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

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Review / Test Hawke Frontier APO 10x42 vs Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 (1 Viewer)


Hello friends of nature and optics,

I have been reading the forum, learned a lot and selected my Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 based on your posts about 1 year ago. Now I have purchased a new binocular Hawke Frontier APO 10x42 to complement the Nikon 8x42. I want to give something back to the members of the forum and therefore wrote a comparative report. I can only use my existing Nikon Monarch HG 8x42. At places where "apples and oranges" appear, I point this out. The binoculars Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 are called Nikon MHG, the Hawke Frontier APO 10x42 is called Hawke APO. This review is very dry, a comparison report in nature is planned. English is not my native language. Forum software allowed me only 10k signs for one post. Therefore several posts.

Significant technical data (according to manufacturer) of Hawke Frontier APO 10x42:
Mass: 740 g / 26.1 oz
Eye Relief: 17 mm
IPD: 58 - 78 mm
Close focus: 2.0 m / 6.6 ft
FoV: 7.1 degrees / 124 m / 1000 m or 372ft / 1000yds
AFoV (7.1 degrees x 10): 71 degrees
AFoV (ISO 14132-1:2002): 63.6 degrees (manufacturer's specification is missing, therefore self-calculated)
Special informations from the manufacturer:
flat field vision, APO-lenses, ED-glass, dieelectric mirror coating on BAK4-prisms, water repellent lens coatings, exchangeable eyecups (twist-up), housing magnesium alloy, filled with nitrogen, waterproof (numbers or protection class according to ISO 20563 / IPX...)
Website (UK): https://uk.hawkeoptics.com/frontier-apo-10x42-binocular-green.html
Hawke Frontier APO 8x42: https://uk.hawkeoptics.com/frontier-apo-8x42-binocular-green.html

Significant technical data (according to manufacturer) of Nikon Monarch HG 10x42:
Mass: 680 g / 24 oz
Eye Relief: 17 mm
IPD: 56 - 74 mm
Close focus: 2.0 m / 6.6 ft
FoV: 6.9 degrees / 121 m / 1000 m or 362 ft / 1000yds
AFoV (6.9 degrees x 10): 69 degrees
AFoV (ISO 14132-1:2002: 62.2 degrees
Special informations from the manufacturer:
field flattener, locking diopter, waterproof 5 m / < 10 minutes (The binoculars are well known, further details unnecessary)
Website (USA): https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-products/product/binoculars/monarch-hg-10x42.html
Review of allbinos.com: https://www.allbinos.com/314-binoculars_review-Nikon_Monarch_HG_10x42.html

Comparison binoculars, significant technical data (according to manufacturer) of Nikon Monarch HG 8x42:
mass: 665 g / 23.5 oz
Eye Relief: 17,8 mm
IPD: 56 - 74 mm
Close focus: 2.0 m / 6.6 ft
FoV: 8.3 degrees / 145 m / 1000 m or 435 ft / 1000yds
AFoV (8.3 degrees x 8): 66.4 degrees
AFoV (ISO 14132-1:2002): 60.3 degrees

I did not find specs from websites of both companies about dioptre compensation, overrun/overtravel to infinity for nearsighted people without spectacles / eye glasses / contact lenses and no guaranteed operating temperature range in the specifications (websites). In the enclosed certificate with serial number of the Hawke APO I can read operating temperatures from -15 to +55 degrees Celsius, waterproof to IPX7 (1 m / < 30 min). Storage temperatures from -40 to + 70 degrees Celsius. Among other things, resolution, light transmission and Strehl Ratio were ticked on in the certificate - but without numbers.

