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Old 27-07-2009, 17:45   #31
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Steiner 7X40 Military Marine. I couldn't be happier with them!! Light, crisp, bulletproof. (though they lack the compass). Buck up for the Steiners and you can't go wrong. The Germans know their optics better than anyone.
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Old 27-07-2009, 18:26   #32
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About 18 months ago I purchased the Steiner Navigator 7 x 30 Pro C binocs ($399 on Amazon) and have used them on 5 weeks of sailing since. They are small, light and work well at night. They have an integrated lit compass and exude quality (nothin' like good glass!). For hundreds less than the Commander 7 x 50, you only drop from 390' field of view (at 1,000 yards) to 369'. They weigh only slightly more than half of the Steiner Commander 7 x 50 XPs...
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Old 27-07-2009, 18:52   #33
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Zeiss. Don't forget Zeiss. Proly better than all, but then more expensive too.

http://www.zeiss.com/C12567A80033F8E...256F80003D6013

Comparison of Zeiss and Fujinon: http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthrea...sed/sb/5/o/all
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Old 27-07-2009, 22:13   #34
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Ah Zeiss, of course! I used these while I was in the army and I hated them because they were heavy and distorted. But, they were also 50 years old.... We also had the versions with amplification and they were great (night only). After reading the link Hiracer posted I think they are being left behind a bit technology-wise (old tech prisms, no coatings(??) and no mention of nitrogen to keep moisture out) but probably make up for that with pure quality.

I dealt with Zeiss optics and lasers in Leopard tanks and they were superb.

Hank&Karen: I completely agree with your choice. It's much better to buy that Steiner model instead of a so-so unit that does 7x50. However, buying a 2nd hand 7x50 of equal quality might give you that little extra for the same $$$. The problem is that you can never be sure what you get when buying 2nd hand from eBay etc.

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Old 28-07-2009, 03:16   #35
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OK, I have been reading plenty about bino's over the years and have owned a few different 7 x 50's but what I would like to know from folk with first hand marine experince is the difference between using quality 7 x 50's and using quality image stablized higher magnification units.

We all know that 7 x's is the upper limit for hand held unstabilized binos but are the stabilized higher magnification units more useful on a yacht or not?

I guess I am not ready to buy a high end image stabilized unit just to see if they are really more useful than a high end 7 x 50.
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Old 28-07-2009, 05:11   #36
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7 x 50 is standard for marine use, as any higher magnification will be difficult or impossible to hold steady.

BaK-4 prisms are also pretty standard nowadays.

Light transmission, I can only speak anecdotally, but I snagged a pair of these on sale a few years ago:

West Marine: Tahiti Waterproof 7x50 Center-Focus Binoculars with Compass Product Display

and have been very happy with them.
I checked in WM the other day and these also fit the bill for light tx - not entirely sure about eye relief, but seems fine (for me).

I think you have found your $300 of binocs.
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Old 28-07-2009, 06:18   #37
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OK, I have been reading plenty about bino's over the years and have owned a few different 7 x 50's but what I would like to know from folk with first hand marine experince is the difference between using quality 7 x 50's and using quality image stablized higher magnification units.
7x magnification is the best balance for being able to spot something on the horizon. That balance is between seeing it, and narrowing the view too much in order to get the magnification.

Obviously, once you have seen it, a better magnification does make it easier to identify.

The other trade off is weight. If you have a pair of binos that you are happy to hold, and hang round your neck all day, they are of more use than a much heavier image stabilised set - despite how good those may be. At the end of the day, it is each persons own decision on what works best for him.
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Old 28-07-2009, 06:50   #38
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..........The other trade off is weight. If you have a pair of binos that you are happy to hold, and hang round your neck all day, they are of more use than a much heavier image stabilised set - despite how good those may be. At the end of the day, it is each persons own decision on what works best for him.
Hmm... well my past experience is that I only pick them up to use them, the rest of the time they live in the rack just inside the companion way, so weight (around the neck) isn't an issue for me; but being a tight-a*se, I don't want to buy high magnification image stabilized ones just to find out which works the best for me but also I want to get the best that works for me.

