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Old 17-08-2020, 04:30   #1
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Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

I've been looking at getting some actual "marine" binoculars and the most interesting model I've found comes with or without "built-in compass".


Is that a gimmicky thing or something that is truly useful to have for a bluewater / liveaboard cruiser?


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Old 17-08-2020, 04:52   #2
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

I think it depends on your background. If you've ever used a hand-bearing compass for shooting LOP's, then the built-in compass in the binoculars is great. Not only for piloting, but once you learn to use it you'll find all kinds of other uses. To be able to note the bearing to something, then transfer that to your chartplotter or radar, is great.

If you can't do DR piloting, and haven't truly internalized the whole concept of a compass bearing, then it's probably useless.

And, of course, it's also useless once out of sight of land where piloting is impossible anyway. Except maybe as a backup compass to toss into the liferaft as you step up into it.
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Old 17-08-2020, 05:05   #3
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

I've never been tempted to buy a pair..

Cons....
....more expensive
....bulkier
....no use on a steel yacht
....will have issues with dip if you take from Europe or US to southern climes
....If I need to take a bearing of something it will be visible to the naked eye and I can use my hbc.

Pros

.... handy if you are bridge lookout on a WW2 warship but I think they said 'bearing red three oh' and stuff rather than using compass bearings... simple system for simple sailors...
... can't think of any more
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Old 17-08-2020, 05:26   #4
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

I don't know that I would make good use of a compass feature but I LOVE the image stabilization of my marine binoculars.
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Old 17-08-2020, 05:27   #5
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
I think it depends on your background. If you've ever used a hand-bearing compass for shooting LOP's, then the built-in compass in the binoculars is great. Not only for piloting, but once you learn to use it you'll find all kinds of other uses. To be able to note the bearing to something, then transfer that to your chartplotter or radar, is great.

If you can't do DR piloting, and haven't truly internalized the whole concept of a compass bearing, then it's probably useless.
+1 for above statement. Many times you will not need the compass if you are just looking at things, but can be helpful down the road. Alternatively, we have several hand bearing compasses on board for just this purpose, which are very easy to use and overall less expensive.

In general, look around at different binocs before you purchase. The most expensive isn't always the best (contrary to the opinion of some), so read up on the features and then literally look around/compare.

Also who will be using them? If it's just you and maybe 1 other, then you'll take care of an expensive set and not toss them around. If we have guests on board I'll bring out an ok pair for them to use, not the good ones.
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Old 17-08-2020, 05:30   #6
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

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Also who will be using them? If it's just you and maybe 1 other, then you'll take care of an expensive set and not toss them around. If we have guests on board I'll bring out an ok pair for them to use, not the good ones.

Yes, thanks for this. It will just be myself and my much better half. Any guests would be given free reign of the current older / not great set to which we will be adding a floating neck strap.
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Old 17-08-2020, 05:31   #7
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

Thanks everyone. Sounds like it's not a feature that we need or would really use.
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Old 17-08-2020, 05:37   #8
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

I went for the compass on the last set I bought. I probably don't need it and haven't used it, but it was only an extra few $$$.
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Old 17-08-2020, 05:46   #9
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

We use the compass all the time and yes it works on steel boats as well! The main use for the compass is to take a bearing on the ships you see at night and detect collision course or not that way. Or to find land features on the map. Or to know where to look for the buoy. You really need the compass.
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Old 17-08-2020, 06:14   #10
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

I have binos with a compass,I don’t use it for navigation but find it very handy if you want to point out a distant object to somebody else,hand them the binos and tell them the bearing.
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Old 17-08-2020, 06:26   #11
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

Quote:
Originally Posted by djousset View Post
I don't know that I would make good use of a compass feature but I LOVE the image stabilization of my marine binoculars.
Ooh yeah! Image stabalisation is the goods! I love my Canon binos.
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Old 17-08-2020, 06:50   #12
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
We use the compass all the time and yes it works on steel boats as well! The main use for the compass is to take a bearing on the ships you see at night and detect collision course or not that way.
This! Day or night
Rule 7 (d) In determining if risk of collision exists the following considerations shall be among those taken into account:
(i) such risk shall be deemed to exist if the compass bearing of an approaching vessel does not appreciably change;
Quote:
Or to find land features on the map. Or to know where to look for the buoy. You really need the compass.
Yes again. Very useful for quickly locating navigation marks.
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I have binos with a compass,I don’t use it for navigation but find it very handy if you want to point out a distant object to somebody else,hand them the binos and tell them the bearing.
This too!
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Old 17-08-2020, 08:53   #13
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

It is most useful for detecting possible collision course with a constant bearing and for use with 3 leg plotting tools which i use a lot to stay in practice as it is so simple not like reducing sights. It is also useful for racing when both boats are on the same tack. I rrely us a hand bearing compass any more because I'm lazy.
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Old 17-08-2020, 08:57   #14
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

I have some steiners with a compass and love them.
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Old 17-08-2020, 08:58   #15
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Re: Binoculars - with or without built-in compass

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I have some steiners with a compass and love them.
This is the brand I was looking at. They seem to do everything I want, just waffling about the compass.


Even after this thread I'm still on the fence.
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