How to Use Monocular? Guide for Every Situation!

This article will introduce you to the basics of using a monocular in different environments and for various purposes.
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Last updatedLast updated: September 28, 2022
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When it comes to handheld tools that help improve the sharpness of human vision over long distances, there are two common ones: binoculars and monoculars. There might be differences in their functionality depending on the manufacturers, but they generally deliver on their basic functions.

There are many differences between binoculars and monoculars, but outlining them would involve dwelling on the technicalities of both tools. That would subsequently detract from our aim: we teach how to use a monocular, not compare the two.

What we can say, though, is that a monocular can be described as being half a binocular in construction. That also means it is used with one eye instead of two (as the name implies). Read on to learn our tips on getting the best from your monocular, including some extra ideas on protecting and storing it.

Getting started

There’s not much involved in using a monocular; however, you might struggle to get your money’s worth in value if you start looking through without knowing the following things.

Use the dominant eye

How to Use Monocular? Guide for Every Situation!

Understanding which eye is your dominant one isn’t too tricky.

The first tip to take note of for looking through a monocular is to use your dominant eye. This is unlike the binoculars where both eyes are used; here, only one can be used, and it should be the stronger one. The question is, which eye is the stronger one?

The answer to this question varies from person to person but don’t be deceived into thinking that your dominant hand or leg determines your stronger eye. Yes, there might be some correlation in the data; it isn’t always correct. The best way to find out this important detail would be to conduct a simple test for dominance. Trusted Source Dominant Eye Test: How to Find Your Dominant Eye Your dominant eye is the one that provides a greater degree of input to the visual part of your brain. www.allaboutvision.com

Don’t forget your glasses

This is for users who are using glasses as well. Don’t remove your glasses to use your monoculars. Rather wear it and focus because some visual issues would not be solved by using a monocular, and those that can be solved this way would still be accommodated when you focus. Besides, this is better than having to remove your glasses every time you need to see further.

The eye relief of the monocular would, however, be important if you are using glasses. You can conduct some personal research or consult your doctor first, but a monocular with an eye relief of at least 14mm is generally advised for people using glasses.

Hold it correctly

You should hold the monocular at eye level and close to the eye but not too close to touch. Your hand should be gripping the barrel at an area closer to the ocular lens with your elbow resting on your body to stabilize the arm.

An alternative method of attaining stability would be to grip the wrist of the hand holding the barrel with your other hand. Some users even use both hands to hold onto the monocular though this might be unsuitable when trying to focus.

Set the focus

How to Use Monocular? Guide for Every Situation!

Focus is important in determining the sharpness of the image. The method of adjusting the focus of a monocular varies from brand to brand, but the most common involves using a dial located along the barrel.

This dial would be rotated to adjust the focus. Other monocular designs might have another mechanism for adjusting their focus, but it is likely to involve rotation. Take note of the direction and if the image is getting blurrier, rotate in the opposite direction. Practicing the adjustment of focus would make you faster and more efficient at using the device.

How to eye the target

Unfortunately, simply holding the device in the right way and adjusting the focus is not enough to help you see a moving target properly. Knowing how to eye a target is especially important in bird watching and other hobbies or activities involving a lot of movement.

Locate it

It might be quite limiting to try locating the object or thing you’re watching with the monocular, especially when the object in question moves around a lot. This is because the field of view of your device would certainly be less than that of your eye.

Therefore, you should use your eye to locate the object and then focus the device. If you lose the target, try finding it by using the other eye or drop monocular to search before picking it up again.

Follow it and adjust the focus

Many of the activities that call for the use of a monocular have to deal with movement. This is one of the benefits of using monoculars compared to spotting scopes. Where spotting scopes might be too bulky to move around while tracking targets effectively, a monocular would allow for easy tracking without changing position or moving the body.

The focus can also be easily adjusted to match changes in position. This will come in handy if the movement of the target is bringing it closer to you or taking it farther away from you.

Advanced tips

The advice shared up until now would help you use a monocular right in the most basic situations. However, the following indicates the true distance of a target relative to yours, helping to better assess distance. Some of the tips to take note of are:

    • Larger targets would look nearer than smaller ones when positioned at the same distance. However, if both targets are the same size, the nearer one would be larger as well.
    • Knowledge of the shape and size of the target would be important in determining its true distance.
    • When moving to track multiple targets, the closer target would seemingly move faster than the others.
    • When viewing objects through monocular, shaded objects would appear farther than well-lit ones.
    • Objects placed behind the one your monocular is focused on would appear blurry.

