... with too small eyecups for my face features. So "I feel your pain" ;)
 

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Bob_McBob

Well-known member
Interesting... we definitely watched the same video, but "reasonable torque" didn't budge the eyecups for me on multiple brand new 8x42 M5s and M7s last summer, so I assumed they had started gluing them. Regardless, I definitely agree with you about the plastic threading.
 
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yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
we definitely watched the same video
This is a small Youtube world ;)

Reading your experience with some M5/M7, I guess you're right and maybe they've started glueing the eyecups, since my both units of the M7 I've tried resisted the unscrewing of the eyecups. I wonder why would they do it. Maybe they thought of the possibility of replacing eyecups, but then they abandoned it and simply thought of the M5/M7 as "disposable" units if something goes wrong (much like a lot of contemporary devices that cannot be repaired or have not being constructed in a way that makes repairing feasible or easy, including binoculars).
 

Bob_McBob

Well-known member
After further research and discussion with current and former owners, I think I've narrowed down the choice to either the Maven B3 8x30 or Kowa BDII 6.5x32. Pretty much everyone who has a problem with the M7 eyecup length seems to have the same problem with every model built on this platform (Opticron, Kite, Maven, etc.), but Steve's measurements at least give me a little hope the Maven might work better. There is also the possibility of adding an o-ring, though I really dislike having to modify products like that.

Tomorrow I'm going to spend more time with the M7 and try to figure out whether the slightly larger eyecups and extension would make enough of a difference. The Kowa has such chunky eyecups I'm not too worried, I just still don't have a good feel for whether a heavier and lower magnification model would satisfy my expectations for purchasing more compact binoculars in the first place. I actually discovered there is a local Kowa dealer that sells the BDII line, but I'm waiting to find out whether they have them available to demo in-store.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
After further research and discussion with current and former owners, I think I've narrowed down the choice to either the Maven B3 8x30 or Kowa BDII 6.5x32. Pretty much everyone who has a problem with the M7 eyecup length seems to have the same problem with every model built on this platform (Opticron, Kite, Maven, etc.), but Steve's measurements at least give me a little hope the Maven might work better. There is also the possibility of adding an o-ring, though I really dislike having to modify products like that.

Tomorrow I'm going to spend more time with the M7 and try to figure out whether the slightly larger eyecups and extension would make enough of a difference. The Kowa has such chunky eyecups I'm not too worried, I just still don't have a good feel for whether a heavier and lower magnification model would satisfy my expectations for purchasing more compact binoculars in the first place. I actually discovered there is a local Kowa dealer that sells the BDII line, but I'm waiting to find out whether they have them available to demo in-store.

Why don't you get Maven to send you a B.3 demo? Try it for 2 weeks, no obligation.
 

Bob_McBob

Well-known member
Why don't you get Maven to send you a B.3 demo? Try it for 2 weeks, no obligation.

I would have done that as soon as I realized the M7 wouldn't work, but I'm in Canada, so round trip shipping is $120+ along with a huge hassle to get a refund on the tax. I have to be pretty certain I'm going to like them before ordering, unlike any other model on my list.

And as it turns out, no, the local Kowa dealer doesn't have either model in stock, and the 6.5x32 would be special order even when they do get receive some inventory |:(|
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
If eyecups are too short or too narrow, the easiest solution is to purchase accessory eyecups that stretch-fit over the ones that are already part of the bino. Since I wear glasses, I don't use such devices, but I know they are available. I see them used on microscope eyepieces sometimes, so maybe they are easier to find for that use than for binoculars. You will also find threads on BirdForum about how to make such extenders from sections of bicycle innertube.

--AP
 

Bob_McBob

Well-known member
I couldn't resist that expiring 10% discount, so I finally bit the bullet and ordered the Mavens in black just now. If they don't work for me then I'll eat the $120 two-way shipping and get the Kowa 6.5x32 and be done with it. The M7 will be sent back on Monday and I'll post an update when the Mavens show up in a couple weeks. Thank you again for all the advice I've received.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
I couldn't resist that expiring 10% discount, so I finally bit the bullet and ordered the Mavens in black just now. If they don't work for me then I'll eat the $120 two-way shipping and get the Kowa 6.5x32 and be done with it. The M7 will be sent back on Monday and I'll post an update when the Mavens show up in a couple weeks. Thank you again for all the advice I've received.

I think the Maven is a good bet. It's really hard to say exactly what binocular someone is gong to take too. I really liked the 8X30 Maven...it just didn't have QUITE the ER I needed. I have thought of giving it another try... I'm certainly interested in what you think of it. It's certainly a better instrument than the Monarch 7.
 

Bob_McBob

Well-known member
The Mavens arrived this afternoon along with a nice customs bill. I haven't had a chance to really try them yet, but my first impressions are quite positive. They feel a more solidly built than the M7, and the view is crisper and more contrasty with considerably less CA. They have the same issue with the eyecups being too short, but in the limited testing I've done it doesn't seem to require quite as careful positioning and can sit a bit deeper in my eye sockets. I like the form factor enough I will probably keep them if that pans out in field use. All-in-all a nice upgrade over the M7. I'll update when I've had an opportunity to try them more |=)|
 

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Bob_McBob

Well-known member
Another quick update. The eyecups on the B3 are absurdly easy to remove, and adding a spacer considerably improves viewing comfort for me in terms of eye placement and blackouts. They have regular threading and just twist off counter-clockwise after the stop. I haven't figured out how much width I can get away with yet, but the diameter is about 29.5mm. A black square o-ring would fit right in and look like it came from the factory that way.

I have to say though, I don't understand why so many manufacturers are using eyecups that are just a bit too short in this size of binocular. It's such a common complaint, and it's not like a few mm extra would make any real difference. At least Zeiss actually addressed the issue with the Conquest 8x32.
 

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