Saturday, August 06, 2016

Nikon's Sticky Monarch

What has gone wrong with my Monarch? It has gone sweaty, sticky and seems to just crumble away! :(

Its nearly six years since I purchased my first pair of 'serious' binoculars - a Nikon Monarch from Yodobashi Camera, Akihabara, Japan. It was a handy companion while ascending Mt. Fuji, and subsequently brought me within 'touching distance' of numerous birds across India.

Then, one day, I took it out of its packaging to find its rubber grip covered with a kind of fine, white fungus. Wiping with a dry cloth made it appear clean but the rubber continued to be sticky and crumbly. The Nikon Service Centre at Noida took a look at the device and simply said that they could do nothing. The rubber components could neither be repaired nor replaced.

I tried looking for a solution at the online forums where it is called the "sticky armor problem". One user was able to partially solve this be rubbing the armor with isopropanol.

Still, what irks me is Nikon's care-a-damn approach to this problem. For a company that has build it reputation on sturdy outdoor optical equipment, surely this is not a one-off problem of mouldy rubber jackets!


Postscript (20 Aug 2016): One thing that does seem to work in the hot, humid Indian climate is Neem (Azadirachta indica) powder. A well known natural germicide in India, Neem extracts are now available as prickly heat powder. I used a product from Hesh Pharma and it seems to work perfectly fine on the sticky Nikon binoculars!



* Bird Forum -

* Rubber coating breakdown -

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