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Alaska Cruisers - Binoculars

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This question is for Alaska cruisers and birdwatcher enthusiasts. I am getting ready to purchase Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular 8x42. 

 

I’m mainly using this to see wildlife, whale watching and the like. After I’m done with Alaska Cruise, I will be using these for looking out on the lake that I live waterfront on. 

 

Does anyone have this binoculars or know if this is a good kind?? Reviews says it’s good. Thank you!

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Can't discuss bird watching, but have used binoculars working at sea for 40+ years. Most ships I worked on received Bushnell binoculars on the Bridge, either 7x or 8x.

 

The first number is the magnification, with 7x or 8x recommended for use aboard ship. Don't recommend going higher than 10x for use aboard ship, due to vessel movement, vibration, etc. The 2nd number is the optic diameter and determines the amount of light entering the binocular.

 

Generally Bushnell binoculars are a cheaper brand. However, I have used them for many years. Personally, I use Bushnell 12x50 perma-focus, although I will be replacing them with Bushnell 10x50 perma-focus for the improved field of view. Having fiddled with the focus on binoculars for many years, the perma-focus is an amazing feature. It isn't auto-focus similar to camera lenses, but a permanent focus that goes from 10-20 feet to infinity.

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We are birders and we use the Nikon Monarch 7. 

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They are expensive, but Fujinon Polaris series binoculars are very high quality and will last a lifetime. My husband is a commercial fisherman and has used his two pairs of Fujinons on his boats for years. They go with us on every Alaska cruise and provide amazing magnification and visibility. 

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I have Carson VPs - they were recommended to me by a friend who is a photographer. They are relatively inexpensive - in the $100ish range - but excellent quality. I took them on both Alaska cruises I've been on and they definitely came in handy - on the most recent one I used them heavily when passing a rookery that was filled with seals - that alone made them worth bringing. So cute 🙂

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15 hours ago, ascho said:

I found this on another post....

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-binoculars/

 

We went with the "runner up" in that article - the Celestron Trailseeker 8X42 - for our Alaskan cruise last Summer.  When I first got them my response was "Oh, so THIS is what binoculars are supposed to be like!".  Prior to that, I had only experienced cheapies that my parents or some random friend had.  The optical clarity is really impressive.  We also purchased the lighter 8X32 set after that and carried both on the cruise.  I preferred the bigger field of view on the 8X42s, but my wife appreciated the smaller size and lighter weight. of the 8X32s.

 

Some family members brought binoculars along too that were supposed to be "good", but they too realized that ours were in a different league.  I have to believe that spending much more than we did starts to involve diminishing returns until you add things like optical image stabilization, etc.

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I enjoy hearing everyone's point of view but some of you are not mentioning the lens specifics.  I am torn between 8x42 vs 10x50.  I like the idea of a higher magnification but many say there is too much shaking and movement with the 10x50.   

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1 hour ago, ascho said:

I enjoy hearing everyone's point of view but some of you are not mentioning the lens specifics.  I am torn between 8x42 vs 10x50.  I like the idea of a higher magnification but many say there is too much shaking and movement with the 10x50.   

So, like you, I read a lot about the higher magnification being an issue w/shake.  Having taken my lone cruise now, with 8X42, I'm not sure I couldn't have gone with a 10X50.  The ship we were on was relatively smooth - especially in the inside passage we were on.  Indeed, there were times when we scanned the shorelines for bears and still couldn't tell "is that a rock or a bear" (note: it's always a rock...LOL).

 

In short, I would like to have tried out a 10x50 from a shake perspective.  Having said that, I would pay close attention to the WEIGHT.  I stopped carting a DSLR around a while back as I just didn't want to deal with the weight and bulk.  My neck no likey the heavy stuff these days.  In short, the various models can have pretty different weights so maybe pay attention to that spec.

 

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23 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Can't discuss bird watching, but have used binoculars working at sea for 40+ years. Most ships I worked on received Bushnell binoculars on the Bridge, either 7x or 8x.

 

The first number is the magnification, with 7x or 8x recommended for use aboard ship. Don't recommend going higher than 10x for use aboard ship, due to vessel movement, vibration, etc. The 2nd number is the optic diameter and determines the amount of light entering the binocular.

 

Generally Bushnell binoculars are a cheaper brand. However, I have used them for many years. Personally, I use Bushnell 12x50 perma-focus, although I will be replacing them with Bushnell 10x50 perma-focus for the improved field of view. Having fiddled with the focus on binoculars for many years, the perma-focus is an amazing feature. It isn't auto-focus similar to camera lenses, but a permanent focus that goes from 10-20 feet to infinity.

I bought the Bushnell 10X50 Perma Focus at Walmart.com for $48 2 years ago.  By far the best Binocular I have ever owned.  

