Monocular vs Binocular: How to Choose the Right Vision Device

May 22, 2024

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you are familiar with monoculars and binoculars. Both of them can help you see more details of objects at long distances. They work similarly, and the only difference lies in the lens numbers. However, choosing a monocular or a binocular can be a tricky thing. In this blog, we will discuss the differences between monoculars and binoculars. After reading this, you will be able to choose an optic that suits you most.

binocular vs monocular, how to choose?

1. Advantages of Binocular vs Monocular Vision:

When it comes to choosing between monoculars and binoculars, understanding the differences in vision is key. But what exactly do the numbers associated with these devices mean? Actually, an 8×56 Binocular means that it is an 8 power magnification and has a 56mm diameter objective lens.


First, let’s compare the binocular vs monocular vision. When using a binocular, two eyes are engaged in the observation. Of course, you will get a wider field of view even under the same magnification compared to monocular. Besides, studies show that two eyes can feel a more accurate depth than one eye. We will talk about monocular vs binocular depth cues in the next paragraph. As a result,

binocular vision allows for three dimensions image. You will get a more vivid experience, just like the view is right in front of you. 

In short, binoculars can offer a wide field of view. Also, you can perceive the depth of the image, making it a better choice for activities such as bird watching, hunting, or stargazing.

1.1 What are monocular vs binocular Depth Cues?

StudySmarter defines monocular or binocular depth cues as people judge depth with one eye or both two eyes. If you see things with one eye, that is a monocular depth cue; if you see things with two eyes to get depth perception, that is a binocular depth cue.

When we use both eyes to see things, we can get a depth perception and a 3-dimensional space, which makes it easier for our brains to deal with information. That’s why binocular vision is better than monocular vision.

2. How to Select the Best Vision Device?

When picking a monocular or binocular, you need to consider factors such as weight, image quality, magnification, field of view, portability, etc. Also, price is one factor that we care about most. Keep reading to learn about how to choose a vision device that suits your specific needs and preferences.

You don’t need to maintain perfect alignment between two sides when using a monocular. But when using a binocular, you have more to pay attention to. Since the interpupillary distance varies from person to person, you have to adjust the binocular body to get the appropriate and comfortable vision.

2.1 Weight 

Monoculars are often more compact and small compared to binoculars. 

For example, take VictOptics BOSL01 8×42 binocular and Vector Optics Paragon 8×42 Monocular as examples. Both the two vision devices are at fixed 8 power magnification and have a 42mm diameter objective lens. The binocular weighs 840 grams (28.6oz), while the monocular weighs only 388 grams (13.7oz). 

Therefore, when you are going to engage in a long-distance activity, like hiking or climbing mountains. You may like a light vision device. Under this circumstance, the monocular is more suitable because of its convenience to store and it can be put in your pocket.monocular vs monocular weight

2.2 Image Quality & Price 

As for image quality, it mainly depends on the types of prism and lens coating of your binocular or monocular. BaK4 and BK7 prims are two normal prism types on the market. BaK4 prism has better optical quality and hence costs more. For most users, BK7 prism type can satisfy their needs.

Then, the lens coating also influences image quality. There are muti-layer coating and fully-multi-layer coating. Fully-multi coated (FMC) lens can help increase light transmission and decrease aberrations so as you can get a vivid and clear image. Also, FMC lens is more expensive than a multi-layer coating vision device.

2.3 Using Experience

Monoculars are not easy to hold steady. However, binoculars avoid that problem because it has better ergonomics. You can hold it more steady and get a much more immersive and relaxed view.

Besides, squinting one eye puts quite a strain on your face for longer observations.

On the other side, monoculars have an edge in lightweight, easy-handling, and easily portable. You can use it with one hand. It depends more on what occasions you will use it.

2.4 Choosing the Right Magnification:

First, you need to know how detailed an image you want to see and how far you will use it.

A higher magnification power monocular like 10x can see more details of objects at long distances. But it is also a challenge to hold it steady. For experienced users, you can opt for 10x magnification monoculars or binoculars, while if you are new to this field, a lower-powered telescope is better for you to use.

3. How to Use a Monocular and Binocular:

To make the most of your monocular or binoculars, you need to practice focusing and adjusting the device.


First of all, take off the lens caps and choose one eye to observe. Then, you need to ensure you have a stable grip and maintain a steady hand for clear viewing. Third, you can twist the eyecup to adjust the diopter (compensate for nearsightedness or farsightedness).

At last, you can use one eye to see your target through your monocular lens. 

4. Applications of Monocular and Binoculars:

Monoculars and binoculars are usually used in various outdoor activities. But they have their own advantages to use on different occasions.

If you need to observe an object for a long time, like stargazing, birdwatching, or spectator sports, binoculars are perfect. Besides these, users also use binoculars to watch concerts or sporting events. You can easily have a higher-definition view than others, sounds appealing to me!

Similarly, binoculars outperform monoculars because it allows for stereoscopic vision. Likewise, it is stable to hold binoculars with two hands.

If you need to use a vision device to acquire your target in hunting, a monocular is a wonderful choice since it is lightweight, easy-handling, and portable. 

Still have questions about which one to choose? Feel free to reach out to us for more information about binoculars and monoculars.

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