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Monocular Vs Binocular

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Old Tuesday 18th June 2019, 07:07   #1
ErikHimmel
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Monocular Vs Binocular

I have seen lots of posts on this forum where many recommended buying a binocular for a behinner. I have been thinking of buying one. However I am wondering why nobody recommends a monocular. They are cheaper and lighter. Collimation is not an issue as there is only one lens. For objects at infinity everything appears 2D anyways. Is there any particular reasons people prefer binocular over monocular?
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Old Tuesday 18th June 2019, 07:24   #2
PYRTLE
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Most mammals have two eyes - binocular vision is a more truer and balanced view - only way I can describe it. Micro and spotting scopes give a more concentrated and detailed image through the one eye. Difficult to keep a monocular steady if birdwatching.
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Old Tuesday 18th June 2019, 07:34   #3
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Originally Posted by ErikHimmel View Post
I have seen lots of posts on this forum where many recommended buying a binocular for a behinner. I have been thinking of buying one. However I am wondering why nobody recommends a monocular. They are cheaper and lighter. Collimation is not an issue as there is only one lens. For objects at infinity everything appears 2D anyways. Is there any particular reasons people prefer binocular over monocular?
I used a monocular for years when I was an impoverished student decades ago but once I got my first pair of binoculars with their much better ease of view I never looked back. Monoculars, in my experience—even “full-sized” ones in the 8 x 30 range or better—are just too fiddly in their handling to compete with a decent pair of binoculars. In other words, there’s a good reason why so few birders use monoculars as their everyday glass.
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Old Tuesday 18th June 2019, 08:04   #4
Troubador
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Hi Erik and welcome to Birdforum.

Me and Troubadoris use Zeiss 6x18 monoculars for ultra-close observing and have done for many years. When we first bought them we did try using them for quick views of more distant objects but aiming them accurately is just not as easy as lifting a pair of binos up to your eyes. And although we use the Zeiss monos for observing some insects, following flying dragonflies or butterflies with them was something we found impossible and flying birds were not a great deal easier. We love our monos and use them a lot but they are no substitute for a pair of binos.

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Old Tuesday 18th June 2019, 09:56   #5
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Much the same, I used a Minox Macroscope for close up views with occasional use at longer ranges, but these days Pentax Papilios have largely replaced them, steadier view and less eye strain.
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2019, 09:30   #6
GaryWilson001
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Much the same, I used a Minox Macroscope for close up views with occasional use at longer ranges, but these days Pentax Papilios have largely replaced them, steadier view and less eye strain.
I do agree, I've also read a review The 10 Best Monoculars of 2019 that made the Wingspan Optics Explorer their number 1 choice... What do you think?
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2019, 10:25   #7
iveljay
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A good article for beginners so they understand what the folks on the forum are talking about.
Wingspan Optics, like a number of brands you find in the USA isn't generally available in the UK, Amazon will import their binoculars but not their monoculars.

Its years since I have seen anyone actually use a monocular in public.

Years ago I had a pair of miniature binoculars, that vaguely resembled a very thick credit card when telescoped down for travel. I personally couldn't get them close enough to my eyes to get a good steady view from them, but they were even more pocketable than many monoculars. About the only very small viewing devices I ever found anywhere near practical were the miniature binoculars produced by various people including Nikon some time ago.

Personally, for the casual user, Nikon's range of reverse porros have always been affordable, compact and generally acceptable optically. I have a 7x somewhere that is many decades old and still going strong.
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Old Wednesday 19th June 2019, 20:05   #8
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For a while, I carried an 8x32 monocular with my camera gear as it was pretty light and helped me figure out where to point the camera. As noted above, it's just not as comfortable or as good a view as binocular.

Nowadays, I mostly carry an 8x32 Kowa Genesis binocular (20.8 oz / 590 g) or Leica 8x25 Ultravid BR (8.5oz / 241g) if I really need to watch the weight.

If I were going out on all day excursions with the camera again, I might think of going back to a monocular. If I do, I'd likely ditch the Kenko I have and go with the Leica 8x20, which is an amazingly low 4oz / 112g and quality view, from what I understand. The 8x20 Ultravid BR are a hefty by comparison!

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Old Friday 21st June 2019, 19:40   #9
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If I do, I'd likely ditch the Kenko I have and go with the Leica 8x20, which is an amazingly low 4oz / 112g and quality view, from what I understand. The 8x20 Ultravid BR are a hefty by comparison!
The Monovid 8x20 is amazing. I wouldn't use it for any serious birding though. A monocular is just a bit too limiting IMO.

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Old Saturday 22nd June 2019, 17:52   #10
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Originally Posted by GaryWilson001 View Post
I do agree, I've also read a review The 10 Best Monoculars of 2019 that made the Wingspan Optics Explorer their number 1 choice... What do you think?
I find it hard to take that review seriously when they omit Nikon's outstanding 5x15 and 7x15 High Grade monoculars.

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The Monovid 8x20 is amazing. I wouldn't use it for any serious birding though. A monocular is just a bit too limiting IMO.
It's much harder to maintain a stable view, but they have their uses. I'll take one for EDC in summer when it's too hot to wear a jacket. Usually the Nikon over the Monovid because of the smaller size.

That said, the Nikon 7x15 miniature reverse porros are not much larger than the monoculars, surprisingly good given their size, and in fact both ship with the same leather case.
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Old Monday 1st July 2019, 19:16   #11
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My first experience with a monocular was almost 50 years ago and due to their lack of eye relief, combined with their small ocular lens back then was pretty much a turn off for me. Now it’s like night to day when comparing them to back then. Today if you want the best in optical viewing and the ease of use with a large ocular lens you have to stop thinking “Cheap” . My suggestion would be an Opticron DBA or DBA VHD 8 or 10x monocular. For lower power between 5x and 7x I would suggest the little Vixen HR 6x21 ED. I have owned the Opticrons and the little Vixen. They are extremely bright/sharp being very eyeglass friendly with easy eye placement. I know there are many reasons stated here to dislike their use but if you like the idea of a Monocular for carry you really have to try one of the above mentioned or if you prefer one of the Leica or Zeiss monocular models. Remember you get what you pay for and it could not be any more true if you want a sharp/bright view with easy use for that one eye view.

Last edited by gcole : Monday 1st July 2019 at 19:21.
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Old Wednesday 3rd July 2019, 18:54   #12
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I have however gone the other way. I like wide angle binocular views as using both eyes helps resolve smaller details and avoids eye strain. Having used an old 66mm Astro scope, running at 30x, I have “upgraded” to some 70mm 45degree APM astro binoculars. Certainly not small and compact, but wonderful wide and immersive views. For closeup I use papilio binoculars, crazy closeup views. Great that there are lots of different options for people to choose.

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