7×50 binoculars – Buying guide & Comparison
If you’re in the market for a pair of good 7×50 binoculars, the type most commonly used when at sea, but don’t have the time to browse through dozens of reviews to find a proper one then you came to the right place. We read through a large number of marine binoculars reviews, product comparisons and customer reports to narrow down the list to a handful of top-scoring product. Among these, the Orion 09332 Scenix would be our first pick, thanks to its great definition made possible by the BAK-4 Porro prism, wide field of view, which should be a given for marine binoculars, and good fog proofing, offered by the two watertight O-rings, attached to a durable metal body. If the Orion product isn’t available, then you might be inclined to go for the Fujinon Mariner WPC-XL, an equally viable choice, although a little pricier.
7×50 binoculars represent the standard for marine use and are recommended as such by the US coast guard, but thanks to their remarkably wide field of view and good brightness, offered by a substantially large exit pupil diameter, they can fit well into a large series of applications, such as bird watching and stargazing. They can also contain a number of additional features to increase their functionality when out to sea, like an integrated compass or the ability to float.
Field of view
This is one of the most important metrics to look for, as by its very nature, the sea offers quite a deal of horizon to gaze at. The best 7×50 binoculars should allow for a lot of background for the ship you’re focusing on, in order to judge its speed and heading appropriately.
The relatively large diameter lenses, combined with a somewhat small magnification power should fit in plenty of scenery. The precise figure is expressed either in linear dimensions, meaning feet at a standard distance of 1000 yards, or through the actual angle of view, which hovers around 7 degrees for the best marine binoculars.
Things like brightness, contrast, and image clarity are important for all applications but will prove especially welcomed when trying to identify a ship, no matter the weather and light conditions.
7×50 binoculars should provide a bright enough image in all lighting conditions thanks to the wide exit pupil diameter they provide for. This is basically the light surface that falls on the surface of your eye passing through the binoculars, and its size is calculated by dividing the lens diameter (50, in our case) to the magnification power (7x).
To further increase the amount of light that binoculars can absorb, manufacturers also use high-quality optics glass and special coating for the lenses in order to prevent glare or light reflection. Expectedly, any light reflected by the lens won’t end up hitting your eye, making the image appear darker than it actually is.
Image clarity and the prism
Image clarity is affected primarily by the prism that is used to correct it (naturally, the image would appear upside down and mirrored due to the distorting effect of the lenses). The material which offers the best results is BAK-4 glass, followed by the somewhat cheaper BK7 variety.
For 7×50 binoculars the most widely used prism system is the Porro. This is relatively cheap, allows for a wide angle of view and all other things being equal, offers a crisper image when compared to other types of construction.
Frame and dedicated features
Since they are so closely associated with naval use, some 7×50 models are designed with a couple of extra features aimed at increasing their functionality when at sea.
Waterproofing and fog proofing are the most obvious additions, usually achieved by reinforcing the O-rings to provide a hermetical seal. Additionally, the space in the ocular is filled with high-pressure gas (generally hydrogen or argon) to keep the humid atmospheric air from entering and potentially fogging the lens on the inside due to condensation.
A lot of marine binoculars are designed to float, but this can sometimes conflict with their overall durability since plastic material is generally used for this in order to cut down on the weight. Ships offer plenty of tight spaces, and protruding objects to hit the binoculars on, so physical resistance is likewise important.
An integrated compass is rather common, and most often display true north directly on the binoculars’ main view. However, this might add additional weight and cost to provide you with data you could get from your actual compass.
Top 7×50 binoculars reviews in 2018
So you’ll have an easier time choosing the right binoculars, we’ve narrowed down the list of available options to just a handful of top choices, selected based on the praise they received in 7×50 binoculars reviews and the good feedback from users.
Orion 09332 Scenix
Offering a crystal clear picture and a remarkable 1000 feet field of view, this Orion pair is well suited to handle a wide range of functions.
Thanks to fog proofing and a sturdy, metal body it will resist well to being knocked around in the cramped confines of a ship, under the especially corrosive salty air.
The high-quality BAK-4 Porro prism will give crystal clear images of the stars or small birds, with enough contrast to distinguish minute details.
In addition to a wide exit pupil diameter, the brightness level of its image is supplemented by light absorbing coating, which prevents glare and also adds color correction.
At only 1.8 pounds, the model is light enough to be held to eye level without offering too much fatigue to your hand, and also comes with a premium neck strap for extra comfort.
You can rest assured that these binoculars are sturdy and reliable in any weather as the metal body will not corrode in salty air.
The lenses are fog proof, another significant advantage that cannot be ignored by anyone who wants to be able to hunt or use their binoculars in any kind of weather.
The BAK-4 optics guarantee high image quality, and you will be pleased to see a vast amount of details, even when you are watching objects situated at a considerable distance from you.
The unique lens coating will absorb light to prevent glare and will also provide you with its color correction abilities, for better image quality.
The additional neck strap is a thoughtful extra, allowing you to move around with the binoculars hanging from your neck.
Holding the binoculars at a certain distance from your eyes may cause black spots to appear around the edges, according to a reviewer.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)
This Fujion piece is bristling with features which give it a lot of extra functionality when used on board a ship. It is, of course, waterproof so you won’t have to worry about rain, but it can also float when the strap is attached, so you won’t see your money sinking when dropping it in the water.
