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Old 24-08-2014, 11:36   #61
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Re: Marine Binoculars

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
There is Steiner, and there is everything else.
I bought Steiners from West then returned them next day after trying them out in real conditions outside a store because they were cumbersome and fiddly to focus, plus the compass scale was not in focus for my eyes when looking simultaneously at a target. I then bought a pair of West Marine 'Antigua' binos instead, which I suspect are made for West by Fujinon. these are far superior for me, the compass scale is sharp whilst looking at a target, the centre focusing with initial eyepiece adjustment works faster and more intuitively IMO and they were $$$s cheaper too. Oh and the Steiner warranty was for 10 years only versus the West Marine's one of 30 years.

I do still have my old Fujinon ones, kept now in our condo for looking at boats on the ICW from our balcony. These were 15 years old and only replaced because the compass illumination had failed ( new batteries tried and still wouldn't work) they are excellent still except for the lighting failure so I would be very happy with Fujinon again and actually think my new West ones are rebranded ones from them anyway.

THe carry case on the West Antiguas is by far the best, very roomy and allows for rapid deployment. Also the lens caps stay in place like camera lens caps and not fall off every time you take them out of the case or putthem back like most others I tried when looking around for my new binos.
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Old 24-08-2014, 12:05   #62
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Re: Marine Binoculars

I bought some bushnels that we're ok, then found out the compass didn't work in the Southern Hemisphere so I returned them. Now I have some steiners and the compass doesnt work in the northern hemisphere so I had to buy a hand earring compass as well. I guess the only worldwide bionics have a digital compass.
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Old 24-08-2014, 15:39   #63
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Re: Marine Binoculars

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
I bought some bushnels that we're ok, then found out the compass didn't work in the Southern Hemisphere so I returned them. Now I have some steiners and the compass doesnt work in the northern hemisphere so I had to buy a hand earring compass as well. I guess the only worldwide bionics have a digital compass.
I should have mentioned that was also a problem with the pair of Steiners I bought first and then returned. I seems there are 3 compass zones relevant to compss 'Dip' and we here at 3 'ish NORTh are on the bubble to the next zone south and although one from the adjacent zone should still work OK it is not ideal I was told.
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Old 25-08-2014, 03:43   #64
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Re: Marine Binoculars

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Over the years I have had Zeis, Steiner, Nikon, Canon and a 45 year old Bushnell that is excellent unlike the cheap stuff they make now. I have used Fujinon and a few other brands on OPBs.

All are good daytime but night viewing is where the better brands show. However, if you are trying to read the numbers on a buoy, name on a boat, etc none of them touch the 10X stabilized Canon. No matter how good the optics, on a bouncing boat I can usually read the buoys by eye at a greater distance than I can with any binocs except the Canon.
Just curious to know if you have made a direct comparison between the Canon 10X stabilised and the Fujinon 14X stabilised?
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Old 25-08-2014, 05:50   #65
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Re: Marine Binoculars

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Originally Posted by Robin3 View Post
I should have mentioned that was also a problem with the pair of Steiners I bought first and then returned. I seems there are 3 compass zones relevant to compss 'Dip' and we here at 3 'ish NORTh are on the bubble to the next zone south and although one from the adjacent zone should still work OK it is not ideal I was told.
Correction because too late to edit, I meant30 'ish degs North not 3.
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Old 25-08-2014, 06:41   #66
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Re: Marine Binoculars

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Just curious to know if you have made a direct comparison between the Canon 10X stabilised and the Fujinon 14X stabilised?
Never had access to the Fujinon stabilized. I do have a set of Nikon 16X stabilized I got my wife for bird watching but have not taken them on a boat. However from use on land I think that much more than 10X power, even stabilized might be a problem on a boat, but that is just guessing.
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Old 26-08-2014, 16:43   #67
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Re: Marine Binoculars

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Never had access to the Fujinon stabilized. I do have a set of Nikon 16X stabilized I got my wife for bird watching but have not taken them on a boat. However from use on land I think that much more than 10X power, even stabilized might be a problem on a boat, but that is just guessing.
Earlier there were links posted to cloudynights. It is an astronomy web site that has tons of reviews of binos. Not just the hardware but the correct way to use them and perhaps more to your point how to pick a pair that will best fit your needs.

Not trying to be snarky but I know lots of astronomers who are to put it kindly old, weak, tired, shaky, and don't have 20-20 vision. On the other hand there are guys who are young, strong, energetic, stable and have 20-20 vision and great eye relief. I have a pair of Canon 18-50 that I love, but I have mostly used them for astronomy. On the other hand some of my astronomer friends simply can not use them.
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:29   #68
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Re: Marine Binoculars

Good info in this thread. I enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

I think it is a good idea to have more than one set of binoculars (or a monocular in addition to a set of binocs).

I also like the use of an integrated compass for use in taking bearings. I have also used "hand bearing compasses" and much prefer using the binos with compass installed.

Given that, I would prefer to have a decent set of binos that are optimized for NIGHT viewing. The light transmission info being the important thing for me in that case. The Steiners are excellent, but so are Fujinons. Some other brands are close, and would do for limited budget, such as the West Marine Antigua (which has very good specs and price point).

For daytime, I think it is VERY hard to beat the viewing experience of a good stabilized bino, such as the Canon range. I recently did some outside testing (viewing) using some Leica $2,400 binos alongside some Canon IS (stabilized) binos. While the Leica is VERY high quality optics, the Canon IS allowed me to enjoy the viewing MUCH more and also gave me the ability to quickly see VERY small details clearly (useful for such things as buoy numbers etc.) while handheld. The difference was amazing! I mean you really HAVE to use the stabilized binos to see what you are missing. I went back and forth severaal times looking at the same distant objects in "real world" testing (quick grabs of the binos, one handed holding, two handed holding, trying to see fine details, field of view, etc. ) and was really wanting to enjoy the Leica time, but it was impossible to prefer it over the stabilized viewing. In my testing (for my purposes) the Canon stabilized image was FAR easier to view and gave me much better experience.

