PBO Binocular Review

Alpha22

Active member
Joined
22 Sep 2003
Messages
1,400
Location
Cambridgeshire
Visit site
I thought I had a reasonable pair of bins and I was happy with them, ... UNTIL I used a pair of top notch Leica bins from a bird twitching friend.... they were awesome.... so bright and crisp.... they cost several hundreds of ££'s though!! :-(
 

ghostlymoron

Well-known member
Joined
9 Apr 2005
Messages
9,889
Location
Shropshire
Visit site
I've got a pair of RSPB bins for general use ashore. They are brilliant; sharp optics, light weight, 8x32ss, about £50 But for sea use I prefer my plastimo fixed focus also about £50. If I were buying now, I would get a built in compass and expect to pay £100 Max.
 

Jurgen

Active member
Joined
17 May 2011
Messages
1,554
Location
Bristol Boat in Mercury
Visit site
Am pretty sure that the winners were from a chandlery company, can't remember the name of the binoculars or the company but they advertised in PBO for at least a year after the review.
 

ex-Gladys

Well-known member
Joined
29 Aug 2003
Messages
5,190
Location
Colchester, Essex
Visit site
I bought a set of Plastimo fixed focus 7x50's for £30 several years ago and would find it difficult, for the amount of use, to justify replacing them... They are excellent for general boat use
 

machone

Member
Joined
31 Mar 2009
Messages
159
Location
Holland
Visit site
I havn't used them at night, and they are v pricey and without compass, but I have tried a few others including the Steiner and none have come close to my Canon 10 42 L IS. Brilliant, both bobbing around and ashore. they are waterproof.
 

Daydream believer

Well-known member
Joined
6 Oct 2012
Messages
19,169
Location
Southminster, essex
Visit site
I have a pair of bins with a compass in. However the eye lenses are too close together so they have to be opened right up & still it is not enough. This means compass is at 45 degrees. However, as I have a sestral handbearing compass for last 47 years i do not need the compass facility
the bins are very hard on the eyes partly due to large magnification & i only have kept them as they were a gift from a close friend. It is nearly impossible to hold on a target in rough weather.

When the wife is not looking I like to nick her Bushnells ( birdwatching glasses) as they are not too large magnification & are restfull on the eyes
 

Sailfree

Well-known member
Joined
18 Jan 2003
Messages
21,465
Location
Nazare Portugal
Visit site
I have a cheap pair for bought for charter use approx. £100, A pair of Eschenbach with compass cost aprox £500 and a pair of Stiener Commanders approx. $1000 (yes bought abroad).

My conclusion is that its the law of diminishing returns in quality when new eg the Stieners although IMHO the best they are not 10x better than the cheapest but with age the dear ones retain their quality.

Now is that Ship in the poor light/ mist on a collision course?

I am one of those persons though that has frequently regretted not paying that bit more for the best - hence the Stieners.

Whatever you chose:- Nitrogen filled, waterproof and built in compass are essential features for marine use.
 
Last edited:

reeac

Well-known member
Joined
6 Jun 2003
Messages
5,119
Location
Orford, Suffolk, UK
Visit site
If your binocular is hard on the eyes, then it is likely the alignment is out and isn't the magnification only 7x I have one bino with compass and 10x power but that is unusual.
Alignment is critical. I once had a bit of a disagreement with a chandlers as I detected misalignment in every sample of some cheap bins. that they had in stock and gave up on the purchase. The proprietor couldn't see(?) what I was complaining about. Check by closing one eye at a time whilst viewing a defined object and see if the image jumps around as you switch eyes. I bought my bins. for 16 dollars in 1963 at a cheapo camping equipment store in California. They've been on my boat for well over over 10 years now with no deterioration.
 

Plum

Well-known member
Joined
6 Jun 2001
Messages
4,219
Location
UK East Coast
Visit site
I bought a set of Plastimo fixed focus 7x50's for £30 several years ago and would find it difficult, for the amount of use, to justify replacing them... They are excellent for general boat use

I also have a cheep pair of Plastimo fixed focus 7x50 binos that I have been using for years and paid, I recall, less than £40. They live on the boat all year and I find them perfect for me.

Colin. Www.solocoastalsailing.co.uk
 

Yngmar

Well-known member
Joined
6 Dec 2012
Messages
3,060
Location
Gone cruising
Visit site
I've recently shopped for some marine compass binoculars. First attempt, which I cannot recommend, were the Celestron 71189 7 x 50 Oceana Binoculars for £125.95

My Amazon review of them is:

These were all around not bad. Good optics, nicely dampened compass and a storage bag included. Except for one major flaw that made me return them: The compass was too far out of view and it wasn't possible to look at it without ramming them deep into my eyesockets - and even then it was often a struggle.

