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Nikon Monarch M7 8×30 Binoculars: Our Review

With a brilliant image and a small, comfortable design, this compact design—our overall Top Pick—could be your new go-to binocular.

At A Glance

Black binoculars
Nikon Monarch M7 8×30 binoculars. Photo by Hugh Powell.


  • Excellent, colorful, eye-filling image
  • Great close focus and wide field of view
  • Small, comfortable design


  • Toward the upper end of the price range in our review


  • Price: $480 MSRP at press time. Prices often fluctuate, so check with retailers
  • Close focus: 6.6 feet (200 cm). In tests, we could focus these binoculars down to about 5.4 feet (163 cm)
  • Field of view: 8.3° (436 feet at 1,000 yards). More about field of view 
  • Weight: 18.1 oz (514 g)—that’s about 0.4 oz (12 g) heavier than the average for compact binoculars in our review. Compare binocular sizes and weights
  • Eye relief: 15.1 mm

Viewing Experience: These are small binoculars with a very sharp, colorful image and a huge field of view. The brightness of these binoculars was consistently impressive: in head-to-head tests with some similarly priced 8×42 binoculars, the M7 8×30 were just as bright, even in the dim light of dusk. Moving birds were quick to dial into focus thanks to a smooth focus wheel, and the image was sharp from edge to edge. At a sunny summer beach in Maine, these binoculars nicely cut out the glare on the choppy waters to find two Razorbills rising and falling out of sight among the waves. As the sharp-looking auks made a slow tour around a rocky point, diving frequently, the M7s captured their dark backs and the delicate white line along the edges of the folded wings. Tracking a group of scoters headed far out to sea, the M7s were sharp enough and provided enough contrast to verify them as male Black Scoters. A group of brownish, immature male Common Eiders were molting into full adult plumage; in some of them we noticed the first hints of pistachio green coming in on the head thanks the M7s’ remarkable clarity and color.  

Feel and Build: The small size made the M7s easy to slip out of the way while carrying a spotting scope across a rocky beach. Compacts often appeal to people with smaller frames, but even for larger birders we found the trim design offered excellent balance and comfort, with good placement of the focus wheel and room to wrap the ring and pinky fingers around the barrels, cradling the binocular. We also noted a comfortable, padded neck strap, firm eyecups, and tight-fitting lens covers to protect them during carrying and storage.

Comments From Testers:

  • Bright image, wide field of view, and very sharp
  • Feel more durable, strap was very comfortable
  • Lightweight, quick central adjustment, crisp, wide field of view
  • Focus knob a bit difficult to turn, but I liked the lightness

This article is one in a series of mini-reviews. To see how these binoculars compare to others we’ve tested, see our full review of affordable compact binoculars.

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