• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Monarch 82ED, a Perfect Ten (2 Viewers)

Boogieshrew

Well-known member
I think 30x is a too high magnification to start out with. I even sometimes find the 25x on the old eyepiece slightly too much, although that's also partly to blaim on the fov, I think. Might in time try the WA 30-60x to see how that is.

Hi Ries,
I too prefer a lower starting magnification. I like wider fov and especially greater dof.
You may like the Nikon EDG scopes. The zooms start at 16x or 20x (their fov is not wide by todays standards but it is acceptable) and there is a big selection of fixed mags available.
The view is fantastic. The 65mm with the 24x fixed is lovely. And with 16x fixed the view is sooooo wide and bright.

The down side is their weight. But the 65mm is ok for me to carry all day.
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
I think 30x is a too high magnification to start out with. I even sometimes find the 25x on the old eyepiece slightly too much, although that's also partly to blaim on the fov, I think. Might in time try the WA 30-60x to see how that is.

I do have a lot of sympathy for that view. I loved the 15 x starting magnification of my Zeiss Diascope 60mm. However in all other ways it is a fantastic eyepiece with a great field of view and a stunningly bright image so I can live with it. I will say - more because of its weight than the lack of lower magnification - I tend to use a different scope when I'm in a habitat where things are likely to be closer.
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
The 20-60x has a FOV of 111' at 1000 yards @ 20x.
The 30-60x has a FOV of 105' at 1000 yards @ 30x.

6' difference with half again the magnification.

For me the only advantage a lower power EP has (in theory) is the FOV. This isn't really the case here and I can't think of another advantage other than depth of field if that's much of a concern with a spotting scope.

The extra seeing power with so little disadvantage of FOV makes the 30-60 a pretty easy choice for me.
 
Last edited:

Boogieshrew

Well-known member
The other thing I like about lower mag is it is actually clearer in heat haze and the like.
I'm struggling find the right words but you know what I mean. 16x times magnifies the shimmer of heat haze a lot less than 30x so can actually give the better view.
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
Indeed lower power fixed magnification eyepieces have their merit. It’s what I use on my scopes, an ED 82 and an ED 50, but my comments in post #84 were in the context of the two zoom eyepieces available for the Monarch 82 ED. The subject of this thread.
 
Last edited:

DRodrigues

Well-known member
Hi Ries,
I too prefer a lower starting magnification. I like wider fov and especially greater dof.
You may like the Nikon EDG scopes. The zooms start at 16x or 20x (their fov is not wide by todays standards but it is acceptable) and there is a big selection of fixed mags available.
The view is fantastic. The 65mm with the 24x fixed is lovely. And with 16x fixed the view is sooooo wide and bright.

The down side is their weight. But the 65mm is ok for me to carry all day.

It's a pity that Nikon doesn't produce an adapter to use fieldscope eps on the Monarch, unlike what happens with the EDG series... :-C
I think that read somewhere that the bayonet system of the Monarch is similar to the Nikon 1 cameras, so eventually is possible to find an adapter Nikon 1 to T and using another adapter of T to 1,25", so could be used astro 1,25" eps... Just saying...3:)
 
Last edited:

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
I think 30x is a too high magnification to start out with. I even sometimes find the 25x on the old eyepiece slightly too much, although that's also partly to blaim on the fov, I think. Might in time try the WA 30-60x to see how that is.

If, like me, you aren't using low powers for their wider exit pupil or their greater DOF, then 30x can be a fine magnification as the low end, as long as the FOV is large. So for me, it's all about the FOV specification, which varies quite a lot between models these days. These past two summers I've been working on a project that involves looking at turtles (swimming or basking) in creeks and rivers through scopes at high power. I generally use a Nikon Fieldscope ED78 or ED82 with a 30x WF or DS eyepiece for all birding, but for the turtles I needed higher powers, so the 25-75x zoom was used at all times. It's horrible for FOV at low power (and for eye-relief) but I was able to make it work. About halfway through the project, I switched to a Kowa 88 with the 25-60x zoom, which has a lovely wide FOV (and lots of eye-relief). Unfortunately, I missed having the 75x magnification for some digiscoping purposes, so I had to add the 1.6x multiplier, which makes it 40-96x. It wasn't practical to take the multiplier on and off, so I used the scope that way all the time. I haven't looked at the specs to see how their true fields compare, but after suffering to adjust to using the Nikon zoom, I found using the wide angle Kowa zoom at 40x to be no more difficult than using the Nikon zoom at 25x, and the Kowa felt better because the eye-relief and AFOV were better. I'll bet the 30-60x wide is well worth it for the new Nikon scopes, but is still no match to what Kowa, Meopta, and others are doing with their WA zooms.

--AP
 
Last edited:

Pmringer

Member
How does this Nikon compare to Leupolds with similar specs or even the compact Maven? I am in the market for a semi-compact spotter, preferably straight. I generally use Leupold binos but have been attracted to the more compact spotter options from Nikon and Maven.
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
How does this Nikon compare to Leupolds with similar specs or even the compact Maven? I am in the market for a semi-compact spotter, preferably straight. I generally use Leupold binos but have been attracted to the more compact spotter options from Nikon and Maven.

