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Old 29-01-2018, 12:20   #16
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

We have a very expensive unstabilized set that we hardly ever use. Rather, we use our Canon Powershot IS camera with 50X optical zoom. Take the pic then blow it up even more. I think I could read a dock sign from a quarter mile away!
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Old 29-01-2018, 12:28   #17
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Yes another binocular thread...

A post in the current thread regarding the value of Steiner's after sales service causes me to raise this direct question rather than continuing to go further off topic in that fine thread.



This was in response to my quandary of trying to decide between a traditional marine bino (Fuji Polaris 7x50) or go to a stabilised unit (Fuji 14x40 IS). I know the traditional bino will last many lifetimes and will be simple, robust and dependable. I am also certain that I will see more detail and more clearly with image stabilisation but I can't believe the electronics will last for more that a decade or two.

I always considered the question was an "either or" rather than considering both compliment each other. For the record, having both is not possible for me - you can guess why

Leaving aside the compass question, what are your thoughts for a new set of binoculars - traditional or image stabilised?
I've nothing to add to the excellent advice of Ping and many others. 7x50 compass binocs first, preferably Fuji Polaris, then stabilized ones if you have money left over. Stabilized binos are great, but they are a somewhat specialized luxury. A good pair of 7x50's are basic kit, which you shouldn't really be at sea without.
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Old 29-01-2018, 12:56   #18
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

Several comments that come down to the expense of stabilized (which give best performance) vs other, less expensive types. I laughed... >$10K for an engine, sails in excess of $10K, ditto rigging... in short, everything on a boat is damned expensive and after spending all those buttloads of money, somehow popping 600 or so for glasses is too much. If you are worried about guests dropping the good ones overboard, China, Inc sells decent binocs for as low as US$30 for the ones I have. Hey, they work and if they go glub-glub, who cares? Point being, get the good, stabilized glasses for yourself and pick something else on the boat to be cheap about.
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Old 29-01-2018, 13:06   #19
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

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Several comments that come down to the expense of stabilized (which give best performance) vs other, less expensive types. I laughed... >$10K for an engine, sails in excess of $10K, ditto rigging... in short, everything on a boat is damned expensive and after spending all those buttloads of money, somehow popping 600 or so for glasses is too much. If you are worried about guests dropping the good ones overboard, China, Inc sells decent binocs for as low as US$30 for the ones I have. Hey, they work and if they go glub-glub, who cares? Point being, get the good, stabilized glasses for yourself and pick something else on the boat to be cheap about.
I think you missed the part about how stabilized binos are not just better than normal ones, they are different. They are much heavier and have less light gathering ability than normal 7x50's. So they are no good for night use, and they are not really good for general use; you need the 7x50's in any case.

A good pair of non-stabilized compass binoculars cost more than $1000; more than many stabilized binos. The choice is not necessarily about cost.
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Old 29-01-2018, 13:32   #20
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

We are using our third pair of Canon 18x50 stabilized binoculars. The first pair was stolen, and that hurts !! They are expensive. But we also use them while doing nature trips, so we decided to buy new ones. Unfortunately, the stabilizer of this one didn't hold very long. And here we also had a bad experience with Canon-after-sales-service either. It wasn't in guaranty anymore, so it costed us quite some money to sent it over and let it examine. The unfortunate result was that they couldn't tell us how much it would be to repair it, but it would be expensive. So we preferred to by a new one instead, that we have now for 4 or 5 years. We are addicted to it ! I agree totally: You really have to see the difference. It is something different.
But another bad experience, just like Alita49DS: The old one with the broken stabilizer, we still use as a normal binocular. We keep it on the boat, in the cover all the time. But a few months ago, I took it out and ... indeed, all sticky !! And not a little bit. It's really like glue !
So, although we are (or were) such a huge fans of these binoculars, I want to warn everybody that keeping them for years on a boat is not a good idea.
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Old 29-01-2018, 13:51   #21
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

Wotname,

We have some Canon image stabilizer binos: they cost less than our Fujinon's. The Fujinon's are way older, have great light gathering characteristics, probably meet your criteria for lifetime binos. They are also, heavy.

The Canon's allow one to read boat names under way. We like the image stabilization. They are only 8 or so years old, and the outer coating on them failed pretty early in their time with us. They require battery replacement fairly often, because we use them a lot.

If you can have only one pair, given that as we age, we use visual acuity, I think for me, the stabilization noses out the creater clarity of the Fujinon's. But it is close, because the better optics means that we see more with them. Just the stabilization helps for what we are looking at, as El Pinguino suggested.

Next time we hook up, you can try both and see what you think.

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Old 29-01-2018, 13:57   #22
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

Peter-
DO check with the battery maker, the major brands will actually repair or replace the binocs if the batteries leaked before their expiry date.

I got into the habit years ago of putting grease, preferably silicon grease, on the battery contacts of all sorts of things. From the sextant to my pocket flashlight. I find now that when batteries leak (and every brand does) the grease contains the alkaline chemicals and makes it easy to just wipe off the crud and start fresh. If there's nothing better I'll use vaseline, but "silicon light bulb grease" really exists, it is cheap enough.

I suppose I'd like stabilizing binocs, but I can't see putting that much money into something that I also don't trust to last very long. The stabilizing bits have to be fast, precise, and durable, and somehow I just know there's no one besides the maker who can service them--and for how long will THEY have parts on hand?

