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Old 09-11-2015, 07:22   #91
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

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Are the modules for N Hemisphere vs S? Or what?
they are set for zones. I found a link on the net to a map of zones and discovered we are on a boundary between two. This was one pair that got returned to West in my quest for new binos. I understand that ones balanced for one dip zone should function OK for the immediately adjacent zone too. When I found my ideal ones they worked fine and were actually zoned for our current location at 30N. The store staff, perhaps unsurprisingly, BTW were unaware of differences until I gave them a printout of the zone area maps. Full mrks to West for their return/exchange policy that allowed me to take them back and exchange for a different model bino, which I did twice before settling on the ones purchased. As I said earlier, trying out in a store or in the street outside is not good enough IMO, because what seemed fine in store were not so when I tested again at home and could do so in the dark too.

My old Fujinons had individual eyepiece foucusing and worked fine for me for 15 years or so but my new ones are center focus with one eyepiece adjustable for eyesight correction initially ( also focused the compass I believe to me) ThE new focusing gives me the ability focus on the masthead which I like and side by side comparison with my old ones at home shows a sharper image when fully focused on a target at 3/4 mile compared to the old ones that rely on depth of field from an average setting. I understand center focusing makes waterproofing harder, but mine are nitogen filled waterproof with a 30 year warranty via West, not the manufacturer.

In very general terms 7x50s have proven a best compromise for me over the years, giving good night vision and still giving hand held ability in lumpy weather conditions ( lIke where you are and I used to be).

This subject is a potential minefield and is so much related to personal circumstances and choice rather than test results, magazine articles or even mate's recommendations. Suck it and see before finally swiping the card is my best advice.

The West Antiguas I bought are no longer listed but I believe they are made by Fuji andcertainly they look like the 15 year old fujis they replaced where the compass lighting had failed, these are now on condo balcony duty at home overlooking the ICW where collision avoidance is less necessary.
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Old 09-11-2015, 07:45   #92
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

"We have had these http://www.amazon.com/STEINER-BINOCU.../dp/B00F0X1ZNI aboard Avalon for 10 years. And they still amaze me with their low light ability."

For $1000, I'm expecting X-Ray vision!!

"I will look at image stabilization too as have a mate with them and they are great but good waterproof ones will be quite expensive. Thanks for everyone's help!"

I guess that bucket of cash is smaller than some of the binoc choices offered here.

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Old 09-11-2015, 08:41   #93
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

Better late than never? I got these Zhumell 7x50mm Marine Binoculars with Compass and Reticle - Binoculars at Binoculars and like the optics. They are quite heavy so I there is no concern anyone would steal them... and if they fail, I'm gonna use them as an extra anchor.
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Old 09-11-2015, 09:20   #94
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

swarovski optics are excellent, even superb, because they use Zeiss lenses, I assume they still do.
If your gonna spend that kind of $ look at Leica and Zeiss, maybe Leupold and or Nightforce too.

Objective lens size has been a marketing ploy as of late, yes the larger the objective lens, the greater the light gathering capability, if the optics are designed well, a great many of late just stick a big objective lens on for marketing, but only the center of the lens is used, meaning there is no advantage to the big objective lens.
I do no think Steiner, Swaroski, Zeiss and companies of that level would do that though, but Tasco and some others? Yes

Once you have had a set of image stabilized binos, you will have nothing else I assure you, old eyes need higher magnification, and that is where image stabilization comes into it's own
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Old 09-11-2015, 09:35   #95
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

I have fujinon 7x50 with a compass and a buddy brought his steiner 7x50's so we could do a direct comparison

result - both work extremely well (in fact equally well) but the Steiners are lighter so you dont get tired holding them nearly as soon. But you will pay for that benefit! A lot.

Image stabilization? Sure its nice but expensive and it will break at some point. I am keeping it simple.
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Old 09-11-2015, 09:36   #96
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

I bought a pair of FMTRC Fujinon Binoculars in 1989, the first time we sailed from Glucester, MA to St. Petersburg, FL. The covers need replacing, but they still work the nuts. They are the only pair that I use on our boat; they take is so much light they're like night vision... Fair winds!
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Old 09-11-2015, 18:56   #97
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

I've used mid to entry level Steiners, Fujinon (probably mid grade), cheap Bushnell. I own the Steiner Commander XP and they are oustanding. It's like looking at everything in high-def. I've never had a need for a compass but most of my time is on ships and there it'd just be a gimmick. Also, I bought mine on ebay new for $750.

