Fujinon binoculars are created by a division of Fujifilm, best known for the cameras, film, and other photographic equipment it produces. One of those forms just happened to be binoculars. Through Fujinon, a great many discoveries have been made in areas as diverse as movie camera lenses and medical imaging. But one of the best things to come of the Fujinon offshoot has been the line of binoculars they manufacture. Great variety, high quality, and affordable prices make Fujinon binoculars some of the most attractive in the industry.
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Amongst other things, the most noticeable features they all share are the use of Porro prisms that give them their more traditional-looking body shape and then the fact that all Fujinon FMT binoculars have larger than the "standard" 42mm objective lenses either 50mm or 70mm. Less obvious but extremely important to know is that all models incorporate field flattener lenses into their optical pathway. Indeed this is what the F stands for in FMT and has the result of reducing distortions, with improved sharpness right to the edges of the view more on this later in the review.
It is a bit hard to describe and even harder to photograph I tried! The compass heading display is illuminated vial the little opaque bubble on the top of the body and so if you cover this, it goes dark. Not, unlike some these do not use batteries and so the compass will not be visible at night unless you shine a light onto the top of the body. The compass and mil-reticle are contained with the left barrel of the instrument and thus you need to adjust the diopter on the left eyepiece to focus onto the display to get it nice and sharp.
Apart from that, there is much else to do, you simply look through and use these Fuji Polaris binoculars as normal and you are given the heading of the direction in which you are looking. The Body Shape As I briefly mentioned earlier, these and indeed all Fujinon FMT binoculars sport a traditional-looking body shape with the eyepieces closer together than the large objective lenses at the end. This primarily the down to the shape of the Porro prisms contained within the barrels and whilst this may not be as modern looking as the straight-through designs used by Roof prism binoculars, this shape and indeed the prisms over the user several advantages: I will get to the Porro vs Roof prism advantages in the optics section later on in the review, but in terms of the shape, and like many larger Porro prism binoculars, I found the Fujinon FMTRC-SX 7x50 binoculars extremely comfortable to hold and to use as the wider set barrels are at a distance apart that is just more natural to hold onto.
For a larger heavier instrument like these, this is a reasonably important feature and worth noting. Also, because the barrels are further apart, and somewhat like a "stereo" sound system, you get a better stereoscopic image the further apart the speakers, or in this case the lenses are. Rubber Coating Not all of the models within the FMT series are rubber coated but as this FMTRC-SX version is primarily aimed at marine and other potentially bad weather uses as opposed to astronomy, where the weather conditions need to be good , these are, and what a coating they have!
Over the years, I have noticed that because of aesthetics, more and more binoculars are using very thin rubber armors, which like many, I do like the look of, but certainly does not offer the same level of protection as thicker rubber coatings as used on these Fujinon FMTRC binoculars. Important to mention here is that, whilst very beefy, the "rubber jacket" fits very tightly and I think is glued to the chassis underneath. I do sometimes find that thicker rubber armors can move or slide about on top of the chassis, but there is pretty much zero chance of that occurring with these.
The rubber Fuji has used is quite hard and so this does mean you get less grip and less impact absorption than a softer more spongy rubber. However, the major advantage here is harder rubbers are in my experience far less likely to perish or become tacky, which when you consider that these are expected to handle factors like salty sea spray and a lot of direct sunlight when left on deck, this is a reasonable and probably wise trade-off.
Main Housing Material Whilst Fujifilm does highlight the fact that these instruments have a "Mil-spec" Military Specification shock and impact resistant body construction, they do not state what it made from in their fact sheet. But through some digging online, their overall weight and by the look and feel of them, I am fairly sure the Fujinon 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars have an all-metal chassis.
But what is a little frustrating is that they do not indicate as to the level or what recognized standard that they are tested against. What I can say is that the interior s filled with Nitrogen gas, which since it is completely moistureless, prevents condensation forming on the internal glass surfaces.
Deeply Set Lenses Another important point to mention is that I noticed that the 50mm objective lenses are set very far back into the ends of the barrels. I measured it to be at least 10mm, which is well above the average. Fujinon could have reduced this to give the instrument slightly more compact dimensions that would have been more flattering.
