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

    You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

New Hawke Frontier Apo vs Nikon MHG (1 Viewer)

Leonardoo123

New member
Hello everyone,

I am interested by "flat field" binoculars.
I tried the Nikon MHG, very nice binoculars.
The Hawke Frontier Apo is a new model of binoculars released a couple of weeks or months ago, they have a flat field with very good specifications ...
No stores have them around me, so I cannot try them ... they are only available online.

Hawke website is saying about the new Frontier APO : " The new Frontier APO model offers extreme clarity, flattened vision, and excellent chromatic aberration control for a dazzlingly wide field of view. APO benefit from an extra low dispersion glass for better control of chromatic aberration and removal of colored fringes."

My question is, if anyone has tested the new Hawke Frontier Apo, do you think they compete against the Nikon MHG ?
Obvioulsy if you also tried the MHG before, but the Nikon is a very common binoculars nowadays and available in lot of shops for testing.

Some specifications :

Hawke Frontier Apo 8x42 :
- Fov: 142 m / 1000m
- Eye relief: 18 mm
- Weight: 740 g
- Close focus: 2m
- Available around 700 euros

Nikon MHG 8x42 :
- Fov: 145 m / 1000m
- Eye relief: 17.8 mm
- Weight: 665 g
- Close focus: 2 m
- Available around 950 euros

They have quite close specifications, the Nikon is slightly lighter.
The Hawke is 200/250 euros cheaper.

Leonardo,
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I think I would choose the Nikon MHG 8x42 because even though it is not the same binocular Allbinos review of the Hawke Frontier ED X 8x42 was not exactly stellar and it is in the same genetic line. Also, the Hawke is probably a Kamakura clone but the MHG is made in-house by Nikon. Also, the Nikon MHG is smaller and lighter which is a big reason a lot of people like them and ask yourself this. Will Hawk be around in 10 years?

https://www.allbinos.com/350-binoculars_review-Hawke_Frontier_ED_X_8x42.html
 
Last edited:

Xlr8n

Well-known member
The MHG's are one of the handful of bino's often recommended just below the Alpha level. You wouldn't be disappointed with them.
 

Upland

Well-known member
I’d check the Hawkes out and return them if you don’t like them. I’ve owned both the Frontier ED X and the MHG. Comparing the optics on these models is apples to oranges. But the Hawkes build quality is Much better than the MHG at less than half the price. It’s actually amazing Nikon can ask nearly 1k for a glass that has such poor build quality, more like a $300 pair IMHO. The eyecups on the Hawkes are outstanding and the ones on the two pairs of HGs I’ve owned wouldn’t stay in place.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I don't know the Hawkes so I apologize I cannot comment on them.

The Nikons are excellent for the price, and my personal experience would disagree with Upland's assessment of build quality, though I don't doubt that he has had problems with eyecups, just providing my data point as well. I think the build quality is excellent, I've had no problems with my pair, and I don't know of any owners who have had problems. I've not abused my MHGs as hard as I've abused some other bins of mine, but I've logged a lot of use thus far with zero problems. The focuser is a bit stiff but very smooth, the hinge tension is good, the eyecups have not proven problematic switching between my partner (she birds w/o glasses) and me (with glasses).

If you do end up trying the Hawkes, please post your thoughts.

Cheers and good luck!
 

Upland

Well-known member
I don't know the Hawkes so I apologize I cannot comment on them.

The Nikons are excellent for the price, and my personal experience would disagree with Upland's assessment of build quality, though I don't doubt that he has had problems with eyecups, just providing my data point as well. I think the build quality is excellent, I've had no problems with my pair, and I don't know of any owners who have had problems. I've not abused my MHGs as hard as I've abused some other bins of mine, but I've logged a lot of use thus far with zero problems. The focuser is a bit stiff but very smooth, the hinge tension is good, the eyecups have not proven problematic switching between my partner (she birds w/o glasses) and me (with glasses).

