Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Hawke 8x42 APO vs Monarch 5 8x42

  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 39.1N84.5W

39.1N84.5W

    He asked for it

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,333
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2006
  • Loc: cincinnati

Posted 08 May 2021 - 09:39 AM

I've been happy with my Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 for a few years now. But I get curious about "upgrading" so after some research I purchased a Hawke 8x42 Frontier APO to compare with my trusty Monarch.

Short story: boy was that a waste of time.

Long story: Hawkes arrived with a stout hardshell case and the usual accessories. The eyepiece caps fit very snug on this bino and it's a nice touch. (Monarch caps are extremely loose fit and need to find an aftermarket solution.) Hawkes are noticeably heavier. Some would find the extra weight satisfying but other... myself included... kind of prefer the Monarch weight.

I know this is an astronomy forum but many of us enjoy using binos at all hours of the day. 8x42 is a great magnification for not just seeing perched birds, but seeing their flight patterns. I'm a warbler junky and anyone will agree that warblers rarely sit still. 10x magnification is very usable for these beautiful creatures but 8x is ideal. Over the years I've been more interested in seeing the larger structures of the Milky Way and 8x is perfect for this kind of observation.

Back to first light of the Hawkes. Looking at a bird feeder I could see that these bins have significantly less depth of field than the Monarch 5. I had to refocus more often when birds moved closer/further away. With the Monarch 5 I could observe more depth of field, refocusing less often.
And here's the Achilles Heel of the Hawkes: the center focuser wheel. It has 1mm of slop in both directions. The Monarch 5 has none. Quickly dialing in a sharp focus became aggravating, especially for a +$700 bino.
Scanning around a forest showed another strange observation with the Hawkes. The vertical trunks of trees became dizzying as I panned from left to right. The Monarch 5 was even, fairly flat. I'll admit that there was slightly more contrast, more vibrant colors with the Hawkes. I was expecting an improvement of a flat-field with the Hawkes... but it was not the case. Maybe the decreased depth of field, along with panning, was the cause of this dizzy feeling. However when I'm using binos all day long during birding trips I know I would get frustrated and experience increased eye fatigue.

Night time observation showed slightly better star colors, but panning gave me the same queasy results.

So I sent the Hawkes back. And I probably won't go down this rabbit hole again. I love my Monarch 5!

Your mileage will vary, as binos are very personal tools.
  • Erik Bakker, lcaldero, Paul Morow and 1 other like this

#2 DrJ1

DrJ1

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 333
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2020

Posted 08 May 2021 - 10:34 AM

Thanks for brief review.  Have you considered ugrading by getting a Nikon that is higher in the line?  DrJ1



#3 TomK1

TomK1

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 211
  • Joined: 06 Mar 2016
  • Loc: Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan

Posted 08 May 2021 - 11:57 AM

I recently purchased a refurbished Vortex Razor 8x42 for $700 from AA optics.   Prior to ordering I spoke to 2 folks at Vortex.   Received the binoculars in 3 days.   They would fit your bill as an upgrade if you ever decide to go down the rabbit hole again.   I'm sure you would notice the difference and would not find any faults.  The image and ergonomics are superb.   If the weather clears today or tomorrow, I'm going to take them out in the field, close to dusk,  to see how bright and sharp the images are in low light.

 

I wanted an 8x because my 9.5x44 and 10.5x28 were a either a tad to narrow of field, not so swift in low light ( not surprising if the it's a 10.5x28) and I wanted a steadier and brighter/sharper image.    I thought I would only spend around $500 max but when I saw the refurbished Razor for a couple hundred more, I couldn't pass on the purchase.   The outer shell has a few very minor marks but the optics and accessories are pristine.   I saved $300 by spending $200 more.   How's that for convoluted justification.  

 

 A couple stores that I visited did not have  the 8x42 Monarch 5.   I typically rely on this forum for advice and I usually try to view through the binoculars before I make the purchase.   I might have really saved about $200 if they had them in stock..        



#4 39.1N84.5W

39.1N84.5W

    He asked for it

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,333
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2006
  • Loc: cincinnati

Posted 08 May 2021 - 02:30 PM

Thanks for brief review. Have you considered ugrading by getting a Nikon that is higher in the line? DrJ1


I don't see a great improvement to the Monarch 7.

