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Old 17-02-2016, 10:35   #1
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Compass Binocs

I'm going to the States next week and am thinking what to bring back with me. Already ordered a new HX870 (will sell the old HX851, which I didn't like very much, here).

I need compass binocs, as my el cheapo Fuji ones have fallen apart. There were a big disappointment after my beat up old non-compass ones, which are optically the best binocs I've ever used. I also have a pair of non-compass Nikon binocs handed down from my father -- total carp. So the only decent binocs I have on board at the moment are a pair of daytime Leicas -- very compact and magnificent optics, but very small apertures so only for daytime.

Anyway I need one with a compass for collision avoidance and taking bearings. I have my eye on the Steiner Navigator Pro-C (available in either 30 or 50 aperture), but after the horror of the budget line Fujis, I wonder if these are subpar too?

Any tips? I'd love to have a pair of Steiner Commanders but it's not in the budget this year. All tips appreciated.
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Old 17-02-2016, 10:52   #2
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Re: Compass Binocs

We're happy enough with our Steiner navigator compass binoc's. A bit disappointed initially that the compass didn't work so well in the northern hemisphere, but it's ok now we are around 14 degrees Lat. I haven't tried many other brands so can't compare. The cap on top of the compass broke so I glued it back. Steiner offered to repair it but It I would have needed to post it to them. A bit difficult when we are cruising. I prefer companies that allow you to exchange at a local supplier if the products aren't up to par.
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Old 17-02-2016, 10:55   #3
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Re: Compass Binocs

I just bought new Steiners

Dockhead, I am a ratbag misogynist single guy that all women hate, but if you actually have a spousey perhaps you could do with a set of compass binocs each. So you can say loving things like "Look at bearing 345 we're gonna die!"

So I put to you that the upper level Steiners are extremely expensive... HOWEVER West Marine has a labled brand of Steiners similar to the Navigator but at half the price - so I bought them!
You could buy 2

As for the expensive ones, the Commander series, I really couldn't see the difference being worth the really quite huge price. Lovely to have, but really, I could buy a bigger boat, almost.

Mark
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Old 17-02-2016, 11:01   #4
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Re: Compass Binocs

I think, you having a Leica, is going to tarnish you on others.
Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss I beleive all have one thing in common, Zeiss lenses. That is old data, Leica may make their own now, but the essence of anything optical is lens quality, and Leica is about as good as it gets.

Maybe want to forego the compass thing, and just get a great (expensive) set of Bino's?
My Canon image stabilized really impressed me for what they are, but they are no Leica.
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Old 17-02-2016, 11:06   #5
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Re: Compass Binocs

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I think, you having a Leica, is going to tarnish you on others.
Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss I beleive all have one thing in common, Zeiss lenses. That is old data, Leica may make their own now, but the essence of anything optical is lens quality, and Leica is about as good as it gets.

Maybe want to forego the compass thing, and just get a great (expensive) set of Bino's?
My Canon image stabilized really impressed me for what they are, but they are no Leica.
Leitz and Zeiss are arch-rivals, so I'm pretty sure the Leica lenses are made by them (even if the company has been split and sold off several times).

I have a bag fully of Leica lenses (including a Noctilux) waiting for me to ever get around to buying a digital Leica back, after finally selling off my last chemical camera. Not in the budget this year.


I must have a compass because the main purpose of these is taking bearings. I have various non-compass binocs on board which are usable for non-compass purposes (90% of the time I use the Leicas, which fit in your pocket).
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Old 17-02-2016, 11:10   #6
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Re: Compass Binocs

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I just bought new Steiners

Dockhead, I am a ratbag misogynist single guy that all women hate, but if you actually have a spousey perhaps you could do with a set of compass binocs each. So you can say loving things like "Look at bearing 345 we're gonna die!"

So I put to you that the upper level Steiners are extremely expensive... HOWEVER West Marine has a labled brand of Steiners similar to the Navigator but at half the price - so I bought them!
You could buy 2

As for the expensive ones, the Commander series, I really couldn't see the difference being worth the really quite huge price. Lovely to have, but really, I could buy a bigger boat, almost.

Mark
Hot tip.

WM seems to have the (actually branded) Navigator Pro C for $450 -- in 7 x 30. That's a pretty good price. Considering I paid $200 for the utter carp Fuji Mariners I have just thrown away.