Testing of mechanics, haptics, finish and ergonomics of the Hawke APO
The armouring is not very structured but has a good grip. I was able to hold the binoculars securely even with intentionally moistened hands and could operate them well with gloves. The armouring is cleanly processed, there are no gaps, the armouring is drawn over the entire chassis. Burrs are not noticeable. The attempt to twist the reinforcement in relation to the chassis shows that the reinforcement was glued exactly and over the entire surface. I find the structuring of the reinforcement of the Nikon MHG more pleasant than the smooth reinforcement of the Hawke APO. Folding bridge and dioptre compensation are easy to operate and sufficiently inhibited so that unintentional adjustment is hardly possible. The dioptre compensation has no locking mechanism. The zero value is difficult to detect. Users with partners should apply white color dots for the special needs of two persons (setting easily repeatable for each observer). A 9-digit serial number is affixed to a plastic label under the bridge. No country of manufacture or assembly is visible. The binoculars look very simple in construction, reminds me of pre-series models. Compared to the photos on the manufacturer's website, the color of the binoculars is warmer, dark green, not so cold-green and therefore more beautiful for me than on photo by Hawke. The stirrups for the carrying strap are remarkably large and thick, edges are hardly rounded. This suggests a long durability of the stirrups - but the carrying belt (neck strap) should be checked for chafe marks from time to time. The conspicuously large and somewhat sharp-edged eyelets could bother some users when holding binoculars in the appropriate positions. However, even long camera straps with up to 12 mm wide ends will fit - and threading in straps with 10 mm wide ends is easy. The protective caps for the lenses are attached inside the tubes, which provides better protection against rain than protective caps attached to the outer surfaces of the tubes. The protective caps do not fall off as easily unintentionally as with the Nikon Monarch HG. The protective caps for objectives and eyepieces are made of soft, thin and tight-fitting rubber material. Rainguard / protective caps (inculsive rain protection for the eyepieces) are therefore more difficult to attach than with the Nikon MHG. A tripod connection is available, the whole ist closed with a plastic screw. The tubes are 7 mm longer than the outer surface of the outer objective lens (Nikon 9 mm). It is a pleasure to unpack Hawke binoculars: The accessories, especially the hard case, are of high quality. The carrying strap is contoured and can therefore be worn lower than uncontoured straps. The Hawke manufacturer's website shows the accessories well.

The Hawke APO focuses from far to near in a clockwise direction, the Nikon in the opposite direction. There is an overstroke (focus range to infinity) of the Hawke APO for short-sighted observers without glasses, I focused the moon and could see it very blurred as expected when turning further towards infinity - similar to Nikon MHG. The roller for focusing the Hawke APO has a diameter of 32 mm and unfortunately about 1 mm tangential clearance (i.e. clearance in circumference/direction of rotation). The focusing roller is 24 mm long, easy to reach and very smooth running: Astronomers and hunters who also want a fixed distance (infinity, hyperfocal distance, presumed shooting distance in the dark) can easily change the desired and preset distance by mistake. Birdwatchers with distances that need to be changed frequently will probably get along well with the ease of movement, especially since a 10x42 has a shallower depth of field than an 8x42 and therefore needs to be rotated more frequently. The smooth-running focusing supports operation with gloves. The focusing roller is equipped with two grooved, well-structured rubber rings. Focusing is very "fast", the angle of rotation over the entire rotation range is between 340 and 350 degrees, i.e. a little less than 1 revolution. The focusing runs with almost constant but low resistance (escapement, friction) and noiseless. The sharpness snaps in, either really sharp or very blurred, hardly any "nuances". On the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42 the angle of rotation over the entire range is about 570 degrees, more than 1.5 revolutions. The focusing of the Hawke APO runs with almost even inhibition (damping, friction) after some use and almost noiseless. I consider the focusing of the Nikon to be better because "slower", greater and slightly more even, constant resistance when turning over the whole range of adjustment.
Last edited:


