Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX Binoculars Review

Fujinon 7 x 50 Polaris FMTRC-SX Binoculars
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Price Range: (5/6) High Value Binoculars       

Ideal Uses:

General Use Rating for General Use Binoculars
Birdwatching Rating as Birdwatching Binoculars
Outdoor Sports Rating asOutdoor Sports Binoculars
Safari & Travel Rating as Safari Binoculars
General Wildlife Rating as Wildlife Observation Binoculars
Hunting Rating as Hunting Binoculars
Marine Use Rating as Marine Binoculars
Astronomy Rating as Binoculars for Astronomy

Exclusively Marine Binoculars?
Able to perform in some of the toughest environments, the military-specification Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars are often described by experts and professionals within the boating, yachting and fishing industries to be one of the very best marine binoculars in the world.

What About Astronomy, Hunting, and Birdwatching?

Fine praise indeed, but considering their 7x50 configuration and taking a close look at their main specifications as well as their features, I wondered if these Fujinon binoculars could be even more versatile and perhaps in the right situations and conditions (especially low light) also make an excellent binocular for astronomy, hunting and even some types of birding.

So to find out and to see just how good they actually are, I arranged for a pair of the latest Fujinon FMTRC-SX binoculars to be sent to me.

Fujinon FMTR-SX = FMTR-SX 2

Note that I highlighted the word "latest" in the paragraph above because the pair I have with me are often referred to as version 2 or FMTR-SX 2 binoculars, but are not officially named as such by Fuji themselves.

The Fujinon Polaris FMT series has been around for a long time and as such, they have evolved and there have been several improvements and updates made to them over the years. So for clarity, I just wanted to point out that the pair I was testing is their most recent version or as some call it the Fujinon 7x50 FMTRC-SX-2 Binoculars with Compass!

Fujinon Polaris FMTRC-SX 7x50 Binoculars Review

Contents:

Fujinon Polaris Binoculars
Also referred to the FMT series, Fujinon's Polaris binoculars currently consists of six models primarily aimed at astronomy, marine and birdwatching users.

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).

The models that are Rubber coated have the R in their name and of the range, the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX is the only one that comes with a built-in compass and reticle (which is what the C stands for).

Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars

Heads-Up Compass & Rangefinding Reticle Display

Heads-Up Compass & Rangefinding Reticle Display on Marine BinocularsBefore we get into the main part of the review, I thought I would go over the built-in compass and rangefinding reticle that you will see when looking through the Fujinon 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars.

It is a bit hard to describe and even harder to photograph (I tried!), but for those who have never used one, the image on the right is a really good representation of what you see when looking through these binoculars.

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.

As for the range finding reticle and how to use it to calculate distance or the size of an object in the view, Fujinon does include this in the instructions and/or you can read my guide to: Reticle Rangefinders on Marine binoculars.

The Body

Shape
Underside view of the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binocularsAs 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.

Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars

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.

Nowhere near as lightweight as modern and often cheaper plastic alternatives, they do feel extremely robust and whilst I can't test them to destruction, I would go as far as to say this is one of the most solid looking and feeling binoculars I have ever used and am confident it will survive far more abuse than just about any cheaper plastic alternative on the market.

Weather Proofing
With their primary target being marine uses, it will come as no surprise to discover that the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars have fully waterproof and fogproof O-ring seals.

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.

Hinges & Inter-Pupillary Distance (IPD) Adjustment
Made from metal, the double bridge hinge design on these Fujinon Polaris binoculars is a fairly typical design on a full-sized Porro prism binocular like these, so not much to expand on here.

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.

I also like it the pretty much 'perfect' level of resistance that the hinge opens and closes with and on top of this, there was zero free play or stiff sections on my sample pair. 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 7.4cm and a minimum of 5.6cm, the IPD range is very typical for a full-sized binocular and will cater for the majority of users, but maybe something you want to check if you have particularly near or far set eyes.

