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Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 vs Zeiss SFL 8x40 (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
If anyone has any experience of comparing the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 vs Zeiss SFL 8x40 I would be interested to know their thoughts prior to testing them out myself. My main concerns are a full size quality lightweight binocular as I carry heavy camera gear and these 2 appear very similar on paper with a significant difference in price. Is the quality of their view and ergonomics really that different?

Thanks in advance
I have done so, but only my MHG 10x42 vs an SFL 10x40 at my local store, and only for a short time. There was no doubt that the image of the SFL was somewhat sharper, and the colors just seemed truer.

I didn't notice any substantial difference in ergonomics. SFL had good eye relief as I wear glasses for birding, and the focus was smoother than on the store model than a demo pair I tried at a festival.

I don't use 10x that much, so the nearly 2x price difference didn't make me want to jump. Yet...

Personally, I think the MHG line is one that sits at the sweet spot of price vs birding-enjoyment-delivered.
This is a good question, and has anyone else compared these ? I really like the Nikon MHG models, I have the
8x42 and 10x42. Now looking more at the 8x30 size. As I get older I do see the advantages of 8 power.
I also like Zeiss, I don't play favorites.
And Ruff, I agree with you the Monarch HG does deliver a great view in a light weight compact package.
I’ve had an MHG 8x30 for several years now (4 maybe?) and continue to be a big fan. Despite a bit of CA and not being quite as sharp (duh) as larger more expensive 32 and 42mm alpha bins, it has great ergonomics, a great, relaxed view, and is a great birding tool that I use a ton.

I do not own either the MHG 42mm or SFL 40mm but have spent a reasonable amount of time looking through MHG 8x42 and had a few quicker sessions with the SFL in 8x40 and 10x40, and my impression is that, at least in the 40mm category, the SFL essentially duplicates the ergonomics of the MHGs, which is a good thing in my opinion. Color and sharpness seem superior in the SFL and glare control seemed at least as good if not better. Enough so that I’m pondering selling my 10x42 NL and swapping to a 10x40 SFL.

I finally have an SFL 8x30 on the way and have high hopes for it, I expect it to essentially be a direct-swap upgrade to my MHG 8x30, but time will tell, it needs to arrive first :)
I’m a big fan of the MHG 8x42. Used one for years as my go-to woods and warbler glass. They are very bright and crisp, with a wide FOV. But to me what always set them apart was their minimal weight and handling for a 42mm glass - just superb in this respect. When the Maven B1.2 was introduced I tried one out via their demo program. The Maven was a fine glass but found I still preferred the view of the MHG, the big difference to me was in color-saturation. The MHG maintained its status as my woods glass until it was supplanted with the introduction of the SFL.

But that’s kind of how it goes. To me the SFL is enough of an upgrade to nudge me out of the MHG and into the next price class. The big difference in view is mainly in the very natural colors of the SFL along with deeper color saturation, and it handles glare a bit better. The view captured me from the very first look. Since I owned both of these binoculars there was plenty of time for comparison. In addition to the view I find the overall handling fairly close, but very much prefer the SFL focuser and haptics, and find the skin of the SFL far more pleasing to the touch. Adding up all of the minor advantages using the SFL generates a slightly more pleasant experience than the MHG. To me it was worth the upgrade.

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