Monocular or Small Binoculars for SHTF preps?

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Tonners, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. Tonners

    Tonners Researching Gear

    Hey all,

    So, I've been trying to figure out this whole binocular/monocular business. I've found Amazon to be rather confusing, though, and I wanted some expert opinions before I spent money on something I didn't fully understand.

    I've been using this site for comprehending the numbers, and figuring out what I need-
    Binoculars: How to Choose

    But I'm seeing other mms on eye exiting, and other things, that are throwing me off a bit. Some of the ads don't -to my inexperienced eye- display their info as clearly as they could, and I admit, I kinda wonder if they're trying to!

    When it comes down to it, I'd like to find a monocular or a very light binocular - or some similar optic - to stick in the EDC bag I plan on getting, which is the Maxpedition Neatfreak. I do like sight-seeng and nature, so it won't get heavy use, but it won't collect dust, either. From my understanding of the numbers, I'd like around a 7 magnification level - so that, at the 7th power, an object appears 50 yards away.. or something similar.. Initially, it seemed like a small number, but with hunting around, now I wonder if I'm asking a little much for looking for something of decent quality at $30 or less.. Lol... Especially when I'd like to find something that allows as much light in as possible!

    Don't ask for much, do I? :) So far, these are the top ones I keep circling back around to, and I'd love to hear about your experiences with magnification/lenses/optics you know of that resemble the field of range I'm looking for? I figure, I don't have to spot Pluto, but I'd like to get a close-up of something at least a couple blocks away..or as close as possible. :\ I really don't know if what I'm asking is too much or not! HDE® 15x - 55x Zoom 21mm Compact Monocular: Camera & Photo : HDE Compact Pocket Sized 15x32 Monocular Corner Telescope with Carrying Case : Camera & Photo
    This last one is kinda.. big.. lol : CVLIFE 16x40 Compact Sports Monocular Telescope Pocket Mono Spotting Scope With Pouch Black : Sports & Outdoors

    I'm more than open to suggestions.. meaning.. help!! Lol! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2015
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  2. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    What the numbers mean....
    X power means how strong a magnification. So a 20X would magnify 4 times more than a 5X. My scopes are generally 3-9x meaning at it's lowest setting it magnifies the image 3 times actual size at that range. And that magnification is adjustable up to 9.
    Field of view does not mean how close it looks, but how much width of view at that range, ( is it tunnel vision like looking through a tube, or how much ground around your target can you see.) This makes a big difference in acquisition. ( how fast/ easily you can find your target.
    The larger the lenses (generally) the better it gathers light, and the better you see in low light (dawn/ dusk) . and there are different lens coating that can filter light for less glare, colors, ext.
    Binos are easier to use naturally ,in my opinion, and worth the added weight. Good quality optics are easier on your eyes and images are very clear. Poor quality optics can lead to eye strain and headaches. you will not use them as much.
    Mono's are smaller (I have both types) and I am limited in funds, but I have found Simmons 10X 40mm compact binos well worth their modest price and very compact. ( I hunt, so space and weight matter.) Hope it helps.
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  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    With optics, perhaps more than anywhere else, you get what you pay for. Those gadgets you linked, well, before I'd even think about buying one or another of them, I'd have to have one in my hot little hands to check out; I especially distrust zoom in such a small package. (On the other hand, you won't be out a ransom if you get one and don't like it.) For one thing, the "power" is way too high to hand hold and be steady. For reference, the Navy, very long ago, decided that 10X(50) was about as high a magnification that could be readily hand held by the average sailor.

    Birders are often seen with 7X35 binocs. I don't "bird" but I have a pair of Nikon 7X35 in the pickup. Not very heavy. NB: Weight is helpful with stabilizing the optics in use. Get light weight, the tradeoff is unstable viewing. Use your hiking staff to brace against.

    I have a pair of 7X50 binocs by Swift that are not what you are looking for, but the optical performance is excellent, night and day. I'll recommend that you look at the Swift product line as you shop.
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  4. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I miss my old Aussie army binos.....the nice thing about them was that they had graticules marked in mils on the lens, which were great for estimating distances and making azimuth calculations using the subtension rule i.e. 1 mil subtends 1 metre at a range of thousand metres. e.g. 200mils subtends a distance of 100metres at a range of 500 metres. Invaluable aid for calculating adjustments when artillery or mortar fire controlling, or while doing target indication.
    Angular mil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    [​IMG] graticules are marked at 5 mil intervals.

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  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    To amplify a bit on Chelly's extract, center focus alters the focus on both barrels of the binocs together. Eyepiece focus changes focus individually. Both my binocs have center focus, but one barrel also has an eyepiece focus that allows balancing the center for eyes that are different as mine are. Said differently, I don't have to have my glasses on to use the binocs.
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  6. Tonners

    Tonners Researching Gear

    I'm thrilled to see so many responses already!! I was a bit worried about spending so little, so I will definitely look into your suggestions. Thank you all very much!!!
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  7. Mike

    Mike Ol' Army Sergeant Monkey

    I have an old set of bushnell 10x50's which work well, IF you are still. Trying to find anything while moving is probably going to give you a really bad case of vertigo. I had a set of 5x30's in Korea long long ago, that we used out of helicopters when trying to locate things on the ground. They worked well, not giving one the queasy stomach. lol.
    chelloveck likes this.
  8. natshare

    natshare Monkey+++

    Yeah, wish I still had my dad's old binoculars. Made back when things were made to last.....

    I tried some compact binoculars, recently, while in Academy sports, and found out I couldn't get them to spread wide enough so I could use both tubes at once! Um, they make these just for kids?? LOL

    So it looks like I'm stuck with full sized binoculars, or a monocular. Thanks for that last link, though, Tonners, as that monocular looks interesting enough to do some further research on.
    Mike likes this.
  9. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I have some fairly expensive Steiners (Merlin and Predator) which work very well as $500-800 binos. I also have a cheap Brunton Echo mono that I keep on me. Works alright in a pinch but you'll always be happier with better glass.
    Mike likes this.
  10. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I mis-spoke. I no longer have that pair of binos. I am currently using tasco 12X25mm model #178BCR and they do pretty well. (Almost too strong for hunting.)

    I also have a Simmons 8X21mm monocular in realtree camo, model #24104, yours for the cost of shipping, if a mono is what you truly want.
    Complete with neck strap, but I just don't use it. It has been a back up in my pack for many years. There is nothing wrong with it, and I just tested it out the front door. I could read a license plate at a block away easy enough.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2014
  11. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    I have several times found top-quality used binoculars at thrift stores and auctions. My last purchase was a pair of vintage 7X50's for a little over $10.00. Each time I upgrade, I sell off my previous "best" set and life is good. Especially when using antique eyeballs, you want the best optics you can find. So, when making that first purchase, buy what you can at a price you can afford, and then upgrade every time a good opportunity arises.
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