Rangerexpert is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more


Monocular vs Binoculars: An Expert’s Study to Unleash the Facts

Monocular vs. binoculars
Written by Robert Stevens

For an outdoor man, military personnel, or a wild hunter, the need for an optic lens that aids seeing far distances is fundamental. While it is very easy for you to pick either a premium monocular or a pair of modern binoculars, knowledge of both can do you a whole lot of good. In this article on monocular vs. binoculars, we will be looking at both optic devices based on their similarities and differences. This way, we will provide you with all the necessary information you need while choosing any of the two.

Monocular vs. Binoculars: Which Should You Use?

The monoculars and the binoculars are both optical devices that can be used to see a target object, person, and people at a long distance. These two devices have been designed in such a way that one functions just like the other. While the majority and visible difference between the two still remains the number of lenses, there are still a number of differences. Starting out on the difference between monocular and binoculars, we shall be looking at both devices separately.

1. What’s a Monocular?

In theory, a monocular is a one-lens optic device that aids long-distance sight for those who need to see that far for hunting or shooting purposes. As a device, the monocular is relatively smaller in size. It is light in weight and comes all compact. Many people often refer to monocular as a more innovative form of the ancient telescope which still serves the same purpose.

While a night vision monocular is a household name to the military and surveillance folks, it is not so common in the marketplace. This device comes in various sizes, power capacities, and prices. When choosing a monocular, it is always best to choose carefully and wisely, because if you don’t know what you are going to use it for, it could render useless.

2. What Are Binoculars?

What Are Binoculars

Unlike a monocular, A binocular is a two-lens optical device that aids sight just like the monocular. This device helps you see objects at long distances making use of your two eyes simultaneously. These devices are much more common among individuals globally. Binoculars come in different types and sizes. Recently, more and more color options are becoming available.

There is no major optic company on the globe today that doesn’t produce high-end binoculars considering its importance to sightseeing. Just like monocular, they are also widely used among the military, but not limited to them alone. Other people, most especially outdoor adventurers, make use of binoculars for their activities as well.

In terms of construction and functionality, a lot of similarities exist between monocular and binoculars, but they are different from each other in many ways. You need to understand the difference between monocular and binoculars if you want to make a wise buying decision or use any of them.

Gosky 12x55 High Definition Monocular Telescope and Quick Smartphone Holder - 2019 Newest Waterproof Monocular -BAK4 Prism for Wildlife Bird Watching Hunting Camping Travelling Wildlife Secenery
  • 12x55 high power magnification - have the best view in your outdoor adventures. To see 12x closer with a clear and bright image with the generous, light-gathering 55mm objective wide lens. Perfect for hiking, hunting, climbing, bird watching, ball games, concerts, watching wildlife and scenery.
  • High powered monocular promises brighter, crystal clear views during all your outdoor adventures
  • Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and wilderness explorers, a handheld and must-have for bird watching, wildlife, hunting, hiking, mountaineering, camping, surveillance and traveling.
  • The long eye-relief with the twist-up eye cup makes this high-end monocular set stand out among competition!
  • Argon purging provides waterproof, fog proof, dustproof and shockproof protection in any weather, and any environment. Rubber armored body strengthen its durability.

3. Key Components and Functions of Monocular and Binoculars

In terms of components in structures, the monocular and binoculars are similar in several regards. When it comes to the basic functions, you will also find that both are similar in functions too. However, there is a thin line between the structural components and functions of both devices. This thin line is what we will be exploring shortly as we outline each component.


The magnification power of an optical device allows you to know how much the device can view the image clearer and better than what it should be. The magnification power of a monocular comes differently based on the size of the monocular. Larger monoculars are said to have better and higher magnification than smaller ones. This makes it easy and clearer to see objects in the lens when making use of a larger monocular.

With a binocular, the magnification power takes a slightly different tone from that of the monocular. Being a two lenses device, a binocular has both lenses operating at the same magnifying ability. Binoculars may present a challenge to the user in the event better magnification levels are expected. So when using binocular, it is always better to keep the magnification minimal for an enhanced experience.

When choosing either a binocular or monocular based on magnification, it is important to know what purpose it is for. Military personnel will find the magnification power of a binocular better to use than that of a monocular. On the other hand, outdoor men will find the magnification power of a monocular better to use than that of the binoculars.