Eyepieces and eyecups
In the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42, the diameter of the outer lenses of the eyepieces is about 23 mm, the adjustment range of the eyecups is 9 mm, and the outer diameter is 41 mm with an almost cylindrical shape. There are locking steps with 2 intermediate positions, the locking is exact, "crisp". In the Hawke Frontier APO 10x42, the diameter of the outer lenses of the eyepieces is about 24 mm, the adjustment range of the eyecups 8 mm, the outer diameter between 43 and 45 mm due to a chamfer. There are also detent steps with 2 intermediate positions, the detent is less powerful, somewhat "spongy". The eye cups have a right-hand thread and can be unscrewed and easily replaced by the user. (With the Nikon I did not find any manufacturer's data for this and therefore did not test it). The differences of the eyecups have the following effect for me: I observe without glasses. With many tried, modern roof prisms binoculars (in contrast to old, classic porros) I experience shading due to physiognomy, "kidney beans", the adjustment range or the length or diameter of the eyecups is too small. I support the Nikon below the eyebrows to increase the distance between the binoculars and the eye lens. I can place the eyecups of the Hawke APO fully in the eye sockets without shading. So I was happy to take a little air jump for joy: I keep the 10x42 just as steady as my 8x42 with this kind of support. I see the main reason for this in the unusually large outer diameter of the eyecups of the Hawke APO, which fits my physiognomy well. The not so exact locking of the eyecups in intermediate positions is not important for me as a non-glasses wearer. Spectacle wearers should also have little problems with this, because the rotation of the twist-up eyecups is inhibited by a little friction and despite a soft, somewhat "spongy" detent, the eyecups at least do not move too easily unintentionally.

Interior, visibility of edges of roof prisms
An examination of the binoculars with insight into the objectives with the help of a flashlight shows that both binoculars have several tiny dust grains on inner lenses (especially focusing lenses), but the Hawke APO has slightly more than the Nikon. Both binoculars have a medium gray, metallic shimmering, probably untreated ring inside. The inner buffles ("false light traps") of both binoculars are multiple and elaborately designed, dull dark gray to anthracite colored. On the Nikon MHG the riffling is finer in places - but also shinier. Number and complexity of the apertures are similar, differences cannot be judged. Despite extensive searches against different colored backgrounds, with different light incidence and focus settings, no roof edges of the roof prisms are visible. This is a characteristic for high quality prisms. With cheap binoculars you can often see the bright radial lines across the entire diameter when looking into the objectives against middle brown or middle green or middle grey backgounds

Veiling glare, false light under bright sun
First, the objectives and eyepieces of both binoculars were carefully cleaned. When comparing the binoculars at a maximum sun elevation of seasonal and local/geographical 20 degrees (midday sun), cloudless sky and bright sunshine and observation around the horizontal, both binoculars show veiling glare over the entire field of view. This is easily recognizable by a veil over the entire field of view and a clearly visible reduction in contrast when viewing a high, dark green hedge. The angle to the sun until the veil glare begins is clearly smaller with the Hawke APO 10x42 (FoV = 7.1 degrees) than with the Nikon MHG 8x42 (FoV = 8.3 degrees). Because of the different real angles of view of the compared binoculars I cannot make an evaluation. However, the bright sun is outside the viewing angles of both binoculars in this evaluation.
The area/range of the crescent-shaped glare at the edge of the field of view with intentionally unfavorable (too low) orientation is similarly large with both binoculars, but a bit brighter with the Hawke APO and more sharply limited reflexes (flashes) are produced when panning the binoculars approximately horizontally. A comparative evaluation of the binoculars regarding crescent-shaped glare is not useful because of different diameters of the exit pupils.


Veiling glare, false light with bright, overcast sky
As expected, veiling glare over the entire field of view does not occur under these lighting conditions. An examination of the crescent-shaped glare under cloudy skies with diffuse light and a view against dark green conifers and hedges of life trees and thus widely opened eye pupils, which thus occupy a large area of the binoculars' exit pupils, shows that both binoculars show similarly large and similarly intense crescent-shaped glare, easily provoked and easily corrected by correcting the alignment of the eyepieces to the eye. With the Hawke APO 10x42, the effect occurs more frequently during panning than with the Nikon MHG 8x42, due to the different diameters of the exit pupils. A comparative evaluation is not useful.

Veiling glare, false light with diffuse morning sun (broken clouds in front of sun)
A test under and next to low-lying morning sun behind some clouds, i.e. very diffuse light, shows hardly any differences. Despite numerous attempts, only an easily correctable, crescent-shaped glare occurs almost without any flashes of bright reflections when panning. Due to the larger exit pupils, the Nikon MHG 8x42 can be corrected less often and more easily than the Hawke APO 10x42.

