Switching from binoculars to monocular

I have been using 8X42 through 8x50 waterproof binoculars for years and I am tired of banging around fumbling for them behind my band or beneath the deck when I want them quickly. I checked the boards and found the last recommendation is 8 years old and those models are now gone. Has anybody been using something that is water/fog proof, suitable for use in salt water that has held up under severe service? The primary use is for wildlife watching, secondary use for sitting on the shoreline identifying stuff out on the water. 8x magnification seems to be my sweet spot for what I use them for.

Here’s a place to start:


A few years ago I picked up a nice Celestron 6x30 waterproof monocular for about $30 and it’s very nice, has a huge picture-window eyepiece. I haven’t abused it at all, but it’s probably armored well enough for the price. I can wear it around my neck comfortably.

You may already know this, but if you’re willing to step down a little on magnification you get a steadier view. Also, I’d avoid anything with less than a 5mm exit pupil, and bigger is better; my old 7x50 birding glasses actually give more light at dusk than naked-eye viewing. I think the Barska 7x42 Deep Sea model looks good if you’ve got the money for it. Weighs almost a pound, though, and they state its exit pupil as 4.3 when it should be 7.0.

Look around, though.

I have a Brunton 6x30 monocular that is perfect for kayaking, but unfortunately, they’re not made anymore. It’s fixed focus from 20’ to infinity, so once you adjust it for your eye, you never have to fiddle with focus. It’s also waterproof and has great optics. If you can find one, grab it!

I switched to one years ago when I lost sight in my left eye. Turned out that the monocular is preferable for a few reasons, one being that they fit in a pfd pocket or sprayskirt pouch easily, and you can just grab them and go. Works great for archery, too.

Hi, trvlrerik

My wife has been using a Barska 8x42 Battalion monocular for years and really likes its portability but it’s not waterproof (or fog proof) so may not be good for ocean use. I use a pair of 8x42 Nikon Monarch binoculars and the Barska’s optics are quite good in comparison. But I have to admit it would be nice to have a monocular when out paddling for the reasons you mention. Your post has me thinking about getting one for myself.

Following are three that caught my interest. They’re available from B&H Photo and Video. Great service and competitive prices.


Barska 7x42 WP Deep Sea Monocular

Opticron Marine-3 7x50 Porro Prism Monocular

Opticron 8 x 42 BGA Monocular

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I switched from a binocs to a Birska 8x mono and am very happy with it. It fits into my PFD pocket, is IP-7 and I clip the lanyard to a ring on my PFD so I never drop it overboard.

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I have really gone down a rabbit hole here, I was not aware of built in compasses and range finders, jeez these may cost as much as a paddle.

Well, good optics do cost more to make. I’ve used inexpensive monoculars and biinoculars and they’ve done the job for years. But you get what you pay for and by stepping up just a notch, like the Barska line, you do generally get better optics. I’m not sure where the best-value-for-the-money break is but the benefit:cost curve is fairly steep at first. I guess it amounts to how often you’ll use the monocular. If you paddle at least 10 days a year for 10 years and use the Barska 7x42 monocular ($85) each time you go out then the cost per day is down to 85 cents a day. The difference in cost compared to a monocular costing half that is only 43 cents a day. :grinning:

I figured this was going to hurt a little, In our house they will get used several times a week. Depending on how this experiment works out I will probably wind up upgrading my wifes pair of binocs also.

After using my wife’s monocular out canoeing and seeing how compact it is compared to an equivalent binocular I’m more inclined now to go with a monocular. You can get a better quality monocular for the same price that takes up less space and weighs less. But it helps to be able to see through the monocular with both eyes open.

Enjoy the hunt and have fun out on the water!