Objective Lens

The objective lens is the front lens of the device and has its diameter measured in millimeters. With a monocular, it is always best that you go for one with a larger objective lens measurement above that with a smaller lens. This will ensure vision improvement and not just make you see objects through the lens, but see them clear enough.

The objective lens of a binocular comes based on the size of the binoculars. Larger size binoculars have an objective lens with a larger diameter measurement than binoculars of smaller size. A binocular has twice the size of the objective lens of a monocular which means better optical quality.

The farther the object to be viewed is, the better it is to go for an optical device with a better objective lens for quality and clarity of view. This means that if you are getting an optic device to see farther distance, binoculars are best. Monocular on the other hand, are best to handle not so far distances.

Field of View

The field of view is that component of an optic device that allows you to know the territory you can view per time. With a monocular, the field of view is measured in feet against the yard to be viewed. So what this means is that you will be able to see about 300 feet for a fence of 500 if your monocular has a field of view ratio of 300 feet to 500 yards.

Field of View

Binoculars, on the other hand, have a two-lens optic device for ensuring a better field of view performance. Serving the same purpose as of a monocular, you are just able to see twice the field of view to the yardage ratio of a monocular when making use of a binocular. As the magnification of binoculars increases, the field of view reduces. You can only see more when the magnification is winded down.

Keep in mind also that just like other components, the field of view capacity to be noted is based on the purpose to be used for.

Eye Relief

How far or how close can your eyes be from the eyepiece to have a clear view of what is in sight? This can only be known by the eye relief of the optic device. Just like the objective lens, this is measured in millimeters. The eye relief if a monocular requires that the device is placed closer to the eyepiece to have a better view of the object in sight.

Binoculars, on the other hand, vary in terms of eye relief. While some binocular types require that your eyes are placed just in front of the eyepiece, others provide for a little distance and a few others a longer distance. Wearing glasses when making use of binoculars might make eye relief a very critical feature for you. For those who have their sight aided by the use of glasses, the best option is to go for a monocular.

Lens Coating

The thickness of the lens is what is defined as lens-coating. This thickness has an impact on the brightness level. Monoculars have different lens coatings based on the size or type of the monocular in question. While some are uncoated, others are fully coated. We also have some monoculars that are partially multi-coated and others that are fully multi-coated.

The same is true for the binoculars. While some come partially coated, others come fully coated. You should also bear in mind that the coating of both lenses isn’t the same.

Since coating affects the brightness of the image, it is advised that you take note of it regardless of whether it is monocular or binoculars. Go for a lens with the best coatings for the best brightness.

Clear Focus

Clear or close focus is the minimum distance existing between the optics and the object is focused on. Monoculars have their clear focus measured differently depending on the model of the device. While some models have their clear focus measured in inches, others are measured in yards.

Binoculars being two less have shorter minimum distances at which they are able to focus on an object. This makes them provide more spectacular viewing of the object focused on than a monocular.

Soldiers are advised to make use of binoculars because they have a clearer focus for the job it is required. Other individuals can go for monocular especially for outdoor and wildlife hunting because its clear focus will suit them more.

4. Some Brilliant Features to Help You Decide Monocular or Binoculars

To appreciate this article on binoculars vs. monocular better, let us look at the excellent features these optic devices possess that set them apart from each other and make them unique to themselves.

Brilliant Features of monocular

  • They come with an impressive zoom power
  • They have an inbuilt compass to keep track
  • Possesses a rangefinder to inform you of the range covered
  • They have built-in image stabilizer
  • They come in really compact designs some of which can be folded

Brilliant Features of Binoculars

  • They possess independent focus
  • They have image stabilization features
  • They have an impressive range finding ability.
  • They also possess ballistic reticles.
  • They come with built-in inclinometers.

5. Difference Between Monocular and Binoculars: Usability Compared

With the component differences of both the monocular and binoculars compared above, let’s compare both in terms of usability. Here we are going to be looking at the various purposes for which both devices can be used and why which are best for such purposes.

Astronomy Purposes

Observing the stars and its activities at night is what astronomers do. To do this an optic device is needed. A monocular because of its magnification power and clear focus helps the astronomer have a clear view of the sky. With a clear view, the astronomer is able to read the stars and its activities clearly.

Binoculars also on the other hand can be used for astronomy purposes especially because of its magnification and ability to see a wider range field of view per time. This way, a number of activities going on in the sky can be covered and recorded.

