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Great binos for Shore Viewing 0.1-2 miles distance

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#1 NorthWolf

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 09:47 PM

Location: Rocky Shoreline, salty brackish gulf waters.

Objective: Spot moving Whales anywhere from 0.1 to 3 miles out, Seals, whale breath sprouts

Other primary objective: Astronomy from dark sites

Which Binoculars would you prefer with no tripod but very steady hands: ?

Which Binoculars would you prefer with tripod: ?

PS> My budget is under 500$.

#2 WOBentley

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 11:44 PM

For this type of activity I use my Vortex Viper 10x42 or Vanguard Endeavor 10x42 for handheld with a Tripod I use Pentax 20x60, but they do have a narrowish FOV but it works for me for this purpose.

#3 Les

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 10:39 AM

Perhaps ones that can be dunked in a pail of water to remove salt?

#4 Andresin150

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 11:59 AM

With tripod I'll use a Fujinon 25x150MT or ED (more comfortable for most users), a 40x150ED or a Docter 40x80ED. The Fujis should be hard to beat in marine or near the sea conditions and would be my first choice.

For hand holding I'll choose 8x32 Swarovision. There are other models with more magnification and more objective diameter, all hand holdable, but I'll prefer the lighter ones (considering near perfect images).

#5 KennyJ

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 12:16 PM

I used to do quite a bit of viewing from shoreline locations.

Sea spray and sand blowing from beaches can cause damage to binoculars, so I always used a combination of 7x50 Marine binos and waterproof spotting scope.

To see any detail on smaller objects 3 miles away really requires magnification of up to 60x, so again the combination of the two waterproof instruments in tandem always provided the most fullfilling experiences.

Kenny

#6 Binojunky

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 12:56 PM

Lots to be said for a nice 8x42 roof prism binocular, depending how much you want to spend their are lots available, in the $200 range the Zen-Ray Summit HD is a bargain, a bit more to spend then Vanguard have a couple with ED glass,all are fog and waterproof, if your budget is tight then the Bushnell Legacy 8x42 porro can be picked up for around a $100, again fog and waterproof, DA.

#7 hallelujah

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 01:17 PM

Location: Rocky Shoreline, salty brackish gulf waters.

Objective: Spot moving Whales anywhere from 0.1 to 3 miles out, Seals, whale breath sprouts.

Which Binoculars would you prefer with tripod: ?


For long distance, daytime viewing, I bring out my 30x80mm, for tripod use.

I usually hand hold from a sitting position, so I would probably use a 15x or 16x binocular.

I also have a couple of different accessories for stabilizing hand held binoculars.

http://www.ebay.com/...pt=LH_Defaul...

I also have a brass balance rod.

http://www.cloudynig...3464236/page...

Certain individuals prefer a shoulder frame for hand held binoculars stabilization.

http://www.cloudynig...ber=572586&a...

Stan

#8 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 03:12 PM

I agree with Kenny's recommendation for shoreline viewing, water-proof/resistant instrument, one wide view 7-8x binoculars and
spotting scope (30-60x) for up close view. You would need to know what kind of image scale you are getting with instrument and how much unstable air messes up image :)

3 miles is quite a distance for handheld binoculars to look at something small.

Here is example, people standing on top of the hill. It is 1.25 miles away and taken with full frame sensor camera and 400mm telephoto lens.
FOV is about same as 7-8x binocluars view.
Posted Image

Here is American flag on the top of the same hill through 70x spotting scope (2100mm focal length with 1.5x crop sensor):
Posted Image

The American flag looks like this, up close at the hilltop:
Posted Image

Tammy

#9 KennyJ

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:05 PM

Wonderful illustrations, Tammy!

A few years ago I posted to the Cloudy Days forum a series of photos taken through binoculars and scopes, with similar descriptions and varying distances.

Sadly, they were relegated to the Archives back around 2010, as I was actually looking for them earlier, precisely to use as examples here.

I enjoyed some very clear sky days during my times in North Wales, but more often than not, if not mirage caused by summer heat restricted useful magnification, then sea mists often severely limited the visibility to less than one mile.

I can't overly stress the advantages of Marine binoculars for coastal situations.

The ability and peace of mind associated with simply rinsing under a tap or bottle of prefered fluid, to flush the binos through is almost priceless.

Kenny

#10 Jae

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:36 PM

You could get the new 15x56 SLC and hand hold it or better still braced. Then mount it to make out more detail. I agree that 8x32 or 10x32 EL SV are great hand held.

