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Friends:

I am planning on going offshore out of the East Coast of Florida on a regular basis starting this spring.

My application will be primarily fishing, so I'll need something to spot birds (flying and sitting on the water), other boats, breezing and boiling fish, manta ray wings, flotsam (fish holding) and more.

I suppose I could use an all-purpose binocular, but maybe there are better options out there.

What factors should a person be looking for?


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I think the big decision you need to make is whether you want to go stabilized or not.

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Stabilized means more $, right? If so probably not. I'll need the funds for gas!


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To answer your question in the title of the thread:

An on-board compass

While I haven't spent exhaustive hours researching "marine" binoculars, the on-board compass is the one feature I can recall being universal on all binoculars that claim to be "Marine".


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There's no hard and fast delineation between standard binos and marine binos, but the difference is in magnification and the size of the objective lenses. Standard binoculars have a typical ratio of magnification:objective of 4-5x. Think about an 8x40 (5x) or 10x40 (4x) and similar sizes as examples of standard binoculars. Marine binoculars have a higher ratio, often 6-8x. An example of a common marine bino spec would be a 7x50, with 7x magnification and a 50mm pair of objective lenses.

The lower magnification helps minimize image shakiness on rolling seas, while the larger objective provides a brighter picture on dark nights and also provides a larger exit pupil size for long-duration viewing comfort and reduced eye strain, particularly in low-light situations. As horse1 mentioned, marine binos often include a built-in compass as well. More modern (and expensive) marine binos also include a rangefinder. The larger objective lenses, compass, and rangefinder, however, all add considerable weight. Whether those benefits of marine binos are worth the added price and weight and more limited magnification on dry land is a personal preference.

Personally, I would stick with an 8x40 or 10x40 (or 8x42 or 10x42) for hunting use.

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Marine binos usually have a compass for heading and are rubber armored for basic features. As is with most anything else, more features = more $$$

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I have a 7x50 rubber armored Fujinon binoc that is probably classed as marine (no compass) but it's a pretty nice unit at dusk in the stand.

http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/Fujinon7x50FMTR-SX.htm

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I’ve got a pair of Steiners with the built in compass. I never bring them on the boat anymore when offshore. They do not have image stabilization. Basically worthless unless it’s dead calm. Plus there’s nothing I ever have the need to zoom in 8x to see better that isn’t tiny to start with. I just drive over and see in 2 min.

The big stuff doesn’t matter if you can see it better with binoculars, because it’s usually horizon limited anyway.

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I can’t answer your question too much knowledge one thing I do know when I see Marine binoculars I had a set of Minolta specific marine binoculars I don’t think they were excessively good but they were OK with the one thing I did notice about them is he had a Very limited field of view
I really don’t know if that’s a trait Of marine binoculars
Or just characteristic of those

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I would say Get a cheap pair is Steiner military marine 8x30s. Small to store and good enough for most uses. Besides if they get swiped, lost or go overboard not a lot lost. You can find them the for less than $200

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Originally Posted by spence1875
I would say Get a cheap pair is Steiner military marine 8x30s. Small to store and good enough for most uses. Besides if they get swiped, lost or go overboard not a lot lost. You can find them the for less than $200

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Not a bad option at all; used this exact glass for over 20 years. Remarkably durable. NOT submersible though!

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Ex-Navy here. Naval binoculars are individual focus of each eyepiece, versus standard center wheel focus on sandcrab model binoculars.

Once each eyepiece on an individual focus bino is focused to your eye, they're focused from the range you first focused them at all the way out to infinity.

No futzing around with spinning a centerwheel to and fro to get a clear, sharp image.

That makes it difficult to share the binos with another person, because they'll have to re-focus them for their own eyes. Problem is when they give 'em back to you. One way around that is to mark your settings on the eyepiece barrels with enamel or fingernail polish.

Side note: Contrary to Marine Corps slander, a group of Navy Ensigns getting together to discuss what nail polish colors they'll use is not the planning stage of a group trip to gay bars. When one binocular is passed on to the oncoming watchstander, it helps to have individualized focus markings for all who may use that set of binoculars.


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Your "understanding" of Optics,is HILARIOUS,you Amazingly STUPID Fhuqk! Hint.

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They work with "Marty Feldman" Eyes........


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Originally Posted by Stammster
I’ve got a pair of Steiners with the built in compass. I never bring them on the boat anymore when offshore. They do not have image stabilization. Basically worthless unless it’s dead calm. Plus there’s nothing I ever have the need to zoom in 8x to see better that isn’t tiny to start with. I just drive over and see in 2 min.

The big stuff doesn’t matter if you can see it better with binoculars, because it’s usually horizon limited anyway.
I would concur with this comment.
I bought a set of expensive marine binoculars years back, and found them almost useless as for finding birds etc. I wont bad mouth the brand but they were the Commander model of that brand.
I would just buy a decent set to keep on board, and when they go bad buy another set.

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I was a charter sailboat and delivery captain from 1976-1992. Early on I was gifted by another captain, a pair of Fujinon 7x50 MTRCs which I own to this day. The built in compass is very handy, superceding the need for a hand bearing compass. I never had a problem holding them steady on the relatively small boats I was on, including 14 ocean passages where they are used infrequently, and many thousands of miles of coastwise sailing where they are invaluable.

Since 1992 I’ve moved inland to Montana where my hunting interests prevail. Now I have 7x35 Trinovids, 8x32 Nikon SEs, 8x42 Ultravids and 10x42 SEs to use, but I ull out the old Fujinon from time to time for old times sake.

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I once got to do a ride-along on a sheriff boat on a lake. I got to use their Canon stabilized binoculars after trying to use my own 8x40 hunting binoculars while cruising in the boat. Wow! What a difference! One minute of experiencing the stabilized binoculars will convince anyone of the benefits of stabilization when used on any moving platform.


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Originally Posted by spence1875
I would say Get a cheap pair is Steiner military marine 8x30s. Small to store and good enough for most uses. Besides if they get swiped, lost or go overboard not a lot lost. You can find them the for less than $200

Spence

8X30 makes for an awfully small exit pupil for a moving platform potentially in dim/dark conditions.


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Get an old pair of NATO issue Steiner MIL/MAR 7x50 Commanders with compass and calibrated to where you intend to use same (as the globe has many magnetic anomalies) instead of the crappy US assembled ones. Mine I bought in 1988, still going strong or both sea and land usage.

Last edited by purri; 04/25/23. Reason: clarity
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The most important feature is moisture proof, anti fog. My go to binos (sailed eastern Caribbean for 10 years) were simple Nikons. Sure have stabilized and compass inset, but not necessary.
Just good quality "marine".

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