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Nikon Monarch Fieldscope 60ED-A + MEP 30-60W Review (1 Viewer)


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Though the 60mm Nikon Monarch Fieldscope had been officially discontinued at Nikon Japan's website and B&H photo in 2022, they are still available at various dealers in Europe and USA. Sold out at Kyoei-Osaka. It seems appropriate to add my humble review of the fine 60mm scope after using it for 2 years and the wide angle 2x zoom eyepiece MEP 30-60W (using 6 months and counting) for birdwatchers seeking an upper mid-range spotting scope as they can still be found.

The scope with eyepiece is just under 32cm lengthwise. Rotating collar has a large knob (good!) and thick solid tripod leg but with only one camera plate screw hole (why only one?) and two smaller holes for anti-rotation pins (not shown). Barrel focuser's rubber appears of high quality and is smooth to rotate. Rubber armor around prism housing is so-so, probably will start peeling off on its own. Note length of camera plate attached and the rear half of the soft cover I mutilated:


View of the eyepiece, only Low and High magnification markings:


The combination gives 24-48x magnification range with 60-72° AFOV with stated eye-relief of [email protected]@48x for the eyepiece. Close focus is stated to be 3.3m. Pushing up my spectacles on my face allows me to see the full 60° AFOV at 24x and most of the 72° AFOV at 48x. A little dark areas due to the field stop can be seen when digiscoping with a handphone at 60° AFOV, none at 72° AFOV when positioned properly. Compare the 9:16 FHD 60 FPS short video clips of an Olive-backed Sunbird at 24x and at 48x taken with a Samsung Galaxy A52s, pro-video mode, manual focus setting & using the scope focuser and hand-held. Only video trimming was done to get the file size under 20MB. As always, the actual image is much better when looking through with own eyes. Non intrusive CA starting from about 50% away from centre of view and image is effectively sharp to the edges. Other technicalities such as distortions I'm not an expert to go into them. Star tests with this 2x wide angle zoom and the fixed magnification MEP 38W 75°AFOV eyepiece showed no noticeable optical defects (throughout the zoom range of the MEP 30-60W as well).

Olive-backed Sunbird at 24x:
View attachment OliveBacked_Sunbird_24x_JLG_25022023.mp4

Olive-backed Sunbird at 48x:
View attachment OliveBacked_Sunbird_48x_JLG_25022023.mp4

I'm sure the bigger monarch 82ED-A provides a much better image and details. What's not to like about the 60mm monarch?
(1) It is heavy due to the oversized Schmidt prism. 1250g for the scope, 400g for the MEP 30-60W eyepiece.
(2) Minimal rubber armor around the prism housing. I actually prefer the lack of rubber.
(3) Back heavy and you need a long camera plate to properly balance. Note I mount my scope to the side of a ball head as an improvised gimbal.
(4) Barrel focus is awkward when digiscoping, especially hand-held. No problems during normal visual use.
(5) Limited low light performance.

I'll post a series of hand-held video clips of birds at various distances and lighting conditions to demonstrate what the scope can do and cannot do well.

Zitting Cisticola @48x at about 4m:
View attachment Zitting_Cisticola_48x_MED_21042023.mp4

Malaysian Pied-Fantail in the bamboo shade @48x, about 4m:
View attachment MalaysianPied_Fantail_48x_JLG_25022023.mp4

Malaysian Plover Female @48x, about 15m, 637pm local time:
View attachment Malaysian_Plover_48x_MED_26052023.mp4

White Throated Kingfisher @48x, maybe 15m, late afternoon on tree:
View attachment WhiteThroated_Kingfisher_48x_JLG_25022023.mp4

Yellow-Fronted Canary with audible calls @48x, 20m?:
View attachment YellowFronted_Canary_48x_JE_10022023.mp4

Common Flameback Woodpecker @48x, large branch up in tree canopy:
View attachment FlameBack_Woodpecker_48x_DairyFarm_13052023.mp4

Little Grebe @48x, probably 20m away in flooded abandoned fish pond:
View attachment Little_Grebe_48x_PasirRisFarmWay1_11022023.mp4

Pin-tailed Whydahs @~30x courtship, about 10m open field:
View attachment PinTailed_Whydah_30x_PasirRisFarmWay3_28052023.mp4

Pin-tailed Whydah Male @48x, about 12m? open field:
View attachment PinTailed_Whydah_48x_PasirRisFarmWay3_28052023.mp4

Hope my thoughts and experiences with the 60mm monarch can be of use.
Nicely done, Katerin!

I too have the 30-60 zoom for my 82mm - very pleased. I haven't explored the video aspect, but your efforts make me want to give it a try!
Hi Katerin! assuming that you based in SG :) ... do you know if some seller is still offering Nikon Monarch 82ED in Singapore? There's one in KL, but not sure about SG

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