If you don't mind IS binoculars, 15x50 Canon would be my first choice along with 10x42 IS. Either one handheld.

If I tripod mount for long distance, my preference is to use a binoviewer on an APO refractor. But higher power may not be that useful if there are water heat currents.

#11 NorthWolf

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 05:00 PM

Well guys (and girls :)), thanks for your help, advice & examples. I should have mentioned my budget is under 500$ so I changed the title from best to great and added my said budget.

I am really not into tripods for the moment because I don't really like to stand out but I understand they are very useful and needed for anything over 15X..I will leave the 30x bino setups for another decade :), for now I will stick to 15x and maybe 20x.

The waters I look in are actually brackish-salty and not as salty as an Oceanic Waters. They are actually in an Estuary where there are 2 humongous rivers mixing with a Gulf's salt water. You don't taste or feel the salt in the air as much. I've tried observing 2 seasons with regular cheap Tasco binoculars and there was no real damage from water but I understand the usefulness of waterproof binos in this type of setting.

Kenny: Thanks for mentioning that anything over 3 miles will require at least 60x magnification. I think my 20-30 meter targets will be in the 0.1-3 mile zone.

Tammy: Thanks for those pictures, it really helps me, especially the 2nd picture. That is exactly the view I am aiming for. The first picture proves that anything under 10x is pretty much useless to me. (Maybe not for others). I should mention that last year with the 10x50 Tasco's I could not see very far at all...

Do you think 15x70 Orion Resolux or 15x70 Orion Giant Views will be sufficient? How about a 20x60 Pentax? I bought a Celestron harness and I find it's enough for the moment.

I don't have a problem hand holding these for a few hours.

I'm wondering if there's a good bino in the 12x-17x range that would be better suited for this. Something that must help with glare and with the type of crazy weird sight that is created by fresh and salt water when they are mixing from a distance.

I need to be on the lookout for blueish-greyish backs of whales and their sprouts, hard targets but I'm sure viewable with the right binos.

This is the type of setting I am talking about:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#12 KennyJ

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 05:23 PM

NW,

I can understand why you would prefer NOT to be bothered with the heft and inconvenience of lugging a tripod and mount around (my own set-up is certainly too heavy to be carried very far!) - but you are going to need magnification of at least 15x and probably at least 20x to satisfy your curiosities, and personally I've always found hand-holding my 20x binoculars nothing more than an exercise in frustration, especially being used to ROCK STEADY views, even through mounted 7x binoculars.

What you need is for someone to sell you a Zeiss 20x60 Image Stabilised binocular, for $500! :-)

Kenny

#13 NorthWolf

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:02 PM

Some more pictures of the setting: (The land you see across the water is 16km away or about 10 miles).

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#14 Rich V.

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:12 PM

NorthWolf, IMO, the scenes in your photos beg for a tripod mounted bino in the +/- 20x range.

I use mounted 16x70s for watching sea lions, elephant seals, harbor seals and distant whales on the Oregon coast. My WO 22x70ED binos are even better than the Fujis for the purpose due to their higher mag and lack of CA but they weigh almost twice what the 16x70s do. I can't imagine using either without a tall, sturdy tripod, though.

Rich

#15 KennyJ

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:29 PM

< NorthWolf, IMO, the scenes in your photos beg for a tripod mounted bino in the +/- 20x range.>

-- Agreed wholeheartedly, Rich! ---

--- just as I'd previously suggested before even seeing any of the photos!

But if the precise location is near enough to a vehicle parking space to transport blankets and pillows for the dog to enjoy chilling out on, then it's probably near enough to a vehicle to carry a tripod and mount to!

I've lost count over the years of the number of "hand-holding high-mag binos heroes" who have declared on these forums their special talents and satisfaction with looking through 20x, 25x and 30x binoculars, but DO NOT, EVER underestimate the benefits a ROCK SOLID mount provides.

By mounting binoculars, you WILL actually see a LOT more detail and appreciate much more what the binoculars have to offer.

Please, TRUST me!

