Type of binoculars for an Alaskan cruise

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#42
Oak Hill, Virginia
283 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
We love our Zen Rays. We purchased them for our first Alaska cruise will be bringing them with us this July!

Originally posted by richfrommo
I just bought a new pair of Zen Ray binoculars 10X42 for my wife for our trip to Alaska this summer for $ 139 off Ebay same price as Zen Rays web site less shipping. I have not got to use in field much but seem to be very clear. I also have a set from Cabela's 10X42 both are water proof that we will be taking also .
#43
655 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by fireflymd
I purchased both the Zen Ray Vista 8X42 and 10X42. The 8X42 is much more stable to hold and I'm going to get another one because these binoculars are waterproof, inexpensive, and far better than the cheap ones we have at home.

I bought them on Wayfair where they are priced at $139. If you enter your e-mail address, you will receive a coupon code for 10% off. The shipping was free and there was no tax.

I think these are fabulous, inexpensive binoculars and I'm thrilled to have discovered them on these forums. Thanks to all those who recommended them.
Those VISTA binoculars are very nice. I have compared them to $300 Nikon Monarch. The view is much nicer and clearer with VISTA

http://www.zen-ray.com/shop/binocula...vista8x42.html

we got both 8x and 10x so we can use 10x for land tour while 8x is primarily for whale watching
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HAL Ryndym, August 2009 Alaska
HAL Amsterdam, 2008 Alaska
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#44
United States
87 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Ugh, I am now torn between these two. The Bushnells are much cheaper, but maybe there's a reason for that.....
http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Ray-Optics...ray+8x42+vista

http://www.amazon.com/Bushnell-Water...x42+waterproof


Anyone used the Bushnells that can compare them to the Zen Rays? I won't be able to hold/test either pair before my trip so any help would be great.
#45
Leadville, CO
1,138 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by davecttr
Waterproof is good if it is raining and go for a lightweight. I have a pair of 8x25 which are fine for during the day. Those 7x50's etc are for low light levels or night.
Good night! Never mind binoculars, sounds like I might as well just remove my rifle scope and bring that.
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#46
655 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by WannabePhotog
Ugh, I am now torn between these two. The Bushnells are much cheaper, but maybe there's a reason for that.....
http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Ray-Optics...ray+8x42+vista

http://www.amazon.com/Bushnell-Water...x42+waterproof


Anyone used the Bushnells that can compare them to the Zen Rays? I won't be able to hold/test either pair before my trip so any help would be great.
The VISTA is better binoculars. I have tried Bushnell Excursion or Legend. They are similar to VISTA. But their H2O model is very dim for lack of better coating.
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HAL Ryndym, August 2009 Alaska
HAL Amsterdam, 2008 Alaska
Infinity, 2005
Carnival Pride, 2003
#47
new jersey
83 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
I have a 10 x 50 bushnell powerview and a 7 x 50 outdoor UV sharper image. Do you think either of there would suffice? Thanks for your advice,
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#48
California
112 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by plenox
The VISTA is better binoculars. I have tried Bushnell Excursion or Legend. They are similar to VISTA. But their H2O model is very dim for lack of better coating.
What plenox said.

I've recently returned a pair of Bushnell Legend HD binoculars because of build quality issues and would not trust the brand now. But the Zen Rays are well regarded and many have a lifetime transferable warranty that will give you piece of mind.

I own two pairs of their twin sister company (Atlas Optics) and am very pleased with their quality and performance and their price-points!
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TanTien

#49
Ohio
82 Posts
Joined May 2014
Despite the mixed reviews on Bushnell's...

We have one set of Bushnell Extra High Power 10x 32mm compacts. Not water resistant, as far as I can tell.

There are 2 of us, but a tight budget.

Should we buy another inexpensive pair, maybe less mag, but a waterproof pair so we have at least one that can go out if it's pouring?

Or should we just stick with these and put the money toward other trip items...we have cheap ponchos but not waterproof jackets...and all I own are sandals , so obviously need some sneakers, at least.
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June 16-23, 2014 Whittier to Vancouver on the Norwegian Sun
Nov 5-11, 2017 Mexican Riviera on the Emerald Princess
#50
1,259 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
I think another pair is in order just so you don't have to share (the dioptic adjustment will be different for each person).

FWIW, my go to glass is an older (maybe 6 years now?) Japanese made pair of Bushnell Legend 8x32s (Browning labeled); they are very bright and clear with a wide field of view and have a "rain guard" coating on the lenses (in addition to being waterproof). The newer Legends are Chinese and from what I understand Chinese optic technology/quality is just beginning to come around.
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Kids waking up DW prior to muster drill (she didn't know they were coming!) and more Alaska fun:

#51
California
112 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by mlkmnsgrl
Despite the mixed reviews on Bushnell's...

We have one set of Bushnell Extra High Power 10x 32mm compacts. Not water resistant, as far as I can tell.

There are 2 of us, but a tight budget.

Should we buy another inexpensive pair, maybe less mag, but a waterproof pair so we have at least one that can go out if it's pouring?

