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Meade 12x60 Astronomical Binoculars for $20

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#1 QS3000

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:33 PM

Hi everyone. It has been some time since this thread turned a bit ugly and had to be locked:

http://www.cloudynig...4251838/page...

Well, starting today and for the next 6 days Meade offers those binoculars for $20 plus $8 for S/H. If you are in California you will have to add 8% to 9% tax to the total of $28. Not as good as the deal from OPT but perhaps a good deal for some of us out there.

http://store.meade.c...binoculars.html

DrF

#2 Sarkikos

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:02 AM

Hi DrF,

I started that thread. At the time, I think the incredible response for a $20 pair of binoculars overwhelmed OPT and they had difficulty keeping up with the demand. Their distribution protocol was maybe not the best, but I've noticed this with other vendors as well, so nothing unusual. However, when customers perceive unfairness in how orders are fulfilled, the vendor is bound to have irate customers. But there was much emotionalism in the thread which I now regret. I've bought from OPT many times since then.

IIRC, EdZ or another bino maven here on CN said that the effective clear aperture of these 12x60's was actually about 53mm. It is not unusual for the CA to be less than the advertised aperture.

Are they worth $20 or $28 + shipping? I think so. I gave my pair to my son a couple years ago.

Mike

#3 QS3000

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:31 PM

Hi Mike.

My cost came to slightly over $30 with tax and shipping. They will replace some cheap 10x40 I had bought from Walmart many years ago for about $15 I think. There is a claim somewhere that they collect 50% more light than the 50mm version. At 60mm I calculated that to be around 44% more. To reach the 50% claim the aperture would have to be around 62mm.

In any case for $30 they must be good enough for basic viewing. I live near a small airport and a few times per year they host acrobatics and demonstrations with old military planes including biplanes. I plan t o use the binos on that occasion and do some night seeing as well.

As for the feelings that were expressed on that thread I see no problem. Some people have strong opinions and they should stand by them. I do and I don't mind if others see this as a bad think.

DrF

#4 Sarkikos

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:44 PM

I hope this Meade vendor follows the First In First Out principle during order fulfullment of these 12x60 binoculars or they are bound to have some irate customers. The perception of being unfair to customers is one of the worst things that can happen to a vendor.

I received their Meade UWA 24mm and 2" diagonal special in good time and in good condition. I have no problem with that order and was pleased with the products.

Mike

#5 smallscopefanLeo

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:01 AM

I remember that thread well. I was a lurker at the time. I like my OPT special Meade pair a lot, though I haven't used them much recently, and I need to.

They are nice and light for their size and easy to hold steady for a 12x binocular, for me anyway. Mine seem to be well-collimated as I am very sensitive to miss-collimation but perhaps I was lucky. I know they are not Fujinon or Zeiss but they sure fit my budget better than those and I keep my expectations reasonable.

I felt bad for OPT. They went above and beyond I felt, as they sent me and many others a pair even though we were not one of the first ones to place an order. I bet many people jumped on that deal. Sadly, I sense that the bees nest of brouhaha here on the forums might be one of the reasons why they did not run such similar specials during the past couple of years during Christmas time (but who can really blame them after the way they were being talked about on here), though I could be wrong about that.

#6 QS3000

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:40 AM

Well, this one was a good deal too and at this point they are sold out of the binoculars. The fact that the counter of this thread is at 370 could have something to do with the fast selling out.

I saw the deal with the diagonal, the UWA eyepiece and the 2" adapter the other day. It was a really good deal; someone was getting the UWA eyepiece and the 2" adapter for only $20 basically. I did not jump into it because I already owned the diagonal, the 28mm SWA and the 2" adapter.

I have had mostly good experiences buying straight from Meade's store but I suggest that you be careful when you open a package from them. At one point I bought a scope that I returned because it was not as described. I also found a loose razor inside. Imagine if a kid had gone to the package first instead of an adult or if an adult was not careful enough with the unpacking.

As for OPT I started nicely and ended badly with them. I bought my first MAK scope from their store. They were friendly. But during a sale of used items I bought a filter only to see it go to some other buyer later. I became very upset and I was not nice to them. I never placed an order with them again and I never will. That filter was put up for sale again 2-3 weeks later.

I am guessing now that I have read the thread about their binocular offer that most likely they had software problems back then. Their inventory was not displaying properly at the time.

Anyway, let's see how good these binoculars are. They should arrive before the week is over.

