A monocular is a compact, lightweight telescope that you can hold in your hand, just as you would a set of binoculars. You can use one eye to look at objects that are far away. This is great for things such as watching sporting events, camping, hunting, hiking, and so much more. In addition, you could use a monocular to magnify text that is difficult to read.
Some of the options you should consider when selecting a monocular are size, weight, and magnification power. In addition, make sure that you take the time to shop around and test a few options so that you can be sure you get the best quality for your money. Here are some tips for how to select the best monocular that will suit you best.
Magnification Power and Lens
Determine the magnification power you need
First of all, you must determine the magnification power that you need. The magnification power of your monocular is going to determine how far away you can see and how much detail you can see. The higher the magnification power of your monocular, the greater the clarity you will get of what you are looking at. That is, you can see clearer at a much further distance.
While it’s true that a higher magnification may seem like a better option, you must keep in mind that it will be much more difficult to use because even small movements will have an effect on the image. If you want a monocular that is easy to use and still has a decent magnification power, choose a 5x, 6x, or even an 8x.
On the other hand, if you prefer to have a monocular with a higher magnification power, you may wish to get one with a 9x or 10x power. If you have used a monocular in the past or you have some experience with binoculars and spotting scopes, you may wish to choose a monocular with a higher magnification power.
Of course, you’ll want to keep in mind that as the magnification power increases, the field of view decreases. Therefore, if you want a larger field of view, you may wish to choose a monocular with a lower magnification power.
Determine the lens size you need
In addition to determining what magnification power you need, you’ll also need to determine the lens size you prefer. After all, the larger the lens, the better and brighter your image is going to be. On the other hand, you might also keep in mind that while a smaller lens doesn’t have as good of a view, it is not nearly as bulky and is much easier to use. Monoculars typically have a lens size of 20 to 42 mm.
When shopping for a monocular, you’ll find that most of the time, they come with a specific lens size and magnification power, such as 8×25, which means that the magnification power is 8x and the lens size is 25mm. You may wish to shop around and test a variety of monoculars to get an idea of what will work best for your needs.
Find out if there is a coating on the lens
Most of the time, monoculars come with an anti-glare coating on the lens, which can have an effect on the brightness of the image and can either obscure or enhance your view through it. You’ll find that there is a variety of coverage, from just external elements to all lenses. The most expensive and best option is the “fully multi-coated” meaning that all sides of lenses have several layers of anti-glare coating so that you don’t end up with a view that is obscured.
There are several options for anti-glare coatings:
- Fully coated
Test close focus
When you are looking at monoculars, you’ll want to also take a look at the close focus capabilities. This is the distance a monocular will focus on something. Typically, close focus is not measured in yards, but in inches.
If you’re trying to see the detail in an object that is really close to you, it would be a good idea to choose a monocular that has a high close focus. This will also allow you to see objects that are far away in detail as well.
Consider eye relief distance
The eye relief is the distance between your eye and the monocular eyepiece. This is usually measured in millimeters and has an effect on how far you can see through the scope. If you wear glasses or contacts, you need at least 14 mm of eye relief. If you don’t need glasses or contacts, you won’t likely need much eye relief.
Ideal Size/Weight/Type for Your Needs
Decide what size monocular you prefer
Think about your preferences when it comes to monocular size. Smaller ones will easily fit in your pocket and offer great portability. A larger one is bulkier and more difficult to carry, but will give you a brighter, sharper image.
Models that are 8×25 or 10×25 are pocket/compact models. You can slip a compact model in your pocket, purse, or leave it in your vehicle. Models that are 9×30 or 10×42 are larger models and you may need to carry them in a bag and use a tripod with them.
Consider the weight
Decide how often you plan to use the monocular and how you plan to use it. If you are going to be using your monocular when you go for a walk/hike, you’ll want to choose one that is small and lightweight. On the other hand, if you don’t mind a heavy one that requires a tripod and carrying bag, you may choose a larger one.
It’s a good idea to test out a few different models to get an idea of how they feel in regard to weight and girth. If you plan to carry it with you, you are going to want to avoid getting one that is heavy/bulky.
Will you use it in the dark or around water?
If you will primarily be using the monocular at night, you’ll want to choose a model that has good night vision. These have built-in illuminators that allow you to see through them after dark. In addition, they have a lower magnification, so you have an image that is not as fuzzy or obscured.
If you plan to use the monocular around water, you will want to consider a model that is waterproof. Since this feature can increase the cost of the monocular, you may not want to make this feature a priority unless you’ll use it.
Tips for Monocular Shopping
When you are shopping, you’ll want to check prices on a variety of models/brands. You will want to think about what is important to you. You can check prices online or visit some retailers. You may even find a better deal online and get a price match in a retail store.
Try before you buy
Even if you plan to buy online, you should still visit a few retail stores and try out several models before you buy. Hold it in your hands to feel the size and weight. Slip it in your pocket to see if it’s comfortable. Hold it up to your eye to be sure the eye relief works for you.
Get a monocular with a warranty
Once you have decided to make a purchase, you’ll want to make sure that you can get a warranty with it. Typically, since they are an expensive purchase, they come with a warranty which will allow you to return/exchange it if there are any issues with it.
Consider our other article How To Choose A Monocular?