#5 39.1N84.5W

39.1N84.5W

    He asked for it

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,333
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2006
  • Loc: cincinnati

Posted 08 May 2021 - 02:31 PM

I recently purchased a refurbished Vortex Razor 8x42 for $700 from AA optics. Prior to ordering I spoke to 2 folks at Vortex. Received the binoculars in 3 days. They would fit your bill as an upgrade if you ever decide to go down the rabbit hole again. I'm sure you would notice the difference and would not find any faults. The image and ergonomics are superb. If the weather clears today or tomorrow, I'm going to take them out in the field, close to dusk, to see how bright and sharp the images are in low light.

I wanted an 8x because my 9.5x44 and 10.5x28 were a either a tad to narrow of field, not so swift in low light ( not surprising if the it's a 10.5x28) and I wanted a steadier and brighter/sharper image. I thought I would only spend around $500 max but when I saw the refurbished Razor for a couple hundred more, I couldn't pass on the purchase. The outer shell has a few very minor marks but the optics and accessories are pristine. I saved $300 by spending $200 more. How's that for convoluted justification.

A couple stores that I visited did not have the 8x42 Monarch 5. I typically rely on this forum for advice and I usually try to view through the binoculars before I make the purchase. I might have really saved about $200 if they had them in stock..


Is there +any wiggle+ in the focuser wheel on the razor?

#6 TomK1

TomK1

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 211
  • Joined: 06 Mar 2016
  • Loc: Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan

Posted 08 May 2021 - 06:19 PM

I can not detect any wiggle room or free play when I rotate the focuser back and forth.   The field of view appears to be very flat and image is very sharp and colorful across the whole fov.    I have a spotting scope which has lots of noticeable curvature when panning.  Somehow I ignore it, but it is huge.


  • 39.1N84.5W likes this

#7 Knucklehead

Knucklehead

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 83
  • Joined: 01 Jul 2010

Posted 08 May 2021 - 10:16 PM

Thanks for brief review.  Have you considered ugrading by getting a Nikon that is higher in the line?  DrJ1

I have the Nikon Monarch 7 8x30 and the Monarch HG in 8x42. I can't compare the Monarch 7 8x42 since I've never looked through them. But I can say that although the 8x30s are not quite as sharp as the HG's, the difference is that big IMO. Looking through the HG's it is readily apparent that they have better color and contrast in daylight use. I like the 8x30s for how light and easy to handle. The HG's feel like a larger version of the smaller 7's. For dim/dark use there is no contest, the HG's are more useful, as one would expect. Using the close focus HT's to study bugs and creepy crawlers is amazing. And the Monarch 7 is almost there, but not quite. Skip the M7 if you have the dough and get the HG's.


Edited by Knucklehead, 08 May 2021 - 10:18 PM.


#8 39.1N84.5W

39.1N84.5W

    He asked for it

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,333
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2006
  • Loc: cincinnati

Posted 09 May 2021 - 09:27 AM

Yeah I need to look through the HG. I assume the focus wheel is responsive, no slop?

#9 Knucklehead

Knucklehead

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 83
  • Joined: 01 Jul 2010

Posted 09 May 2021 - 01:01 PM

Yeah I need to look through the HG. I assume the focus wheel is responsive, no slop?

There is zero slop with my HG's, and same for the smaller Monarch 7, easy to adjust but not loose either. The feature on the HG's that I can't really fathom is the diopter adjustment has a lock ring to prevent diopter movement. Removing that lock ring would probably make diopter adjustment easier. That lock ring tends to be more in the way than helpful. I never lock it.



#10 39.1N84.5W

39.1N84.5W

    He asked for it

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,333
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2006
  • Loc: cincinnati

Posted 09 May 2021 - 02:37 PM

How would you compare the depth of field of the HG to the Monarch?

#11 sevenofnine

sevenofnine

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 914
  • Joined: 16 Apr 2016
  • Loc: Santa Rosa, California

Posted 10 May 2021 - 07:18 PM

It seems that you have the perfect birding binocular for you. If you want a pair that is just for astronomy and doesn't break the bank($170), check out the Nikon AE 10x50 porro's. They are highly recommended on this forum. Now I know why. Good luck! watching.gif



#12 39.1N84.5W

39.1N84.5W

    He asked for it

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,333
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2006
  • Loc: cincinnati

Posted 11 May 2021 - 02:01 PM

The AE are okay but overpriced, imho. I owned these about 15 years ago. Quickly sold.
Monarchs are great for astronomy. The coatings and optical quality provide a clearer, brighter, more contrasty view than many 50mm porros I've owned and used.

Edited by 39.1N84.5W, 11 May 2021 - 02:03 PM.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics