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Thermal binoculars are ordinary thermal imaging devices, just like monoculars or scopes and clip-on systems.
The only change is in the physical form as they allow the person to use
both eyes. That means that thermal imaging binocular use two displays
or only one display in combination with a system of prisms. But there is
no actual difference in resolution or technologies employed.
People were meant to use both eyes for seeing. Thermal imaging binocular, therefore, enable the most natural viewing experience. But does that also mean the binocular form is the absolute best choice for everyone?
There are many conflicting opinions as to which device form is the best. One thing that works in binoculars’ favor is that all thermal imaging devices use bright displays.
Users of devices that only require one eye for observations face an
obvious problem. Only one of their pupils dilates when looking at a
bright display, while the other remains contracted due to the low light
natural environment and for the user, this artificial contrast
can be slightly uncomfortable or even disorienting. Binoculars solve
that issue since the user employs both eyes and with that, there’s is no difference in pupil diameters.
Still, some hunters claim that monoculars enable a faster transition from observing to shooting.
That’s because they use one eye for thermal monocular and another to
look into the riflescope. In that case, they don’t have to wait a moment
before both of their eyes accommodate to ambient light. This is not true for everyone.
There are people with a strong left or right eye preference, choosing
to use the same side for looking both through the imager and through the
scope. In that case, the contrast between bright display to dark riflescope view-through is quite startling.
In the end, the choice between thermal binoculars and monoculars simply comes down to the user’s personal preference.
What’s also interesting is that some thermal binoculars intentionally mimic the use and handling of classic mechanical binoculars.
They utilize a focusing wheel in the center and diopter compensation
rings around both eyepieces that are no different than the ones on daytime binoculars. Some even allow the user to adjust the interpupillary distance. But they are much more heavy-duty, created to withstand inclement elements. The disadvantage of binoculars is in the added weight and bulkier form. Monoculars are much handier and easier to carry around.
There is also an obvious difference when comparing the prices.
Thermal binoculars are also more expensive than other devices of this
type. They tend to cost about 600 or 1000 euros more than a monocular
device of comparable capabilities. The reason behind the price increase
is the addition of another display, a second eyepiece and there’s also
bigger magnesium housing. Obviously, all that added comfort costs extra.