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Old 05-27-2022, 03:29 PM   #1
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Marine binocular recommendations???

Just a question, what recommendation do folks here have for marine binoculars? I mean, we all know Fujinon ($$$$) and Bushnell ($$$) are probably the "Icing on the Cake", but I see great reviews for some of the Chinese binos with built in compass and range finder.

I remember circa 2000 purchasing a West Marine version with built in compass for $300.00. I'm looking at a "stubby" pair on Amazon for a little over $100 with a built in compass and range finder (I'm not expecting too much out of the range finder). They are Chinese but have MANY EXCELLENT reviews.

For the record, I just plan on using them for general boating... I'm not crossing the Atlantic or anything like that...

Your assistance greatly appreciated...
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Old 05-27-2022, 03:55 PM   #2
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I had a chance to look through one of the cheap marine Amazon binoculars, I think they may have been the Hooway brand. They were clear but I found the compass and range finder distracting. On this particular set to use the range finder you needed to know the height of the object you were looking at then do some math to calculate it's distance. Not very usually if you ask me. I would ask if you have a use case where you need the compass. If you don't need that stuff then skip it so you get a clear view rather than having a grid in the middle of where you are trying to look.

For $60 more I'd vote for the Fujinon Mariner which Amazon is showing at $169 right now. https://www.amazon.com/Fujinon-Marin...s%2C286&sr=8-4

I have been pleased with my set and have been impressed with how well they work in low light scenarios like just after dusk.
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Old 05-27-2022, 04:02 PM   #3
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I had a chance to look through one of the cheap marine Amazon binoculars, I think they may have been the Hooway brand. They were clear but I found the compass and range finder distracting. On this particular set to use the range finder you needed to know the height of the object you were looking at then do some math to calculate it's distance. Not very usually if you ask me. I would ask if you have a use case where you need the compass. If you don't need that stuff then skip it so you get a clear view rather than having a grid in the middle of where you are trying to look.

For $60 more I'd vote for the Fujinon Mariner which Amazon is showing at $169 right now. https://www.amazon.com/Fujinon-Marin...s%2C286&sr=8-4

I have been pleased with my set and have been impressed with how well they work in low light scenarios like just after dusk.
Thank you for the help, yes, the Hooway brand was the item I was considering. I really don't need the range finder (I used to use a stadimeter, no joke!), but I love having a compass bearing when I am looking at something.

I almost forgot the "Steiner" brand, probably top of the line, but very expensive and I'd hate to drop them over the side!

I just checked out West Marine as well for what they have available. I don't mind spending some money, but $1,500 for a set of binoculars for what I use them for is a bit excessive...

EDIT: Just found a set of Fujinon binoculars on sale at Defender which fit my desires perfectly!
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Old 05-27-2022, 04:12 PM   #4
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Happy to help you spend your money, so here goesÖ..

I wouldnít buy a pair of binoculars that arenít stabilized. With un-stabilized binoculars, either the magnification isnít enough to see what you are looking at, or if the magnification is enough, there is too much movement to see what you are looking. With stabilization, you get the magnification you need, and the stability to use it.

We have both the Fujinon and Canon stabilized binocs. I think the Fujinon have better stabilization, but they are bulkier, heavier, and more expensive. The Canons are much easier to handle and easier on the wallet, but not as good as the Fujinon. My wife and Inhave both come to the same conclusion, but thatís a sample size of only two.
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Old 05-27-2022, 04:21 PM   #5
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Happy to help you spend your money, so here goesÖ..

I wouldnít buy a pair of binoculars that arenít stabilized. With un-stabilized binoculars, either the magnification isnít enough to see what you are looking at, or if the magnification is enough, there is too much movement to see what you are looking. With stabilization, you get the magnification you need, and the stability to use it.

We have both the Fujinon and Canon stabilized binocs. I think the Fujinon have better stabilization, but they are bulkier, heavier, and more expensive. The Canons are much easier to handle and easier on the wallet, but not as good as the Fujinon. My wife and Inhave both come to the same conclusion, but thatís a sample size of only two.
I took a look at the image stabilized binos from Fujinon, they are within my budget, but they do not come with a compass and require a battery, which of course gives me some concern, because the battery will either die at the least opportune moment, or be dead 5 minutes after I push out.

I used un-stabilized binoculars during my career at sea without issue, so I suspect given the "unprofessional" nature of my current activities, this is a feature I will have to do without.

I do appreciate the input, however!
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Old 05-27-2022, 04:37 PM   #6
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I agree completely win Twistedtree, and have both Fujinons and Cannons. I would go for the Fujinon. The lack of compass doesn't bother me because in the modern GPS, chart plotter era, I never have any desire to take bearings off of points or marks and plot it on a paper chart. I don't even know what else I would use the compass for? 99 percent of what I use them for is checking out cool boats, cool houses on shore, and wildlife. The Fujinons are by far the best for all three of these uses. I get pleasure just picking them up, they seem so big and cool and expensive, They make me feel like I am on my way to the Hoth ice planet.
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Old 05-27-2022, 04:50 PM   #7
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I have the Steiner 7x50 marine unstabilized version which I use the most. A big pair of Fujinon stabilized (least use) and some Swarovski EL’s, which are by leaps and bounds the best glass but very pricey and the clarity isn’t necessary, used more when on shore or examining the shore when stationary for interesting wildlife. .
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Old 05-27-2022, 05:30 PM   #8
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Also have the Steiners and love them. Compass is readable and optics are outstanding. They are used the most. Do some celestial and you won’t miss the stabilization. For me there’s an issue with weight and mass. Want enough but not too much. Want simple and no battery. Want good low light and no chromatic dispersion.
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Old 05-27-2022, 06:04 PM   #9
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Guess I'm going to chime in, in favor of Fujinon 7x50, 7 deg 30 min marine binoculars. My gold standard for decades. On every boat I've been aboard, the vast majority of useage was these Fujinons, even when stabilized binoculars (Fujinon, Canon, others) were laying there alongside. Personally, I have no current need for an internal compass, and certainly not range finding. And I don't find the arguably-superior optical quality of Steiners (never tried the Swarovskis) to be worth the money.

