What is Monocular Telescope?

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What is Monocular Telescope and What is it Used For?

In the world of optics, monocular telescopes have become immensely popular.

Their smaller size, portability and remarkable specifications make them one of the most impressive and must-have equipments for the outdoors.

If you are not familiar with what a monocular telescope is and want to know more about them, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we shall see what a monocular telescope is, how a monocular telescope works, the major differences between conventional telescopes and monocular telescopes and which are some of the most popular monocular telescope brands from around the world.

How Does a Monocular Telescope work?

A monocular telescope is defined as a “modified refracting telescope used to magnify the image of far-away objects”.

It uses a simple but efficient refracting system made of multiple lenses and prisms to work as a compact, lightweight telescope.

What is Monocular Telescope

What is Monocular Telescope – How does a Monocular Telescope work

As compared to a pair of binoculars, a monocular telescope weighs less than half and is significantly smaller in size too.

However, monocular telescopes offer similar optic properties as compared to binoculars but are easier to carry and remarkably more affordable.

The fact that a monocular telescope requires half the optics of a binocular contributes to decreasing its price.

Binoculars are able to produce 3D images by adding the perception of depth however monocular telescopes can only produce 2D images.

What is the Difference Between Telescope and Monocular Telescope?

Most people tend to get confused when it comes to differentiating between a conventional telescope and a monocular telescope.

Telescopes and monocular telescopes are both convenient for spotting far-off objects. However, there is a significant difference between the two.

In simple words, monocular telescopes are similar to small-sized refractor telescopes.

Both allow light to enter through one end (aperture) and the series of lenses and prisms produce a magnified image on the other end (eyepiece).

However, monocular telescopes also have properties resembling binoculars.

Monocular telescopes have a single eyepiece, similar to a telescope, but you need to hold it like a binocular, as opposed to using a stand (tripod) for a telescope.

Besides, monocular telescopes are noticeably smaller than the smallest telescope and require no additional accessories for using them. You simply need to point and view, similar to binoculars.

Are Monocular Telescopes Better Than Telescopes or Binoculars?

This question is subjective as your specific needs will dictate whether a monocular telescope or a telescope or binoculars will be the best equipment.

Monocular telescopes are smaller and more compact, which makes them easier to carry, as compared to telescopes or binoculars.

Some monocular telescopes are so small that they can easily fit in your palm. The incredible portability makes monocular telescopes ideal for hunting or hiking trips.

Monocular telescopes are ideal when you want to carry lightweight equipment. Besides, monocular telescopes come at ridiculously low prices as compared to telescopes and binoculars.

Are Monocular Telescopes better than Telescopes or Binoculars

Are Monocular Telescopes better than Telescopes or Binoculars?

Basic monocular designs tend to have a simple dual-lens magnification system however you can also choose from a variety of high-end monocular telescopes.

These come with prisms between the lenses which allow the monocular to have an incredibly small design but offer impressive magnification.

Usually, monocular telescopes have between 4x to 10x zoom. Although it is possible to get higher zoom levels with monocular telescopes it tends to affect the image quality.

Higher zoom levels will narrow the field of vision and the decrease in light entering the aperture will also dim the image noticeably.

Besides, you will require a tripod to get a stable image at high zoom levels. It would be better to buy a telescope if you want higher zoom levels.

The standard maximum magnification of a monocular telescope is 8x.

Are There Different Types of Monocular Telescopes?

Yes, monocular telescopes are available with varying sizes and features. Some of the most popular types of monocular telescopes are:

  1. Compass monocular telescope
  2. Infrared monocular telescope
  3. Range finder monocular telescope
  4. Galilean-type Zoom monocular telescope
  5. Night vision monocular telescope
  6. Thermal imaging monocular telescope

What are the Different Uses of the Monocular Telescope?

Monocular telescopes have found use in several different areas. One of the most prominent uses of monocular telescopes includes being used by visually impaired people to see objects outside of their limited field of vision.

For instance, monocular telescopes are commonly used by the visually impaired to read text on the projection screen or a chalkboard in class.

In addition, the other most common uses of monocular telescopes are in the military, marine, natural history and hunting.

More recently, compact monocular telescopes are being used to view exhibits closely in museums and art galleries.

Which is the Best Monocular Telescope Brand?

To help you buy the perfect monocular telescope for you, we’ve collected the list of the best monocular telescope brands in the market today:

  • Gosky
  • Hawke
  • Celestron
  • Bushnell
  • Opticron
  • Leica
  • Zeiss


Before buying a monocular telescope, make sure you have determined the specific use you need it for.

This helps you figure out the exact specifications (magnification, zoom, lens size, etc.) you need to seek in the potential monocular telescope online.

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