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Monarch HG 8x30 vs Swaro CL-b & EL quick comparisons (1 Viewer)

brocknroller

A professed porromaniac
United States
Hey Brock,

Welcome back. I decided not to buy the SV 8x32. It's a lot of money and it comes with extra weight and size. I've gotten so used to the 8x30 Monarch HG's super light weight and compact size. The SV is better optically and the best I've experienced in a 8x32 with eyeglasses, but I've been quite happy with the Nikon overall. It has a very pleasing image and I really love the smooth, quick focuser. I've found the faster focus speed helpful.

The pre-SV EL sounds like it could be great and perhaps I would prefer it over the SV, but it's even a little heavier than the SV according to the specs online and also has shorter ER. I'm going to stick with my Nikon. If something amazing in an 8x32 comes out down the road which I feel rivals the HG I may try it out. I don't think I'd go for another 30mm. I'd rather go up to 8x32 with long ER for better comfort with glasses. I don't think there's a better 8x30 out there for me. I compared the HG directly with the new CL-b and I found the HG more suitable all around for me.

The only minor complaint I have of the HG is that it's slightly picky with eye placement with my glasses due to the smaller EP and the ER is just barely enough. I couldn't go any smaller than 30mm. I'm getting by fine with it despite these issues. You can't have it all; I'm working with it and it's been a great little bino so far. I got it for the "refurb" price at $566 which is a very nice bargain.

The pandemic has messed a lot of things up for me, but at least I still have my job and I can work from home. Others have it way worse, so I shouldn't complain.

I'm happy to see you're well too :)
Hi Beth,

The pre-SV ELs circa 2009-2011 have all the SwaroSuperDuper coatings, but they don't have is the field flatteners and click stop eyecups (all the way up or down), and the ER is only 15mm, which might not be sufficient for your eyeglasses. While the pre-SV ELs are quite long for an 8x32 roof, they are very lightweight @ 21.5 oz. What I liked best about them were the ergonomics. They fit my hands like a glove, and it didn't matter whether or not I wrapped my fingers around the barrels, they were comfortable to hold and steady. Having large hands, good ergonomics on roofs are high on my checklist for since they are usually harder for me to hold comfortably and steady than porros. What good is a great view if the birds are bouncing around?

Closed bridge roofs with large bridges and stubby barrels such as the Nikon 8x32 LX, I'm asking "Where's the beef?" The sloped strap lugs didn't work for me and pushed my hands past the end of the barrels, and light reflected off my palms into the binoculars. I had to add Bushwacker covers to the stubby barrels to get a better grip and stop reflecting light with my hands. There were also no thumb indents underneath, so I had to scrunch up my thumbs. The result is that I was holding the LX by pushing from the sides, which caused them to sway from side to side, subtly, but those bad vibrations a' happenin' with her took away from the resolution, which wasn't as good as the 8x42 model or my E2s or SEs. The focuser was too fast for me (so was Sherry, a girl I dated in Junior High :). So for me, ergonomics are a big deal. For others, they never met a roof they couldn't hold steady.

I have some palm wrestling going on with my Nikon 8x42 EDG since I can only wrap fingers from one hand around the barrels. The focuser is so close to the EPs and the bridge so large, that my other hand has to be situated near the EPs to turn the focuser. I liked the open bridge design in the EDG 1 better although Nikon could have made the top and bottom edges beveled for greater comfort. Given the open bridge craze among Alphas these days, Nikon's NextGen EDG III might have an open bridge.

As long as Swaro doesn't threaten to sue Nikon like they did 60 seconds after it brought out the EDG, which if if I recall correctly wasn't about the open bridge design but the focuser design, which was terrible. The focus knob kept falling off it was so loose, and the diopter adjust drifted. Nikon won't have any legal issues if they use EDG focuser design, which is way better than any focuser Swaro ever made; however, I do see from Yarelli's post that if you get a crappy EL focuser (chances are good you will), Swaro now has the ability to make it turn smoothly in both directions, which is an improvement that I think a lot of Swaro fans have wanted for a long time. I know I have. I also read a review by a BF member who recently purchased a CL Companion, and he said his sample focused smoothly in both directions, so perhaps the Wizards of Absam have finally discovered the secret sauce for making smooth focusers (grease) . If so, it's about time!

That was a great deal you got on the HG. I know a guy who just bought an 8x32 HG for a little over $900, and he thought he got a great deal (he has to pay 16% import tax, so he will always pay more than US buyers). US buyers actually have it pretty good compared to buyers in foreign countries. We can buy an EL for cheaper than birders can in Austria and Leicas and Zeiss alphas cheaper than birders can in Germany. But then, Austria and Germany have free health care and college, so they make up the higher price of sports optics elsewhere, but they pay for it in higher taxes. If there's one thing Americans don't like is higher taxes. Sure they want smooth roads and safe bridges, good teachers and well equipped schools, quick responding police and fire departments, and we all want affordable health care, but only as long as we don't have to pay for them with taxes.