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. it is also one of the main reasons why most marine-specific binoculars use the moderate 7x magnification as this also makes it easier to keep the image still.

So as this is possibly deemed to be an unnecessary feature, many marine binoculars are not "tripod adaptable" (in the usual way using a standard tripod adapter), but I was very pleased to discover that these Fujinon 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars are, which for my quest in deciding if these would also make good wildlife/hunting and in particular astronomy binoculars is really important.

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 on the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars

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.

But as I say, this is usually at the cheaper end of the market, because whilst I would still probably just give the edge to a high-quality twist-up cup, the ones these Fuji Polaris binoculars are extremely good:

Comfort
I immediately noticed that these FMT's are very comfortable: Firstly the soft rubber used is far kinder when pressed firmly and for longer periods against your face, and then because of their large diameter and long eye-relief, it just makes for a comfortable and relaxing experience for your eyes.

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.

With such a large amount of eye-relief, I found that this worked perfectly fine and was able to achieve the full image when I tested them using my sunglasses (commonly used when sailing/boating), but you don't get the micro-adjustments that are possible with good twisting cups.

Another point I have to mention about folding cups is that I have found the crease where you fold them down can perish and crack on instruments where you either leave them folded down or fold them up and down often, which I imagine could be exasperated by salty water and/or exposure to harsh sunlight?

To Fujinon's credit, whilst soft, the rubber that they have used is comparatively thick and feels tough, but without conducting a very long term test, I can't comment further.

Removable
A point to mention here is that the cups can be unscrewed and removed from the eyepieces. This is something that I only occasionally find on higher-end instruments but is an excellent feature because:

  • Firstly this makes them very easy to replace (I will assume Fuji sells these parts separately)
  • Secondly, it makes cleaning the area around the eyepieces and especially the ocular lenses much easier
  • Then lastly, and if I'm not mistaken, the thread is such that it is designed to accept certain optional eyepiece filters

Holding the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars

Focusing

As there is no centrally located focus wheel, it is tempting to describe binoculars like this as having a fixed focus, but the fact that you can adjust the diopter setting on each of the eyepieces separately and thus effectively adjust and fine-tune the overall focus, I feel that it is more correct to call these and the many instruments like them Individual Eyepiece Focus Binoculars.

What this means is once you have correctly/normally calibrated the diopter on each eyepiece to complement your vision, these Fujinon Polaris 7x50 binoculars will remain in focus from their minimum focal distance, all the way to infinity.

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).

So whilst perfect for medium to long distances like when out on the open water (marine use), or for astronomy and some types of wildlife/hunting and birding uses, these binoculars and indeed all others with this type of focus system are no good for close-range observation.

Diopter Adjustment on the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars

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.

The main purpose of these is to enable the binocular to compensate for any variance in the vision/strength of each of your eyes, ensuring you achieve a sharp image on the left and right eyes. 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.

Rating for Body Construction Quality: 8/10

Weight
Tipping the scales at 51.5ozs (1460g), there is no doubting, these 7x50 Fujinon FMTRC-SX binoculars are no lightweights, which if you are used to a standard 42mm binocular, the extra weight is instantly noticeable when you pick them up.

Indeed, even when comparing them to other larger 50mm to 56mm binoculars these are still up there with the heavier instruments.

Whilst it would be nice had they been lighter, just keep in mind that many lightweight binoculars have a plastic chassis and other parts where Fujinon has used metal and don't forget the additional weight created by having the onboard compass.


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.

BBR Body Stats Score (compared to 50mm Bins): 7/10

Objective Lenses on the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars

The Optics

Apart from a few hints and keywords dotted around here and there in their product descriptions, Fujinon does not go into any sort of detail when describing most of the optics and the coatings that they use on any of their binoculars, including these, but I will include what I have been able to find out as well as some other general information that I feel is of use:

7x50mm Configuration

Combining a moderate 7x magnification with large 50mm objective lenses is a very common setup for marine binoculars, but is far less prevalent in any other niche. 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 7.14mm exit pupil (50÷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 5.25mm exit pupil the difference is huge and even though a good 8x42 is no slouch in low light, it still really does make an observable difference in low and especially very light situations.

