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Thread: Binoculars???

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by JimConlin View Post
    10X binoculars like those Nikons will be very hard to use on a boat less than 40 feet in any seas.
    Agreed. Those are the same Nikons I packed for daysails on my 18 footer, but between their bulk and higher magnification I switched to 8x42s and have been very happy with them.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I want to mention a good zoom camera as a supplement to binoculars, such as my Panasonic ZS 200 with 1" sensor and 360mm equiv zoom. It is better than any binocular I've used on a moving boat for resolving distant details, such as a distant boat's name or buoy number. I take a photo at max zoom and review it on the back screen without concern for boat movement. The camera's image stabilization is important of course, but it's mainly about freezing the image and then staring at it for a few seconds, as opposed to attempting to fix in one's mind a constantly moving (and possibly receding) image.

    There are far better cameras for this, such as the Sony RX10 Mk3-4 or an even bigger DSLR, but the Pany does the job and is tiny.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    So would there be much difference in 8x40 or 7X50 glasses?

    Anyone use a floating strap?

    I mostly use my binoculars from inside the pilothouse, so I am not sure that I need a PFD for the glasses
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    So would there be much difference in 8x40 or 7X50 glasses?

    Anyone use a floating strap?

    I mostly use my binoculars from inside the pilothouse, so I am not sure that I need a PFD for the glasses
    7 x 50's are much better in low light, gather more light and have bigger exit pupil also a wider angle. But much heavier.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
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  5. #40
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    The Fujinon 7x50s are light, float, have a compass, and are not that expensive, <$200.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    The Fujinon 7x50s are light, float, have a compass, and are not that expensive, <$200.
    Those are the ones I linked to above. I love 'em. Note that they only float when the strap is attached - so I leave it on all the time.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  7. #42
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    For low light, the exit pupil matters. If you hold the glass up, the exit pupil is that that white round circle you see in the eye piece. In general the ideal exit pupil should be about a big as the human pupil is, for max light gathering. That's about an average of 7mm. The exit pupil happens to be equal to the objective (big lens) size divided by the power. A 7x50 glass has a 50mm objective and is 7 power, so exit pupil just over 50mm/7 = about 7mm.

    The Fujion is a good glass for the price. I think the Steiner is worth the extra (more than double) price for the sharpness and durability. Mine are about 40 years old and like new. There are pricier and "better" glasses than the Steiner, but they don't match my investment/benefit calculus. Everyone has their own place.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I dug out my old WWII naval glasses. They were at the office. They weigh close to 5 pounds. They were made by National Instrument Co. from Houston. 7x50. They are fixed focus. Why are USN glasses fixed focus?
    .
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    So Jeff, did Santa bring you binoculars? What kind?
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    So Jeff, did Santa bring you binoculars? What kind?
    Santa was very kind and considerate this year but must not have had room for binocs in the sleigh. But I'm one of those whose birthday falls within the holiday time circle. So maybe yet....

    Jeff

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Some things are too important to be left to chance. Iíve bought some of my favorite gifts.
    THis Xmas, I was very glad to receive a Lie-Nielsen block plane.

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Santa was very kind and considerate this year but must not have had room for binocs in the sleigh. But I'm one of those whose birthday falls within the holiday time circle. So maybe yet....

    Jeff
    I've had a pair of Nikon 8 x 23 for many years, barely adequate. Thanks to this thread I put the Steiner 7 x 50s in the cart to see if Santa would take the hint. She did! I tried them out on Tomales Bay last week and spent much of the time watching crisp images of birds not visible to my naked eye. What an improvement! Thanks for starting this.

    -Rick

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Since we are not talking price, I'd say go for one with vision stabilization. Especially useful on a small 24 foot boat. Probably about 5 times more expensive that the standard model. But what good are they if you cant see anything because of all the bouncing around

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I have decided to buy a pair of 7x50 Nikon binoculars
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    OK, to bring this back full circle.... For my birthday I received a pair of Vortex Diamondback 8x28 binocs. These were my preferred pair after reading all the responses and talking to a few friends. These are very lightweight and have really clear optics. A big plus is that they have an easy adjustment that allows one to use them while wearing glasses or not. And, double bonus, the feature seems to work well!

    I've yet to use them while out on my boat but I think they will perform well.

    Thanks to all for taking interest in this topic.

    Jeff

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I hope they are what you wanted

    I just ordered a pair of 7x50 Nikon binoculars. I am hoping they're a real upgrade from the ones I am using.
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  17. #52
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    OK, to bring this back full circle.... For my birthday I received a pair of Vortex Diamondback 8x28 binocs. These were my preferred pair after reading all the responses and talking to a few friends. These are very lightweight and have really clear optics. A big plus is that they have an easy adjustment that allows one to use them while wearing glasses or not. And, double bonus, the feature seems to work well!

    I've yet to use them while out on my boat but I think they will perform well.

    Thanks to all for taking interest in this topic.

    Jeff

    I went with Vortex for both my binos and spotting scope. They are light and very user friendly and the optics are great. They also have excellent service -- no charge to fix anything that goes wrong.

