Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 VS Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42


In this article, I will compare the Monarch 5 8×42 by Nikon and Endeavor ED II 8×42 by Vanguard. These two models are not the cheapest and most basic and are already among better quality representatives of their kind in the group of 8×42 binoculars. Both are built with ED – Extra-Low Dispersion glass lenses; Endeavor ED II series are offering the recent Vanguard visual improvements with exceptional Japanese HOYA ED glass and Monarch 5 offers high-quality Nikon ED glass. The price for these two models goes from less than 340 Eur for a Monarch 5 and less than 500 EUR for an Endeavor ED II.

Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 was selected to be ‘Best Wildlife Observation Binocular of 2014‘ by Best Binocular Reviews. For this title it had to fulfill the following requirements; being lightweight, extra solid, with amazing brightness and quality of the image.
Nikon is known for its multi-year tradition of producing high-quality optical glass materials.

Monarch 5 is quite similar to Endeavor ED II in all specifications and that is why I have decided to make this comparison between their technical and surface properties. I will also include the results of evaluating of the binoculars by 6 randomly selected people. Both models are suitable for more demanding hunters, nature explorers, and bird observers. Also, both binoculars are intended for use in difficult lighting conditions and provide sharp, bright images. Both have a very durable and ergonomic design, which is essential for comfortable handling.

Size and weight

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42
Weight:590 g770 g
Width:129 mm130 mm
Length:145 mm154 mm
Max interpupillary distance:76 mm76 mm

The difference in the exterior is quite minimal at first glance, however, when we start studying the details, we can see many disadvantages of Nikon’s model. First of all, I need to mention the impractical length of the central bridge, which makes it difficult to use the binoculars with one hand. Endeavor ED II has an open bridge design, which makes it much better for handling and hand comfort. The right-eye diopter on Endeavor ED II has an amazing locking adjustment feature, which Monarch 5 does not have. The entire appearance of Monarch 5 is quite plain, however more ergonomically designed and elegantly shaped as the cheaper models, but still without a thumb rest! Both binoculars are black rubber coated with plastic details.
Endeavor ED II housing is covered with black rubber, which kind of resembles the appearance of leather. On the central wheel and diopter, there are plenty of bumps that give a better grip.
Monarch 5 is slightly shorter than an Endeavor ED II and weighs less. Other dimensions are more or less the same.

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 And Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 And Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42

Optical Properties

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42
Prism type:Roof – Schmidt/PechanRoof –
Schmidt/Pechan (BaK-4)
Lens Diameter:42 mm42 mm
Variable Magnification:NoNo
Coatings:Fully multi-coatedFully multi-coated
Close focus:2,37 m2,0 m
Field of View:110 m /1000 m126 m / 1000 m

Among binoculars, the most frequent configuration is 8×42– means 8x magnification and objective lens diameter of 42 mm- almost every optics brand produces at least one model in this range. They are known for their universality since they perform very well in almost all conditions and are suitable for several different observations (hunting- especially stalking, birds and other animals, surroundings, landscape, etc.). Binoculars are highly efficient, easy to carry and very simple to use. 8×42 is the most popular in almost all areas, offering a bigger field of view than higher magnifications do, and also the shaking factor when held in hand is less problematic.
Both models have a fully multicoated optical system and offer good light transmission. Nikon’s ED glass and multilayer coatings on the lenses ensure that the image in the eyepiece appears natural with rich colors. Binoculars are designed to provide clear images when we do not have the best visibility conditions.
You can take them anywhere and use them in the most extreme situations, as they are resistant to water and fog. Coated in rubber, they are stable in hand and give you a comfortable and safe grip.
The Monarch 5 has the ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) glass, with special technology that corrects chromatic aberrations so you can see every detail as if you had it in front of you.
Vanguard Endeavor ED II binoculars, equipped with Hoya ED high-quality glass, provide excellent edge-to-edge clarity and brightness. In cooperation with the BaK4 prisms, they work together to eliminate the chromatic aberration and add true color fidelity.
Close focus and field of view are both better with Endeavor ED II, which makes the latter better for closer and long-distance observations. Both are suitable for following the game, focusing on moving objects, event observations, etc. Endeavor has close focusing distance of 2 meters, which is convenient for closer/macro observations (insects, butterflies…).
8x magnification makes both models very suitable for observations on long distance, for example in the mountains or wide open areas.

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 And Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 And Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42

Focus Properties

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42
Focusing System:CentralCentral
Central Wheel Grasp:6/108/10
Central Wheel Rotation:6/108/10
Diopter Setting:Right-eyeRight-eye
Central Wheel Diameter:30 mm33 mm
Central Wheel Length:20 mm22 mm
Total Revolution:400°400°
Bridge Length (Without the Central Wheel Length)50 mm24 mm

Both models have a central focusing system and a right-eye diopter setting. I would evaluate the Endeavor’s central wheel better (with an 8/10) since the knob feels much more stable, has a better grip and the surface is likable to the touch. Monarch 5’s central wheel knob (evaluated with a 6/10) is, again, cheap-looking, gives the feeling of trapped air when moving it and looks exactly the same as on the cheaper Nikon binoculars. The rotation of it feels somehow unsteady and loose.
Both models have the same focus throw, however, Endeavor gives refined results with a sturdier rotation.

