Monocular Vs Binocular

Monocular Vs Binocular – What is the definition of Monocular and binocular? If you want to have some basic information on the above question and also get to know more about monocular versus binocular devices, then you are in the right place.

Put in simple words monocular devices are devices that can be made use of with only one eyes. Common examples of such devices are field glasses.

They are more of a refracting telescope. On the other hand, binocular devices are more advanced. They are hand-held. They offer a stereophonic as well as magnified view of distant objects.

They come with two telescopes, one for each eye. However, they are mounted on to a single frame.

Is A Monocular A Telescope?

Yes, there is no doubt that monocular devices are a kind of refracting telescopes. They are however, smaller in size and volume and therefore they may be easy to carry. Yes, they are less expensive.

However, they are capable of producing only 2-dimensional images, whereas when you use a binocular telescope, you can get 3 dimensional images.

The perception and depth of the images will also be much better and sharper when you use binocular telescopes. Those who have only vision in one eye would certainly find monocular devices very useful.

Today, there are not many quality monocular telescopes, though they continue to be used as field glasses in some situations.

What Is The Difference Between Monocular And A Telescope?

There is quite a bit of interest surrounding both monocular and binocular devices. Hence, let us try and get into some finer details as far as monocular versus binocular devices are concerned.

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When it comes to actually seeing things, there may not be much of difference between the two. Both the devices use eyes for seeing things in a magnified manner.

While monocular devices use one eye, binoculars make use of both the eyes. However, there are some basic differences in terms of quality of images and perception between monocular and binocular devices and we are sharing a few of them.

  • Binoculars offer the facility of viewing images and things three dimensional features. However, this is not possible with monocular devices because, it offers only two dimensional imaging features.
  • In terms of quality of images, it is quite obvious that binocular offers much better clarity and resolutions of images. Since it has 360 degree coverage because of the use of both the eyes, the overall canvas of imaging will be much better in binoculars compared to monocular devices.
  • However, monocular devices are easy to carry when compared to binoculars. They are also less bulky and are comparatively lighter.

Do Binoculars Work The Same Way As Monoculars/Telescopes?

The answer is no. Binoculars and monocular devices may have telescopes. Telescopes can be divided into three categories refractors, reflectors and catadioptric.

As far as binoculars are concerned, they can be classified as porro prisms and roof prisms. Porro binoculars are more like reflecting telescopes while roof prisms are very similar to refractors. Roof prisms are expensive.

On the whole, monocular devices can be useful for hunting, hiking and sailing. On the other hand, binoculars are more sought for birding, plane spotting, and astronomy.

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Hence, if you are planning to look at some distance stars, milky-way and other such constellations, it is quite obvious that binoculars could be a better choice.

Binocular Overview (Pros And Cons)


  • Better depth perception. Using both eyes certainly creates a much better perception of images when viewed with two eyes without any devices. The same applies to binoculars too. When you use monocular device this may not be possible.
  • Better flexibility. When you have two eyes focusing on an image, you will much better flexibility when it comes to covering a larger area. You need to turn your face around which may not be possible if you are using a monocular device. The canvas that it covers will be much smaller.
  • 3D vision. This is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of binoculars. The brain translates both the images of both the eyes as one and therefore you are able to see one image with 3D resolution.
  • Visibility beyond obstacle. This is another big advantage of binoculars. If you are using a single eye and if you have a column in front you, the whole area becomes blocked. This is not so when you use a binocular.


  • Decreased field of vision.
  • Focus is limited when compared to monocular.
  • Prone to repairs and malfunctioning.

Monocular Overview (Pros And Cons)


  • Extremely compact and lightweight. It is therefore easier to carry and suited for trekking and other such places.
  • Convenient and easier to use. They do not have too many covers and other such things and therefore you can use them within a few minutes and capture the landscape without too much wastage of time.
  • Since they are light, you can wear them around the pocket and also keep them in pockets.
  • It can be used discreetly because of its small size which is not possible with binocular. Hence, when you are comparing monocular versus binocular devices this point is vital.
  • Easy to observe wildlife because of ease of operation.
  • It can easily double up as a magnifying glass.
  • If you want to use it for targeted applications, this is the best option.
  • People with impaired eye sight find monocular devices very helpful.
  • You can avoid getting too close to objects that could be dangerous.
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  • Not suited for tracking fast moving targets.
  • Not suitable for wide angle viewing.
  • Glassing details are less acute.
  • Cannot be used for long periods of time, because it could cause stress.
  • Cannot be used for viewing stars, milky-way and other distant objects.
  • Not as durable and long lasting as compared to binocular devices.
  • Servicing could be a problem because most service providers are more comfortable with binocular devices.


In fine, when we look at the various functions, features of both monocular and binocular devices, we perhaps will find that binoculars are better in overall performance. However, the debate on the topic monocular versus binocular is far from over because there are many who still believe that there are quite a few things good about monocular devices.

But it will be a matter of time before monocular devices slowly get replaced by binocular devices except perhaps for some very specific purposes where there could be some benefits using the monocular options.

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