Polaris Explorer Monocular Review – 12 x 50
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- Fantastic optics
- One-handed grip and focus
- Includes a tripod
- No lanyard for the eyepiece cover
What Do I Get in the Box?
The first thing you want to know is what you get for your money. Polaris Optics packages just about everything you could imagine with the Explorer, including a selection of 4 eBooks on bird watching, if you order your monocular from Amazon. As far as what’s in the box, here is what you should expect to find when you receive your monocular:
- The Polaris Explorer 12-50mm Monocular
- Lens covers
- Carrying case
- Shoulder strap
The tripod is amazingly well-built for a ‘freebie,’ and the carrying case fits the monocular quite snugly, but not too snugly. The only problem I had with this monocular was that while the objective lens cover includes a retaining flap, there is no lanyard or retaining flap for the eyepiece cover.
How Much Magnification Do I Get?
This particular monocular features a 50mm objective lens with a stunning 12X magnification. Field of view is quite good for that amount of magnification, providing you with 246′ of viewable terrain at 1,000 yards. Close focusing distance is 8′, so you could even use the monocular to read the fine print on your ammunition box from across the room, if you wanted.
What Type of Optics Does the Monocular Have?
The Polaris Explorer monocular includes a Bak-4 roof prism for outstanding color dispersion and clarity. The optics are fully multi-coated, with excellent light transmission and anti-reflective coatings on all of the air-to-glass surfaces. The eyecup is adjustable, twisting up and down for use with or without eyeglasses. To keep the monocular waterproof and fogproof, the barrel is filled with nitrogen and the optics are sealed with O-rings, which keep out dust, moisture, and debris. The focus system is a center knob atop the monocular, which allows for easy one-handed operation. The knob turns easily, but not so easily that you might accidentally refocus your monocular while adjusting your grip. Some reviewers have pointed out that there is too much travel required to go through the full range of focus capability, but I found the amount of travel to be perfect for getting objects at a wide variety of ranges in crisp, clear focus.
The light gathering capability of this monocular is nothing short of astounding. During dusk hours, I found that the image through the monocular was actually brighter in appearance than when I looked at it with my naked eye, and I’ve never failed to get a good picture of my subject no matter what the lighting conditions were. I even used this monocular to look at the moon one night, and the amount of detail I could see was amazing. With the extreme 12X magnification, you might find that you see quite a bit of flutter and shake in your image. This is where the tripod comes in very handy, and the fact that Polaris Optics thought to include it shows that they were paying attention to detail, even in a very budget-friendly monocular.
What’s the Body Like On This Monocular?
The Polaris Optics Explorer fits very nicely in the hand, and the rubber armor covering the entire barrel provides a secure, non-slip grip on the monocular. It also provides an excellent amount of protection to the body and glass, as we’ll talk about in the next section. The grip is very ergonomic on this monocular, meaning you can hold it comfortably for quite a while without suffering a cramp in your hand. It measures 3.1” long by 6.4” high and 1.9” wide, and weighs a mere 14.5 ounces. Considering the 50mm objective lens, this is an excellent size and weight for a fantastic outdoor accessory.
How Durable Is the Monocular?
I haven’t dropped this monocular from my tree stand (yet), but it feels very strong and durable. The rubber armor should provide a fair bit of shock resistance, and the O-ring sealed lenses keeps out water, dust, and other debris from fouling the inside of your monocular.
How Well Does the Polaris Explorer Work in the Field?
All of that information is great and all, but how well does this monocular actually perform when you’re out in the woods trying to spot deer or watch birds? Polaris Optics has built a very excellent product here at a great price. I’ve used more expensive monoculars in the past, but none of them really beat out the sheer performance value of this one. I’ve used this monocular to view the moon, as I stated, and I use it regularly to spot deer or other wildlife. There have been numerous times when I would have missed a shot on a deer if I didn’t have the Explorer handy to zoom in on the animal bedded down in the grass.