Veing glare, false light, exit pupils, surroundings of exit pupils, secondary pupils
The crescent-shaped glare at the edge of the field of view with very bright flashing reflexes when panning can be predicted by examining the exit pupils. The quality of the exit pupils and their dark surroundings is very similar in both lenses. This is one of the reasons why (besides exit pupils of different sizes) it is difficult to distinguish crescent-shaped glare when comparing by observation practice. The exit pupils are difficult to photograph without a tripod, so I looked for similar photos on the internet. The view on the eyepieces of both binoculars shows approximately the image:
In case of stronger tilting:
The eyepiece image has been significantly improved compared to the Hawke Frontier EDX:
Interesting for the derivation of veil glare from the surroundings of the exit pupils is not only the small secondary pupil directly next to the exit pupil but also a silver-colored limitation of the exit pupil with some depth when looking closely, with bright backlight from above and slight tilting of the binoculars also upwards. Both binoculars show exit pupils with a light silver-colored border and when the binoculars are tilted slightly upwards, tiny secondary pupils appear at the bottom of the exit pupils. An evaluation of the differences between the two binoculars with the naked eye is not clearly possible, the differences are too small.

Vignetting of the exit pupils
Both binoculars have slightly out-of-round exit pupils with straight viewing and bright background. Without photographic aids I can't say for sure which binocular is more pronounced. When tilting the binoculars the exit pupils move to the edge of the field of view. This results in strongly vignetted exit pupils, "cat's eye pupils". This effect is slightly more pronounced on the Nikon MHG 8x42 than on the Hawke APO 10x42. The "cat's eye pupils" of the Hawke APO are slightly rounder at the edge of the eyepieces before being cut off by the field diaphragm. Differences in brightness between the center and the edge of the field of view are not visible with normal observation of both binoculars.

Color rendering, color bias
The view in daylight with sunshine (complete color spectrum) and on a bright, gray, fully cloudy day through the lenses of both binoculars simultaneously on a white sheet of paper shows me neither color nor brightness differences. The paper appears as white as with the naked eye. There are slightest differences with different distances to the paper, sometimes the Nikon MHG is more yellowish/darker, sometimes the Hawke APO. I have never compared binoculars like this before. As expected, there are no differences when comparing the binoculars in practice: Both binoculars show me a realistic and high-contrast color rendition when comparing different colored observation objects with the naked eye and when comparing the binoculars with each other.


Light-effective, real objective diameter and magnification
Some manufacturers provide inaccurate information in data sheets. With caliper gauge, flashlight and projection of the smallest possible, circular and sharply defined circle of light on a vertical surface at a suitable distance, I measured the light-relevant diameter of the lenses with the same measuring set-up. The flashlight was about 30 cm away from the eyepiece, the projection surface about 5 cm away from the objectives. I marked the diameter of the light circle with a sharp pencil for a measurement on the projection surface several times, the smallest one was written down: If the orientation of the binoculars is not exactly horizontal, elliptical projections are created, whose smallest diameter changes less when misaligned.
Nikon MHG 8x42, effective lens diameter: 41 +/- 1 mm
Hawke APO 10x42, effective objective diameter: 39 +/- 1 mm
However I test, 2 mm difference remain. Changes of the focus have hardly any influence on the diameter of the projected circle of light, I set the focus distances the same, the same target at a distance of about 100 m and focused infinitely.
I measure the exit pupils in front of a bright background using a caliper (slide gauge) and obtain 5 mm (Nikon MHG 8x42) and 4 mm (Hawke APO 10x42) with an estimated measurement error of +/- 0.2 mm due to unavoidable parallax. The calculation of the magnification (light-relevant lens diameter / exit pupil diameter) possible with the measured values is too inaccurate to be meaningful due to the estimated measuring errors.

Ghost lights and spikes
Ghost lights while viewing bright light sources at night are caused by multiple reflections on lens surfaces within the binoculars. Reflections and ghost lights caused by multiple reflections are greatly reduced with high-quality coatings. Spikes are created on less precisely ground roof edges. When observing during the day, neither of these phenomena can be seen, but they do occur and can reduce contrast. High-quality binoculars should show these phenomena only to a limited extent. So I indirectly check the quality of coating and roof prisms. For this test I look at a bright street lamp with both binoculars. Both binoculars show such low ghost images that a distinction is not possible. However, the Hawke APO shows significantly shorter, less bright spikes than the Nikon. The quality of the coatings of the lenses is therefore similarly low-reflective, the roof prisms of the Hawke APO have apparently been ground more precisely.