Ocular Lenes on the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars

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!

Larger ocular lenses offer the user a number of immediate as well as potential benefits, which I go through in detail in this post on ocular lens size in binoculars, so I won't repeat them all here. 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.

Prisms

Just from this type of body shape, it is obvious that these Fujinon FMTRC-SX-2 7x50 Binoculars have Porro prisms inside of them to correct the inverted image created by the lenses.

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:

Lens CoatingsAnti-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.

What they do mention is that their FMT series uses their EBC coatings (Electron Beam Coating) that they say have a 95% light transmission level which benefits image quality, brightness and especially for low-light performance.

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.

However, due to the excellent image brightness and low light capability that I observed whilst using these (see image quality section below), I will assume that they do mean all visible wavelengths and so 95% is indeed extremely impressive. Indeed the only time I have been made aware of anything better is on the Steiner Nighthunter 8x56 binoculars that have a +96% Light Transmission.

Optical Components Quality Rating: 9/10

Optical Stats

Field Of View (FOV)
In a definite nod to their maritime heritage, these Fujinon 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars have their field of view printed on the back of them, but instead of just using degrees, they have used degrees and minutes:

At 7°30' this translates to 7.5° or to put it another way, it is 394ft wide at 1000 yards (131meters @ 1000 m).

Whilst not quite class leading, compared to other 7x50's this Fujinon compares extremely well, for example, the Celestron 7x50 Cavalry is exactly the same at 394ft @ 1000 yds, whilst perhaps their more direct competitor, the Steiner 7x50 C Navigator Pro Binocular is a little less wide at 7.1° or 373ft @ 1000 yds.

Whilst the lower-end, lower quality Bushnell 7x50 Marine Binocular with Compass is substantially less wide at 6.7° or 352.41ft' @ 1000yds (117m @1000m).

At the very top end of this sector, the Steiner 7x50 Commander C binoculars lead the way with a massively wide 8.3° / 438ft @ 1000 yds / 145.4 m @ 1000 m, but just keep in mind that those are approaching double the cost of these Fujinon's and will set you back about $1300.

Close Focus
As I fully expect from a fixed focus / individual eyepiece focus binocular that is designed to have a very long depth of view (large hyperfocal distance), the minimum close focus distance on these is relatively distant when compared to a standard focusing binocular.

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.

Optical Stats Rating (compared to 7x50 Bins): 8/10

The Image Quality

For the majority of binocular reviews I write, I use a benchmark instrument of the same configuration to compare the view through, which I find helps me to make more consistent opinions over time.

However, as the 7x50 arrangement is not that common, I don't have a direct benchmark, so for this test, I compared them through my 8x42 benchmarks as I feel this is the one that most people will be able to relate to and is not too dissimilar to a 7x50.

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.

In normal/average light conditions during the day (I tested these in winter on both overcast and on clear sky days), the image brightness between these and both my mid and high-end 8x42's was not markedly different. 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.

All this is not even taking into account the high level of optics that Fuji use and their special " EBC coatings" that they say delivers a 95% light transmission level, which must obviously also play an important role.

Image Flatness & Softening
Due to the fact that Fuji specifically highlights the fact that their FMT series binoculars all use Field Flattener lenses that in their words "provides sharp images from edge-to-edge, with no distortion", this was another area where I was expecting these to perform well and I have to say that once again I am very impressed:

Most instruments that I test have at least some image softening/fuzziness around the edges of the view, with some having more than others. The amount I observed through the Fuji 7x50 FMTRC-SX binocular was extremely minimal and far less than the vast majority out there.

Distortions
In addition to this, I was never aware of any sort of image curvature or other unwanted distortions.

