Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 binoculars: Are they any good?

The high-end Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 binos promise brilliant views in low light. We take a closer look

Nikon Monarch 5 20x56
(Image credit: Nikon)

Do you need a comfortable, high-end pair of binoculars with stunning image quality and amazing low-light performance? The Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 is all that and more. 

Nikon is no stranger to high quality optics, and anyone expecting a top-notch experience with this pair will get exactly what they're looking for. The 56mm millimeter objective is massive in comparison to standard models, but it offers a more sleek and lightweight option than specs designed for big-game hunting or serious adventuring.

That's exactly why these are in our ranking of the best binoculars to buy now: they stand up to the durability an outdoorsman might need in the backcountry, but their fresh, user-friendly design is approachable for everyone else. Bird enthusiasts, hikers, and even families will love using these binoculars to see even the darkest, farthest scenes up close and personal. Those impressive specs do come at a price though. Read on for a closer look at what these binos offer for your money, and how they perform in practice. 

Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 binoculars: Features and price

These binos certainly aren't the cheapest on the market. However, they do boast some pretty hefty features that you won't find in pairs with a lower price tag. Unlike mid-range binoculars that are optimized for daytime use, the greatest selling point of the Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 is that they boast brilliant views in low light. 

This is thanks to Nikon's iconic ED lenses, which keep nighttime views sharp and clear when they'd normally be fuzzy and hard to focus. ED lenses boost contrast and reduce chromatic aberration to create images that are brighter and more natural-looking. Dielectric high-reflective multilayer prism coatings also elevate light transmittance across the spectrum of light, which offers optimum clarity with minimum distortion. These lenses, in combination with the multilayer coatings, mean that you can depend on bright, colorful images, brilliant whites, and accurate image portrayal.

Nikon Monarch 5 20x56

(Image credit: Nikon)

They also offer long-eye relief, which helps those with eyeglasses use them for long periods of time without wear. There's also a high eyepoint design, which boosts comfortability for both glasses-wearers and those without glasses. You might also enjoy the fact that the Nikon Monarch's have turn and slide eyecups, which make it easy to adjust the binoculars for a custom fit and view comfortably for hours. 

Like most high-end binoculars in this price range, this pair has a rubber armored body that improves grip and resists shock upon impact. The non-slip grip makes it great for viewing in cold, wet weather (the perfect combination for lenses that improve low-light viewing). They also come with a 100% warranty for 25 years.

Nikon Monarch 5 20x56: What the reviews say

Most people who decide to buy the Nikon Monarch 20x56 are impressed by the clarity and brilliance. While people do note the moderate weight (it's impossible to be considered lightweight with this kind of lens), the added neoprene neck strap and tripod adaptability make up for the slightly heavier nature. People also recommend using these binoculars on a tripod when used for a longer period of time to make sure they're used comfortably.

It's worth noting that most people are incredibly happy with this pair, but some people expect them to perform better for the price. Since there aren't many binoculars that sell in this range, customers tend to put them in the category of specs with a slightly higher price point. Moreover, people have said that the image quality is slightly darker than some of the competing pairs in the high-end market; others note that they make celestial viewing a breeze. With mixed reviews and no standout flaw, it seems like whether or not you love these binoculars depends on personal preference.

Nikon Monarch 5 20x56

(Image credit: Nikon)

Should I buy the Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 binoculars?

If you can afford them, the Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 binoculars could be a great investment. However, whether they're worth it or not depends what you're using them for: someone seeking great birdwatching specs for sunny days won't need to pay for the low-light features in this pair. But if you're serious about your optics and you're committed to taking them on adventures, the Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 will certainly deliver bang for your buck.

Michelle Polizzi

Michelle Polizzi is an independent wellness, outdoors, and travel writer with seven years of experience.