How to Choose a Monocular (Australia / NZ) 46

[ Skip the details and just show me the best ones ]

Owning a monocular is a great alternative to carrying a pair of binoculars. Being only half the size of binoculars it is significantly more compact, light and portable. The following guide talks about how to choose the best monocular for your budget and needs.

Monoculars

 

What is a Good Monocular Power?

The first thing to look at when choosing a monocular is its power or magnification. A monocular will typically have a magnification of 6x to 10x – higher magnification will allow you to see further and in more detail. 9x or 10x monoculars will usually cost a bit more than 6x or 8x ones. The good thing about a monocular is that you get the same power of binoculars with only half of their size.

What is the Right Lens Size?

If you look at a monocular’s specs, you will always see two numbers. For example, 8×25. The first number represents its power (8x) and the second number its lens size (25mm).

A monocular will normally have a lens of 20mm to 42mm. A bigger lens will allow you to see a wider view. A bigger lens will also result in a better, brighter image when looking through your monocular. The downside is that the bigger the lens is, the heavier and bulkier your monocular will be.

Monocular Size and Weight

In general, an 8×25 or 10×25 monocular is considered to be a compact/pocket monocular. It will easily fit in your pocket and be very portable. This type of monocular will usually come with a small carrying bag. The pocket monocular works as a cool gadget as it’s easy to carry around everywhere, keep in your car or in your pocket when hiking. Pocket monoculars are cheaper and can also serve as a nice gift to someone.

Remember not to expect too much performance from an 8×25 or 10×25 pocket monocular though! These little monoculars have good power but a very limited view because of their small lens. You will need to first identify your subject and then use the monocular in a “point and shoot” manner. They can also be difficult to use due to their very small eyecup. If you want to enjoy a wider, sharper and brighter image, then you should always opt for a 30mm to 42mm monocular.

Monocular vs. Spotting Scope

A monocular is designed to be very compact and portable. Larger monoculars with more power, bigger lenses and wider views are called spotting scopes. A spotting scope will be significantly bigger and heavier than a monocular. These are often used for hunting, bird watching or spotting subjects from a fixed location. So if you need better performance and don’t mind the size or weight, then you should consider getting a spotting scope.

Night Vision Monoculars

If you are looking for a monocular to use at night or complete darkness then you should consider a night vision monocular. These monoculars use a built-in IR illuminator to allow night vision capability. They normally have less magnification in order to provide a better image (less fuzzy). Night vision monoculars range in sizes, magnification and price.

 

Our Best All-Around Monocular for 2018

 

Avalon’s 10×42 WP Monocular has the perfect balance between performance, size and weight. This is not your usual pocket monocular. This is a relatively compact monocular but still allows you to enjoy the power and wide view of a full sized binocular.

At only 320 grams it is very lightweight and can fit in your jacket pocket. The Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular features fully multicoated lenses and provides a high quality image even in low light. It is also 100% waterproof and fog-proof. The rubber armoured body makes this monocular durable and easy to grip.

Another great feature of the Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular is its long eye relief. This means it can be used with or without glasses. You can also twist the eyecup to adjust it for your eye sight. $179 inc. free delivery

 

Show me all the other monoculars

46 Comments

  1. Hey I need a monocular to look at small number digits in a 3rd level rack in a warehouse as I have bad eye vision for seeing long distance, is the lense clear enough to read when zoomed in ??

    Darryl Puiri
    1. Hi Darryl,

      Yes, the Avalon 10×42 WP Monocular reviewed above would work well for seeing small numbers on the 3rd level racks. You will need to be at least 4-5 meters away in order to achieve perfect focus.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. hi I need a monocular by which I can see and know the man from about 5/km distance.

    1. Hi Gulbar,

      As you are watching from such a long distance and need to identify the person, we recommend a very high magnification monocular. The Yukon 30×50 “pirate style” monocular will work well in your case. Being a handheld model it is not easy to stabilise but will allow you to see enough detail to spot and recognise your subject from 5Km. Details below: https://procular.com.au/yukon-scout-30×50-straight-spotting-scope/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. Hi i’ll just found this 40×60 monoc.panda
    I wonder if its a real 40x magnification or it just actually a 10x

    1. Hi Chersii,

      Please note that “Panda” is not a reputable brand and the true magnification of the monocular is more likely just standard (8x or 10x). The image quality of a handheld monocular with anymore than 10x power will not be good. Products which advertise too much magnification are usually false.

