Marine binoculars – Buying guide & Comparison
If you’ve ended up here searching for the best marine binoculars, you’ve come to the perfect place. After carefully analyzing dozens of reports, reliability surveys, and sales figures, we have concluded that the Steiner 280 Military/Marine is the model that you should bear in mind. The neat thing about this choice is that it has been outfitted with an autofocus feature, which means that you can visualize everything you need to see without the hassle of trying to focus the image time and again. The rugged design boasted by the Steiner choice is one of its greatest selling points, and that’s because it is very likely that it will hold well through the years. The 360 feet @ 1000 yards field of view enables owners to get a clear picture of what is happening in a wider area than what they would be able to see when using other models. Should this Steiner alternative no longer be available, we suggest giving a shot to another pair of good marine binoculars, the Steiner Marine Commander.
If you have checked out loads of marine binoculars reviews and haven’t managed to come up with a model that best suits your expectations and needs, we’re here to assist you in this endeavor. To make sure that you spend your pennies wisely, we suggest going a thorough research on the topic. Check out our buyer’s guide and learn how you can make the difference between a pair of binoculars you need and one you might just as well do without.
Ruggedness matters quite a bit
While for some binoculars such as those destined for watching opera concerts, for instance, the ruggedness of the build might matter less, with marine binoculars it is a detail that you should always focus on. Such a product always needs to be free from fogging. As if you didn’t know already, boating is made in the water, so it goes without saying that the product has to be waterproof.
Magnification and image stabilization
Normally, we would suggest to assess your specific requirements and look at the type of marine exploration you perform and only then select the right magnification for your needs. In this case, however, we would suggest selecting a model that comes with a 7x or 8x magnification.
Why’s that? The fact is that things tend to move a lot on a boat. What this means for you is that, whether your hands are steady or not, you’re likely to have a hard time focusing the image or looking at a less shaky one. The lower the magnification power of a binocular, the steadier the image.
If you really can’t be satisfied with such a low magnification setting, it would be a good idea to consider a model that comes with image stabilization built into it. Just remember, the best binoculars for boating are those that fit your application and expectations as they should.
Objective lens diameter
Under regular circumstances, we address the magnification and the objective lens diameter in the same section of our articles. We’ve decided to make an exception in this case, though, and that’s because the lens size matters a lot when it comes to marine binoculars.
While larger lenses mean you’ll be able to look at a brighter image, you also need to consider the fact that such a pair might hang heavier around your neck. So, do portability and comfort matter more for you or would you rather look at a brighter image and ignore your body’s needs?
Field of view
While this factor might be less critical in the case of such binoculars, it is still worth giving some thought to. The wider the field of view, the bigger the picture you’ll be able to look at. We feel the need to reiterate that you should take a step back and decide whether looking at a bigger picture is more important to you than magnification and objective lens diameter, for instance, given that these two details can have a significant impact on your entire experience.
Some models take user experience beyond the limits you might have perceived in your mind. For example, there are various choices that come with a compass. Others are digital and believe it or not, some models come with their own camera built into them. If possible, you should look into getting a unit that comes with floating straps as no one can tell when an accident will happen and you might end up dropping the device in the water.
Top marine binoculars reviews in 2017
As there are many alternatives available for sale these days, we’ve decided to assist you in finding the right one for you. That’s why we’ve created a short selection of some of the popular choices out there. Check it out if you have the time.
Steiner 280 Military/Marine
If you’re willing to invest in a quality pair of marine binoculars, this Steiner product should be the first that ought to be on your list. It comes with an 8x magnification, so the image you will be looking at will be reasonably steady. The 30mm objective lens renders this product lightweight and easy to carry around one’s neck while also letting in more than enough light.
Besides, the unit boasts a 20mm eye relief, which means that it is also a perfect choice for people who wear glasses. As for whether or not the product will withstand the test of time, there doesn’t seem to be a debate in this sense given that the Steiner option is made to be rugged.
The rainproof and fog-proof design is something that you might appreciate since things are bound to get quite wet when you are on a boat. The 280 is backed by a ten-year warranty, so there’s that detail to allow you to rest assured.
This 8x30mm binocular proves its worth under a broad array of circumstances and has been designed to put up with extreme weather.
