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Old 12-26-2016, 10:18 AM   #1
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Binoculars

In this era of GPS and fancy plotters, do binocular users really benefit from having a built in compass? My B&L 7x42 is heavy, but bright and seemingly bulletproof. Do I need "marine" binoculars?

And I see Chinese glass and manufacturing has begun to produce solid and reliable riflescopes. Does the same trend apply to marine binoculars?
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Old 12-26-2016, 10:31 AM   #2
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binoculars

I find the compass on my Nikon 7 x 50 is quite useless. On the boat it swings over about 10 - 20 degrees and there is no way to lock a heading as you can on some hand held compasses. Marine binoculars will be water proof and should float - handy in some circumstances.

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Old 12-26-2016, 10:34 AM   #3
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I prefer to spend the extra money on stabilization.
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Old 12-26-2016, 10:49 AM   #4
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I've used image stabilization in both Canon and Nikon lenses for years. Pure magic. Makes sense it would apply well in the boating environment.
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Old 12-26-2016, 10:52 AM   #5
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I prefer to spend the extra money on stabilization.
Boat stabilization? Didn't realize binoculars had gotten that expensive.

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Old 12-26-2016, 11:12 AM   #6
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Boat stabilization? Didn't realize binoculars had gotten that expensive.

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While stabilization on a boat is money well spent too, I was thinking more along the lines of these: Stabiscopeā„¢ Series | Binoculars | Fujifilm USA

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Old 12-26-2016, 12:58 PM   #7
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The use I find for the compass is if not dancing all over the place, it helps beginners locate things because I can say look out at xxx degrees. Not used too much for coastal piloting by bearings now, but 30 years ago, you bet.

That said, the compass in my Fujiinon 7x50s went belly up 20 years ago. They are at least as good as any other binoculars I have used and between the military and professional captain ingredients, I have used some high end stuff.

Stabilization is great if you are in open water a lot. For ICW and looping it still is great, but I don't feel a great need for it.
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Old 12-26-2016, 03:25 PM   #8
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I have several pair of Nikon 10x50's with no stabilization, no compass, just good quality binocs. I have them on each of the boats and at home.


I like the 10 power because for my old eyes it brings things in a bit closer than the 7 power and makes it easier to see.
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:15 PM   #9
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10 x50s don't have the light gathering which I find more useful for marine binoculars.

That said I have a variable power set on board up to 15 power for terrestrial use mostly, but have used them underway occasionally.

Next PowerBall is mine so stabilized, high power with night vision optics will fill my new pilothouse....
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:49 PM   #10
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I find myself using the compass in the binoculars more often than you'd think.

For one thing, I sometimes take a few cross bearings after the anchor has settled in. Underway, if I see something on radar or AIS, add the bearing to the heading and you can snap right to it with the binocs. More often, it's the other way around. I see something in the binocs, make note of the bearing, and then locate it on the chartplotter or radar. And of course you can look pretty salty if you sight where you want to go, put down the binocs and give helm instructions in degrees.

I've used them to take a fix while practicing piloting, but never for real.

In theory, with the markings displayed in the binocs you can get the range to an object if you know its height, but that's a little more work. Hopefully I'm never that desperate.

Admittedly, I'd trade the compass binoculars for stabilized ones in a heartbeat.
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Old 12-26-2016, 05:18 PM   #11
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I have some West Marine 7x50s with compass I like a lot especially because I got 'em on sale.

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Old 12-26-2016, 05:29 PM   #12
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If you haven't tried others of better quality...you may want to.

I have used dozens of different West Marine binoculars and never like any of them.

They were rampant on the assistance towing fleet I worked for because they were inexpensive if stolen out of the boat.
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Old 12-26-2016, 05:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
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If you haven't tried others of better quality...you may want to.

I have used dozens of different West Marine binoculars and never like any of them.

They were rampant on the assistance towing fleet I worked for because they were inexpensive if stolen out of the boat.
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Old 12-26-2016, 06:08 PM   #14
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I have 2 Fujinon 7x50, one a 1976 purchase, the other quite new also 7 x 50 but with compass. Compass a little hard to see with regular viewing, a little low to see easily. That said they are useful. Sometime taking a radar brg, and taking the real life view out the window, the compass is helpful in locating target. Also they are great in lowlight. Also wife has a set of Nikons 10 x something, bird watching binocs, but also good.
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Old 12-26-2016, 06:16 PM   #15
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found my binocular compass useless on this steel boat. dramatic incorrect compass readings.

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Old 12-27-2016, 07:44 AM   #16
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I like having a compass, so both of the binocs we use do. Helps when one of us can report a bearing for the other to use when we're looking for/at something in particular, useful for visually fixing a position at anchor, etc.

Once the details of the glass quality and nighttime use and so forth are sorted out, eye relief is usually the next most important feature for us -- eyeglass wearers -- but on the boat many are wearing sunglasses anyway. Ours are both Steiner models (wifey got me my first Steiner binoc in approx 1983, when we lived in Germany at the time) and I think the glass is pretty good. Eye relief on the 7x50s is very good, and it's sufficient on the 8x35s. Can't say how Steiner compares to other good glass, though; haven't done much hands-on comparison.

Sufficient magnification is useful (mine are the 7x50s, wifey's are the 8x35s), but without stabilization, too much magnification becomes more difficult. We've begun shopping for a higher-magnification stabilised binoc, but haven't yet had too many hands-on sessions to compare eye relief.

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Old 12-27-2016, 08:04 AM   #17
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We carry Steiner 7 x 50 and Fuji 14 x 40 stabilized. I find that the use the Steiner most often, but when it's rough or I really need the extra magnification, the Fuji is perfect.
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Old 12-27-2016, 09:54 AM   #18
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I've got the compass and rarely use it.

But I got a good pair of binoculars and use them a lot. Bought a good pair for wife Christine and we both feel like we've got a limb missing on land. I say spend some money on binoculars and you'll probably not be sorry.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:13 AM   #19
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If you are holding stabilized binoculars real tight, will they stabilize the boat as well?



You guys never know if I'm joking or not,do you?
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:42 AM   #20
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WE have a pair of 7 x 50 with the built in compass. Bushnell, so not really high end but they do their job.
However they take second place to the two small units that we each use all the time. They are light and small do can be stowed easily and quickly and close at hand.

Mine is a cheap 8 x 25 adjustable which is at hand all the time and gets used often to find markers and quickly ID things of interest, other boats, entrances, narrow areas, etc.

Wifes is a pair of 8 x 25 also but hers do not need to be focused which is fine as long as the target is more than ~ 30 ft away.

Only if those two small ones are inadequate do we make use of the larger ones.
90%+++ of the time the little ones do the job.

I'm NOT suggesting that you have only the little ones as a larger 7 x 50 for light gathering in darkening situations are still needed. Just that the little ones can do a good job in the right conditions, daylight.
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