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Having a good pair of binoculars is important for wildlife viewing trips, so spending +/- $100 is OK with me.  As a person who had never used binoculars, I did not need something fancy or professional.  I was shopping for something mid price ($200-$400), and I ended up with Nikon Monach 5, 8x42.  Why I chose it?  Decent field of view (361’ vs the winner Athlon Midas’s awesome 426’),  reasonable mid-range price (comparable retail price to Athlon Midas), light weight (1.3 lb vs Athlon Mida’s 1.56 lb), relatively small size with easy handling dimensions (5.7”x5.1”x2.2”), decent eye relief (especially for glasses wearers), bright field, rugged construction, and waterproof/fog proof body (important for Galapagos and Antarctica cruises).  Found it at llbean.com with a US lifetime warranty.  Got it for a great price from llbean with some promotion coupons (credit card application etc).

 

Used it in my Galapagos cruise in May for viewing birds soaring overhead and from afar.     It was an amazing feeling being able to see the details of the bird’s wings, claws, body and head constantly changing while in flight.  I was able to spot flamingos feeding at a distance from hilltop.  Looking forward to using my binoculars again in Manchu Picchu.

 

Although I would like Athlon Midas for its great Field of View, I am happy with my Nikon Monach 5, especially for the discounted price.  I chose 8x42 over 10x42, because I am a novice who does not have steady hands.

 

Although my Nikon Monach 5 is relatively light (only 1.3 lb), anything would feel heavy after a long hike.  To give my neck a break, I got myself Votex Optics Binocular Harness strap (from Amazon) to shift the weight from my neck to the larger area of my back.  I did not feel the weight much, and my neck was very thankful.

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Ok I feel bad. I order a $13 pair of binoculars off Amazon for the hubby. LOL!! I still have my cheap pair of binoculars from my cruise 10 years ago that I'm going to use. 

You guys sound like experts. Hopefully these cheap binoculars will do.

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9 hours ago, dreamercruise said:

Having a good pair of binoculars is important for wildlife viewing trips, so spending +/- $100 is OK with me.  As a person who had never used binoculars, I did not need something fancy or professional.  I was shopping for something mid price ($200-$400), and I ended up with Nikon Monach 5, 8x42.  Why I chose it?  Decent field of view (361’ vs the winner Athlon Midas’s awesome 426’),  reasonable mid-range price (comparable retail price to Athlon Midas), light weight (1.3 lb vs Athlon Mida’s 1.56 lb), relatively small size with easy handling dimensions (5.7”x5.1”x2.2”), decent eye relief (especially for glasses wearers), bright field, rugged construction, and waterproof/fog proof body (important for Galapagos and Antarctica cruises).  Found it at llbean.com with a US lifetime warranty.  Got it for a great price from llbean with some promotion coupons (credit card application etc).

 

Used it in my Galapagos cruise in May for viewing birds soaring overhead and from afar.     It was an amazing feeling being able to see the details of the bird’s wings, claws, body and head constantly changing while in flight.  I was able to spot flamingos feeding at a distance from hilltop.  Looking forward to using my binoculars again in Manchu Picchu.

 

Although I would like Athlon Midas for its great Field of View, I am happy with my Nikon Monach 5, especially for the discounted price.  I chose 8x42 over 10x42, because I am a novice who does not have steady hands.

 

Although my Nikon Monach 5 is relatively light (only 1.3 lb), anything would feel heavy after a long hike.  To give my neck a break, I got myself Votex Optics Binocular Harness strap (from Amazon) to shift the weight from my neck to the larger area of my back.  I did not feel the weight much, and my neck was very thankful.

Love my harness strap!

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I recommend trying out the pair you'll buy. Go to a big sporting goods/outdoor store such as Cabela's/Bass Pro, Dick's, REI, etc., where you can see how comfortable different ones are for you.

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On 6/2/2019 at 12:10 PM, ascho said:

I enjoy hearing everyone's point of view but some of you are not mentioning the lens specifics.  I am torn between 8x42 vs 10x50.  I like the idea of a higher magnification but many say there is too much shaking and movement with the 10x50.   

On a cruise ship, cruising Alaska you should have no issues with 10x, with respect to shaking. Deep sea cargo ships in a significant seaway is a different story.

 

The primary difference between 8x42 and 10x50 is predominantly size and weight increases for the 10x50. However, the positive is the greater light captured by the x50, which is about 40% more light, so x50 are better for low light conditions at dawn/dusk.

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Thanks for the info.  In the end, I was able to get what I think was a great promotional deal on a new Bushnell line of binoculars called Forge.  I ordered from the company and got the 8x42. Still not cheap but I also liked the 30 year warranty. 

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