Humminbird 998c si versus Lowrance HDS 8 Humminbird 998c si versus Lowrance HDS 8
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    Humminbird 998c si versus Lowrance HDS 8
from Boomdiggity  
1/18/2010 12:48:31 PM

Rated:

 I just ordered my new boat and the options for electronics are the HB 998c si (console) HB 958 (bow) or just the Lowrance HDS 8 (console) and HDS 7 (bow). Here is what I see...if I go Humminbird I get side immaging and interlink at no additional cost...choose Lowrance and I still have to buy/install/connect the Side Immaging box at $600 plus to get this excellent capability. I read the comments that everyone posts at BFHP Electronics and feel you guys know your stuff. I have always used Lowrance, but I am not very electronics savvy. This is something I want to change and realize side-imaging is the next big thing. I have always used the Navionics platinum cards and will continue to do that. Please feel free to give me your opinions and things to consider regarding both. I have some time as it will take two months to get the boat built, but they need my electronics decision by mid February. Thanks!!


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   I'll Take a Stab at This from C. #10370  1/18/2010 2:04:17 PM
 I've run Lowrance electronics for years and am no doubt biased in that direction. I've not experienced the Lowrance operational difficulties or the service complaints that some others have posted about.


Beyond that, I prefer the approach Lowrance has used for downscan over the one used by H'Bird for their DI. To explain:


H-Bird evidently takes their DI information from the edges/fringes of the existing sidescan beam.


Lowrance has a separate element in the transducer dedicated to downscan.


I suspect that H-Bird's approach may result in weaker sonar returns in the DI range while Lowrance's approach concentrates the downscan beam directly below the boat.


I suspect that the Lowrance system will therefore show better detail in the down scan mode than will H-Bird's. Just a day or so ago, I saw a post put up by an individual that MIGHT confirm my suspicion. This individual claimed to have installed Lowrance and H-Birds transducers side by side, then posted the resulting pictures. The Lowrance pictures that were posted definitely showed better detail compared to the same the H-Bird pictures. To be fair, one of the responders there indicated that he thought the H-Bird unit was not "dialed in" (whatever that means).


So far, that is the only direct comparison I've seen -- and I don't remember where I found it.


So far from what I've seen the Lowrance sidescan and the H-Bird SI appear to yield similar results.


IMHO with conventional 2D sonar, the Lowrance detail is a couple of notches better than H-Bird's.


So here you have it - one opinion! If it were my decision, I'd spring for the Lowrance system even though SI/DS capability is an extra add-on.


I'm sure that dissenting opinions will soon be posted!


At the end of it all, it is a decision you'll have to make. In the month or so you have to decide, I'd suggest trying to get a test ride with someone that has each of the systems, then observe and decide for yourself based on what you see. BTW, it really takes an on-the-water demonstration to see real world results -- those "demo mode" displays at BPS and other stores just don't tell the real story!


C.


    My Honest Thoughts from BrownTrout #10874  1/18/2010 2:52:47 PM
 From what I've been able to see so far, the "best" images are coming from the Lowrance HDS equipment. By best, I mean best clarity, amount of visible detail, overall image quality, etc. This is likely due to two pieces of hdwe that Lowrance uses that HB doesn't. Those two being the Broadband Sounder and the separate element dedicated to DI.


Now, I think I understand how HB forms their DI images from the SI scans via the new software. However, I don't understand how Lowrance can shoot down on top of a standing tree (for example) and then show an image of the tree from bottom to top with all the limbs clearly displayed. Sorta like me standing on a cliff looking down on a tree in a ravine 20 or 30 feet below me. In this situation, all I can see is the top of the tree and I'm clueless as to the limbs, trunk and base of the tree. Unless . . . . . the Lowrance images are also a collaboration formed jointly with the SI elements.


For the record, I've been using an HB 997c SI for almost two years and have just this past week added the DI upgrade to this unit and only had one occasion so far to use it.


   Great stuff! from Boomdiggity  1/18/2010 3:47:55 PM
 This information is greatly appreciated and I am weighing everything carefully: quality of image, cost, customer service, reliability, etc. Please keep the comments coming in! Thank you C and BrownTrout!


   Comparison from Wayne P.  1/18/2010 7:43:33 PM
 Check the message boards on BBC. There has been so much "action" about that technology that the Lowrance system and Humminbird systems are separate topics.
I think that is where the side by side test is shown, and I think it was done in South Africa on a runabout type boat with a Lowrance logo on one side and a Humminbird logo on the other side.