If you do end up trying the Hawkes, please post your thoughts.

Cheers and good luck!

Respectfully. I’ve owned the EDGs and the build quality was excellent. Perfect focuser and eyecups. I’ve also owned the M7 and build quality is the same as the HG. The M7 is a $500 binocular. The HG twice as much and should be better build quality than the M7 but is not. If Hawke can build a better quality focuser, eyecups and body for half the price then Nikon can too on the HG. I have to believe the Hawke APO has at least as good a build quality as the ED X. So if the optics are on par with the HG then it’s a winner. Haven’t seen the optics though so I can’t claim that but I’d sure want to try the Hawkes before buying the HG. Just my opinion but with so many retailers offering easy returns I’d suggest buying both and returning the pair you don’t like as much.
 

Upland

Well-known member
My apologies if I offended anyone who owns the MHG. I really liked the optics on my 8x42s and am sure I would still own them if the build had been what I thought a 1k glass should be.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
No offense what so ever - at least to me! I think it's good to keep discussing these things. I realize that I've mentioned a few times the EDG armor issues, and I feel bad a bit about it, as I feel like I'm the only one who mentions it. But among the birders I know in real life who are dedicated field biologists and/or world listers who bird independently, I see a lot of binoculars get trashed. I have great respect for the durability of Swaro ELs and Zeiss FLs and Conquest HDs. The durability of SFs remains to be seen but mine are doing fine so far. I know three birders who use and abuse EDGs and they have all had repeated armor problems, and eye cups and the like coming off.

Thinking about it more - I know someone who has had problems with the MHGs with the rubber covers for the ends of the objective tubes getting torn off while going through heavy vegetation.

Perhaps I would better say that I think the MHGs have very good build quality (focuser, hinge, mechanics, optics) but the armor, eye cups, and soft bits are probably not as durable as an EL, FL, or Conquest, even if I've not had personal problems with mine.
 

cottonbase

Well-known member
I think I would choose the Nikon MHG 8x42 because even though it is not the same binocular Allbinos review of the Hawke Frontier ED X 8x42 was not exactly stellar and it is in the same genetic line. Also, the Hawke is probably a Kamakura clone but the MHG is made in-house by Nikon. Also, the Nikon MHG is smaller and lighter which is a big reason a lot of people like them and ask yourself this. Will Hawk be around in 10 years?

https://www.allbinos.com/350-binoculars_review-Hawke_Frontier_ED_X_8x42.html

Although no direct experience with the Hawke APO, I have to dispute Albinos conclusions, based on my personal daily usage. The 8x42 ED X is up there with offerings I own that cost 2 to 4 times as much. And warranty is lifetime, not 10 years. Indeed it was a Best Binocular Review award winner in 2019, which significantly influenced my purchase.

Albinos questioned Hawkes ability for market success but online reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Also, irelandswildlife.com. I concur with these reviews and would recommend the ED X.

Unfortunately though, there don't seem to be any reviews of the APO online yet but as with any binocular purchase, try the alternatives first. Despite being online.

FWIW the lowest price APO I've found in the UK is £599 here.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Can't speak to the 42's..... but in regards to the 30-32 range....the Hawke doesn't hold a candle to the MHG.... I would place the it third in the mid size range behind the Opticron Traveler (great little bin), the Maven, then the Hawk. The MHG is more akin to the other $900 bins.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
The term “build quality” is a funny thing. Are we talking about durability? Quality of exterior materials? Precision and smoothness of mechanical function? Alignment of the optics? Internal baffling / blackening?

I’m sure for each person it’s some combination of “all of the above” with varying proportional weighting depending upon your personal taste.

Since I currently own a Monarch HG 8x42 as well as some undisputed “high build quality” binoculars (EDG 10x32, several Leica UV) I think it’s true that the MHG are a significant step down in terms of mechanical quality and exterior materials. However, I don’t think they are out of line with other mid level / sub alpha binoculars (of which I’ve had several).

