A monocular is a small, low powered telescope that is designed to be compact enough to slip into a pocket or small pack. It is lightweight and portable and is useful to the hunter because it can be operated one-handed while still keeping control of your weapon.
With so many different pieces of equipment the hunter is required to carry it is very important to keep weight and size to a minimum. This is where a monocular comes in very handy. Although you might need to observe distant subjects you may not wish to add the weight of a pair of binoculars to your pack.
No matter whether you’re scouting the local terrain or honing in on a subject when out hunting, or need to get a better feel for your target on the 3D course a monocular provides an easy to store and use piece of equipment.
Uses For A Monocular
There are just as many reasons for using a monocular as there are for using a pair of binoculars. The main difference is that the monocular is smaller, lighter and less expensive.
A monocular provides you with an optical instrument that can be carried in the pocket or a side compartment of your pack without taking up much space. In many cases these devices are also much cheaper than the expense of binoculars which also makes them a good option, ideal for hiking, traveling, hunting and backpacking.
Difference Between Monoculars, Binoculars and Spotting Scopes
In some ways you can think of a monocular as half a pair of binoculars. Rather than using a scope for each eye you only have the single scope but the concept is still the same. The size is the other big difference you have with a monocular because they are designed to be both compact and portable. It is this difference that separates the monocular from the spotting scope. While they both feature a single scope the spotting scope is designed as a large scope that is designed to be used in a single position. You are most likely to set yourself up in a fixed location and want to observe wildlife or similar subjects using a spotting scope.
Finding a suitable monocular can be a difficult process because there are many similarly designed makes and models available that must be sorted through. We have put together a series of comparison guides covering some of the most commonly searched for features to help in the process.
Specialist Monocular Types
Some monoculars are designed to perform under specific conditions or for specialist tasks. Here are a few of the different types of specialist monoculars that may be required.
Night Vision Monocular
This type of monocular is very useful for use when the lighting conditions are poor or at night time. Some night vision monoculars will enhance the image in the poorest quality light. For almost complete darkness it is also possible to get very high quality thermal image monoculars to give you a great picture of the surroundings.
The majority of monoculars will provide you with a specific magnification level. If you would like to alter the magnification to bring the focus closer or further away you can do so with a zoom monocular. They are a little more fiddly to use as you may need to use a little more precision to bring images into your exact required focus.
Close Focus Monocular
Sometimes it is important to be able to see objects that are quite close in greater detail. A sharp image may not always be achieved as you come closer to the object you’re viewing. This type of viewing may be important to those who are more interested in the fine detail of small plants, insects and animals. The close focus is one of the stated specifications of most monoculars and can be as small as a couple of inches.
The majority of hunters and hikers are going to be out in adverse weather conditions at some point and you would like to be comfortable that your monocular is going to survive the experience. Many monoculars are sealed and filled with an inert gas to keep out any moisture. When looking for a waterproof monocular you will generally only need one that can withstand splashes and humidity based moisture build up.
What Do the Numbers Mean in the Model Names?
This is a question that people knew to monoculars, binoculars and telescopes might ask. We are talking about things such as 8x20, 10x25, 10x42 and the like. They refer to specific features of the monocular and will be important to understand when deciding which one to buy. They refer to the Magnification and Objective Lens Diameter of the monocular and we explain their importance below.
It may seem fairly straightforward but we should take a minute to discuss the magnification of the monocular. The magnification is talking about how much larger the image is displayed in the viewer. This is an important consideration when buying a monocular because the suitability of the magnification level will change depending on how you are planning on using your monocular.
Lower magnification (4x – 6x) will give you a smaller increase in the size of the image, but it will also mean that your field of vision will be larger. If you are planning on using your monocular for scanning the whole landscape rather than a single object this is the level you should look for.
Moderate magnification (8x – 10x) will bring the image closer to you while still maintaining good clarity and sharpness of the image. You are still going to have a relatively large field of vision and might still be viewing a predominantly wide expanse of landscape.
Higher magnification (12x – 15x) is an interesting one when dealing with small and lightweight monoculars. While you will be getting a high level of magnification, the field of vision greatly decreases and holding the unit steady becomes more difficult. It takes some getting used to when trying to hold your subject in the center of the display as the magnification level goes up.
Objective Lens Diameter
This is the second number that you will often see in the name or model of monoculars that are being advertised. It refers to the lens diameter and is an important consideration that should be taken into account.
A larger lens diameter will allow more light to get in and this means it will be better suited to use during low light situations. If you expect to be using your monocular on sunny days or at least during the daytime, a smaller lens diameter will be fine.
Monocular Technical Terms Explanation
Field of View
One of the specifications that are often supplied when buying a monocular is the Field of View (FOV). What this is referring to is the distance that can be seen through the monocular from side to side over a certain measurement, usually 1000 feet.
So, for example, if a monocular’s FOV is stated as 384 @ 1000, this means that you will be able to see a width of 384 feet lying 1,000 feet distant. The higher the magnification of the monocular, the lower the FOV assuming the objective lens remains the same. The FOV can be increased by using a larger objective lens.
This is a measure of the distance that your eye can to be from the ocular lens and still get the full field of view.
When you hold the monocular at arm’s length and look at the ocular lens you will notice a dot of light. The larger this image, the brighter the image you will see. The exit pupil can be calculated by dividing the objective lens diameter by the magnification. So, if you have a monocular that is 8x24 the exit pupil will be 3mm in diameter.
Monocular Manufacturer Guide
Below is a list of manufacturers responsible for the majority of the bestselling monoculars currently sold around the world. Click on the company logo to be taken to their website where you will find out more news, information and product details direct from each manufacturer.