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Top 10 Best Marine Binoculars for 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
Use of marine binoculars when at sea is necessary to improve the safety of the vessel. Although the number of binoculars present on vessels is not specifically regulated in SOLAS, it is important that all vessels are equipment with the best marine binoculars.
As a mariner, it’s crucial to learn about the binoculars (and their features) you ‘re using at sea to make sure you have the right one, and whether you need to upgrade.
What you should know when using or buying a Marine Binocular?
Magnification and Lens Diameter
Field of view
Magnification and Lens Diameter
Binoculars are classified in numbers – 7 on average, 7 on average, 8 on average, etc. where the first digit is the magnification and the second digit is the lens diameter.
At sea, the higher the magnification, the greater the knowledge that we will be able to obtain from our eyes, is apparent.
Though, it should be remembered that the higher the magnification, the harder it becomes to hold an object in focus, rendering it blurred as the light decreases. Higher lens is needed to increase the brightness of the image to avoid the reduction in brightness. As the lens size increases, so does the camera size, which makes it voluminous and cumbersome to use.
In addition, the distorted and blurred image is further spoiled by the shaky hands and the vessel’s swaying motion.
It is therefore recommended that marine binoculars with an objective lens diameter of 50 mm have a conservative magnification of no more than 7x.
There are typically two types of marine binoculars – center focus and individual focus or fixed focus.
There is a knob at the center in the center of focus binoculars that simultaneously changes focus on both oculars. This is a traditional binocular type and is useful if you share your binoculars with the rest of the crew (as everyone can adjust focus to their needs).
Center focusing is the most prevalent style of binoculars on the market.
However, most marine binoculars are of a type of individual focus.
Field of view
Typically, field of view is the measurement of width from a fixed point in feet or metres. It describes the image that is horizontally visible when you look through the binocular without moving the same.
Field of view is measured 1000 yards or meters away in height. At 1000 yards per degree of view is equal to 52.5 feet.
The field of view and magnification should be noted as being inversely proportional. Which means that if magnification increases (with a smaller objective diameter), the marine binocular field of view decreases, and thus the image becomes narrower.
It is important for marine binoculars that they have the broadest field of view.
Another thing to keep in mind is the marine binocular eye relief. It is the distance from the ocular lens (eye piece) to the eye. To view a sharp image it’s important to keep the right distance.
Eyecups are usually installed on the eye-pieces so that the eyes of the viewer are at a proper distance from the eyepieces.
Those wearing glasses need to be careful as the eye pieces are positioned past the distance of the eye relief, which will give a blurry image and reduce the quality of image.
Almost all marine binoculars, however, come with adjustable eye cups that can be pushed back inside to allow the eyeglass lens to be positioned closer to the eye lens and keep the eye relief.
Taking into account the type of harsh environment in which the marine binoculars are used, they must be waterproof and fog resistant.
In binoculars waterproofing is achieved by covering all the opening with O-rings. This helps to keep the moisture and dust from entering the binocular body.
At a pressure higher than the normal atmospheric pressure almost all waterproof binoculars are filled with dry nitrogen gas. This positive pressure prevents the entry of lower outside air or moisture into the binocular. Nitrogen gas can also retain no moisture and thus the water can not penetrate the binocular cavity. Although waterproof binoculars are internally fog-proof, moisture on the outside of the lens can still condense.
It should be remembered, however, that it can not withstand full submersion in water only because a binocular is called waterproof. Some superior binoculars have waterproof characteristics beyond some depth of submersion and a specified period of time.
Bushnell is today one of the market’s leading quality marine binocular makers. Some of the Bushnell brand’s maritime binoculars you see on ships do.
Resistant to corrosion and waterproof, the marine binocular Bushnell 7 bis50 is specifically designed for harsh environmental conditions. This robust individual oriented, fog-free binocular comes with rubber protection that is non-skid, making it very convenient and easy to wear.
The Porro prism system with Bak-4 prism glass provides the best clearness and broad range for open waters.
This is the best value for money marine binocular in the market today at a particular price range.
Aomekie 7 and 50 marine binoculars are one of the best on the market for waterproof, fog resistant and low light binoculars. They come with anti-reflective coating with BAK4 hi-index prism, which improves image sharpness and reduces reflection of light.
This floatable underwater binoculars have waterproof capability for up to 30 minutes at depth of 1 m.
They also have a compass and rangefinder which is illuminated for low-light conditions.
USCAMEL 10 ubiquitous 50 marine binoculars are one of the best value-for – money equipment in this range.
The USCAMEL marine binocular with 10x magnification and 50 mm large objective lens gives bright images with very less stabilization problems. It has the ability to focus individual eyepieces with autofocus system avoids the need to refocus.
They come with foldable eyecups and make it easier for people with glasses to use them.
This marine binocular is waterproof and fog proof, and comes with built-in compass and rangefinder.
Value for money
Waterproof and floating
Not very efficient at night
A bit heavy
If you want to pick the best marine binocular for your trip, there is no one fit for any solution. The one you buy at the end depends largely on your demands and budget. However, investing in a good marine binocular is certainly a wise decision as regards yourself and your vessel’s safety.