WHAT ARE THE BEST BINOCULARS TO GET?
The best all around binoculars will depend on your needs, your age, budget and your tolerance for optical imperfections. I'm primarily a birder but cruise frequently, wear glasses, and handle a 10x42 well, which is perfect for whale-watching and wildlife viewing where objects are farther away.
However, the tradeoff is that they are larger and heavier than I prefer--especially when packing and traveling. And they really don't do well on a small whale watching boat skimming along the open water because they are simply too heavy and powerful--watching from the ship is where these are good (for me).
Tip #1: Don't get a 10X or greater power pair of binoculars unless you know how to use them properly. On a ship or a bouncing whale watching tour boat, you will find that these will be very hard to hold steady.
Tip #2: the cheap binos for sale on the ship, except for the well-known brands like Nikon are generally a waste of your binocular dollar. Save up and expect to find some durable, decent binoculars at over the $120 mark. The Nikons found onboard are good binoculars but they are also over the $250 mark and might be outside your budget.
If you are an older cruiser or are looking for some binos that are compact, you might want to get a pair of 8x32s. They are relatively small compared to 8x42s, lighter in weight and probably won't be required to be out at early dawn or late in the evening when light is waining, so the smaller light gathering ability of the 32s probably won't some into play.
I found a compact pair that would give me great optics, high versatility, compact size and last me for a long time. That pair is a Vortex Viper HD 8x32 and they are well-rounded, high quality, solidly backed, binos good for birding or wildlife viewing.
I could have gone for the 10x32's but I sacrifice the field of view that is many times what may be needed when you are scanning for wildlife. So it's a trade-off. Either money, or weight, or size, or the use will cause you to compromise at some point.
As for why I state age: recognize that a larger objective lens (the 20/32/42/50 that people use) is the light gathering part of the equation, in general, bigger is brighter and better. BUT, as you age, your eyes will not be able to use the full light provided to your eyes (the "Exit pupil"). So, in short, you might find that the more compact 32 models will be just as bright to your eyes as the larger 42 models, and so you save on weight, and even expense.
Look for a good amount of eye relief for glasses: you will find this listed for nearly every pair of binoculars as a millimeter number. Try for something above 16 mm (17-18 would be better) to accommodate your glasses.
Here's a guide that speaks to birding, but could just as well speak to your needs as well. http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/bw...yers-guide.php
But, as well-stated above, there's nothing like looking first and comparing binos directly if you can. Oh: Look for a long/lifetime warranty and don't cheap out--get the most expensive glass you can afford if you can because these will be a long term investment in your eyes and enjoyment. Cheaper pairs will not always hold up over the years, and when things start to fail, you want to know that the company behind it will be hassle free. Vortex is one of those companies that I tend to go to again and again because of their service, affordability and wide range of choice.
Hope this helps! Please feel free to ask questions.