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Old 19-09-2020, 06:40   #1
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Best binoculars

What is your choice of the very best binocular? I use the US Navy WWII B&L, which until the Japanese got into the glass business (Fujinon) was widely sought after. Those days are gone. When I was buying binoculars for a summer school, I found the people who make West Marine binoculars (Barska), and got reasonable lenses with waterproofing and rubber bumpers for less. But, let's ignore bells and whistles for a moment. Straight optical quality, no price limit, what is your choice?
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Old 19-09-2020, 06:59   #2
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Re: Best binoculars

Well, I think everyone knows the usual suspects.

I have different binos, including some lovely Leica ones, but my faves are my father's old Fujinon Meibos, which are optically gorgeous, just a pleasure to look through them.

It's a bit hard to compare the Meibo with my Leica Trivonid, because the Leica is 8x24 (used on shore and in daylight), but it is not obvious that the Leicas are optically better and maybe are not as good, as the Meibos, which are just gorgeous, even though they are ancient, from the 60's, so a few generations back in terms of optical coatings.

But none of my binos has a compass (I broke my crappy Fuji Mariners a couple of years ago -- and don't miss them), so I might be in the market later this year. At the moment top of my list would be the Fuji Polaris, which is apparently top optical quality (I think the optical formula is the same as my Meibos) and a fairly reasonable price (around a grand). But I would also consider Steiners, which are maybe not better optically but have a much better form factor, albeit at a price.

I might consider Zeiss, Leica, or Swarovski, but I don't think any of them are available with a compass. So I think it's down to Polaris vs. Steiner, for me anyway.
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Old 19-09-2020, 07:04   #3
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Re: Best binoculars

What I like about my Steiners is the optical quality but as a bonus the lenses are large so they gather a lot of light in low light situations - even at night. Certainly not "night-vision" or image stabilized but still - great lenses.
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Old 19-09-2020, 07:07   #4
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Re: Best binoculars

Steiner M&P: no focus needed once the eyepieces are adjusted.
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Old 19-09-2020, 07:18   #5
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Re: Best binoculars

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What I like about my Steiners is the optical quality but as a bonus the lenses are large so they gather a lot of light in low light situations - even at night. Certainly not "night-vision" or image stabilized but still - great lenses.

Well, the lenses are the same size as any 7x50's. "7" is the magnification; "50" is the optical diameter or aperture.
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Old 19-09-2020, 07:43   #6
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Re: Best binoculars

On the opposite spectrum, how about the best ECONOMICALLY PRICED binoculars, assuming money is tight. Thanks.
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Old 19-09-2020, 07:56   #7
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Re: Best binoculars

I bought mine in a pawn shop for 1/3 the cost of new...... they did not look like new, but they worked like new.
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Old 19-09-2020, 08:24   #8
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Re: Best binoculars

We have two pair onboard: Kahles (amazing optics!) and Leupold (cheap.)



https://www.kahles.at/en/hunt/products/binoculars/
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Old 19-09-2020, 08:26   #9
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Re: Best binoculars

Chris Kilmer, take a look (ouch) at the Barska 7x50s. They've got one at about $100 that's really decent.
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Old 19-09-2020, 08:59   #10
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Re: Best binoculars

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
What is your choice of the very best binocular? I use the US Navy WWII B&L, which until the Japanese got into the glass business (Fujinon) was widely sought after. Those days are gone. When I was buying binoculars for a summer school, I found the people who make West Marine binoculars (Barska), and got reasonable lenses with waterproofing and rubber bumpers for less. But, let's ignore bells and whistles for a moment. Straight optical quality, no price limit, what is your choice?
My Steiners sit at the helm and are my day in day out choice. I also have a Fujinon Stabi 14/40 in a case which I only open/insert batteries, when on an unfamiliar passage.

I made the mistake of leaving the batteries in my earlier Canon Image Stabilized binocs and they corroded the battery case. That along with degrading rubber caused me to toss that unit.

I've had the Steiners for around 15 years with no degradation to the rubber weatherproofing so I really fault Canon.

Finally I have a $10 pair in Kid size for my grandchildren.

~A
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Old 19-09-2020, 09:32   #11
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Re: Best binoculars

I learned this week that if you drop your TechnoStabi glasses and they get misaligned they will have to go back to Japan for service! Baker Marine in San Diego is the agent and they handle it all for you. Pre-Covid it was taking 3 weeks turnaround, then went to 12wks and now is at 6wks.

Luckily I can “borrow” the Admiral’s pair until then.
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Old 19-09-2020, 10:10   #12
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Re: Best binoculars

I own West Marine (with a compass), Fujinon, Pentax and most recently some B&L. All are 7X50 except the Pentax which are 10X50. I bought the West Marine set in a side by side comparison with Steiner. The West Marine optics were brighter, clearer and cost $$ less. I note that after 20 years, the image in the West Marine's shows "scratches". This could be mold or they could be scratched. They still produce a great image however.

The Fujinon however are the all out winners but in terms of value for dollar, the B&L marine purchased earlier this year are quite remarkable. In fact, when I was shopping late last year in New Zealand, the merchant that seemed to have the broadest selection strongly recommended the B&L over the Pentax. The B&L have a center focus arrangement while the Fujinon do not require focusing. But they cost more than twice as much.

I didn't accept Auckland optics merchant's advice but wish that I had. I rejected his B&L recommendation because I also have a 30 year old pair of B&L's that are ok but nothing special. I use them alongside some compact Nikon and Pentax lenses for hiking etc. The new B&L's are not at all comparable and their price point is hard to match. I bought them on the basis of some extensive web searching and again, I wish that I had done this in New Zealand before buying the Pentax glasses.
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Old 19-09-2020, 10:43   #13
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Re: Best binoculars

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ars-90654.html
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Old 19-09-2020, 11:26   #14
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Re: Best binoculars

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Well, the lenses are the same size as any 7x50's. "7" is the magnification; "50" is the optical diameter or aperture.
True - we have other binocs that have smaller lenses. The steiners have a patented coating that makes them particularly good in low light. I've never used another binocular that has better low light lenses. At some point you are splitting hairs and any of the top of the line manufacturers are very good options. Then you have to look at things like how well the lens covers stay on and if the company has good service.
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Old 19-09-2020, 11:37   #15
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Re: Best binoculars

Marathon1150, check out the Barskas. 15 years ago they were making the WM binoculars, and had the same models for less.

https://www.barska.com/optics-binoculars?specs=23919
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