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What FIRST got you interested in Binoculars?

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#1 KennyJ


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:33 PM

Not necessarily for ASTRO -related use - just in binoculars in general.

Can you really remember?

I've "lifted" the following personal account from a rather obscure thread on this forum from around 7 years ago, which EdZ started about some "toy" binoculars.

< Believe it or not, an almost completely useless 4 x 30 black plastic toy binocular was probably what got me interested in binoculars in the first place.

I think it was my older brother's originally, from the early 1950s.

I remember being fascinated by the fact that it made things seem even smaller and further away when looking through the " big end ", and I guess I've had a penchant for lower magnification binoculars ever since ! :-)

So, what got YOU first interested?


#2 Mark9473



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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:45 PM

For me it was astronomy, going out with my dad's Zenith 12x50 into a crystal clear winter night and aiming it at what I thought was a bright star, only to discover a huge planet - of course I learned about focusing stars to a point a bit later.

What prompted the interest was a book on astronomy I bought at a school book fair. But I've forgotten what made me interested in the book in the first place.

#3 mdowns


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:46 PM

I recall being 5 or 6 (62,1963)and seeing a 4x40 field glass at a drugstore.They just called me.I probably had seen a ton of war movies that showed soldiers with binos.I was sure I needed them and my dad agreed.I started looking at birds and of course playing space explorer,army guy with them and actually kept them till I was 11 or 12.I then replaced them with a 10x50 tasco and gave the 4x40s to another youngster.

#4 Andresin150


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:28 PM

I've always been interested in optics and the idea of seeing everything closer.
When I was a kid, my parents had a hardware store and I kept "borrowing" the door viewer peepholes (that we named magic eyes), trying to make me a sort of spyglass. They where not selling many but all where disappearing :)
I didn't have much money but I managed to save something like 30 dollars when I was 10 and bought with great effort a red Tasco telescope, with plastic optics, that gave me years of entertainment...
When I was 12 or 13, in my school, a Japanese/Colombian friend, the "rich" one, brought his fathers Nikon binoculars, my best guess is that those where an 8x or 10x25.
After begging him for more that an hour to let me use them, my first thought was that those may be the best binoculars in the world!. Amazingly sharp compared to my poor optics, those Nikons woke in me the desire for better optics, specifically binoculars, and I began a quest for perfection.
My first good pair (when I was 17) where a Tasco Offshore 36 7x50; since then I had at least 50 different pairs....

#5 aa5te


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:43 PM

Heavenly bodies on the beach...

OK, not really. I got my first 50mm cardboard tube refractor for my 9th Christmas I think. I only used my dad's binoculars to look at things off in the field/woods before, but never the sky. Fast forward to 26 years later, and suddenly (overnight, actually), I was interested in astronomy again. I looked at this website and saw that binoculars were excellent tools for astronomy, so now I have 22 pairs (some are for sale now).

#6 daniel_h



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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:58 PM

i cant realy recall -it want anything as a kid (i had no real knowledge of astro as a kid)
i think i just bought a pair which i saw on sale in my late twenties, then i started teaching astronomy to high schoolers which kick started me

#7 Jawaid I. Abbasi

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 06:15 PM

Back home at the age 12 or 13; I experimented in the school lab for refractive index and ray alignment. It start fueling me interest in optics but the real interest came when I saw first time use for celestial object like moon.

Although I used only telescopes but using binocular was my interest all the time until I bought a REAL and better optics and that was PENTAX. you may say the Pentax may be responsible to put me in! or maybe the "Optics and colour" in my physics book was responsible????

#8 DonsDob


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 06:42 PM

Although I first got interested in the night sky as a kid, I bought my first binoculars - Jason/Empire 7x50 - in my 20's and found about 40 M objects with them. I've since given them to my daughter and now use Celeston and Pentax (and scopes).

