Not such an easy question to answer! Ignoring price for a moment, the finest binoculars made may not be the right fit for everyone. In addition to the easily determined specifications, there is the more difficult subjective question of "Are these the right binoculars for me?"
So, we will chart what I believe to be the top 2 contenders for the best marine binoculars produced today. We will look only at the specifications and leave the subjective reasoning to the individual user.
|Marine Binoculars Comparison Chart|
|Model #||Polaris FMTRC||Commander XP|
|Magnification||Most professional mariners tend to agree that 7x is about the upper limit for non-image stabilized marine binoculars. This provides the best trade off of power versus FOV that can be handled aboard a rolling boat.||7x||7x|
|Objective Lens Size||For marine use the commonly accepted objective lens diameter is 50 millimeters. This provides probably the best trade off of size versus light gathering ability.||50 mm||50 mm|
|Waterproof||O-Ring Sealed and Nitrogen Filled or Purged (Mil-Spec.) This ensures that you binoculars remain waterproof and prevents fogging of the interior glass during temperature changes or even if they become completely submerged to a reasonable depth.||Yes||Yes|
|Focus Type||Individual Eyepiece Focus. The standard for waterproof / sealed type marine binoculars. Individual eyepiece focus simply means that you focus each eyepiece to the appropriate eye.||Yes||Yes|
|Exit Pupil||5mm to 8mm minimum.
The human eye pupil diameter in dark conditions ranges between 5 and 8 millimeters depending on age. It is best to select binoculars that have an exit pupil equal to or greater than the pupil diameter of your eye.
|7.14 mm||7.62 mm|
|Light Transmission||90% or Greater suggested.
This means brighter images when viewed and are superior for low light situations such as night time viewing.
|Lens Coatings||Fully Multi-Coated Preferred.
Lens coatings are designed to reduce glare and improve the transmission of light resulting in sharper and brighter images.
|Prisms||Porro Prism Style
Porro prism binoculars will inherently produce a brighter image.
|Field of View||5° to 7.5° FOV.
(FOV) expresses the width of view at a specific distance, usually 1000 yards or 1000 meters.
|Eye Relief||16mm Minimum 18+mm Better.
Basically eye relief is the distance that you can hold the binoculars away from your eyes when you are wearing either sunglasses or prescription glasses and still retain image focus.
|23.0 mm||20.2 mm|
|Integrated Compass||Personal Preference, but Well Worth the Extra Cost.
An integrated compass will enable you to take the bearing of an object while observing it.
|Integrated Rangefinder||Personal Preference, but may prove useful to some.
This feature has become quite common place especially in those binoculars that have an integrated compass.
|Armoring||Yes to this.
A heavy rubber compound that is molded to the outer body of the binoculars. Since things on boats tend to get bounced and tossed around much more than they do on dry land, this coating will prove invaluable.
|Size & Weight||Personal Preference.
Heavier binoculars may give you a more stable viewing advantage, lighter binoculars will allow long usage without feeling like you have brick tied around your neck. In most cases the average boater rarely wears their binoculars for any lengthy period of time, they are usually kept in a cradle or stowage box below or at the helm until needed so weight is usually a non-issue.
|3.21 lbs.||2.44 lbs.|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||30 Years|
As can be seen from the chart above, the Fujinon Polaris and the Steiner Commander XP are both top of the line glasses and almost identical in their specifications and abilities. Regardless of which model you choose you will have one of the finest pair of binoculars available that will last you a lifetime.
We have the Steiner ... For a mere $1500.00 to $1700.00 street price!
At that price, every man or woman (depending on your personal predilection), that you gaze upon with these binoculars, had damn well turn into a 10!