Is a Monocular Better Than a Telescope?

Is a Monocular Better Than a Telescope?

In the world of vision, telescopes and monoculars are commonly used tools that help to enhance and improve our sightseeing.

Is a monocular better than a telescope? Monoculars are simply a modified form of telescopes that make use of a series of lenses as well as a prism to zoom distant objects and make them appear closer.

 Is a Monocular Better Than a Telescope?

Is a Monocular Better Than a Telescope?

Moreso, the monocular is significantly smaller compared to the telescope and it is also more compact than a binocular.

Thanks to the very simple and unique design of the monocular, they are portable, lightweight and easy to carry.

As a result, they are a must-carry device for hunting trips and while hiking as they can fit into pockets and one’s palm very easily.

The monocular is also affordable. The high-end monocular usually has a prism placed in between the lens.

This prism folds up allowing the rays to decrease the size of the monocular and increase the magnification. Simple cheap monocular have only two lenses

The generic monocular is another type of monocular that has a zooming power of about  4x to 10x.

Although higher ranges of zoom can be obtained, it is important to note that this will in turn:

  • affect the quality of the image that is being viewed as it causes less amount of light to enter the scope due to the small aperture
  • decrease the field of vision
  • cause the image to be unstable and may require a tripod for more stable images

 Can thermal monocular be used as scope?

These are the major reasons why most professionals and experts do not recommend or use monoculars that have higher zoom powers. The standard zoom power for a monocular is 8x

Telescopes are able to view and zoom at 30x magnifications, which is far greater than monoculars.

If you would like to view objects that are very far away such as celestial bodies and planets in space or the mountaintop, then the telescope is ideal.

The telescope has a larger aperture, which permits the entrance of more amounts of light from objects that are far away.

As such, this will produce a clearer and brighter image of these objects.

The Setup process

Monoculars are mostly used for hiking and wildlife safari as a result of their lightweight, portable nature, and easy-to-use process while telescopes are larger, bulky and need additional gear as well as settings.

Monoculars have a small field of view and require a stable tripod to get a clearer view and less blurry image.

Small hand movements and vibrations can easily lead to a blurry and unclear image.

Telescopes are made of several parts and components such as eyepieces and these will need calibrations and adjustments to get a perfect image.

Unlike telescopes, which have separate parts and units, the monocular is a self-contained piece.

It has a zoom knob that is located around the eyepiece as well as a focus adjuster, which is very easy to set up.

Differences between the Telescope and the Monocular

Zoom power:

The telescope has a zoom power of 30x while the monocular is less than 30x


In terms of size, the telescope is much bigger and heavier than the monocular. The monocular is quite small and very light. It is also portable as well

Setup time:

The monocular does not require setup or any installation process while the telescope takes some time to setup before it can be used

Field of View:

The monocular has a wider field of view than the telescope


Maintaining a telescope is required frequently unlike the monocular, which hardly requires maintenance


Telescopes are more expensive than the monocular


Due to the limited uses of monoculars, they are less widely available than telescopes. Also, monoculars are not produced by some of the major optics and telescope manufacturers

Types of Telescopes

There are three main types of telescopes which include:

  • Refractor Telescope: The refractor telescope makes use of a lens
  • Reflector Telescope: This telescope makes use of mirrors
  • Catadioptric Telescope: The catadioptric telescope operates with a combination of both the lens and mirror

Types of monocular

There are different types of monoculars and they all have varying forms as well as features. Below are some of the most common monoculars:


 Is a Monocular Better Than a Telescope?

Is a Monocular Better Than a Telescope?

Is viewing a planet possible using a monocular or you need a telescope?

The average zooming power of a monocular is 8x along with the fact that basic monocular usually have very small apertures.

The only celestial body that may be seen clearly using the monocular would be the moon although it will not give you a very close view unlike when you use a telescope.

Thanks to the higher magnification power and larger aperture of the telescope, they are perfect for watching and viewing other planets.

Can a night vision monocular be attached to a telescope?

The most common answer to this question is yes. However, not all types of monocular can be attached to the telescope.

While attaching a monocular to a telescope, extra caution has to be taken. The moon may be overexposed and other main bodies in space may appear green.

Regardless, the combination will be very beneficial as you will have a clearer vision of the stars in infrared wavelengths which were previously invisible before.

In addition, the sky will look fuller and denser.

Why are night vision monoculars so expensive?

Basically, night vision monoculars have several complex electronic components some of which include:

  • photocathode,
  • photomultiplier and
  • phosphor screen

It is the combination of these parts that leads to the very high cost of these monoculars.

Generally, purchasing a monocular or a telescope is largely dependent on the purpose of what it is intended for as well as the budget.

If you require a portable scope for your hiking trip and wildlife safari which is user friendly and easy to use, then the monocular is just perfect as it can be placed inside pockets and taken out whenever it is needed. Can thermal monoculars be used as a scope?

Not many people recommend the use of monoculars as scopes. Most monoculars are suited for mounting on helmets. If they recoil, it can damage your monoculars.

An awful zero shift will occur if the monocular is mounted in front of an optic. Instead, you can place them behind optics although this will cause focal plane problems.