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Thread: Binoculars???

  1. #1
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    Default Binoculars???

    I was asked to supply some gift ideas... Among other items, I suggested thaat binoculars that I could take out on my day sailer would be nice. I have a not-so-good pair that go with me sometimes but they really don't reveal all that much. A poor pair are often not any better than simply squinting. So I suggested something with really sharp optics. And maybe with image stabilization. Waterproof would be a huge asset.

    So I ask you all... Recommendations? Don't consider price as a factor at this stage please. Thank you. And I'll pass along your ideas to the gift giver.

    Jeff

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I have a couple of pairs of Leupold binocs, an 8X and a 10X "McKenzie" that I really like. Armored, decent optics (no I/S) and water resistant (they say "Waterproof", but....)...I've not put them to the full "waterproof" test yet, but they've been subjected to a lot of salt and freshwater spray and a few pretty good solid wave dousings. The 10X could benefit from some I/S in my hands, but both are pretty bright in dim light with 42mm apertures.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    "Old school" says 8x is about all that is really useful on a boat. I have always been happy with a pair of 60+ yr old 8x30. They can be had for about $50. I know lots of people spend hundreds, and even thousands on high end binoculars. Do you really see that much more?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    IMO, where the expensive ones pay off is in low light--trying to find the unlit bouy in near dark. Better glass works better for that, even if objective lens diameters are the same.

    K
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I have had a pair of Steiner 7x50 Marine binoculars for several years that I really like. These:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00008ZPGS

    They also make a more expensive version with a built in bearing compass.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OJ5YHQA

    I did a bunch of research at the time and the Steiner Marine binoculars got consistent high ratings from all the reviews.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I snagged some used Steiner Marine 7x50 binoculars off ebay a few years back. Great purchase.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I have a pair of Fujinon 7x50 that I've been very happy with. Good clarity & built-in compass. Only complaint is that the lens covers don't stay on well. Easy to remove 'em though

    https://www.defender.com/product3.js...923&id=2392702
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I recently bought a pair of Nikon Prostaff 3S, 8X42. I got them specifically for birdwatching because they will focus down to about 8 feet. Super clear.
    Around $100 on Amazon. (God I hate to admit that I actually patronize Amazon)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I've never seen lens covers that do I do have a Fuji 8 X 50 with compass that lives on my boat, but they're kinda heavy. My Leupolds live in my backpack (which also goes to the boat when I do) and both pair weigh about what the Fujinon does.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    A lighter pair for hiking would be useful.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    The Steiner lens covers stay put. No complaints about them at all. But as Yeadon says, I'd want something lighter for hiking and shore use.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    I've never seen lens covers that do I do have a Fuji 8 X 50 with compass that lives on my boat, but they're kinda heavy. My Leupolds live in my backpack (which also goes to the boat when I do) and both pair weigh about what the Fujinon does.
    True. If birding, lighter is good. I haven't found them too heavy for boat use though. 31 ounces the desc. says. Waterproof & floats (with the strap attached) is also good.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    The smaller Steiner 8x30 mil marine are lighter than 7x50 and could work better as small boat binocs that can be carried on a hike.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    All good! No one has said much about image stabilization. Is that feature simply too expensive for what benefit it gives?

    Jeff

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I can't speak to image stabilization, but here's another vote for low-mid range birding binoculars. I frequently sail (and canoe) with my Celestron Nature DX 8x42s (about $150) and they've been fantastic - sharp, and (importantly) great eye relief and relatively wide field of view. Again, I haven't had experience with image stabilizing binocs, but I imagine that for me the extra weight and expense would translate to less use, especially when you just want to grab them for a quick glance at something then toss them back in your bag/bin/locker. Being relatively cheap and lightweight the Nature DX binocs are perfect for that kind of use.

    I have a pair of 10x50 porro prism Nikons I use for stargazing that I used to bring sailing, but I found that I hardly picked them up out on the water. They're much bulkier and the extra aperture was unnecessary for daysailing.

