Monoculars Reviews by Expert Hunters – 2015
So, you’re looking at buying a monocular. Good call, because a decent monocular can make all the difference between getting a good view of that stunning piece of wilderscape or deer bedded down in the grass, or missing it altogether. When you’re shopping for a monocular, though, you want to make sure you do some research to pick out the good from the bad. Here at HuntingOptics.net, we help you with that task, reviewing the best and worst of the monoculars, and letting you know how each one stacks up in the competition. This page will expand on what we look for.
Now, each of our monoculars reviews looks in-depth into the model, examining what you get for your money and how well it will perform. Within each of our reviews, we carefully examine several characteristics of the glass. Read on for an overview of what we look for, and some examples of how monoculars either stand up to our tests or fall flat. Going forward, here is a list to all of the monoculars we have reviewed in the past, after which I’ll tell you exactly what goes into the process of preparing such a review.
What’s In the Box
The first thing we look at is what comes in the box. Not all monoculars are created equally, and some include a wide variety of accessories while some don’t come with any accessories at all. Furthermore, some of these accessories are more useful than others. For example, the carrying case that comes with the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular is oversized, allowing the monocular to bounce around inside the case a bit.
How Much Magnification
Next up, we will look at how much magnification the monocular provides. Some, like the HDE budget model, claim they get a certain level of magnification, but real-world results fall short of these claims, and we’ll let you know when we find out something like this. We will also examine how good the magnification is, how clear the image is, and how crisp you can expect to be able to focus in at maximum magnification.
What Type of Optics
In this section of our monoculars reviews, we will discuss whether the monocular uses a roof prism design or a porro prism design, as well as what type of prism glass is used. We will also discuss the coating on the glass, which is important to note for the monocular’s ability to transmit light. Once again, not all monoculars are created equally, so it’s important to understand what we mean by multi-coated, fully multi-coated, etc.
- Fully Multi-coated lenses are prepared so that all air-to-glass surfaces are protected by multiple layers of a special coating that helps reduce glare and light diffusion, maximizing image brightness and clarity.
- Multi-coated lenses have at least one surface, but not all air-to-glass surfaces, protected by multiple layers of coating.
- Fully coated lenses have all air-to-glass surfaces protected with a single layer of coating.
The best of the best, like the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD, feature fully multi-coated optics, while budget models like the HDE monocular will only be multi-coated, but not fully multi-coated.
In the section about the optics, we will also explore the field of view of the monocular. This is important to note, because sometimes the field of view can be so narrow that the shakiness of your hands will make the monocular impossible to use without mounting it on a tripod. For monoculars like the Celestron Nature 10×25, this would be important to know, because Celestron has not included a tripod mount on this monocular. Fortunately, Celestron’s Nature 10×25 has a very generous field of view of 304 feet at 1,000 yards, so the lack of the tripod mount does not get in the way of the monoc’s usability too much.
Finally, within our discussion of the optics, we will discuss the focus ring of the monocular. Sometimes, a monocular’s focus ring is so stiff that you might have a hard time focusing on objects that are moving quickly. This is the case with the Celestron Nature 10×25 monocular; the focus ring is terrific for zooming in on stationary objects, but if you’re trying to follow a bird in flight, you might find the stiff focus ring more annoying than useful.
The Body of the Monocular
After discussing the optics, we will talk about the body itself. Here, we will look at whether the body is rubber-coated for durability, how ergonomic the grip is, and whether or not the housing has a lanyard hole or ergonomic finger grips. In some cases, we’ll even find that the body of the monocular includes a belt clip, like on the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD. We will also talk about any additional features of the body of the monocular, such as the Picatinny rail on the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD.
Next up is durability, because you want your monocular to be able to withstand some amount of abuse in the field. Our monoculars reviews look at whether or not the model in question is nitrogen-purged for fogproofing, as well as whether or not it is waterproof or shockproof. For some monoculars, we will even discuss the warranty, such as Bushnell’s Bulletproof 100% Money Back Guarantee on the Legend Ultra HD.
Sometimes, we just have to report that something won’t be very durable. For example, the HDE model has a very cheap plastic housing that will crack pretty easily, and reviews of that particular model indicate that the glass breaks easily. So why is it listed in our top 5? For one reason: it’s inexpensive, and makes for a good starter monocular.
How Well It Performs in the Field
Finally, we will talk about how well the monocular actually performs under real-life circumstances. I’m a hunter and avid birdwatcher, so I always test out monoculars in hunting situations as well as bird-watching. I also regularly take monoculars with me on hiking trips, and usually give a monocular a quick view-through to see how well it might work for casual stargazing. In this section of the review, you’ll get a feel for what situations the monocular is particularly well-suited for, like the Legend Ultra HD’s ability to pick out small details, like the heads of groundhogs, even in the shade of trees.
This is also the section where you’ll find out more about whether a particular monocular is just bland or suited for casual use when you want a slightly better look at something, as is the case with the HDE 15–55X monocular. Real-world experiences are sometimes more useful than any of the technical details we can give you, so we make sure to put each monocular through some real-life testing to see how they stack up.
Every review ends with a summary, where we wrap up the best and worst parts of each particular monocular. If you have a really short attention span, you can always skip to the end of the review and read what sort of situations I would recommend a monocular for, and what situations I’d steer clear of it for.