You won’t need to take it off if you want to check the heading because the Mariner comes with its own integrated compass and a light that will help you see it at night.
Speaking of which, the Porro prism design and low lens size to magnification ratio means that the Mariner allows for a high view angle, perfect for scouring the horizon.
It also has independently focusing lenses, to adapt to the needs of people that don’t have the same focusing point in both eyes.
One of the greatest things about this model is its waterproof capability; you can even drop it in water, and it will not get damaged.
Even more, if the neck strap remains attached, the binoculars will float in water, so that you can quickly recuperate them, should they fall overboard.
If you want to use this unit for fishing or a boating adventure, you will appreciate the included compass that will give you a clear idea of where you are headed.
The additional light will allow you to see things in the dark, another great plus of this excellent model.
Scouting the surroundings is possible with ease, due to the large field of view granted by the ration between the lens size and the magnification power of the model.
The neck strap fitted for floating purposes can be uncomfortable when you use your binoculars for a long time.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($229.95)
Celestron 71198 Cometron
Whether you want to scour the sea or the huge night sky, this Celestron model is bound to deliver good performance for a very reasonable price.
A wide field of view is a given for the magnification and lens diameter, and so is a large exit pupil, which gives a brighter image, making it suitable for use throughout the day and night.
To supplement this, the lens is multicoated, ensuring that little light will be reflected and the colors you’ll see will be adequately close to nature. The image clarity is reported to be good, and the lens can be focused independently to match the precise focal distance of either eye.
With a sturdy metal frame, the build quality and resilience are acceptably good, especially for the price, but some customers reported receiving binoculars pieces with factory defects, so it would be a good idea to closely check the warranty and returning policy before purchasing.
The broad field of view will give you the possibility to observe your surroundings, by increasing your options, something that is much appreciated by users.
The large exit pupil is another excellent plus that will allow more light to be pulled in, for a crisper image, regardless of low light conditions.
Its color rendition capabilities are superior, due to the multi-coated optics; you will get colors that will look as close as possible to the ones you can observe in nature.
The metal frame makes these binoculars sturdy and capable of handling some wear and tear without a glitch.
The lenses can be focused independently, for maximum comfort for the user.
The binoculars tend to be a little heavy, and you might want to use a stand as some buyers indicate in their comments.
The eyecups seem to be made from cheap materials; one reviewer expressed their concern when talking about this model.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($34.95)
Bushnell 137501 Marine
Built with durability in mind, the Bushnell Marine is tough enough to survive an amphibious landing. It’s hermetically sealed, so no water or atmospheric air gets inside the oculars, while also corrosion resistant so it doesn’t get affected by the salty environment over time.
It features a non-skid, non-slip rubber armor to protect it from scratches and bumps, which constitute a significant risk when walking through the narrow corridors of a ship.
Its specifications are nothing to scoff at either, as the BaK-4 Porro prism will make for a very sharp image, and the multi-coated optics will let plenty of light in for adequate use at any hour.
However, the field of view is somewhat narrow, at only 380 feet at 1000 yards, but this is really the only aspect where the Marine leaves room for improvement.
This model, as its name indicates, is an excellent choice in salty air and water environments; it is resistant to weather elements, as it will be shown.
The binoculars are sealed against moisture, and they are completely waterproof so that you can take them along with you on your boating adventures.
The materials they are made of are resistant to corrosion, so you will not have to face a different type of damage, either.
The multi-coated optics will help the binoculars render a crisp, color correct image that is also bright and easy to see.
The BAK-4 optics is also the sign of a good quality model that will not let you down.
One reviewer talks about the fact that these binoculars do not come with dual focus, a feature that is much necessary for marine use.
Other buyers comment on the fact that the binoculars are quite heavy and not that comfortable to hold.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($134)
Barska AB10798 Deep Sea
The Deep Sea from Barska is an all around good product, well adapted for use on the high seas. It has adequate sealing for a waterproof rating and thanks to the nitrogen environment inside the ocular no salty air will get in either.
This also gives it good corrosion resistance, while the rubber armor covering will help it deal with mechanical forces and also provide a secure grip.
The built-in rangefinder and compass will prove very useful when trying to determine the course a ship or the distance to various obstacles.
Its lenses are fully multi-coated, and it uses a high-quality BAK-4 prism, which gives it good contrast and definition, as well as superior brightness.
The field of view is rather narrow for a 7×50 mm Porro, however, at just under 400 ft., but it does still outcompete most alternative designs in the same price range.
The nitrogen purged construction of this particular model makes it waterproof and fog proof, which means that you can safely use them in inclement weather, and even out at sea.
Image quality is superior, due to the multi-coated optics that allow you to perceive bright, crisp colors, and fine details.
The image you will see through the BAK-4 lenses will have enough light so you can see every little detail you want.
The model comes equipped with a rangefinder and a compass, two handy tools that will let you estimate the course of your ship, as well as various distances from obstacles that might happen in your way.
Adjusting the lenses individually is seen as a hassle by users who comment on the fact that a dual focus feature should be present.
The field of view is somewhat narrow, although plenty of buyers say that they can live with it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.23)