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  #1  
Old 06-24-2011
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Low end binoculars with compass...

Hi All,
I'll be buying a pair of binoculars in the lower end of the budget spectrum and looking for some recommendations.

At the moment, I'm looking for
- 7x50
- Marine / Waterproof
- With Compass
- A good warranty.

I'm looking in the $200-300 range, but would happily go lower; I may end up with a standard pair of binoculars and a hand-bearing compass instead but would prefer them in one.

Up here, I've found the marine shops mostly carry
- Steiner (lowest being around $450-500, which is nice but over the budget by a bit.)
- Nikon Ocean Pro (These are out of stock but are my leading preference so far.)
- Optisan High Seas (These are on sale and I really liked using them in the store. However, only a 3 year warranty.)
- West Marine (I didn't like these; Every pair I tried in the shop had an out-of-focus compass.)

Any others I should consider? Bushnell? ATN? Pentax?
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Old 06-24-2011
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I've found the WM Tahitis to be good value for money. Usually $199 when on sale. They're the top of the line of the WM binoculars. I can't understand your out of focus remark regarding the compass. Focus has nothing to do with the compass.
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Old 06-24-2011
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Defender Marine has binoculars that might fit your bill. They carry their name but are made by Fujinon. The cost is $230. I don't know anything about this particular model but I do have a pair of Fujinon binoculars that are really nice.
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I lucked onto a set of Steiners for about $450. I've seen less well made ones from Tasco, for example, but the difference in build and optical quality is significant. The Steiners are nitrogen filled, waterproof, don't fog, and have a lifetime warranty.

The Nikons look not so bad, but center focus almost precludes nitrogen fill, which is pretty important to prevent fogging.

Looking on Amazon, the Celestron Oceana 7x50 looks pretty good to me, for $150 and free shipping. I don't know anything about it other than what it says on that page. There looks to be a nitrogen purge valve on the body, but check the literature.

Amazon.com: Celestron Oceana 7x50 Porro WP CF & RC Binocular, Black: Camera & Photo
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Old 06-24-2011
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Vasco, I tried the Tahiti's as well. I know it sounds strange, but my wife, the salesman and I all had difficulty reading the compass. It was blurry. I realize it has nothing to do with the focussing mechanism, but it was, indeed, out of focus... like trying to read a newspaper immediately after putting in eye drops. We checked a few random pairs in new boxes and they all had the issue; Perhaps just a bad batch but enough to convince me I didn't want them... I have found a review that claims they are the best in the price range so I will go take another look.

Thanks Allan. The Fujinon Mariners are in the price range; Is that what you have or something more expensive? I've read mixed reviews about the low-end set.
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Old 06-24-2011
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I got a Steiner 7x50 with compass. It is really worth the money. I can read the buoy number while WM can't. It is just save a lot of time when you are doing DR.

It really depends on your need. Buy the one that can do the job for you. It will save your money in a long run without frustration.
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Thanks Mike, I found the Celestron Oceana's on sale at a Canadian dealer for $160 including shipping. That's terrific and all what I wanted. This review ( Celestron Oceana Marine Binocular, our independent binocular review. ) said they were middle of the road... for $160, that might be worth a try.

I hadn't considered fogging. Is Nitrogen-filled worth the extra $300? (keep in mind we pay 13% sales tax so that's more like $340)

edit: Looks like RockDawg answered my last question! Beat me to it.
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It turns out both the Nikon and Celestron are nitrogen filled, on more careful reading of the specs. The importance is to purge the normal, moisture laden air during manufacture or servicing. Pushing out the water vapor means there isn't any to fog on the lenses or prisms. Either of them should do fine.

I don't know if there is much quantifiable difference between the two, or even in comparison with Steiner. Steiner talks a bit about their coatings. The instructions for cleaning the Commanders, for example, are to rinse in clean water and shake off the droplets to dry. I think all of them have anti-reflective coatings, and should perform reasonably in low light. (Body flare from internal reflections is a concern for low light.) Other coatings help control chromatic aberrations. That's hitting the deep end of what I little I know, and what you should be concerned about in shopping. I can read buoy markings from 1/2 mile and more with the Steiners. There's no way to tell that from a catalog listing or even handling them in a store.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanH View Post
Vasco, I tried the Tahiti's as well. I know it sounds strange, but my wife, the salesman and I all had difficulty reading the compass. It was blurry. I realize it has nothing to do with the focussing mechanism, but it was, indeed, out of focus... like trying to read a newspaper immediately after putting in eye drops. We checked a few random pairs in new boxes and they all had the issue; Perhaps just a bad batch but enough to convince me I didn't want them... I have found a review that claims they are the best in the price range so I will go take another look.

Thanks Allan. The Fujinon Mariners are in the price range; Is that what you have or something more expensive? I've read mixed reviews about the low-end set.
I have a different Fujinon model without a compass.
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Old 06-24-2011
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Optisan

Steveston Marine

So far, so good. After I sent the first pair back - incomplete package.
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