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Old 09-11-2015, 19:17   #98
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

This post has finally pushed me over the edge. We have a nice pair of Fujinon binoculars on the boat but no spare. Today I went shopping and found a pair of waterproof 7x50 Bushnell's on sale for under a $100. I wear glasses and the focal length is important. It was nice to find something that works for me at a good price.
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Old 09-11-2015, 19:29   #99
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

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I bought a pair of FMTRC Fujinon Binoculars in 1989, the first time we sailed from Glucester, MA to St. Petersburg, FL. The covers need replacing, but they still work the nuts. They are the only pair that I use on our boat; they take is so much light they're like night vision... Fair winds!
Send them to Baker Instruments..they did a good job on mine.
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Old 09-11-2015, 19:41   #100
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

Just another +1 for the Fujinons ( I have the FMTRC-SX model). Used them for years on the boats I worked on and bought a pair when equipping my own boat. Stieners are good and as people have said lighter, but definitely not as tough in day to day use as the Fujinons; definitely the best bang for the buck. Buy Leica or Swarovski (same glass I think) if your really feeling flush but the increase in performance is only for the anoraks

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Old 09-11-2015, 20:09   #101
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

I bought a Leicas for hunting and have never seen better clarity. Somehow my wife started using them to look out the kitchen window to look at boats entering our harbor. But they were being mistreated so I locked them up and put out the Steiners. My wife complained that the Steiners were not as clear, etc., but I assured her that Steiners were considered superior and showed her some on-line reviews. She wasn't having any of it and wanted the Leicas back. Maybe for Christmas.
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Old 10-11-2015, 04:49   #102
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

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Actually this is a really superb technique I use very often. Indeed it is also my own preferred low light or image intensifying option, as I have a sweet little Canon S120 which has a 12800 ISO option. So good I have shot many perfect starscapes by freehand from the deck of a boat underway! If comig into an unlit anchorage at night it provides really amazing imagery. I have used it in Vanuatu last year for example, and by starlight alone it showed individual trees with detail and in the correct green colour! This is far better than a nightscope IHMO, as it affords time to adequately study the image for pilotage.
Yes, modern digital cameras can do wonders also in low light. I wish the live view mode of my camera (live picture in the back screen) could do the same, but it is unfortunately darker than the still shots.
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Old 10-11-2015, 04:58   #103
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

Small and simple is beautiful. For frequent use in daylight my solution has been a small Leica 8x20. Excellent quality and light weight.
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:52   #104
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

I haven't read through all pages of this thread so I will just give my two cents which is duplicated or at odds with others here.

Good, low light binocs are essential equipment on a boat. Stabilized are nice but I have yet to find some that are equal to a good pair of low light high quality un-stabilized ones. And 7x50 is the size that works best. Weight is important but does not trump the ability to see things. Absolutely must be rated for marine use. Gas-filled. Compass is nice but not essential in my book. I have it and have used it however. I have played with the elevation range marks but haven't really found them essential either. I like the "always in focus" type but with the ability to change it for each eye. Must be non-fogging. If you use glasses make sure they will work for you. Not all will.

I have both the Fujinon (with compass) and Steiners - the good ones. The Steiners are much lighter but they do not even come close to the sharp images of the Fujinons. I love my Fujinons. But they are heavy. But I can pick out things at night, and in daylight, that are fuzzier with the Steiners. In my experience prism-style binocs work best.

I do not have experience with the high-end Swaroskis but they have a great reputation if money is not problem. Not necessary in my opinion but a great tool is always great to use.

Cheap binocs are almost useless in my experience. I do have a pair of small Bushnells that I used to carry backpacking and hiking, where weight is a premium. I don't remember the model but they a compact, prism-type, coated optics, 7x30, waterproof. They are good for carrying around onshore.

I love my heavy Fujinons. One of my most important possessions. I HATE the cheap binocs that you see on some boats. Usually they don't even bother to keep the lenses clean. And, that, is extremely important. I wash with mild soap, then spray with 70% isopropyl alcohol (not recommended may be but it has not ruined my lenses - yet - after 15 years) then wiped clean/dry with a throwaway lens cloth. The microfiber cloths do not work for me with my oily skin.
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:13   #105
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Re: Binoculars? Which ones? Heeeellllpppp!

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Yes, modern digital cameras can do wonders also in low light. I wish the live view mode of my camera (live picture in the back screen) could do the same, but it is unfortunately darker than the still shots.
You can usually find a menu setting to change the screen brightness. Sometimes as on my camera there is also a default setting to automatic screen brightness which darkens it in dark conditions and brightens it in bright light. Turn that off.

In any conditions day or night with a good digital camera you can not only use it as a telescope / night vision, but you can also take a photo and then zoom a long way into that image on the screen. I do that for example if I want to check the name of a distant yacht. That way is much more powerful and steady than most binoculars.
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