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I currently have the Tasco OS54 with compass,the Fuji 7x50 with compass, the Steiner III w/ compass, and the Steiner Firebirds.
The Tascos are great with good optics and a nice bag. A little heavy but tough as a brick. I agree that the compass is *very* useful in all sets. It''s unfortunate that these are no longer available. I''ve had mine for about 7 years with no problems.
The Fujis are great probably the lightest weight of any. A pleasure to use even if one wears them all day. Again, get the compass.
I paid about 160 for mine. A great value in my opinion. I wish they had come with a bag.
I got the Steiners to see if they were significantly better.
The Firebirds are nice, 7x30''s, smaller and lighter than the 7x50''s, mine fogged up on one side and Steiner replaced them at n/c.
The Commanders are pretty awesome. They are pretty new so I can''t report on longterm service. They are quite clear and bright in low light scenarios, built like a brick house, excellent compass, no bag and around $800 buckaroos.
Obviously I''m a bino freak. For coastal cruising a good set of binocs and a Garmin 76Handheld have served me well.
Do you have to spend 800 smackers to get a good set. I don''t think so. Should one compromise on quality? Nope.
Get the best you can afford.
Honestly the Fujis'' with compass are probably one of the best values around.
Hope this helps.