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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Binocular Suggestions
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-20-2009 07:12 AM
matt2
Need two diff binocs

Looks like the best bet is to get two binocs:

1. 7X50 - with compass & rangefinder
probably Fujinon or Steiner

2. 12 or 14X50 - with IS (no compass)
probably Canon, Steiner, Fujinon

Apparently some binocs have auto focus, anyone know which ones have this feature.

Actually the beaten up binocs I currently use are quite similar to the two above in terms of power. I find I hardly ever bother with the 7X50's since if I need binocs I want the max power even though it is sometimes "almost" impossible to use them when the boat motion is abrupt.

Thanks folks for your comments.
03-19-2009 10:12 PM
TaylorC
Fujinon 7x50 + 12x32 stablized.

I think its worth it to buy good binocs...I have Fujinon 7x50 FMTRC-SX are outstanding. Compass or no compass, either way. Defender has a sale coming up, and even their current price is less than Eagle Optics, which is pretty darn good. .

But I also have a pair of Fujinon 12 x 32 Techno-Stabi Juniors, which are really, really cool.

These two binocs serve different purposes, and I need them both.

When you are working your way into a new cove at dusk and you are trying to figure out if that rock is nearer or further than that bouy, you want the super coated 7x50's. They have an amazingly bright image, you can fall right into it.

When you are trying to figure out what the name of the boat that just threw that huge wake at you or if the sign on the piling says visitors welcome, trespassers will be shot, or diesel $4.55/gal you want stabilized binocs. The image is not as bright, and its harder to judge distances and relative sizes, but the trick of a stabilized image and what it does to readability is like science fiction come true.
03-19-2009 09:45 PM
night0wl I know we should support Sailnet, but I just thought I'd mention that West Marine put their house brand Binoc's on sale. The Tahiti model which was given rave reviews by Practical Sailor was knocked down $90 from $29x to $200.

There is also a 10% off coupon floating around plus, if you use a referral site (like Fatwallet Fatcash) you get an additional 4% off.

I love you sailnet, but times are really tight...
03-17-2009 11:42 AM
erps Brian,

Fortunately my job allows me to use some nice optics. Like I said earlier, I have the $700 Fujinon 7X50 and I loved them. Out on the water though, as we would make our approach to a boat it became apparent that the guy with the binoculars could not read the boat registration any sooner than the guy without the binoculars because of the motion. I picked up the Cannon 10x42 binoculars. On a calm day, you could read boat numbers from a distance on the fly, although with any chop, we would have to slow down to around 10 knots. I could read crab pot buoy numbers from great distances too. S.D. is right that they are not as bright as the 7x50's at night, but the steadiness almost makes up for it.

Now I'm not a big spender. When it comes time to buy a nice set of binoculars for my boat I haven't decided whether the extra money is worth it or not, but I certainly haven't ruled it out. I've been watching local pawn shops to see if I can pick up a set for a reduced price. I would love to give the real expensive IS binoculars a try sometime to see what they're all about, but on second thought, then I would know what I'm missing.
03-17-2009 10:52 AM
Cruisingdad Ok... honest question:

For those that have switched over to the stabilized, did you like them that much better? Honestly?

I have used them once, but have no real experience with them. I have found that I can make a good set of binocs work really well (the better the eye relief, the better the binoc to me). The trick is to stabilize yourself and hold the binoc slightly away from your eye in a sea. Let your hands float up and down with the object. Keeps you from losing your balance and helps to aquire a target better as you simply watch the target then pull the binocs up to your eye (but not touching... very important). I was taught that a binoc should never touch your face. That is where the large eye relief really helps.

I have also found the Fuji's to have the best relief, though I almost went for a set of Steiners (which kinda seemed to me more marketing than actually better). My parents agreed, incidentally. I have both the "cheaper pair" and the high-end military spec (thanks mom and dad for a great Christmas Present). For a "cheap" binoc (around $200 IIRC) the Fuji's are great. However, once you go to the high end Fuji's or Steiners, it is hard to go back. I will admit that the high-end Steiners I looked at (around $1000???) are as good as the high end Fuji's (around $700-800 iirc). The high end specs are also awesome for laying on the deck at night and star/moon gazing.

Anyways, there is all my thoughts and experience.

- Brian
03-17-2009 10:23 AM
sailingdog The IS binoculars have about a 4 mm exit pupil, which is considerably smaller than the 7 mm exit pupil on the 7x50s and will limit your low-light capability significantly. At night, it will be much harder to see clearly through the IS binoculars, regardless of the IS features or greater magnification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
S.D. is right about stabilized binoculars eating up batteries. For a small price, you can buy two sets of NiMH rechargable batteries and a small charger to keep on the boat so you always have a fresh set of batteries. I loved my 7x50 Fujinon binoculars until I got my 10x42 stabilized binoculars. The stabilized binoculars are my primary binoculars now.
03-16-2009 11:48 PM
davmarwood
Marine Binoculars

I have had good luck for the '08 season with Celestron Oceana 7x50 WP-IF/RC Binoculars. Price is reasonable, sharp optice, excellent light gathering, wide field of view (important for glasses wearers - or with sunglasses on) and no fogging. Copy this link in your browser.

Oceana 7x50 WP-IF/RC Binocular (item #71189) / Celestron.com - Telescope | Computerized Telescopes | Microscopes | Binoculars | SkyScout
03-16-2009 11:35 AM
erps
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
The problem with getting IS binoculars is that if the batteries go out, they're pretty useless on a moving boat. Most IS binoculars suffer in low light, since they're higher magnification without an increase in the objective diameter....like 10x50 vs. 7x50... which means they have about half the light coming out the eyepiece.

7x50s are about the best compromise between low-light capability, magnification and size.
S.D. is right about stabilized binoculars eating up batteries. For a small price, you can buy two sets of NiMH rechargable batteries and a small charger to keep on the boat so you always have a fresh set of batteries. I loved my 7x50 Fujinon binoculars until I got my 10x42 stabilized binoculars. The stabilized binoculars are my primary binoculars now.
03-16-2009 11:09 AM
arisatx Matt2:

No personal experience, but was intrigued by the Leupold RXB-IV Range Finding Binocs with Compass which seem to meet 3.5 outta your 5 requirements. I've read some cruisers who have found rangefinders to be very handy in anchoring situations where they need to bring a line ashore.

Meanwhile, I have the WM Tahiti's and have been fairly pleased with them, that is, until I tried the Captain's Fujinon Polaris 7x50's on a recent sail. Wow.

I tried hyperlinking to the Leupold site page but had some problems, so just search for

"Leupold RXB-IV"
03-16-2009 10:31 AM
sailingdog The problem with getting IS binoculars is that if the batteries go out, they're pretty useless on a moving boat. Most IS binoculars suffer in low light, since they're higher magnification without an increase in the objective diameter....like 10x50 vs. 7x50... which means they have about half the light coming out the eyepiece.

7x50s are about the best compromise between low-light capability, magnification and size.
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