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. I am looking monocular for astronomy
        If you know some good monoc. With affordable prices thank you

        1. In this case, you need to look for monoculars with large objective lenses. These take in more light and are more suitable for night viewing (astronomy). If you need a handheld monocular for astronomy then we can suggest the Yukon 20×50 below: https://procular.com.au/yukon-scout-20×50-straight-spotting-scope/ it is a “pirate style” monocular with 20x magnification and a 50mm lens. You can use it to see the moon and near planets. Alternatively, you can also use a spotting scope mounted on a tripod. This would be more powerful and provide good views of both the night sky and distant subjects / landscape / ocean views etc. We can recommend the Basra 30-90×100 spotting scope below: https://procular.com.au/barska-30-90×100-wp-spotting-scope-tripod/

          Adam Murray, Procular
  4. I am visually impaired and looking for a monocular to read the chalk board in class. I sit close to the front of the class but still can’t see what the teacher writes. Do you have any suggestions for a good power, it will be used mostly for inside use only.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Valerie,

      The Avalon 10×42 monocular reviewed in this post will be very suitable for reading the chalk board in class. You can test a-bit to see which eye will work best and adjust the twistable eyecup as well. This will make sure you are getting the best possible image on every use. The lightweight and single handed operation of this monocular is also very handy for prolong viewing. The only downside is that you’ll need to sit at least 3 to 4 meters away from the chalk board in order to achieve a focused image. Critical. But this is the same requirement with any other monocular or binoculars. The Avalon 10×42 actually outperforms other models in this sense as you can be only 3-4 meters close to your subject and still focus perfectly. Details of the monocular below: https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Not all monoculars have a minimum focus distance of 3-4 meters. The Leica Monovid 8×20 has a minimum focus distance of 18 meters. I can personally vouch for the great quality of the Monovid. It would be a GREAT classroom monocular.

        1. That should be “1.8 meters”, not “18 meters” in my last post

  5. Hi, looking for a binocular for shooting paper targets at 25 & 50 yards what would be a your suggestion?
    Cheers

    1. Hi Andre,

      Thank you for your comment. As the distance is quite short (25 & 50 yards) you will not need too much magnification. But 10x should work best in order to see the small bullet holes more clearly. We recommend either the Avalon monocular reviewed in this post: https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-wp-monocular/ , or a pair of 10×25 compact binoculars if size is critical to you: https://procular.com.au/bushnell-10×25-h2o-compact-binoculars/

      But ideally your BEST tool for the job would be high quality 10×42 binoculars. These have the required magnification (10x) and mid-sized lenses which will provide better brightness. Specific models we like are the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD binoculars below:

      https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-pro-hd-binoculars-black/

      or the Nikon Prostaff 10×42 binoculars below:

      https://procular.com.au/nikon-prostaff-7-10×42-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. We believe that the compact binoculars (Bushnell 8×25 H2O) would work better than the other two monoculars. Especially if you will be spotting the subjects from a moving vehicle (or if their vehicles will be moving). We would definitely not go with the Vortex Solo 8×25 monocular as it is very difficult to locate your subjects with. The view is too narrow. The Vortex Solo 8×36 monocular is an excellent product with a wider view and sharp image – it will work but again, not as effective in your case as the Bushnell 8×25 compact binoculars. We hope this helps. In any case you are very welcome to order, test and return as long as the product remains in a brand new, re-sellable condition with all included accessories and product box unused and in mint condition.

    Adam Murray, Procular
  7. Hi Adam

    I’m a police officer in Victoria.
    While patrolling in the sedan, we like to scan surrounding vehicles for suspect behaviour and individuals. Currently, we need to drive very close to other vehicles in order to see.
    I was wondering would the Avalon 10×42 be the best option to aid me with this task?

    The department will not subsidise this purchase so a Zeiss would be out of the equation.