What your search for the perfect 8x32 shows is that there's no such thing. To quote Roseanne Roseannadanna: Well, [Beth] it just goes to show you, it's always something — if it’s not one thing, it's another." Every pair of 8x32 binoculars has some compromise(s) built into it. The trick is finding an 8x32 that has compromises you can live with and that fits your budget. Then and only then, will you have achieved Nirvana and spend eternity with Kurt Cobain (ahhhh! :).
 

A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
That was a great deal you got on the HG. I know a guy who just bought an 8x32 HG for a little over $900, and he thought he got a great deal (he has to pay 16% import tax, so he will always pay more than US buyers). US buyers actually have it pretty good compared to buyers in foreign countries. We can buy an EL for cheaper than birders can in Austria and Leicas and Zeiss alphas cheaper than birders can in Germany. But then, Austria and Germany have free health care and college, so they make up the higher price of sports optics elsewhere, but they pay for it in higher taxes. If there's one thing Americans don't like is higher taxes. Sure they want smooth roads and safe bridges, good teachers and well equipped schools, quick responding police and fire departments, and we all want affordable health care, but only as long as we don't have to pay for them with taxes.

What your search for the perfect 8x32 shows is that there's no such thing. To quote Roseanne Roseannadanna: Well, [Beth] it just goes to show you, it's always something — if it’s not one thing, it's another." Every pair of 8x32 binoculars has some compromise(s) built into it. The trick is finding an 8x32 that has compromises you can live with and that fits your budget. Then and ly then, will you have achieved Nirvana and spend eternity with Kurt Cobain (ahhhh! :).
The CL-b does have a nice smooth and accurate focuser. It seems improved to me over the original.

Yep, it's true there's no perfect bino out there. I'm trying these days to just be satisfied with what I have and that's just another reason why I didn't spend the big bucks on the EL SV. Really, the Monarch HG is enough for me. I still go out birding as much as I'm able to, but overall it's a bit more casual these days. I no longer want to carry around a heavy binocular. I haven't had any issues while birding with the little Nikon. It hasn't yet failed me or made me feel like I must have a 'better' binocular to enjoy my outings.

Roseanne Roseannadanna was always right.
 

brocknroller

A professed porromaniac
United States
The CL-b does have a nice smooth and accurate focuser. It seems improved to me over the original.

Yep, it's true there's no perfect bino out there. I'm trying these days to just be satisfied with what I have and that's just another reason why I didn't spend the big bucks on the EL SV. Really, the Monarch HG is enough for me. I still go out birding as much as I'm able to, but overall it's a bit more casual these days. I no longer want to carry around a heavy binocular. I haven't had any issues while birding with the little Nikon. It hasn't yet failed me or made me feel like I must have a 'better' binocular to enjoy my outings.

Roseanne Roseannadanna was always right.
Does this mean that you sold your Leica 7x42 Ultravid HD? It's about the same weight as the Nikon 8x42 EDG, which is 27.8 ounces. Swaro and Zeiss top bananas weigh more. Amazing as it seems, the $200 Cabela's 8x32 Guide is nearly as good to my eyes as the $2,000 EDG in resolution, contrast and color rendition. Like the EDG, it has flat spectrum AR coatings and dielectric prism coatings, so whites are white, not tinged with red or green, and colors are bright and vivid. No field flatteners, but a very large sweet spot. In the backyard, I prefer the Guide or the E2 to the EDG for their better depth perception. The EDG's field flatteners not only stretch the image to the field stop (or nearly), but they also compress the space in front of you, so that the foreground and background seem closer together.

Better depth in bioculars makes it easier to find birds in dense woodland like my backyard, which is also why I like porro binoculars. But when looking at birds in an open space, with no foreground, the space compression in the EDG is less noticeable. The best 3-D view I've seen with roofs was through the 8x32 EL WB. I wish I could take the buttery smooth focuser and excellent baffling from the EDG, and put them in the EL. That would be as close to nirvana as it gets for me.

I haven't tried the 8x32 MG, only the 8x30 M7, which are similar. I liked the ergonomics, the light weight, the sharp images, but not the fuzzy edges, which were distracting while panning since my eyes dart ahead in the direction I'm panning into the fuzz zone. This makes it harder to spot birds unless I pan very slowly. It's also not aesthetically appealing, and I'm spoiled from the EDG, SE and Fuji 6x30, all of which have field flatteners. Even the E2 sample I have has a very wide sweet spot and gradual fall off at the edges.

As my ex used to say, "You're just too damned picky," and I'd reply, "That's obviously not true, I picked you." :)
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Does this mean that you sold your Leica 7x42 Ultravid HD? It's about the same weight as the Nikon 8x42 EDG, which is 27.8 ounces. Swaro and Zeiss top bananas weigh more. Amazing as it seems, the $200 Cabela's 8x32 Guide is nearly as good to my eyes as the $2,000 EDG in resolution, contrast and color rendition. Like the EDG, it has flat spectrum AR coatings and dielectric prism coatings, so whites are white, not tinged with red or green, and colors are bright and vivid. No field flatteners, but a very large sweet spot. In the backyard, I prefer the Guide or the E2 to the EDG for their better depth perception. The EDG's field flatteners not only stretch the image to the field stop (or nearly), but they also compress the space in front of you, so that the foreground and background seem closer together.

