Author Topic: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?  (Read 1193 times)

gunwharfman

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Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« on: 15:58:53, 14/01/19 »
When I go on a hike and know that I'm going to try to wild camp I like to keep an eye on who or what might be ahead of me, or behind me before I make the final decision to stop and camp. During the last year I took a small pair of cheap binoculars with me. I'm wondering if a monocular (is this the right word to use?) might be a better and more useful item to carry? Any opinions or recommendations please. I'm not planning to spend more than £50.

The Wondering Wanderer

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #1 on: 16:20:42, 14/01/19 »
I just bought a monocular called the Titan scope!
The zoom on it is very good. I couldn't really say if it's better or worse than binoculars as there are loads of brilliant binoculars out there. Some that are very lightweight and fold up quite small.
My monocular is not particularly small or lightweight. If anything it's heavier than it looks but it is very good.
It came with a carrying pouch, tripod, wrist lanyard and phone bracket.
The thing I like best is you can combine your phones zoom with the scope to get even more magnification. You definitely need steady hands or the tripod though as it's quite difficult to hold your view steady.
It advertises that you can combine it with an app for night vision. I can't comment on that point as my phone is not compatible with the recommended app and others don't seem very fit for purpose. They just seem to increase the brightness of your screen, not what's in front of it.
Gone off on a complete tangent talking about my monocular there.
Shorter answer to your question: I have a monocular and like it but as for which is better, I think that's personal preference.
I'm wondering about wandering and wonder where I might wander if I wander while I wonder.

Daveyboy

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #2 on: 17:00:56, 14/01/19 »
Opticron Trailfinder Monocular 8x25 or 10x25 - Totally waterproof & have a close focus of around 5 feet.


Been carrying one of these little beauties for a number of years as it is totally fit for purpose


phil1960

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #4 on: 19:09:24, 14/01/19 »
Itís personal preference and I tried both, but I settled on binoculars and got a Nikon pair for a half decent price with an Amazon voucher I had. They are really handy but Iíve found I use them less and less, probably because I tend to do more filming with a GoPro these days.
Touching from a distance, further all the time.

astaman

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #5 on: 06:40:28, 15/01/19 »
I suppose my answer would be both - but not at the same time.


I bought a very small cheap monocular a few years ago having always used a pair of reasonable and compact roof prism binoculars as my go to bins for hillwalking. I was also lucky enough to inherit a pair of very expensive and superb quality Leitz Trinovid binoculars. For a day out in the hill where I might want to watch wildlife in a careful way I still take my small bins as the Lietz ones weigh a lot. On shorter local walks where I might not take no rucksack at all the monocular can be carried in my trouser pocket and is instantly handy. To save weight I take it on longer multi-day walks as well. It works well enough but not as good as a pair of bins so I don't think I'd spend a lot on one.


I do think that a small field telescope would be the most romantic 'boy thing' though. I would like one of them. Anyone tried one as an alternative.

gunwharfman

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #6 on: 10:28:38, 15/01/19 »
To phil1960 - Excuse my lack of understanding but what do you mean when you typed 'I use them less and less, probably because I tend to do more filming with a GoPro these days.'

I have no knowledge of GoPro's so do you mean that your GoPro can function like a telescope?

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #7 on: 11:30:17, 15/01/19 »
The beauty of a Monocular is their small dimensions and portability.
Their downside, is their small magnification compared to a good pair of binoculars, and unless you buy one of the top models, such as the Leica Monovid or similar spec model from Zeiss, then the optical quality is relatively poor.
A monocular will never outperform a decent set of binoculars, as their magnification is too small, but if its just a small very portable eyepiece your after, then a Monocular makes a useful addition to a pair of binoculars.


Their very useful for bird watching, where you want instant recognition of a bird, at fairly close proximity, and there is insufficient time to reach for your binoculars, focussing them, and adjusting them for comfort.

The best all rounder would be a pair of portable 8x 20 binoculars, and there are so many on the market, that your almost spoilt for choice, and £50 would get you something pretty decent as well.

Simple matter, is to buy the very best you can afford, and there are some decent ones out there for around  £50,  but your better off investing in a small pair 8x20 binoculars, which will be very portable, and lightweight as well.


A monocular is more of a specialist instrument, as there are very few models on the market, compared to literally hundreds of binoculars of all sizes, weight and magnification.
« Last Edit: 11:43:55, 15/01/19 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

phil1960

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #8 on: 17:53:21, 15/01/19 »
To phil1960 - Excuse my lack of understanding but what do you mean when you typed 'I use them less and less, probably because I tend to do more filming with a GoPro these days.'

