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Down Imaging vs Side Imaging. These are the two main types of sonar technology used by anglers to locate and catch fish. Both have their own unique benefits, but which one is better? or is one better than the other?

This is one of the most popular debate topics among anglers. Some say that down imaging is better because it gives you a clear picture of what’s directly below your boat. While side imaging provides a “picture” of the area to the left and right of your boat, many anglers feel that it doesn’t give as clear of an image as down imaging.

Others say that side imaging is better because it gives you a 360-degree view of your surroundings. This can be especially helpful when fishing in unfamiliar or murky waters.

So, which is better? In this blog post, I will break down the pros and cons of each technology so that you can decide for yourself which is best for you. Let’s get started:

What Is Down Imaging?

What Is Down Imaging on a Fish Finder

Down imaging is a type of sonar technology that uses sound waves to create images of the bottom of a body of water. The waves are sent out from the transducer, which is mounted on the boat, and bounce off the bottom. The returning waves are then converted into an image that is displayed on the fish finder.

What Is Side Imaging?

What Is Side Imaging on a fish finder

Side Imaging is a type of sonar technology that uses multiple sonar beams to create a two-dimensional image of the seafloor on one side of the boat. This image can be used to identify fish, structure, and other features on the bottom.

Down Imaging vs Side Imaging

The primary distinction between down imaging and side imaging fish finders is that down imaging fish finders scan the water vertically, whereas side imaging fish finders scan it horizontally.

Down imaging uses a downward-facing transducer that sends out sound waves straight down into the water column, while side imaging uses a transducer that casts its sound waves out to the sides. This difference in how the sonar waves are cast results in two very different images of the underwater environment.

Advantages of Down Imaging:

The main advantage of down imaging is that it can create very detailed images of the bottom. This is because the sound waves are sent out at a very high frequency, which allows them to bounce off small objects and produce a clear image.

Another benefit of down imaging is that it can be used in deep water. The sound waves can travel further and reach greater depths than with side imaging.

Disadvantages of Down Imaging:

The main disadvantage of down imaging is that it can be expensive. The technology is still relatively new and the price reflects this.

Down imaging can also be less effective in shallow water. This is because the high-frequency sound waves can be scattered by small objects in the water, which can make the image less clear.

Advantages of Side Imaging:

The main advantage of side imaging is that it can create a very wide view of the area. This is because the sound waves are sent out at a lower frequency, which allows them to travel further and cover more ground.

Another benefit of side imaging is that it can be used in shallow water. The sound waves can reach close to the bottom without being scattered by small objects on the surface, which means you can see more of what’s in the water.

Disadvantages of Side Imaging:

The main disadvantage of side imaging is that it doesn’t work as well in deep water. The sound waves lose their clarity and become harder to interpret the further they travel.

Side imaging is also not as effective in murky water, since the sound waves can be scattered by particles in the water.

Must Read the difference between Garmin SideVu vs Humminbird Side Imaging.

Which Is Better Down Imaging or Side Imaging? or Is One Better Than The Other?

So, which one is better? or is one better than the other? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. Each type of sonar has its own unique benefits that make it better suited for certain tasks than others.

You can choose Down Imaging for its exceptional bottom coverage and ability to see fish hiding in structure, or Side Imaging for its unrivaled ability to find fish holding tight to cover. Ultimately, the choice is up to you and what you want to use your sonar for.

But I would love to recommend the Side Imaging and Down Imaging combo for those of you that are looking for the best of both worlds. This setup gives you the ability to see fish holding tight to cover with Side Imaging, as well as the exceptional bottom coverage of Down Imaging.

There are a few key things that you should keep in mind when deciding between down imaging and side imaging.

First, consider what you want to use your sonar for. If you’re mostly interested in bottom coverage and being able to see fish hiding in structure, then Down Imaging is the way to go. But if you want the best possible view of fish-holding tight to cover, Side Imaging is your best bet.

Second, keep in mind that each type of sonar has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

For example, Side Imaging is better for seeing fish holding tight to cover, but it can be difficult to see fish hiding in the bottom structure. On the other hand, Down Imaging is great for seeing the bottom structure, but it can be difficult to see fish holding tight to cover.

So, before you decide which type of sonar is best for you, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each technology.

Also, read Is Mega Imaging Worth It?

FAQs of Side Imaging vs Down Imaging:

In the FAQ section, I will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about side imaging and down imaging.

Side imaging vs. down imaging for trolling?

For trolling, I recommend using side imaging. Side imaging gives you a wider view of the area around your boat, making it easier to find fish. Down imaging is better for stationary fishing, such as when you are fishing from a dock or pier.

What is the depth range of side imaging and down imaging?

The depth range of side imaging and down imaging depends on the model of the fish finder you are using. Some models can only image down to about 100 feet, while others can image down to 1,000 feet.

What does down imaging sonar and side image sonar mean?

Down imaging sonar sends out a cone-shaped beam of sound, while side image sonar sends out a fan-shaped beam of sound. This means that down imaging sonar can image objects directly below your boat, while side image sonar can image objects on both sides of your boat.

What is the difference between 2D and down imaging?

2D sonar only shows you a black and white image of the bottom of the lake or river. Down imaging sonar also shows you a black and white image of the bottom, but it also adds color to show you fish, structure, and other objects in the water.

Should I use side imaging or down imaging on a kayak?

For kayak fishing, I recommend using down imaging. This is because down imaging gives you a more detailed view of the bottom of the lake or river. Side imaging is still useful for finding fish, but it is not as accurate as down imaging.

What is Down Imaging good for?

The Down Imaging Technology is a good option for you, If you want to fish in deeper waters and you want to see the fish and other objects in the water column.

Is side imaging really worth it?

Side imaging is extremely worth the money if you take an effort to learn about how to use it properly. When you have a good side imaging unit, it is like having eyes on the side of your boat. This technology gives you a clear picture of what is going on around your boat, which can be extremely helpful when you are trying to locate fish.

Can you see fish on down imaging?

Yes, absolutely you can see fish on down imaging. Down Imaging is a sonar technology that sends out a beam of sound in a particular direction. This sound wave will bounce off objects in the water and return to the transducer, which will then translate this information into an image on your screen. This image will show you everything that is in the water.

Final Thoughts

At the end of this article, you may understand the similarity and the difference between the Down Imaging vs Side Imaging sonars. You should be able to make a decision on which technology you would like to use, and understand the benefits of each.

Down Imaging sonars create a clear and accurate image of what is below your boat, while Side Imaging sonars give you a comprehensive view of your surroundings.

Down Imaging sonars are great for seeing individual fish, and for pinpointing their location. Side Imaging sonars are ideal for finding schools of fish, and for understanding the layout of a particular area.

Both technologies have their own unique benefits, and it really depends on your specific needs as to which one is better. If you need help to understand, feel free to ask anything in the comment section and I would be happy to answer your questions.