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Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 vs Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 (1 Viewer)

Solar Cycles

Well-known member
I’ve now decided after ordering several 8x32 models I need to go with 8x42’s.

I now have the Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 along with the Diamondbacks HD 8x42. I’ve got them both for 14 days before I make a decision which one is right for me.

There’s really not much in them as far as I can see, I don’t really suffer from seeing much chromatic aberration so this isn’t an issue for me. Both binoculars deliver an equally bright image with sharpness appearing much the same through the image. One thing of note ( bar FOV ) I do find a difference is the magnification on both of these. The Monarchs appear to my eyes to be more like a 10x, is this down to the narrower FOV or some other factor?
 

Bob_McBob

Well-known member
FWIW I also initially ordered the Monarch 5 8x42 as my first serious set of binoculars, and I also returned them after trying binoculars with a wider FOV. The view is so much more comfortable I would never go back, and I'd absolutely take the Diamondbacks over the M5.
 

Solar Cycles

Well-known member
FWIW I also initially ordered the Monarch 5 8x42 as my first serious set of binoculars, and I also returned them after trying binoculars with a wider FOV. The view is so much more comfortable I would never go back, and I'd absolutely take the Diamondbacks over the M5.
Thanks Bob.
I was surprised how little there is between them optically, with the omission of ED glass in the Diamondbacks not really an issue as I couldn’t differentiate between the two. I’m sure the more knowledgeable amongst you would be able to mind you.🙂
 

Los1223

Member
United States
I currently have both the Vortex Diamondback HD and Nikon Monarch 5 in 8x42 so thought I would share my experience in hopes that it helps someone down the line.

The Diamondback has a considerable larger FOV which makes it easier to find birds when looking through them. Definitely a plus, especially for people with limited experience with binoculars as you'll spend less time trying to get the bird in view. They are made of metal so they feel more durable, but are a little heavier. They are warranted for life, even if it's your fault. So you have peace of mind knowing vortex will take care of you if anything happens to them.

The Monarch's focus is much better in my opinion. With the Diamondbacks, it feels like the depth of focus is really shallow. I'm always tweaking the focus to get a sharp image. If the bird backs up a few inches, I have to adjust the focus. Where as with the Monarchs, the focus depth feels wider and more forgiving. I find I have to adjust the focus far less often on the Monarch. I can take entire steps in/out without my target getting out of focus. The Monarch also has a faster, smoother focus wheel. Going from 10 ft out to 100 ft out on the Monarch is a quick 1/4 turn and I'm locked on the bird, where as with the Diamondbacks it's more like a half turn, then have to tweak it to get it sharp. The stiffer focus wheel of the Diamondback also makes it slow to turn, so I often miss birds trying to get them in focus. The Monarchs are made of plastic so are lighter, which makes them more comfortable after long periods looking through them but probably not as durable as the Diamondbacks. They are only warranted against manufacturing defects, so you're probably out of luck if you break them. It also only applies to the original owner, which could be a consideration if buying used.

Both offer comparable image quality.

Bottom line, it's easier to get birds in view with the Diamondbacks because of the wider FOV, but once you have the bird in view, it's easier to get and keep sharp focus with the Monarchs. I enjoy using the Monarchs more because I spend less time focusing and more time enjoying the view and the lighter weight means I can spend more time looking through them before my arms start to tire.
 
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Dr. K

Well-known member
United States
I have the monarch 5 and had the monarch 7, both in 8x42. No question, the 7 is great and the narrow fov in the 5 is a letdown. Luckily for new buyers, with the release of the M7, many Monarch 7s are appearing on eBay. If I were you I would return both and wait for a deal on a Monarch 7 8x42.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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