Anyone use binoculars on short day trips?

And if you do can you recommened some that are compact, light weight & of coarse water proof.

I don’t know what is best anymore,

– Last Updated: Jan-11-08 7:42 PM EST –

As products change all the time. If you spend a lot of money on a pair, be careful who you let touch the dang things. Some have a fixed eyepiece that many folks are used to turning to focus in to their particular vision. I had a bunch of folks on my sailboat for an "anchor off the rocks" viewing of one of the summer series concerts that go around. I was trying to enjoy the fine close up view of the moonlight glaring off of James Taylor's head, when I noticed that a guest had twisted the eyepice loose and ruined my two hundred dollar pair of binos. Dang those flakey James Taylor fans !

Yep, I carry 'em
I had a pair of Barska 10 X 25’s that I carried for about 4 years.

They finally failed, but honestly, I abused them. I carried them in just a mesh bag in a pouch on my sprayskirt, and routinely forgot to rinse them after being out in salt water. The focus mechanism stripped after a while, but the lenses are still watertight. Optics were what I paid for — decent, but nothing special.

I carry a set of West Marine waterproof 8 X 25’s now, that cost slightly more. The focus mechanism is a little more robust, and coated in silicone grease to protect it. I also carry them in a ziploc bag, and rinse them after every saltwater exposure now. Only had them a year, but I like them. The 10 powers were sensitive to motion out on the water, and were difficult to watch seals or whales if I was in any significant seas. The 8’s are better for that even if you do sacrifice range.

While a little bulky, I use a Pentax 8x42 DCF WP That has fantastic optics. Great birding glasses. They are waterproof and a bit spendy at about 3 bills. Like most things you get what you pay for. They are actually an excellent value for what you get. Here is a link.

Around the water. waterproof are a must. Next to that the more expensive ones can be repaired, cheap ones you throw away when they fog. 10x25 are good on the water because you are moving. Bushnell make a compact set that are all of the above. Vaughn Fulton

10x good on water?
I find 10-power binocs to have too much magnification for using while in a boat. I can’t hold them still enough if there’s any wave action. They “work”, but it’s a real effort, and something less powerful would work better for me. I’ve seen the same thing said here by others over the years, numerous times.

A note on compact binocs

– Last Updated: Jan-11-08 10:13 PM EST –

Compact binoculars are okay if you have plenty of light. I use mine at any time and in any weather, including night (though technically, my binocs are not really suitable for night-time use), and therefore I won't buy compacts. Also, I use open boats, so I'm not restricted in what size binocs to take along. I've known a couple of birders with very high-quality compact binocs who would always be asking to borrow mine for a moment on very overcast days, or when the sun was dipping toward (or especially below) the horizon.

There is a standard method for determining if a pair of binocs will be suitable for use in low-light conditions. Calculate the "exit pupil" diameter as follows. Look for the __x__ designation, and divide the second number (the objective diameter in millimeters) by the first (the magnification). If the resulting number is 5 or greater, the binocs are suitable for use at dusk and dawn. If the number is 7 or greater, they are suitable for use at night. If the number is anything less than 5, the binocs are only good for use in daylight, especially if the number is very much less than 5.

None of this matters if you only use them in bright conditions.

Try 7X on water
As a paddler who is primarily a bird watcher, I have both 10x and 7x binoculars. The 7’s are much more comfortable to use on water; 10’s shake too much. Hubby uses 8x.

The objective lenses for compact binos run in the 20 to 25mm range, and there are a number of good, waterproof ones available. I personally don’t care for them because of the smaller field of view. The mid-size, 30-35mm glasses are a great compromise.

What guideboatguy is calculating in his post below is the size of the exit pupil. All things being equal, the larger the exit pupil, the brighter the view. That said, high-end binoculars with a smaller objective lens can be brighter than a cheap set with a larger objective.

Nikon Monarchs
These are fantastic. I really researched this purchase and just love them. Waterproof, fog proof, excellent optics and lifetime warrenty, only $10 if you ever have to send them back.

What do you want to use binoculars for? Would a monocular scope work? I have a Brunton eterna 6x30 waterproof monocular scope. It’s great on the water for navigation and wildlife viewing. It’s also nicely compact.

Wish I were smart enough to figure this out, but have to give credit to the folks at Kayak Academy Love their addition of the neoprene candle lanter cover for floation.

Bushnell Legend 8x26
As an active birder, I have my Zeiss 10x40’s for land use, but on the water I’ve been using a pair of Bushnell Legend 8x26 waterproof binoculars. They are cheap and good - a rare combination. As compact binoculars, they will not do so well in dim light. But in decent light, they are quite good - and you don’t worry about them as you would a pair costing several hundred bucks.

$81 at Amazon with free shippin.

Cheers, Alan

I’m sure to catch grief for this, but
Bass Pro Shops sells a compact binoc for $9.99. I have a pair in my truck and another in my daypack. They work fine for me and those that have borrowed them. If you drop them in the river, they were only 10 bucks. I use them for scoping along the river bank, birding and scoping out chicks from a safe distance.

Did the same thing
I just bought a pair of cheap binocs for yak use. I bought mine for $10 too at a local store. Can’t remember what the brand name was, but it was a respected name.

good deal
Check these out:

Everything that has been said about the light gathering abilities of compact binoculars is true, but they’re still nice to have. I don’t have any direct experience with these, but Brunton is a good company.

Monoculars work better on the water
They’re easy to operate with one hand, they’re lighter and much more compact for a given magnification and objective lens size. Brunton sells a really nice 6x, water resistant, rubber armored monocular which is perfect for kayak use.

you want something good, for the discriminating person google swfa and look for the demo page. these are either demo models or trade in’s of high quality optics. I personally use leica, steiner and nikon.

I don’t think they even offer any junk at swfa so just look around and find what will fit your criteria.

not demo but SAMPLE here it is…

Nikon Prostaff are nice
I have a pair of the 12x25. Love’m. They’re waterproof, campact and very comfortable to use. I got mine at LL Bean which had them for less at the time because they are LL Bean logo’d.

Use a monocular with one hand?
How do you adjust the focus one handed? Mine doesn’t do that very well, but it’s not a high ticket unit either.

Leupold Katmai
6x32 work well for me and I bird from my canoes and kayaks all the time. They are rugged and the lower magnification makes them easier to use in a moving craft. I also have a Stokes 8x42 which I use on hikes. My eyes are not great so the 6x42 actually help me track better. Eagle Optics is a great place to buy on the internet. Also Leupolds site gives good info on choices. I love my bins and wont paddle without them.