I wrote this on a forum, but posting it here too, just in case any of my readers happen to know about this stuff:
I’ve just switched to Marine Biology in my uni. We will be having lots and lots of outings over the coming two semesters, usually going by a small motorboat to watch whales, Orcas, dolphins and such. Luckily we have plenty of ocean megafauna around here, so I think my switch is a very good idea – I love the ocean and all its critters.
I’ll be buying a bunch of equipment (need to have own life jacket etc). The one thing I having trouble with is choosing the best marine binoculars for myself – there are just too many options and I have no experience using them. I think I can get them cheaper online, so I don’t want to go to a brick and mortar shop. Plus they probably don’t have the selection that I can get online.
I’ve read at least one guide to choosing marine binoculars (here) and watched a bunch of videos too. I think I understand the basic numbers, like magnification and lens diameters. Eye relief is somewhat confusing – I don’t wear glasses, do I need to care about it? Or the eyecups?
“Exit pupil” is a complete mystery. I think I just suck at basic physics or something, I don’t understand what it is.
It seems that most people use 7 x 50 binoculars, but one thing worries me. I’m a girl and a small one. Not much to speak of in terms of arm muscles etc. I’m afraid that these 7 x 50 binoculars are going to be too heavy for me. I need to carry them around, have them on my neck during the entire boat trip and then hold them in front of my eyes for possibly half an hour or more. All these models seem very big and not very comfortable to hold.
So actually I’m looking into buying some small binoculars, roof prisms they’re called, if I understand correctly. But here I’m worried if I’ll get a bright enough image, because apparently they don’t have lenses that are big enough and they’re just smaller. I don’t want to be the one in the class who doesn’t get a good glimpse of something cool just because I chose small binoculars.
After reading some reviews though, it seems that a good roof prism binocular will actually provide enough light to see well – they’re used by bird watching people and they seem to work. I don’t think we’ll be going on outings at night, so it’s not that important to be able to view in low light. I think roof prisms will work just fine for me.
Though the next worry is of course that they cost a lot. It seems harder to get a great rood prism binocular for the same price as an equal marine binocular, or maybe I’m just looking for the wrong thing.
Anyway, this is all a bit confusing. If someone here can help me out with choosing, you’ll make me very happy!
Here are some of the models I looked at. See how big the first ones are compared to the second ones!