DrF

#7 QS3000

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:38 AM

The binoculars arrived a few hours ago. They will have to wait for the first light, we have clouds tonight.


1. First impressions

Overall they are big but not huge. They appear to be well made and they are a bit heavy compared to the cheap 10x40 they will replace. The eyeguards are knurled, made of thin rubber to roll-down easily but they don’t look as if they will last for many years. The four covers always stay on and the cleaning cloth, neck strap and silica gel pack complete the list of items received.

Every bit of the binoculars is covered in rubber. They do feature a covered tripod adapter hole, something that Meade forgot to mention on their web site. The diopter adjustment is there too with the tiny symbols "+ 0 -" embossed on the rubber, just above a tiny white dot that functions as a fixed reference point. Another tiny white dot can be seen to the left of the diopter near the rear hinge point of the central shaft. Careful examination of that area reveals a very small IPD scale consisting of three tiny embossed lines with unequal distances between them. Strangely enough the IPD setting that works for me is on the middle line.

The barrels are threaded internally. A gentle but firm twist is all that is required to unscrew any of the two barrels in order to check what the inside body looks like. A measurement of the diameter of the objective lens with a digital caliper shows 59.50mm, a bit shy of the declared 60mm. The coatings appear to be green under fluorescent light. I am not aware as to what that means but if we have any experts here that happen to know, feel free to share your knowledge. Construction-wise I think that $30 out of pocket was not a bad price to pay for this pair.

As others have said before there is no brand name on the binoculars. Indeed, there is a sticker outside the box that states: "Part Number B120300, 12x60 Binocular Unbranded, Assembled in Mexico from US and Imported Parts" and the manufacture date appears to be 070210.


2. Service

Meade shipped the package via UPS. The UPS driver threw the box in my front door and left. From the noise I would say that the box hit the concrete hard. It's a good thing the binoculars were rubberized because the protective bubble-wrap applied by Meade was not adequate. They could have used a little more of that wrap, it's not that expensive. I am used to their cheap packaging but sometimes... :mad: The interesting part is that my order still shows as "prepared to ship" on their web site. Talk about screw-ups that should not happen in the year 2013 but they do.


Anyway I got what I paid for and I got it fast. I do not expect miracles in terms of performance but I do hope to spend some nice time with my new toy.

DrF

#8 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:48 PM

I ordered these last Thursday and one week later they still have not shipped.

#9 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:29 PM

I submitted a "where's my order" request on their web site and received a reply via email within minutes with a tracking number. The binculars shipped Monday and are scheduled for delivery tomorrow.

#10 Jawaid I. Abbasi

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:51 PM

I got it today (Saturday) and was shocked to see the packing which was not enough to protect the binocular from out of collimation.

Anyway, I quickly checked outside and did not find any misalignment even using the blinking eye procedure in day time. At night, I tried to check the light pole about quarter mile away but partially hiding behind the dense woods area and it was hard to tell if there IS any collimation problem (it will be cloudy couple of more days).

The right Diopter is stiff and I like the stiffness because it will not move or change focus once set. The focus wheel is big and smooth and the focus achieved quickly.

I have not test it thoroughly but so far I liked it and waiting to see clear skis.

Thank You

#11 QS3000

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:41 PM

I got it today (Saturday) and was shocked to see the packing which was not enough to protect the binocular from out of collimation.


Same here, as I have already said. Unfortunately it is not just Meade. Recently I bought an eyepiece from Adorama because they offered the lowest price available at the time compared to other vendors. I went for the free shipping option. They shipped the item inside a plastic envelope, but not a padded envelope. The thickness of the envelope was about 0.2mm. The eyepiece was well protected by the manufacturer so it arrived without damage. Not the outer paper box though. I fired an angry email to the vendor. Their response? "We will forward it to the manager, it should not have shipped like that" and I never heard from them again.

In any case I have tested the binos only on the moon and the picture is sharp. I have not done further testing due to a cold that insists on watering my eyes and making my life difficult during the last week. It appears that we will have clouds over here for the next 5 days. So I will have to wait for further tests.

DrF

#12 QS3000

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:57 PM

Just came in after testing on the real targets tonight. The temperature was at 12C, perfect for astronomical observations. Unfortunately anything below 15C makes me move inside the house very fast.

The moon was much sharper than before but the real treat was a faint Orion Nebula. At 12X you don't see much but the binos are good enough to reveal a "faint cloud" below that bright triple-star formation. Jupiter was too high for me and my neck, so that target will have to wait for future observations.

