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Best Binoculars For Cruises


Raxter54
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Not a photography question, but maybe some people with optics expertise could recommend a good set of binoculars to take on a cruise. Looking for something with an 8x or 10x magnification, and 40-50mm objective lens. if anyone has a recommendation, a suggestion, or any experience with them, I would appreciate hearing it. Thanks!

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On 11/3/2023 at 2:22 PM, Raxter54 said:

Not a photography question, but maybe some people with optics expertise could recommend a good set of binoculars to take on a cruise. Looking for something with an 8x or 10x magnification, and 40-50mm objective lens. if anyone has a recommendation, a suggestion, or any experience with them, I would appreciate hearing it. Thanks!

 

On the Bridge of all ships I worked on, the binoculars were mostly 7x50 or 8x50, with a few 7x35's. A higher 10x magnification does work well, especially on cruise ships. Personally, I prefer the heavier x50 rather than the lighter x35, as they have better light gathering, so better at dawn/sunset.

 

Another feature I have grown to like is "Permafocus", with the binocular's depth of field being from about 10-12' to infinity. No more fiddling with focus wheels.

 

Used Bushnells on most ships, so in retirement, I use the Bushnell Permafocus 10x50. Excellent field of vision and reasonable image quality. Lots of other more expensive options are available that may have better image quality, but the Bushnells provide good value for the money.

 

If money was no object, I would purchase Swarovski, which are totally high end, and virtually indestructible.

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14 hours ago, Raxter54 said:

Appreciate the inputs. Some decisions to be made...

There is indeed quite a few options for binoculars. And of course, the preferences may vary depending on what is the main purpose for using binoculars. Personally, I tend to use binoculars for birding (also when aboard a ship). Among birders, I think 8×40/42 is the favourite model with some people preferring the higher magnification 10×40/42 models since that usually offers a good compromise between suitable magnification and reasonable size and weight.  Personally I have picked even one step smaller 8×32 model (currently Zeiss Conquest HD, the brands' second tier line) as I tend to carry around not just binoculars, but also camera equipment (usually including a large telephoto lens) and sometimes also my fieldscope and tripod.

If money is no object, I suggest check out the already mentioned Swarowski or the high end Zeiss models, but I think there is several decent options also from the cheaper models and brands. Here is a couple binoculars review sites that can give you some ideas for other good alternatives:

https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.com/

https://www.allbinos.com/

 

And finally, as a Finnish birder I cannot post this without mentioning finnstick, which is great accessory for binoculars if one wants to watch around with binoculars for longer periods of time as it helps to avoid stressing your hands as you don't have to keep hands raised to hold the binoculars.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
28 minutes ago, kayehall said:

Sharper Image has binoculars with a camera attached.  Does anyone have any opinion on these for taking pictures in Alaska?

I had never even heard about that brand, but after searching for the specs, I am fairly confident that the camera function is a gimmick, the camera sensor seems to have only 5 MPix, which is these days a very low resolution.

I would suggest to use separate binoculars and camera. Or occasionally one could also use the camera with a telephoto lens as sort of monoscope.

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20 hours ago, kayehall said:

Sharper Image has binoculars with a camera attached.  Does anyone have any opinion on these for taking pictures in Alaska?

 

Had never heard of them, so just checked out the specifications.

 

Binoculars - at 12x, they are fairly powerful for use in the marine environment. Recommended magnification is 7x or 8x, with experienced users on cruise ships capable of handling 10x. They don't post the 2nd number, but it will be low, so they will have poor light reception. OK in bright daylight, not so good at dawn, dusk and at night.

 

Camera - as previously noted, a 5 M sensor is pitiful. That is what I would expect on a toy camera for kids these days.

 

May I suggest completing a needs assessment. What do you want binoculars for, this will help to determine specifications. Same exercise for a camera. Unless your needs are minimal, I'll suggest this is not a good option.

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On 11/30/2023 at 12:07 PM, kayehall said:

Sharper Image has binoculars with a camera attached.  Does anyone have any opinion on these for taking pictures in Alaska?

 

I don't know about that particular piece of equipment but I would be very suspect of anything sold by Sharper Image.  Most of those combination binoc / camera combinations combine a really crappy camera stuck on a really lousy set of binoculars .

 

DON

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6 hours ago, Aexboeingdriver said:

Every cruise we take Ziess 10x42 binoculars. On Alaska cruises we also put in the Vortex 8x42 viper binoculars.

Are those Ziess binoculars cheap knock-offs of Zeiss brand? 😉

Zeiss certainly makes nice binoculars, especially in the more expensive lineups, although certainly for many people, who do not need binoculars that frequently would probably be quite happy with even the cheapest models. Vortex is also reputable optics manufacturer, so I presume those would be also decent choice, although I have no experience with that brands' products. Granted, I think there is also quite a few other brands that would deserve also recommendation.

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15 hours ago, Aexboeingdriver said:

Ziess- not cheap knockoffs😂

i have noticed that most ship bridges use Steiner Commanders.

Seaborn expedition ship do provide Swarovski binoculars in each cabin.

Cheers

 

 

I spent 40 yrs on ship's Bridges and never once had Steiner binoculars, or any other binocular at that price point supplied by the company.

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I wear glasses and my eyes are two very different prescriptions. So binoculars rarely work for me. I now have a monocular and I love it. I took it bird watching and it worked very well. It's only 8x32 though because I am not a birder so I wasn't willing to pay more for a higher-powered one.

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