If you get one that is a perfect 10, it will almost certainly be better than the others. Nikon scopes are hard to beat until you get to the very top-end models, in which case their optical performance and durability is still hard to beat but others can be better when it comes to zoom eyepiece performance with respect to field of view, even in the new models.

--AP
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

please let me quote Henry from the original review: "I can’t say what percentage of other Monarch units are this good, but finding just one specimen means that the optical design is not a limiting factor, as it appears to be for all the other medium priced scopes as well as most of the very expensive ones I’ve seen."

So that Henry found one perfect example, does certainly not mean all examples will be that good. Sample variation is a thing with all optics and especially so with spotting scopes.
If Nikon manages to only deliver examples that are better than diffraction limited (which is the good enough benchmark for astro scopes - the example Henry evaluated was a 2 to 5 in a lifetime of evaluating optics example), that would be quite an achievement in comparison to their competition in the spotting scope market.

TLDR: By all means buy the Monarch, if it fits your bill, but please test it, preferably before buying or inside the return period. Reading up on star testing before is a good idea...
And if you buy one and test it, please let us know how it went - more data points are certainly needed...

Joachim
 
I spent a long time deciding but did end up trading in my ED82 for a Monarch 82. because they don't service the ED82 fieldscope eyepieces anymore. I haven't done a star test, but the old ED82 had excellent quality image and so does the new Monarch. All else being equal I prefer the monarch. The included 20-60 eyepiece is so much nicer to use than the 25-75 that the ED82 had. I also have wide angle eyepieces for the ED82 that had an easier view than that famously tunnel-vision zoom, but then you are changing eyepieces around. On the ED82 I preferred to use a wide angle, but now I get that easy view on the zoom of the new monarch. The new monarch zoom is huge in the hand compared to the old 25-75. Ultimate viewable area may be similar, but the monarch zoom is like looking through a window instead of a keyhole. It's also easier to rotate the zoom dial on the new monarch, I had two of the 25-75s and both were comparatively stiff to turn. Both are great scopes. Lots of good deals on old ED fieldscopes out there.
 

Ries

Well-known member
Netherlands
Interesting, Taylor, thanks, as I'm still looking at this scope as well as I'm often not pleased by the ER on the 25-75ep and though I do have different fixed wf ep's, it's something to lug them around and change them. That even the 20-60 ep on the Monarch delivers such a breathe of visual air compared to the tight old zoom brings the choice alive again. I still would miss the 15x extra power occasionally, I'm afraid. And because of that Kowa 883 or atx85 are still the dream-scopes; not only for their high quality but the extender makes wader/seabird watching even more a breeze. But there's that €1000-€1500 (incl extender) price gap (a fortune to me) with the Nikon Monarch...but with which I'd be stuck at 60x...which should be enough for most birding...

Well, for now I'm using and enjoying my ED82 with the batallion of eyepieces, and still thinking about adding an ED50 to the mix for international travel... Time will tell how this turns out. But the choice would've been made if that damn lottery would come through...
 
Last edited:

Ruff-Leg

Active member
I purchased a new ED 82A in 2004 upon its US release. I was exceedingly happy with it - even wrote a review here, buried somewhere in the archives. Sending in the scope for service early this year, I found, like Taylor Ellis, that Nikon US no longer services eyepieces. (I had the 25-75 zoom and a beloved 38x WF).

Many back-and-forths proceeded between me and Nikon along with two COVID shutdowns of their LA repair facility. I feared I would never hear from them when one day the UPS delivery man showed up with a brand new Monarch ED 82A with the bundled 20-60 zoom. After a quick and positive evaluation, I ordered a current 38X WF MEP, and I am thrilled with the scope.

I don't know if this scope is a cherry model like Henry tested, but it's noticeably better than my previous ED 82A. The zoom works much better without the tunnel vision of the old 25-75, and one can actually find the zoom ring without having to look for it! Sharp, bright, and when the air is stable, capable of resolving some exceptional feather details. A digiscoped example of an American Kestrel is attached as an example.

I was all ready to drop multiple kilo-bucks on a Zeiss Harpia, but that would be hard to justify now given the quality of this scope. The 38X WF is an absolute delight - its AFOV is nearly the same as the zoom's at 20X, and only somewhat narrower than the Zeiss. The 18mm ER is exceptional for those spec-wearers among us, and contributes to the immersive feel.

The only downside is the execrable view-thru, stay-on case. Awkward, fussy, and so tight that the objective lens glare shield can't be pulled out. It's hanging in the closet now...

As has been observed here, this is a scope which has received (puzzlingly) few mentions or reviews in the press (does Nikon US not cooperate with the media?), but given the quality of the product and Nikon's willingness to freely replace products when necessary, this scope should be given serious consideration.

All the best
Scott Crabtree
Tucson, AZ
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20200912_070952 (1).jpg
    IMG_20200912_070952 (1).jpg
    107.2 KB · Views: 147

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
One reason it doesn't sell well in the UK - apart from birders habit of following the herd - is that very few places sell it. I found nowhere where I could look through one before buying. I bought the body from France and the 30 - 60X eyepiece in the UK - at least we can buy the scope and eyepiece separately so can choose the one we want. I've never seen another birder with one.
 