And then to top it all a noise of a very slow moving prop plane was heard. It turned out to be the Metlife dirigible flying almost above my house. I aimed the binos at it and had no problem to observe the details. We have to thank L.A.'s light pollution for this. I did not see any light inside the cabin but the rear center light on its tail wings was big, bright and clear.

I must say that I had to go through a brief session of collimation earlier on when the sun was still up. I did not use the process by EdZ, rather the simpler process described on Barska's online document. That knock on the concrete floor a few days ago by the UPS driver did have an effect you could say.

But I am very pleased of the results tonight so I 'll let it go. This pair is definitely worth the money I paid for it.

DrF

#13 SMark

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 09:42 PM

If anyone is upset about missing this deal, here's another good deal on a 12x60...

eBay Listing for NEW Oberwerk 12x60 - 4 available...

This is listed as a bird watching binocular, but it is actually a listing for an Oberwerk FMC 12x60 for $44.51 USD with FREE shipping. Right now there are 4 available.


NOT my listing, and I know nothing about the seller.

#14 Jawaid I. Abbasi

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:00 AM

Tonight I have a chance to check and I was really shocked to see perfect alignment and the stars were sharp and pin point about (50%) 2.20 degree.

Using the word SHOCK because $20 worth of binocular and rough handling and no packing still in good alignment!!!!!!

Overall it is worth the money I spent :)

#15 *skyguy*

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:18 AM

I also bought these binoculars and they arrived in perfect collimation ... what a nice surprise, considering it took 11 days to be delivered from California, packed in a flimsy box with minimal bubble wrap!

They look like they're manufactured in China by Hi-Optic:

20x60 Binoculars

Hi Optic

Unfortunately, there is very little information about them on the website. Offering the binoculars with lens coating of ruby, yellow, puple, bule, doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in their optical quality ... especially with the "puple" and "bule" coatings. :lol:

These bins have a light green coating on the objectives and eyepieces ... matching exactly the coatings on other Chinese binoculars I own that claim to be multi-coated. However, a direct comparison of the coatings against a Vixen-made 9x63 binocular show the Chinese coatings to be very inferior in a reflection test.

I did some outdoor testing ... again, using the 9x63 bins for comparison ... and the 12x60 bins have the stated 4.6º FOV with acceptable sharpness across 60% of the field ... limited by the field curvature in the image. However, the central portion of these bins did match the sharpness and contrast found in the 9x63 bins. The 12x60 bins did have superior resolution over the Vixens, which is not surprising given their 3X magnification advantage.

Surprisingly, the 12x60 bins imparted a very slight bluish cast to the image. They were slightly inferior to the Vixens in penetrating the bluish haze along the distant horizon. However, they did reproduce perfectly the color intensity (fidelity) of the bright blue sky ... far better than several other bins I tried, including the Vixen. The other bins showed a slightly "whiter" blue ... go figure! How this will "play out" observing the night sky will have to wait for clear night.

The 12x60 binoculars are far from perfect, but certainly usable. Given their $20 price ... 1/10th the unadjusted price I paid for the Vixens back in 1986 .... they are a great bargain.

#16 OBERWERK

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:32 AM

If anyone is upset about missing this deal, here's another good deal on a 12x60...

eBay Listing for NEW Oberwerk 12x60 - 4 available...

This is listed as a bird watching binocular, but it is actually a listing for an Oberwerk FMC 12x60 for $44.51 USD with FREE shipping. Right now there are 4 available.


NOT my listing, and I know nothing about the seller.


This is NOT an Oberwerk binocular, it is a Magnacraft. Someone long ago created a UPC and put our brand in instead of Magnacraft.

#17 rdandrea

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:03 PM

Good to know, Kevin. Thanks for the information.

How is your wife?

#18 QS3000

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:22 PM

I did some outdoor testing ... again, using the 9x63 bins for comparison ... and the 12x60 bins have the stated 4.6º FOV with acceptable sharpness across 60% of the field ...


From the given data I calculated the "real" FOV (per Nikon's definition) to be 4.524º. I like to round down when it comes to optics so that expectations can be kept low and hence disappointments can be minimized. Then using Nikon's formula based on ISO 14132-1:2002, the apparent field of view comes to 50.72º. Not exactly wide but for $20 it is perfectly acceptable.

My question is this: what type of test did you do to verify that the binos do have the stated 4.6º FOV?

