Home Reviews Monoculars 5 of the Best Monoculars in 2017

5 of the Best Monoculars in 2017


Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular

Ultra HD Monocular

Bushnell makes just about any and every kind of optic that deals with sporting goods. Their lines of scopes, cameras, red dots, and more are incredibly popular with hunters. Especially those on a budget who still need a quality piece of gear. Bushnell makes some unique and affordable monoculars. They don’t simply copy the competition but strive to evolve and to produce something new and useful. The Bushnell legend Ultra HD Monocular comes in a few different varieties, this model uses a Mil Hash reticle and is more tactical than many spotting scopes.

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD uses a fixed 10 power magnification and a fitting 42mm objective lenses. This combination of magnification and objective lens size is a proven winner when it comes to light transmission and clarity. The Legend HD uses a simple and straight line layout with a comfort twist eyecup. The main body is mostly polymer and comes in both black and flat dark earth finishes. Bushnell also builds their spotting scopes to be completely water and fog proof.

The view through the Bushnell Legend is quite clear, and the title of Ultra HD is no lie. It’s a simple design and the mixture of quality parts that lend to this clarity. This of course includes the lenses which are made from ED prime glass, which is renowned for its clarity and purity. These lenses are fully multi coated which will help with light transmission as well as reduce glare. The less glare the longer the eye can use this optic without becoming fatigued. Finally, the optic uses a compact roof prism that is PC-3 phase coated.

This all comes together to provide a clear and bright picture. Centered in the middle of that picture is a reticle, much like a rifle scope. This reticle is divided into different segments called MILS. Each leg of the reticle represents 50 mils. This type of reticle is excellent for range estimation, as well as being used as a compact spotting scope when shooting. This makes it an excellent lightweight companion to long range hunters, or simply long range shooters. The Mil has reticle is near universal when it comes to rifle scopes and optic range estimation.

The bottom of the monocular features a short length of picatinny rail. This rail allows the mounting of common accessories, and can be quite useful. Mounting a miniature red dot for example allows you to use the red dot to orientate the monocular. Put the red dot on what you want to gaze at and then look through the monocular. This is a lot faster when trying to observe small targets than scanning with a 10 power monocular.

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is a powerful and very clear optic that is perfect for those involved in shooting long range. It’s an optic designed to function alongside a rifle. Some may not like the reticle taking up screen time, but it’s invaluable for shooters. The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is priced at right around 200 dollars with the Mil Hash Reticle.

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Celestron Outland 6×30

Sometimes bigger is not always better. On occasion there is a time and place for smaller gear. This is true with monoculars as it is almost any optic. The Celestron Outland 6×30 monocular is one such compact optic. This miniature monocular is small and convenient for a multitude of uses. Its small size is its biggest strength.

The Celestron Outland Monocular weighs only 8 ounces and is small enough to drop in a pocket and be forgotten about. The Outland also comes with a belt mountable carrying case and a carrying strap. It’s lightweight nature even makes it comfortable to wear around the neck in most cases. It’s about the same length as your average smartphone, and just a bit wider than a case equipped smartphone.

The Celestron Outland 6×30 is a 6 powered monocular with a 30 mm objective lens. As one would imagine a compact monocular will have a compact magnification and objective lens. However, the 30mm lens is suitable for the 6 power magnification. The 5 mm exit pupil is perfectly suited for use in bright and low light situations The image remains clear and concise. The lowered magnification gives a good field of view that makes it easy to observe rapidly moving activities.

The Celestron delivers solid optical quality in part to the 5 mm exit pupil and the quality hardware used in the monocular construction. This includes a BaK-4 prism and multi coated optics that really helps keep things nice and bright. The optic really delivers a high resolution and contrast for all your viewing needs. It’s simple to use and priced affordably, especially when you consider its overall quality.

