Go Back  The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum > BOATING FORUMS > Marine Electronics Forum
Reload this Page >

Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

Notices
Marine Electronics Forum

Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

Old 07-24-2005, 02:41 PM
  #1  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Northern Ohio
Posts: 15,961
Received 1,849 Likes on 989 Posts
Default Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

I've been checking out fishfinders and have many questions, the most basic question being the cost differences between similiar units and different manufacturers. If the HZ, screen pixels, and features of different units are the same why the large difference in cost? How much better is a $500+ unit as compared to $175 if neither is color? Is Raymarine at $500+ that much better than a Humminbird at $200? Is it the quality of the manufacturer or simply the name recognition that demands more money?

I've owned a Bottom Line, Eagle, Humminbird, and now have a Lowrance that just crapped out on me. I can't say I've been very impressed by any of them I've owned. My Lowrance would lose the bottom once I got over 35MPH so it was worthless while running. The Bottom Line almost never showed fish even though I was catching them right under the boat. The Eagle the screen was hard to see and would frequently go blank for no reason. My spare cheap Humminbird I have is a portable unit I sometimes use on the boat and when ice fishing. So far I would say this $100 Humminbird has been about the best in showing fish although none of the units I've owned have been very good when in shallow water < 10' because the lowest range is usually 30' and 5' of water shows in about 1/4" at the top of the screen showing no detail. I rarely fish deeper than 50' of water so I don't need a unit that goes to 2000'.

I'm debating the difference in value between the moderate and the higher cost units. How can I be sure the unit I buy will keep a bottom lock when running 45+MPH? What are the key features to look for assuming all have speed & temp?

Any recommendations on units that you guys on the forum are happy with would be appreciated.

Russ
Old 07-24-2005, 10:06 PM
  #2  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Northern Ohio
Posts: 15,961
Received 1,849 Likes on 989 Posts
Default RE: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

Geez, no one knows??!! I thought this would be an easy post but no one responded. No one has a recommendation on their fishfinder? No one is happy with their choice?

Someone has to have had some good luck with a fishfinder...right?!
Old 07-24-2005, 11:54 PM
  #3  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kent Narrows, MD
Posts: 7,146
Received 775 Likes on 367 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

I think no one wanted to post the obvious in an effort not to insult you. The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. The units that you mention are low cost entry-level units that don't compare to Ray/Furuno/Garmin. There are several board vendors that can help you select a unit based on the type of fishing you do & your budget.
Old 07-25-2005, 07:08 AM
  #4  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Houston
Posts: 1,167
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

Russ on your hull (stepped) your goinf to be hard pressed to get a transducer to read due to ventlation....

That being said the higher priced (500.00) units have higher wattage and Wattage is what tell you if there is 1 giant fish or a small school....

It's called Target seperation... the starting point for a true fishfinder is 600 watts ..any less and they really should be considered as a depth finder....

also included in some of the higher priced units is a better transducer P66 ... They add to the cost ...

Pick several units that you would like compared and I'll help you out...

John
Old 07-25-2005, 07:56 AM
  #5  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location:
Posts: 627
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

ditto - you get what you pay for, especially when trying to keep the bottom at 45+mph. Be aware that one single attribute is a TALL order for any unit using a hull-mounted transducer.
Old 07-25-2005, 07:57 AM
  #6  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location:
Posts: 627
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

ditto - you get what you pay for, especially when trying to keep the bottom at 45+mph. Be aware that one single attribute is a TALL order for any unit using a hull-mounted transducer.
Old 07-25-2005, 08:12 AM
  #7  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location:
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

The difference in price is based on the different technologies used. I believe that the Raymarine now uses digital sounder technologies where others manufactures are still using analog. What I have found out so far is that with the digital sounders, they are continually changing all the parameters (Gain FTC, etc) for the actual depth you are in so you are getting the optimal settings for the bottom targets as well as all the other targets or contacts with in the sonar beam. Every thing is focused. With analog sounders, you are focused on the bottom only, and everything else in the beam is let's say, out of focus.
Old 07-25-2005, 08:55 AM
  #8  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 1,513
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

There are many different things that make a difference. (wattage, pixels, screen size, color or mono, lcd or tft, transducer type, options available)Just as Tightline Rods mentioned, wattage is a huge factor. Most lower priced units are 300watts or less. If you are fishing shallow water with no offshore and do not want to spend alot of money that is one route to go.Pixels are a huge factor also. Even if you have a unit with great wattage and the pixels are not that great, you will not get a great picture. With a high pixel count you will get great target definition and seperation. The higher the pixels the better the performance and cost.Screen size is an obvious one. Larger screen more money.Color screens are very nice. It is easier to pick out a target suspending off the bottom as each color is a different degree of hardness. With a monochrome screen everything is black and white.With a true TFT color screen you can see the color in direct sunlight where a color lcd washes out and also can not be seen from an angle.EX: Furuno FCV600L (color lcd) Raymarine DS600X (color TFT)Transducers are made for different applications. Most units come with a transom mount transducer supplied where some higher priced units can be ordered with a bronze thru- hull supplied. Don't get me wrong, a transom mount transducer works great with some applications, it just depends what you want to do with your boat and what type of conditions you are in. Many of the transom transducers can also be epoxied in the hull if it is solid fiberglass. This works great , the only downfall is you lose the temperature reading. The bronze thru hull transducers are more expensive by far but you gain target definition and clarity by far.Some depthfinders are just standalone sounders, what you see is what you get. Some can have gps, barometers, radar, and other accessories added if need be. That will also bump the price up.You just need to look at some of the units out there and look at what you would want to do with it. Just as Tightline Rods suggested, get some units you are interested in and post them up and you will see what kind of feedback each will have.
Old 07-25-2005, 08:55 AM
  #9  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Out west
Posts: 3,373
Likes: 0
Received 591 Likes on 295 Posts
Default RE: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