Color Reproduction & Contrast
With very bright views, there is always the danger that the image will look washed out, less vibrant and with low levels of contrast.

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.

Also worth pointing out is that I never noticed any sort of artificial tinting of the image, which is sometimes also the case where you can get a greenish, yellowish hue to the image.

Color Fringing
Color FringingCaused by chromatic aberrations, color fringing generally gets more noticeable with high magnifications, so at only 7x and the fact that these use high-end optics (even though they do not have ED glass which is designed to reduce chromatic aberrations), I was not expecting this to be a problem with these.

Once again the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars did not disappoint and the level of observable color fringing, even under extreme tests like looking at a black telephone wire against a bright blue, sunlit sky showed very little amounts and nothing more than any other very high-end pair of optics would show.

Image Conclusions
Overall, the image quality, brightness, and low light performance are some of the major highlights on this instrument and I certainly rank them up there with the very best.

Image Quality Rating: 9/10

Accessories for the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars

Included Accessories:

Carry Case for the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binocularsIncluded in the box with these Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars are a number of accessories. This includes a soft carry bag, padded neck strap, objective lens covers, rain-guard, cleaning cloth and an instruction booklet:

Carry Case

The quality of materials, stitching and general function of the case is excellent.

I like the fact that the case is non-generic, branded with the Fujinon logo obviously designed to accommodate these 7x50 Porro prism binoculars and as such, they fit very nicely inside, being neither too difficult to get in and out nor so loose that they flop about.

I also like the extra internal pocket and the included carry strap that can be adjusted for length. Whilst the strap is not padded, it is nice and wide, so makes carrying it with these fairly heavy binoculars reasonably comfortable.

Carry Case for the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binocularsOn the rear, there is a belt loop, but as the carry strap is permanently attached to the case and the fact that these binoculars are on the large and heavy side, I am not sure if I would ever consider attaching it to my belt to carry them.

I also feel that even though these binoculars are military-spec tough, a more thickly padded case would have been preferable especially as the instrument is reasonably large and heavy.

Access to the interior is via a large fold-over lid that is held closed with a strip of Velcro. So quick to access, but not as secure as something like a Zip would have been.

Neck Strap for the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars

Neck Strap

The included neck strap is excellent.

It is thickly padded, slightly curved to fit better around your neck and shoulders and has a grippy undersurface to prevent it from sliding from side-to-side. All of which adds up to make sure that even with what is a fairly heavy binocular, you can comfortably carry them.

The strap attaches to the instrument in the usual way by threading the thinner ends through the loops on the body of the binocular and then back on themselves through a slider, which enables you to adjust the length to your preference.

Like the case, the strap is branded and the materials used along with the stitching is excellent and of very high quality.

Not Floating
As good as the strap is, considering that this instrument is primarily aimed at marine uses, I think Fujinon is missing a trick here in not supplying these binoculars with a floating, high-vis neck strap that would make retrieving your expensive binoculars possible should you ever drop them overboard.

If this is something that is of concern, I would suggest taking a look at some of the floating binocular straps that are available.

Lens Covers

Lens Covers on the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binocularsUnlike most binoculars that allow you to completely remove and put away the objective lens covers, the ones on the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars are permanently tethered to the body and indeed are simply part of the overall rubber armor exterior.

In some ways, I really like this as in combination with the fact that they fit into the ends of the barrels as opposed to over the ends like, on many other instruments and the fact that they are branded, it really does make them look and feel like they are a part of the whole instrument instead of being just a last-minute afterthought.

On the down-side, should the rubber connector ever break, it will make them very difficult to replace. Although you could still use the cover, it would just mean that it is not tethered.

Although having said that, the rubber looks and feels very tough and so I imagine would take a fair force to break it. Here I guess only a very long term test would tell, but I have not read or heard of any issues from the research I have done.

The actual fit of these lens covers is perfect in that they pop firmly into the barrels easily enough without being a hassle, but at the same time don't fall away to easily.