Kenny

#16 Andresin150

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:38 AM

I think you'll also may find useful, if the binoculars you buy accept them, a couple polarizing filters.
Those are a must in glare and any other sunlight reflecting situations; they've done wonders in my terrestrial observation experience... :)

#17 WOBentley

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:51 PM

I'm sticking with my original recommendation especially the Pentax for tripod mounted binoculars...the FOV is narrow but they are readily available for $200 or less and I use mine all the time at the Oregon Coast for exactly the type of activity you are describing. If you want a 7x I have the Vixen Foresta 7x50 CF which I occasionally use for this purpose and I can easily handhold. They are more than the Vangard Endeavors can be bought for but significantly less than the Vortex Vipers, as a matter of fact you could probably get The Vixens, and the Pentax 20x60 and still be under your budget with some careful shopping (I just got a pair of the Vangards for $150 on e-bay and a pair of the Pentax 20x60's for $184 around Christmas). The Vixens are closer to $250-$300 with careful (I got one demo set for about $279 but paid just over $300 for the second pair we own, you might do better?).
Dave

#18 hallelujah

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 06:23 PM

I'm sticking with my original recommendation especially the Pentax for tripod mounted binoculars...the FOV is narrow but they are readily available for $200 or less and I use mine all the time at the Oregon Coast for exactly the type of activity you are describing.

Dave


http://www.thefind.c...lars#page=1&...

Stan

#19 Eric63

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 06:59 PM

Hey Northwolf, are those pictures from up where the Saguenay and the St. Laurent meet? I spent hours there one summer with my 15x70's watching the whales from the shore.

Eric

#20 NorthWolf

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:28 PM

Hi Eric, yes they are:)

Rich and Kenny, Yes I believe you!, please see my questions below regarding tripods!

Andres: Polarizing filters?, I will look into those!

Halleluyah and Bentley, yes I am trying to acquire another Pentax 20x60, I had to send back the previous ones because I could not focus to infinity. I really want another Pentax again and eventually a tripod.

How easy is it to look around while the binoculars are on a tripod? I don't like to stand while observing, is it possible to sit on the ground or on a chair and use a tripod?

By the way, the thread will be moved in the bird watching/nature section, I was asked by a mod and told them sure why not.

#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 04:50 AM

I've lost count over the years of the number of "hand-holding high-mag binos heroes" who have declared on these forums their special talents and satisfaction with looking through 20x, 25x and 30x binoculars, but DO NOT, EVER underestimate the benefits a ROCK SOLID mount provides.

By mounting binoculars, you WILL actually see a LOT more detail and appreciate much more what the binoculars have to offer.



I find I am able to hand hold my 20x80s and achieve satisfying views but only for a short moment. It gets old mighty fast and a poor quality binocular on a lightweight tripod will be sharper and cleaner besides being more comfortable than fancy high power binos hand held.

Kenny's combination of a spotting scope and binoculars are popular among birders. Typically they would use binoculars to find the little cuties and the spotter to zoom in for those distance views.

Jon

#22 kcolter

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 06:56 AM

I've enjoyed this thread. It reminds me how fortunate I've been to acquire the Kowa Highlander in the last year, and in addition to some magical nights with the Kowa I have had the opportunity to use it to observe wildlife in several settings. While I have been to WSP before, this year was the first time I made the side trip to Everglades NP. I watched an osprey family about a half mile east of the Flamingo marina through the Kowa. These osprey were on a nest with fledglings. In Missouri, where I live, I observed bald eagles through them at least a dozen times this winter. The distances and image scale when I am watching bald eagles on the other side of the Missouri River is very similar to the scenario described and documented in the photos above. There is an area north of St. Louis at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers where I observed trumpeter swans, the occasional tundra swan, geese, and eagles this winter. The Kowa performed marvelously in this setting. I used the 32X eyepieces almost exclusively, but did put the 50X oculars in occasionally. I realize that the Kowa is not in the price range required by the orginal poster. I can attest to the utility of a tripod mounted binocular with magnification in the 30X range in observing wildlife in a setting like the one described above. Thanks to Tammi for the pictures!

#23 NorthWolf

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 07:09 AM

I think when I retire in 25 years on a house overlooking this setting I will get the Kowa Highlanders or something similar!!! I will use $3,500 as part of a land payment for now :)

#24 Andresin150

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 08:32 AM

Mmmmm, I'm used to discuss anything about binoculars, whether its for day time observing, astronomy observing, or just binoculars alone in the same thread... this is confusing...
Where does night time/terrestrial observation fall?
Where does binocular performance speculation fall?
Also, most of my observations have comparisons both in astro and terrestrial use. In fact, those comparisons are a must when discussing optical properties...

#25 Andresin150

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 08:34 AM

BTW, I'll be checking today for a comment in this regard, but tomorrow probably not, I'm just used to surf exclusively in the habitual "astro binocular forum"...






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