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Old 04-06-2010, 11:19   #16
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I think that cheap binoculars are a mistake. I won a pair of the WM binocs as a door prize once, and they seemed great until I got them back to the boat did a side-by-side comparison with my Steiners. What a difference in resolution!

Decided to keep the WM binocs anyway because they had a compass and I purposely ordered the Steiner Commander Vs without a compass, not only because I find it compromises the view, but I have a fine hand-bearing (hockey puck) compass that I rarely use as it is. Within a month or two the WMs were broken however, because they just weren't up to a life at sea.

All the better binoculars are guaranteed for life. That should tell you something about value.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:41   #17
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Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to stay on a budget!!!

I very recently purchased Celestron Oceana 7X50 waterproof IR/RC binoculars with rangefinder scale and backlit compass. Got them from Amazon for about $135.

I haven't had a chance to have them on the water yet so this isn't an endorsement. However, I've been impressed with them on land. Will try them next weekend on the water.

Are they Steiners? Absolutely not. However, I don't have a lot invested so when I can get those Steiners I won't be out much. IMO, certainly better than no binoculars at all while you are waiting to get the super nice, use for the rest of your life pair.

Perhaps someone else who has used the marine celestrons on the water can give us a valid review.
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Old 04-06-2010, 13:06   #18
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OK - we are on a subject I do know a lot about. Optics. I build my own telescopes.

The biggest factor in getting a CLEAR image is the aperture of the binoculars (or any telescope). Nothing matters more than aperture. The bigger the lenses then

- The sharper the image will be
- The brighter the image will be
- Contrast will be massively enhanced.

So if we compared 7x30 with 7x50 binos, the latter would give clearer, sharper, brighter images.

Moving on to magnification, this is what fools people. They think that 20x is better than 10x which is better than 7x. Wrong. The lenses at the front form an image in the image plane. The eyepiece lenses then magnify that image making it bigger, dimmer and more blurry. A pair of 20x50s will give a bigger image than 7x50s but that image will be dimmer, lower contrast and not as sharp as the 7x50s. The field of view is also smaller and can be approximated by dividing the aperture by the magnification. So 7x50 bins have a field of view approx. 50/7 = 7 degrees wide whereas 20x50s have a field of view 50/20 = 2.5* wide or about 1/3 of the 7x50 field.

So what makes good binos? It depends on use. For night time you want a large aperture and a low magnification. For day time use, a moderate aperture and middling magnification. For spying on the woman on the next marina get a tripod, large magnification and big lenses as well. Of course I have neglected other issues such as the accuracy of the glass and prisms and whether to choose poro prisms over roof prisms.

I have a pair of russian 7x50s and a pair of japanese 10x50s and the russian pair are better quality.
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Old 04-06-2010, 13:47   #19
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To reiterate my earlier note, a pair of Fujinon Mariner Binoculars with bearing compass can be had through http://www.binoculars.com/binoculars...uswcompass.cfm for $189.00 USD.

FWIW...
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Old 04-06-2010, 14:07   #20
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I hear you, I really do and I would love to get them I just don't have it in my budget.

That is one of the things that sometimes bums me out about this site is the occasional intolerance and peer pressure regarding one's spending limits.

I work with what I've got and I just try to make it happen. Would it be more economical to just buy a hand bearing compass and a cheap pair of regular binocs?
I think you are on the right track. While there's no doubt expensive binoculars are better and should last longer, even the cheapest will make things look bigger and in the end that is what we are after. I used a $29 pair of Bushnells on the boat for over 10 years. They lived in the cockpit, they went ashore with me in my backpack and after 10 years they were rusty and grungy and foggy but they still made far away things look closer. I upgraded to the Tahiti's 7 years ago. They live in the cockpit, they go ashore in my backpack and they still look and work great. Certainly a more expensive pair would be better but I have never felt the need. If your budget allows, get the Gucci binocs, but if it doesn't, get the cheapos and go sailing.


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Old 04-06-2010, 14:26   #21
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I understand limited budgets. Have you looked for good used binoculars? I have seen them on e-bay on occasion. Perhaps marine second hand stores or even a pawn shop.

I have cruised on a fixed budget and know you can't always buy what you want new. However, sometimes you can buy it used or even work a trade with someone for their old (but still serviceable) binoculars.
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Old 04-06-2010, 14:46   #22
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Originally Posted by mintyspilot View Post
OK - we are on a subject I do know a lot about. Optics. I build my own telescopes.

The biggest factor in getting a CLEAR image is the aperture of the binoculars (or any telescope). Nothing matters more than aperture. The bigger the lenses then

- The sharper the image will be
- The brighter the image will be
- Contrast will be massively enhanced.

So if we compared 7x30 with 7x50 binos, the latter would give clearer, sharper, brighter images.

