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29 cascadefixer 09-06-2002 01:48 AM

Do any of you have a preference for a certain brand or size of a pair of binocs. I want to buy a pair that are of good quality, price is of some concern , but will stretch the budget for a good pair. I hope to draw on other peoples experience. Good- bad- what are your reccommendations, Thanks.

WHOOSH 09-06-2002 02:44 AM

Cascade Fixer:

There seem to be a huge spread of opinions, preferences and subjective ''take'' on binocs so I''d encourage you to narrow your field to those you can inspect and trial first-hand. Some rave about bargains (for which birding magazines are a good source), some want brand cachet or a certain ethnic heritage (swiss, german, etc.), some think a given choice is good ''cause it was on a boat that''s seen lots of miles and still work. In short, I''d encourage you to clarify your own preferences and go from there. And you definitely don''t want more than 7x or 8x magnification.

FWIW we''ve used a pair Fujinon Mariner XL''s for a few years now. They float, claim to be waterproof, have a lighted compass, are easy to handle and Fuginon provides excellent after-sales support. (Don''t underestimate this last criterion; we''re talking about gear with delicate optics that can fly across a cockpit or be dropped on the sole). Our Mariner''s have been returned twice in 5 years due to a capsized compass card (an apparent weakness in the design since we treat them pretty decently), both times for free repairs.

At $200 (today''s price) I think they represent good value but they aren''t what everyone is looking for and have their faults. I find the built-in compass *very* useful on occasion. And FWIW we carry a back-up pair we got thru a birding organization and, after 15 years, they remain completely functional. Given their $70 cost and water-tight, rubber-covered design, I think they illustrate well what a value purchase can look like.

Good hunting!


DuaneIsing 09-06-2002 03:08 AM

29 cascadefixer,

I would say that Jack''s (Whoosh) advice is great.

There''s a mantra many use: "The bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweet taste of low price is forgotten". In this respect, I suggest you buy your primary pair with good quality in mind, but that doesn''t necessarily mean you have to have a certain brand or pay above a certain price.

For myself, I bought top-of-the-line Bushnells (7x50, waterproof, float, lighted compass) for about $250 and am very happy so far (but we haven''t used them for 20 years yet, either). Bushnell also makes some much lower quality products that I would not buy for this application, so generalizing by brand name is not always wise.

Good luck with your purchase.


WATERNUT 09-10-2002 12:39 PM


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.


29 cascadefixer 09-10-2002 02:27 PM

Thanks for all the input. Without it I probably would have forgone the compass, silly me. The Fujis'' and the Bushnells both sound good. The Fujis'' were recommended by West Marine. Say, I''m probably opening a can of worms here,, but just how good is the West Marine Advisor, in you folks experienced opinion. Is the whole thing just a justification for their products, or is their info the straight skinny ?

evan 09-10-2002 06:52 PM

try here

NautTwilight 09-14-2002 05:30 AM

I have used Steiner''s Military/Marine 7X50 model on my job for several years now and can say I''m glad my money didn''t purchase them. The eyecups pop off much too easily. This annoyance is not an isolated defect as I have seen this happen constantly and repeatedly on every one of several units we have. Considering the premium price this is unacceptable.

I have also noticed that the rubber covering the buttons on their models with lighted compasses on display at West Marine peels off just from people trying them out.

Otherwise, they seem optically excellent, but other brands offer good optics without this shoddiness.

NautTwilight 09-14-2002 05:33 AM

I know it''s a small, nitpicking point, but it''s a binocular, not a PAIR of binoculars, unless you have two binoculars, then you have pair of binoculars. Pants, trousers, shoes are a pair, but a binocular is, in fact, a pair of monoculars.

halyardz 09-15-2002 12:57 AM

I bought Fuji last year, with the compass for about 160 too. Great at the price! Very satisfied.

manateee_gene 09-17-2002 06:03 PM

I have a pair of Fuji Meibo''s 7x50-7degree 30''. I bought them in 1978 when we were plank swordfishing off the California Coast.
Most of the successful plankers used either the $600 Fuji''s or the $2000 Zeiss. When we started out I could not affored the $2000 by the time I could afford them I could not tell the difference. We still use them they are great glasses.

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