Other little bits of knowledge would become more noticeable with experience with time, and the better the monocular, the better the level of detail. Two fairly priced monoculars that customers have indicated to offer good value are Vortex Solo Monocular and the Celestron 71210 Nature Monocular.

Tips for infrared/night vision monocular

How to Use Monocular? Guide for Every Situation!

Monoculars are meant for outdoor activities, but some outdoor activities are also carried out at night.

Night hobbies cannot be carried out using your regular device, and you’d need a night vision monocular for them. These types of monoculars most commonly make use of infrared technology Trusted Source How does night vision work? - Explain that Stuff Even at night, the photons that hit the lens at the front of night vision goggles are carrying light of all colors. But when they are converted to electrons, there’s no way to preserve that information. Effectively, the incoming, colored light is turned into black and white. Why, then, don’t night vision goggles look black and white? The phosphors on their screens are deliberately chosen to make green pictures because our eyes are more sensitive to green light. It’s also easier to look at green screens for long periods than to look at black and white ones (that’s why early computer screens tended to be green). Hence, night vision goggles have their characteristic, eerie green glow. www.explainthatstuff.com , and the following tips would increase their effectiveness and longevity:

  1. Don’t use in situations/conditions of bright light. Such use could damage the intensifier used to facilitate night vision, thus, damaging the monocular. Don’t do it for the safety of your eyes as well, unless your model is labeled as being appropriate for daylight use.
  2. Don’t look into it. The monoculars that utilize infrared light could permanently impair your eyesight if you look directly at the light. As such, when not in use, cover the objective lens and store it properly.
  3.  If you notice some dark spots within the intensifier tube, do not fret; they are quite normal.

When to use a monocular

We know how monocular works and how its use can be optimized, but what of the when? For instance, a monocular can be used intermittently when:

  1. Climbing
  2. Hiking
  3. Touring
  4. Bird watching
  5. Watching live sports
  6. Hunting

On the other hand, the binocular is not suitable every time. For starters, we emphasized intermittently above because it’s not practical to affix your eye to a distant target and forget your surroundings. That said, the monocular should not be used when:

  1. Driving: This shouldn’t be said, but we hear the oddest things, so no monoculars when driving.
  2. Walking or running to track a target: While doing so might occur instinctively, you would need to consciously avoid movement (especially sharp ones) because it is highly unlikely that you would stay aware of your surroundings.
  3. Paddling: This is much similar to the driving situation, and even though you’re not endangering the lives of other motorists here, you most likely need both hands to paddle effectively.

How to keep devices safe

How to Use Monocular? Guide for Every Situation!

Don’t forget to take care of the lenses.

When handling any device, tool or appliance, knowing how to use it is important to access the full range of functionality, but knowing how to store and maintain it would guarantee its longevity. The same goes for even the best monoculars, and the following ideas should be useful in this regard:

  1. Don’t touch any of the lenses with your hands, as this could smudge them and impair the visibility.
  2. If the warning in (1) is ignored or that the monocular is used in certain conditions, use high-quality wipes to clean the lenses.
  3. Use a strap with the monocular. This adds convenience and accessibility to its function while also making it less likely that the device would be dropped.

Final thoughts

Monoculars are convenient alternatives to binoculars, but without a proper understanding of how to use the device, the offered convenience could be seen as a limitation rather than an advantage. This article is our way of ensuring that you are well placed to enjoy whatever experience you need the device for.

In this regard, we have come a long way; your grip should be right, and you should know how to use a monocular. However durable your monocular might seem, though, extra care would make it even more so. In this light, rather than just reading this piece for the sake of doing so, we hope you move on with the sort of knowledge that informs you and saves you a few bucks in replacement fees.

References

1.
Dominant Eye Test: How to Find Your Dominant Eye
Your dominant eye is the one that provides a greater degree of input to the visual part of your brain.
2.
How does night vision work? - Explain that Stuff
Even at night, the photons that hit the lens at the front of night vision goggles are carrying light of all colors. But when they are converted to electrons, there’s no way to preserve that information. Effectively, the incoming, colored light is turned into black and white. Why, then, don’t night vision goggles look black and white? The phosphors on their screens are deliberately chosen to make green pictures because our eyes are more sensitive to green light. It’s also easier to look at green screens for long periods than to look at black and white ones (that’s why early computer screens tended to be green). Hence, night vision goggles have their characteristic, eerie green glow.
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