Moving on to magnification, this is what fools people. They think that 20x is better than 10x which is better than 7x. Wrong. The lenses at the front form an image in the image plane. The eyepiece lenses then magnify that image making it bigger, dimmer and more blurry. A pair of 20x50s will give a bigger image than 7x50s but that image will be dimmer, lower contrast and not as sharp as the 7x50s. The field of view is also smaller and can be approximated by dividing the aperture by the magnification. So 7x50 bins have a field of view approx. 50/7 = 7 degrees wide whereas 20x50s have a field of view 50/20 = 2.5* wide or about 1/3 of the 7x50 field.

So what makes good binos? It depends on use. For night time you want a large aperture and a low magnification. For day time use, a moderate aperture and middling magnification. For spying on the woman on the next marina get a tripod, large magnification and big lenses as well. Of course I have neglected other issues such as the accuracy of the glass and prisms and whether to choose poro prisms over roof prisms.

I have a pair of russian 7x50s and a pair of japanese 10x50s and the russian pair are better quality.
Mintyspilot, Great explanation on the optics!
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Old 04-06-2010, 16:29   #23
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I have a pair of Zeiss naval binoculars, 7x50, and they are much easier to keep trained on a target from a rolling deck than a pair of more powerful binoculars as the field of view is better.
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Old 04-06-2010, 17:13   #24
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If I have a compass imbedded in my binculars, I want the compass within the ocular of my dominant eye. ...'not sure? Well, here's the test. Look at a distant object and then point at it with your finger. Without moving your finger close your left eye and then your right eye. Only through the view of your "dominant" eye will the finger be on the object of your view. Binoculars with a compass will work for you best if the compass is within the ocular of your dominant eye. Take care an joy, Aythya crew
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Old 04-06-2010, 18:34   #25
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I have a pair of Fujinon's with compass and red light. I don't know if they are Mariners or Polaris. I bought them from a neighbor who had never used them. Ten bucks. No kidding. I tried not to dance on the way back home. I have not yet used them at sea, just in the Sound and they seem steady and very cool.
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Old 04-06-2010, 19:14   #26
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just make sure the compass is set for your area, I bought a pair online ex USA and the compass was set for the magnetic anomalies for that area. Therefore they don't work well down here in NZ. You have to sight the bearing you want and then lift the binoculars to allow the compass card to swing as it is stuck when held horizontally. A real PITA that we hadn't realized existed when we bought them and weren't made aware by the seller who when contacted after the problem was identified said they didn't set them for the south pacific area as sales were so limited there.
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Old 04-06-2010, 20:05   #27
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just make sure the compass is set for your area, I bought a pair online ex USA and the compass was set for the magnetic anomalies for that area. Therefore they don't work well down here in NZ.
This is a good point. I bought a set of Tasco Offshore 54 (7x50) binoculars in Oz and while they are as good (or as bad) as they were when new (10 years and tens of thousands of miles later) the dip error makes the compass virtually unusable in the Northern hemisphere mid latitudes. This is annoying if one travels much. We keep Northern and Southern hockey puck style compasses aboard for bearings.

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Old 04-06-2010, 20:11   #28
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I have a pair of Zeiss naval binoculars
There ya go UnBusted...only $1000 to $3000! A bargain at twice the price! In reality, where I live, BilgeDawg may be on to something...Read the reviews on these: http://www.amazon.com/Celestron-Wate...pr_product_top
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Old 04-06-2010, 21:25   #29
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"The biggest factor in getting a CLEAR image is the aperture of the binoculars"
Totally disagree, as do most every maker and reviewer. What aperature buys you is BRIGHTNESS and light gathering ability, and that's all. You could have a six inch aperature, and if the binoculars aren't perfectly aligned, with outstanding coatings and top quality glass free of aberrations, you're just going to have a very bright pair of coke bottles.

As glasses get more expensive, in general you are buying better optical quality glass, more care taken in the alignment of the lenses/prisms, higher quality coatings, and a more rugged assembly. You are also buying more precise quality control. Cheaper glasses often have a wide standard for what is acceptable, and if you go through ten pair from the same maker, one may be great while another is fuzzy. But if you go through ten pair of thousand-dollar binocs, you'll see the same razor sharpness in all of them.

For "affordable" binocs you really have to go to a store, pick 'em up and try 'em out. And if you find one that suits you--take THAT PAIR not another box.

Also take your final selection and try holding it up to your eyes for ten minutes straight. They get much heavier as you keep holding them, which is another reason why the more expensive ones often are significantly lighter--and that makes a difference if you're holding them up for a long time.
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Old 04-06-2010, 22:34   #30
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There ya go UnBusted...only $1000 to $3000! A bargain at twice the price!
Fortunately I didn't pay that much for them, as I bought them years ago from a vet that brought them home after WW2. I sure couldn't or wouldn't want to try to afford a brand new pair at today's prices.
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