The optic itself is covered with a rubberized coating that offers few benefits to the end user. First and foremost is the fact this makes the optic tough. Unlike plastic rubber doesn’t shatter or crack when it drops. It gives the optic a little leeway, which in turn protects the internals. The rubber coating also makes grabbing the optic easy, even with cold, wet, or gloved hands. Rubber is naturally a ‘sticky’ material that creates friction between the hand and the monocular.

The optic itself is sealed from water and debris, and is purged to remain fog proof. It can reliably be used outdoors for a variety of activities. Because of its wide field of view it’s incredibly handy for watching sports games from a short distance. It’s also great for casual birdwatching since birds tend to fly and using a powerful optic can making tracking difficult. This monocular can be used with classes due to its extendable eye piece and has an easy to use focus ring near the eyepiece.

The Celestron Outland is nice and comfortable in the hand and light weight prevents your arm from fatiguing when observing for a long period of time. The Celestron Outland represents an excellent compromise between size, clarity, and of course price. It’s priced affordably under 50 dollars and is backed with a limited lifetime warranty.

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Vortex Optics Recce Pro HD

There is always room for premium goods. It’s simply a matter of fact that sometimes you get what you pay for. You don’t need an expensive, premium grade monocular for every task, or even most tasks. However, some people demand that performance based on their needs, and we live in a country where there are plenty of options for a premium monocular. A premium optic is what Vortex aims to offer hunters, outdoorsman, and even tactical users require. The Recce Pro HD is one of their premium monoculars that delivers excellent quality at a premium price.

Recce is a term that is a bit of slang that originated from European countries for Reconnaissance and is usually used in a military context. The main objection of Recce, or recon for countries who’ve been to the moon, is to observe and to learn. It’s a fitting name for a monocular. The Vortex Optic Recce Pro is perfectly for suited for actual recon with military forces, as well as hardcore hunters, hikers, and campers.

The optic is made to be extremely durable and very strong. It can take a beating and keep kicking. The optic is coated with a rubberized armor to give the optic a soft, but durable layer or protection. That little bit of flexibility and rubber makes it superior material for protecting an optic. The armor is also well suited for the hand since it isn’t affected much by temperature, and is patterned to give a good grip on the optic.

The lenses are coated in two different ways. They utilize Vortex’s XR fully multicoating system that increases light transmission while drastically reducing glare. This is applied to all air to glass surfaces. The lenses are then coated with Armortek. Armortek is a super hard lens coating that makes the optics scratch resistant. This keeps sand, dirt, and debris from scratching the lenses and obscuring the picture.

The High Density lenses feature extra low dispersion, which in turn results in high resolution and a bright and clear color fidelity. This increases overall clarity of target far and close. The Vortex Recce Pro HD is an 8 power optic with a 32 mm objective lens. This results in a 4 mm exit pupil that’s a solid choice for bright and low light situations.

The Recce pro also features a hash marked ranging reticle for estimating range of figuring out holdover and windage corrections on a rifle. These series of hash marks when used correctly can tell you how far an object is away from you and how far it is away from another object. This allows a Recce trooper the ability to create a realistic report of what he sees.

For a hunter they can see their prey, and then calculate how far the animal is away. At the same time, they can use the environment to determine the wind speed of where their target is. This allows them to dial in or holdover accurately for a first shot kill. The Vortex Recce Pro is about 300 dollars, but is well made and a solid choice for hunters and soldiers worldwide.

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Bushnell Equinox

Bushnell Equinox
Bushnell makes the list more than once, and for a company as large and varied as Bushnell this shouldn’t be a surprise. The Equinox is a lot different than the Legend Ultra HD monocular. The Equinox is a night vision monocular, and the Legend is a day optic. With that in mind the specification are of course broadly different. The Equinox series is a line of three different monoculars all with different levels of magnifications and different objective lens sizes.

The Equinox is available in 3x, 4x, and 6x. The higher the magnification the larger the objective lens. The objective lenses range from 30mm, to 40mm, with the largest being 50 mms. These all seem rather low powered compared to the day monoculars, but it’s simply a limitation of night vision technology. At the moment there is no way to have superbly powerful magnification with a compact night vision device.

