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Old 06-28-2011, 08:35 AM   #1
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Binoculars

Time to get some dedicated boat binoculars. *Any recommendations? How useful (and how often useful) is an integrated compass?

*

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Old 06-28-2011, 09:14 AM   #2
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RE: Binoculars

How much do you want to spend?

I would get the most powerfull you can find.

Like*most things*you get what you pay for.

If you do a lot of paper chart navigation the compass is usefull.

Mostley you just want to see what that boat is doing.

SD
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:17 AM   #3
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RE: Binoculars

I don't buy into the built-in compass, but others do. I would highly recommend calling Optics Planet. It's an online store that does great work over the phone. When my 10x50 Minolta's got ripped off, (excellent binocs, but they stopped making them) I bought two pair to replace the one. One pair of Brunton 15x51 and one pair of Nikon 8x42 that are both roof-prism. It's great to have a high-power pair and a low power pair. While the high power pair can be a bit unsteady, they do well and with the 8x42 set being very clear and steady (and a better fit for Bess' hands) we have great coverage of what we both need to see. If I had one complaint about the Nikon's is that the eye relief could be better. Still, $500 for two SOLID sets of binocs that are weatherproof and give great edge-to-edge light collection with no visible distortions, I'm pretty happy. If I had to do it again, I'd get the higher power (or at least the glasses I would use most) in a Porro prism configuration. That design just fits my grip better.

You can spend as little or as much as you want on binoculars, but avoid any of the cheap stuff like Bushnell and Celestron. There are LOTS of reviews online, so do your homework! Oberwerks, Steiner, Leupold, Minox, and Brunton are some of the best brands that aren't crazy expensive. Narrow down your search and give them a call... Beware though, prepare for shopping information overload. There is a TON to choose from!

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Old 06-28-2011, 09:23 AM   #4
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RE: Binoculars

I've got the built in compass......never use it. 7X50. Get the one that transmits the most light. Spend at least $300. Large and heavy on the boat is fine.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:25 AM   #5
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RE: Binoculars

Quote:
skipperdude wrote:
I would get the most powerfull you can find.
*Be careful of this statement. More powerful does not mean better. More powerful are harder to keep steady and are less bright with less detail and sharpness. What you want is the largest OBJECTIVE LENS you can afford. It allows for the highest degree of light collection and thus, the sharpest and clearest image.7x is the lowest zoom you want to go. And 8x is perfect for me. 10x is about the highest (if it's your only pair), but even 10x is a bit tricky to keep steady on a moving boat. Your objective lens should ALWAYS be greater than 35mm with 50mm being far better. Much higher than that and the glasses get heavy and more expensive.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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RE: Binoculars

We've used Tasco Offshore binocs for years. Inexpensive but actually quite good. Hardly* ever use the compass feature though.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:36 AM   #7
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RE: Binoculars

My wife got me a set of 8 x 42 Minoltas a few years ago. *They languished on a shelf in the bus until we moved onto the boat where they now get used several times a day. *No compass and we dont miss it - at first i wondered about that. *Now i'm thinking about a second higher power set but 8x is often all you would want. *For a primary set i don't think we could do any better than what we've got.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:53 AM   #8
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RE: Binoculars

Look for the biggest and brightest that you are comfortable with.* A good pair of bright binoculars are like "night vision" in low light conditions.* Just after the sun has gone down is a good time to compare brightness level. See if you can borrow some from friends to compare.* In general, you get what you pay for.* A $500 Steiner will blow away a $50 Bushnell.

By biggest, I mean objective lens. 7X is plenty power for my little rocky boat.* Any more power and they are almost useless in a rolling seaway.

I have a compass in mine and use it for looking at landmarks and getting a position when not using a GPS.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:57 AM   #9
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RE: Binoculars

I have a relatively inexpensive pair of 7 x 50 binoculars.* They have a compass that I use when offshore to take bearings on boats and ships in crossing situations.* That quickly tells if I will pass befind, ahead, or try to occupy the same space of the crossng vessel.* A bearing every few minutes will keep you informed.

