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Old Sunday 29th October 2017, 22:16   #1
MrLifeboat
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Advice required

Hi, i’m Looking for some advice on some optics. This is not for bird watching. I am a volunteer for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. I am on the crew of Southwold lifeboat. We are looking to purchase binoculars for our station. To use for watching vessels at sea and people on the beach. Ideally something with a wide aperture and decent range. We have a budget of roughly £350.

This is something we have saved for privately within our own crew and the funds are not coming from central RNLI. We would appreciate any advice that may be offered in order to get the best bang for our money.
Thanks for your time.

Last edited by MrLifeboat : Sunday 29th October 2017 at 22:18. Reason: Typo
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Old Sunday 29th October 2017, 22:37   #2
Binastro
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Monk Optics are closing on Tuesday.
They supplied many coastguard binoculars.
You could ask them for advice, but be quick.

Fujinon 7x50 marine may be too expensive, but they may have something within your budget, maybe selling off stock.

If you are observing from land, 10x50 may be better.
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Old Sunday 29th October 2017, 22:57   #3
Binastro
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Microglobe are listing Nikon Marine 7x50s independent eyepiece focus at £258 and £340 for the same binocular in stock.
The probably higher quality 7x50 IF hp WP tropical at both £480 and ~£700 in stock.

I have an old Nikon Marine 7x50 with compass and it gives a wonderful relaxed view.

I don't know if a compass is needed.
Mine had 3 versions for different parts of the globe with different magnetic inclinations I think.

P.S.
There may be a binocular supplier with large stocks near you, so you could try out suitable binoculars.

Cley Spey at Glandford? is 64 miles from Southwold. Maybe there is somewhere nearer.

Last edited by Binastro : Sunday 29th October 2017 at 23:05.
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Old Monday 30th October 2017, 01:07   #4
WJC
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Originally Posted by MrLifeboat View Post
Hi, i’m Looking for some advice on some optics. This is not for bird watching. I am a volunteer for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. I am on the crew of Southwold lifeboat. We are looking to purchase binoculars for our station. To use for watching vessels at sea and people on the beach. Ideally something with a wide aperture and decent range. We have a budget of roughly £350.

This is something we have saved for privately within our own crew and the funds are not coming from central RNLI. We would appreciate any advice that may be offered in order to get the best bang for our money.
Thanks for your time.
Welcome:

All Fujinon 7x50s are NOT created equally. The FMTR-SX or the FMT-SX is the choice for the Alaskan fishing fleet (second is the MTR-SX or MT-SX). The F-series compares in resolution tests to the Nikon Prostar 7x50, which is saying a lot. For marine use the FMTR-SX is the most popular. However, when the rubber armor decides it wants to start being a dinosaur again (too much sun and being placed too near a heat vent), nothing will stop it. It can be re-armored easily enough—if you have the time, armor, and patience—but the pebble finish is rugged and doesn’t have those dinosaur tendencies.

For a small boat, the “official” recommendation of the US Coast Guard is a 6x30—one of the two sizes favored by the US military since water was in the experimental stages. However, the additional light grasp of the 7x50 might help save a life in low light situations.

Cheer,

Bill

PS Binoculars don’t have a “range.”
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Old Monday 30th October 2017, 09:46   #5
pete_gamby
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We offer discounts to charitable organisations and have supplied numerous coast watch stations around the UK with binos and scopes.

We have a selection of marine binoculars:

http://www.opticron.co.uk/Pages/marine.htm#marine3

And you might want to consider adding a scope too:

http://www.opticron.co.uk/Pages/adve..._wp_scope.html

Feel free to call me on 01582 726 522 if you want to discuss some options.