    Thanks in advance,
    Ben

  8. Hi there,
    I shoot in a wheelchair with elevating leg rests. I shoot up to 80y and can’t use a normal spotting scope with tripod because of my legs getting in the way. I currently have a Barr & Stroud 10×50 monocular, which struggles to see my arrows as opposed to other people’s. Can you suggest something which might be good? I like the look of the Yukon Scout 30×50 but would it cope with what I want to look at?
    Thanks for your help,
    Jane

    1. Hi Jane,

      Yes, the Yukon 30×50 spotting scope would be ideal for spotting the arrows while sitting in the wheel chair (no tripod). We cannot think of a better option as the rest of the spotting scopes use a tripod. But the Yukon 30×50 is very powerful (30x magnification) and should definitely do the job! Details below:

      http://procular.co.uk/yukon-scout-30×50-straight-spotting-scope/

  9. Hi,
    Just looking for a good small monocular for horse races. Big days ie Melbourne Cup days

    1. Hi Lisa,

      The best monocular we can recommend for watching the races (Melbourne Cup or others) would be the Vortex Solo 8×36 Monocular. This is not only a high quality, compact and comfortable monocular but also offers an exceptionally wider field of view. Handy for following the fast moving horses! Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/vortex-solo-8×36-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  10. I’m in the investigative field and often use binoculars for surveillance. I prefer to use a monocular/power scope , one reason due to it’s compactness. Though, there are many brand names and when searching for a 10×30 or higher, there’s more to it than simply picking any brand with those specs. I want durability and clarity to start, but overall something that will last. What are your recommendations for my needs?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Steve,

      We assume you are after a compact handheld monocular and not a spotting scope (i.e. tripod mounted but more powerful). If this is the case then there are a few good options. The MOST important thing to know is that there are a-lot of compact monoculars out there that are nearly impossible to use. Even if the specs look good they might have an objective sense that is too small or even worst a too narrow field of view. This makes them very hard to locate your subject with and achieve a clear image. Most 8×25 or 10×25 monoculars are simply too small for surveillance. To be honest 10×30 will also be too small for this. You should opt for at least 10×36 or 10×42 monoculars. This size of objective lens (36mm or 42mm) gives you a much better view than any 10×30 monocular. Note that these monoculars will still be compact, just feature a slightly larger lens. This does makes a big difference. The Avalon 10×42 monocular reviewed in the post above is a very good one as it has good power (10x) and a nice 42mm lens. It is still compact, lightweight and very durable. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-wp-monocular/

      Within the high end of monoculars we also recommend the Vortex Solo 10×36 Monocular. It is a professional hunting / birdwatching monocular so very durable and comfortable. It is great for frequent use during surveillance as it is more convenient to hold. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/vortex-solo-10×36-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  11. I don’t have reliable bifocal vision. Sometimes I wish my lazy eye would just turn off but it has the annoying habit of turning on when I look into binoculars. I have tried using them with the cap on that side of the binoculars but then the peripheral vision will come into play and I end up with double vision.My good eye trying to use the binocular and my stupid eye looking to the side. I get tired keeping it closed and have tried and eye patch. I end up looking silly and my eye looking at the inside of the eye patch. I am a bird watcher and have an excellent scope but I want something smaller. So could you recommend 1) the best lightest widest field of vision – no budget limits and 2) the compromise one – best value for money. Thank you.

    1. Hi Annie,

      A monocular will indeed work well in your case. The best one we can recommend for bird watching would be the Bushnell Legend HD 10×42 monocular. It features an outstanding image quality, excellent brightness and a wide field of view. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/bushnell-10×42-legend-hd-monocular/

      This would be our favourite monocular no doubt. It is also durable, waterproof and fog proof, very intuitive to use, has a long eye-relief for use with glasses and focuses from as close as 2 meters. An excellent product by Bushnell we believe. As a more economic one, with best value for money we would recommend the Avalon 10×42 monocular which is reviewed in this post. It is a compact monocular and very light yet offers a very sharp image. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  12. Out for the Avalon 10×42, bushnell10x40 legend, or the vortex 8×36 would you recommend and why. Cheers

    1. Hi Rob,

      Regarding the three monoculars at hand, it depends on your intended use. The Avalon 10×42 monocular is more compact than the other two. It is more of a pocket monocular style and weighs only 320 grams. This monocular is durable and offers a good image for its price. It is suitable if size is your main concern and if your intended use is only general viewing. A good one to keep in your car, bag or jacket pocket. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-wp-monocular/

