What About the Vortex Monoculars? – All You Need to Know

People often ask, what about the vortex monoculars

Let’s find out!

What About the Vortex Monoculars?

Vortex monoculars are a type of monocular that has been around for quite some time now. They have their own unique features and advantages over other types of monoculars.

The first thing to know is that they are not as good as regular monoculars in terms of image quality. The reason why this happens is that they use an optical system with two lenses instead of one lens like most monoculars. This means that there will be more light loss when you look through them.

The second thing to know is that these monoculars are very expensive. In fact, they can cost anywhere from $300 to $500 or even higher depend on where you buy them from.

Vortex Solo Monocular Review

We were impressed by the Vortex Solo 8×36 because we’ve been using monoculars for years and had never seen anything quite like it.

It has a larger 36mm diameter objective which means it provides a brighter and clearer picture than the smaller 24 mm diameter objective.

With its generous 4.5mm exit pupil and excellent 397ft field of view at 1000yds, it’s light enough for us to forget that we’re wearing it around our necks, too! It weighs less than 10oz, so it’s easy to carry around. We decided to order one.

Design, Body, and Accessories

We took a look at the Vortex Solo 8×36 binoculars to see if they’re worth buying. They come in at just under 5 inches long so they fit comfortably in your hands.

It’s true that the lens is slightly bigger than some people had hoped for, but we think that’s a good thing because it means you get better image quality for less money.

The Solo with 36 mm objective lenses, but not the 25mm configuration ones, includes a clip that’s handy when you want to put them on your belt, shoulder (or sternum), or backpack straps.

For the negative aspects of the Solo’s open-side design, there is one major positive aspect. The open side design at the bottom of the camera means that any dirt or debris that usually accumulates inside the bottom of the camera can easily be pushed out through the open side and thus avoid damaging the objective lenses.

It depends on whether you think the positive or negative aspects are more important. Also, the 8x24s fit nicely into their cases, and, with the tops snugly closed over them, there is less chance of dust settling on the lenses than if they didn’t fit so well.

To carry things in your backpack or suitcase, we suggest using a small toiletry bag or, if you want to be extra careful, slip it into a larger, clean, soft shoe.

The Vortex Solo monocle is both waterproof and internally fog-proof. If you move from an air-conditioning environment to a humid one, however, you may still get condensation on the exterior surface of the lens.

When you look through the eyepieces in cold temperatures, you may notice a thin fog on the outer edge of the eyepieces.

Waterproofing will prevent water from entering the lens, but if there is any water inside the lens, it will cause internal fog.

To get the 8x 36mm Solo’s total mass down to 9.7 ounces (275 grams) requires cutting out some parts of the lens assembly. However, it doesn’t seem likely that most of the Solo weigh less than 275 grams.

It doesn’t stay in place as well as the Eyecup on the Viper HD or the Razor HD binoculars, but it is serviceably so. If Vortex could improve this to match the overall quality of the Solos’ optics, then it would be even better.

The focus adjustment is likely to be stiff when a Solo is used at first, however it eases up with a bit of use. The focusing ring has raised spots/bumps that help to make turning it easier when the Vortex Solo monocular is brand new and some find that it helps to simply use two hands until it’s broken in.

what about the vortex monoculars

What About the Vortex Monoculars?

Close Focus Observations With the Solo

It has a focal length of just under 16 feet, which means you won’t be able to use it to take close-up photographs of nearby butterflies or insects using it.

On one side, its 18.0mm eye­relieft should be comfor­table for most eyeglass wear­ers and the dept of view (the distance you can see clearly without having to refocus) compensates for the closeness.

We recommend using one full rotation of the focusing ring to get the sharpest image. Anything less than one full rotation may mean we cannot obtain a sharp image without some trial and error.

If we go beyond one and a half rotations of the focus ring, we’ll spend more time rotating the focus ring than absolutely necessary and wear out our fingertips.

This is especially true when using a roof prism lens and changing the distance between the camera and the subject in many different ways throughout the day.

We were quite surprised to discover that the Solo has a quarter turn of the focusing ring to go from close up to infinite magnification.

Perhaps this design was designed for someone who rarely changes the distance at which they view images or who might be looking at something that moves rapidly through space.

Field of View

The Vortex Solo monocle’s 8×36 field of view is good. We wondered if its field of view would be useful for anything before losing focus around the edge because of the curvature of the lenses.

We found that when we looked at an image through our glasses, the sharpness was good up until about 67 percent of the radius from the center of the lens. After that point, the edges became softer.

Most binoculars and monocles don’t have any kind of pincushion or barrel distortions built into them, but the Solo does. We found that it was noticeable when looking at objects through the lens.

What about the Brightness in Low Light Conditions?

We found that the larger 36mm lens allows significantly more light into the eyepiece than the typical 28mm or smaller lenses. The brighter image improves the viewing quality considerably, especially in low light conditions where the smaller monocles tend to be dimmer.

What about the Solo’s Optical Coatings?

The lens has been designed for maximum light transmission and clarity. It features BaK-4 prism coatings, which give it a distinctive advantage over lenses without these coatings.

For those wondering, the Solo prisms don’t have a dielectric layer applied to their surface, but they provide excellent performance when used with the 36mm lens and 4.5mm aperture.

We observed some slight chromatic aberration with the test Solo, but not enough to be noticeable in real-life situations.


We hope that this article was helpful. If you have any queries feel free to reach out in the comments section below.


  • John Moses

    John is the Editor in Chief here at The Outdoor Stores. His area of expertise ensures that there is no one better to suggest which rifles are most suitable for your hunting experience. He is also available for you to contact him personally to discuss the types of animals you want to hunt and the terrain you will be hunting on. Feel free to read his posts for expert opinion on Rifles, Scopes, Rangefinders, Bonoculars and Monoculars.

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