Light gathering is very important as is field of view.* I like a lower power set with a wide field of vew.* Using binoculars at night for picking up bouys and markers is very effective.* Light gathering ability helps here.* I can even see dark objects pretty well.** Using the binoculars instead*of the spotlight for close objects can preserve night vision.*Stabalized binoculars are very good, but are also very expensive.* I have used several kinds over the years, but have found about a $250.00 pair will do the job I need.
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:07 AM   #10
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RE: Binoculars

For me things tend to get banged around some. So I don't opt for an expensive pair. Just powerfull.

SD
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:21 AM   #11
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RE: Binoculars

I like the ones that you can zoom in and out as its easier to find what you are looking at/for zoomed out and the zoom in for detail.* Also if it wave and the boat is moving easier to keep focused.* I do not buy expensive one as the grandchildren play with them, so is the brake/loose them it no big deal.* Which reminds me if we even have a pair?* We/I do not use them very often.* *********
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:49 AM   #12
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Binoculars

A few years ago when I felt a little richer I bought a Steiner Commander XP*7 x 50 binocular for $1000. They are great and really bring in the light and I'm very happy with them BUT shortly after I bought them I compared my pair with my friends Fujinon*7 x 50 binoculars which I could have bought for around $600. I could not nor could my friend find any appreciable difference in the optical quality of the two.

Ron


-- Edited by windmist on Tuesday 28th of June 2011 08:40:33 PM
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:49 AM   #13
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RE: Binoculars

I forgot to mention to get "Fully Multi-Coated" lenses. Cheap-o nox don't have good coatings and too much light bounces off the lens instead of going into it. Read up on coatings... Your head will asplode ;-)
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:41 PM   #14
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RE: Binoculars

I have had a couple of cheaper pairs of binos over the years but about 6 years ago upgraded to a pair of Steiner 7 x 50s with compass (I use this feature a bit ).
Can't go past them.
We just about use Steiners exclusively on AHTS and ships in the company I work for.
That is what put me on to them in the first place.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:29 PM   #15
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RE: Binoculars

My name is Chip and I am a lensoholic.

Wife and I both have our own Leitz Tinovid 7x35's.*She bought hers in the late '70s and I bought mine in the early 80's. We use them daily.

For the boat also we have a Fujinon Techo-Stabi 14x40 binocular. These image stabilizing binoculars are sharp as the Leitz and the IS function is unbelievable. They're expensive, large and heavy but if you REALLY want to see while on the water they can't be beat.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:54 PM   #16
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RE: Binoculars

Quote:
dwhatty wrote:
We've used Tasco Offshore binocs for years. Inexpensive but actually quite good. Hardly* ever use the compass feature though.
* * * ** Exactly the same here!* :jawdrop:*
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:07 PM   #17
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RE: Binoculars

For an inexpensive pair I like the West Marine Tahiti.* They*have been replaced by*the Antigua which they say is a*25% lighter.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...classNum=10740#
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:59 PM   #18
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RE: Binoculars

Quote:
dougd1 wrote:
Look for the biggest and brightest that you are comfortable with.* A good pair of bright binoculars are like "night vision" in low light conditions.* Just after the sun has gone down is a good time to compare brightness level. See if you can borrow some from friends to compare.* In general, you get what you pay for.* A $500 Steiner will blow away a $50 Bushnell.

By biggest, I mean objective lens. 7X is plenty power for my little rocky boat.* Any more power and they are almost useless in a rolling seaway.

I have a compass in mine and use it for looking at landmarks and getting a position when not using a GPS.
*First thought was that I wrote the above.* So you'd have to say I couldn't agree more with Doug.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:35 AM   #19
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RE: Binoculars

We have a pair of 7 x 50's with the compass and seldom use them anymore.

I won a pair of tiny 8 x 25 a bunch of years ago and that is what I mostly use. I later bought my wife a similar pair that doesn't need focusing. We love them as they are small enough they are easy to find a place to stow them that is immediately to hand but out of the way.

I would not be without the larger pair but they seldom come out of the case anymore except when really needed. The larger ones are large enough they are not readily stowed close by.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:08 PM   #20
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We just picked up a Bushnell 7x50 permafocus for under $100, and I am actually amazed at how well they work on the boat. No idea how the permafocus works, but it does. Certainly the best binoculars we've ever had on the boat. (But then we've never had stabilized binos on board.)
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