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Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

Overland Park...
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178 posts
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Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

We are making our first trip during whale-watching season in March. We are staying at the Maui Kai so will have alot of ocean front lanai time to watch for whales and such. This will be our 3rd trip to Maui so all I'm planning is snorkeling, whale watching and then more snorkeling. I would like to get a good pair of binoculars to use from the lanai and also the excursions we have already booked. Can anyone recommend a good choice or give me some guidelines -- my husband and I both wear glasses, want something as lightweight as possible but yet effective and probably somewhat weather-proof. I never realized there is so much to consider when purchasing binoculars. I thought they were "one size fits all". But I have found too many numbers and options -- to the point I've gotten myself totally confused.

Plymouth, Michigan
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1. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

We were quite happy with our old binoculars until friends came visiting and brought a pair of Steiner wide angle marine binocs. We checked the price and felt that 275 was a bit steep so after a bit of research, we purchased the Busnell wide angle marine for about half the price. Ours Bushnells are easy to clean (even a little sand won't be a problem) and they are waterproof. Our new pair is little heavier than the Seiners but so is our wallet!

binoculars.com/binoculars/marine-binoculars/…

Edited: 09 September 2013, 21:27
Denver, Colorado
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2. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

Its funny you should post this right now as I too have been in a binocular search for whale watching as well. There are many considerations to take into account when selecting a pair. There is a trade off between magnification power and the field of view. The higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view. A 12 power pair of binoculars usually has a field of view around 300 feet at 1000 yards. A 7 power pair roughly has a field of view of 400 feet at the same distance. My current thinking is that I want the wider field of view as whale breeches happen very quickly and I might miss them with the narrower field of view.

Once you have the magnification figured out, there are a couple of other factors to consider. The first is the objective lens diameter. The larger the lens, the more light passes through the binocular. This is particularly important in the evenings as the sun starts to set. So, a binocular that says its 7 x 50 has 7 times magnification and a 50 mm objective lens. A compact pair of 7 x 30 binoculars will have poorer low light performance.

Binoculars have different types of prisms in them. Without going into too much detail, porro prisms are generally considered to be optically superior to roof prism design, BUT roof prism binoculars are generally more compact than porro prism designs. If compact is what you're after, go with a roof prism binocular.

finally, there are niceties such as captive lens caps, rubberized coatings, etc to consider.

All of the above is moot if you choose a cheap pair with poor glass. Make sure you have the opportunity to handle the binoculars (as opposed to purchasing online) so you can make sure the image is bright and sharp to the edges of the field. Good places to shop are REI, Bass Pro Shops or Cabellas if you have any of those where you live. They each have large selections to choose from.

I hope I've helped and not added to any confusion.

Santa Monica, CA
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3. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

We had a great salesperson help us at REI; dont know if you have one near you, but the knowledge and help was wonderful. The best question he asked: "What are you primarily using them for?" Ultimately, my husband chose a really great pair of Nikon binocs. He uses them mostly for birding, but they were terrific for whale watching, too.

washington
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for Maui
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4. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

Word of advice...take 2 pair! The "my turn" with the binocs is almost as bad as with the remote!

Middleburg, Virginia
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390 posts
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5. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

Weird, I was just googling binoculars not more than 5 minutes ago. I have my Dad's Pentax 7x50, they are at least 38 years old, and heavy. I was wondering if new technology had come in and maybe I should buy a new set.

Plover, Wisconsin
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538 posts
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6. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

I bought a pair of Nikon Monarch 10x42, two years ago and brought them to Maui on our last two trips and also use them for hunting. I am in the market for a second pair and am looking at Steiner Military grade binoculars. Check out www.opticsplanet.com for great prices and good reviews.

Mission, Kansas
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7. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

We are taking two pairs, so there wont be any fighting, well, less anyway. Both pairs are practically antiques but have been well taken care of and seem to be well equipped for Whale watching from the Lanai. One pair, the larger is pretty heavy but since we already went ahead and invested in a hard sided carry on for our cameras we will just include the binocs in that bag. ( Im still worried about how heavy our one free check in bag will be. I can just picture me frantically trying to remove and arrange stuff in order to get it down to pounds alowed. ) Is the only way to know how much your bag weighs is to buy one of those hand weights? Are they accurate without spending too much? Our last trip we had two check ins so we didnt worry about the weight. This time, not feeling real confident.

Mission, Kansas
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8. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

Ooops, sorry, I seem to have tried to change the subject. My bad.

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

I ordered this binoculars as my husband birthday gift. You may have a look.

mayershops.com/waterproof-bijia-10x42-roof-p…

Phoenix, Arizona
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37,596 posts
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10. Re: Anyone with recommendations on binoculars?

Both Nikon and Leica/Leitz get my vote.

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