Cruisers Forum

  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 19-03-2019, 07:16   #1

Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 1

What are the best binoculars that are helpful for a sailor? Can I get one under $500?
Dalesrejo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 07:19   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Anguilla
Boat: CheoyLee Offshore 33
Posts: 644
Images: 1
Send a message via Skype™ to masonc
Re: Binoculars?

I bought these on Amazon for $125, they are bright and very nicely made.
masonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 07:26   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Crete , Greece
Boat: Beneteau first 26
Posts: 670
Re: Binoculars?

I use just 155 euria
Very happy with them .
gmakhs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 07:40   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Posts: 365
Re: Binoculars?

anything more than 7-8X will get shaky on a boat
you want large (50mm minimum) aperture for reasonable night use
I went with non-focusing (set on infinity, if it's any closer I don't need the binocs)
Pete17C is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 07:45   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Florida Keys
Boat: Hunter Passage 42
Posts: 72
Re: Binoculars?

We use the Nikon 7x50 Ocean Pro's I think they were maybe $250. They have been great. I like the compass in them because I can find my marker and see what bearing to take to get to it. Also, if you're ever in a situation where you have to use dead reckoning the compass allows you to do that as well. We also have some less expensive bushnell, they are the same 7x50 with no compass and I don't think they are waterproof either that we leave in the cockpit all the time, you can definitely tell the difference in quality, but when you're at anchor and just trying to see what boat is coming in or leaving they'll do.
sguerrero1971 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 09:27   #6
Registered User
John_Trusty's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Cruising up the Eastern US ... S-l-o-w-l-y
Boat: Leopard 40 2009
Posts: 622
Re: Binoculars?

"Best" is a topic for religion or millionaires. "Good enough" is what you want. As noted by Pete17C, anything over 7x is useless on a small boat. You can really tell quality when its low-light, or poor weather. Personally, I prefer the quality / price trade-off offered by cheaper Steiner and all Nikon, and you can get pretty good ones for $3 - 400. I've never used, or been able to afford, the image stabilized ones, but others rave over them.
John Trusty

Better to trust the man who is frequently in error than the one who is never in doubt." -- Eric Sevareid
John_Trusty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 09:38   #7
Registered User
landlockedgm's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cruising the Bahamas
Boat: Endeavour 30 catamaran
Posts: 49
Re: Binoculars?

We have used these for 3 years with no problems. Good at night with a lighted compass. Just pick them up and look. The no focus is clear from 25ft on.
landlockedgm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 09:43   #8
Senior Cruiser
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 16,306
Re: Binoculars?

My opinion and experience, I keep three, the reasons.

- 7x50 is the most you can even hope to hold steady enough to be useful on a bouncing boat and even that can be a bit much in really rough conditions.
- Stabilized because I have found that even with a 7x50 in pretty calm water I can read the numbers on a channel marker or buoy better with the naked eye. With stabilized I can read signs and markers at twice the distance.
- An old set of Bushnells for whatever when I don't want to risk the good ones.

1. Nikon Ocean Pro with compass. Very good light gathering so very helpful for spotting things like markers, channels and other boats in dim light and even at night. Compass I find only somewhat useful as it isn't damped and it's really hard to get an accurate bearing. +/- 5 degrees at the very best.

2. Stabilized. Canon 10x is the most bang for the buck and work very well. If you have the money get the Fujinons. One negative on the Canons, over time the rubberized coating melts and has to be cleaned off.

3. Old Bushnells have very good optics and you can find the cheap on eBay.
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
Sometimes it's necessary to state the obvious for the benefit of the oblivious.
Rust is the poor man's Loctite.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 09:48   #9
Registered User
NewMoon's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Holladay, UT
Boat: Nordic Tug 37
Posts: 395
Images: 13
Re: Binoculars?

Pretty hard to beat Fujinon Polaris 7x50 for image quality and brightness. Check eBay - some gently used ones for $500 or less.
Richard Cook
Dream Catcher (Nordic Tug 37) Poulsbo WA
"Cruising in a Big Way"
NewMoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 11:35   #10
Registered User
ranger58sb's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Maryland, USA
Boat: 58' Sedan Bridge
Posts: 5,494
Re: Binoculars?

