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Swarovski 15x56 vs Nikon Monarch 16x56

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#1 skysurfer

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 02:40 PM

I have the Nikon which I like very much. FOV 4 degrees and can still handhold despite 16x is a bit too much some say.

 

I selected this over the Swaro as the latter one costs three times as much and to pay 2 grand for only slightly better edge sharpness and eye relief and furthermore about the same performance ...

 

But does somebody have experience with both binos ?



#2 Fiske

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 02:54 PM

Hey, SkySurfer.

 

The only way to answer that question for yourself is for you to compare them side by side. wink.gif No one else can make that call for you.


Edited by Fiske, 04 August 2022 - 02:54 PM.

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#3 mateuszd

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 03:30 PM

Look through SLC and there's the specific Swaro factor in it. I mean holding in my arms without seeing the body and I will recognize it by the sense of natural, yet colour enhanced vision. I've once seen the light transmission curve of 8x42 EL and it was almost flat from 400 to 700 nm which is probably unbeatable in the industry (well maybe WX can beat it). So this is not only edge sharpness but brightness and colour rendition you should note while comparing both.

Although I will never buy one since it is seriously overpriced and now too mamy competitors too close to its performance almost half the price cheaper. 

I've once used the NM 20x56 and it was definitely not a glass to recommend. It was also mechanically worn out too fast. I haven't put my hands on 16x although heard it's a different story with these, longer ER and CA less disturbing.


Edited by mateuszd, 04 August 2022 - 03:40 PM.


#4 Codbear

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 03:31 PM

Skysurfer,

 

I can't give you a direct comparison between the two but I can tell you this:

 

I love my Swarovski 15x56 binos with the huge FOV and crystal clear, pinpoint stars.

 

I later purchased Monarch 10x30s for travel and quick views without a bino mount and was stunned, and I mean stunned, at how good the views were, especially considering they were 1/7 the cost.

 

I can only surmise that, if Monarch binos are consistently this quality across the board, the 16x56 Monarchs would definitely hold their own against the Swaro 15x56s. 

 

I do love the 6 degree FOV the Swaros put up though which is important to me. For a 4* FOV I whip out my grab n go NP101is with binoviewers.

 

Sam


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#5 Milos1977

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 03:53 PM

I had Monarch 16x56 and I absolutely loved it. Something about ergonomics and weight made it very easy to view through just hand held. 

Optics were great but I had only Action extreme 12x and 16x to compare to back then. Few peaks through Meopta and Swarovski  15x56 in the store made me feel very good about owning a much cheaper Nikon. Action Ex are 4 times less expensive binoculars though.

 

Monarch 16x56 does have cheap focus knob which is kind of a big deal if you are even half picky. It's dry and sticky. I tried everything to open it and make it run smoother. I also sent it once to Nikon and told them that i can't do fine focus. They sent me another unit. The problem of dry focus knob was somewhat less, but still noticeably there comparing to Monarch 7 8x30, and some much less expensive binoculars ( AE series, Orion 10x). 

 

Swarovski doesn't have such problems, and image quality (optics) is another class above Monarch. Light transmission, center sharpness, contrast, outside 50% center image quality. It might not justify the price just for performance, but there is also a brand name to it :-)

Monarch 16x56 sits right in between Action Extreme series and Swarovski SLC in my opinion.  Nowdays Monarch is $425 which is a steal! It was over $700 for the first few years when it came out. In either case it is a great binocular for the price. 


Edited by Milos1977, 04 August 2022 - 03:56 PM.

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#6 sevenofnine

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 06:07 PM

+1 on Fiske's post. The new Monarch M series solved some customer complaints according to Nikon. I can tell you that my new 8x42's are impressive to my eyes. Machined out of lightweight metals...no, but the optics are excellent. 

 

Swarovski comes out with some clunkers too. The birding forum's panned "Swarovision" in their community. They said the rolling effect when panning was not worth the flat field. That would likely not effect the astro community. So, like Fiske says, the only way you will know is hands on experience. To me, it's a question of when is good enough? hmm.gif



#7 MT4

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:43 PM

Skysurfer,

 

I can't give you a direct comparison between the two but I can tell you this:

 

I love my Swarovski 15x56 binos with the huge FOV and crystal clear, pinpoint stars.

