If you’re looking for the cheapest color fish finder with Down Imaging technology, the PiranhaMax 197c DI from Humminbird, IS IT! Believe it or not, this small unit excels in performance, and is one of the best choices that you can make in terms of fish finders for a small boat or kayak.
The unit has a small screen, 3.5-inch in diagonal, with a pixel resolution of 320V X 240H, full color and backlit. It comes with two types of sonar: Dual Beam and Down Imaging. The Dual Beam sonar can operate at two frequencies: 200 kHz, with a beam of 28°, and 455 kHz with a narrower, 16° beam, for more accurate results. The Down Imaging sonar only has one frequency: 455 kHz, and its coverage is 74°.
Even though it’s a small unit, it has a depth capability of 320 feet for Down Imaging, and 600 ft. for broadband Dual Beam. This is more than enough for fishing on canals, lakes and rivers, or in general, on in-land waters.
The unit comes with the Down Imaging transducer, XNT 9 DI T, which is transom type. In case you would like a through hull one, or a transducer for trolling, you can ask for a free replacement, though. The standard transducer also has temperature sensor built in. However, the unit does not support temperature alarm or temperature graph, but it does indicate water temperature.
There is no split screen function. You can only observe one sonar return at the time. But since it has Down Imaging, you will probably be using that all the time, since it’s capable of detecting much more fish than broadband sonar. The unit also has the Selective FishID+ function, which uses a different type of sonar processing, indicating fish with a fish symbol, if the sonar return meets a specific range of requirements.
The PiranhaMax 197c DI does not have any navigational features. In case you would like a more affordable fish finder with GPS and mapping, the HELIX 5 DI GPS might be a better choice for you.