Mr.Wascall

New member
After reading Henry's very thorough review we decided to seriously consider the Monarch scopes. We saw that Glazers here in Seattle carried the Monarch 60ED and decided to go see how we liked it. We were duly impressed and after a bit of testing and trying on tripods we decided to go ahead and get it. It felt great to buy it from a local retailer knowing that if there are any issues, they will be there to give us excellent service. The fact that Nikon is the same price everywhere made that a no-brainer.
We went right out to the Union Bay natural area and tried it out. The bay obliged us with Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, and all sorts of other waterfowl. What a treat! It was fun to compare it to our Opticron MM3-60ED. The big surprise was how well the Opticron held up in the comparison. Now we don't have to fight over who gets the scope and Betsy is loving the way the Monarch focuses and zooms. I look forward to doing a star test with each of them. Thanks Henry for the great information.
Sadly, there was a Monarch 82ED in the auction we bought our Opticron scope at and although we know it was an excellent scope, with this information we may have tried harder to get it as it went for a high bid of just over $700. The one that got away...
 

henry link

Well-known member
Looks like tomorrow I will have a chance to evaluate two more specimens of the Monarch 82ED, as well as the 30-60x wide angle zoom. A friend has ordered two of them along with the extra zoom eyepiece with the idea of keeping the better of the two. I'm pretty busy now, but I'll try to post a brief report this weekend.
 

henry link

Well-known member
I just spent time with two more specimens of the Nikon Monarch 82ED Fieldscope. I also got a look at the 30-60x zoom and the 30x eyepiece with reticle.

One of the scopes was excellent, nearly as good as the first scope I reviewed. The only problem I saw in a star test was a little spherical aberration, which reduced its resolution slightly to about 1.5 arc seconds, but I would still call it a cherry.

The second scope was not so good. Its star test showed some coma, more spherical aberration and an odd bright red ring outside of focus when it was defocused by about 4-5 rings. Its resolution was down to about 1.7 arc seconds, which was just noticeable as a softening of the image at higher magnifications compared to the other scope. I wouldn't call it a real lemon, just mediocre. Most people probably wouldn't notice anything wrong without a careful direct comparison, but this scope design can do better. Two cherry scopes out of three and no real lemons so far is a very promising result.

The 30-60 zoom does have a nice wide apparent field throughout the zoom range. I didn't have time to measure it, but comparing it to eyepieces I have measured I would estimate the true AFOV at 30x is about 58º and around 73º at 60x, as expected somewhat wider than the Nikon ISO specs. Distortion appears to be moderate pincushion, so no Globe Effect to deal with. With one exception off-axis performance is very good. There is a little field curvature and astigmatism at 30x, which gradually reduces to a very low level at 60x, The weakest off-axis characteristic is lateral chromatic aberration, particularly at high magnifications. At 60x there is an area near the center about 20º wide which is mostly free of lateral color, but for high contrast targets outside of that area the color fringes come on quickly and are pretty vivid at the field edge.

The 30x reticle eyepiece is an oddity for hunters and shooters only. Its optical performance is very similar if not identical to the 30-60 zoom set at 30x, with exactly the same field width and eye relief spec as the zoom.
 
Last edited:

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
I just spent time with two more specimens of the Nikon Monarch 82ED Fieldscope. I also got a look at the 30-60x zoom and the 30x eyepiece with reticle.

One of the scopes was excellent, nearly as good as the first scope I reviewed. The only problem I saw in a star test was a little spherical aberration, which reduced its resolution slightly to about 1.5 arc seconds, but I would still call it a cherry.

The second scope was not so good. Its star test showed some coma, more spherical aberration and an odd bright red ring outside of focus when it was defocused by about 4-5 rings. Its resolution was down to about 1.7 arc seconds, which was just noticeable as a softening of the image at higher magnifications compared to the other scope. I wouldn't call it a real lemon, just mediocre. Most people probably wouldn't notice anything wrong without a careful direct comparison, but this scope design can do better. Two cherry scopes out of three and no real lemons so far is a very promising result.

The 30-60 zoom does have a nice wide apparent field throughout the zoom range. I didn't have time to measure it, but comparing it to eyepieces I have measured I would estimate the true AFOV at 30x is about 58º and around 73º at 60x, as expected somewhat wider than the Nikon ISO specs. Distortion appears to be moderate pincushion, so no Globe Effect to deal with. With one exception off-axis performance is very good. There is a little field curvature and astigmatism at 30x, which gradually reduces to a very low level at 60x, The weakest off-axis characteristic is lateral chromatic aberration, particularly at high magnifications. At 60x there is an area near the center about 20º wide which is mostly free of lateral color, but for high contrast targets outside of that area the color fringes come on quickly and are pretty vivid at the field edge.

The 30x reticle eyepiece is an oddity for hunters and shooters only. Its optical performance is very similar if not identical to the 30-60 zoom set at 30x, with exactly the same field width and eye relief spec as the zoom.
Thanks for the updated review(s) Henry.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top