Or should we just stick with these and put the money toward other trip items...we have cheap ponchos but not waterproof jackets...and all I own are sandals , so obviously need some sneakers, at least.
I would go for a waterproof set of reverse-porro 8x32's. They are really not very expensive, bright, and very compact.
Try here for a wide selection of budget waterproof 8X binoculars:

http://www.eagleoptics.com/binocular...&price_max=200

What is your budget, if you don't mind?
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TanTien

#52
Ohio
82 Posts
Joined May 2014
For binoculars or Alaska? =) Binoculars, I'd say $50 and under, so very few options...none gonna be amazing, but we'll be back someday when we've got a better income and more time to spend using such things as really good binoculars.

For Alaska, a tad bit more than $50 , but we're trying to keep all shore excursions combined as close to $400 as possible, so it's certainly not a luxury trip. We're low maintenance (Days Inn is nice) type people, though. DH is still in school and we've got 3 little ones.
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June 16-23, 2014 Whittier to Vancouver on the Norwegian Sun
Nov 5-11, 2017 Mexican Riviera on the Emerald Princess
#53
172 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
We bought a pair of 10x42 Zen-Ray VISTA binoculars for our daughter for the upcoming July cruise. There was a coupon available (SAVE15) that helped us save $15. Not sure if it is expired.

My DH used his expensive Swarovski birding binoculars for all of our travel. But I found it sufficient to use less expensive binoculars ($100-$300). I just won't allow him to spend another $2000 on a pair of binoculars.
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#54
California
112 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by mlkmnsgrl
For binoculars or Alaska? =) Binoculars, I'd say $50 and under, so very few options...none gonna be amazing, but we'll be back someday when we've got a better income and more time to spend using such things as really good binoculars.

For Alaska, a tad bit more than $50 , but we're trying to keep all shore excursions combined as close to $400 as possible, so it's certainly not a luxury trip. We're low maintenance (Days Inn is nice) type people, though. DH is still in school and we've got 3 little ones.
I want to pass on something I've learned after buying many pairs of binoculars over the years, each time trying to keep to an economical maximum:

If I'd saved enough for one good pair instead of all the lesser one's that I'd gotten, I would have spent less than I spent for all the crappy binoculars. So my advice is to buy a decent pair now and save money in the long run. There are many places to buy good quality used ones: eBay or Cameraland Nikon Demos.

The best bang for your buck is a porro-prism but they tend to not be waterproof and don't have a reputation to stay in focus or survive harsh treatment. The second you can try is a low-end roof prism (like the Nikon Demo I linked you to above): roofs tend to be waterproof (for not much more than non-waterproof), more durable, and more compact (again the Nikon 10x25 Demo I pointed you to for <$70). But remember too: generally, the higher the magnification, the shakier the image and the darker (less light) it will be.

For beginners and and all around binocular, I would recommend an 8x42 roof prism.

I would suggest generally staying with better known brands (e.g. Nikon, Vortex, Leupold) with good lifetime warranties. In optics, you really do get what you pay for, where they won't survive a knock or a bounce off the deck. But here again, look to the warranty to help.

And please read my post about buying optics in general for cruising or other uses.

Hope this helps. Feel free to PM me for more information, and let us know what you decide!
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TanTien

#55
Texas
304 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by TanTien
I want to pass on something I've learned after buying many pairs of binoculars over the years, each time trying to keep to an economical maximum:



If I'd saved enough for one good pair instead of all the lesser one's that I'd gotten, I would have spent less than I spent for all the crappy binoculars. So my advice is to buy a decent pair now and save money in the long run. There are many places to buy good quality used ones: eBay or Cameraland Nikon Demos.



The best bang for your buck is a porro-prism but they tend to not be waterproof and don't have a reputation to stay in focus or survive harsh treatment. The second you can try is a low-end roof prism (like the Nikon Demo I linked you to above): roofs tend to be waterproof (for not much more than non-waterproof), more durable, and more compact (again the Nikon 10x25 Demo I pointed you to for <$70). But remember too: generally, the higher the magnification, the shakier the image and the darker (less light) it will be.



For beginners and and all around binocular, I would recommend an 8x42 roof prism.



I would suggest generally staying with better known brands (e.g. Nikon, Vortex, Leupold) with good lifetime warranties. In optics, you really do get what you pay for, where they won't survive a knock or a bounce off the deck. But here again, look to the warranty to help.



And please read my post about buying optics in general for cruising or other uses.



Hope this helps. Feel free to PM me for more information, and let us know what you decide!

Love my 15yr old Leupolds10x42. Amazing optics. A little heavier than the newer generation but they have become like an appendage--not willing to give them up, they've served me so well. also, Leupold will fix whatever happens for whatever reason at no charge. Wonderful service!


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#56
199 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Try to get one pair for each person so you don't have to fight for it during the whale sighting. We got inexpensive ones for kids (less than $150) and upgraded ours to $250 range. It is a must. I am glad that I convinced DH to invest on those pairs before the trip. Leupold, Zen-Ray, Nikon are all good brands to look into.
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1st Time to Alaska: August 2008, Star Princess