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Old 22-01-2011, 12:10   #31
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Completely dissenting opinion: I've never found binoculars of much use on a small boat. Too much motion. And taking bearings over the binnacle compass will work fine if you're reduced to that.

I'd say spend the money on a spare hand-held GPS or two and some batteries. That'll tell you where you are.

This from a guy who probably has done more of his sailing in the days before there even was GPS. Oh, the long past romance of the sea-- and being lost all the time!
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Old 22-01-2011, 12:44   #32
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For inshore navigation, GPS is only trustworthy with modern surveys. If the GPS and chart don't match up, you need visual aid.
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Old 22-01-2011, 19:32   #33
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An image stabilized data point: Bought a pair of Canon 10x30 stabilized binocs via Amazon for just over 300$ about three years ago. Been on the boat ever since. Live under the dodger while underway, and not used in active rain/spray conditions, 'cause they are not even claimed to be water resistant.

Good points: The IS really works. No trouble with hand shake at 10x. Battery life is ok, we use Ni-H rechargeables (2xAA) and they are good for about three weeks of active use. The extra magnification compared to our 7x50 Fujinons is often useful for our old eyes. They are very light weight, so one-hand use is possible.

Bad points: The optics are not nearly as good as the Fuli's -- images are not as sharp or as bright, but are usually good enough. Obviously, the lack of water resistance is unfortunate... the "marine" model was around 500 bucks dearer... might have had better optics, too... don't know. Rubber coating has degraded in humid, hot climates, and is now kinda sticky and yucky.

Would I buy again? Probably... it is sure nice to be able to read the names of ships and the numbers on buoys and so on, even when the boat is bouncing a bit.

Do wish they had a compass, though!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Towlers Bay, NSW, Oz
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Old 22-01-2011, 19:46   #34
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My dad bought a pair of 7 x 50 "Kurt Muller" binoculars after the end of World War II in a largely flattened Hamburg. I have been told they have Zeiss lenses, and I can believe it. I bought a similar pair for $25 off eBay. With the money I saved I bought a decent David pistol-grip compass.

Works for me. I can see going for Fujinons or Steiner Commanders when we push off, for the sole reason that I would like to take bearings to lit towers at night. But it's a steel boat, and I've got to stand on the aluminum roof of the pilothouse to reduce the error!
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Old 22-01-2011, 19:59   #35
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I have a pair of fujinons Polaris absolutely brilliant

Dave
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Old 22-01-2011, 22:42   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
I have been told they have Zeiss lenses, and I can believe it.
Zeiss binoculars are to die for. When I'm on the boat, I'm using the Steiner Commander V binos, but when I'm in the field, the Zeiss are around my neck.

My students--the smart ones, anyway--have come to understand that things can be pretty casual in the classroom. But once we're in the field, the moment the Zeiss are donned, it's time to get serious.
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Old 22-01-2011, 23:46   #37
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Well (and I'm guessing here), the ones my dad owned have to be from 1946-52, while the ones I got from eBay are very similar, but 7 x 35. Both are very solid. If they are Zeiss lenses (which I am gathering from a single reference on a website as the "Kurt Muller" brand is not well attested), I would have to say that the chromatic fidelity is what really stands out. A faded red buoy will POP out of greenish-gray water through these glasses in a manner I have only seen on the rare times I've looked through top-end binos...although I must admit my old Freiberger sextant, used to find land bearings, has the same saturated colour delivery.

For non-serious "what's that?" water watching, I have a pair of 4 x 30 Bushnell birders' glasses (all rubberized) and a 10 x 50 pair of cheap Tascos I got as a kid for astronomy.

Realistically, I think anything over 7 power is pushing it on a boat. Because you are sweeping an area, you want a wide field of view, and a higher power is going to be jerky as hell.

Nonetheless, like the rest of you, I wouldn't object to a pair of current Steiners, with or without compass, and mainly because they are lighter so my wife and kid would choose them.
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Old 23-01-2011, 20:40   #38
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Thanks for your responses, they are much appreciated! There are so many to individually respond to, but I have drawn a bit more of wisdom from each one of you; especially MarkJ .