DrF

#19 SMark

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:33 PM

If anyone is upset about missing this deal, here's another good deal on a 12x60...

eBay Listing for NEW Oberwerk 12x60 - 4 available...

This is listed as a bird watching binocular, but it is actually a listing for an Oberwerk FMC 12x60 for $44.51 USD with FREE shipping. Right now there are 4 available.


NOT my listing, and I know nothing about the seller.


This is NOT an Oberwerk binocular, it is a Magnacraft. Someone long ago created a UPC and put our brand in instead of Magnacraft.


I just looked at a few listings of the Magnacraft 12x60 on eBay, and sure enough, the eBay catalog lists the Magnacraft 12x60 as an Oberwerk 12x60. As many of these that are listed on eBay, you'd think someone would have caught that error by now and corrected the eBay catalog...

#20 Mark9473

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:47 AM

From the given data I calculated the "real" FOV (per Nikon's definition) to be 4.524º. I like to round down when it comes to optics so that expectations can be kept low and hence disappointments can be minimized. Then using Nikon's formula based on ISO 14132-1:2002, the apparent field of view comes to 50.72º.


In my opinion the Nikon formula is just as wrong as any other formula as it assumes a certain degree of geometric distortion. I have a 15x60 and a 15x63 that both have the same TFOV but a different AFOV.

If you want to know the true FOV, find two stars that just touch the edge on opposite sides of the FOV, and then use a planetarium program to calcuate their angular distance.

#21 QS3000

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:59 PM

At first this sounds like a good idea. Without thinking too much however I'll say that both stars would have to be at the same distance from earth so that the artificial line that connects them can be perpendicular to the line that connects their "combined" center to earth. Otherwise the geometry we use would not apply. It would be very difficult to locate two such stars. But I may be wrong.

Going back to Meade's customer service... I received today the email informing me that my binos have been shipped, 9 days after they had been actually received. Go figure.

Then I checked their web site and saw that they put the O-III nebular filter (for SCTs) on sale for $35 plus S/H. I have been waiting for over 2 years for the price to drop from $70 to a lower level. Good things come to those that wait. Naturally I clicked on the link and it took me to the item that was on that part of the page last week. I put it on my cart and the price was still $70.

I called Meade and they said that they did not handle their online store at all, Shopatron did. I called Shopatron and they asked me to wait a few minutes for them to check on the errors. About 40 minutes later I was able to place an order for the filter and I hope to have it by next week. In both cases the customer service rep was an American, not foreigner. In conclusion, if you plan to deal with Meade's online store learn to have low expectations and be patient.

DrF

#22 Rich V.

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:04 PM

At first this sounds like a good idea. Without thinking too much however I'll say that both stars would have to be at the same distance from earth so that the artificial line that connects them can be perpendicular to the line that connects their "combined" center to earth. Otherwise the geometry we use would not apply. It would be very difficult to locate two such stars. But I may be wrong.

It's got nothing to do with the distance stars are from Earth.

Mark is saying that a planetarium program will show you the angular separtion between the two stars you pick that fit opposite sides of your FOV. With most programs, you just click on the two stars and that angle reads out on your display. That will be the true field of view of your binoculars in degrees.

Rich

#23 QS3000

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:23 PM

I made a little drawing so that I can explain my thinking and perhaps someone out there can explain to me where I am wrong, if that is the case.

Take stars 1 and 2 that happen to be located at the same distance from earth, E. When I look at the sky (with or without binoculars) I see their "projection" AB on the artificial celestial sphere. Due to the huge distances we can assume AB to be a straight line even though we are dealing with a sphere. Angle "omega", the FOV, is two times the inverse tangent of ((AB/2)/ZE). This is the formula I used to calculate the FOV of the binoculars and found it to be 4.524º, by using the numbers 79m/1000m that are printed on them.

Now, take stars 3 and 4. Looking at them from earth we have no easy way to know that they are not at the same distance from us. We see their projection CD on the celestial sphere. Even though the distances AB and CD are the same, "omega" and "theta" are not and we cannot use the previous formula to calculate "theta".

So, how are we going to define the FOV in the second case? I am not asking how to calculate it but how to define it.

DrF

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#24 Jawaid I. Abbasi

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:04 AM

check the drawing s below

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#25 Rich V.

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:35 AM

Thanks Jawaid.

DrF, for the sake of this discussion I think all stars are at infinity... :confused:

A planetarium program with give you the angle in degrees between two stars at infinity. Let's not make this more difficult than it has to be! ;)

Rich






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