Nikon Monarch 5 8x42
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42
Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8x42
Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42

Eyepiece Properties

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42
Eyepiece type:MultipositionedMultipositioned
Number of Click-stops:33
Eye relief:19.5 mm19.5 mm
Exit pupil:5.3 mm5.3 mm
Suitable for Eye Glass Wearers:YesYes
External Diameter:39 mm40 mm
Internal Diameter:22 mm25 mm

Eyepieces are in both cases multi-positioned with 3 click-stops and a turn and slide system. Eye relief is really good on both, so they are suitable for use with or without eye-wear/glasses. Rotation of the eyecups on the Endeavor seems to be somehow “sloppy” and loose since they twist almost too easily and can immediately change the position. However, both model’s eyepieces fit really nice to the face/eyes, considering they are both made of soft rubber, especially Endeavor’s. I somehow liked the eyepieces on all Nikon’s models I have tested so far, but this may be just a personal preference. I have evaluated the quality of both with 8/10, but as far as firmness is concerned, I have evaluated the Monarch 5 to be much better- with 8/10 and Endeavor with 6/10.
Right-eye diopter, as I have mentioned before, is really a big advantage on a Vanguard’s model, since it has a lock feature. All over its surface, there are little bumps for easier grip, which come really handy when we are wearing gloves and under the eyecups, there are fluorescent green rings that make the image of the binoculars more interesting. Monarch 5’s diopter is made of simple plastic and is a bit hard to rotate, because of lack of grip.

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Vs. Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Bottom
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Vs. Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Bottom

General Properties

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42
Housing Material:Plastic/ RubberPlastic/ Rubber
Quality of Armoring:7/108/10
Quality of Covers:8/108/10
Build in Rangefinder:NoNo
Filled With:NitrogenNitrogen
Number of Colors:11
Tripod Adaptable:Yes, using the adapterYes, using the adapter
Made in:ChinaChina
Introduced in:20122013
Warranty period:5 years2 years
MRSP Price:339.90 EUR499.00 EUR

Both binoculars are well-designed and great for observation in nature because they are lightweight and compact. Armoring is made of durable and quality rubber with plastic details, which provides a non-slip grip in heavy rain and other wet conditions, and withstands exceptional situations. They are available only in black color. I have evaluated Monarch 5’s armoring quality with 7/10 and Endeavor’s with 8/10. The difference between them is not huge, but still big enough and obvious. It bothers me a little how the rubber on all Nikon models of this and the lower price range quickly becomes sticky and stained with white spots.Both are filled with nitrogen and O-ring sealed, so they are fog and waterproof.
I have evaluated the covers of objective lenses on both with a good 7/10 because they are more or less equal to each other- same shape ( attached on the barrels with a thick rubber ring), similar material (rubber) and details (engraved logo). Monarch 5’s covers appear to be more durable and are made of thicker rubber than the Endeavor’s. However, Nikon’s eyepiece covers are made of simple plastic which seems to crack easily if it bends. In this case, Endeavor gets an extra point, since the covers are made of rubber.
Monarch 5 and Endeavor ED II are made in China and are tripod mountable with an optional adapter. Vanguard offers 2 years warranty and Nikon 5 years.

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 And Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Covers
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 And Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Covers
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 And Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Covers
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 And Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Covers

Group test

How we made a test

We made a test with a group of 6 people with very diverse knowledge about sports optics. Some had previous experiences with binoculars and other almost none. We compared central and edge sharpness, glare, real FOV, eye-box and overall impression. Everyone in the test group tested binoculars individually without being influenced by other people. We also covered down any brand signs on binoculars, so no one was influenced by knowing which company manufactured which.

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42
Central sharpness:4/62/6
Edge sharpness:3/63/6
Real FOV:1/65/6
Overall impression:3/63/6

I was honestly expecting the results for Vanguard Endeavor ED II would be better, however, it was a tie! Result was a 3 : 3 draw in 4 categories: edge sharpness, glare, eye box and in overall impression. Monarch 5 got better evaluations in Central Sharpness (4/6) and Endeavor in Real FOV (5/6). Results for the eye box surprised me, as I thought that in this case, Vanguard would be the absolute winner, but it only got half of the votes.
Vanguard’s Endeavor ED II is supposed to be a better binocular than Nikon’s Monarch 5 in all aspects and it also has a higher price, nevertheless, we should not ignore Nikon’s model with its great optical properties and quality-made glass lenses.


I was not expecting a tie between them because my evaluation was more on the side of the Endeavor ED II; the appearance of it is better and smoother, the feeling of fitting in hands is more pleasant and the details are much more noticeable. Nikon somehow always surprises with its optical characteristics, even if the design is not always their main quality. Both binoculars come in a soft black bag with neckstraps included. Endeavor also has a tighten belt for a bag.
Both binoculars are a very good choice for all possible observations and are highly recommendable for a novice hunter or birdwatcher. These models are no more among the cheapest of their kind, so they already offer a lot for their price; their agility is improved and low light brilliance more advanced. Both offer rich colors, high contrasts and contribute to performing well in low light conditions. I have to mention once again the great advantage of the Vanguard’s model, since it has an open bridge design, which is really a great advantage for binoculars with such price.

Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Vs. Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Bags
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Vs. Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Bags
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Vs. Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Boxes
Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Vs. Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 Boxes


This test wasn’t financed and is unbiased. As a wildlife enthusiast interested in sports optics I made this tests because I would like to see how binoculars perform and if they meet the advertised expectations. With this test, I also hope that it will help people choose the right binoculars for their personal use. I am not in any way connected with the manufacturers of sports optics and I’m not personally in favor of particular brand.
In the end, I would like to thank to lend me these binoculars for this test. I also thank them for letting me use their videos.

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