 

I later purchased Monarch 10x30s for travel and quick views without a bino mount and was stunned, and I mean stunned, at how good the views were, especially considering they were 1/7 the cost.

 

I can only surmise that, if Monarch binos are consistently this quality across the board, the 16x56 Monarchs would definitely hold their own against the Swaro 15x56s. 

 

I do love the 6 degree FOV the Swaros put up though which is important to me. For a 4* FOV I whip out my grab n go NP101is with binoviewers.

 

Sam

 

There must be a typo here.   A 6-degree FOV 15x56 Swaro would put it in the same category as the Nikon 10x50 WX wouldn't it?


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#8 MT4

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 07:53 PM

I had a Nikon Monarch 20x56 a couple of years ago and didn't like it at all.   It was supposed to be my "big" upgrade from a respectable-but-underpowered-for-my-skies Nikon Monarch 7 8x42.

 

Scopeviews.co.uk has a favorable review of the Nikon Monarch 16x56:

http://scopeviews.co...onarch16x56.htm



#9 Foss

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Posted 04 August 2022 - 08:39 PM

There must be a typo here.   A 6-degree FOV 15x56 Swaro would put it in the same category as the Nikon 10x50 WX wouldn't it?

Probably just a typo. Allbinos lists its FOV at 4.5°


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#10 skysurfer

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 02:39 AM


Monarch 16x56 does have cheap focus knob which is kind of a big deal if you are even half picky. It's dry and sticky. I tried everything to open it and make it run smoother. I also sent it once to Nikon and told them that i can't do fine focus. They sent me another unit. The problem of dry focus knob was somewhat less, but still noticeably there comparing to Monarch 7 8x30, and some much less expensive binoculars ( AE series, Orion 10x). 

I don't experience this as an issue. Admitted, the focus knob is somewhat tight, but not a big deal.
But another issue was worse for me (and the Swarovski's must have the same): Lacking rubber eyecups covering the eye. this results in unwanted light coming in between the eyepieces and eyes. I fixed this by making eyecups using bike inner tube which I just shift over the eyepieces.

And soon I lost the soft objective caps, so I made new sturdier ones from cardboard and plastic foil attached by shoe laces to the device. Somewhat dirty hack, but it works. I did not modify anything to the device itself.

 

Monarch-16x56.jpg


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#11 Codbear

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 02:50 AM

There must be a typo here.   A 6-degree FOV 15x56 Swaro would put it in the same category as the Nikon 10x50 WX wouldn't it?

 

 

Probably just a typo. Allbinos lists its FOV at 4.5°

Well, if nothing else, at least I know somebody's reading my posts! lol.gif

 

You both of course are quite correct. I was thinking Swaro but typing the Monarch 10x30 FOV.

 

Thanks for the correction!


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#12 Pinac

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 09:35 AM

I have the Nikon which I like very much. FOV 4 degrees and can still handhold despite 16x is a bit too much some say.

 

I selected this over the Swaro as the latter one costs three times as much and to pay 2 grand for only slightly better edge sharpness and eye relief and furthermore about the same performance ...

 

But does somebody have experience with both binos ?

I do.

 

You are aware that you are comparing what is arguably the best currently available 15x56 (some prefer the Meopta) with what I consider a solid, well made, optically decent middle to upper middle class binocular? In my view, the difference is not only in edge sharpness and eye relief, but of course, all depends on your expectations, ambitions and the price you are willing to pay (the price difference between the Swaro and the Nikon is indeed huge, but their is some reason why that is). I use the Nikon quite a bit, esp. in grab-and-go situations where something may happy to the bino. The Swaro offers for my eyes much better contrast, slightly more FOV and clearly better CA correction (despite the Nikon‘s use of ED glass), just to name a few points. Have you ever tried the SLC?

 

Pinac


Edited by Pinac, 05 August 2022 - 09:36 AM.