Cheers, Pete
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Old Monday 30th October 2017, 11:12   #6
edwincjones
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Originally Posted by WJC View Post
Welcome:

All Fujinon 7x50s are NOT created equally. The FMTR-SX or the FMT-SX is the choice for the Alaskan fishing fleet (second is the MTR-SX or MT-SX). The F-series compares in resolution tests to the Nikon Prostar 7x50, which is saying a lot. For marine use the FMTR-SX is the most popular. However, when the rubber armor decides it wants to start being a dinosaur again (too much sun and being placed too near a heat vent), nothing will stop it. It can be re-armored easily enough—if you have the time, armor, and patience—but the pebble finish is rugged and doesn’t have those dinosaur tendencies.

For a small boat, the “official” recommendation of the US Coast Guard is a 6x30—one of the two sizes favored by the US military since water was in the experimental stages. However, the additional light grasp of the 7x50 might help save a life in low light situations.

Cheer,

Bill

PS Binoculars don’t have a “range.”

I frequently give my opinion, but an INFORMED opinion is much better.

edj
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Old Monday 30th October 2017, 11:24   #7
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I can't be much help with true marine porros, and none at all on the Opticron range, but the Opticton M-3 8x30 with it's wide, flat(ish) view and sharp optics would very good for beach surveillance.

David
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Old Monday 30th October 2017, 15:03   #8
MrLifeboat
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Thanks everyone for your replies, you’ve given me plenty to look into. I’ll update in due course.
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Old Monday 30th October 2017, 16:33   #9
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Originally Posted by typo View Post
I can't be much help with true marine porros, and none at all on the Opticron range, but the Opticton M-3 8x30 with it's wide, flat(ish) view and sharp optics would very good for beach surveillance.

David
They also have remarkably long ER (19mm) to go along with their wide FOV (429'@1000yards).

Bob
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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 10:54   #10
Patudo
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I have never used binoculars for search and rescue before, most of us here probably have not. It may be best to ask other stations what binoculars they have found to be the most useful. If your binocular is to be used ashore, 10x magnification is generally reckoned to be the highest that most people can hold without support (tripod etc) and x50mm objective lenses will give an easier view than x40mm. If Opticron have a 10x50 porro prism binocular that is weatherproof enough for your requirements that would be a good choice given the discount policy mentioned above. If not, your best bet might be to keep an eye out for a Soviet/Russian (Baigish, KOMZ, etc) or East German Zeiss 10x50, both of which come up reasonably frequently on gumtree/craiglist - local charity shops etc might also be worth a look. I haven't used the Russian ones in the field myself but others on Birdforum consider them pretty good optically and they are probably better than East German Zeiss in terms of weather resistance. Individual focus binoculars (with a separate focus adjustment for each eyepiece) will be fine for the job you require them to do. If you end up with a binocular that requires servicing, which many older binoculars will do, I recommend Gary at East Coast Binocular Repairs.
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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 14:48   #11
Binastro
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The attraction of the Opticron offer is the 10 or 30 year warranty (Full for 5 or 10 years) and their proven service record. And the discount.
They will ensure that the binoculars work.

Although Russian binoculars are not usually waterproof, in fact their sealing goo works very well.
But usually the eye relief is small.
The 7x50, and 7x30 or 10x42 with 7 element eyepieces would probably suit. But rolling ball in the last two.
But the quality varies.
Export Soviet examples can be good. But old now.

I used my 12x45 for ten years as my main binocular and it is still fine, but it was the best of six. 5.3 degree field.

At old prices one could buy 6 8x30s for very little, but I don't know the price now, and quality dropped a lot in some recent cases. Many may be fake nowadays. The field is 8.5 degrees if one doesn't wear glasses.

The 15x110 and 20x110 should be fine, but probably £1,000 plus. I don't know the eye relief but they come with tripod. Maybe 90 degree eyepieces?

Supposedly, Russian binoculars show a yellow image, which I can see if I look for it, but for astronomy it doesn't matter. I don't know if it matters for a lifeboat crew either.

The RNLI probably have spare used binoculars they could sell.

Army officers often have their own binoculars.
What is weird is seeing them sometimes use cheap 10x25 roofs that cost a tenner.

Last edited by Binastro : Thursday 2nd November 2017 at 15:04.
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