Monday, August 1, 2011

Nikon Binoculars

You are approaching an unfamiliar inlet just after sunset. You check your chart repeatedly to make sure you are coming in right where you want to be. There is not much traffic so there are no other boats to give you a hint as to where the inbound channel starts. The lights on the buoys are flashing in their prescribed patterns, but you wish you could get a closer look just to be sure.
Only one sensible thing to do. Anchor out all night. Well, that’s not going to work, is it? So you reach for your binoculars and suddenly there is the red number two approach buoy. Now you have your bearings. You turn and enter the channel and the other markers fall into place, giving you a lit path to the marina.
Binoculars are a very handy item to have on board. Relatively inexpensive, although they can climb in price rather sharply, they give you the ability to see at dusk or even into the night much clearer than the unaided eye.
I ordered a new pair of Nikon 7x50’s when I couldn’t find my other pair that I had for over twenty years. As is usually the case, two days after they arrived, I found my old pair, still working as if they were brand new. They have been on so many boats around the world they should have their own passport.
These binoculars are not the highest magnification by any means. However, on a boat less than 80 feet, you will find that these are perfect. With higher magnification units, you can find it hard to hold the object you are looking at in the field of vision. As the boat moves, the buoy or lighthouse will keep jumping out of your field of vision. The seven-power magnification gives you a very usable view. If you use a higher magnification, you can become seasick as your eyes try to focus constantly on a moving object. You are boating, not bird watching.
The objective lens of 50mm represents the diameter of each of the objective lenses (the lenses furthest from your eye), given in millimeters. Therefore, 7x50 binoculars have objective lenses 50 mm in diameter. The better a lens gathers light, the better you will be able to see in dim light. Coated lenses are standard now a days and will give you good usable contrast, especially in difficult lighting conditions.
If you value how your hands are attached to your arms, you will never pick up a pair of the captain’s binoculars without permission. Moreover, if you ask, you are still going to come across as someone without boating experience. Never go up on the bridge and just grab the binoculars. These Nikons have individually adjustable eyepieces, diopters, and once set to your eyes provide a consistently clear view. Change them without permission and you are going to be riding home in the engine compartment.
Some captains prefer image stabilized units. These can be quite expensive for an excellent pair. I have used both and still prefer my Nikons over everything else.
Whatever your choice, get yourself a good pair and hang on to them. They can make your landfalls safer and less worrisome.

No comments:

Post a Comment