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One of the best fish finders with Down Imaging sonar technology within the $500-$1,000 price interval that you can find, is the Raymarine Dragonfly 7. Within this price range, there are several other models from other manufacturers, with similar specifications. However, the Dragonfly 7 from Raymarine stands out because it offers CHIRP Sonar technology and CHIRP DownVision.
This unit has much more to offer than CHIRP sonar, though. But before getting into detail and putting into view the capabilities of this unit, there’s an aspect that needs to be clarified. Raymarine offers their multifunction displays in a variety of bundles, with different mapping packages, and with or without transducer. This post provides information regarding the E70231-GLD bundle, which DOES INCLUDE the DownVision transducer, and comes with the Navionics Gold map bundle. So here’s what you’ll get if you decide upon this Dragonfly unit.
Key Features and Specifications
- Display: 7″ in diagonal, 24-bit color TFT, 800H x 480V pixel matrix (WVGA), with 16:9 aspect and LED backlight
- Sonar: Internal 2 Channel CHIRP sonar module (with CHIRP, traditional sonar, and CHIRP DownVision)
- Depth Capability: 600 feet (183 m) for both sonar modes
- Frequency and Coverage: 320-380 kHz / 60° side-to-side and 1.4° fore to aft, for DownVision, and 170-230 kHz / 25° conical beam for traditional view
- Transducer: CPT-60
- Power Input: 10.8 – 15.6 VDC
- Power Draw: 9.4 W Max (full brightness), 4.8 W (PowerSave mode)
- GPS: 50 Channel, Internal
- Maps: Navionics Gold for US and Canada
- Waypoints, Tracks: 3,000, 15 tracks (10,000 pts each)
Sonar and transducer
Along with these core specifications regarding this Raymarine Dragonfly unit, there are several other important features and aspects you should know about. First of all, the zoom mode of the sonar is quite unique. It actually allows you to view the zoomed portion, alongside with the standard image. You can pre-define and adjust manually the zoomed image.
Both sonar modes, the traditional view, and DownVision can each be operated in two modes: scrolling and cursor mode. In scrolling mode, the image will scroll from right to left. The scrolling can be paused and the scrolling speed can be adjusted. The faster the speed the better detail. At slower scrolling speed, the image will remain longer on the screen.
DownVision can operate normally at speeds up to 45 knots. However, performance and clarity are strictly related to installation as well.
The transducer also has a water temperature sensor built-in. The cable of the transducer is 19.7 ft. long (6 m). Therefore, in case you might want to install it on a longer boat, you might want to opt for an A80224 extension cable, which is 13 ft (4 m) in length. The unit’s standard transducer contained by the box is the CPT-60, but there are several other transducers available for this unit, such as the CPT-70 plastic transducer, or the CPT-80 bronze model, both designed for through-hull use.
Since the unit uses CHIRP technology, each sonar pulse is modulated over a range of frequencies between 170-230 kHz for 2D, and 320-380 kHz for DownVision. The beam angles are 25° for 2D and 60° for DV. However, the beam is conical for 2D, while for DV is very thin, and shaped like a fan.
When it comes to the split-screen functions, there are various combinations that you can choose from. However, the split-screen allows only two views simultaneously. So, basically you can observe both CHIRP Sonar and CHIRP DownVision, in a vertical or horizontal view, or GPS and DownVision, and different other 2-view options.
As we’ve mentioned above, this is the Raymarine Dragonfly 7 E70231-GLD which inclides the Navionics Gold card. These charts cover the U.S. Coastal and inland waters. The unit also supports C-MAP by Jeppesen and Raymarine LightHouse charts on microSD card format. Needless to say, the unit has an internal, 50-channel GPS receiver. It also has waypoint creation and track plotting functions. You can save up to 3,000 waypoint in its memory, and record up to 15 tracks; each track can have 10,000 points.
The unit’s software is upgradable, Raymarine offering periodical upgrades of different applications and features, needless to say, for free.
What’s Best About the Dragonfly 7
Clearly, the best part about this Dragonfly unit is the CHIRP Sonar and CHIRP DownVision technology at such an affordable price. CHIRP works with multiple frequencies simultaneously, rather than one frequency, providing crisp clarity of the fish and structure below the boat. It offers a better target separation than regular sonar, 1.25 inch for CHIRP sonar, and 1 inch for the CHIRP DownVision sonar, which make it much easier to distinguish between structure, vegetation, and fish. For other types of sonar, target separation starts at 2 inches.
You get Navionics Gold charts and a 50 channel GPS, extremely useful features for navigation.
It’s quite an intuitive unit, it shouldn’t take long to learn how to operate it. Navigation through the menus and settings are done via three multifunctional buttons.
Even though it’s a medium-sized unit, with a 7-inch display, you get the 16:9 aspect ratio and sharp imaging even in direct sunlight conditions.
No fish ID sonar feature, or any sonar feature similar to this. Many anglers are quite comfortable with this type of sonar technology, typically offered by Humminbird and Lowrance. But on the other hand, CHIRP sonar provides superior sonar returns.
No touchscreen technology. No NMEA compatibility.
Split-screen only allows the view of two applications simultaneously. But for a medium-sized unit such as this, it’s just enough. Viewing 4 applications at the same time might be too much for a 7″ display, images would appear too small.
There’s no real-time sonar recording. In other words, you won’t be able to scroll back through the sonar, in order to view a certain spot you’ve just passed over. You can only re-view a certain spot on the map and sonar only if you’ve marked it with a waypoint.
The Raymarine Dragonfly 7 is an exceptional piece of technology, a fish finder and navigational unit offering top-quality sonar and chart plotting. It actually is one of the most affordable fish finders with CHIRP sonar technology (and Down Imaging at the same time), that you can find. Unless you want a unit with Side Imaging sonar, the Dragonfly 7 from Raymarine, simply cannot be a bad choice for any angler, recreational or professional.