On a side note: What is up with corporate sales America/world? Such crappy website/product info. If I wanted to sell a quality product, I would make every tidbit of info easily available from one page, and not make customers scrounge through five different retailer's sites just to find specifications info. Sheesh.

So here are the reasons I chose the pair I did.
1. twilight/night clarity
2. large eye relief
3. warranty
4. compass
5. price

The Fujinon Polaris (>95% light, compass, 23mm eye relief, lifetime warranty) were looking very nice, but at $700+, ouch. Then I found the Steiner Commander V #392 (>96% light, compass, 30yr warranty, 22mm eye relief) for a seriously, ridiculously low price and,,, DONE DEAL!

Thanks again!
-Brent
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Old 23-01-2011, 21:33   #39
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You will not be disappointed with the Steiner Commander V -- great choice!
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Old 25-01-2011, 12:57   #40
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I agree with having good binocs on board. That and a good compass if you're not in a lake.

Question:

I just got a new pair in. It's winter, and about the most I have tried them on is the full moon. But I'm having trouble using them, and I'm wondering if it's just acquiring better skill, or if I have a bad pair. I have had other binocs before, albeit weaker and cheaper.

It seems that no matter how I adjust the center-to-center distance, I still wind up seeing 2 objects. I do normally wear eye glasses, so I have to take them off to get a good viewing. Once I adjust the diopter, I just can't seem to get the images to converge. Is this just an adjustment problem, or is there a problem with the axis of the 2 sides being off? I've not experienced this before except for the first few moments of using a pair.

What I got are Promariner Watersport 7 X 50 Waterproof Floating Binocula, from Hodges Marine Electronics.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 25-01-2011, 13:02   #41
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bassman, We had a pair that did that exact same thing. In our case the optics were out of alignment and we had to send them back for repair. You might have a couple other folks try them out and see if they have the same problem. Chuck
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Old 25-01-2011, 13:14   #42
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I got a pair of Optisan High Seas for my Bday last summer. Love em. Used them on a cruising course last fall used them for taking sights for the navigation portion and they proved themselves worthy. The one thing that is great is it brings whatever you are trying to take a bearing on right up close so you get a more accurate sighting, especially in low light. I'm in the WITH group.
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Old 25-01-2011, 13:14   #43
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Quote:
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bassman, We had a pair that did that exact same thing. In our case the optics were out of alignment and we had to send them back for repair. You might have a couple other folks try them out and see if they have the same problem. Chuck
Thanks.
A good friend of mine was an opticalman in the navy for 10 years. But I haven't been able to get him on the horn to find out what he thinks.

So, if a few others try them out, and we all have the same issue, then it probably means they need warranty work. Makes sense.
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Old 25-01-2011, 13:23   #44
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bassman-
"I just can't seem to get the images to converge. "
That sounds like they literally are BENT. Private label, off-brand, forgive me if I say "cheap" binocs are often not aligned properly. It can be the optics or the frame itself, but if they are not aligned you will never be able to align the images.

I would send them back. Preferably for a total return and refund, not just a repair. If they passed a qc test and shipped that way to start with--you don't really want to do business with that company.
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Old 25-01-2011, 13:26   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassman1956 View Post
I

It seems that no matter how I adjust the center-to-center distance, I still wind up seeing 2 objects. I do normally wear eye glasses, so I have to take them off to get a good viewing. Once I adjust the diopter, I just can't seem to get the images to converge. Is this just an adjustment problem, or is there a problem with the axis of the 2 sides being off? I've not experienced this before except for the first few moments of using a pair.

What I got are Promariner Watersport 7 X 50 Waterproof Floating Binocula, from Hodges Marine Electronics.

What are your thoughts?
You seem to grasp the basic principles and variables, so I would ask if you have tried focusing on a near-distant object using only the left lens (adjusted for left eye, and only the right (same deal). If you do from a fixed point (brace your arms), you should see the parallax (the object should be like a street sign 100 yards distant, say). If this appears wonky, they might be literally bent, but too miminally to notice by just looking at the things. (EDIT: I see "bent" is the consensus opinion!).

I of course am assuming you don't have one wandering eye or one eye considerably less focused than the other, in which case I recommend a good achromatic sight glass and a patch. And a parrot.
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