Burris landmark
‘’ waterproof ‘’ compact 8x42 around 100 clams. I’ve been through a bunch of binos for kayaking, now its your turn. Seriously I like the Burris , Nikon has the same as do others I’m sure. Good luck.


6 power
is hard to find, but as noted Leopold makes a set as does Eagle Optics. I have the Eagle Rangers, and while not cheap they are wonderful for on-the-water use. Higher power is too jittery for me.


PS: Never used a monocular so I cannot comment.

8x32 Eagle Optics Rangers
go with me every time I paddle. Waterproof, they also focus at 3 1/2 feet so are great for a closer look at butterflies and other small critters.

There’s no need to focus the Brunton
You adjust it for your eyes and that’s it. It’s in focus from 30’ to infinity.

If you have a different unit that requires focussing (I have a 10x Bushnell like that), you manipulate the focus ring with your thumb and forefinger and hold the body of the monocular with the other three fingers.

You get what you pay for

– Last Updated: Jan-14-08 11:43 AM EST –

In the optics world you really do get what you pay for. I have Steiner Rockies, which have been replaced by the Predator series, in 10 x 28. (The replacement was for the use of a coating that enhances visibility of the red part of the color spectrum for spotting brown things like deer.) When you get into the higher end of binocs the compacts deliver much better light gathering performance than the cheap stuff. The down side is that if you soak and ruin a good instrument you are out a lot. I don't trust "waterproof" very much and carry mine in a Pelican box when I'm not using them. If you have shaky hands or nothing to steady them on 10X is not the best to buy for detail use, get 8X. I have managed a way to sort of anchor my compacts by gripping them with/under the bill of a ball cap with the eye cups pressed against my eyebrows (not hard) to dampen vibration. It also keeps any movement of my head and binoculars synchronized. When I am hiking I just rest them on the top of my walking stick.

Go to a store that sells a variety of brands and compare them across the price range. You will be enlightened.

Edit: I got curious and checked what's out there these days. The Steiner Wildlife Pro is the closest thing to my Rockies. It is selling for $330 on

Brunton monocular
is a good piece: waterproof, easy to use with one hand , stows nicely, good optics, not too pricey, and a good magnification (6x) for use from a moving platform such as a kayak : higher mags will result in a more jittery image , and a lower depth of field

unless you get something with a wider view (like 7 x 42, 8 x 40 etc) in which case the piece will usually be bulkier.

Close focus
Sissy103 mentioned the close focusing ferature of the Eagle Rangers. This is a great feature for anyone who likes to look at flowers, lichen, moss, butterflies, dragonflies etc REALLY close.


No question,
that you get what you pay for, with binoculars as with everything else! Like another poster here, I have a pair of Zeiss 10x40s. They were given to me, but probably retailed for about $1000. A lot of money, but I have been abusing them for over 20 years, and they are still very high quality optics. Well worth it, if you can afford it. My wife has a pair of Swarovskies. These are unbelievable binoculars, if you truly want the best, you can’t do better than these. I love my Zeiss, but her binoculars put mine to shame, in terms of clarity and light gathering. High end porro prism binoculars like these are also fairly manageable in terms of size and weight.

If you get the chance, take a look through a pair of Zeiss Victory FL 10x32. My absolute favorite binos, bright, lightweight, and easy to handle,(but not recommended for use on the water). Unfortunately, once you’ve used elite binoculars for any period of time, looking through anything else is like paddling a Swifty with a broomstick.

my 2 cents
Steiner military marine 7x50 or 10x50… not small and not light, but they work!!! Bigger IS better when it comes to optics. (to an extent depending on your age) The cheesy little ones don’t work worth a squat, and even less so at Dawn & Dusk.

Steiner Military/Marine 7x50
be wat ah’ have used fer 20 years. Built like a tank an’ waterproof.


More on Close Focus
My 10x50s don’t focus any closer than roughly 18 or 20 feet, but still, it’s amazing what can be seen at that range. I use them to watch submerged aquatic insects in ponds, and even search for virtually invisible frogs that are calling along the water’s. Even watching various critters (other than birds) at a distance of 40 or 50 feet is something most people wouldn’t think of, and I suggest doing so to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet. Being able to focus down to 3 or 4 feet must be pretty neat.

No argument here
Got my name on 'em!

Actually there are two trains of thought:

  1. Cheap, “disposable” products; some are OK, but not what you want if you desire the best clairity. If they get wet, lost, etc., just replace them.
  2. High quality, which are more money, up to $1000. Better optics, but if you lose them tjey are definately going to cost you.

Zeiss 7 x 42 victory fluorites
O.K. Now you’ve done it gnatcatcher. You brought in Zeiss. If I had a larger boat than my kayaks, I’d look very seriously a these: Can you say 6 mm exit pupil and fluorite glass lenses…?

I admitt that I know very little about binoculars, but I’m a Hematopathologist and Surgical Pathologist by day, and I can honestly say that Zeiss makes the best optics by far.

Anyways, back to kayaking. The Brunton monocular is still the most versatile and compact option, so that’s what I carry every day on the water. And, they cost less than 1/10th as much ae the Zeiss above.


Hard To See
Maybe I’m mistaken, but I had thought that w/the small compact binoculars, getting one that can see really long distances makes it’s hard to use, because you have to keep your hands too steady or what you see is shaky.

Am I right? I’m not sure. Just throwing it out there.


Shaky Image
The extent to which an image seen through binocs is shaky depends mostly on the magnification. Beyond that, the larger and heavier they are, the more effort it will take to hold them still, though the larger binocs will have better image quality and brightness as already mentioned. Therefore, with two sets of binocs of the SAME magnification, with one being full-size and the other being compact, the compact binocs will have a less shaky image simply because it takes less effort to hold them.

Nikon Monarchs

Monocular focus

– Last Updated: Jan-15-08 6:10 PM EST –

Well, for older eyes 30' might require some refocus, and the Brunton does have a focusing/diopter adjustable eyepiece.

For bright daytime lighting conditions though 100' to infinity is reasonable to expect with one focus setting. Depth of field is extensive since the magnification is low. It works good for me, since it's for figuring out what's off in the distance more than for close-up bird-watching. I like the eye relief too since I don't need to take off my glasses to use it.


depth of field
When the width of view drops below a certain point (like those dainty 7 x 20 theatre glasses etc) the depth of field becomes so shallow and the light allowed in so diminished that the quality of the image you see is low, and you have to re- focus all the time.

My favortite binoculars are Zeiss 7 x 42 because they are bright bright bright and the depth of field is so great that focusing is easy. However, they’re really big, and they take a bit of practice to hold steady: holding them in one hand or otherwise using while in a kayak would be untenable. I think 8 x 40s and above would be difficult as well.

The Brunton monocular is a good compromise between magnification , depth of field, ease of focusing, cost etc. There’s always the chance of losing something on the water too, so a $1000 pair of binoculars in a kayak … I would be concerned.

If I were using binoculars by kayak, I would look for a compact 8 x 30 or maybe 7x35, or whatever I could hold still in one hand. Unfortunately the quality/waterproof German optics tend to also be a bit heavy.

does it matter?
Water resistant is NOT water-proof! I exchanged my pocket binocs about 4 times before I gave up.

I have a set of waterproof 10x50 binocs that are nitrogen charged, expensive and weigh a ton!

So the the thing I now look for is compact and waterPROOF! So I use a pocket monocular.

Is there really a decent difference between Bushnell and Tasco? Or is it a matter of taste?