I have used an Eagle Fishfinder ID II in fresh water. I now use a Humminbird 400 in salt water. Each are gray scale. Each work fine marking fish. Each are in the lower range of the prices you describe. Neither are cheapies like the $99 Pirrhana. FYI, I liked my $99 Pirrhana until it crapped out.

I do not think it's an insult to ask these questions. I am wary about "you get what you pay for" especially with electronics.

I will suggest the following. If you like color screens, it will cost you more. That's definitely something that falls in the "get what you pay for" catagory. Color is always more expensive. If it pleases you, you should buy it. (Same thing applies with GPS units. Color is very nice, but not essential. You will pay a premium for a color GPS)

On the other hand, I've had very expensive top of the line electronics fail just as readily as the bottom of the line stuff. In these instances, I now have a $500 failure instead of a $175 failure. Each needs the warranty card/receipt/box located, sent to factory, out of service, angst, heartburn, coronary failure syndrome. My personal opinion is that you will not be able to spend your way to electronic reliablity.

I now boat exclusively in salt water. Harbor, tidal creeks, and deep sea. My Humminbird marks bait schools and fish very nicely and reliably. I also have the temp probe and speed wheel so I can get my over water Kts/hr. These are extra features that you will pay extra for. If you don't need the speedo and are happy tossing a float/hot tub thermometer overboard, you don't need to pay for these features.

Transducer technology is another "premium" expense. My Humminbird has a tri-beam feature. Center, right, left. The marked fish face a direction based on which side of the boat/transduder they are on. Some even more technologically advanced transducers have "side" view. Some have a wider beam, and some have different power and sensitivities. Again, you are purchasing more when you get a recorder with these features. Hence increased cost.

Another expense to consider is the type and location of the transducer. I loose bottom once my speed exceeds 22kts. In hull and through hull transduces, and the capability of the bottom finder to receive/utilize these transducers will add to the expense of the unit. You will pay more for an arrangement that will read bottom at speed.

Lastly, other than finding bait schools, I find a very low correlation between fish on the screen, and "good fishing." I prefer to think of my fishing finder as a bottom terrain finder. It does a good job of defining structure on the bottom and locating schools of fish. You do need to be over the reefs and structure if you are bottom fishing. I find it handy to know my depth. Hence it's a nice depth finder.

Good luck!



Old 07-25-2005, 10:05 AM
  #10  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Northern Ohio
Posts: 15,961
Received 1,849 Likes on 989 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

Thanks for the advice guys. I didn't realize wattage was a big thing to worry about so that helps with my decision.

Elusive...sorry for my stupidity, and thanks for the insult.
Old 07-25-2005, 10:23 AM
  #11  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 2,538
Likes: 0
Received 15 Likes on 3 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

OK, I'll say it...


$325

I didn't answer because honestly, I have no idea the difference.

Is this for Fishing or navigation?
Old 07-25-2005, 10:24 AM
  #12  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kent Narrows, MD
Posts: 7,146
Received 775 Likes on 367 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

RussH - 7/25/2005 11:05 AM Thanks for the advice guys. I didn't realize wattage was a big thing to worry about so that helps with my decision. Elusive...sorry for my stupidity, and thanks for the insult.
I just re-read my post and it was harsh, which was not my intention. Please accept my apology.
Old 07-25-2005, 10:49 AM
  #13  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Northern Ohio
Posts: 15,961
Received 1,849 Likes on 989 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

Elusive...no problem.

I am looking for fishfinder for fishing. I have 3 GPS's and a loran unit so I sure don't need any more navigation equipment.
Old 07-25-2005, 11:05 AM
  #14  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kent Narrows, MD
Posts: 7,146
Received 775 Likes on 367 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

Russ - What type of boat ? What type of fishing ? Where do you use the boat ? I am very pleased with my Ray digital FF
Old 07-25-2005, 01:05 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 1,520
Received 31 Likes on 13 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

Are you folks saying the transducer that came with my Ray Marine (50/200 watts) makes my 500 slide over to the less effective end of the scale?
Old 07-25-2005, 03:22 PM
  #16  
bg
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Cypress, TX USA
Posts: 328
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default Re: Recommendations, and what is the difference between a $175 & $500 fishfinder?

Snowwolfe - 7/25/2005 1:05 PM

Are you folks saying the transducer that came with my Ray Marine (50/200 watts) makes my 500 slide over to the less effective end of the scale?
You're confusing frequency with power. The ducer that comes with the Ray A-Series finders is a dual frequency (50Khz/200Khz) 600W unit.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.