I have no knowledge of GoPro's so do you mean that your GoPro can function like a telescope?
Ah sorry no, what I mean is I will only carry so much and as a GoPro is a small camera mainly for video but also stills, my binoculars have just tended to be left at home. If we go away for a weekend which we do quite often, Iíll take them in the car but they donít spend much time in my rucksack.
Touching from a distance, further all the time.

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #9 on: 19:12:40, 15/01/19 »
I love my Hero 4 Silver, the video quality in 4k from something so tiny, is incredible.
It takes a pretty good Digital SLR to beat it on picture quality as well.

richardh1905

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #10 on: 19:19:49, 15/01/19 »

Some well reviewed budget monoculars on Amazon.
Don't be tempted to go for high magnification though, as the price to pay is reduced field of view and an unsteady image.

richardh1905

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #11 on: 19:30:45, 15/01/19 »
I do think that a small field telescope would be the most romantic 'boy thing' though. I would like one of them. Anyone tried one as an alternative.



I was given an old leather clad brass stalking telescope by a good friend whose hiking days are sadly over - he used it on the hills around Lairg when he was young. A bit of a beast to carry, but I do enjoy using it if I am in birdwatching mode (infrequent), even though it is a bit of a challenge steadying it.

« Last Edit: 07:26:41, 16/01/19 by richardh1905 »

DanielSingleton

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #12 on: 06:28:50, 16/01/19 »
I bought an Orion Monocular a year or so ago, but to be honest I wish I had invested in a decent set of binoculars instead.

Despite a good zoom and clear image, my main issue is that it seems much more 'shaky' than a pair of binoculars (I understand shaking is to be expected at higher zoom levels with both binoculars and monoculars, as every slight movement is exponentially exaggerated, but to me it feels much more pronounced with a monocular, prehaps because the two handed grip of a binocular is more stable).  This combined with the smaller field of view can make it much harder to track fast moving objects and keep them in your line of sight, birds for example.

It does however screw nicely onto my camera tripod which eliminates any shaking, but I don't always want to be carrying around a cumbersome tripod, and having to set it up is far too much faffing around, which defeats the purpose of me buying it in the first place (to have something small and handy that I could whip out and use on the fly).

I see the appeal of a monocular, but I am just not sold on them.  This is the model I bought:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005XUOQF2/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
« Last Edit: 06:32:02, 16/01/19 by DanielSingleton »

Owen

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #13 on: 22:42:57, 16/01/19 »
I brought a monocular years ago for about a tenner, made in the USSR it's a 8 x 30 and has served me well. A couple of years ago I decided it was getting very worn so I got a pair of Bushnell binoculars 8 x 42 they are really very good for bird watching but quite heavy, they were also quite a bit more than your £50 limit. 


I then decided to get something lighter to take backpacking, I again went for Bushnell's this time 10 x 25, very light at 200g and I'm very pleased with them. Whilst in Sweden two summers ago I left the tent up one day and went up a mountain with just a light daypack. As I climbed I noticed two people near my tent, one went up to my tent then they both left. I thought no more about it until I returned to the tent. There by the tent door was a pair of binocular's again 10 x 25 but these were Silva, the two walkers must have thought I'd lost them.


The 10 x 25's are quite a good size for bird watching and generally checking things out without being to big or heavy. 


 

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Monocular or binoculars? What to choose?
« Reply #14 on: 15:43:34, 17/01/19 »
8x20 or 10x20, their both the perfect magnification for weight and portability.
For general enjoyment and just the occasional viewing of those beautiful vistas, i think 8x20 is a good choice, and all the top manufacturers, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Canon and Leica, have their own models.
Ive got a beautiful pair of Olympus Sport 8x20 that was a birthday gift many years ago, image clarity is acceptable, but their vey portable.
8 or 10x20 is such a popular spec for pocketable binoculars, that its wise to check out the various models, and £50 will go a long way.

There must be a decent camera specialist near most of us, and just about all of them stock binoculars.

Instead of reading all the reviews on the internet, its vital that anyone buying a pair of pocket sized 8 or 10x20 binoculars tries out a few different models.

My Olympus Sport binoculars are very well made, but the image clarity is only average.

Ive tested cheaper similar spec models, with a clearer image.