The model we are looking at specifically is the 4x40mm. This model is in my opinion the best compromise of size, price, and magnification. Before we get wrapped up into generations of night vision you should know that doesn’t apply here. These are digital night vision device and function a lot like a night vision setting does on a digital camera. It gathers existing light through the objective lens and then the picture is displayed onto a LCD screen. You are viewing the LCD screen through the lens.

The Equinox comes equipped with a powerful infrared illuminator and a picatinny rail to attach additional illuminators. One of the benefits of using digital night vision is the ability to attach the optic to a television or computer screen for a larger picture, this also allows seamless recording. The picture through the Equinox turns the world into black and white in the middle of the night, these gives you quite the clear picture that comfortable to look through.

Digital night vision also allows for you to use the optic during the during with full on color. The Equinox is a little weak for a day time monocular, but it’s dual purpose nature makes it super handy when you only want to carry one optic during an extended trip.

The Equinox’s 4 power magnification is perfect in my opinion for night hunting. At night I’m hunting quite close to my intended prey to ensure a safe hunt and a humane shot. The 4 power optic work well within my hundred-yard limit for hunting with night vision. Now hunting isn’t the only use for this optic. It would be great to just observe nature at night. There are also surveillance benefits for those interested in home security.

The Bushnell Equinox has a variable price depending on the option but they are all under 300 dollars. This makes it an interesting optic for those looking to try night vision for the first time. It’s certainly an affordable option and is priced only a bit higher than the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD.

The Equinox is a rock solid night vision monocular that is priced to be affordable and is backed by Bushnell’s stellar warranty.

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Flir Scout

Flir Scout
Thermal optics are growing in popularity and dropping in price as evidenced by the wide availability and affordability of the Flir scout. If you’ve never had a chance to use thermal optics, you do not know what you are missing out. Thermals make it impossible for something to hide from you in the middle of the night. It doesn’t need moonlight, or IR to function, and gives you an eyeful of the world around you. Of course the optic’s effective range limits you, but inside that range you can see things at night you’ve never imagined.

It produces fine details that give you a solid view of what the animal exactly is. This gives you the ability to see nature as it truly is, without it ever seeing you. The Flir Scout is an affordable, and small thermal vision monocular designed for casual use. It has an effective recognition range of about a hundred yards and can fit in your pocket with ease. The Flir Scout is also dead simple. A lot of thermal devices require some customization of the settings, as well as a little practice to use.

Out of the box the Flir Thermal is ready to start rocking and rolling. Well, it does take about 5 seconds to spin up, but this is standard of most thermal vision systems. Thermal vision will usually kill batteries, giving you very little long term use. The Flir Scout is equipped with a rechargeable battery that last 5 hours on average. A rechargeable battery is a much cheaper route than swimming through Double or Triple A batteries.

The Flir also has the ability to take pictures and video and transfer them to a computer. This handy little features allowing for some very interesting night time photography. This includes having a wonderful way to watch and observe nature, while keeping the memories to show others. The Flir Scout comes with a usb cable that allows you to attach the optic to your computer to remove the photos and videos.

The Scout weighs only six ounces and is perfectly sized to your palm. There is no magnification with this unit. You get about a half dozen different viewing modes that utilize different colors These make extended viewing more comfortable, and different people will have better results with different color patterns.

The color palettes includes white hot, black hot, and my favorite, rainbow. Rainbow is probably the familiar palette with people. If you’ve ever seen the Predator films this is the color of ‘Predator’ vision. You also get Iron, Lava, Arctic, and Graded fire. Now these are hard to describe, so certainly check the photos out.

The Flir is perfect for a variety of different tasks. Of course watching nature is one, but home security is another. The Flir Scout allows to effectively spot any living creatures within a hundred yards. That makes it a bit tough to sneak up on someone. The images are remarkably clear and the Flir Scout is a perfect entry level thermal optic.

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