Nikon Monarch M5 Binoculars
Nikon Monarch M5 binoculars replace the venerable Monarch 5 binocular line. The M5s have slightly wider fields of view, improved rubber armoring that
adds a little to their weight, and better fitting lens covers. They are still available in 8x42, 10x42, and 12x42 configurations, but the camo versions
have been discontinued.
The Monarch M5 is Nikon's medium-cost binocular that includes many of the features found only in higher-priced optics. All Monarch M5 binoculars are compact,
lightweight, 42mm, roof prism designs available in 8x, 10x and 12x magnifications which sell for $299.95,
$289.95 and $329.95 respectively. The binocular
is nitrogen-purged, and billed as waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. Our assessment is that for these prices with the kind of features these binoculars have, Monarch M5s
are an excellent value for a standard roof prism binocular.
At just 5.6 inches long and 5 inches wide, and weighing in the feather-light 22.5 oz., the Monarch M5 binoculars won’t cause anyone fatigue. Nikon made the
binocular even more comfortable with ergonomically designed molding to the black rubber armoring and a nice no-slip surface with shallow thumb grooves just
below a flange on which the strap attaches. The strap attachment does not interfere notably with the hands. Overall, this binocular is very comfortable to use.
The 8x42 Monarch M5 has a 335-foot field of view at 1000 yards while the 10x and 12x models come in at 293 and 267 feet respectively. All three versions close
focus to about 8 feet. The focus knob is large and easily accessed and needs just about 1.25 turns to go from close focus to infinity. The action is smooth and
easy, making sharp focus quick and simple to achieve. Overall, the Monarch M5 is of average brightness for a 42-mm objective binocular. The lenses and prisms are
fully multi-coated and phase-coated to improve optical performance. Disappointingly, the focus gets rather blurry at the edges of the field. In bright light when
focused on high-contrast objects, the Monarch M5 shows a notable chromatic aberration: a separation of the visible light to yield a prism effect.
The 8x42 Monarch M5 has eye relief of 19.5 mm, and the 10x42 eye relief is 18.4 mm, which are both excellent, but the 12x version is only about 15.1 mm which is
a bit on the short side and may cause issues for some eyeglass wearers. The eyecups twist up to full extension, and click-stop both there, in fully closed position
and in two stable positions in between, meaning there is a comfortable setting for everyone. The click-stops lock them in place, preventing accidental collapse in the
field. The eyecups are made of pliable rubber and are comfortable against the face. The diopter adjustment is on the right barrel and traditional: it is a rubber ring
that twists in either direction to adjust the focus of the right ocular. The mechanism is stiff enough to prevent it from slipping much in the field.
The rainguard is a pair of hard rubber caps joined by a flexing linker. A welcome improvement over the Monarch 5s is that the rainguard now fits snugly and won’t dislodge
while running. The strap threads through a bracket on the left side, and the similar bracket on the right side is gapped so it can be affixed or removed from the strap on
that side. This is an excellent design for a rain guard. The objective lens caps are hard plastic and are tethered in place by an attachment on the underside of the barrels.
Unfortunately, sometimes the tether anchors can still be dislodged.
The strap is a simple nylon one, widening at the neck, with a patch of cloth padding sewn into the inner side for extra comfort. On a regular roof-prism binocular it would
be insufficient for comfort, but on the flyweight Monarch M5s, it is all that is needed. The cordura case is spacious and features a flap that closes with a Velcro patch,
leaving the binocular strap comfortably free so the whole ensemble can be comfortably worn over the shoulder or around the neck. Alternatively, there is a wide, nylon,
belt-mounting loop on the back of the case, allowing it to be conveniently worn at the waist. The rational design of the case adds value to the binocular – it too will be
useful in the field.
In the end, there a lot of good things to be said about the Nikon Monarch M5 binoculars. Their small size and lightweight design make them very comfortable to carry. These
characteristics make them an excellent binocular for children, for example. And while the optical performance is not in the class of Nikon’s superb EDG LX binoculars, it is
not by any means poor. While obviously aimed at the hunting sector, the Monarch M5s clearly have a broader market appeal.
Buy Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars