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Old 17-06-2018, 19:33   #1
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Image stabilized binoculars?

The traditional marine binoculars were 7×50.

7× magnification because that was the highest you could effectively stabilize free-hand, and 50mm objective because 50mom/7 gave you 7mm exit pupil, which is what you need for full night vision.

But in these days of electronic image stabilization, you can stabilize free-hand higher magnification.

So what would be considered the best choice for marine binoculars today? I'd have to assume you'd want to keep a 7mm exit pupil, but higher mags means narrower field of view.

Is there a best tradeoff? Or a most common?
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Old 17-06-2018, 20:55   #2
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

I am old school.... But forty years at this, here is my choice..

I would not want the electronic image stuff. I mean it has its place in night vision rifle scopes, but that is different and a different environment.

Also, I like 10x50. I have Steiner Mil Spec Auto Focus nitrogen filled and armoured binoculars for my primary set over 15 years now. You could go Fujinon as well, for precision optics, and Nikon. But I still prefer 10x50.

Now maybe someone could argue this answer has to be qualified for my Catamaran stable platform, but I have had monohulls for years, and Fujinon or Steiners for years. I don't feel 7x50 is powerful enough for my usage. I look at whales, and scan beaches, and check out other boats, and flotsom and jetsom at a distance to determine a balloon from a Norway Fender before I detour off my course... heh he I would use them all the time and 10 x 50 is my choice.
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Old 17-06-2018, 21:40   #3
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

I was lent a pair of IS binoculars, can't remember what brand, but I immediatle bought a pair of Canon 10x42 IS WP, (The instructions tell you to wash them in a bucket of H2O!! I also now have an amazingly small pair of Fujinon 12x28. I also have a number of non stabilized binos including a Pair of Leica 10x something; only ever use the IS binos now, If you don't want IS you dont need to turn them on. Once you use IS you will never go back. PS The Canons use AA batteries and tend to use them fairly quickly, so buy rechargeables.
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Old 17-06-2018, 22:11   #4
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

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Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
Also, I like 10x50. I have Steiner Mil Spec Auto Focus nitrogen filled and armoured binoculars for my primary set over 15 years now. You could go Fujinon as well, for precision optics, and Nikon. But I still prefer 10x50.
My concern with 10×50 would be with night vision. 7×50s are actually better in the dark than bare eyeballs, given decent quality glass. 10×50s are no better than the standard 7×35.

Of course, 10×70 night be getting a bit heavy.
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Old 17-06-2018, 22:17   #5
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

The cannon is binos are fantastic. I own two pairs of swaro's, one leica, one Steiner and one fujinon. Believe me when I say is bino will change your life.
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Old 17-06-2018, 22:45   #6
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

I hate it when you guys do this. I was all happy and now you’ve gone and found a whole new thing I now find I want that’s going to cost me a couple of thousand...
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Old 17-06-2018, 23:33   #7
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

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I hate it when you guys do this. I was all happy and now you’ve gone and found a whole new thing I now find I want that’s going to cost me a couple of thousand...
its one of those things that not needed, but is wonderful. I'm sure there are other options than Cannon. I wasn't very keen on the idea honestly until I was issued a pair to use at work and I couldn't believe how amazing they were.
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Old 18-06-2018, 00:26   #8
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

i have fujinon 7x50 and 14x with stabilization.

I use 14x with stabilization 95 % of the time, including quick rig inspection, check for free buoys, star gazing,, boat identification...

7x50 use mainly for navigation and anchoring as it has compass.

Both are excellent at night.

Found both to be essential equipment.
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Old 18-06-2018, 04:56   #9
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
The traditional marine binoculars were 7×50.

7× magnification because that was the highest you could effectively stabilize free-hand, and 50mm objective because 50mom/7 gave you 7mm exit pupil, which is what you need for full night vision.

But in these days of electronic image stabilization, you can stabilize free-hand higher magnification.

So what would be considered the best choice for marine binoculars today? I'd have to assume you'd want to keep a 7mm exit pupil, but higher mags means narrower field of view.

Is there a best tradeoff? Or a most common?

Our answer is you need 7x50s and higher magnification IS is useful if you can afford both.

There have been a couple relatively-recent threads about various IS models on trawlerforum.com (sister site). The short version is that the technical specs of each are important, some more than others for some of us.

Generally, Canon models usually don't stabilize to the same degree Fujinon does (+/- 5 degrees). Eye relief is important, especially for eyeglass wearers. Weight can be an issue, depending on who uses the IS binoc the most. And so forth. (I made a spreadsheet with specs for our likely targets, for comparison...)

We recently bought the just-introduced Fuji compact IS 12x28s. Adequate, but not easy to work with... but you'll see my more detailed comments in one of the TF threads.

