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Several days birding with Monarch HG 8X42 (1 Viewer)

Arthur Red Rod

Well-known member
Not to hijack the topic at hand, but I was offered a superb deal on the Monarch HG 8x30 from a salesman after securing the 10x42's - about 30% off the going shelf price of 950 USD. Should I pick these up at that price, or spend more on the 8x42 and not get a deal? I know I shouldn't listen to sales pitches right after a big purchase, but he was really convincing!
 
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Ries

Well-known member
I think the 8x30 is a better companion to the 10x42 as a lighter version, 8x42 would be more similar. And with that offer, I think I wouldn't hesitate. Nice combo they would make imo!
 

Arthur Red Rod

Well-known member
I think the 8x30 is a better companion to the 10x42 as a lighter version, 8x42 would be more similar. And with that offer, I think I wouldn't hesitate. Nice combo they would make imo!

Thanks Richard, I think will be going back tomorrow and making the order. These are my first bino purchases in about 10 years, so I think it would be really cute to have a matching set! I know most people here have already done side-by-sides, but I will post my impressions as well. I have a nature reserve and whale watching trip planned this month, so I will really be able to flex the optical limits.
 
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pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I would agree the 8x30 will be a more interesting compliment to the 10x42, and at that price I wouldn't hesitate either. If you really want to look at the competition at that size, it is the Swaro CL 8x30, though shy of finding a screaming deal it'll run you about double the offered price for the 8x30 MHG. One other interesting option at the moment is the current promotion being run on Kowa Genesis 8x33, another fantastic compact bin that is really well priced just at the moment (at least in the US per posts in the Binocular Bargains thread).

It increasingly seems that those who are more birders and less binocular geeks are generally very positive on the MHGs of all sizes. Those who do more at home testing, looking for flaws, and more actively discussing bins on BirdForum find more to criticize. And that is totally fine, is the expected result, and is the case for almost all bins. But along the way some models that end up being excellent in the field get dinged a bit heavily here on BirdForum (which is also just fine), while other bins that test better are just not as useful if you are out in the field a lot. It's just a question of perspective, and as much of a binocular geek as I've become over the years, I'm still a birder first. I can look for and find flaws in my MHG all day long, and I can see that my ELs and SFs are superior. But when birding with the MHG, I almost never notice the small flaws (occasional CA or glare), whereas I do continually enjoy the excellent view, wide field, great ergonomics and light weight.
 

Borjam

Registered User
Supporter
I got the MHG 8x42 several months ago and I couldn’t be happier.

I graduated from a pair of Monarch 5 8x42 which were really battered (I suffered an eyecup failure during a trip, even!) and I am really happy with them.

Today I’ ve been watching a group of terns on a boat. I had strong sun backlight and the terns were very heavily contrasted against a terrible sun reflection on the water. I could still see them perfectly, I didn’t notice any contrast reduction.

In early September I went to the Straits of Gibraltar and I had to use them in strong sunlight and backlight situations. In that case I use polarized sunglasses to help tame the reflections and the binoculars passed the test with flying colors. I couldn’t be happier.

So, small, light, not too expensive, great image, they handle backlight very well...

I haven’t done a comparison against a Swarovski EL or an Zeiss SF, but the MHG 8x42 can be purchased for less than 1000 euros.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I think a 8x30 HG and a 10x42 HG would make a great combo. You have a nice light small 8x and a nice light 10x also and a 10x42 usually works better than a 10x32 because of the bigger exit pupil.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
I've had a pair of MHG 8x42 for a few weeks now, and I am in agreement -- these are a really wonderful "birding tool", maybe the best all-around "if you could only have one pair" birding binocular that doesn't cost alpha prices.

Nothing else can match its combination of extremely light weight for a 42mm + very wide FOV + long eye relief + good close focus + clear, well corrected optics with a huge sweet spot.

I've also been VERY surprised by how good the glare control is. This is something I'm sensitive to, and I was wary having owned the M7 8x30 and an old Monarch ATB which are both poor in this respect. But the MHG 8x42 is really outstanding -- not just "ok for the price point", it's REALLY good at any price in this respect, and among the best (if not the very best) at the ~$1K "sub alpha" tier. There are situations where the 7x42 UVHD shows pretty broad crescent flares on the periphery where the 8x42 MHG is just fine; I was expecting average performance typical of the price point, but they are truly excellent which makes for clean views in nearly any lighting.

