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MonarchHG, RazorHD, Zeiss Conquest, 8/10x42 or 10x50, woodlands & wide-open areas. (1 Viewer)


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MonarchHG, RazorHD, Zeiss Conquest, 8/10x42 or 10x50, woodlands & wide-open areas.

Hello all,

Happy thanksgiving!

I do a 50-50
(a) relatively close distance birding-while-hiking, and
(b) birding-in-big-open-wildlife-refuges where I often find myself needing extra magnification because birds can be much farther away.

From communicating with some of the forum's experts (thank you @typo, @Upland, and @jremmons, and sorry @typo for all the pestering! :) ) here, and following a few posts, it is clear to me that if one prefers hand-holding their bins, something like a light-weight, quick focussing, 7-8x with a wider fov is preferable for activity (a), while a closer, clearer and more balanced in hands 10x might be suitable for (b).

Now, I would like to start off with one good binocular if possible for both activities, and later add on depending on the need. I have narrowed down my list of choices to (in the order of their weights, with ~ denoting roughly equal weights):

Nikon Monarch HG 8x42~Nikon Monarch HG 10x42~Razor HD 8x42 (24/680g)
Vortex Razor HD 10x50~Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42 (28oz/796g)

The following are my thoughts so far.
1. The Monarch HG 10x42 might be the one that I could use for both activities (a) and (b), but I am just not sure about the 10x42's ability to quickly focus, its low light performance and its optics compared to the other aforementioned choices. Lower transmission, sharpness, CA issues have been raised before, although there are also @Canip's / Chuck's very encouraging threads on the 8x42 MHGs.
2. The Razor HD 10x50 is in a nice sweet spot as it comparable to well known 10x42s in their weights and optics, yet offers a higher exit pupil diameter. However, it is still at least 4ozs heavier than the Monarchs and I wonder how convenient it is while hiking. Glare issues have been raised before on the Razor.
3. There is also the pleasing aspect of holding a light weight 8x42 MHG, enjoying the view.

Of course, we can't have everything, and there are trade offs. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you might have and if possible, could you share your own practical experiences in using them?

Thanks so much!
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Well-known member
I've looked through everything you have listed - many times, and often side by side.

My choice was the 10x42 Conquest HD's. They just had the best combination of image quality, features and resale value IMO. I've been using mine now for a few weeks both hunting and birding, and I have zero regrets.

The Razors aren't what they used to be since moving mfg. to China. People can say they are, but many of us can see the difference. And they are simply not as bright as the Monarch HG's and certainly not as bright as the Conquest HD's. For brightness, I rate them 1) Conquest HD, 2) Monarch HG and 3) Razors.

Of course, the light weight, warranty and very useful eyecups are all pluses in the Razor's corner.

The Monarchs are just as light and compact as the Razors, with a huge field of view and are a hair brighter. IMO the Monarch HG's are what the old made in Japan Razors used to be. Heck, they might even be made in the same factory as the old Razors for all I know.

The Conquests HD's are 4 oz. heavier and give up a little in FOV, but they are really well armored and easier to hold steady in a 10x, and to my eyes are the brightest of all the $1K bins.

It's really hard to go wrong with any of those choices as they all have some unique feature that someone will like over another. If you like a lightweight 8x42, then by all means get either the Razor or Monarch and be happy. Of the two, I'd pick the Monarch HG.


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I've tried the 8x42 Razor and the field of view is a bit small for me (7.4 deg I think). The 10x42 however has a massive field of view for a 10x (6.9 deg), which is pretty sharp across the field. The wide view certainly helps finding your subject and I'm very happy with mine. I also have a SV 8.5x42 FP, but often just take the Razor 10x42 for the greater magnification and wider apparent field of view. Worth looking at if you get the chance and I haven't looked at your other options, so can't comment on those.


Well-known member

first of all, you should decide if you might want to get a scope for activity b) in the future because then a wide field 8x30 is going to be fine to just see that there might be sth and then use the scope for the ID.

Of the 3 listed I would take the 8x MHG.



Well-known member
Thanks everyone for the quick responses. Given how strongly recommended they come, I think I am most likely going to settle with an MHG 8x42.

I hope to order one soon, compare it against the Toric 8x42 I currently hold before making a final decision on this. The build quality, level of clarity and snappier focus of the Toric, I am rather impressed by, and have not experienced before.

Thanks a lot!
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