#9 edwincjones


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 06:47 PM

I had a 6" scope but was not happy
went to a meeting in Denver,
came home with 4 books about binocular astronomy
and a fujinon 10x70
and never looked back

that is what happened,
why-I do not know*


*maybe I do know why now-two eyed viewing is easier, more confortable,
more natural feeling than closing one eye

#10 richsvt


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:48 PM

I have lived near the ocean for all my life. I remember as a kid trying to see details on the closest island off-shore and having a heck of a time. One of my friends sneaked out his dad's Nikons for the day (which got ruined with sand and he was beaten soundly-a different story) but that got me to think that I could get my own and never had to share with my friends (who were terrible sharers). What clear views of boats, wildlife and all the people across the bay. I think I got a cheap plastic pair for Christmas or birthday and that set me off on my wonderful optics journey. That was maybe 40 years ago or so.

#11 SMark


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:34 PM

I was probably 10 or 11 and my dad had an Atco 7x50 which he would let me use whenever I wanted to. I became fascinated watching cumulus clouds "grow" on those hot & humid summer days. And in the binoculars it just seemed to happen so much faster. I still enjoy doing that even today, but I use my 7x35 Super Wides instead.

The Astronomy bug bit me when I was 15, and that's when I bought my very own binocular, which was a Selsi 30x70.

#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:07 PM

I have a very clear recollection of the view through a telescope that sparked my interest in astronomy but I have no such recollection for binoculars.

This was probably because as a child, there were always binoculars around the house to use, they were just always there. At some point in the early 1960's, my father purchased a pair of Sears Tower 7x50s, pretty nice but I believe they had magnesium frame and over the years of being near the ocean, the metal has corroded. The last time I looked through them was probably 4 years ago. My brother has them now.


#13 John F

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:06 PM

I first got interested in Astronomy during the 1980's and as a result of watching Carl Sagan's COSMOS series on PBS.

After finding out that I was interested in astronomy and thinking about getting a telescope he gave me a his copy of an Orion catalog that he had received in the mail. When I read it and saw that they touting binoculars as a good way to get started in astronomy I decided to give it a try because of their low cost, large field and relative ease of use. After using them for about 8 months and having enjoyed going out to dark sky sites to observe the night sky, I was then ready for a telescope.

That first pair of binoculars I got (i.e., a pair of 9x63 Orion "Little Giants" were awful compared to what I've been using since the early 1990s but they were good enough to get me started and to keep me hooked.

After I got my first Zeiss binocular in 1992 (a Carl Zeiss Jena 8x50) that was a real eye opener with respect to finding out how much you could see with a high quality pair of astronomical binoculars and what it a pleasure it was to star gaze with them. Another thing that helped to get me really hooked on observing with binoculars was the appearance of some quality mounts that were made especially for binoculars. Those first became commercially available back in the early 1990s.

Even since then I do most of my terrestrial observing with binoculars and about 25% of my astronomical observing with them. Although, over the past year or so I've been using my 3.5-inch Questar telescope a lot more for terrestrial observing because of: (1) Its size, weight & portability, (2) Superb Optics, and (3) It's 8-foot close focus capability.

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#14 panhard


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:17 PM

Observing planes coming and departing from the airport.

#15 Ira



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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:34 PM

I've always loved optics and the idea that a piece of glass can make something far away look close. There was no looking back after that.


#16 Man in a Tub

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 12:03 AM

Amazing ... I was thinking of a similar post two days ago.

My interest in space, stars and planets precedes this story by about two years.

Shortly after Sputnik went into orbit on 4 October 1957, my father and I went out with my mother's gray plastic opera glasses. We didn't see Sputnik, but I must have been very fascinated looking through the opera glasses. Soon afterward I saw a New York Times Magazine advertisement for 7x35 field glasses. I asked my parents to order one. They did.

The field glasses came with a tan, leather-like case. It probably wasn't real leather, but the smell was wonderful. I remember little of how I used the field glasses, and I have repressed all memory of how the field glasses were broken. I have one objective lens from the field glasses, and for more than fifty years that objective lens has always been on my desk wherever I have been.

