Sonar questions

Discussion in 'Fishing Electronics Review' started by katsandsuds, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. katsandsuds

    katsandsuds New Member

    Messages:
    157
    State:
    North Caro
    I am looking to upgrade my very old depth finder to something with more then 10x10 pixel's and 100 watt's peak-to-peak (ptp), lol. Looking at the Eagle and the humminbird in the store, the Eagle seems to have a much more clear image with the simulation, and the HB even had a better pixel ratio. I also believe the HB seems to have a more user friendly interface at first, but feel that the Eagle will be fine after some time with the manual. The major difference comes into play with the power and transducer freq. The HB 565 has a dual beam (200kHz and 83kHz) and 2000W ptp power. The Eagle 320 or 480, both have single 200kHz beam and 1500W ptp.

    Questions are:
    a) for fresh water fishing, max depth less then 150ft, with 50ft or less typical fishing depth, is the 83kHz beam needed? It should give a wider response, but less bottom detail if I understand correctly.

    b) The Eagle has 25% less power, will this be very noticeable at the depth's I fish, or will it really show up at deeper depths? The higher power should give better detail, but at 50ft or less, will there be much difference?

    c)The screen on the HB models seem more cartoonish and less exact, features and fish seem to blend into eachother much more then the Eagle or lowrance. The Eagle is much more crisp and disticnct. Is this just the simulator mode, and are they more similar in a real situation on the water?

    d) Lastly, would you perfer a smaller screen (3.5in) in color, with some drop in power, or a larger 5in screen in black and white? Everything comes down to keeping this in my price range.
     
  2. catman from owensboro

    catman from owensboro New Member

    Messages:
    569
    State:
    ky
    me i love my lowrance lcx 27c.great size screen lots of power and picks up fish great.if i had to do over i would get lowrance again.i a eagle before just don't work like the lowrance does. and for the tranducer the 50 is for deep water like 300 feet or more.so the single will work great
     

  3. Wiskerstickerr

    Wiskerstickerr New Member

    Messages:
    67
    State:
    North Caro
    As for that difference in power; it won't matter that much. I would go with color vs b/w because you can get a better separation of hardness of bottom and type of cover (rock or wood) and my friend and I have found a way to identify catfish as opposed to scaled fish and determine estimated size that we could not have with b/w. I would also definately go with a dual beam. The 200kh is a narrow beam that only covers about 20 deg and the 83kh covers about 70 deg. On my 987 I can also split the screen and see each freq separately which tells me what is directly under the boat and what is close to the boat. The narrow beam is only going to show about a 3ft diam cone for every 10ft of depth. As for clearity, you will be able to fine tune your depth finder to your own liking. Pixels will also help with that clearity also. Each fisherman is a little different in what they want and what they will sacrifice in a depthfinder according to price and features so I hope this was helpful.
     
  4. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    I have an Eagle unit, like it quite a bit. It's a b/w fishmark 320. The color units are very nice, and prices coming down.

    The 200 beam is the one for more detail. I used to have an old dual beam unit, but pretty much used the 200 freq. The old unit I had was smaller screen, and I like the larger screen on the Eagle much better.

    Shawn
     
  5. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Brandon, I have an eagle fishmark 480, a lowrance lms337cdf, a HB 797si, and an old lowrance x51, and a couple of cheap HB units. The eagle is a great unit for the money; basically a lowrance with a little less power. The HB side imaging is a great extra tool, but overall for standard down sonar, the lowrance/eagle units are much better than HB and easier to see detail, at least in my opinion. The wider 83 hz beam shows more fish, but less detail. I do just as well with the lowrance lms 337 using a wider 200 hz cone instead of the 200/50 that came with it. Color is great for separating fish from structure sometimes, but even with the color units, I sometimes use the grayscale or reverse grayscale to separate some of the screen images.
    My point is that unless you want side imaging, go with the lowrance or Eagle units; I think you'll be happy. I don't have any experience with garmin, except the store displays, but they don't seem to be as good as the lowrance products, either. Again, this in only my opinion, judging from the experience I've had.
     
  6. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    I always recommend choosing the highest power first, then other features.

    There's a huge difference between the power output by an Eagle 480 and a Lowrance LCX27C. I've used both and the difference is night and day.

    Higher power gives better target separation, which "looks" like better resolution on your screen - the things you see are more clearly defined because there's more power being used and more return signal for the unit to process.

    If you're on a budget, the Eagle 480 is a perfectly good "starter" rig but if you can swing it, I'd move up to a Lowrance LCX series unit.

    In a higher-end unit, b&w vs color is a non issue - you can learn to read the monochrome screen just as easily as the color one. On the cheap units, there's probably more of a difference, attributable to lower screen resolution and fewer shades of gray.


    I used to be of the opinion that freshwater anglers don't need dual-beam sonar, but then I got a 997Csi that has dual-beam in addition to side imaging, and I *really* like it - when looking for bait or when working in shallower water, the wider 83kHz beam gives much more coverage area and a better look at what's down there. In a lower-price unit, I would imagine that the dual-beam doesn't provide the same kind of results but don't know for sure.
     
  7. katsandsuds

    katsandsuds New Member

    Messages:
    157
    State:
    North Caro
    Well, I settled on a 4000W Humminbird 727 model. It is 5" b/w, and comes with a dual beam transducer. Being last years $300 model, I brought it home for sub $200 from the local Gander Moutain. The reason I settled on this model was the power and upgradeablity. Humminbird has the transducer exchange policy, so I was able to send the dual beam transducer in and exchange it for a quad beam model that will give a wider coverage. Called, and they are doing it for free, I pay to ship it there, they are exchanging it and shipping it back, did not have to pay the cost difference. This model is also GPS capable with an external antenna or handheld unit. Not full chartplotting, but for the money could not beat it.

    I was going to buy the eagle 320 or 480, but read a bunch of bad reviews on quality, and with the power and possible upgrades, I went with HB. I also have heard HB's customer service is terrible, but I have emailed and called and have had good, fast service. Maybe I have been lucky, or they are hurting for business and are doing a better job at customer service.

    Looking at this model on HB's website, they do not list much of the upgrades, but after seeing the model demo in the store and researching other places, see the unit is better then HB explains on their own site. Thanks for all the suggestions and info guys, hope to have the unit installed in a couple of weeks when I recieve the new transducer.