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Question on the best size of binoulars

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#1 Brent Campbell

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:25 AM

During a night of lousy seeing I used my old Fujinon 7 X 50 binoculars to look at Jupiter. I could resolve the planet as an "orb" but couldn't make out detail. My celestron 8 X 50 mm finder will resolve Jupiter as a planet with 4 pinpoints for the moons. Would the extra 1X manification make that much difference? If I were to look at upgrading what would be a good step up in size and magnification? Assuming hand held for use to help me locate objects.

#2 Tony Flanders

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

During a night of lousy seeing I used my old Fujinon 7 X 50 binoculars to look at Jupiter. I could resolve the planet as an "orb" but couldn't make out detail. My celestron 8 X 50 mm finder will resolve Jupiter as a planet with 4 pinpoints for the moons. Would the extra 1X manification make that much difference?


Well, it is a 15% increase -- by no means negligible. But far more likely the difference was due to the fact that you were hand-holding the binoculars, while the finderscope was solidly supported by your telescope.

As for the best size, that's a wide-open question. You will get as many answers as there are people responding to your question. But in fact almost all of us will agree that there is no one best size; it all depends what you want to do with them, and on your tastes.

Viewing Jupiter is a distinctly exotic application for binoculars. Yes, I do it all the time, but it's definitely not what binoculars do best. Binoculars -- even huge ones like 40x150s -- are at their best for viewing objects that are large and either faint or medium-bright. Jupiter, which is overwhelmingly bright and tiny even at 40X, definitely doesn't qualify!

10X50 binoculars are very popular among stargazers -- for good reason. And they will show much more on Jupiter and almost everything else in the sky than 7x50s.

#3 ronharper

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:19 AM

I am all too familiar with the "finderscope effect". These cheap little things with their simplest of optical trains and crudest of eyepieces will often give sharper views than the finest binocular made. It just shows what binoculars with their complex inverting prisms, wide field eyepieces, and mechanical issues are up against--a hard lesson in practical optics. One of my dreams is a non-inverting Keplerian binocular for stargazing.
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#4 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:02 AM

I am all too familiar with the "finderscope effect". These cheap little things with their simplest of optical trains and crudest of eyepieces will often give sharper views than the finest binocular made. It just shows what binoculars with their complex inverting prisms, wide field eyepieces, and mechanical issues are up against--a hard lesson in practical optics. One of my dreams is a non-inverting Keplerian binocular for stargazing.
Ron


Ron:

How about just a set of Achromats with mirror diagonals and telescope eyepieces???

As far as the ideal size... 10 x 50s seem to be a good size for use alongside with telescope.

Jon

#5 Brent Campbell

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:07 PM

Jon will 10 X 50s show Jupiter as a planet or an ORB? My current 7 X 50s are a cheap surplus ebay find (vintage Fujinon Mariners) but for what they do they never let me down. They are the best binoculars that I have ever looked through but I only have Bushnells to compare them to! I would hate to buy something new unless there was a definate improvement!

#6 Mark9473

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:24 PM

If you expect to see detail on Jupiter, skip right over binoculars and get a telescope. Since you already have one, perhaps you can give an explanation what it is you expect to see in binoculars. At 15x Jupiter is definitely an orb, i.e. a very bright round ball of light. It is not substantially different than at 7x, just bigger.

#7 Man in a Tub

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:49 PM

In a 10x50, Jupiter will only be an "ORB." There will be no definite improvement.

Looking for the "best size" binocular for planetary observation is a frequent question in this forum. Tony's answer (3rd paragraph) was helpful.

(Mark replied while I was slowly writing a reply. I could delete this reply, but I won't.)

#8 edwincjones

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:52 PM

.................................. If I were to look at upgrading what would be a good step up in size and magnification?
Assuming hand held for use to help me locate objects.


I think that these two statements are not compatable.

10x50s would show a little more,
you could go to 56 or 60mms,
but quality probably less the your 7x50s
to really see more, I would suggest 70mm+ binos,
but these will require a tripod

I find locating objects much easier with a tripod to hold binoculars in a specific area.

edj

#9 BobinKy

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:38 PM

And, of course, we have not discussed how much money you are willing to invest in your next binoculars. How about it? I saw two bands in Jupiter and four moons the other night while handholding a Nikon SE 12x50. But they danced a bit in the eyecups. Is the Nikon SE 12x50 within your budget?

If not, what is within your budget? Most of us do not like to talk money, except to say something like "How cheap can I get those?" But let's be realistic. Knowing how much you can spend goes a long way toward learning what to expect?

#10 KennyJ

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:22 PM

After almost half a century of carrying binoculars around I've come to the conclusion that the best size of binoculars is one that fits the case they are being carried in.

A 20mm compact moves around too much in a case for a 90mm model and a 90mm model simply cannot be squeezed into a case intended for a 20mm model.

#11 Mark9473

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:32 PM

I saw two bands in Jupiter and four moons the other night while handholding a Nikon SE 12x50.

Bands, really? How did you filter the image to achieve this?

#12 EdZ

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

it's not necessary to filter the image of Jupiter to see bands. I've seen the two main equatoral bands in low power binoculars.