On my sample the focus knob is smooth and precise and well damped with zero free play or slop. Is it as luxurious as the EDG focus knob? No way, however it feels not that dissimilar in quality from Zeiss Conquest HD or Tract Toric in smoothness and precision. Similarly, the exterior finish is nice but it’s clearly cheaper than the EDG in materials quality. The eyecups on mine lock solidly at the detents, there’s a little bit of wiggle but they don’t slip from the position in the field. But they don’t have the silky lab grade precision of the EDG eyecups, and the rubber material is not as soft and smooth to the touch.

But the EDG are over 2x the price at retail.

Among the $1K class, the European brands tend to have the best build from my experience. Meopta and Minox specifically stand out. The Kamakura cousins are hit and miss, lots of sample variation. A good sample feels really good, but you can still feel the difference in overall mechanical and material quality vs a $2K alpha. As you should.

I also don’t doubt there are some standout brands in the mid price tier like Hawke and GPO which go above and beyond the price point in this respects. But are they going to show the consistency of sample variation and long term reliability of the MHG?

I will also note that the impression of “build quality” of the MHG probably is biased by how insanely LIGHT they are. There was a thread a while back about “density”, and the MHG 42 is the least “dense” premium binocular I’ve ever heals. It’s almost surprising how light they are when you hold them, and with the super thin faux leather skin it can certainly give an impression of them being “flimsy”. But does the fact that the Conquest HD has much thicker rubber armor make them “better” in build quality? Or do they just feel heavier and thicker in the hand so you assume they are more robust?
 

Xlr8n

Well-known member
The term “build quality” is a funny thing. Are we talking about durability? Quality of exterior materials? Precision and smoothness of mechanical function? Alignment of the optics? Internal baffling / blackening?

I’m sure for each person it’s some combination of “all of the above” with varying proportional weighting depending upon your personal taste.

Since I currently own a Monarch HG 8x42 as well as some undisputed “high build quality” binoculars (EDG 10x32, several Leica UV) I think it’s true that the MHG are a significant step down in terms of mechanical quality and exterior materials. However, I don’t think they are out of line with other mid level / sub alpha binoculars (of which I’ve had several).

On my sample the focus knob is smooth and precise and well damped with zero free play or slop. Is it as luxurious as the EDG focus knob? No way, however it feels not that dissimilar in quality from Zeiss Conquest HD or Tract Toric in smoothness and precision. Similarly, the exterior finish is nice but it’s clearly cheaper than the EDG in materials quality. The eyecups on mine lock solidly at the detents, there’s a little bit of wiggle but they don’t slip from the position in the field. But they don’t have the silky lab grade precision of the EDG eyecups, and the rubber material is not as soft and smooth to the touch.

But the EDG are over 2x the price at retail.

Among the $1K class, the European brands tend to have the best build from my experience. Meopta and Minox specifically stand out. The Kamakura cousins are hit and miss, lots of sample variation. A good sample feels really good, but you can still feel the difference in overall mechanical and material quality vs a $2K alpha. As you should.

I also don’t doubt there are some standout brands in the mid price tier like Hawke and GPO which go above and beyond the price point in this respects. But are they going to show the consistency of sample variation and long term reliability of the MHG?

I will also note that the impression of “build quality” of the MHG probably is biased by how insanely LIGHT they are. There was a thread a while back about “density”, and the MHG 42 is the least “dense” premium binocular I’ve ever heals. It’s almost surprising how light they are when you hold them, and with the super thin faux leather skin it can certainly give an impression of them being “flimsy”. But does the fact that the Conquest HD has much thicker rubber armor make them “better” in build quality? Or do they just feel heavier and thicker in the hand so you assume they are more robust?

Good post. I owned a set of the MHGs for awhile when they first came out and I'd agree with you the build is on par with others in their price range. Folks need to keep in mind Nikon didn't design these as a fully armored tank like the Meostars, but rather a very light weight glass, as you pointed out.