Rain Guard on the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binocularsRain-Guard
Once gain, the Fujinon branded rainguard is not generic and obviously designed to work with their FMT series of binoculars.

However, whilst they are easy to replace, the design of the very soft and thus flexible fold-down eye-cups means that they cannot fit quite as tightly as some and thus they do come away just a little to easily for my liking.

Other than that small point, they work as intended without issue.

Cleaning Cloth
The included cleaning cloth is pretty basic and equal to the very high quality, micro-fiber ones which I would expect to get with an instrument at this level.

So whilst it is perfectly adequate for cleaning the body, I highly recommend purchasing an inexpensive lens cleaning kit for the proper cleaning of the lenses.

Instructions & Cleaning Cloth for the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binocularsInstructions
As you would expect, also included is a small instruction booklet. As normal it is written in a number of languages, covers the entire Fujinon FMT / MT Series and thus only includes some basic and rather generic information on how to use the binoculars like adjusting the IPD and the focus.

However, having said that, they do include information on how to use the compass and the mil reticle, including the formulas on how to measure distance, object size and calculating object directions.

Warranty
All Fuji Polaris binoculars are covered by Fujifilm's Limited Lifetime Warranty. However please note that this warranty does not include the accessories or the rubber coating, which I have to say is somewhat surprising.

Extras Rating: 7/10

Review Conclusions:

There is no doubt, if you are looking for a high performance, super tough marine binocular that will handle everything (and more) that you throw at them, then these Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars should be right at the top of your shopping list.

However, I do feel that whilst they won't make the ideal general use instrument for day-to-day uses, they are far, far more versatile than just a boating binocular. I enjoyed using them at night and they gave wonderful wide views of the stars and I do believe that they would make an excellent search and rescue instrument, good for many security needs, survivalists and ideal for some birding, wildlife and hunting uses, where these can be very effective, especially in very low light conditions.

Strengths:

Low Light Performer
With their large 50mm lenses, excellent quality glass and coatings as well as the very large 7.14mm exit pupil, it is no surprise that the low light performance on these is truly excellent.

Image Quality
As well as the image brightness, the general image quality is superb. They show almost no image softening, minimal color fringing and the color reproduction and contrast is excellent.

Build Quality & Toughness
The build quality and materials used are top-drawer and I have said it a number of times in this review, these look and feel about as tough and robust a binocular that you could ever hope to find.

As well as the materials used, Fujinon Optics have been smart in choosing a simpler porro prism design with no focusing wheel and folding instead of twist-up eyecups. It all adds up to there been much less chance of anything going wrong.

Speed & Ease of Use
Once set-up, the lack of having to focus, along with the wide view, large ocular lenses and deep eye-relief all add up to make these binoculars so simple to use. Also finding and then locking onto your subject is about as quick and easy as it gets.

Field of View
Used to make the view more steady whilst onboard and helping to deliver the very large exit pupil important for low light performance, another advantage of the moderate 7x power is that it helps produce a very wide field of view. This has many advantages in many different scenarios, be that scanning distant horizons looking for a point of interest, to being able to quickly lock on and then follow a moving object, which can be important for general wildlife observation, security, surveillance and of course birding.

Weaknesses:

Size & Weight
By using Porro prisms, large 50mm lenses and a full metal chassis, the Fujinon Polaris FMTR-SX was never going to be a compact, feather weight binocular. But even so these are on the bulkier and heavier end of the scale when compared to other similar instruments.

Floating Neck Strap?
Whilst not a weakness as such, rather an oversight or perhaps even a suggestion, but I feel that for a high-end marine binocular, it would have been nicer and probably far more useful if they were supplied with a floating, high-vis neck strap that would firstly make it possible and then easier to retrieve them should they go overboard. having said that, the "standard" non marine specific strap that these are supplied with is excellent.

