Our binocular review takes a hard look at a number of waterproof 7×50 binoculars specifically suited to the rigors of the marine environment.
A marine binocular is an expensive but essential piece of marine safety gear. Boatmen on all vessels should keep a pair close at hand whenever they are on the helm.
Being able to clearly make out and classify anything that comes within range of your boat be it a ship, raft, a piece of flotsam or jetsam, or simply a nearby shoreline makes for a safe passage and peace of mind.
Experience has shown that binoculars with a maximum magnification of 7x power are best suited for the rough and tumble motion sometimes found aboard a boat at sea. When coupled with a large 50-millimeter front lens this combination has proven to be the ideal setup for viewing objects at a distance aboard a boat especially in low light conditions. That’s why our binocular review is very specific in coverage.
A good pair of 7 x 50 binoculars will serve well to aid the navigator in identifying landmarks, markers, and hazards as well as provide stellar service to bird chasing fishermen. Our binocular buying tips will help you know what to look for when making a marine binocular purchase.
Two well-known names in marine binoculars are Fujinon and Steiner. Our binocular review has reports on models from these two makes as well as a number of others. Marine binocular prices range from a low of around $100 to well over $1,000.
How Much to Spend?
What do get when spending big bucks on a pair of binoculars. Two physical things, significantly better optics and improved durability. Another major benefit is a much longer warranty. Are the upgrades worth the money? I think so. For the most discriminating life long boater buying top-of-the-line binoculars is an investment in gear that should provide a lifetime of service even in the sometimes-harsh marine environment. I have owned and have spoken to commercial captains that have owned one pair or another of the binoculars tested here for over a decade without incurring a single maintenance issue.
All About Binoculars and How They Get Tested
To make an informed buying decision on any binocular you’ll need to know certain terminology. You can get acquainted with the lingo on our all about binoculars page. When I do a report on a marine binocular certain test protocols are strictly followed. You can read all about my procedures on my binocular testing page.
My Fujinon binoculars page has reports on two distinctly different binoculars. From the Fujinon Polaris series you’ll find a review of the Fujinon FMTRC-SX. This armor shielded marine binocular features 23 millimeters of eye relief to make eye glass wearers happy and carries a lifetime limited warranty. I have rated the Fujinon FMTRC-SX as the best marine binocular available today. I also reviewed the far less expensive Fujinon Mariner.
On the Steiner binoculars page I report on samples of two binoculars from the Steiner Commander line. One is a recent release of the Steiner Commander V and the other is the Steiner Commander XP premium class binocular. Both of these units are equipped with an internal compass and have a strong reputation with a variety of skippers.
Have Binoculars You Really Like? We’d Like to Hear About It.
Do you have binoculars you’ve been using that does a great job? Or one that has provided great visibility? Or perhaps survived a mishap and still keeps on? We’d like to hear about it. Give all your raves. Let’s hear lots of details. Tell us how has worked for you. Is the unit easy to operate? Ever dropped it? Any problems or issues? Let’s hear all the details, good and bad. Please contact us and tell your story.