Monocular, as an improved version of telescopes, can be traced back to the 17th century. At that time, monoculars were primarily used for defensive purposes. The working principles of all monocular are quite similar: they use prism lenses to magnify the perceived image. But how to choose the right one? Here are some selection guides.
A woman is holding a monocular and observing in the distance.

Select According to Your Primary Use

Although the working principle of monoculars is similar, but there are different functional types. Generally, there are five types: compass monocular, rangefinder monocular, birdwatching monocular, night vision monocular, and a rather large one – the astronomical telescope. The names of these monoculars speak for themselves. The compass monocular comes with a compass, so if you’re adventurous and enjoy hiking or camping, this might be a great 2-in-1 device. If you are mostly active at night, then the one featured with night vision is your go-to. Therefore, you can just buy with the appropriate features according to your needs.

Determine the Magnification and Lens Size You Want

Magnification and aperture are the two most important parameters of a telescope. When it comes to magnification, many people believe that higher is better, but in fact, the optimal magnification of a telescope is determined by the observing method and the size of the aperture. A bigger aperture improves a telescope’s optics, but it also leads to higher prices and increased weight. So, determine the magnification and lens sizes you want is important. If you enjoy birdwatching, a 12×50 combination is a good choice for activities like birdwatching. If you only need one product for various applications, 10×42 or 10×50 would be a nice affordable option.

12X50 ED High-Powered Waterproof Monocular

Test Out the Close Focus

Close focus is crucial for the performance of a monocular and how well it meets your needs. If you want to observe details on objects just a few feet away, you can choose one with a high close-focusing capability. Another tips: the best monocular options measure close focus in inches, not in feet or yards.

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