Observation of the moon, representation of Jupiter, stars at the edge of the field of view
On the moon both binoculars show a very thin green rim due to lateral chromatic aberration (lateral chromatic aberration) on the rounder side of the moon when viewed off-center (> 50% of the field of view radius). Which binoculars is better is not distinguishable to the naked eye. Jupiter is shown very brightly by both binoculars, but still point-like and not outshined. In the Nikon MHG slightly redder than in the Hawke APO. The Nikon MHG displays stars without refocusing estimated to be point-like up to about 80% of the field of view radius, the Hawke APO up to about 90%. This is an estimate with handheld binoculars, lying in a deck chair, the stars "dance" a bit, I don't have a tripod. Because of the only very small blur range of both wide angle binoculars, I cannot make any serious statements whether coma or astigmatism is involved and with which binoculars these aberrations occur more strongly.

Edge blur
I check the edge blur during the day in a horizontal position of the binoculars, so I shake less than when observing stars in a deck chair. I observe very small, finely detailed objects (cones of conifers, last dried up flowers of roses) and swivel the binoculars so that the barely distinguishable fine details (scales of tree drops, petals of dried up roses) at the edge of the field of view start to become blurred. I remember the beginning of the blurring regarding field of view radius. To judge only the binoculars and to be independent of eye defects and physiognomy (looking into the binoculars with non-ideal eyecups), I also turn the binoculars by 90 degrees, so I test individually both tubes with both eyes one after the other and note the maximum of the sharp range. (With normal use of both binoculars I see the sharp area as a lying ellipse, when looking into only one tube with binoculars turned by 90 degrees I see a circular sharp area in the field of view. [1])
Nikon MHG 8x42: 80 percent of the field of view radius is sharply imaged.
Hawke APO 10x42: 90 percent of the field of view radius is sharply imaged.
I am about 60 years old, wear only reading glasses with 1.5 dpt on both sides and observe with binoculars without glasses. Younger observers with greater accommodative capacity of their eye lenses will probably notice an even lower edge blur if the field curvature is at the edge of the field of view.
Last edited:


Differences in brightness
Comparisons were made at very advanced twilight, therefore only in the range up to 100 m. Both binoculars show no practically relevant differences. A little bit better I recognized a trellis for climbing plants as well as details of a small, bright multicolored watering can (decoration with picture) in front of a dark hedge in 50 m distance with the Hawke APO 10x42, which could identify the decoration. I don't consider the difference in brightness of both 42 mm binoculars to be of practical relevance even in far advanced twilight. If you observe in such advanced twilight, it is better to choose binoculars with a lens diameter of 50 mm or more.

A comparison of astigmatism and its distinction from edge blur due to field curvature caused by refocusing in the blurred edge region is dubious because it is not clear: Both binoculars have a very small blurred range (10 and 20 percent of the field of view radius, respectively), minor differences in the beginning (difference 10 percent) and experiments with objects observed in such a small ring at the edge of the field of view do not show any results that can be seriously evaluated, especially since an extremely oblique, strenuous view is required. The low edge blur makes comparisons between binoculars in this respect uncertain and practically irrelevant.

I cannot compare the resolutions, because the human eye (smallest resolution 60 angular seconds under ideal conditions) is the "bottleneck" of resolution at low magnifications of hand holding binoculars. For a comparison you need booster, test chart and same illumination, for a measurement you need standardized illumination and distances. With Ebay often 40 ... 50 years old binoculars BPC 8x30 and 10x40 from the manufacturer KOMC (Made in USSR), which were sold brand new in Germany by several rebranders for about 80 German Marks. The sellers sometimes publish photos of the user manual with signed and stamped test certificates. There I read tested resolutions of better/smaller 6 or smaller 4.5 angular seconds. These are presented to the eye by the magnification of the binoculars with 48 or 45 angular seconds. Here I present binoculars for considerably more than 700 Euro. I am not worried about the resolution of the instrument without any visible optical defects and differences between the two tubes.