But once again this seemingly small detail is really important for their intended use and shows excellent attention to detail. This is because being set so deeply within the ends of the barrels gives them a lot more protection, both from physical damage, but also from rain and sea spray, which for marine binoculars is an important feature that is often overlooked. What I do like is, like the chassis, they feel extremely strong, and I am certain it would take a really large force to knock the barrels out of alignment.
Looser hinges result in you often having to readjust your setting and feel cheap, whilst ones that are too tight make adjusting them a pain.
Speaking of which: With a maximum distance of 7. Tripod Adaptable Using a tripod, or monopod onboard a boat in rough or even choppy waters would be pretty useless. Indeed you need your body to act as a shock absorber to counter some of the movement.
So whilst these with their moderate 7x power are perfectly hand-holdable, they are not the most lightweight of instruments, so for long periods of looking at the stars and for sharing a view, it is nice to have the choice of fitting them to a tripod or monopod.
Eyecups As is almost customary on this type or style of binocular, all Fujinon FMT binoculars use the fold-down type of eyecups. Due to them being less complicated and thus easier and probably also cheaper to make than twist-up eye-cups, they are often the design used on cheap binoculars, and as such these low-quality cups often with very little eye-relief tend to offer a poor user experience. Rather unfairly, they all get tarred with the same brush and I will admit to often stating in my reviews of binoculars using folding cups that I would have preferred to have had the twist-up type instead.
Tough Another advantage is that because they are less complicated than twisting ones, there is far less that can go wrong and much less chance almost none of them breaking when dropped.
Indeed I believe this is the part that most often gets damaged on an instrument using twist-up cups and so is another nod to the robustness and durability of these 7x50 Fujinon FMTRC-SX binoculars. Disadvantages As with just about everything, nothing is perfect. So the advantage a well designed, high-quality twist-up cup would have over these is that you can be more precise and get more options to adjust the correct position your eyes sit behind the ocular lenses.
With these folding cups, you can make adjustments by pushing the soft cups more or less firmly against your face until you are presented with the full view.
The with glasses, you simply fold the cup completely down. Removable A point to mention here is that the cups can be unscrewed and removed from the eyepieces. Advantages The two major advantages of Fixed and Individual Eyepiece Focus Binoculars are: Once you have set them up, no further focus adjustments are required, making them easier to use and faster to swap between objects of interest This is a much simpler system with fewer moving parts and thus once again makes the binocular potential more robust than those with a focus mechanism and all the potential issues that can result from it You can more easily use this binocular with just one hand.
For skippers steering a vessel this can be an important consideration Disadvantages The downside is that for instruments like these to have such a long depth of view they also have a relatively long minimum focusing distance. This is usually about 15m - 30m but this depends on your eyesight, the instrument and how you set up the diopter on each eyepiece see diopter adjustment below.
Diopter Adjustment Unlike "standard focussing" binoculars that have a central focus wheel and a single diopter on one eyepiece, you can make diopter adjustments which is effectively changing the focus on both eyepieces on these Fujinon FMTRC-SX binoculars. To do this, you simply turn the whole eyepiece: anti-clockwise for a closer minimum focus and clockwise to move the focus further away. For more, take a look at my article on how to focus and calibrate binoculars. However, because these particular Fujinon Polaris FMTRC-SX binoculars also have a heads up display showing the compass heading and reticle, the diopter on the left eyepiece is also used to focus the eyepiece sharply onto it as well.
Note: If you do need or want to focus on a nearby object, having the two diopters does make this possible by adjusting them both by the same amount.
Trying it myself, the amount you can reduce the minimum focus distance by is substantial. The exact amount depends on your eyesight, but I was able to get it down to around 6 meters. Do keep in mind that doing this also drastically reduces the maximum focal distance and so anything over about 15 meters becomes blurry.
It also means that because you are no longer focusing on it, the compass and reticle display becomes out of focus and thus not readable. However, to be fair at close range, these should not be of much use anyway. Indeed, even when comparing them to other larger 50mm to 56mm binoculars these are still up there with the heavier instruments.
