Simply put, a monocular is one half of a binocular. It consists of one barrel which magnifies objects in the distance.

Usually, when somebody needs a handheld optical instrument to get a good view of something far away, binoculars are the preferred tool. There are however several cases where monoculars are the better choice. For one, people who have vision in one eye only, or highly differing vision in two eyes, have little use for a binocular. Some other advantages that a monocular offers are:

  • It’s half the size of a binocular of similar specs, or even less than that, because there’s no bridge to join the tubes. A mono will easily fit into a pocket where a similar bino just won’t.
  • It’s often half the cost, for the same reasons.
  • It’s also much lighter, meaning it may be a better choice where weight is a significant consideration, such as hiking, backpacking, or air travel with minimal luggage.

Some of the downsides are that you don’t get stereoscopic vision, so the image you perceive is flat, without depth perception.

Other than being “half” in almost every way, it’s a very similar device to binoculars and should be evaluated in a similar manner. The magnification and objective lens size are specified the same way and have the same effect on the usefulness and usability. They also use prisms to turn the image upright, and there is usually also a focusing knob of one type or another to bring the image into focus.

In this category, we evaluate a number of monoculars, separating them by usage or brand. The goal is to help out visitors compare different optics and be able to make a good buying decision for themselves. See below for posts in this category and other sub-categories, depending on your requirements.

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