The rugged build of this choice enables buyers to use it conveniently and efficiently, which is to say that it will put up with the abuse of the elements and manage to last for a good deal of time.
Since the unit comes outfitted with an eye relief measuring 20mm, it’s safe to say that it works great for eyeglass wearers.
You could also utilize this product for spotting game, that is, if you are a hunter.
One thing’s for sure when it comes to this device. It’s not one of the most affordable ones ever to have seen the light of day.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Steiner Marine Commander
The Marine Commander is specially developed for those who spend most of their life on the water. So, if you are a boat operator, an actual marine, or a serious boat angler, you need to check out the specs of this model. Image clarity and performance are not a question of debate with this choice as it seems to be designed to offer the best on these two accounts.
The 7x magnification power that this device comes with is the one that’s most recommended for marine observation. However, if you’re having a hard time believing that the pictures you will look at are going to be steady, you might want to know that this model has been outfitted with an autofocus system.
The rubber armoring that this unit has been equipped with is an advantage in itself as you will be able to benefit from a dependable grip.
The rugged chassis of this binocular is lightweight, and the fact that it has been equipped with rubber armoring makes it possible for users to grab it and hold it efficiently.
Since this device comes with an autofocus system, you will be able to focus each of the two eyepieces in accordance with your vision.
The housing boasted by this choice is truly durable, which is why you have good chances of using it time and again and for many decades to come.
The large 50mm objective lens lets plenty of light into the binocular, which means that the images you will be looking at will be bright and clear.
At the time that this article was written, there hadn’t been any complaints expressed by those who have used the Steiner Marine Commander. However, we would like to note that buying these binoculars does require a financial effort.
Buy from Amazon.com
Fujinon Mariner WPC-XL
This waterproof alternative is both a sight for sore eyes and a winner in terms of performance and durability. It’s a convenient 7x50mm binocular that seems to have been designed for those who do not appreciate overly bulky devices, especially when they have to wear them around their necks.
Besides, the Fujinon choice comes with a compass, which is an added bonus you ought to take into account. The right tube contains a special compartment designed for a battery so that you can use the compass even at night.
The package includes a closed-cell foam floatation neck strap that we suggest you equip the binoculars with right after having them delivered at your home or place of employment. This way, you will be able to avoid any mishaps that might involve dropping your binoculars in the water and desperately watching them sink to the bottom of the ocean.
The 7x magnification and 50mm objective lens diameter of the WPC-XL are two winning features that you might have to look for in other models, as well.
Thanks to the waterproof design that you will be able to benefit if you decide to go for this product, you won’t have to worry about anything as the occasional splash and even dip in the ocean will not affect the performance of the device.
A foam floatation neck strap is part of the deal with this product, and that’s always worth mentioning given that it makes it possible for you to avoid losing your binoculars.
The model is backed by a manufacturer’s five-year warranty.
Some users have reported that while these binoculars are great for boat use, in general, they are not designed for marine navigation, in particular. The accuracy of the compass is plus/minus 5 degrees.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($179)
Celestron Oceana Porro
If you are in the market for something that’s a bit more budget-friendly, perhaps this Celestron alternative might do you good. Something that we need to point out in relation to this product, however, is that it hasn’t received excellent reviews from all buyers. It is a waterproof binocular that does a good job in many situations, but some users have expressed various concerns.
The 7×50 design is convenient and versatile, and the fact that this device is fog-proof is another advantage that ought to be taken into account. The magnetic compass that the unit has been outfitted with seems to be able to perform great.
As for some of the details that aren’t as appreciated by consumers, most have expressed their discontent regarding the fact that this unit boasts a rather bulky design. The optics are of good quality, however, although they cannot be compared to that of Steiner choices.
If you haven’t got the budget for an expensive unit, the Celestron Oceana might make a good choice for you.
The model comes with the typical 7x magnification and 50mm objective lens diameter that’s highly recommended for most such devices designed for marine purposes.
Both the optics and the ergonomics of this option are up to par, at least based on what people are saying about them.
The construction quality is rather reasonable especially as the Oceana has been developed to be fog-proof.
The lifetime warranty is a reassuring detail you may have to take into account if you aren’t convinced you should try out these binocs.
Some owners say that these binoculars are far too bulky for their liking.
The rear cap appears to be practically worthless, at least based on some owners have had to say about this detail.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($129.95)