Sorry you cannot see this table as your browser does not support iframes. Click here to open it up in a new tab. Dimensions Whilst Porro prisms have several advantages, they are far less compact than a Roof prism and as you can see from the table above, their distinctive shape results in a larger usually wider instrument.
So if you are looking for a small and very lightweight instrument, then these and just about any 50mm Porro prism binoculars are probably not the way to go. However, if low light performance and some of the other advantages that I will get to in the optics section below are more important to you than the added bulk then these are well worth considering. So why is this and could it be that other types of users are missing a trick?
Firstly the 7x power used on most binoculars is down to the fact that it is much easier to keep the image steady and shake-free with a lower magnification, which on the unsteady platform of a boat or yacht on the water is of great importance. But this lower power brings with it a few other advantages: it helps ensure a wide field of view and creates a larger exit pupil when compared to the same size of binocular with a higher magnification: 7x50 binoculars produce a massive 7.
These large shafts of light exiting the ocular lenses ensure that your eyes are receiving more than enough light, even in very low light when your pupils are fully dilated and thus will look to have a brighter image than a binocular of equal quality, but smaller exit pupil. If for example, you compare this to an 8x42 and their 5. Ocular Lenses One aspect that I instantly noticed on taking these Fujinon Polaris binoculars out of the case is just how large the ocular lenses looked.
Indeed I measured them to be 27mm in diameter, making them amongst the largest I have ever come across! But one of the most important is that large ocular lenses are much easier for you to line your eyes with. This combined with their already extremely large exit-pupil makes them very easy to use, with a much-reduced chance of black rings forming on the edges of the view.
All this combined with the lack of having to make any sort of adjustments to the focus makes for an incredibly easy instrument to just pick up and use. Field Flattener Lens Something that Fujinon does highlight in their product descriptions and with very good reason is the fact that they incorporate Field Flattener Lenses into the optical pathway of all their Polaris FMT binoculars. This is not a common feature and is only sometimes found on expensive, high-end instruments.
Essentially Field-flattener lenses are designed to rectify field aberrations and reduce distortion and thus help to deliver sharper, clearer images right to the edges of the view. As I mentioned in the body section above, this design of prism does not make for the most compact shaped binocular, but it does have a number of advantages over the more compact roof prism design.
Firstly a Porro prism is far simpler and does not require any special coatings added to them to correct the light going out of phase as it passes through them, nor do they require any highly reflective mirror coatings to increase the light transmission levels, both of which are needed on a Roof prism to get the best out of them.
Optical Coatings As I mentioned in the section above, these do not require any special coatings on the prisms, and so as with most Porro prism binocular reviews that I write, this section is often pretty short: Anti-Reflection Coatings What these do have and indeed what any good, higher-end binocular should have is multiple coatings of a special anti-reflection material added to ALL of the optical surfaces throughout the system and not just the first and last lenses, which is sometimes the case on lesser instruments.
This is certainly what we want to hear and is one of the key features of what to look for when buying binoculars. You can also read more on Anti-Reflection Lens Coatings here. But in a nutshell, these coatings ensure that as little light as possible gets reflected in unwanted directions and away from each of the lenses and so increases the amount of light gets transmitted right through the instrument and onto your eyes.
Secret Sauce Like many of the top brands and especially ones where their heritage is in making high-end cameras and camera lenses, Fuji uses their own proprietary lens coatings and the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret.
Without very sophisticated instrumentation to verify this, we can only take their word for it, but I do know that after visiting the Steiner factory and speaking with the technicians there, that these figures can be misleading unless they specify if they are measuring all the wavelengths of light and not just a selected few. Whilst the lower-end, lower quality Bushnell 7x50 Marine Binocular with Compass is substantially less wide at 6. At the very top end of this sector, the Steiner 7x50 Commander C binoculars lead the way with a massively wide 8.
Fujinon does not stipulate their exact minimum focus distance as this will depend quite a lot on your particular eyesight, but it usually varies from about 15 to 30meters. As I have already covered in the focusing and diopter adjustment sections above, you can reduce the minimum focal distance a long way by adjusting both of the diopters.