Better depth in bioculars makes it easier to find birds in dense woodland like my backyard, which is also why I like porro binoculars. But when looking at birds in an open space, with no foreground, the space compression in the EDG is less noticeable. The best 3-D view I've seen with roofs was through the 8x32 EL WB. I wish I could take the buttery smooth focuser and excellent baffling from the EDG, and put them in the EL. That would be as close to nirvana as it gets for me.

I haven't tried the 8x32 MG, only the 8x30 M7, which are similar. I liked the ergonomics, the light weight, the sharp images, but not the fuzzy edges, which were distracting while panning since my eyes dart ahead in the direction I'm panning into the fuzz zone. This makes it harder to spot birds unless I pan very slowly. It's also not aesthetically appealing, and I'm spoiled from the EDG, SE and Fuji 6x30, all of which have field flatteners. Even the E2 sample I have has a very wide sweet spot and gradual fall off at the edges.

As my ex used to say, "You're just too damned picky," and I'd reply, "That's obviously not true, I picked you." :)
Brock. Have you ever tried a Swarovski SLC 8x42? I find it has the best 3-D view I have seen in roofs. IMO a little better than the 8x32 EL WB. It has quite sharp edges but no RB like some of the EL's. If you get one with a good focuser they are quite good performers.
 

A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
Hey Brock (post 23),

Yes, I sold the Uvid HD+ 7x42 after about 4 yrs with it; the weight finally caught up to me. I was taking ibuprofen after birding during migration. There's a lot of lifting the bino quick to your eyes about a thousand times when birding during migration. I had such sore shoulders and neck after just a few hours out. I still feel the Ultravid HD+ is my fav all time binocular though. I tried the Uvid HD+ 8x32, but ER was too short. I compared the Monarch HG 8x30 directly to Uvid HD+ 8x32 and posted a thread about it several months ago. The Ultravid has nicer colors and the optics are a little better, but the Nikon worked better with my eyeglasses and has just enough ER.

The Monarch HG, which is 8x30 btw, is only 17 ounces and I don't have any soreness anymore. The HG has a field flattener, but to me I don't see a compressed image; I did notice this a little with the EL SV though.
The Monarch HG is more aesthetically pleasing compared to the Monarch 7 IMO. It's handsome and feels built well.

I think the Opticron Traveller ED 8x32 is practically the same binocular as the Cabela's 8x32 Guide. I thought about trying out the Opticron, but went with the MHG 8x30 once I was alerted to the discounted price. I think I made a good choice.

That's a good answer you gave your ex :)
 

brocknroller

A professed porromaniac
United States
Brock. Have you ever tried a Swarovski SLC 8x42? I find it has the best 3-D view I have seen in roofs. IMO a little better than the 8x32 EL WB. It has quite sharp edges but no RB like some of the EL's. If you get one with a good focuser they are quite good performers.
Hi Dennis,

I haven't tried the 8x42 model, only the 10x42 SLC HD, which I really liked. It was sharp almost to the edge, and this was the first 10x42 HD version with the better close focus. Again, I don't know why manufacturers feel the need to add field flatteners when they can make optics with good edges without them. Swarovski can, so can Nikon.

If Steve (mooreorless) makes a trek to the Amish optics store he visits each year for boots, I'll ask if I can join him (after we're both vaccinated). They have a huge selection of high end binoculars. Gordon sells Swarovskis at his Honey Creek Bill & Beak store, and it's closer.

I will take my 8x42 EDG with me and see how the 8x42 SLC compares. I'm sure it will have a better 3-D effect, but it also must equal the EDG in resolution, contrast and color rendition for me to make a swap. It also needs to have a smooth turning focuser, which can be hit or miss. Hopefully, I will get a chance to find out.
 

albie...

Well-known member
I tried the HG 8x30 without glasses once just out of curiosity and immediately wished I didn't have to wear glasses. I found the eyecups comfortable and it was just an easier viewing experience overall. In contrast, I found the Ultravid 8x32 no good with glasses and was surprised to find it finnicky even without glasses, so I know what people mean when they say the eyecup shape is important ... or It could also be the cups not adjusting/accommodating well enough for the ER. It's been so long since I've used binoculars without glasses.

I have to wear glasses with binoculars due to astigmatism, but if I didn't have to wear them I think the little HG would be practically perfect for me; I wouldn't think about 32mm or anything else.
I'm too squeamish for contacts and my prescription too weak to get lasik eye surgery, so I'm stuck wearing glasses.
I found out i that have a significant amount of astigmatism two years ago . The difference wearing glasses with bins was wonderful and a bit of a revelation considering how much better the view is.
I love the twist out eyecups of my 8x42 MHG and yes it is a shame that I have to wear glasses with them . I would like to see Nikon make a modern quality porro like the E2 or the SE and give them twist out eyecups and decent ER .
 

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