However, thanks for your input, I appreciate it.
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Old 28-07-2009, 07:13   #39
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I have two pair of binos. a $1200 pair of Zeiss7x50 and a $500 pair of Nikon StabilEyes 12x32. The Nikon wins hands down. Nothing looks good when the image is bouncing around, period.....With the stabil I can read marker numbers from distances that with non stabil I could barely tell there was a marker present.
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Old 28-07-2009, 07:29   #40
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Thanks for the input Randy, it sounds like you are not as tight as me (); BTW, which bino's do you prefer for night use?
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Old 28-07-2009, 11:08   #41
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After reading the link Hiracer posted I think they are being left behind a bit technology-wise (old tech prisms, no coatings(??) and no mention of nitrogen to keep moisture out) but probably make up for that with pure quality.
Not the case at all. In fact, because of their market niche they led the field in the use of floride glass, which partly explains their expense (something few other binos use). They are fully coated, of course, with their proprietary coating. I was looking to purchase a little 8x22 bino some time ago, and I was looking at Zeiss because it was just about the only one that was nitrogen filled. Most of the others were not nitrogen filled or waterproof, only water resistant.

I used Zeiss photo lenses during the 1990s. Some of those lenses would do things few other lenses would. For example, the Japanese have a word to describe the quality of the out-of-focus portion of the picture, called Bohekay (or something like that). Very few photographers would key into something as obscure as out-of-focus smoothness. But for those of us who did, Zeiss and Leica were the go-to lenses, particularly Leica. Cannon had some good Bohekay too. Pentax and Nikon very infrequently; their out-of-focus was unduly harsh. That is an example of how these brands would have performance attributes that sometimes went right over the head of the average user. Most photographers look for sharpness, and stop at that.

I can remember some magazine tests in the 1990s complaining that the much cheaper Nikons lenses were as sharp, or sharper, than Zeiss and Leica comparable lenses. Which was absolutely true. But in other respects, like Bohekay, there were huge differences. But the magazines failed to mention that, of course, because they had never heard of Bohekay much less tried to use it as a photographic tool.

I don't have any Zeiss glass for binos, but I certainly wouldn't dismiss them based on my photo experiences. But they are never price competative if your only criteria is sharpness. Zeiss and Leica are usually not just about sharpness. Sharpness as a design objective is but a starting point.
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Old 28-07-2009, 12:14   #42
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FWIW, on the boat I have two Fujinons, both Polaris. The 7x50s which I use at night, and the 8x30s which is my go-to day glass. Sadly, the latter is no longer made. If I break it, I don't know what I would do to replace it. It's an absolutely wonderful piece of glass.




An aside: I can remember running around the ridges of Mt McKinley (Denali) chasing Dahl sheep with a professional photographer, a friend of mine. He was lugging about $15K of photo gear, and me almost as much.

He was using these cheap 10x22 binos. I was carring high end 7x35s. He kept borrowing mine because "they were more powerful." And this was from a guy who knew better.

Last I looked, he is STILL carrying cheap binos. Since then I'm pretty sure he has spent an easy $25K or more on photo upgrades and replacements, but he's probably packing the same bino. There is no hope for him.

I have other friend who literally purchased a 37' motor boat on impulse during a lunch break. He has that kind of money (well, used to). He has cheap binos too, and I keep telling him to get some Polaris or something. He blew me off until we went sailing on my boat and he used the Polaris.

Some people don't like to spend $$ on binos.
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Old 29-07-2009, 06:23   #43
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Practical Sailor tests Marine Binoculars Over $300
Marine Binoculars Over $300

CONCLUSION
In our previous test (Binoculars Under $300), optical performance among binoculars was virtually identical. This time around, however, differences in optical performance came to light. The best binocular in this test offers significantly better optics and viewing than the best of the less-expensive binoculars of our last test. In that test, every unit allowed users to read channel marker numbers from a maximum of 2,500 feet.

In this test, the best binoculars allowed testers to read markers at an impressive 4,000 feet. The Swarovski had the best visual acuity, followed by the Fujinon and then the Commander V.

But sharpness is only one piece of our conclusion pie. We selected the Fujinon as our top pick because it has Excellent visual acuity, rugged construction, outstanding optics, and a lifetime warranty—all at a reasonable price.
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Old 03-08-2009, 02:32   #44
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I have just been advised by a local Optical service center (and Nikon trained) that Nikon don't actually manufacture binoculars, they come out of the Bushnell factory - badged as Nikon of course; and Bushnell source their optical components from a variety of sources.

Can anyone confirm (or otherwise) this info?
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:56   #45
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... Nikon don't actually manufacture binoculars, they come out of the Bushnell factory - badged as Nikon of course; and Bushnell source their optical components from a variety of sources...
I doubt it - Nikon is a world-leader in optics.
It's possible (but doubtfull) that Bushnell assembles binoculars from Nikon optics.
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