Minimum Focus Distance
Whilst it is\possible to adjust the individual diopters on each of the eyepieces to reduce the minimum focusing distance to a very acceptable distance, this is a little bit of a pain, so if you are often observing things at close range, i would most certainly not recommend these or indeed any other binocular using this type of focus mechanism

Ideal Uses:

Marine Binoculars
This is a no brainer: with their moderate 7x magnification, large lenses and built in compass and reticle, these are designed specifically for this purpose. The Fujinon FMTRC-SX 7x50 binocular is one of the finest boating, sailing, yachting or shipping binocular that you can buy. period.

Search & Rescue, Security
Here again their toughness, excellent low light performance, wide view and not needing to focus makes the Fujinon FMTRC-SX an excellent choice for many search and rescue operations as well as security and border patrols. Although depending on the exact terrain, a higher powered device might be more suitable in some situations.

Astronomy
Whilst many will assume that you have to have a very high magnification for an effective astronomy binocular, this is not always the case. The combination of their excellent low light capabilities and very wide field of view makes for the ideal instrument for scanning the night sky. Even with the lower power, I was able to detect many more stars than a less "bright" binocular with a smaller exit pupil and at the same was able to take in whole constellations, rather than focussing on individual stars or planets as you would with a telescope or high powered binocular.

Hunting & General Wildlife
Able to deliver a bright image in very low light conditions, I can think of many times whilst working as a safari-guide, either leaving before sunrise or returning after sunset, I would have loved to have had a very low light binocular like this at hand.

The reticle will be appreciated by many hunters and whilst the compass may be of passing interest to many, for some outdoors users, this could be of use.

Survivalists< & Binoculars for Preppers!
Here again their toughness, durability, low light performance as well as the compass and range finding ability will all be of great use.

Birding
As you know most birds are active at the very start or end of the day and what about for uses in forests or even jungles where natural light is blocked out by thick foliage. So in my opinion, in some circumstances and as long as your birding is not conducted at very close range, then I would suggest that whilst it may not be your primary choice, the Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars would also be suitable for some types of birding.

Fujinon Polaris 7x50 FMTRC-SX binoculars and accessories plus packaging

Reviewed by

Best Binocular Reviews Ratings:

Body Construction Quality: 8/10 80%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 7/10
Optical Components Quality: 9/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Attention to Detail: 7/10

Compare Prices & Where to Buy the Fujinon Binoculars

Main Specifications & Features:

  • Size: Full Size Binoculars
  • [explain prism types]Prism Type: Porro Prism Binoculars
  • Magnification: 7x
  • [explain objective lens]Objective Lens Diameter: 50mm
  • [explain waterproofing]Waterproof: Yes
  • [about fogproofing]Fogproof: Yes

  • [explain exit pupil]Exit Pupil: 7.1
  • [explain twilight factor]Twilight Factor: 18.71
  • [explain eye relief]Eye Relief: 23mm
  • [explain IPD]IPD Max: 7.4cm
  • IPD Min: 5.6cm

  • Weight: 51.5ozs (1460g)
  • Length: 7.8in (19.8cm)
  • Width: 8.6in (21.8cm)
  • Eyecup Diameter: 45mm
  • Ocular Lens Diameter: 27mm
  • Objective lens inset: 10mm

  • [explain real field of view]Real field of view: 7.5°
  • [explain apparent field of view]Apparent field of view: 52.5°
  • [explain field of view]Field of View: 131m at 1,000 meters
  • [explain field of view]Field of View: 394ft at 1,000 yards

  • Chassis Material: Metal
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • [about Lens Coatings]Lens Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • [about ED Glass]Extra Low Dispersion Glass: No
  • [about tripod adapters]Tripod Adaptable: Yes
  • Auto Focus: Yes

More Information:



About Fujinon | View all Fujinon products I have written reviews on

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Full Size Binoculars | Porro Prism Binoculars | Self Focusing Binoculars | Marine Binoculars | Astronomy Binoculars | Wide Angle Binoculars | Top of the Range/High Value Binoculars


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General Price Range: (5/6) High Value Binoculars

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