    Nathan

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Another vote for the Steiner 8x30 “military/Marine” binocs for a daysailer.
    I have some Fujinon 7x50’s on the bigger boat and they’ve served well.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Steiner 7x50 Marine for the boats, Nikon Monarch 8x30 for birding and hiking.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I use Vortex Viper HD 8x42s for everything these days. Good compromise between not too bulky or heavy, sharp optics, water and shock proof. There's a big step up in convenience when you go to roof prism binocs. I don't see the value in image stabilization or the built-in compass. It's true bigger lenses bring out the colors in dim light more effectively. But it's also true that better lenses lose less light in transmission.

    There's a great guide to binoculars here, on the Audubon site. They're judging them for birding, not boating, of course, but the information here is solid and unbiased.
    -Dave

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    These might not check all your boxes, but I’ve been very happy with them. Great optics and light gathering, and won’t break the bank at about $150. I got the 8x40 for the boat and liked them so much I got these 10x50 for home.

    D9F75CB7-1267-4700-A401-42BEDC468F50.jpg

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    At the low cost end of the spectrum I have a pair of Bushnell Waterproof 8x42 that I take out in my small boat and also use for very casual birding. They are useful for scanning the horizon for markers, etc.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvis...ine-Binoculars Very good description for marine use.
    David Satter www.sattersrestoration.com
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten" Ben Franklin

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    two thumbs up for Steiner

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    What about a monocular? Herreshoff went on in the Compleat Cruiser about the superiority of the monocular versus binoculars.
    Last edited by Bobcat; 12-01-2021 at 02:12 PM.
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I use a cheapo 8x monocular as a readily accessible optic on my cataraft. It's good enough to give me an idea of whether it'll be worthwhile to take out the more expensive binos or spotting scope. For any kind of extended viewing, both the monocular and spotter are more fatiguing than a pair of binoculars. They can also be a bit more challenging to find what you're looking for initially - I seem to have to pan around or use a secondary sighting method more often with the single tube.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I have several sets of binoculars, but my favorite is a Vortex 10 x 28 Diamondback HD. Not very expensive, excellent optics and compact. I carry these in my boat, and they always go with me in my backpack for hikes and hunting.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    You folks are making me think I should consider upgrading my binoculars from the ones I got 40 years ago as a present and the ones I found in a thrift store.

    I have WWII naval deck binoculars too, but they have a fixed focus and are really heavy.
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    You folks are making me think I should consider upgrading my binoculars from the ones I got 40 years ago as a present and the ones I found in a thrift store.

    I have WWII naval deck binoculars too, but they have a fixed focus and are really heavy.
    It’s Christmas. What more excuse to you need? Hard to beat the Steiners at $500. But I think a close second is the Nikons (post #19) for only $150.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    It’s Christmas. What more excuse to you need? Hard to beat the Steiners at $500. But I think a close second is the Nikons (post #19) for only $150.
    I am leaning toward the Nikons
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    10X binoculars like those Nikons will be very hard to use on a boat less than 40 feet in any seas.
    The 8x30 Steiners mentioned are under $300.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I wouldn't get 10x binoculars, but rather 7x or 8x
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    As I mentioned above, I have the 10x50 Nikons at home (which were handy to snap the above picture) but I have the same ones in the 8 x 40 version on the boat.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I've used a stronger monocular for mountaineering, don't do any birding, and find 7x50 perfect for boating. The exit pupil is as large as my eyes go and the Steiners are a good compromise.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    For me with small boat work, less magnification is actually better for reading the marks on buoys so 5x or even 4x. But... I still keep my old standby 7x50's on board for low light etc.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Everyone is talking about choice of magnification and objective lens diameter...

    Eye Relief - If you wear glasses this figure is really really important - I have a pair of 8x42 bins with 19mm eye relief - and I set them up for use without my glaasses -cos when used with the specs on I get a very markedly reduced field of view.

    I also own a pair of 7x50 whichI can set up as neutral so that anyone with well corrected vision can use them without further adjustment - these have an eye relief figure of 23mm.



    Gan warily
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Field of view is another critical number to look at. At a given magnification, some binocs will give you a much wider scope than others will.
    Another consideration is lens material. The cheaper ones mostly have plastic lenses, the better ones glass. The plastic is lighter but it doesn't quite perform as well as glass.
    -Dave

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