Indeed, I managed to get it down to about 6 meters. However doing this also vastly reduces the depth of view, but it can be useful if you sometimes need to focus on something fairly nearby. Either way, this is not really what this type of binocular is designed for and so I would not recommend them to anyone who often observes objects at close range. Eye-Relief: Aside from the improved image quality, one of the major advantages to using field flattener lenses is that if desired, it enables the manufacturers to use eyepieces that have a longer focal length for any given magnification and thus make it easier for them to achieve or maintain a long eye relief and Fujinon have certainly not disappointed in this regard: Measuring a full 23mm, the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars have extremely long eye-relief , which along with their comfortable eyecups and equally massive ocular lenses see optics section below which makes them comfortable to use and very easy to achieve the full image without any black rings on the edges of the view.
By folding down the eye-cups, the long eye-relief also makes them an excellent choice for those who wear some sort of eye wear when using their binoculars , be that sunglasses on the boat, or your reading glasses. Image Brightness Due to their large lenses and exit pupils , one of the biggest expectations I had for this instrument and which I am pleased to say turned out to be one of the biggest highlights is the image brightness and in particular the low light performance of this Fujinon 7x50 binocular.
Although if I had to be pressed into making a decision, I would go for these, but as I say, the difference was so small, that it is hard to know if it is not imagined because you are expecting it to be so. This is to be expected as in these reasonably good light conditions and as long as the quality of the optics is good, both the 8x42 and 7x50 configurations supply your eyes with more than enough light for you to perceive a bright image.
However, in poor light and especially in very poor light, you really can notice the improvement between these and even high-end 8x42 binoculars.
Under these more extreme conditions, the more light captured by the larger 50mm lenses and the larger exit-pupil created by the lower 7x magnification and large lenses really make an observable difference. Distortions In addition to this, I was never aware of any sort of image curvature or other unwanted distortions.
However, even when testing them on a sunny day in very bright conditions, I thought that both the colors and contrast remained good and by that, I mean true to life, because sometimes an image that has too much vibrancy and contrast can also be a problem.
Menu Fujinon binoculars are made by a division of the company that produces the most widely used television camera lenses in the world - the Fujifilm Company. Its first model was the Meibo 6X25 configuration which incorporated advanced performance optics for the time. Fujinon binoculars have earned a reputation for ruggedly durable, sturdy construction. This has made them a favorite with people working in the marine and commercial fishing industries. Other models are outright declared to be waterproof and fog-proof.
Best Fujinon Binoculars: Reviews of Fujinon Spotting Scopes & Binocs
Amongst other things, the most noticeable features they all share are the use of Porro prisms that give them their more traditional-looking body shape and then the fact that all Fujinon FMT binoculars have larger than the "standard" 42mm objective lenses either 50mm or 70mm. Less obvious but extremely important to know is that all models incorporate field flattener lenses into their optical pathway. Indeed this is what the F stands for in FMT and has the result of reducing distortions, with improved sharpness right to the edges of the view more on this later in the review. It is a bit hard to describe and even harder to photograph I tried! The compass heading display is illuminated vial the little opaque bubble on the top of the body and so if you cover this, it goes dark.
For all uses this is great, but for astronomy is a real advantage when viewing clusters or constellations as it ensures all stars in the view are perfectly sharp and in focus. However you could also very effectively use it for many other purposes including astronomy, birding and hunting, where they will be especially beneficial in poor light and at medium to close distances which you often encounter in thick forests or woods. As you would expect, they are fully water proof and the rubber coating is designed to offer a better grip when wet. As well as this they feature an integrated compass with a rangefinding reticle, which allows you to estimate distances or the size of objects. Although a strength is also their versatility as these binoculars are also great. Fujinon 16x70 Polaris FMT-SX-2 Binoculars Another really interesting model is the 16x70 Polaris, which has obviously been designed specifically with long distance terrestrial and astronomy use in mind. Indeed they have been designed to ensure eyepiece filters can easily be attached which are commonly used in astronomy.
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