Binocular Suggestions - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 54 Old 04-01-2008 Thread Starter
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excellent info and thanks everyone for your suggestions. Definitely seems that 7x50 is the common choice. Jury seems to be out on stabilizer feature, but compass is a must. Only one person mentioned seeing co-eds better
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post #22 of 54 Old 04-02-2008
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Anything with much more magnification than 7 will be too jittery, it's too hard to hold them steady enough on a moving boat to keep an image stable enough to see. Unless they are image stabilized. But then you get into a more complex system, with batteries. You know what complex systems with batteries do when you need them most, right?

you need the 50 for the light gathering, so you can see things in low light conditions. You need the coated lenses to cut haze and give you a clear image. You don't really need the compass in the binoculars. Binocs are to identify what you are looking at or for.

My vote is for good optics, ruggedness, and simplicity. No extra moving parts. No electronics to go bad. No batteries to worry about. If I had a pair of the electric, compass included, image stabilized binocs, I think I would still have a set of waterproof 7x50s as a backup. And I know which ones would most likely end up in the life raft with me.

I use Fujinon, rubber armored, 7x50s. But any decent optics manufacturer will have something as good.

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post #23 of 54 Old 04-02-2008
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Fuji 7x50, have had them for several years and just replace the batts. The autofocus is nice!

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post #24 of 54 Old 04-02-2008
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It's been suggested already, but Stiener is considered to have the highest quality optics for all uses - but are very expensive. I must have purchased a half dozen so-called marine grade binoculars within the past 20 years, most failing the tests of actual use on the water.

I was determined to buy a Stiener, but didn't want to pay close to 1k for them. At the Newport Boat Show a few years ago, a rep at the Defender booth had all the top-rated brands on display as customer demos. We decided the newly introduced, Stiener 7x50 Marine binoculars were, by a close margin with Fuji and Nikon, the brightest and sharpest of all . . . and listed for only $300. We picked up a pair at the show special price of $240., including a great Stiener shoulder bag and sailing cap.

I do somewhat agree with Gringo that a compass isn't really needed, but there have been times when I wish this had one - such as taking a bearing off a landmark or nav aid when sailing. Regardless, this is a great set of binoculars for the money, with German glass, autofocus, incredible low light brightness, rubber armored, waterproof and shockproof.

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sold the Nauticat

Last edited by TrueBlue; 04-02-2008 at 08:18 AM.
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post #25 of 54 Old 04-02-2008
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I respectfully disagree with 2Gringos about the compass.

If you do any good ole fashoned navigation with a chart and compass, they are VERY useful to take bearings with. You can better see what you are taking a bearing on (that it is a radio tower, and not a nearby steeple), and the bearing itself is far more accurate than what you would take from a hand bearing compass. Finally, because I have tried both the binoculars and the hand bearing compass; I also find it faster to take a bearing with the binoculars with integrated compass. YMMV

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post #26 of 54 Old 04-02-2008
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I am not anti-compass, nor anti-autofocus, nor anti-stabilized image, nor anti-being-able-to-take-digital-photos-with-your-binocs. All fun stuff.

I just like simplicity in some things. Oh..make sure whatever you get is nitrogen purged.

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post #27 of 54 Old 04-02-2008
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I ended up buying the Fuji Polaris 7x50 along with the cheaper Fuji 7X50's which I take in the dink. I like using the Polaris at night for star (really moon) viewing and when I need clarity on things. The Polaris are the good ones.

If I had to only buy one set, I would suggest buying a good pari of biocs. It was a tossup for us between the Fuji Polaris and Steiner Commanders. The eye relief on the Fuji's is slightly better and the light transmissi non the Commanders is slightly better than the fujis... but almost tough to notice between either. They were close enough that we chose by price with the Fuji's being 100-200 cheaper, IIRC.

I do nto think you will be dissapointed either way. Incidentally, I personally use the compass a LOT too for bearings. I think that option runs abouit $50 on most of the sets of binocs. Probably worth $50.

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post #28 of 54 Old 04-02-2008
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7x50's are pretty traditional, since they give you a good compromise of weight, size, magnification and low-light capability. The two numbers, in case you don't know are the magnification (7x what the normal eye sees) and the size of the objective lens (50 mm or roughly 2" in diameter).

Higher magnifications than 7x will generally be harder to handhold steadily on a small craft, which is where the stabiliized binoculars come in to play. However, stabilized binoculars require electricity to work... and if the batteries fail, the much higher (10-14x) magnifications on most image stabilized binoculars will be useless.

The Objective diameter divided by the magnification gives you the exit pupil diameter. On a pair of 7x50's it is about 7.1 mm. This is important for estimating the binoculars low light capabilities. Anything less than a 7mm exit pupil will generally be significantly dimmer than unaided vision, and may make it very difficult to read the markers through the binoculars. They do make "night-vision" equipment that can help with this, but again, the NVG gear is close to useless if the batteries die.

A few other things to consider:

Focusing: Center or individual. Most waterproof binoculars have individual focussing, since it is easier to design a waterproof binocular that tway.

Eye Relief: This is especially important if you wear prescription glasses. The better ones have almost an inch of eye-relief....which means your eyes can be an inch away from the eyepiece and still see the whole image properly.

Compass: You can have an analog or digital compass built into the binoculars. This makes taking a bearing very simple. The digital ones are often easier to read, at least until the batteries die. I prefer the analog compasses.

Waterproof: Yes, they should be both waterproof and nitrogen filled. Non-nitrogen filled binoculars will generally have issues with condensation internally in colder weather.

Floatation: You should either get a floating strap, usually with foam or neoprene padding, or get a set that floats. You will eventually drop them in the water, and it is best if they don't sink.

Rubber Armor: The better marine binoculars have rubber armor to help protect the binocular's optics from shock in the case that you drop them. You will drop them... so do your boat's gelcoat, your binoculars and your toes a favor and get them with the rubber armor. This also makes them easier to grip in bad weather and makes them warmer to hold in cold weather.

Finally, a good pair of compact binoculars, for general daytime use is a set of 8x30 binoculars, like the Steiner's shown here:



They're about two-thirds the size of the 7x50s I use at night, and give you a tiny bit more magnification. These live in my daybag.

Sailingdog

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-02-2008 at 12:47 PM.
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post #29 of 54 Old 04-02-2008
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I picked up my 7x50 Steiner Navigator Pro binocs for around $300 I think. They may have been refirbs but in any case so far (couple of yrs) they are great.

As I said above, IMO what ever brand you choose get 7x50s not 7x30s. After using both the only reason to get the 7x30s is if you had to lug them in the woods all day. Light collection and field of view on the 50s is far superior.
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post #30 of 54 Old 04-02-2008
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I have both a set of Tasco 7x50 Offshore w/compass ($175+/-), as well as a pair of the Fuji 12x35 stabilized.

I keep the Tasco's in the cockpit whenever we are out, as anyone can easily use them and I don't care too much if they get knocked around. All in all I feel they are an excellent value.

I keep the stabilized at the nav station, and are basically for my use only. My only issue with the Fuji's is that the distance between the eyepeices has to be dialed in exactly for them to be effective, and it takes a bit of tinkering to get them just right.

Surprisingly, I find the 12x35's to be brighter at night than the 7x50's but that may have to do the higher magnification factor.


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