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Old 18-06-2018, 05:24   #10
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

My first choice has always been plain old Steiner 7x50s (as mentioned earlier, the mil-spec model).
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Old 18-06-2018, 05:56   #11
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

I have a pair of the old 7x50 's, but would like a fancy electronic set of binoculars as well. I think, when the chips are really down, you don't want to be completely dependent on anything that requires a battery :-)
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Old 18-06-2018, 05:57   #12
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

I don’t use binos all that often, but the other day watching the launch of the Falcon heavy, my 14X image stabilized ones were really nice to have, and when I go below to get them so that I can see something, both the IS and the 14X are appreciated
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Old 18-06-2018, 06:01   #13
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

I have always used the standard marine 7X50 and they are excellent for many things especially twilight or night when the light gathering power of the 7X50 really stands out.

However I made a trip down the ICW and some spots, like the ICW crossing a harbor with markers on the inlet, markers for side channels, etc it was really handy to be able to read the numbers on the marker as far off as possible. I found that even in relatively calm water the 7X50s were almost useless. By the time I could read the marker number with the binoculars I could read them with my bare eyes. Switch to stabilized and the difference was dramatic.

We have a Canon 10X32 that is pretty good but I read that the Fuji's are the best. I probably wouldn't go more than 10-12X on a boat, even with stabilization. One negative with the Canons, after a few years the rubber coating turned to goo and it took a lot of nit picky cleaning to get the coating off and just go with bare metal.
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Old 18-06-2018, 06:18   #14
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arsenelupiga View Post
i have fujinon 7x50 and 14x with stabilization.

I use 14x with stabilization 95 % of the time, including quick rig inspection, check for free buoys, star gazing,, boat identification...

7x50 use mainly for navigation and anchoring as it has compass.

Both are excellent at night.

Found both to be essential equipment.

+1

I use Nikon 7x50 with compass for relative bearings and night vision, but the Fuji Techno Stabi 14x40 IS are the "go-to" choice when I want to really see (or read) detail.

Also, I've owned the Fuji Techno Stabi since early 2000's (perhaps 2003?) and never had a problem. (But I admit I try to "baby" them).

Also - someone who tried my Fuji Techno Stabi said he's also tried the Canon IS and the Fuji performs noticeably better. So if you're in the market do your homework -- all IS are not equal.
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Old 18-06-2018, 06:40   #15
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Re: Image stabilized binoculars?

I won't go into details into technical specs and reasons here, but do want to provide a few short observations, based on very recent comparisons of binoculars at sea.

I was recently (May and June 2018) on two 50+ foot sailboats, voyaging a total of 1,800nm offshore. One was a 53' monohull, the other a 52' catamaran.

On both boats I had access to use the binoculars aboard (and in one case convinced the Captain/Owner to purchase a new set). I tried six binoculars while on these boats, including two brand new marine binoculars (one being a Steiner Navigator Pro model).

When on watch I use binoculars frequently. I keep a vigilant watch for debris in the water, and possible hazards such as ship traffic and fishing boats. On one of these voyages (Florida to Maine, 1200nm) the most observed hazard was lobster pot buoys, of which there were thousands. In addition I use the binoculars to observe ATONs and boats seen (day or night). I also look at marine life (sea turtles, birds, dolphins, whales, sharks, etc.). I like to look at the stars and planets too.

Now a few quick points:

1. The lens glass matters!
Tip: Look for BAK4 Prisms and higher light transmission percentage.

2. The condition matters!
On one boat the best binoculars (Nikon marine) were out of whack (creating double vision) and this was due to them being damaged, probably by someone dropping them earlier. Good glass has to be aligned properly.

3. Good 7x50 binoculars should provide a brighter view of the scene, especially at night. This means that when you look at something like a buoy at dusk or in darkness (starlight, moonlight) it should appear brighter than when seen using just your naked eyes. This depends on a mix of technical things, but the final effect is part of what you want to see, a magnified, brighter image of something distant.
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What about using IS binoculars?
I have used IS binoculars before, and closely compared them to very high quality (very expensive) Zeiss binoculars. The difference was striking! My conclusion of my side-by-side tests? I would rather see the image using the IS binoculars. No question.

On these two voyages, at night I noticed several planets in the sky (Mars, Saturn, Venus). I was able to look at them using new marine binoculars on these two boats. Unfortunately, due to the motion on the ocean, the planets "bounced around" in the binocular view, making observations tiring and fruitless. In each case, I thought to myself: "I sure wish I had a pair of IS binoculars instead!"

On these two voyages I noticed several interesting lighthouses (Maine) and marine life. Despite using nice, new marine binoculars, because of the motion of the ocean, I could not easily see details on the ships, lights, and other things I wanted to see. I thought to myself: "I sure wish I had a pair of IS binoculars instead!"

If you have not used good IS binoculars at sea, and have only used good marine binoculars (typical 7x50) you will probably not miss them. But that is probably just a case of "not knowing what you are missing."

If you ever have the chance to use IS binoculars to observe things like planets or distant buoys or marine life while on a moving boat, I think you will come to the same conclusion I have:

IS is amazing and much more preferable. It makes it much easier to see things clearly, with less eye fatigue and allows one to observe small details like buoy numbers, etc.

Put another way, if given a choice to observe things I like to see while sailing, I would always choose the IS binoculars over a standard (even a good brand or expensive pair) marine binocular.

I hope this helps.
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