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8x42 binos. Perfect for scanning the night sky?

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#1 DarkDisplay


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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:17 PM

I've been interested in 8x42 binos ever since I read about the high star count they provide. They were rated the best in a 2003 CN article. I already knew how popular they were and this article raised my curiosity.

The 8x42 might be the perfect hand-held bino for scanning. Before I get serious about getting one I'll do some more research. In the meantime, any comments would be appreciated.

Best wishes,

#2 orion61



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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:28 PM

I love my 8x42 Meade Kestrels, They are a good size and
usefull in the daytime too.

#3 Tony Flanders

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:01 PM

There is no such thing as a perfect bino; it's always a compromise. But 8x42s are very versatile, and given your current collection they would definitely fill a niche that you don't really have covered now.

#4 Joad



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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:04 PM

I agree with Tony. I have 8X42 roof prism binoculars and they are surprisingly (to me) good not only for scanning but for picking up a lot of DSOs.

But I'd sure like to have the Miyauchi 5X32 Binon for sheer scanning. Alas, they are no more.

#5 DarkDisplay


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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:27 PM

Yes, I agree. No perfect binoculars. However, I meant for scanning due to the maximum star count the 8x42 provides. Sometimes I enjoy just looking around with no particular object in mind.

Best wishes,

#6 GlennLeDrew


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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:55 PM

I wouldn't say the 8X42 offers the maximum star count. An aperture closer to 120mm does this.

#7 DarkDisplay


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Posted 29 March 2013 - 10:17 PM

7x35 and 25x150 are the smallest and largest binos mentioned in the CN article I read. I'm certainly no expert. I do know that 8x42 is a very popular size.

Best wishes,

#8 mercedes_sl1970


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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:16 PM

I thInk if you want one binocular for night and day use, say while traveling, you can't go to wrong with an 8x42. They are very versatile and generally quite compact in both roof and porro prism form.


#9 JKoelman


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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:32 PM

A decent roof prism 8x42 provides you with a most versatile "always-with-you" bino that is useful at day and night: stable images without mount, lightweight, easy to take with you on a hike, decent exit pupil for clear views, and nice wide views. I just love mine. Don't be worried about optimising star counts: the question which bino specs achieve the most spectacular night sky view is ill-defined and highly dependent on circumstances.

#10 Jarrod



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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:24 AM

In the current edition of "NightWatch", Dickinson recommends 8x42 as an excellent dual-use birding/astronomy binocular. He makes specific recommendations of the "top-of-the-line" Zeiss Victory FL and Nikon HG roof prism models.

I've recently been in the market for an 8x42 and settled on the Vanguard Endeavor ED, which some in the birding community rank at the top of the mid-range. I just received them this evening.

#11 StarStuff1



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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:31 AM

Ummm, for some reason I like 8x40 porros better for nightime use and 8x42 roofies for daytime use. Altho either one could be used for either use...

My 8.5x44 Swift Audobons are awesome for the night sky. But a little heavy for daytime nature use. Everything is a compromise.

#12 KennyJ


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Posted 30 March 2013 - 03:52 AM

For hand -held scanning,I would definitely recommend a 42mm model over the 120mm option which Glenn brought into the discussion! :-)

If 11x56 is the smallest sized/lowest magnification binocular you've ever used,I think you're in for a very pleasant surprise if you treat yourself to a good 8x42.

Of course,the maximum theoretical or practical star count density would depend upon various factors,not excluding the true actually useable field of view,but amongst readily available models,a good 8x42 with a an AFOV of around 60 degrees will get you into the ball park of rich-field supremacy with minimum frustration.


#13 Erik Bakker  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 05:35 AM

The 8x42 option is nice and very versatile. But next to higher power / larger aperture models you already have, I think you will enjoy the 7x42, especially the Zeiss FL, even more. They are even brighter and allow you to see deepsky objects in their constellational context.

I had several high-end 8x binos from 30-50mm aperture from Leica, Zeiss and Swarovski. Enjoyed them all. And like the Zeiss 7x42 FL even better, while with it's large 60 degree AFOV it lets me observe say M13 nicely between the bright stars that mark the western side of the keystone. Never seen that in any of my 8x binos and it ads something special to my deepsky observing. And on PANSTARRS it does very well, both in finding the comet in twilight with it's huge true field and in showing the large extend of the yellowish dust tail.

For punchy details in bright light or pinpointy stars, a 10x32 is superb (due to it's smaller exit pupil, your own eyes astigmatism is almost "neutralized") . I use a Victory FL 10x32 for that. And for long walks during the day in the field and mountains, it is a better choice because of it's significantly lighter weight and smaller size than the 42mm binos.


#14 edwincjones


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Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:07 AM

I believe that 8x42s are the best all around binoculars,
and what I would want if limited to only one.
Other sizes-smaller and larger- fill specific needs better


#15 Binojunky



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Posted 30 March 2013 - 09:26 AM

Orion have their Ultra Views 8x42,s on for $130, a nice made in Japan porro, DA. :waytogo:

#16 Scanning4Comets



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Posted 30 March 2013 - 09:30 AM

I used to go bonkers for big binoculars and now I have done a complete 360 and now want a pair of 8x40's to scan the skies with. Smaller binocs are excellent because they don't weigh a ton and are easy to hand-hold for long periods of time!


#17 DarkDisplay


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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:04 AM

It's amazing how much was discovered by people of the past without the optics we now have in such abundance. Smaller binoculars most certainly have their place. They have many advantages.

Best wishes,

#18 hallelujah


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Posted 30 March 2013 - 11:56 AM

I used to go bonkers for big binoculars and now I have done a complete 360 and now want a pair of 8x40's to scan the skies with.



Look for my PM. :grin:

#19 orion61



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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:26 PM

I did find a really cheap pair of 12x60mm Chinese binos,
right at the limit for hand held but low enough power to be great for Comets!
I have some 70mm Zomms for daytime scanning, the small field is a minor drawback for me. 20x80's are nice fo night.
If I only could keep one pait it would be my 7x50
Celestron Novas 80's vintage...or 8x42 roof, have to toss a coin.

#20 Ebyl


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Posted 30 March 2013 - 03:58 PM

I like 8x42's a lot as an all around bin. That's probably the type I'd have if I was limited to just one! It's always such a personal thing, though. What I find to be "perfect" others would probably not like as much. Good thing we have so many choices!

#21 OpalescentNebula


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Posted 30 March 2013 - 06:55 PM

I like the 8x but like the 7x better. I think they will work better with what you have. I use my 7x50 all the time for night viewing,

#22 amicus sidera

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:57 PM

My recommendation is for 7x42 glasses, unless you are quite advanced in age. This size provides a 6mm exit pupil, while an 8x42 model has an exit pupil a bit over 5mm. Additionally, the extra 1x magnification of the 8x42's may not seem like much difference, but when handheld (as these glasses usually are) it inevitably makes for less steady views, especially when prolonged use is anticipated.

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