So for my boat, I will use:

1. Daytime stabilized binos (likely Canon, but other brands such as Nikon also have stabilization). This will be the most used pair and I will get the most USE of the stabilization advantage.

2. Night Time binos with best affordable light transmission. West Marine Antigua, Steiners, or Fujinons.

3. 7x42 Monocular (waterproof, BAK4, etc.) with built-in compass always at my helm, used for taking bearings and quick sights of something while at the helm. . This is also very easy for anyone to use (so any crew member gets to use it and is free to handle it). I will tell all crew members they may use this at anytime. I mention this as on some boats I have crewed on, the skipper would not let anyone but himself touch the expensive binos he had and those were usually down below in his nav station or cabin in a case. Limiting access to a good bino or monocular with compass is not a good idea in my view. I like taking bearings while sailing in coastal or traffic situations, and encourage crew to do the same (keeping an eye out for boats on converging courses).

Here is an example of the inexpensive but good quality Monocular with Compass that is designed for marine use: Amazon.com: BARSKA 7x42 Deep Sea Monocular with Compass: Sports & Outdoors

I hope these comments help someone.
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:39   #69
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Re: Marine Binoculars

I have a huge pair of Nikons, with compass built in. If I ever have a problem with pirates, they'll come in handy as a weapon.
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Old 04-09-2014, 13:13   #70
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Re: Marine Binoculars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Good info in this thread. I enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

I think it is a good idea to have more than one set of binoculars (or a monocular in addition to a set of binocs).

I also like the use of an integrated compass for use in taking bearings. I have also used "hand bearing compasses" and much prefer using the binos with compass installed.

Given that, I would prefer to have a decent set of binos that are optimized for NIGHT viewing. The light transmission info being the important thing for me in that case. The Steiners are excellent, but so are Fujinons. Some other brands are close, and would do for limited budget, such as the West Marine Antigua (which has very good specs and price point).

For daytime, I think it is VERY hard to beat the viewing experience of a good stabilized bino, such as the Canon range. I recently did some outside testing (viewing) using some Leica $2,400 binos alongside some Canon IS (stabilized) binos. While the Leica is VERY high quality optics, the Canon IS allowed me to enjoy the viewing MUCH more and also gave me the ability to quickly see VERY small details clearly (useful for such things as buoy numbers etc.) while handheld. The difference was amazing! I mean you really HAVE to use the stabilized binos to see what you are missing. I went back and forth severaal times looking at the same distant objects in "real world" testing (quick grabs of the binos, one handed holding, two handed holding, trying to see fine details, field of view, etc. ) and was really wanting to enjoy the Leica time, but it was impossible to prefer it over the stabilized viewing. In my testing (for my purposes) the Canon stabilized image was FAR easier to view and gave me much better experience.

So for my boat, I will use:

1. Daytime stabilized binos (likely Canon, but other brands such as Nikon also have stabilization). This will be the most used pair and I will get the most USE of the stabilization advantage.

2. Night Time binos with best affordable light transmission. West Marine Antigua, Steiners, or Fujinons.

3. 7x42 Monocular (waterproof, BAK4, etc.) with built-in compass always at my helm, used for taking bearings and quick sights of something while at the helm. . This is also very easy for anyone to use (so any crew member gets to use it and is free to handle it). I will tell all crew members they may use this at anytime. I mention this as on some boats I have crewed on, the skipper would not let anyone but himself touch the expensive binos he had and those were usually down below in his nav station or cabin in a case. Limiting access to a good bino or monocular with compass is not a good idea in my view. I like taking bearings while sailing in coastal or traffic situations, and encourage crew to do the same (keeping an eye out for boats on converging courses).

Here is an example of the inexpensive but good quality Monocular with Compass that is designed for marine use: Amazon.com: BARSKA 7x42 Deep Sea Monocular with Compass: Sports & Outdoors

I hope these comments help someone.
Excellent summary and pretty much how I deal with it except had not thought of the monocular idea. I like that.

I do have an excellent set of Nikon binoculars with a compass but it's hard to get an accurate bearing with it on a bouncy boat as it isn't well damped. What's your experience with the compass in the monocular?
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Old 04-09-2014, 13:37   #71
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Re: Marine Binoculars

If you want a monocular to back up the binoculars also consider a laser rangefinder. Quite different to a compass but useful to have on board.
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Old 02-12-2015, 01:24   #72
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Re: Marine Binoculars

There's a bit of discussion about the West Marine 7x50 Tahiti Binoculars here.

I just discovered they're on sale for $149.00 at West right now online as part of their cyber monday-week long sale (link here). The sale has the usual free shipping, too. I think that's a pretty good deal for those binoculars. So I just bought a pair to give as a gift to my brother for Christmas.

Someone got the same on here last year, used, for $165. We've got the same binoculars and while they're not Steiners, they're really very good and we've found them to be indestructible. Since we're hard on things, that's important. The only issue is that we sometimes leave the binoculars sitting/laying upside down pressing on the button for the red light--so the battery can die.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:55   #73
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Re: Marine Binoculars

The latest edition of Practical Sailor came yesterday and in it is a Binocular Update reviewing a new model from Steiner: Steiner 7x50 Marine (575). They give the price as US$235 which is pretty good. Individual focus adjustment for each ocular with fold-down eyepieces for glass wearers. No compass. Look pretty good. PS rated them Excellent.
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