Real angle of view, field of view
According to allbinos.com, very optimistic (beautified) information about the real angle of vision is often written in data sheets. Without a tripod with rotation angle scale or a self-built attachment/support of the binoculars at eye level and tape measure for a measurement of the field of view at close range and extrapolation to 1000 m I cannot measure the real angle of view. To compare binoculars from time to time, I do not buy additional equipment. (Anyway, I find the more than 3 degrees more apparent angles of view according to ISO of the Hawke APO 10x42 to the Nikon MHG 8x42 impressive when comparing).

Depth of sharp field of view (DoV)
The depth of field of binoculars depends mainly on the magnification of the binoculars. Small pupil diameters of the eye due to brighter light increase the depth of field of the eye analogous to photo cameras with small apertures - but only slightly in relation to virtual images of very similar binoculars. The eye pupil adapts to more light due to larger transmission and larger angles of view of the binoculars by contracting (reduction of the diameter), the depth of field of the entire binocular-eye system is slightly increased at least when comparing similar binoculars. An evaluative comparison of binoculars 10x42 and 8x42 is, from an optical-physical point of view, nonsensical. Nevertheless, I was curious: A comparison of both binoculars with a view of my large, deeply structured garden shows me significantly more sharply focused plants as well as a subjectively more beautiful overall image in the Nikon MHG 8x42 versus the "poster image" of the Hawke APO 10x42. The significantly greater depth of field is also important when looking for observation targets within the depth of field, binoculars used for military purposes currently have the format 7x40. As already written, mainly different magnifications cause different depths of field when observing with binoculars, quality differences of the binoculars hardly ever. However, I admire photographers for their emphasis on individual motifs by using blurred surroundings (Bokeh). Of course, there is no evaluation regarding the depth of field of binoculars with different magnifications, the comparison with regard to my garden was pure curiosity.


Summary of clearly recognized facts:

Advantages of the Hawke Frontier APO 10x42 over Nikon Monarch HG 8x42
  • clearly and significantly less lateral CA
  • significantly shorter, smaller (almost no) spikes due to edges of roof prisms when viewing street lamps, therefore better quality of prisms)
  • less veil glare (beginning with a clearly smaller angle to the shining sun, but Hawke's angle of vision is smaller than the comparison binoculars)
  • slightly better edge sharpness of the Hawke APO 10x42 (90%) compared to Nikon MHG 8x42 (80%)
  • comfortable view for observers without glasses with not deep-set eyes, who often have problems with kidney beans because too small eyecups or too short adjustment range
  • Apparent angle of view of Hawke APO 10x42 is 2.9% larger than Nikon MHG 10x42 (FoV x magnification).
  • Apparent angle of view of Hawke APO 10x42 is 2.25% greater than Nikon MHG 10x42 (AFoV according to ISO 14132-1:2002)
  • shorter close range (20 cm)
  • high-quality, practical carrying bag (hardcase) with own carrying strap, contoured carrying strap for binoculars
  • lower price

Disadvantages of the Hawke Frontier APO 10x42 compared to Nikon Monarch HG 8x42
  • slightly more dust on inner lenses (focusing lens)
  • very smooth-running, accidentally adjustable focusing roller with 1 mm play on the circumference
  • eyelets for carrying strap unnecessarily large and somewhat sharp-edged (inside and outside)
  • no lockable dioptre compensation, but sufficiently stiff (unlikely to be accidentally adjusted)
  • relatively soft, thin rubber material for objective protection and rain protection of the eyepieces, tighter fit, more difficult to attach, but hardly ever accidental release