   Comparison Link from C. #10370  1/18/2010 8:53:01 PM
  Here's the link to the comparison post I mentioned above.


http://bbcboards.zeroforum.com/zerothread/483630-downscan-vs-downimaging-by-fishton


C.

   Hey Boomdiggity, don't you know there's a recession from stp357  1/19/2010 1:43:54 AM
 Just kidding dude, what kind of boat are you getting? Also, just run a google search on both units using the image function in google, you'll see for your self regarding which is best.


   Are you only buying one aspect? from Doug Vahrenberg  1/19/2010 8:17:50 AM
  Humminbird is my choice for simplicity to operate, ease of understanding and reliability. I'm amazed at how easy they to operate and understand. 90% of the people I help have no clue when they begin how to tune a graph to get the best readings - they just auto or some values from someone else. This isn't optimizing performance or investment.


I've seen the images posted all over the web of the comparison. This was day 1 with the Down Imaging only time one feature has been compared, why didn't he do 2D and Side Imaging? There is a learning curve because Humminbird has some added features like choosing the coverage area you want - narrow, medium and wide. Check out this images coming now... (yahoo si group): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sideimaging/photos/album/1087501718/pic/list


Are
buying a graph for one feature or are you buying for the complete package? I dare to compare 2D images with new Switchfire Sonar that again gives you the choice of the data you want. Clear Mode that removes the clutter for screen and shows only fish or Max Mode that shows all. This was one of the Big Reasons Kevin VanDam chose to Join Humminbird because of the 2D Sonar. I know several professional guides that purchase their units and they vertical fish with electronics and choose Humminbird for the 2D performance.


And now Side Imaging? The 1st! And has been since 2004. If Humminbird didn't bring this technology out I guarantee today we would not be talking about in the recreational industry. But they did and have learned alot and taught alot. Humminbird Side Imaging did was the Lowrance Green Box Did or the Humminbird Liquid Crystal Display has done - it's making it easier for everyone to enjoy their time on the water to catch more fish!


I would recommend to look at the complete package. Like ease of operation, ease to understand and features for the dollar, customer service, reliability and if you like to Support a US Based Company and American Built Product. Go take a test ride and see which unit is best for you - it's your money. I'm not going to tell you which one to buy but I can show you how easy and all the features the Humminbird System is to operate.




   Just amazing!! from NowVoyager #10704  1/19/2010 9:56:07 AM
 If that's not an over the top add for Humminbird then none exists. Really hope you sell one Doug!!



   Wow!! from Boomdiggity  1/20/2010 9:30:28 AM
 Thanks so much guys! I figured there would be pro humminbird and pro Lowrance guys offering up opinions on why they prefer their favorite units and I don't mind the commercial endorsements. I intend to get out this weekend and play with the models at the BPS. I want to check out the ease of operation and which one is most user friendly for my dumb self. I should also be able to determine if there is truly a difference in image quality. Customer service is a huge concern!! I hear so many nightmare stories in this forum about Lowrance. Even Wilson Fraiser bad mouth's the customer service at Lowrance. To answer stp357's question, I ordered a Phoenix 721 XP from Darrell Gilliam up in Tullahoma, TN and should get the boat in about 8 weeks. I live near the big G in Northern Alabama.


   Used my HB DI yesterday from BrownTrout #10874  1/20/2010 10:05:12 AM
 After adjusting many of the settings on my HB 997c SI to what many of the HB enthusiasts recommended, I must say I am quite pleased with the results I saw on the lake yesterday. I really like the programmable buttons that allow your favorite Views and I really like the screen which combines the three windows for SI, DI and 2D down sonar. Still have some more "tweaking" to do but I'm quite satisfied with HBs DI update.


I still feel that Lowrance has the "best" solution overall for someone who is in the market for the first time and is willing to pay a little extra for that higher quality image, but for those anglers who already own HB SI units, the new update is a very satisfactory solution.


Nice to have choices!


   Agree with BrownTrout from NowVoyager #10704  1/20/2010 12:50:53 PM
 Well said BrownTrout, and that is strange how this board sometimes thinks you are from VA.


   Setting Defaults from BrownTrout #10874  1/20/2010 1:01:12 PM
 I think if you quit using this web site for a period of time, the system defaults back to something other than your custom settings. I've caught it a couple times in the past where it said VIRGINIA and had to change it. That's technology for you! LOL!


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