Numerous surveys have been done over years and many of them came to the same conclusion: The NIKON 7430 Monarch ATB 8×42 Binoculars has been the best in the price range $200-$500. This model has dominated the scene for many years as the undisputed nr. 1 in the price range below $400 (selling for less than $300.00 for most of the time).
Just a few references to illustrate the popularity of the outgoing 7430:
1. In 2005 40 reviewers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology tested 78 binoculars and gave the Nikon 7430 Monarch the highest rating in the $200 to $500 range.
2. Recently Pete Dunne wrote a review in Birder’s World in which he recommends the Nikon Monarch:
“There are others in this price range that are comparable, but for some reason, after an hour of testing and comparing, this is the glass buyers walk up to the counter with.”
Quotes from other surveys:
1. “Monarch ATB binoculars, you will find they are a proven best seller and truly are a great binocular for around 300$. ”
2. “But with a street price well under $300, the Monarchs are a steal.”
3. “I recommend the Nikon 7430 Monarch 8 x 42 mm All-terrain binoculars for their overall quality and affordability. This binocular can easily compete with higher priced ones.”
Satisfied customers: Turning to what people who actually bought the Nikon 7430 Monarch 8x42mm ATB, have to say about the instrument, the first thing that strikes you is the enormous popularity it has had among buyers at Amazon (and other shops as well). It has been the bestseller binocular for a long time and currently 92 out of 119 customer reviews give it gave it a 5 stars rating, and another 24 a 4 stars rating.
See why L. Hudson (UK), for example, gave it a 5 stars rating: “Everything about them feels and works like 1000 dollar lenses with two exceptions, the lens cap and rainguard.” Lots of other web reviews also rave about them, and 98% of people would not tell the difference between these and top range Zeiss, Leica etc. And for 300 dollars you can take them anywhere and enjoy them.”
Comparison between the Nikon 7430 Monarch and the Nikon 7294 Monarch
Improving on the Nikon 7430 Monarch will take some doing, but here goes!
1. Objective aperture and magnification: Both Nikon Monarchs have the same objective aperture (42 mm.) and magnification (8x).
2. Field of view: The field of view in both cases are quite the same: The 7430 has a slightly wider FOV of 340 feet at 1000 yards, whereas the new 7294 has 330 feet at 1000 yards.
3. Close focus: An excellent 8.2 feet in both cases.
4. Weatherproofing: Both are water- and fogproof, achieved by “O”-rings sealing for waterproofing and filled with nitrogen for fogproofing.
5. Eye relief: A handsome 19.5 mm. in both cases.
6. Exit pupil: 5 mm. in the case of the 7430, but 5.3 in the case of the new 7294, in spite of the objective aperture and magnification being the same.
7. The relative brightness index (RBI): Due to the difference in exit pupil, the 7294 has a RBI of 28.1, whereas it is 25 in the case of the 7430. Although the difference does not seem that much, it will make a difference to the brightness of images, in particular in dim light or when an object in shade is viewed. This is the one important improvement Nikon succeeded in achieving.
8. Coating of lenses: The most important improvement has to do with the coating of the lenses. In both cases the lenses are fully multi-coated and phase-correction coated (which is essential for roof prisms), delivering clear, bright, high-contrast images and true-to-life colors. However, in the case of the new Nikon 7294 Monarch a new technology has been applied as well, which is called “dielectric high-reflective multilayer prism coating“.
A quote from Nikon:
“The 2010 Monarch All Terrain Binocular now features dielectric high-reflective multilayer prism coating for brighter, sharper colors, crisp and drastically improved low-light performance.”
And: “This coating features reflectance that exceeds 99%. By utilizing light interference, this coating assures high reflectivity across the full visible range, and ensures high color reproducibility. ”
9. Weight and dimensions: The new Nikon 7294 Monarch is about 5 ounces lighter (21.5 vs 26.3 ounces) and more compact as well: 5.7(l) x 5.1(w) inches vs 6.5(l) x 5.1(w) of the 7430. All in all, more compact.
10. Price: The new NIKON 7294 Monarch ATB 8×42 sells for 19% more than the NIKON 7430 Monarch ATB 8×42.
Popularity of the new Nikon 7294 Monarch ATB:
The 7294 has already been reviewed 29 times at Amazon, of which 19 Five Star rating. To read the reviews, click HERE.