Remarkable - without valuation
  • The only optical drawback I found when comparing the Hawke Frontier APO 10x42 is that the instrument shows more crescent-shaped glare with "flashes" when positioned unfavorably to the eyes than the Nikon Monarch HG 8x42. The reason is most likely the smaller exit pupil, not inferior quality of components.
  • Beginning of veil glare later (smaller angle to the sun). The real angle of view (FoV) of the Hawke APO 10x42 is 1.2 degrees smaller than that of the Nikon MHG 8x42. However, the sun was outside the field of view.
  • Observers without eyeglasses with deep set eyes might notice problems (shadows, kidney beans) due to the rather large eyecups of the Hawke APO.
  • very "fast" focusing with correspondingly small depth of field of a 10x42 (probably advantageous for some birdwatchers, 10x42 is more often to focus, you can get used to it, turns slower than usual)
  • Focusing Hawke APO with reverse direction of rotation with respect to Nikon MHG
  • The diameter of the light-effective objective should be measured by someone else using a better method. Even if the Hawke APO is "only" a 10x40, the optical advantages will outweigh the cost until well into twilight.
Overall, the Hawke Frontier APO 10x42 is a good and inexpensive wide-angle binocular with very low edge blur, little lateral CA, hardly any spikes - but with small mechanical weaknesses. Compared to the Hawke Frontier EDX 8x42, also known to me, Hawke has made significant improvements in edge sharpness and exit pupil surroundings (no larger, bright areas), and I with my physiognomy have no more shadows (kidney beans). The Hawke Frontier EDX 8x32 with smaller field of view has more edge sharpness than the Frontier EDX 8x42, both binoculars show very little lateral CA and only very small spikes on street lamps. I had shadows with both Hawke Frontier EDX due to my physiognomy in combination with the relatively small diameter of the eyecups and a too small adjustment range of about 10 mm.

I tested three units of KOWA BDII 8x32 XD in direct comparison to Hawke Frontier EDX 8x32 and 8x42 because of the large, for me attractive field of view. All KOWAs showed extreme spikes and easily recognizable roof edges when looking into the objective lenses, fewer light fades, ("light traps"), a "dull" image on dull days (significantly less saturation of colors, very bright but low contrast, more crescent-shaped glare with "flashes" when panning under bright skies). The mechanics are similar to the Hawke Frontier EDX, the optics of the Hawke EDX are much better in comparison. I gave both binoculars (Kowa BDII 8x32 and Hawke EDX 8x32) to another observer for a simultaneous test - with the same result. "EDX 8x32 is a tube - but the view/image is better saturaded, more colored." I returned the KOWAs BDII 8x32 to the dealers because of too strong crescent shaped glare with extreme "flashes" when panning - despite me satisfying view without shadows in contrast to the Hawke Frontier EDX, despite large and therefore attractive field of view. Because of the individual, subjectively unsatisfactory view into the Hawke Frontier EDX binoculars I refer to one of the few reviewers who also checks for false light: https://irelandswildlife.com/hawke-frontier-edx-8x42-binocular-review/
Meanwhile I find it very interesting to test and compare binoculars of the middle class, to analyze their errors and weaknesses, to learn more than just using upper class binoculars (due to experiences of users written in forums also not perfect) without comparison to the middle class, only to make comparisons within the upper class.

Thanks for reading the dry stuff, I'll write another report on the practical comparison of optics and handling of both binoculars in nature. I will gladly answer questions, hints and constructive criticism are welcome.

1] Discussion about the perception of the sharp area as a horizontal ellipse in the field of view: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/741239-elliptical-sharpness-range-of-wide-angle-binoculars/

Best regards from Jessie.
Last edited:


The exit pupils and their surroundings/environment are not comparable on the photos, the axial alignment of the binoculars is different, the incidence of light is shaded, shadowed on one side by the window frame. This is the presentation of the methodology, I use for comparison an even background illumination and approximately the same alignment of the optical axes of binoculars to be compared.
pic1, 2: elephant ears
pic3: 2 bins and accessoires only from Hawke APO
pic4: exit pupils
pic5: both bins

Tomorrow I will see if I have forgotten a test section. 10k characters per one post are too few signs.
Good night.