Is the Navigator series carp too? One vote from Mark that it is not.
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Old 17-02-2016, 11:16   #7
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Re: Compass Binocs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Hot tip.

WM seems to have the (actually branded) Navigator Pro C for $450 -- in 7 x 30. That's a pretty good price. Considering I paid $200 for the utter carp Fuji Mariners I have just thrown away.

Is the Navigator series carp too? One vote from Mark that it is not.
I certainly couldn't see any difference in the WM branded Steiners and the 'real' Navigators. I tested them in 2 stores over 2 weeks.

But either way, $450 is a good price. My old Nikons were about that. And its 1/3 of the price of Commanders!
I take it the $450 have the compass? I think that's pretty vital.
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Old 17-02-2016, 11:25   #8
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Re: Compass Binocs

dockhead, if you want clear vision in low light, you're going to forget about 7x30 and such and stick to 50mm objective lenses. It is that simple, unless you have incredibly small pupils in your eyes.


Leitz, Zeiss, Swarovski, AFAIK all three are actually among the few optics houses that have their own kilns and literally make their own glass, to their own highly proprietary specs. And then each applies their own secret multi-layer coatings to each lens. They certainly do charge a premium, but I have used spotting scopes from all three, as well as a number of the binocs, and there's simply no comparison for extreme clarity without artifacts or distortion.
Some people don't notice the difference, they're likely to think McDonald's makes a fine hamburger, too. But if you really can see, appreciate, use the difference? If necessary hold out for it, very few people have "buyer remorse" after going top shelf in optics.
DO find someplace where you can actually look through them prior to buying. Part of what you get from those three is usually lifetime warranty support, no questions asked, and very high quality control on the lenses. Sometimes a cheaper brand can be just as good as a top brand--if you luck out and that lens happens to have been "right" on the lesser brand. But with the top names, it is always held to a higher standard.
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Old 17-02-2016, 14:36   #9
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Re: Compass Binocs

> It is that simple, unless you have incredibly small pupils in your eyes.

Even if you have small pupils a 500mm lens will gather 2.7 times the light that a 30mm one will so you can see more in low light conditions.

Make sure whatever that whatever you buy has compass that you can read in the dark. I have Bushnell 7x50s with a digital compass. They are great during the day, but I can't see the compass at night to take bearings on lights.
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Old 17-02-2016, 14:37   #10
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Re: Compass Binocs

I'm surprised to discover that Steiner binocs are far cheaper in Germany.

The Navigator Pro C 7 x 50 is only 399 euros, or about $440, or cheaper than the 7 x 30 are at West Marine.

I guess it's the Euro exchange rate, which is at 1.1 compared to the more usual 1.3 or 1.4.

The Commander XP C is about $900 new.

But I read more and more about how the Fuji Polaris is a superior optic to the Steiners. Costs about $600 in the U.S. Hmmm.
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Old 17-02-2016, 14:39   #11
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Re: Compass Binocs

Yeah they are cheaper in Germany, and there's something to be said for any product with a lifetime warranty.
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Old 17-02-2016, 14:41   #12
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Re: Compass Binocs

DH, while I quite agree on the joy of using binoculars with excellent optics, in the application that you have described, that aspect is, IMO, much less important than the quality and readability of the compass. After all, when taking bearings on an oncoming ship, perfect clarity matters less than a stable and accurate compass.

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Old 17-02-2016, 15:05   #13
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Re: Compass Binocs

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
DH, while I quite agree on the joy of using binoculars with excellent optics, in the application that you have described, that aspect is, IMO, much less important than the quality and readability of the compass. After all, when taking bearings on an oncoming ship, perfect clarity matters less than a stable and accurate compass.

Jim
Wise words.

Yes, primary use is for taking bearings. Of course, if they are good as binocs as well, this is not meaningless. I'm not a birdwatcher or anything, but we all peer at stuff through binocs from time to time.

Can anyone comment on the comparative compass quality, stability, and readability on:

Steiner Commander C
Steiner Navigator Pro C
Fuji Polaris?
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Old 17-02-2016, 15:08   #14
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Re: Compass Binocs

I have these, with a digital compass (no inertia, perfectly stable): MINOX: Description

I find them very good but on the heavy side.

Alain
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Old 17-02-2016, 16:24   #15
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Re: Compass Binocs

Sweet! How much?
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