    The only downside -- both the binos and the scope had to go back to the shop for work. Remarkably, the binos had a human hair stuck inside one eyepiece. It was assembled that way! And a retainer ring of some sort inside the scope eyepiece worked loose so it wouldn't zoom properly. The entire eyepiece was replaced with an updated model. All of this at no cost. The turnaround for the repairs was quite speedy, too.
    -Dave

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I got a chance to use my new Nikon binoculars out on the water. They are a huge improvement from the ones I had been using. Thanks to this thread for leading me to think about upgrading my binoculars

    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    I dug out my old WWII naval glasses. They were at the office. They weigh close to 5 pounds. They were made by National Instrument Co. from Houston. 7x50. They are fixed focus. Why are USN glasses fixed focus?
    .
    I will guess. The USN decided in its wisdom that all USN seamen have 20-20 vision and would always be looking at distant objects.

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    or.... it's the navy way or the highway.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I do suspect that naval personnel are not looking at anything close up. Hence the fixed focus.

    You can adjust one eye piece to correct any deficiencies in your vision. These binoculars were my Dad's, adjusted to his eyes. My mother had her own set, adjusted for her. The two sets of binoculars sat side by side on the window sill in their waterfront house
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    For a bit of historical perspective...

    Years ago, I paid $150 in a pawn shop for a cased 16 power USN Quartermaster's Spyglass. That was a chunk of change for my budget back then, but I couldn't resist it. It's one of those things I don't use often, but I'm happy to own it. It's rather unwieldy on a small boat at around three feet long, but you can sure "reach out and touch someone" with it and the "Arrrrgh" value is off the charts. They come up on eBay now and again. Like with any old glass, you have to make sure the lenses haven't clouded up. This Navy glass is adjustable focusing. Once you have your binoculars, one might want to snag one of these just for fun if you get the chance.







  23. #58
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    SCORE! That's really cool, Bob!

  24. #59
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    I bought Barska Floatmaster binoculars after reading reviews from this site. I am really happy with the purchase, you can see other best options as well.

  25. #60
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Ditto the recommendation for Vortex. Basically a Swarovski knockoff at half the price. We have two big ones for home and boat, an a smaller pair for the bicycle. Rugged and well guaranteed.

  26. #61
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    About a month ago I bought an Opticron monocular for kayaking. I had been taking binocs paddling, but even the small Steiners were awkward at times. The monocular fits inside a life jacket pocket. Great for birds as well as identifying nav aids, distant traffic and so on. It's an 8x32 scope, less than half the size and weight of my 8x42 Vortex binos, and almost as good. The optics are very good for the price.
    -Dave

  27. #62
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Forty years ago in Hong Kong I spent a fortune on a pair of West German Zeiss 7x50s. I’ve still got them; they have been overhauled once.

    I also have a pair of East German Zeiss 7x50s for garden bird watching and a 6x30 monocular from the same people, which goes in a pocket.

    The monocular on a Plath sextant is one of these. When I found myself putting the sextant telescope in my oilskins pocket I bought another…
    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 05-26-2022 at 05:37 AM.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  28. #63
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    From 60 years of messing in boats a couple of things are worth mentioning.
    7x50's are an optimum size because the pupil in your eye can't open much over 7mm. (To find an optimum pair you would divide the objective lens by the magnification i.e. 50 divided by 7 equals 7 (an optimum exit pupil) 35x6 is also a common binocular which (exit pupil 6mm) is pretty good and handy. On a boat less than 75 ft. anything with an exit pupil or magnification over "7" is not optimum. Note the greater the magnification the more difficult it is to hold them stable.
    On my wee yawl I have two pair, the std 7x50 and a small pair 4x20 that fits in my pocket. When I am navigating in a channel, buoy to buoy in a small boat the movement is so great I can not read the numbers until I am on top of it. I then use the 7x50's to find the "mark" and the 4x20's to read the number...

    On a larger boat this is not the case a much mare stable platform (most of the time) 7x50's are what I kept in the wheelhouse, and they are especially good for night vision.

    My favorite for messing around in small boats are 4x20 Pentax which fit in my (buttoned) shirt pocket...
    sometimes less is more, this is my experience

  29. #64
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    Default Re: Binoculars???

    Interesting thread.

    In 12 years+ of small boat sailing, sometimes in remote (often at least semi-remote) waters, I've never once had the thought that "Gee, I wish I had a set of binoculars right now." It's just never seemed necessary. Or even desirable. And most of all, probably impractical in a small boat with lively motion anyway.

    I suppose my experience is shaped partly by the ease of eyeball navigation in the non-tidal waters I'm usually (but not always) sailing in.

    But good to remember that the cheapest, and sometimes most practical option of all when it comes to a piece of gear, is to do without it.

    (Do you think this is why some of my editors have stopped assigning me gear review articles?)

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  30. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Interesting thread.

    In 12 years+ of small boat sailing, sometimes in remote (often at least semi-remote) waters, I've never once had the thought that "Gee, I wish I had a set of binoculars right now." It's just never seemed necessary. Or even desirable. And most of all, probably impractical in a small boat with lively motion anyway.

    I suppose my experience is shaped partly by the ease of eyeball navigation in the non-tidal waters I'm usually (but not always) sailing in.

    But good to remember that the cheapest, and sometimes most practical option of all when it comes to a piece of gear, is to do without it.

    (Do you think this is why some of my editors have stopped assigning me gear review articles?)

    Tom

    I agree I do not need them for navigating, but the Steiners I got for Christmas now go on every trip. Watching birds and other wildlife is one of the main things I like about getting out in small boats, and the quality binoculars make a huge difference.

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