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#13 NDfarmer

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 05:56 PM

I own all of those mentioned.  The Nikon is good for its price, but they are all priced properly for value.

The Swarovski SLC 15x56 has long been considered the finest in this size.  The largest market for these

is hunters, who may spend hours each day looking for horns and big game.  That is where quality is needed

at a high level.


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#14 Scott99

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 06:21 PM

I just made the epic bino purchase of my lifetime, got a new pair of 10X56 SLC yesterday (wanted to get the 10x before it become unavailable in the US).  I've never spent more than $600 on binos...I've never even bought a new pair of binos before....only used.

 

Right now I'm in awe of them.  I had 15 days to decide whether to keep them and it took about 15 minutes, I love them.  Swaro seems like the Astro-Physics of binoculars.  Unbelievably expensive but you get what you paid for.   Going the extra mile to eliminate false color and edge of field breakdown.   Insanely high build quality including the case and dust covers, etc.

 

Part of the premium cost is getting something made entirely in Western Europe.   You're paying extra for that.  If you want the maximum performance per dollar you won't get it with something made in the EU. 

 

Nikon is my other favorite bino company - seems like Nikon and Swaro are the ones who emphasize edge sharpness and performance across the FOV.   You can't go wrong with either one.  I guess I'm saying the Monarchs are excellent binos but if you have the money to blow on the Swarovski you won't regret that either.


Edited by Scott99, 05 August 2022 - 06:27 PM.

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#15 Feannor

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Posted 05 August 2022 - 06:53 PM

another aspect to consider is "true color transmition", which relies heavily on the coatings used for the lenses.  The Swaros always did a good job in this area which is why they are a preference for bird watchers, plus their low light transmition is extremely good.  My experience with Nikon's  is dated but they also did a good job on true color transmition; the weakness I ran into with the Nikon's was the eye relief.  Find yourself a high end shop that has both units......visit it on an ugly overcast snotty rainy day.  All binocs look good in bright sunlight; torture test them under the worst conditions possible and you will see the differences.

 

good luck

 

edit......something i never did with the binocs.....test the true color transmition in relation to astronomy??!!!!  ****......now i have some homework!


Edited by Feannor, 05 August 2022 - 06:55 PM.


#16 skysurfer

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 01:55 AM


 

Part of the premium cost is getting something made entirely in Western Europe.   You're paying extra for that.  If you want the maximum performance per dollar you won't get it with something made in the EU. 

 

 

Really ? I thought virtually all binos are made in China by Kunming Optics ?

EDIT: I indeed found that they are manufactured in Tirol, Austria , EU.

 

https://www.optics-t...inoculars-made/


Edited by skysurfer, 06 August 2022 - 02:03 AM.


#17 mateuszd

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 03:07 AM

This entirely EU made thing is not as flawless as it seems. As the new cold war started (actually it's been perceivable a longer while now...) the SVs run out of stocks here. It turned out the straps/covers/cases were not that european as they seemed to be or the rubber coats as well. Still it's at least EU in terms of QC or maybe I should say it used to be...



#18 Scott99

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 01:44 PM

The made-in-EU thing is more of a value judgement - how are workers treated, what happens to disposal of waste and toxic chemicals, etc, very different world than China.  It's somewhat of a digression from how the optics perform.  But that is part of the extra cost of Swarovski.

 

The Monarchs sound good in Roger's review.  The focuser isn't the absolute best, but that doesn't mean much for astronomy where you generally don't adjust focus during the session.   You're not going to see more astronomical detail in objects by spending the extra money on Swarovski, it's just the intangibles of higher quality.

 

I actually prefer my older Nikon HG 8x42's to Swarovski's 42's because of the greased focus wheel of the Nikon, it's my favorite, all the new premiun binos feel dry and too much stiction in comparison.  The Nikon have a bit of false color but they take abuse and get dirty and I think I'd be afraid of taking $3K Swavovski out on 3-mile walking tours for birds. 


Edited by Scott99, 06 August 2022 - 01:45 PM.



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