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Old 20-05-2009, 06:04   #1
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Marine Binoculars

Looking to purchase a pair of marine binoculars. Requirements are:

Offshore/coastal use
7 x 50
BAK-4 porro prism
Light transmission > 90%
Compass
Eye relief > 22mm
Center focus preferred

For around $300 (or less!!).

If you are knowledgeable on various types of binoculars -- not just the pair you own -- I would appreciate hearing some recommendations. Thanks.
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Old 20-05-2009, 08:03   #2
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I would check the West Marine online catalog. That of course does not mean you have to buy it from them.

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Old 20-05-2009, 09:04   #3
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if I'm reading those requirements correctly...

...you're trying to purchase an $800 pair of binoculars for $300 (or less, as you've specified.)

Good luck with that. Bottom line, however, is that there's no substitute for a good pair of Steiners. I won a set of the West Marine brand 7x50s as a yacht club door prize a few years back, and decided to use them as a backup set for race committee work, et cetera. They didn't last a year. Meanwhile, the Steiners, after a decade of boat abuse, are as crisp as the day I bought them.
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Old 20-05-2009, 09:13   #4
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I bought a pair of Nikon Marine Binoculars 4 years ago. They have been absolutely wonderful!!! They work very well in low light conditions. They have an illuminated compass and they are water resistant (proof?). They also sell for around $300. Couldn't be happier with them.
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Old 20-05-2009, 09:20   #5
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I second the Nikon recommendation. I have used many bino's over the years, and can say that you generally get what you pay for. I have experimented with each of the West Marine brand (I will go look up the models I have owned if you want).... none was either comfortable, or durable.

The Nikons I have now are much more easily focused, and overall better then the same level of West Marine binos.
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Old 20-05-2009, 09:34   #6
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a word about nikon binos

I teach a natural history course down in Baja, and have lugged a trusty pair of Nikon Mountaineers down there for decades. Every time I return from the field I'm amazed that those field glasses are still functioning. However, Nikon has switched in past years to price-point merchandising, and their low-end binos are junk while their high-end binos continue to be sturdy. I warn my students to stay away from the cheapies, but being college kids they buy them anyway, and end up trashing them within two weeks. Caveat emptor!
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Old 20-05-2009, 10:08   #7
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I ditto the Nikons. While Steiners are great binos, the Nikons take a lot of abuse AND they have great service in the event there is a problem. (here in the US).
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Old 20-05-2009, 10:35   #8
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Don't look through a pair you can't afford to buy. You will regret it.

I have a pair of old old steiners and they are awesome. Bright, clear, tough.

I have two pairs of West Marine 49.99 specials for the kids and guests. great value.
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Old 20-05-2009, 11:00   #9
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Fujinon....20 years old and still good. 7x50 marine without the internal compass. Paid $200 back then, don't know about now.
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Old 20-05-2009, 13:51   #10
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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
the Nikons . . . AND they have great service in the event there is a problem. (here in the US).
A buddy of mine purchase some Nikons. Prisms when out of wack after a couple of months. Sent them back and they fixed them. Two weeks later, prisms went out of wack again. Repeat. Repeat . . . etc.

After six repairs, where my buddy had to pay shipping both ways, he asked for a new binocular to replace an obviously defective one.

Negative. They said send it back; they wanted to play that game forever.

Neither he nor I have purchased a Nikon product since (20+ years).

FWIW, the high end Fujinons are now about $600. And they stopped making the marine 8x30, which was killer for day use.
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Old 20-05-2009, 14:58   #11
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Any thoughts on stabilized binoculars?
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Old 20-05-2009, 16:33   #12
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Did the research approx 4 yrs. ago...came up with Nikon, low light, lighted compass about $300. probably same as referred in posts above...Then 2-3
years ago practical sailor came up with the same conclusion. I to have guests/
kids use older, lesser binocs.
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Old 20-05-2009, 17:33   #13
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Hugosalt --

So the $300 question, is which model did you get? Seems like most everyone posting is pro-Nikon (or Fujinon).
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Old 20-05-2009, 20:14   #14
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mine are 7 zx50 8208 Ocean Pro's w/compass
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Old 20-05-2009, 22:00   #15
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Check out Captains Nautical Supplies, Marine Charts, Marine Navigation, Electronic Charts-- in Seattle. I got some of their "Captains" brand binos on sale for under $300 and they're great (have a bearing compass built in, which I really like).

Their guarantee is really good: "If the Helmsman becomes damaged within the first three years of use — even through neglect or abuse — Captain’s Nautical Supplies will replace it with a new instrument for $50.00, much less that the cost of a minimal repair on most other marine binoculars."

The "neglect or abuse" part is the part I appreciate.

I'm going to get some Fujinon stabilized ones and these will then become the backup binos, but for most everyday stuff, they're really fine.

best,
Mike (no affiliation with this company other than as a customer)
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