Binoculars Vs Monocular: Which is Better?
Both binoculars are monocular are great tools for avid outdoorsmen. They provide better optical performance which helps us see better details of the targets we view compared to when we view them with our naked eyes.
Both binoculars and monocular have their own advantages and disadvantages. Besides, each unit is suitable for different application. However, the most difficult thing that most outdoorsmen have to do is to make a choice whether to buy a monocular or a pair of binoculars.
If you are having the hardest time of your life trying to make a decision on whether to buy binoculars or a monocular, we are here to help. In this article, we are going to show you the main differences between binoculars and monocular, the advantages and disadvantages of each and which activity each unit is best suited for. Let’s get started.
Binoculars Vs Monocular: Which is Better?
Binoculars are very common and you have probably used one before. A binocular is an optical instrument which has two identical telescopes, one for each eye mounted on one frame. They are used for virtually any application since they are easy to use and comfortable on the eyes even during long glassing sessions. You can also mount binoculars on a tripod or a car window for hands-free viewing.
While most binoculars cause less eye-fatigues, some are bulky and they tend to weigh you down when you hold them for long. When compared with monoculars, they take a longer time to focus as you have to reconcile the two optics instead of one. Let’s now have a detailed look on binoculars.
Lenses and Prisms
The most important part of binoculars is lenses. The quality of the lenses used determines the quality of images that you’ll get. This is different from one model to the other. High-end binoculars have top-tier lenses which provide exceptional optical performance. But you’ll have to pay more to get such a model.
Binoculars have different prisms types. These are Porro, Roof and Galilean prisms. Galilean prims were the first prisms to be used on binoculars and are no longer used. Today, most binoculars either have Porro prisms or roof prisms. These two prisms have their pros and cons.
Both binoculars and monocular have the same magnification specs. Both have similar levels of amplification. They magnify the targets enough to give you clear images at both short and long distances depending on the magnification power.
However, looking at an amplified image for long hours causes eye fatigue. This is where binoculars excel at. Since you are using both eyes to look at the target, you are going to experience less eye fatigue.
Field of View
Binoculars offer a wider field of view than monoculars. The two viewing tubes give you a better and large range of vision which is essential for scouting, scanning and observing life events. Binoculars with a lower magnification have a wider field of view while those with a high magnification provide a narrower field of view.
Advantages of Binoculars
- Wider field of view
- Less eye strain and fatigue
- More suitable for a wide range of activities
Disadvantages of Binoculars
- More expensive
- Bulky and cumbersome
Go for Binoculars if:
- You plan to engage yourself in long glassing sessions. In such a situation, binoculars are a better choice because they are easier on the eyes. They are much more comfortable to look though for a long period of time.
- You want high-quality images. When you use both your eyes to look through the binoculars, you get better overall depth and 3D viewing.
- You are looking for an optic that’s suitable for viewing targets that are far away. Some binoculars have a high magnification power which is ideal for long-distance hunting, scouting and marine sightseeing.
The main and obvious difference between a monocular and a binocular is that a monocular has one viewing tube while binoculars have two. Monoculars are more compact and lightweight, so they are great for travel. You can carry a monocular for long hours and it will hardly weigh you down. Besides, most of them have a utility clip that let’s you attach them to your belt for simple access while in the field.
Lens and Prism
Monoculars often use Porro prisms. The lens is designed to gather light from outside and amplify it, while the prism takes the image of the object and inverts it. The lens and the prism are the most expensive part of any optic. That’s why most monoculars are cheaper than binoculars.
As stated earlier, monocular have the same magnification specs as binoculars. However, there are some drawbacks of looking at magnified objects with one viewing tube only. With one eye looking through the viewing tube and the other not, you are going to experience eye fatigue very quickly. That’s why monocular are ideal for quick sighting and not long viewing sessions.
Field of View
The field of view in monocular is smaller than that in binoculars. However, this isn’t an issue to worry about because monoculars are mainly used for precision spotting of objects. Besides that, monocular outdo binoculars when it comes to night vision application. When you use one eye to view targets at night, you won’t destroy your natural night sight fully. Besides, using one eye helps you readjust to the dark quickly than when you are using night vision binoculars.
Advantages of Monoculars
- Compact, lightweight and portable
- Simpler to make adjustments on-the-fly
- Much suitable for night vision situations
- More affordable
Disadvantages of Monoculars
- Narrower field of view
- More eye strain and fatigue
- Less suitable for viewing targets for long period of time
Go for a monocular if:
- You are always on the move. Monocular are compact, ultralight and a great companion for outdoorsmen who are always on-the-go. You can easily slide them inside your pockets or put them in the backpack and take them with you anywhere you go and they won’t weigh you down.
- You have a tight budget. When you compare a monocular and a pair of binoculars of the same specs, you’ll find that the monocular is less expensive.
- Only one of your eyes is working. Some people have impaired eyesight. So, if you are one of them, a monocular is the ultimate optic for you. You don’t have to be left behind when your family or friends are using binoculars to enjoy the great outdoors.
Hopefully this detailed comparison has been helpful. Choosing between a monocular or a pair of binoculars will largely depend on what you intend to use the equipment for. Whether you choose to go with binoculars or a monocular, make sure that you read the specs carefully then choose a product that works best for your needs.