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Nikon Monarch M7, Hawke Frontier HD or Kowa BDII XD for the aged of sixty? All in 8x30 (1 Viewer)

Lazze

Member
Sweden
Hey all,

I hope one or more of you will be kind enough to give your views on my question.

I realize that the competence here is far above my own, and also that your expectations and requirements are on a completely different level than my own - despite this, or perhaps precisely because of this, I would appreciate your commitment based on my horizon.

The story is that we are a couple in our sixties who are going to buy an all-round binocular for our needs. I understand that no binoculars are suitable for all uses and that the optimal thing is to have different binoculars for different purposes. Despite this, we have settled on 8x30 being the size we plan to buy (considering portability, image stability and lighting conditions). I also wish for eye relief for "normal" glasses and a robust construction with good ergonomics.

Our intended use is:

- from the kitchen window towards the bird feeders in the garden during the winter

- along for hikes in the countryside during the summer, mostly during the day but also at dusk here in Scandinavia

- with the motorhome during the summer, view of the archipelago and water, landscape, cities and more.

The budget is modest, the low exchange rate for our currency does not make matters better. SEK4000 corresponds to approximately €360/$390, which is our pain limit.

After much reading online, I have found three binoculars of interest and would like your comments, tailored to our use, age and experience/skills. Prices listed are the lowest I have found on our market right now.

  • Nikon Monarch M7 8x30, €309/$338
    (I'm a little worried that it's not made of metal)

  • Hawke Frontier HD X 8x32, €328/$359
    (Equivalent in ED costs €513/$562)

  • Kowa BDII XD 8x32, €357/$390

Of course, I plan to try all three to create my own "picture" of comfort and experience, but I greatly appreciate all comments and opinions.

Sincerely
Lars-Olof Nilsson

PS
Should I ask the same question in the Hawke and Kowa threads as well?
DS
 
The Opticron would be my first choice - my wife uses one, and whenever I use it, it does not feel like a significant "step down" in terms of image and build quality than my Zeiss FL ($1800 binocular when new). It also has very good eye relief. I've not tried the other three you mention, but I can vouch for the Hawke warranty - a friend of mine has only used Hawke binoculars since 2010, and has had repairs or a replacement within a week on the occasions where his binoculars have developed a fault.
Hopefully others will be able to add more opinions - though the best advice anyone can give is to try them all yourself, and pick which works the best for you!
 
Sorry,
Just saw in a parallel thread that Optricon was high recommended, so I'm adding a fourth(!) option:
  • Optricon Traveler BGA ED 8x32, €357/$390
Sincerely
Lars-Olof Nilsson
I have the Opticron Verano, which is more recent than the Traveler and a step above in the Opticron model line-up ..... but it can often be bought for similar prices to the Traveler.

From the reviews I have read on BF (I don't have both to compare myself), the Verano is better optically, is made in Japan (if that matters to you); the Traveller has a marginally wider FoV, but smaller sweetspot, with more glare.

Another option to suggest at a lower price point:

And before all the naysayers jump in to criticise this ..... I have probably £10000 worth of optics to choose from and I use this regularly ..... it is not quite at the Verano level (smaller sweetspot), but not far off and more than useable.

Here is Neil's review (this is in his book too) and it has gained a good following:
There are multiple sizes and some comparisons against other bins too ... Trailseeker, Frontier etc.
 
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The Opticron would be my first choice - my wife uses one, and whenever I use it, it does not feel like a significant "step down" in terms of image and build quality than my Zeiss FL ($1800 binocular when new). It also has very good eye relief. I've not tried the other three you mention, but I can vouch for the Hawke warranty - a friend of mine has only used Hawke binoculars since 2010, and has had repairs or a replacement within a week on the occasions where his binoculars have developed a fault.
Hopefully others will be able to add more opinions - though the best advice anyone can give is to try them all yourself, and pick which works the best for you!
Thank you very much for your recommendation and the story about the Hawke's guarantee.

Maybe it is the case that all these four binoculars will be perceived as equivalent optically, and that the decision is more about my experience of handling, feeling when touching, eyecups and accessories?

On this forum I suspect aesthetics are irrelevant, but I have to admit that I think the Hawk Frontier 8x32 is a nice looking scope.

Sincerely
Lars-Olof
 
I have the Opticron Verano, which is more recent than the Traveler and a step above in the Opticron model line-up ..... but it can often be bought for similar prices to the Traveler.

From the reviews I have read on BF (I don't have both to compare myself), the Verano is better optically, is made in Japan (if that matters to you); the Traveller has a marginally wider FoV, but smaller sweetspot, with more glare.

Another option to suggest at a lower price point:

And before all the naysayers jump in to criticise this ..... I have probably £10000 worth of optics to choose from and I use this regularly ..... it is not quite at the Verano level (smaller sweetspot), but not far off and more than useable.

Here is Neil's review (this is in his book too) and it has gained a good following:
There are multiple sizes and some comparisons against other bins too ... Trailseeker, Frontier etc.
Many thanks for your opinion.

Instinctively, of course, MIJ feels better than MIC (for many different reasons, without going deeper into it here and now). Unfortunately, the best price in my market I can find right now on the Verano BGA VHD 8x32 is €482/$528, which is over my budget.

Oh! Never heard of Svbony before, but the review by Neil wasn't bad! I'll have to study this option more, thanks for the tip :)

I can't find a retailer in Sweden, except for Amazon, which for the Svbony SV202 8x32 charges the equivalent of €161/$176. The question is whether this binocular has the best value for the price, or if it is also the best binocular of the now five binoculars I have on the list?

