Not everyone has the room to pack a pair of binoculars when they’re heading out into the wilds (or the back garden) and so they may find a monocular is more suitable. But what is a monocular?
Put simply, it’s half a binocular and, as such, is smaller and lighter to carry, but will still offer excellent close-up views of birds, wildlife and more. Like binoculars, they come in a range of sizes and magnifications and which one you buy will depend on the intended purpose. Bird watchers tend to go for an 8×42 (8x magnification and 42mm objective lens) as it offers the best balance between brightness and magnification. 25mm and 50mm objectives are available and there is also the option for 10x or 15x magnification.
The higher magnifications give you a larger image of the target, but they are more prone to shake when hand held and will present a smaller field of view. Smaller monoculars are even easier to carry and store and for a quick glance at something in the distance they are fantastic. Ultimately, it comes down to what feels right in the hand and when looking through. You want something that will give you a comfortable viewing experience and that you can use with ease.
Most monoculars come with a belt pouch making them easy to carry around and the larger options are usually threaded so that they can be mounted on a tripod or monopod for better stability. The smaller sizes normally have the focuser position as part of the barrel, just in front of the eyecup and the larger ones have it to one side which means they can easily be used one-handed.
Just like with binoculars, monoculars come in both standard and ED glass, the latter offering a better image but being more expensive. ED glass is always something we will recommend as it means you get a sharper image with better low-light performance, and we can demonstrate these at our store.