Last Updated on May 20, 2021
Tired of big, bulky binos that easily bump around and break? You might want to consider purchasing a monocular.
Monoculars can provide you an excellent enhanced viewing experience just like binoculars. And it might actually be the better tool for the job in some situations. But what exactly is a monocular? And why should you choose one?
In this article, we’ll explore why you should choose a monocular, how they work, the best uses for having one, and how affordable they can be. Let’s get started!
Just like any other optic, monoculars come in different magnification powers and sizes. And you’ll usually find this information directly printed on the optic itself. These numbers provide the exact same information as those found on the side of binoculars. So, when determining the best monocular for you, take into account four different factors in order to get the right match.
As with most optics, you’ll see a set of numbers on your monocular that designate its magnification strength, such as 8×25. The first number means you’ll achieve 8 times magnification; the second number means your objective lens is 25mm in diameter. Remember that more magnification isn’t always better. It will narrow your field of view and can make your image shakier.
On the other hand, larger lenses are most beneficial in low light scenarios, as they gather more light into your device. Because a monocular contains a single light path through its objective lens, it does limit image depth to a 2-dimensional field. But with the bright image quality, you can expect from a monocular, this usually isn’t a problem. Treated roof prisms and multi-coated objective lenses will also add to your image quality, so check the specifications on your model before you purchase.
It’s important to know just how much you’re going to want your objective target magnified. However, extremely high-powered monoculars might not be best for those on the go. That’s because the higher the magnification power, the more your vision will be impaired by the movement of the monocular. Even the slightest shake or twinge at high powers will cause shakiness or loss of target.
Like binos, monoculars can have either Porro or Roof prisms. Those that come with Porro prisms will have better 3D sharpness at a reduced cost. Roof prisms will provide a brighter color image clarity but are more expensive. Also, you should pay attention to the lens coating that the manufacturer uses. Better quality coatings will produce better quality images. However, you’ll have to pay more for this premium option.
Another thing you’ll need to definitely consider is the eyepiece itself. It’s not just a matter of putting it up to your face and seeing it if fits either. You’ll need to take into consideration the eye relief. This is a measure of how far away your eye can be from the lens in order for you to see properly. Now, this normally isn’t an issue, unless you’re wearing corrective lenses, that is. Then, you’ll need to find a monocular with a larger eye relief.
This range of a monocular is a measure of the closest distance a monocular needs to be in focus. Normally, the higher the magnification power, the more distance is needed to start acquiring a clear focus. For example, a 20x magnification power may need a 20-foot lead in order to start acquiring a good focus, whereas an 8x magnification monocular may only need 24 inches.
Have you ever thought about using night vision optics? Using a monocular is an easy and cheap way to start. They’re also one of the absolute best options as well.
When using night vision goggles or binos, both of your eyes are looking through specially designed lenses to receive an illuminated image of your target. And when you pull away from the eyepieces, both of your eyes now have to readjust to gain their natural night vision.
However, with a monocular, there isn’t that issue. Since only one eye will be exposed to the night vision tech, only that eye will need to readjust, meaning you’ll have a quicker natural field of vision.
Depending on the prism options, coatings, and overall quality of your monocular, the price can range from relatively cheap to somewhat expensive. However, a monocular with all the same qualifications as a binocular sets will normally be much cheaper and around half the price.
Monocular can be some pretty awesome optics depending on the situation. They offer quick spotting capabilities, unparalleled portability, and even better night vision abilities. Plus, they’re a whole lot cheaper than a standard set of binos.
Just be sure to remember the criteria to follow when choosing one. And you’ll soon fall in love with your next optic — a monocular.
Header image credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin, Wikimedia
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
How Far Is Uranus From the Sun?
How Far Is Neptune From the Sun?
How Far Is Neptune From the Earth?
How Big Is Jupiter?
What is a Barlow Lens and Why do Astronomers Use Them
Camcorder vs Camera: Which Is Better for Your Needs?
8 Best Scopes for 6.5 Grendel in 2021 — Reviews & Top Picks
How Far Away Is Mars? How Long Would it Take to Travel There?