#13 wky46

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:11 PM

Assuming hand held for use to help me locate objects.

For me, I find that hand holding any size binocular for astronomy is too wrought with frustration. Even securing or resting my elbows on something doesn't really help. That might give me a couple of seconds of relatively stable views but in reality I have to have them mounted on at least a camera tripod. Just way too unstable and I'm never sure of focus because of that. I admire those that can though.

#14 Brent Campbell

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:20 PM

And, of course, we have not discussed how much money you are willing to invest in your next binoculars. How about it? I saw two bands in Jupiter and four moons the other night while handholding a Nikon SE 12x50. But they danced a bit in the eyecups. Is the Nikon SE 12x50 within your budget?

If not, what is within your budget? Most of us do not like to talk money, except to say something like "How cheap can I get those?" But let's be realistic. Knowing how much you can spend goes a long way toward learning what to expect?


Unfortunately astronomy equipment is not an investment, that is reserved for my 401K. For $800.00 I could buy a mid priced 8" scope, a Celestron CG-5 Computerized mount or Big Mac in 2023. The uber expensive stuff is out of my price range for the next ten years until the kids are through college.

I was thinking along these lines: http://www.astronomi...ars_p8592.aspx. If I did purchase new binoculars it would probably be purchasing used which for binoculars means that I will get twice the binocular for my money. There is a nice set of Pentax 20 X 60 on e%ay right now. $169.00 buy it now. Or vixen 10 X 50 super widefield on CN classified for $100.00, or a new open box Celestron Astromaster for $69.00.

What I am getting from these replies though is that unless you want to get to the mounted binoculars with allot more expense and aperture forget this concept? A couple of X magnification in the won't help because of the light losses in the prisms.

#15 KennyJ

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:44 PM

Brent,

As far as low magnification binoculars go,very few have ever been available that could be considered superior for astro use to the 7x50 Fujinon FMTSX, although I'm not sure if the model you own is one of those,or a brand I'm otherwise unaware of,called Fujicon.

Either way, the absence of prisms in finder scopes will certainly improve image sharpness as compared with views through these dreadful instruments we call binoculars!

Perhaps a 10x50 finder scope would be the most sensible step-up?

#16 Tony Flanders

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:32 AM

Unfortunately astronomy equipment is not an investment, that is reserved for my 401K. For $800.00 I could buy a mid priced 8" scope ...


But you don't need $800 to get a vastly better view of Jupiter than any normal binoculars would show. If viewing Jupiter is really your aim, forget binoculars. I have said it, other people here have said it -- it's blatantly true.

For viewing Jupiter, magnification is everything. The disk is obvious at 10x, the two main bands are obvious at 30x, and it shows very interesting detail at 100x. This all assumes that the binoculars can be held steady.

For $100, you can buy a telescope that will show altogether respectable images at 100X. You would have to spend ten times that much to buy binocular that will show respectable images at 40X, yielding far inferior views of Jupiter to that $100 telescope.

Binoculars are wonderful instruments, incredibly versatile, capable of showing a myriad of fascinating celestial sights. Details on planets are not among that myriad.

#17 Andresin150

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:39 AM

For my observing habits (that not include details on planets) the best size is 40x80.
Plenty of details in DSO's without loosing the context in a very portable package.

#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:38 PM

Jon will 10 X 50s show Jupiter as a planet or an ORB? My current 7 X 50s are a cheap surplus ebay find (vintage Fujinon Mariners) but for what they do they never let me down. They are the best binoculars that I have ever looked through but I only have Bushnells to compare them to! I would hate to buy something new unless there was a definate improvement!


Brent:

This is the way I look at it.. One might see somewhat more of Jupiter with 10x50s than with 7x50s but binoculars are the wrong tool for this job. You have a competent telescope, you use the telescope for viewing objects that it is well suited for, the binoculars you choose should be chosen on the basis of optimizing the views of objects that are well suited to binocular observation. You also need to decide how you want to observe, tripod or handheld?

For me, binoculars fill a small niche between naked eye and good quality, 3 or 4 inch short focal length refractor. It's handheld only, tripods stabilize the binoculars but one really needs angled eyepieces to comfortably view the sky...

The greater magnification of 10x50s over 7x50s will show deep sky objects better, I see more in the 10x50s than the 7x50s I once had and the 7x42s I know have. Whether a pair of Nikon Action Extremes would provide enough of a boost to justify the expense, I don't know but I think you would see more, clusters, faint nebulae, I see the Crab Nebula in my 10x50s, not in my 7x42s.

Jon

#19 ahopp

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:13 AM

I am partial to my 9x63s, they are good for handholding and well built. They are called Orion MiniGiants.

Tony

#20 kenrenard

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:23 PM

I like my 10 X 50's Nikons. I have Celestron 15 X 70 but they are too heavy to handhold for extended periods.

#21 faackanders2

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:57 PM

I really like the 9x63 Orion Mini Giants. I liked them so much I got the 15x63 Orion Mini Giants also.
I can definitely see more at 15x but it is more fatiguing hand held, but a much nicer view with Garret Pistol Grip monopod.






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