We have four binocs on board. Steiner 7x50 with compass constant focus. Steiner 7x30 with compass, constant focus. Fuji 12x28 stabilized, center focus. Redfield 7x35, center focus.

7x50 for general purpose and especially at night. The Fuji mini-stabilized is for making out nav aids at a distance. (Latter chosen for lighter weight and slightly better eye relief; there are models with high magnifcation, heavier.) Neither can replace the other, for us.

There are several long threads on the topic, with observations, pros/cons of various models, recommendations

Chesapeake Bay, USA.
ranger58sb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 11:57   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Orange Lake, FL
Boat: '79 Albin Vega, '88 Catalina 22
Posts: 326
Images: 1
Re: Binoculars?

Yes, there are some very long threads on this subject. I read them all and could not come up with any clear winner.

I finally chose a pair of Steiner Navigator Pro 7x50's. They run $460 on Amazon. I'm absolutely delighted with them.
Gene Neill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 12:02   #12
Registered User

Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 417
Re: Binoculars?

Another vote for 7x50 Steiners. They can be had for under $500, they're shock and waterproof and you won't believe the quality of the optics.
Drew13440 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 12:11   #13

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 15,136
Re: Binoculars?

7x50 is by far the most recommended. 50mm lenses to gather more light, anything wider gets expensive and heavy fast. 7x power because it is "enough" and again, things get heavier and expensive fast.
If you plan to do any piloting or need to tell someone "the bearing to the mark is..." then binocs with a built-in compass are invaluable, I'd call them the only way to go.

But as to which brand...a lot of the cheaper ones have very wide quality control. One pair may look like junk, the pair in the next box may be razor sharp. With *any* budget brand you want to be able to return them if you can't try them out in person before buying.

And a lot depends on your eyes. A set of $2000 Leica lenses is visibly very different from a $150 binoc, if you have great eyes. Fuzzy vision? You won't notice the difference.

There's also the matter of weight. Holding up a pair of 22-ounce binocs for ten minutes, no problem. Holding up a pair of 32-ounce binocs, surprisingly more tiring. So the lighter prism-type binocs have some advantage.

You may also want center focus, which adds cost, or different ways to adjust each lens to the diopter needs of the eye. A lot of the little stuff might matter to you--or not. It can be very much worth getting your hands on a range of different ones, to see how these things add up. And then, there's the warranty. Any decent binocs on a boat should be sealed, waterproof, and warrantied for a long time, by a maker that is likely to be around to honor it.

At a certain point ($200?) your wallet will probably decide when it has found "enough" for your needs.(G)
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 12:17   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Back in Montt.
Boat: Westerly Sealord
Posts: 8,217
Re: Binoculars?

If B&H don't have it it probably doesn't exist...
The ones 'in stock' would I imagine be the most popular models.

I would consider Fujinon, Nikon, Steiner.... I don't know the others... they may be very good.
Spend money on optics rather than a compass..

Look for fold down eyecups if you wear glasses.... the new Nikon 'Twist-Up Click-Stop Eyecups' as found on more expensive Nikons are even better... not sure if any of those in your price range.
A little bit about Chile can be found here
El Pinguino is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2019, 15:47   #15
Registered User
StuM's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Port Moresby,Papua New Guinea
Boat: FP Belize Maestro 43 and OPBs
Posts: 12,891
Re: Binoculars?

Originally Posted by landlockedgm View Post
We have used these for 3 years with no problems. Good at night with a lighted compass. Just pick them up and look. The no focus is clear from 25ft on.

I've got the slightly older version of those and I'm very happy with them.
StuM is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
compass calibration on steiner commader binoculars templequeen Product or Service Reviews & Evaluations 9 29-08-2008 09:31
Image stabilized binoculars bottleinamessage Monohull Sailboats 21 14-12-2007 15:31
Stabilized Binoculars SeaKing Navigation 3 09-09-2007 09:00
Binoculars Reed Marine Electronics 28 18-06-2006 08:32
Binoculars GordMay The Library 0 08-06-2005 12:40

Advertise Here

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:43.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.