Monocular vs Binocular: Which is Better?

Taking a stroll in the countryside? Going hunting at night? Or canoeing? There is always more to nature that you can observe. For example, binoculars contain a pair of viewing tubes, while a monocular has only one. Do you believe that two tubes are better than one? Well, the genuine answer is no.

You may often find yourself comparing both. In this blog, you will find out the key differences between monoculars vs binoculars, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and in what conditions you’d prefer to use either of them.

Monocular VS Binocular: Expert Comparison

  • Viewing Tubes

The difference in the number of viewing tubes is plainly seen. A monocular has one viewing tube, whereas binoculars have two. But this does not mean that binoculars are better in functionality than binoculars. There are a lot of intricacies that go into deciding that. The two viewing tubes help to see a wider range of vision. But remember, monoculars have a very particular edge in night vision situations.

  • Size and Dimensions

Monoculars are compact and lightweight when compared to binoculars. These are almost half the size of binoculars. Being heavier, binoculars are not easy to wear around the neck. Monoculars provide the same levels of magnification and cost less as well.

  • Prism & Lens

Binoculars work on the principle of curved lens alongside three prisms: Roof, Galilean, or Porro prism. Modern-day monoculars utilize prisms to get an erect image of the object. The lens and prism is the most expensive part of the body. That is why a monocular is cheaper than a pair of binoculars.

  • Viewing Window

The field of view for a monocular is the same as that of a telescope. The twin tubes of binoculars present the viewer with a wider 3D image. Monoculars have an advantage in regard to night vision. The eye using the night vision monocular can re-adjust to natural night light faster than with the binoculars.  If you use night vision monoculars for target spots, a lesser field of view is better.

  • Magnification

For magnification, monoculars and binoculars have similar specifications. In addition, both of these optical instruments come with identical amplification properties. But as noted earlier, the wider viewing window and lesser vision fatigue make binoculars a star choice.

  • Price

The best monoculars will always be lower-priced than similar quality binoculars. The reason behind this is the fact that you will be paying for added optic components. Being pricier does not mean that a pair of binoculars would not be beneficial. It has its own perks, as explained above. If you want comfort, go with a monocular.

  • Eye Fatigue

One major drawback associated with monocular usage is eye fatigue. Additionally, they do not provide a wider view and have sidelight effects. But a pair of binoculars aids the eye with a much broader view of the area.

 Monocular or Binoculars: Which One to Pick?

Experts recommend owning both optical instruments as they each have their own use. Here is a go-to guide for you on knowing when to use a monocular or pair of binoculars.

  • Bird Watching 

Twitchers are hobbyists that go outside, particularly for birdwatching.  A monocular would be a perfect instrument for you. It can also help ornithologists in studying rare bird species. However, a pair of binoculars will be more suitable if you are looking to spend a longer time in nature looking for birds. 

  • Long-Distance Rifle Spotting

Professionals use a monocular as a spotting scope for long-range shooting. It is easier to carry and does not need a longer viewing time. Moreover, the image is amplified yet unclouded. 

  • Marine Sightseeing

For sightseeing activities around water bodies, a pair of binoculars is the best companion. It produces a wider and crystal clear view of the terrain.

  • Stationary Hunting

To pan the area for hunting, a pair of binoculars is a perfect choice. Adding to this, watching for animals or birds for longer periods may also make it a better alternative to a monocular.

  • Tracking and Scouting

Tracking is a part of scout training that involves keen observation and trail following. For these types of activities, binoculars prove to be an aid in spotting acute details in the pathway.

  • Hiking and Trekking

If you often go on hiking or trekking trips, a monocular can prove to be the right choice. They are easier to use and lightweight. They fit well into small spaces, i.e., backpacks.

  • Sporting Events

Sitting in bleachers and unable to watch your favorite team play? Well, a pair of binoculars are ideal for these events. It enables you to view the game in all its clarity.

  • Playing Golf 

A monocular is quite helpful to professional golf players as the lens is marked with lines to help determine the distance between the ball and hole. Understanding the distance helps in selecting the right club if you are unsure of the length of the course.

  • Equestrian Events

If you are an avid fan of polo, horse racing, or rodeo, investing in a pair of binoculars would be the right thing to do. As they are suitable for the extended observation periods.

  • Night Vision

A night vision optical instrument is low-powered and activity-specific. Monoculars are ideal for nighttime. For hunting, though, binoculars are more suitable. Experienced campers and hikers prefer binoculars due to their increased functionality.

  • Gallery & Museum

A monocular is handy if you want to observe the intricate details of an artifact. The same case is with the antique crafts in museums. Art connoisseurs often keep a monocular in their backpack, in case.

Conclusion

So, monocular vs binocular, which one will you choose? Again, it depends on your usage. The best answer, for now, can be owning both. Traveling with a monocular microscope is way easier. Additionally, it won’t set you back as binos if it gets broken.

However, you must also have a pair of binoculars as well. They may feel bulkier initially. But they provide the best long-term comfort and minimal eye fatigue. Monocular and binocular have the most versatile optic available and work for most scenarios.