Perhaps I have an oddly shaped skull, but they didn't work for me so I've returned them and tried the Danubia Nautical 7x 50mm for £123.90. These worked well for me (not that oddly shaped skull after all?), come with a storage bag (with straps suitable for a bulkhead), floaty neckstrap, covers and a distance conversion wheel. The compass is lit, works fine and unlike the previous ones, I can see it. The focus wheel was a little hard at first, but after turning it fully both ways it works smoothly now (I wanted one so I can also inspect the rig with them - there's a fixed focus version for slightly less money). Keeping them!
 

alahol2

Well-known member
Joined
22 Apr 2004
Messages
5,752
Location
Portchester, Solent
www.troppo.co.uk
When I researched many years ago I discovered that 'eye relief' is one of the most important factors for spectacle wearers like me. Consequently I went for a pair of Fujinon Mariners. They had the longest eye relief I could find on the market at the time. They have proved to be excellent over the last 20+ years. I have not found another pair that give me the ease and clarity of view, that includes Steiner/Leica/Nikon etc.
 

daviddb

New member
Joined
5 Nov 2013
Messages
154
Location
Hazel Beach & the Pyrenees
www.flickr.com
I'm more of a monocular fan myself as is the cockeyed swimbo but FWIW a well known British based consumer magazine recently rated Nikon's Travelite EX 10x25s as robust and with good light transmission. Waterproof at £90-ish.
 

alant

Active member
Joined
30 May 2001
Messages
37,600
Location
UK - Solent region
Visit site
Do be very careful with Lidl - I have a pair of their large zoom binos and they are pretty terrible. Admittedly, they were also very cheap, so I didn't complain, but they don't get used very much.

You need to go to Specsave then, cos I had 2 pairs & both excellent.
Also had contact with Bressler & great service.
 

AndrewL

Member
Joined
20 Jun 2014
Messages
189
Location
Cowes, Isle of Wight
Visit site
I know I have the issue from last year with this review in but I can't find it at the moment. From what I recall there were two winners, a sub £100 pair and a £££ pair.

The sub £100 winner was the Gael Force 7x50 currently available for £90, I bought a pair and I think they are excellent. I've never used a really good pair so cannot make a proper comparison, however the image is incredibly sharp and the compass is very usable. I am not sure I would want a really expensive pair for use in a yacht either, just in case they got broken. Breaking a £90 pair is annoying, breaking a £400 pair would be :sorrow:

http://www.gaelforcemarine.co.uk/en/Gael-Force-7x50-Floating-Waterproof-Binoculars-wCompass/m-511.aspx
 

alant

Active member
Joined
30 May 2001
Messages
37,600
Location
UK - Solent region
Visit site
I know I have the issue from last year with this review in but I can't find it at the moment. From what I recall there were two winners, a sub £100 pair and a £££ pair.

The sub £100 winner was the Gael Force 7x50 currently available for £90, I bought a pair and I think they are excellent. I've never used a really good pair so cannot make a proper comparison, however the image is incredibly sharp and the compass is very usable. I am not sure I would want a really expensive pair for use in a yacht either, just in case they got broken. Breaking a £90 pair is annoying, breaking a £400 pair would be :sorrow:

http://www.gaelforcemarine.co.uk/en...ing-Waterproof-Binoculars-wCompass/m-511.aspx

Its unlikely, that considering the age of most forumites, that their eyes would be able to distinguish the difference between a £90 & £400 pair of bins.
 

johnalison

Well-known member
Joined
14 Feb 2007
Messages
38,883
Location
Essex
Visit site
Its unlikely, that considering the age of most forumites, that their eyes would be able to distinguish the difference between a £90 & £400 pair of bins.
That's enough about my age. I can certainly see the difference between good and mediocre binoculars. I have carried my Canon IS binos on the boat for the last 15years without managing to break them too, not to mention my older pair from 1972 that also live on board.
 

Sticky Fingers

Well-known member
Joined
21 Feb 2004
Messages
5,575
Location
Saffron Walden, Essex
Visit site
Its unlikely, that considering the age of most forumites, that their eyes would be able to distinguish the difference between a £90 & £400 pair of bins.

Well, I'm 60-odd and wear glasses, and I can tell you that those £500 Minox HGs were utterly fab compared to my current £100 Pentax binos... :) on the same day I also tried a pair of much loved and restored wartime Leicas, pretty decent I'd say but completely outclassed by the Minox. No expert but I was amazed at the difference.
 
Top