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#17 brentwood



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Posted 30 April 2013 - 01:41 AM

I think it was aircraft spotting at around the age of twelve. I was only interested in military aircraft, but luckily at the time we lived beneath a high altitude training route for the RAF's 'V Bomber' force, that at the time comprised about one third of the West's nuclear deterrent.
My parents bought me a new Dolland 8x25, as they couldn't quite afford the 'Big ones' the 8x30. I can only remember seeing solitary Vulcans, until one day when the sky seemed to be full of 'hundreds' of Vulcans, Victors and a few Valiants. We thought it was WW3 !! That night they announced that a large exercise had taken place and THIRTY THREE planes had taken part!
I do not remember using the binoculars on the sky, though I did take them down to the nearby beach to look at the ships.
Around this time, I became really interested in Astronomy from the monthly star chart in my 'Book of Knowledge' encyclopedia set. I bought a brass & leather 'Enbeeco' 25x30 drawtube telescope from a friend who had just bought a 40x70 binocular from a 'News of the World' advert!

#18 Erik Bakker

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 04:17 AM

When I was around 9 years old, I looked at the moon with my fathers 7x35 binos. That got me hooked on astronomy and started the pursuit for my first scope to see more.

Currently I own 3 binoculars (10x32, 7x42 and 18x70) and use them a lot. Each of them has a unique and different character, all of them bring a smile on my face. For different objects and different reasons.

The smallest is so light, small and sharp. The medium shows a view so bright and wide. And the biggest has views that just floor me every time I point it at the heavens.
I even ended up transforming my 4" and 16" mono's into bino-instruments :tonofbricks:

So for me binos are the alpha and omega of observing.

#19 Tony Flanders

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:47 AM

I can't remember not being interested in binoculars. But I do remember when my father bought me a really nice pair -- Nikon 7x35s -- when I was in my early teens. He researched them really carefully, and they continue to be one of my favorites to this day.

#20 StarStuff1



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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:21 PM

When I was a young dude, about 24 years old, the only optic I had was a Sears wide angle 7x35. Years earlier I had a 75mm refractor that my mother lent out to some scouts. It dissapeared as it was "loaned" to another scout. Anyway, the 7x35 was a nice pair of binos and I still have them. But the astronomy "breakthrough" with binos was when I "discovered" M6 and M7 back in 1980. Now there are at least two dozen binos in my collection. Today I rarely observe without taking along binos.

#21 Jarrod



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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:28 PM

Sports. We used to go to Major League Baseball games when I was a kid. We couldn't afford good seats, but were lucky to be able to go, and bring along a Bushnell 7x35 so that I could recognize the players from watching them on television. So at 8 years old I was asking Dad to please pass the binoculars.

#22 OpalescentNebula


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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:30 AM

My dad had 12x50 Bushnell’s so we could watch the Big Laker (freighters) come in on Lake Huron to the St Claire River. Reading the Boats names.
When I got them they were no longer able to focus properly. I bought a pair of 8x26 Pentax, I used until my wife dropped them into the Ocean in Costa Rica by mistake.

#23 smart


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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:50 AM

Though I had telescopes growing up in Minnesota in the 1950s, it never occurred to me to use binoculars on the night sky. In 1962 I was on a US Navy destroyer in the Pacific Ocean and stood the night watch many times with a pair of B&L 7x50s-what a revelation on those dark skies!

#24 RichD



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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:37 AM

I don't remember a time when I wasn't interested in binoculars. There isn't one particular pair that ignited my interest but I continue to be amazed by what a small handheld pair can reveal in the night sky. I love the idea that simple polished and shaped pieces of glass held within a moulded chassis can literally bring the universe closer. That will never get old for me.

I don't know why I have never got attached to scopes in quite the same way, despite having some wonderful views through them over the years. It is the notion of being able to hold them, as a unit, with no accessories needed and feeling like they are almost an extension of your body that makes me love handheld binos. It's a bit of an obsession.

#25 ronharper



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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:04 AM

At about age 12 I perchanced to sample a Boy Scout Binocular which was on display along with the usual assortment of pocket knives, snakebite kits, and other manly stuff. My parents kindly bought it for me. A genuine glass singlet Galilean! I noticed even then that I could see more stars with optical aid. Taking the objectives off gave a gut level optics lesson, and the terrific color fringing was amazing. I get a headache now, just thinking about it.

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