So I don't even think about it. I'll stick the the lighter simpler cheaper more traditional kind.
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Old 29-01-2018, 14:07   #23
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

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I think you missed the part about how stabilized binos are not just better than normal ones, they are different. They are much heavier and have less light gathering ability than normal 7x50's. So they are no good for night use, and they are not really good for general use; you need the 7x50's in any case.

A good pair of non-stabilized compass binoculars cost more than $1000; more than many stabilized binos. The choice is not necessarily about cost.
Point taken. I, for one, would have extreme difficulty spending very much for a pair of binocs. "Gourmand" is written in my DNA, right next to redneck. I have an unbranded scope on my 1000yd shooter that performs on par with the $700 scopes the yuppies show up with. Mine cost less than US$100. I could go on but I tend to look at the differences I can see and feel and if they are significant, I'll pay the price if I need those features. It's why I don't drive a Lexus. That 1000yd shooter? Groups less than a dinner plate at that range and is a box Savage, not a custom gun. Then, maybe I am always just lucky in my choices. I don't think so but YMMV
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Old 29-01-2018, 14:13   #24
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

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When AA batteries are discharged they will leak acidic liquid that will destroy the electronics if left in the binoculars.
Consider lithium batteries for anything expensive, or anything that might sit a long time without being used. They last much longer than alkaline and never leak.

And they have 10 year shelf lives, so an infrequently used item will work fine after sitting idle for years.

They're significantly more expensive, naturally.
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Old 29-01-2018, 14:15   #25
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

[QUOTE=hellosailor;2565775

I suppose I'd like stabilizing binocs, but I can't see putting that much money into something that I also don't trust to last very long. The stabilizing bits have to be fast, precise, and durable, and somehow I just know there's no one besides the maker who can service them--and for how long will THEY have parts on hand?

So I don't even think about it. I'll stick the the lighter simpler cheaper more traditional kind.[/QUOTE]

Scotty in a Star Trek movie - "The fancier the plumbing, the easier it is to clog" or Murphy says the chance of something breaking increases exponentially to the number of parts it contains and the distance to the service center.
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Old 29-01-2018, 14:23   #26
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

Thanks for all the responses, I am enjoying reading them and they are helpful .

Right now I don't have time to reply in full to many of them but hopefully will be able to do so later. Keep them coming
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Old 29-01-2018, 15:32   #27
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

I may have posted this before...

Our aging Canon 10x30 IS have lived on board, uncovered, mostly under the dodger when sailing for around 8-10 years now (don't remember exactly and too lazy to dig up the purchase date). The so called "armor" coating died rather quickly with the same mess as others reported. I removed the gunk with acetone and lived without it. Ugly but not a big deal.

The stabilizer system has worked faultlessly from day one... kinda to my surprise! The optics, taken as a whole, have gradually dimmed. I don't know how to technically describe it,but the effect is as if there were haze inside the body of the binocs. They are still in daily use, but there is a significant decline in their quality of vision. They are not heavier than our Fujinons... to the contrary, they are lighter, and smaller as well. This means that one can use them one-handed, where the stabilizer really helps out... all the while holding on for dear life with the other hand. This is a big help in rougher wx.

I have not experienced battery drain when not in use. We use rechargable Eneloop batteries, and they last a couple of weeks of frequent use. No leakage noted, and the batteries are now around 5 years old and have been through many cycles.
..
Bottom line is that I use them preferentially to the Fujinons for normal activities. I use the Fujis at night when appropriate. I think that for an entry level, bottom of the line item they have performed very well, and that they serve our yachting purposes very well indeed... but I'm glad that I've got the nearly thirty year old Fujis as well!

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Old 29-01-2018, 15:34   #28
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Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

Stabilized for sure, lithium batteries I just put in say they have a 20 year shelf life.
I plan on watching tomorrow’s Space-X launch with my stabilized pair, I guarantee I will see it better than if they weren’t both 14 power, and stabilized.
That is to the root of it for me, max useful power non stabilized is about 7, any more than that and you can’t see anything, stabilization let’s you go way up in magnification.
I rarely use them, but when I do, I want to be able to see
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Old 29-01-2018, 15:37   #29
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

A few further thoughts ....

It really does depend on what you are doing...
If I use my unstabilized 7x50s a seaway with a big swell what I typically see is horizon-guard rails-back of a wave-boom- horizon - boom - foot of jib - guard rails.... repeat...

Stabilized bins aren't going to sort that problem...

Flat sea + stabilized = good.

Want more detail during the day? I use my 10x42s.... ( Cost under $A500 ) and am thinking of buying a pair of 12x just because I can....

Do you want to use them at night? We already know the answer to that...

Compass....? ( specifically excluded in the OP's first post )

Do you find yourself always reaching for your HBC? Then maybe you should buy compass bins..

Do you have a steel boat or are you planning to sail from Hobart to Alaska... maybe you should save your cash.
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Old 29-01-2018, 16:05   #30
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Re: Binoculars - Traditional or Stabilised???

Jim-
Have you ever spent time in a new car? Newish car? Then you may have noticed the way there is always a film of crud forming on the inside of the windshield, even if no one has been smoking in the car.
That film is real, it is from plasticizers sublimating and evaporating out of the new plastics in the car. Same thing as a cigarette smoke film, really. And I'd bet you that something in your binocs has been degrading, the same way the armor coat did, and slowly making a haze on the optics. Frequently the antireflective "blacking" in binocs breaks down, leaving little black specs ("dirt") inside waterproof binoculars, leaving no way to clean them without professional servicing. Same same.

from Tasmania, I don't think it would help much even if Canon did take responsibility for that.
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