Posted February 24th, 2008, 07:16 PM
What is the difference between inexpensive (Wall Mart) binoculars and expensive (Neiman Marcus) binoculars.
I have learned SO much about binoculars from these boards, having only owned cheapie (and basically useless) pairs in the past. I haven't pulled the trigger on what to buy for our Alaska trip yet, but I'm close, and I'm a LOT more well-informed than I was before I began researching here. Here's a thread to get you started -- http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...ght=binoculars
When I was just starting to check this out, I walked into a local sporting goods store (a camera store should do as well) and said "I need to compare binoculars, to see what works for me." They were very helpful, and with the binoculars in hand I could totally SEE what folks mean about eye relief, brightness, field of view, etc. I discovered that 12x is too much for me (I have too much hand-shake) -- 10x is borderline okay -- 8x was really good. I discovered that I much prefer a wider angle. So for me, an 8x42 was super, a 10x50 was just okay, and a 12x50 made me want to yak (from the hand-shaking). I can't afford image stabilization (lord knows I wish I could) so now I have a good idea of what I want.
I also looked at smaller, compact units, and even the Leupold's I checked out just didn't come close to the standard sized ones I tried. I really loved the Nikon models. I may wind up compromising the best quality I found (the Nikon Monarch) for a significant price difference (the Nikon Action Extremes -- which I believe aren't fully multicoated and aren't quite as bright). In any event, I feel like I can make an educated decision I will be very happy with.
Also take the time to educate yourself about stuff like "multicoated" versus "fully multicoated," which I just said -- it makes a difference, and carries a price difference. The same with roof prism and porro -- which has a weight difference in most cases. MOST importantly, get waterproof AND fogproof binoculars, especially for Alaska, where you'll be going from warm indoors to cold/chilly outdoors.
The many experts here will correct me where I'm wrong/misguided -- but those are the biggies I've taken away from several binocular threads here -- and which I could really SEE at my local store.
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Pride of Hawaii, NCL, 2007 (Hawaii) -- MS Volendam, HAL, 2008 (Alaska) -- Norwegian Dawn, 2009 (Caribbean) -- Carnival Triumph, 2009 (Canada) -- Emerald Princess, 2010 (Caribbean) -- Norwegian Epic, 2011 (Caribbean) -- Celebrity Summit, 2011 (Bermuda Cruise Critic Member Cruise) -- Ruby Princess, 2012 (Caribbean) -- Sapphire Princess, 2012 (Alaska) -- Norwegian Sky, 2013 (Bahamas) -- Carnival Dream, 2013 (Caribbean) -- Carnival Liberty, 2013 (Caribbean) -- Norwegian Epic, 2014 (Caribbean) -- Carnival Sunshine, 2014 (Caribbean) -- Norwegian Getaway Back to Back, 2015 (Caribbean) -- Carnival Sunshine, 2015 (Caribbean)