Are they perfect? No, of course not. CA control is just OK (non bothersome in most normal field use, but obvious in harsher conditions), they don't have quite the depth and pop of an EDG or Leica UVHD, the image feels a bit "flat" compared to the luscious saturation of the EDG/UVHD, there's a bit of "rolling ball" from severe AMD at the edge (the EDG distortion profile is much more natural), and the build quality of things like the eyecups and focus knob are "good enough" but certainly not "premium".

But they are one of the least "fussy" binoculars I've ever used. The eyecups actually extend an appropriate length for the eye relief, eye position is very forgiving, the focus is smooth and easy, they are so light they feel almost weightless in use. Just grab them and use them, no muss no fuss.

Chuck was right on when he described these as an outstanding "birding tool". They have IMO the best combination of features and the exact right compromises for a "typical" birder who's going to value the close focus, wide FOV, light weight, bright optics, etc. They don't stir my emotions like the 7x42 UVHD, but they are so PRACTICAL and EASY to tote around and use. They just get the job done.

If someone came to me and said, "my friend is a birder, they want to invest in a nice binocular but don't want to spend $2K+, they only want ONE binocular that they can use for pretty much anything" and that's ALL the info you had, the MHG 8x42 would be my easy recommendation. I used to think the 8x32 Conquest HD was the best answer to this generic "best all-around if-you-could-only-own-one birding binocular that isn't alpha priced", but the 8x42 MHG is just as good optically, barely heavier, and gives you the advantage of the larger exit pupil of a 42mm objective.
 

dries1

Member
Mhg

I've had a pair of MHG 8x42 for a few weeks now, and I am in agreement -- these are a really wonderful "birding tool", maybe the best all-around "if you could only have one pair" birding binocular that doesn't cost alpha prices.

Nothing else can match its combination of extremely light weight for a 42mm + very wide FOV + long eye relief + good close focus + clear, well corrected optics with a huge sweet spot.

I've also been VERY surprised by how good the glare control is. This is something I'm sensitive to, and I was wary having owned the M7 8x30 and an old Monarch ATB which are both poor in this respect. But the MHG 8x42 is really outstanding -- not just "ok for the price point", it's REALLY good at any price in this respect, and among the best (if not the very best) at the ~$1K "sub alpha" tier. There are situations where the 7x42 UVHD shows pretty broad crescent flares on the periphery where the 8x42 MHG is just fine; I was expecting average performance typical of the price point, but they are truly excellent which makes for clean views in nearly any lighting.

Are they perfect? No, of course not. CA control is just OK (non bothersome in most normal field use, but obvious in harsher conditions), they don't have quite the depth and pop of an EDG or Leica UVHD, the image feels a bit "flat" compared to the luscious saturation of the EDG/UVHD, there's a bit of "rolling ball" from severe AMD at the edge (the EDG distortion profile is much more natural), and the build quality of things like the eyecups and focus knob are "good enough" but certainly not "premium".

But they are one of the least "fussy" binoculars I've ever used. The eyecups actually extend an appropriate length for the eye relief, eye position is very forgiving, the focus is smooth and easy, they are so light they feel almost weightless in use. Just grab them and use them, no muss no fuss.

Chuck was right on when he described these as an outstanding "birding tool". They have IMO the best combination of features and the exact right compromises for a "typical" birder who's going to value the close focus, wide FOV, light weight, bright optics, etc. They don't stir my emotions like the 7x42 UVHD, but they are so PRACTICAL and EASY to tote around and use. They just get the job done.

If someone came to me and said, "my friend is a birder, they want to invest in a nice binocular but don't want to spend $2K+, they only want ONE binocular that they can use for pretty much anything" and that's ALL the info you had, the MHG 8x42 would be my easy recommendation. I used to think the 8x32 Conquest HD was the best answer to this generic "best all-around if-you-could-only-own-one birding binocular that isn't alpha priced", but the 8x42 MHG is just as good optically, barely heavier, and gives you the advantage of the larger exit pupil of a 42mm objective.


:t::t:

This statement reflects my opinion of the MHG 8X42, used it the other day for hawk watch, I did not miss a beat nor my other glass. They are a very easy glass to use in all conditions.

Andy W.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I agree with Eitan and Andy - the MHG is the best all around birding binocular there is for under about $1500-2000. While I find binoculars interesting to discuss, I am by far a birder and not a binocular geek. If I had a budget that didn't stretch to a used EL or SF and could only buy one bin, it would be the 42mm MHG.

