Night Vision Monocular vs Binoculars, which one is perfect for you? And why? This question will come in your mind very often whether you are a hiker, a hunter or an observer. Mostly, when you are trying to figure out the best night vision device for you. Well, this in-depth article is to ease the choice between monocular and binoculars.
Every tool has some specific purposes that cannot be served by other tools. Whenever it is necessary to see long distance clearly, binoculars or monocular is the tool that anyone desires for. But the choice will differ since seeing things clear at a distant place is a hobby for some people while the necessity for others.
Famous movies and games have played a vital role in popularizing the use of night vision devices. At the beginning of night vision technology, it was used mainly in warfare and by soldiers. But the situation has changed a lot. Now general people can have access to the latest night vision gears. But one fact to keep in mind all types of devices like scopes, goggles, monocular, binoculars etc. do not come handy for each situation. For example, night vision binoculars or monocular is a must for ship commanders, navigators and sometimes for hunters, hikers, wildlife observer etc. while night vision scope is a must for snipers.
Table of Contents
What are Binoculars
There is hardly any person who hasn’t used binoculars once in life. And binoculars are the most common optic devices in the world. In easy terms, binoculars are dual tube system optic devices with built-in magnification power. Its name also indicates the same meaning. Greek word bi means two or dual and oculus mean eyes.
In general, most of the binoculars are heavy due to their large magnification lenses or dual tube system. And you cannot use heavy optic devices as a head mount. For head mount usage, night vision goggles are the best. Actually, most of the binoculars are designed to be used by both hands, yet there are varieties in sizes such as opera glasses, pedestal mounted military models.back to menu ↑
What is a Monocular
In easy terms, monocular can be considered just one side of binoculars. That means an optical device that is used for one eye and works as a single tube system. The name is also self-explanatory. Mono means one and you already know what Oculus means.
Monocular in general comes handy wherever binoculars are hard to be used.back to menu ↑
Monocular vs Binoculars (Facts You Need to Know)
Below are the key factors you must know before jumping to a decision.
Depth perception helps you know the position or distance of your target much clearly. So this is one of the most important things while you are trying to observe distant things. In case of finding targets, monitoring enemy movements, guarding border clear depth perception is a must. For enjoying wildlife and similar things, a depth perception is a great option.
Since binoculars use two eyes, they provide with great vivid and clear images. Your brain needs two eyes to generate a 3-D image. That’s why they offer great depth perception.
On the other hand, monocular is a one eye device. They don’t offer depth perception as great as binoculars.
Weight and Size
Nowadays, night vision devices are getting smaller and lighter than the previous ones. Yet you have to choose your required device wisely, otherwise, you will suffer in the long run. When you are on a long trip, each pound matters. Keep in mind that, ounces=pounds and pounds=pain.
Generally, binoculars are heavier than monocular. Because binoculars have a dual tube system and monocular has a single tube. For the same reason binoculars are large in size and monocular is smaller. So you can fit a monocular in your backpack, bug out bag and even in your pocket very easily.
Ease of the Eyes
Binoculars require two eyes at the same time. That means you will have the same view at the same time. That’s very normal for the brain to process the view. But you will not be able to monitor the surroundings outside of binoculars.
For monocular, you always have one eye free to observe the surroundings. But most of the people will find it hard to cope up with the diversified view of two eyes. On eye which is using the magnified view and another is viewing normal things. In most of the cases, you will have a headache after using monocular for a long period.
Versatility of Use
Binoculars are always used handheld. When you are using binoculars, both of your hands are occupied. This situation can be risky in some conditions. For example, while observing wildlife at night, it is better to keep one hand always free.
Monocular is small, lightweight and compact in all aspects. You can use your monocular with one hand very easily, with a head mount or helmet or strap. All these options are very handy for specific requirements. Even you can fit your night vision monocular on your rifle or other weapons. This weapon mount option can be a key difference.
Price is a great key factor while buying anything. Binoculars are dual tube optics while monocular is a single tube system. In general, binoculars cost much than monocular. But there can be some exception in the case of generation and night vision option.
Whether you are looking for binoculars or monocular it is quite evident that you want a device with magnification. But it is a must to know that the stronger magnification is not always the best option for you. What? Yes, you heard right. More magnification or powerful magnification is really hard to keep steady and focus properly. So whatever you choose, choose wisely.
These are the most important facts that you must know if you are finding difficulties to choose between binocular and monocular.back to menu ↑
Night vision Monocular Vs Binoculars
While buying an optic device, you should always think about how many options you actually need. If you have enough budget, why not take an upgraded device with much more options?
After knowing above mentioned factors, now you hopefully know whether you need binoculars or a monocular. For night vision monocular or binoculars, the only difference from regular devices is the night vision option. Once you have decided which device you need between binoculars or monocular you can easily avail one with night vision option.
Now you know the important differences between binoculars and monocular. But you still need to know further decisive factors for night vision monocular and binoculars. For more details knowledge, you can go through some forums on night vision.
For night vision, you must know your environment first. Will you be in a pitch black night? Or there is be enough light? Will you always go out in a full moon? Do you wish to explore on a rainy night? Different weather affects the light and visibility in a different way. For a diverse situation, it’s always better to have a weatherproof device.
In easy terms, gain means the relative light level that your night vision device will encounter with. The higher the gain, the brighter the image. So if you are a hunter, you need something with better again. But always remember that, though higher gain means brighter image, a brighter image is not always required in every situation at night. Therefore, choose wisely. It will also help you in shooting targets with ease.
In the journey of night vision technology, so far we have three generations of devices. Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3. Among them, Gen 3 devices are better than the previous two generations. If you have no tight budget, you should go for the latest devices of Gen 3. They provide better resolution, battery backup and other things.
Magnification and Movement
You should take a device with lower magnification if you are moving out there at night. During mobility, high magnification will easily throw objects out of view and makes it hard to realize the actual situation. On the contrary, for a stationary position, you can go for a high magnification device.back to menu ↑
Some Technical Terms of Monocular and Binoculars
Ocular and Objective Lenses
There are two types of lenses on these devices. The nearby lenses of the viewer’s eye are called ocular lenses. The word “Ocular” means of the eye or connected to the eye.
The other set of lenses are placed in front of the device. An easy way to remember is, objective lenses are closer to the object. Good objective lenses are important even in the daytime hunting i.e. .22lr squirrel hunting with scopes.
Pair of Numbers
Each device has a pair of numbers. For example, you have a device with 10X42 numbers. The first number 10 means the number of times an object is magnified. If you are looking at a hill, it will appear ten times closer or larger than seeing with the normal eye. The second number is the diameter of objective lenses.
Eye relief is measured in mm. It denotes the distance from the viewer’s eye to the device’s eyepiece. Eye relief should be at least 10 mm and 15 mm will provide a great result. So you must put your eyes maintaining a certain distance. If you see from far or from very close to your device, you will fail to have a great view.
It is also measured in mm. Exit pupil is the width of the area through which light passes. The more the width, the more the light will pass. Therefore, you will get a clear image.back to menu ↑
The key factor to face the night vision monocular vs binoculars dilemma successfully is to know your requirement completely. The nature of the environment, mobility, whether you will hunt or just monitor something etc. This article will help you know your requirement better and solve the problems in night vision. Wish you a great night vision experience!
Kalman is a hunting expert who has a vast experience with wild game hunting. Though night time hunting is his favorite, he masters the art of daytime hunting and shooting. Being a nature lover and outdoor enthusiast, he wants to pass the knowledge acquired over time to the next generation.