Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular Review
Check Today's Price
- Close focus to 10 inches
- Compact design is easy to carry
- Is often unable to focus less than 10 feet away
- Image quality is poor-to-average
- Warranty replacement option is almost as expensive as the monocular itself
Welcome to my review of the Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular Monocular. This 7X monocular provides magnification and an advertised close focus of just 10 inches. This should allow excellent use for butterfly viewing or low vision needs. How well does the Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular perform, though? Let’s examine the monocular and find out.
What Do I Get in the Box?
When you purchase the Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular, you get everything you need to keep and carry your moncular. Box contents include:
- Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular
- Carrying strap
- Soft pouch
- Lens cloth
The included accessories are decent quality, but nothing to write home about. The carrying strap is fairly comfortable, and the pouch will keep the monoc safe when it’s not in use.
How Much Magnification Do I Get?
The Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular features an 18mm objective lens, and offers magnification of 7X. The image quality is not terrific, but it is fair to average in terms of the clarity and resolution of the image. You just have to remember that you’re dealing with an 18mm objective lens, which won’t have the power to offer you an outstanding view of something very far away, even with 7X magnification.
What Type of Optics Does the Monocular Have?
The Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular uses a K9 roof prism, which is on par with Bk-7 prism glass. It provides an acceptable image, but lacks the light transmission qualities of BaK-4 glass, so you won’t get as good of a view as you would if Carson had gone with BaK-4 prism glass. I tend to recommend sticking with BaK-4 prism glass in binoculars and monoculars, because the manufacturing and materials cost of BaK-4 has come down enough that we’re seeing some outstanding budget-priced optics using BaK-4. There’s really no reason to use Bk-7 anymore, other than to drive the margins up a bit.
The optics on the Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular are only fully coated, not multi-coated, so you’ve just got a single coating on the air-to-glass surfaces. The good news is that all of the air-to-glass surfaces are coated, but I would have liked to see fully multi-coated optics for even better light transmission.
Focus on the Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular is hit and miss, depending on whether you get a good monocular or a bad one. Quality control on these monoculars must be lackadaisical, because I’ve had two different models of the same monocular, and one worked horribly while the other worked fine. On the bad model, I could not focus on anything closer than 10 feet, and even things 10 feet away and further could not be brought into crisp focus.
Eye relief on the Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular is a tiny 10mm, and there is no twist-up eyecup for eyeglass wearers. This makes the monocular difficult to use when wearing eyeglasses, a problem compounded by the lack of diopter adjustment on the eyepiece.
Getting a replacement from Carson requires sending them a $12.00 check for "shipping costs." This seems ridiculous for such an inexpensive item, but fortunately Amazon was willing to take the item as a return and I simply bought it again.
What’s the Body Like On This Monocular?
The Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular is made of cheap plastic, which means it won’t be very durable. The case is molded with inset ridges to provide a bit of a gripping surface on the monocular, but the grip is not very comfortable. Focusing the monocular requries two hands, which seems ridiculous for such a small item. The dimensions of the monocular are 2.6" by 1.1" by 1.3", and it weighs a mere 1.7 ounces.
How Durable Is the Monocular?
Carson makes no promises of durability, so I would baby this monocular. I’ve used it outdoors, and it fogs up in cold temperatures, which leads me to believe the barrel is not nitrogen-filled. I would also doubt the ability of the monocular to resist water damage.
How Well Does the Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular Work in the Field?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? I tried out the Carson CloseUp 7x18mm Close-Focus Monocular for butterfly viewing as well as viewing pieces of art at a museum. When it works, it is a nice monocular to have for viewing close-up objects in detail. Unfortunately, my experiences and the experiences of other reviewers leads me to believe you have about a one in three chance of getting a monocular that won’t focus at less than 10 feet.