  • 8F875C42-06A6-42FB-88B8-6C9030F08A09.jpeg
    269.4 KB · Views: 35
  • D1D91896-9557-43DE-A441-F781BB155494.jpeg
    1.3 MB · Views: 33
  • 26499553-2EC3-4F96-9925-CDD0CBACAD47.jpeg
    1.7 MB · Views: 42
  • 1E1BD7C1-5492-456B-81B4-2FF4D7EB9A74.jpeg
    959.7 KB · Views: 41
  • 35A34433-FC75-4832-8DEE-CBD5094FF4EB.jpeg
    944.5 KB · Views: 40
Last edited:


Sorry, forgotten:

I tested the collimation for my individual IPD (alignment) on a star focused only in one tube and adjusted the dioptre compensation of the other tube to maximum unsharpness. With both tubes the star focused in one tube is superimposed within the blurred area of the star image in the other tube and is imaged almost centrally in the blurred area.

Close-up range
Both binoculars provide a sharp image at a distance of less than 2 m. The Hawke APO has a 20 cm shorter close-up range than the Nikon MHG. The measured values were roughly measured from the eyes, from eyecups.
Nikon MHG: about 1.8 m
Hawke APO: about 1.6 m

Observation objects are horizontal and vertical edges of buildings as well as tightly stretched high-voltage power lines. The binoculars are swivelled slightly so that the sharp edges appear at the edge of the field of view. Both binoculars have moderate pincushion distortion, which starts at about 50 percent of the field of view radius. A reversal of the cushion-shaped distortion at the edge of the field of view to a barrel-shaped distortion (in total the unpopular mustache distortion) is not visible with any binoculars. It is not possible to distinguish which binoculars record more without photographic aids. A globe effect or rolling ball effect when panning the binoculars I can not detect. Some pincushion distortion is a reasonable choice of the designer to avoid the effect when panning the binoculars, some observers even get headaches or nausea from this effect. Pincushion distortion is not an optical defect or aberration, in the past a quite large pincushion distortion was even modern and apparently popular among designers and users.

Center sharpness and contrasts
For the comparison of center sharpness and contrast, I intentionally observe many distant, flat objects with fine, low-contrast structures at a distance of 40 to 300 m on a dull, gray day: mosses, lichens, tree bark, roof tiles, wood with grain, etc. The aim is to recognize which binoculars just show details and which show less detail. I can't see any differences in sharpness and contrast between the binoculars. And if I could, the result would not be clear, because both binoculars have different magnifications.

Lateral chromatic aberration (CA)
Observation objects are dark gray to black (anthracite) horizontal and vertical edges of house roofs (ridge, verge) and a satellite antenna of about the same color at a distance of about 30 m in front of a gray, overcast, but very bright sky. The Nikon MHG clearly shows wider violet edges than the Hawke APO. The onset of lateral CA starts at about 50 percent of the field radius in both lenses. Observations of power lines at a distance of about 30 m again show more lateral CA (wider violet edges) with the Nikon MHG. A do-it-yourself method for testing and comparing the longitudinal / axial CA is currently unknown to me, hints are welcome.
Last edited:

Green Gecko

New member
United Kingdom
Jessie-66, thank you for your very thorough review(s), of the Hawke Apo binoculars. I have been an enthusiastic user of my Hawke EDX 10x42 for a couple of years. I also have a pair of Leica 8x42 which I compare them against, both have their merits. The time you have taken to carefully detail both the technical and subjective aspects of the use of the Hawke Apo’s v. the Nikon Monarch’s, was greatly appreciated by me. Please have a very good new year, watching the nature around you. It is so sad to see the progressive death of so many of the things we used to take for granted. (I am 65 years old). Which makes it even more important to see what we have around us while we can.
Blessings to you,


Hello Green Gecko, I was very happy to read your warm, heartfelt and personal words with the blessing. I'll make it short: I wish you a long and happy life. That should actually include everything you need. Also health, enough money for life and hobbies, interesting nature observations, social affection, friends ...
I still have a short film of little geckos on the flower island Madeira that I shot myself. Your nickname reminded me of the beautiful holiday and the film. It was a funny experiment with a cheap digital camera, not a special video camera. The little geckos are the only actors - without script, without director. ;-)
One can enjoy very simple things with the right look. My husband was in the toilet this time, during "shot of experimental nature documentation film", I have also used the time ... :)
Best wishes to you.
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread