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#269801 - 05/10/14 06:47 PM Monocular suggestions?
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2480
Seems useful and packable. Do you have one? Is it useful?

#269802 - 05/10/14 07:01 PM Re: Monocular suggestions? [Re: TeacherRO]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

Barr and Stroud Sprite 8x25 Mini Monocular

BAK4 glass, lightweight, multicoated optics and not very expensive.

Not as clear or bright as the Olympus 8x25 PC I Binoculars (they have exceptional optics for the 40 I paid for them), but these bino's aren't waterproof or as lightweight.

#269806 - 05/10/14 09:19 PM Re: Monocular suggestions? [Re: TeacherRO]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1198
Loc: Alaska
I suppose a monocular might be useful in a few specific situations, where size and weight is critical. However, for the majority of situations you are much better off with a good binocular.

In optics, you almost invariably "get what you pay for". I've found a good compromise between decent optical quality, robust construction, and a price I can afford is the Steiner Military/Marine 8/30 binoculars. I've carried a pair for years through my Alaskan adventures, and really like them. Good optics, rubber armor, waterproof, large exit pupil, roll down eyecups for use with glasses, and reasonably light weight.
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

#269809 - 05/10/14 09:49 PM Re: Monocular suggestions? [Re: TeacherRO]
gonewiththewind Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
As AKSAR states, binos are better, but when your space and weight is very limited a monocular does work. You can't go wrong with Steiners.

I have used them a good bit tactically, and I used them as much at close range as I did for distance. Mostly looking for signs of IEDs and boobytraps. It can be useful in tracking as well.

I do not remember the brand, and I can't seem to find them now, but I once used a telescoping monocular that was rubber coated and could work at close range. It was very nice.

I generally carry Steiner Predators now. Small and fairly light, but durable and sufficient for what I need.

#269818 - 05/11/14 05:16 AM Re: Monocular suggestions? [Re: TeacherRO]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
I just can't buy binoculars or monoculars based on a suggestion. Everybody sees things differently. I was at a sports store testing binoculars. I found some inexpensive Humvee 20x50 binoculars on sale for $20 (regular $40 or so). I couldn't believe it when I was testing them out. I thought I was doing something wrongly, but the salesperson just said everybody's eyes are different. Since then, I only buy binoculars, monocular, ski goggles, and other eye gear after I've tested it out in person.

By the way, on that day I bought those inexpensive binoculars, my original intent was to buy a monocular. I was less than pleased with the performance of any monocular on display. Using binoculars is a much more enjoyable experience. I'd rather lug around binoculars or nothing, rather than a monocular.
If you're reading this, it's too late.

#269824 - 05/11/14 02:21 PM Re: Monocular suggestions? [Re: TeacherRO]
Teslinhiker Offline

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1413
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Never seen a use for a Monocular for hiking or ETS use. Instead, for GP hiking, I carry Bushnell 7x21 binoculars. Not the best quality but they are cheap, lightweight and compact and I do not have worry about expensive replacement if they get damaged or lost.

If I am out hunting, then I will carry a better quality and bigger binocular. And for very long distance viewing, a spotting scope.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

#269845 - 05/12/14 04:31 PM Re: Monocular suggestions? [Re: TeacherRO]
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1204
Loc: Nottingham, UK
I have two. My first is an Opticron Gallery Scope, 8x20, and the second is a Zeiss 6x18. The Opticon makes the Zeiss look like a toy, because it's more solidly built, of metal, and has a screw focussing action and lens caps. The Zeiss is plastic and the tubes just slide past each other with no screw, and no lens caps, just a pouch. However, the Zeiss is better optically, gives a brighter image, and being much lighter is easier to carry. It's also a lot more expensive. The Zeiss is the one I'd recommend.

Both are close-focussing, meaning they can focus down to a foot away. For me that's one of the major benefits over binoculars. For example, you can use them to inspect insects or flowers. The "Gallery" scope is so-called because it is intended for looking at museum exhibits. The relatively low magnification is usually enough, and helps with stability, and is a worthy trade-off to get the brighter image with lighter weight.

There other benefit over binoculars is their light weight and small size. The Zeiss weighs about 100g or 3oz. That makes it practical to carry everywhere. I also have some binoculars and a DSLR camera, and it isn't practical for me to carry the DSLR (and lenses!) and the bins. In practice the binoculars get left behind. Nowadays they don't even get packed in my suitcase when going on holiday. (They are image-stablised, which makes them great to use, but adds to the weight.)

That said, although I like to keep the Zeiss within reach, in practice it's not very often I actually use them day to day.
Quality is addictive.

#269859 - 05/12/14 11:58 PM Re: Monocular suggestions? [Re: Brangdon]
Craig_Thompson Offline

Registered: 02/10/10
Posts: 48
Loc: SE PA United States
I have one of these: Little Mak

10 x 30. Magnification of 10x seems useful but I often have a difficult time holding it steady enough to clearly see what I am looking at, thereby loosing the advantage of higher magnification. 8x might be a better magnification. I am not an optics expert but it seems to have quite good image quality for it's price. It is relatively large diameter so it provides a fairly bright image.

It is also light weight. When I bought mine I believe the price was around $20 so I didn't worry about taking into rough or dirty conditions. It seems to no longer be available so I am a bit more careful with it. Is a shame. It gives a lot of image for the price.

One reason I like monoculars is that every time I use my binoculars, the two sides are not in focus together. It takes a little extra time to re-adjust it. For day hiking I like the light weight and smaller volume of the monocular. My Nikon binoculars overall have a better image quality but are significantly heavier and larger.

#269914 - 05/14/14 04:35 PM Re: Monocular suggestions? [Re: TeacherRO]
Nomad Online   content

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 479
Loc: Just wandering around.
I have carried a monocular for years. Don't remember the brand and it is not nearby at the moment. I use it a lot. It is 10x. To help stability, pick up a rock. The added weight dampens small shakes.

For long term use, as in watching an animal, I rest it (or sometimes tie it) to my walking stick. Much easier to keep on target. Also, sometimes I grab onto the brim of my hat and use that to stabilize the monocular. Especially handy trick when scanning an area.

Close focus is very useful for studying plants and animals.

I consider it a must have item.

...........From Nomad.........Been "on the road" since '97

#269942 - 05/15/14 02:29 AM Re: Monocular suggestions? [Re: TeacherRO]
Eastree Offline

Registered: 06/15/11
Posts: 62
A couple more stability tricks:

Tie a rock or other heavy-ish object to a string, so it hangs most of the way to the ground. It helps absorb vibration, and the long radius slows wobble. A long stick works (like a short monopod), but is more bulk.

Another string trick is to use a heavier string, such as paracord or other thick twine, and let it trail much longer from the monocular (in this case, at least -- people use both of these with binoculars and cameras). The string MUST trail on the ground. Step on the string, and pull it tight, upwards with the monocular, while viewing. This isn't so great for tracking from a higher to a lower field of view or object, however, as there's not a great way to keep taking up slack.

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