      If you need a monocular for more extended use such as regular hunting, bird watching or outdoors then the Vortex or Bushnell Legend Hd offers better features than the other monoculars. If you don’t mind a little extra size and weight (374 g) then the Bushnell Legend HD 10×42 would be the best choice. It has the sharpest, brightest image out of the three thanks to its better lenses. This means seeing a more detailed image, nicer colours and better low-light performance when used early mornings, at dusk, fog etc. It also has a wide field of view (6.5 wide angle) which helps spotting your subject faster and simply seeing more. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/bushnell-10×42-legend-hd-monocular/

      The Vortex 8×36 is a medium sized monocular, it has a better image quality than the Avalon 10×42 but not as bright as the Bushnell Legend HD 10×42. Some viewers find its lower magnification (8x) easier to stabilise. But for most users this is not an issue unless you have very shaky hands. This monocular would be a compromise between the two others in terms of both size and image brightness. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/vortex-solo-8×36-monocular/

      All three monoculars are waterproofed, fog-proof and durable. We hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  13. What the first two numbers with a minus sign refer to? For example, 20-60×80. I know what 80 means, but I am confused about 20-60x. Anyone can help?

    1. Hi Rani,

      Binoculars usually have a fixed magnification, for example 10x or 20x. Spotting scopes (monoculars) normally have variable magnification. So 20-60x for example means 20x to 60x magnification. This means you can adjust the magnifiction when viewing. Just like you would do with a photographic camera or video camera.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  14. Hi hope you can help? I am on the market for monocular or binoculars , but am unsure which to get. They will be used for game spotting . I have only 30% vision in left eye , so monocular may be the way to go. Light weight as well. Any advice appreciated. Thanks , John

    1. Hi John,

      As you only have 30% vision a monocular would probably work better. (you can use binoculars but they will be difficult to adjust to your vision). The best monocular we can recommend for to spot game would be the Avalon 10×42 WP. It is designed for the outdoors and very durable . It also has an excellent image quality. Details below: https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-wp-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  15. Can you suggest a suitable monocular for carrying around in my handbag?
    I have trouble seeing the numbers on approaching buses even though I have spectacles.

    1. Hi Joyce,

      The Avalon 10×42 will work perfectly in your case. It is small enough to fit in a handbag and very lightweight.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  16. Hi, thanks for yr reply Adam. you provide a very helpful info for me. thankyou very much

  17. Hi, Actually im new to this. i found that Bushnell 16x52mm Monocular is quite value of money and it is also quite powerful specs that have 16x zoom on 52mm. but when i searched on the bushnell website,the monocular did not exist anymore. is it because of the model is too old? i could not find much information on this binocular and asking for some advice. thankyou

    1. Hi Max,

      We are not familiar with this specific model but it is very likely that it was discontinued by Bushnell. This happens every year or two with optics. Right now they tend to do monoculars with power no greater than 10x. Because it is extremely difficult to achieve a stable image with a hand-held monocular stronger than that. The great magnifications were “moved” to the spotting scope products over the years. A spotting scope is normally mounted on a tripod or a table-top tripod so there is no issue with high magnifications. We only know binoculars (not monoculars) that are 16×50. The Nikon one for example: https://procular.com.au/nikon-aculon-16×50-cf-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  18. Hi,

    We are looking for binoculars for several purposes. We are going on safari which we will probably do more than once, we also live near the bush and would like something that allows us to see birds well so this is something we would use them for more often. Naturally having something that we can use for general travel also has value. We have not yet looked extensively but did find the Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 to be comfortable and clear but we were in a shopping centre so it is not really a good test. In particular the way in which the eye pieces extended away from the glass helped with an uninterrupted view.

    As my husband has only one eye we were curious whether a monocular would be better for him than binoculars in terms of vision quality. Does an 8 or 10 x monocular have more image shake than its binocular equivalent ?

    Your advice wild be appreciated.