I also personally put the 8x30 at the top of the heap of 30mm bins, and like it better than any non-alpha 32mm I have ever seen. Yes the Conquest is great, so is the Kowa Genesis, but I prefer the MHG.

It seems that with time the MHGs have a growing fanbase, and it seems that the popularity comes from report after report of doing so much right in such a good package rather than topping arbitrary ranking charts.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I've had a pair of MHG 8x42 for a few weeks now, and I am in agreement -- these are a really wonderful "birding tool", maybe the best all-around "if you could only have one pair" birding binocular that doesn't cost alpha prices.

Nothing else can match its combination of extremely light weight for a 42mm + very wide FOV + long eye relief + good close focus + clear, well corrected optics with a huge sweet spot.

I've also been VERY surprised by how good the glare control is. This is something I'm sensitive to, and I was wary having owned the M7 8x30 and an old Monarch ATB which are both poor in this respect. But the MHG 8x42 is really outstanding -- not just "ok for the price point", it's REALLY good at any price in this respect, and among the best (if not the very best) at the ~$1K "sub alpha" tier. There are situations where the 7x42 UVHD shows pretty broad crescent flares on the periphery where the 8x42 MHG is just fine; I was expecting average performance typical of the price point, but they are truly excellent which makes for clean views in nearly any lighting.

Are they perfect? No, of course not. CA control is just OK (non bothersome in most normal field use, but obvious in harsher conditions), they don't have quite the depth and pop of an EDG or Leica UVHD, the image feels a bit "flat" compared to the luscious saturation of the EDG/UVHD, there's a bit of "rolling ball" from severe AMD at the edge (the EDG distortion profile is much more natural), and the build quality of things like the eyecups and focus knob are "good enough" but certainly not "premium".

But they are one of the least "fussy" binoculars I've ever used. The eyecups actually extend an appropriate length for the eye relief, eye position is very forgiving, the focus is smooth and easy, they are so light they feel almost weightless in use. Just grab them and use them, no muss no fuss.

Chuck was right on when he described these as an outstanding "birding tool". They have IMO the best combination of features and the exact right compromises for a "typical" birder who's going to value the close focus, wide FOV, light weight, bright optics, etc. They don't stir my emotions like the 7x42 UVHD, but they are so PRACTICAL and EASY to tote around and use. They just get the job done.

If someone came to me and said, "my friend is a birder, they want to invest in a nice binocular but don't want to spend $2K+, they only want ONE binocular that they can use for pretty much anything" and that's ALL the info you had, the MHG 8x42 would be my easy recommendation. I used to think the 8x32 Conquest HD was the best answer to this generic "best all-around if-you-could-only-own-one birding binocular that isn't alpha priced", but the 8x42 MHG is just as good optically, barely heavier, and gives you the advantage of the larger exit pupil of a 42mm objective.
I agree with this excellent post. I think the 8x42 and the 10x42 MHG are the best binoculars you can buy at their price point and even above. The little 8x30 MHG are an excellent value for the money also. Nikon can really make an excellent binocular if they want to. A lot of their binoculars are legendary like the 8x30 EII, 8x32 SE and all the EDG's and don't forget the WX and I think the MHG line will become legendary in time also. Even the little Nikon Venturer 8x23 was winning best buy awards in Consumer Reports 40 years ago. The little compact Nikon 10x25 IS I just bought performs just as well if not better in ways than the Canon IS and it is much smaller than anything Canon makes. Their binoculars are an excellent value. They can easily compete with the big three Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss for less money. It is a shame they don't offer better customer service and back their products better. They definitely have the optical expertise and know how.
 
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mpeace

Well-known member
I've recently had excellent customer service in the UK from Nikon. Binoculars back and good as new in a week with regular communication via updates throughout. I was really surprised how positive the whole experience was - it's an anxious time sending bins off for repair. It's a shame Dennis if you've had recent bad experience with them, but if your concerns are historic, perhaps they've improved their customer support since or maybe I got lucky.
 

ukorim

Member
I've recently had excellent customer service in the UK from Nikon. Binoculars back and good as new in a week with regular communication via updates throughout. I was really surprised how positive the whole experience was - it's an anxious time sending bins off for repair. It's a shame Dennis if you've had recent bad experience with them, but if your concerns are historic, perhaps they've improved their customer support since or maybe I got lucky.