As an amateur astronomer, making use of binoculars is the best option of precision and comfort for you. As you advance through the ranks, you can now opt for monocular taking into consideration the quality of its field of view and objective lens.

Hunting Adventures

Hunting Adventures

Another use of optic devices is for hunting. Typically, monocular have been the most adopted of both optic devices among wildlife hunters. This is because it allows them to concentrate more and achieve better precision. With a monocular, hunters are able to create a simple connection between their sight and their mind. However, you need to know how to maximize your experience with a device.

Binoculars on the other hand, because of their better field of view and clearer focus have also been proven to be good for hunting adventures. With binoculars, hunting and tracking prey in its totality within a wider region becomes very much possible.

As a beginner, a pair of hunting binoculars might be best to help improve your hunting skill. It will help to keep you more informed about a larger part of the adventure field keeping you safe and your target assured.

Hiking and General Observations

Do you know hikers and wildlife observers also make use of binoculars and monocular? Yes, they do for better hiking and observation experience. With hiking and wildlife observation, a monocular is best if it is more of a leisure activity than a serious one. This way, you are more comfortable and can use them faster and better. Monocular for hiking are way easier to operate than binoculars.

However, more compact binoculars might totally not be a bad idea after all. With a binocular, you will be able to take more advanced photographs, have a better view of nature’s finest moments, and most importantly you can always tell what lies ahead.

Bird Watching

When bird watching is your hobby, monocular can be best to have more close focus distances. They are also more mobile as they can be placed in your pocket, located and used easily. They feel best to use when you have mastered how to make use of one.

Bird Watching

However, when it comes to serious and more professional bird watching, contemplate no further than going for a binocular. With a binocular, you have all the steadfastness and balance needed to glance at the sight for a longer period.

Surveillance and Tactical Works

In terms of usability, both monocular and binoculars can be used for surveillance and other tactical works. With the advancement of modern technology, the military have begun to adopt more sophisticated monocular to carry out late night surveillance and other tactical works on the battlefield. This is because of portability and reliability.

The comfort and effectiveness the binoculars offer in surveillance and tactical work can also not be overemphasized. Binoculars help you to be more precise in approach and offer a better field of view than the monocular do.

Indoor Applications

It is possible that you might just be a lover of optic lens and make use of it indoors. If this is you, monocular are good for you because indoor applications require less professionalism to use.

Binoculars are totally not a bad idea too, provided you know how to handle them. If they are your choice, what’s stopping you? Go for them and make use of them for whatever indoor application it is you are getting them for.

6. Binoculars vs Monocular: The Key Takeaway

Quickly in this article, let us look at some of the key takeaways as to the advantage one of this optic device has over the other.

  • Binoculars are much more durable and comfortable to use than monoculars are.
  • Binoculars are known to fit in well for more rigorous and professional tasks than monocular can.
  • Binoculars come in more impressive design structures than monocular.
  • Monoculars have less weight than binoculars making them better and faster to use than binoculars.
  • Monoculars have more excellent look through lens view than the binoculars.
  • Most monocular models have a better price to quality ratio than the binoculars do.
  • The comfort of using a binocular gradually begins to drop when it is used for a long period of time.

A lot if not everything has been said about monocular vs. binoculars including what they are and what they can do. The bottom line if it all, is that the best monocular or binoculars are not necessarily the most expensive. They are just the ones that are used for the purpose they best fit per time.


1. Can I use a monocular as a telescope?

Ans. Monoculars are often seen as a portable alternative to small telescopes like spy glasses, But they don’t offer the same level of magnification that a telescope will provide.

2. Are monoculars or binoculars better for stargazing?

Ans. The field of view (FOV) of a monocular can be compared to that of a small telescope. While binoculars offer a wide-angle view, a monocular allows you to target a spot precisely with less FOV. For stargazing, a lesser FOV is always better than a wider FOV.

About the author

Robert Stevens

A Seasoned Hunter

It’s been several years that Robert, a retired teacher and a proud dad, has silently been piling up mature bucks down the South. This humble hunter began his hunting journey at quite an early age and since then, he spent countless hours in the woods and learned good lessons in terms of woodsmanship. Along the way, he also made money sharing his skill with his followers and well-wishers.

Leave a Comment