    1. The Nikon Monarch 5 (8×42 or 10×42) are one of the best binoculars you can own for birdwatching, Safari or general use. No doubt about it. In terms of their optics, beautiful lightweight design, wide field of view and most of all image quality they are right up there with our $800-$1,000 high-end models! Therefore they have been one of the most popular choices by our more avid customers over the last 3 years. Now, regarding a monocular, if you will be using the optics often, especially for birdwatching, we wouldn’t recommend a monocular. The view is quite limiting and the design is not very comfortable to hold and stabilise for extended periods of time. It is still a great tool to carry in your bag or car and to have a “quick look” at something. But if you are viewing birds or wildlife we will always recommend binoculars. Your husband, even having only 1 eye, will find it easier to hold and use good binoculars than a monocular (again, for frequent or prolong use). The image is also significantly better since 8×42 binoculars such as the Nikon have a much wider view than a monocular – even using only the 1 eye. I have tested this theory while closing one of my eyes and using both the Nikon Monarch binoculars and the Avalon monocular. The binoculars definitely came on top!

      Adam Murray, Procular
  19. I have a monocular – Carton – 8X30 Field 7.5 and wondered if I should upgrade to observe animals and birds on an African Safari. The tour leader suggests that we look at binoculars no less than 8X42. I like using a monocular so am happy to keep to that. I look forward to hearing from you. With many thanks

    Betty Simpson
    1. Hi Betty, a monocular is a great little tool when you need to inspect something at a distance. As it is compact and easy to carry around everywhere + it can provide the same power as binoculars (8x in your case which is standard magnification). Other people have difficulties looking through both eyes so a monocular works well for them. The downside with a monocular though is that it has a significatly narrower field of view than binoculars – because it only has one lens of course. So if you are on an African Safari you will benefit MUCH more from using a pair of binoculars. Because there is a-lot to see in the field. On a Safari trip, or during any wildlife or birdwatching observation for that matter, you are not always pointing at a specific subject. Many times you will need to first find the subject and follow it. For that reason binoculars work best. As your tour leader suggested 8×42 would be ideal for Safari. You can read more about choosing Safari binoculars and see our most recommended models here: https://procular.com.au/best-safari-binoculars-the-complete-guide/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  20. I have no idea where to start, but have been looking at the Yukon Newton 4×50 N/Vis Monocular, I assume this has an in built camera…I want this item to use for security purposes on my property because of on going vandalism. Could you please advise

    1. Hi Laine,

      Night vision monoculars and binoculars typically have 1x to 5x magnification in order to keep reletivly less graininess in terms of the image you will see at night. A night vision monocular is a good idea for security purposes and can come in handy to spot the going vandalism. If you wish to also record it you will need a digital NV monocular (or binocular). The Yukon Newton 4×50 does not come with a built in camera. You can see all the digital night vision options here: https://procular.com.au/night-vision/digital-night-vision/

      Obviously due to the technology involved, digital night vision monoculars are not cheap. The most affordable one that will work in your case is the Pulsar Recon 4×50. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/pulsar-recon-750-4×50-digital-night-vision-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  21. I am looking at buying something for pest contro;l needs. I have a termite nest up a tree about 20 meters high and need to look closely at it to see if any termites come out of shell when broken, What instruments will do this for me. I was looking at a Avalon monocular 10×42 which looks suitable.. Something small and rugged would be good as I can then take it into subfloors also.

    1. Yes, a monocular would definitely work in this case. You do not need to much magnification for looking up a tree and since you are looking at a very small area (termite nest) you would benefit from a monocular’s narrower field of view. The Avalon 10×42 is a good choice as it is compact, very rugged and has a-lot of light intake due to its larger 42mm lens.

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Hi , Can i see the space/sky using Monocular, i am new to this subject , can you please advice

        1. Hi Rikaz,

          With a good compact monocular you can see the moon for example (40mm to 50mm lens is enough to look at the moon). So the Avalon 10×42 monocular discussed above works. BUT, if your main interest is star gazing then a compact monocular would not be the best tool for the job. You will be best off either using astronomy binoculars or a telescope. Have a look at our other buyer guides on Procular for choosing astronomy binoculars below:

          https://procular.com.au/choosing-astronomy-and-night-binoculars-the-complete-guide/

          or for choosing a telescope below:

          https://procular.com.au/telescopes-beginners-easy-buyer-guide-review/

          If you do choose to get a monocular, mainly for easy transport, and you want one that works good for star gazing, then we recommend the Yukon 20×50 monocular. It has more power and a larger lens to achieve brighter images at night. Details below:

          https://procular.com.au/yukon-scout-20×50-straight-spotting-scope/

          Adam Murray, Procular
          1. Thanks , this helps a lot

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