I also had a very positive experience recently with Nikon UK customer service with the repair of my 10x42 SE!
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I also had a very positive experience recently with Nikon UK customer service with the repair of my 10x42 SE!
That is a good sign. It sounds like their customer service is improving. If Nikon for example had got behind the EDG and made a few improvements to it would easily have been the best binocular you could buy. But instead it got discontinued because of poor sales possibly? Maybe people don't think of Nikon binoculars as an alpha brand like they do Swarovski, and they don't want to spend $2500 on them. I am guessing that is why Nikon came out with the MHG. A way lower price point than the EDG which is more in the realm of what people expect to pay for a Nikon but yet a fantastic value for your money
 
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pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Re: EDG sales, somewhere I saw a post or a couple of serial numbers or something (apologies I've not got the foggiest idea where/what it exactly was) that made me think that they've never sold more than 1000 units of whichever size / model it was. As in, an early production serial number was XYZ0030 or something, and one of the for sale as new or recently bought as new units was like XYZ0850 or something...

I have NO idea what alpha sales are like but it would be curious to know. Does anyone have any idea how many of any particular models get sold?
 

dries1

Member
Nikon Repair

I also had a very positive experience recently with Nikon UK customer service with the repair of my 10x42 SE!

Out of curiosity what was wrong with the Nikon SE 10X42 and did they replace the eyecups? I wonder if the EU has any extra SE eyecups.

Andy W.
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
Though I've written of my admiration of the 8x42 MHG before, I'll pile on a bit anyway ;)

Factoring most everything a birding bin is supposed to be and do, the MHG (8x42 in my case) is a complete success IMO.

It may not excel in any one category, but it's very very good in all categories.

In fact I can't really come up with anything about it I would place in the negative column, were I to make a pro and con list.

I give them my highest endorsement.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
I've had a pair of MHG 8x42 for a few weeks now, and I am in agreement -- these are a really wonderful "birding tool", maybe the best all-around "if you could only have one pair" birding binocular that doesn't cost alpha prices.

Nothing else can match its combination of extremely light weight for a 42mm + very wide FOV + long eye relief + good close focus + clear, well corrected optics with a huge sweet spot.

I've also been VERY surprised by how good the glare control is. This is something I'm sensitive to, and I was wary having owned the M7 8x30 and an old Monarch ATB which are both poor in this respect. But the MHG 8x42 is really outstanding -- not just "ok for the price point", it's REALLY good at any price in this respect, and among the best (if not the very best) at the ~$1K "sub alpha" tier. There are situations where the 7x42 UVHD shows pretty broad crescent flares on the periphery where the 8x42 MHG is just fine; I was expecting average performance typical of the price point, but they are truly excellent which makes for clean views in nearly any lighting.

Are they perfect? No, of course not. CA control is just OK (non bothersome in most normal field use, but obvious in harsher conditions), they don't have quite the depth and pop of an EDG or Leica UVHD, the image feels a bit "flat" compared to the luscious saturation of the EDG/UVHD, there's a bit of "rolling ball" from severe AMD at the edge (the EDG distortion profile is much more natural), and the build quality of things like the eyecups and focus knob are "good enough" but certainly not "premium".

But they are one of the least "fussy" binoculars I've ever used. The eyecups actually extend an appropriate length for the eye relief, eye position is very forgiving, the focus is smooth and easy, they are so light they feel almost weightless in use. Just grab them and use them, no muss no fuss.

Chuck was right on when he described these as an outstanding "birding tool". They have IMO the best combination of features and the exact right compromises for a "typical" birder who's going to value the close focus, wide FOV, light weight, bright optics, etc. They don't stir my emotions like the 7x42 UVHD, but they are so PRACTICAL and EASY to tote around and use. They just get the job done.

If someone came to me and said, "my friend is a birder, they want to invest in a nice binocular but don't want to spend $2K+, they only want ONE binocular that they can use for pretty much anything" and that's ALL the info you had, the MHG 8x42 would be my easy recommendation. I used to think the 8x32 Conquest HD was the best answer to this generic "best all-around if-you-could-only-own-one birding binocular that isn't alpha priced", but the 8x42 MHG is just as good optically, barely heavier, and gives you the advantage of the larger exit pupil of a 42mm objective.

Great report! And wow do I ever agree! ;)

You know...It really takes a couple of weeks or even longer of ownership/use to really evaluate/appreciate a binocular. I'm glad you took that amount of time. Truly one of the most "user friendly" binoculars I've ever owned. It's really a "no brainer" to recommend to a fellow birder. It just does so many things very well indeed. I also completely agree with you about the Conquest HD 8X32. I do think the MHG is a little more of a "guarantee" of purchaser satisfaction though.
 

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