Sincerely
Lars
 

I will confidently say the the sv202 betters the Trailseeker .... Which scores 1.6 in this shootout.
You can place the sv202 in this graphic, based on the price and judge for yourself.
 
With these options in the budget range, one should realize sample variation is quite common. One should seek to get the best option for after sales service, Opticron or Vortex and likely Hawke also.
 
With these options in the budget range, one should realize sample variation is quite common. One should seek to get the best option for after sales service, Opticron or Vortex and likely Hawke also.
Classic BF post.....

On what factual basis did you make this statement?

I can find far more reports on BF of problems on mid and high level, including premium models and brands, than the budget models. Just look at something like a £800 Zeiss Conquest... There are numerous reports of focuser problems and they go back many years..... Or Swaro armour..... Or Kowa BD focusers.... Or roof prism spikes on multiple makes and models ...

In terms of warranty, read Nikon reports.... as an example. This would put me off the make.

If the OP buys a bin, then he can try it and if there is a problem, he can return and ask for a replacement or refund. AFAIK This applies to all bins and countries.
In terms of warranty, I agree it is not easy to determine who handles the problems better and often it is down to individuals in the locality. Length and conditions of warranty all vary, don't assume a big brand is 'better' than a small maker, eg SVBONY or Barr & Stroud to cite 2 examples of good budget bins that have many happy customers.
 
Can you elaborate ? On what factual basis did you make this statement?
No. Don't start.... I'm not Dennis. If you don't like my views, then ignore them.

The rationale for my challenge of the post is written in my reply. You can research and build a statistical graphic of what bins, makes, etc have most complaints if you so wish.

Happy to discuss optics and associated topics.
 
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No. Don't start.... I'm not Dennis. If you don't like my views, then ignore them.

The rationale for my challenge of the post is written in my reply. You can research and build a statistical graphic of what bins, makes, etc have most complaints if you so wish.

Happy to discuss optics and associated topics.
I'm not starting anything . Dries made a good point about sample variation being quite common with cheaper binoculars and I believe it to be true. Yes it's true that occasionally the more expensive bins have issues but no where near as bad as the inexpensive stuff .
You most certainly did not need to insult Dries by posting his post and labelling it "Classic BF post....." .
 
I'm not starting anything . Dries made a good point about sample variation being quite common with cheaper binoculars and I believe it to be true. Yes it's true that occasionally the more expensive bins have issues but no where near as bad as the inexpensive stuff .
You most certainly did not need to insult Dries by posting his post and labelling it "Classic BF post....." .
albie,

No worries, SV Boner (I mean SV Bony) binoculars will be gone in a couple of years.
 
Tack för din input och kommentarer.

Jag har inget sätt att köpa premiumkikare, men vill inte köpa den lägsta budgeten heller.

Jag har nu beställt tre kikare med avsikten att behålla en av dem:
  • Nikon Monarch M7 8x30
  • Hawke Frontier HD X 8x32
  • Optricon Traveler BGA ED 8x32.
Min fru och jag kommer att prova alla tre under lite olika förhållanden. Jag misstänker att vårt val kommer att styras väldigt mycket av hur vi upplever själva hanteringen av kikaren, bildmässigt kanske vi som noviser inte märker så stor skillnad?

Min förhoppning är att jag inte kan märka någon försämring med Hawke, som är den enda av de tre utan ED-glasögon. Det ska bli spännande att prova dessa, känna hur de hanterar, titta på väskor, remmar och så vidare.

Återkommer med mina lekmannareflektioner.

Sincerely Lars
 
Or as we say in BF-speak:
Thanks for your input and comments.

I have no way to buy premium binoculars, but don't want to buy the lowest budget either.

I have now ordered three binoculars with the intention of keeping one of them:
Nikon Monarch M7 8x30
Hawke Frontier HD X 8x32
Optricon Traveler BGA ED 8x32.
My wife and I will try all three under slightly different conditions. I suspect that our choice will be guided very much by how we experience the actual handling of the binoculars, image-wise maybe we as novices don't notice that much of a difference?

My hope is that I can't notice any deterioration with Hawke, who is the only one of the three without ED glasses. It will be exciting to try these, feel how they handle, look at bags, straps and so on.

Will return with my layman's reflections.

Sincerely Lars

(And thank you to Google Translate. SW)
 
Well, now I'm sitting here with four unopened packages...
  • Nikon Monarch M7 8x30, €309/$338
  • Hawke Frontier HD X 8x32, €328/$359
  • Optricon Traveler BGA ED 8x32, €357/$390
  • GPO Passion ED 8x32, €405/$448
Completely subjective. Without even seeing, much less feeling or looking through, any of the binoculars in real life, I've still ranked them in my favorite order:
  • GPO Passion ED
  • Hawke Frontier HD
  • Optricon Traveler BGA ED
  • Nikon Monarch M7
If anyone is willing to comment on my list (what is it really based on?), you are most welcome :)

If anyone has thoughts on the best price/performance, that is also welcome.

I will return, as time goes by, with my thoroughly subjective and unscientific review of these four binos. No threat - see it as a promise ;-)

Sincerely
Lars
 

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Packaging
Initially, it can be stated that the companies want to send completely different signals with their packaging, see photo in the previous post.

GPO and Hawk want to signal exclusivity and quality (strong and very stable cartons with lids that can be lifted off), Nikon and Opticron radiate more standard products with its simple packaging.

Opticron can, with the smallest and thinnest cardboard, ride on an environmental approach. The most binoculars per volume unit gives the lowest shipping cost but also the lowest environmental footprint.

Continuation follows.
//Lars
 
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