The only downside I found with mine is the diopter lock ring didn't really 'lock' with a click, but just slid up and down. Other than that I thought they were very nicely done.

I feel the earlier description of them being 'built like a $300 glass' is a fair bit off the mark.
 

Ries

Well-known member
Good post. I owned a set of the MHGs for awhile when they first came out and I'd agree with you the build is on par with others in their price range. Folks need to keep in mind Nikon didn't design these as a fully armored tank like the Meostars, but rather a very light weight glass, as you pointed out.

I feel the earlier description of them being 'built like a $300 glass' is a fair bit off the mark.
I agree. They really seem designed to be light and not as one you can ride over with a truck or drop multiple times on concrete from your home's roof. The light weight with nice to the touch armor to me seems to be made to feel more expensive than they actually are. A cheap feel is understandable as a subjective comparison to heavier, more solidly built glasses. I also am not so sure about the actual ruggedness of these glasses. They probably are as they feel; not as tanklike as Meostar, Conquest or old Trinovid. But they might actually be stronger than they feel...? They're not stupid at Nikon's.

I also agree with an earlier comment the focus wheel goes quite stiff, but smooth though. To me it's the only minus on a bin that has very nice handling. Every time I hold them, the leather feels nice, and when I lift them I'm pleasantly surprised by their light weight. But when I need to go from a raptor far off to a butterfly closeby my fingers have a bit of a hard time.
 

Upland

Well-known member
Can't speak to the 42's..... but in regards to the 30-32 range....the Hawke doesn't hold a candle to the MHG.... I would place the it third in the mid size range behind the Opticron Traveler (great little bin), the Maven, then the Hawk. The MHG is more akin to the other $900 bins.

This thread is about the Hawke APO and MHG. Hawke doesn’t make a 32 mm APO so comparing the 32 mm ED X to the HG is apples to oranges. I’ve owned the Mavens and my wife has the Travellers. I wouldn’t rate them any higher than the ED X which controls glare better than either. What is evident to me from having owned both the EDX and HG is that the Hawkes have a much better focus wheel and eyecups. The focus wheel is one off the best I’ve had on any glass and the eycups click securely in every position and are removable for cleaning.

So for me the big questions remains how the APO optics will compare to the HG. If they are close or better they will be an outstanding buy because they will be cheaper and better built.
 

dries1

Member
Well, I hope the best for Hawke, it is a tough business making binoculars and obtaining a profit.
The Nikon is a well built glass, I have owned the 8X42 since inception, and feel they could have done a better job with the diopter and lock, other than that a wide view and light weight, for less than $1000. I have no regrets, none what so ever. Light weight is not always defined as cheap.

Andy W.
 

dries1

Member
I believe they have sold tons more HGs than Kowa has sold in their entire line up, or Hawke could ever dream. It is obvious that you do not like Nikon, now that is over with - settled.

Andy W.
 

Xlr8n

Well-known member
Seem to be lots of refurbished HGs around. Poor QC or just not good quality to begin with?

Many items sold under a "refurbished" label are simply open box store returns or demos. They get an inspection, cleaning if needed, and re-sold.

No conspiracy theory needed. ;)
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
This thread is about the Hawke APO and MHG. Hawke doesn’t make a 32 mm APO so comparing the 32 mm ED X to the HG is apples to oranges. I’ve owned the Mavens and my wife has the Travellers. I wouldn’t rate them any higher than the ED X which controls glare better than either. What is evident to me from having owned both the EDX and HG is that the Hawkes have a much better focus wheel and eyecups. The focus wheel is one off the best I’ve had on any glass and the eycups click securely in every position and are removable for cleaning.

So for me the big questions remains how the APO optics will compare to the HG. If they are close or better they will be an outstanding buy because they will be cheaper and better built.

Dah....I realize that as I mentioned that early on.....
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top