Fujinons aren't cheap. But when you need good optics, they're always there, without attendant hassles of power buttons, battery charge, zoom imagery, or the need for stabilization. And when you need 'em, money saved on cheap binoculars is usually low on the priority list. I find Fujinon 7x50's strike just the right balance.

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Old 05-27-2022, 06:14 PM   #10
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I recently bought a pair of Sig Sauer stabilized 16X binoculars for $699 at sportsmans warehouse.

They FAR exceed my expectations and needs on the boat.

As far as I am concerned they represent a fantastic value!
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Old 05-27-2022, 06:20 PM   #11
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EDIT: Just found a set of Fujinon binoculars on sale at Defender which fit my desires perfectly!
Seems like they have a nice sale running this weekend. Glad you didn't do the Hooway, I think you'll be happier with the Fujinon.
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Old 05-27-2022, 06:34 PM   #12
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I have the Steiner's with compass. I have never used them for bearings. If all my electronic MFDs, IPads, Iphones failed I have a handheld bearing compass that I could use.

My old Nikon 7X35's get the most usage for spotting buoys or general scenery viewing. Excellent light gathering and crystal clear optics.

I would love a pair of stabilized for spotting buoys but really don't need them. Navigation apps bring me close enough for my MkIII eyeball.
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:22 PM   #13
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I have the Steiner 7x50 marine unstabilized version which I use the most. A big pair of Fujinon stabilized (least use) and some Swarovski EL’s, which are by leaps and bounds the best glass but very pricey and the clarity isn’t necessary, used more when on shore or examining the shore when stationary for interesting wildlife. .
+1 on this choice.

My Steiner 7x50 Marine is my goto. It has a huge lens and therefore a bright wide field of vision, it is focus free which is another huge plus and great optics. It's armored and waterproof and is sitting right now beside me in my house (we live on the water) and I grab it weekly at home and take to the boat when needed. It was moderately priced I thought at the time (although I do not recall the actual price). I also have a super expensive stabilized Fujinon that I have never used in anger. I keep the batteries out of it, and only make it ready for use on passages to new destinations where the ability to focus on a channel marker might be important. I now consider this a largely wasted expense, although a very nice toy. The Fujinon replaced a Nikon (or Canon, sorry I can't remember which) stabilized which I cannot recommend due to premature deteioration of the rubberized housings (stickiness).

PS There is a Steiner Marine online right now for $329. I consider that a bargain.

~A
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:27 PM   #14
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I bought Steiner 7x50s for my wife for Christmas when we were full time cruising. She was complaining about having to wake me up on night watches when she couldn't make out some nav lights etc. clearly with our old ones.
Remarkably the other cruiser women thought it was a fantastic gift.
16 years later they needed a refurbishment, new rubber from sun damage etc. and that was free! The agent even apologised because it took a few months to get done. Next level customer service.
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:29 PM   #15
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+ 1 for Fujinon. Had mine for 25 years. A tad heavy, but rugged.
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Old 05-27-2022, 09:31 PM   #16
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Bought 7x50 Steiner marine and military for boat. Seems to work good. No focus needed and forgiving pupil distance. About $350.
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Old 05-27-2022, 10:34 PM   #17
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We have 7X50s and a pair of stabilized Nikons that we have had for over 20 years. My wife used to say the Nikons were too heavy and complicated until she used them on an extended trip. We would take bOth pairs up to the flybridge each day. But after the second day she never wanted to use the 7X50s anymore. The batteries in the Nikons last the whole season, 6 months here. The power of magnification is wonderful to use and the stabilizers make the magnification useable.
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Old 05-27-2022, 10:43 PM   #18
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Stabilized binoculars are great, but I'd want a pair of 7x50s on hand as well. If nothing else for their good low light performance. The higher end Fujinons are excellent, but their less expensive Mariner line is significantly cheaper. It's not as good, but they're still definitely good binoculars.
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Old 05-27-2022, 11:16 PM   #19
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Another +1 for the Fujinon stabilized binocs. Worth every penny, especially for wildlife viewing. Once youíve used them you canít go back.
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Old 05-28-2022, 05:21 AM   #20
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I had a pair of Fujinon 14x40 stabilized binoculars and still have my Fuijnon 7x50's with the compass. Love the 7x50's, hated the stabilized. Heavy and too narrow field of view for my taste. Plus, every time you pick them up you have to wait a bit for them to boot up. Scanning with them is near impossible with their narrow field of view. Yes, you can see a lot further but I found that I rarely found them useful.
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