Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


What was your first binocular?

  • Please log in to reply
194 replies to this topic

#1 Simon S

Simon S


  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,318
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2007
  • Loc: Crawley West Sussex UK

Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:01 PM

I think everyone can remember their first binocular, and for me I remember a Japanese 7x50, possibly a Prinz branded model that from memory impressed my grandfather with their amazing optics!
The first binoculars I bought were a pair of Russian 8x30's and the Zeiss Jenoptem 7x50 when I was at school.
Please tell us the story of your introduction into binocular vision too.

#2 Pinewood



  • *****
  • Posts: 1,489
  • Joined: 07 Dec 2004
  • Loc: 40.77638º N 73.982652 W

Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:05 PM

Hello Simon,

My first binocular was a 6x30 Bausch & Lomb, Signal Corps., model EE. I purchased it in in 1978, when it was 60 years old.

Happy collecting,
Arthur Pinewood
  • CAAD9 likes this

#3 GlenM



  • -----
  • Posts: 3,025
  • Joined: 20 May 2007
  • Loc: Lancashire England

Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:07 PM

Mine were a pair of 8x30 Pathescope in the late 50's. My first observation was of Cassiopeia. I still love roving around Cassiopeia.
  • CAAD9 likes this

#4 Rich V.

Rich V.

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7,313
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada

Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:25 PM

My first binocular was a tiny Japanese 6x15 reverse Porro in the mid-1950s. It was a gift from my grandparents when I was around 8 yrs. old.

My family would meet up with my grandparents at one of our favorite eastern Sierra camp spots. I have many fond memories fishing small streams and watching wildlife with my father and grandad. The little binoculars were easy to carry in my pocket so I always had them with me.

The first "full sized" binoculars I purchased were some German 8x30s I picked up in a pawn shop in Calgary while I was a teen traveling though Canada. My youngest son still has them!

Rich V
  • CAAD9 likes this

#5 EdZ


    Professor EdZ

  • *****
  • Posts: 18,849
  • Joined: 15 Feb 2002
  • Loc: Cumberland, R I , USA42N71.4W

Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:28 PM

Sears 7x35, bought maybe 35 years ago. Still have em. don't work so good anymore.

#6 elwaine



  • *****
  • Posts: 2,374
  • Joined: 18 Jun 2006
  • Loc: Sugar Land, TX

Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:44 PM

My (actually, my family's) first binocular was a plastic body, plastic lens 4x mag binocular that was probably horrible - but only in retrospect. I loved using them.

My first "real" binocular, purchased in the 1950's at "KorVettes Discount Department Store," was a Bushnell 7x35 Wide Angle Binocular. I saved up for a year before I had the purchase price (less than $30). There has never been another binocular that has impressed me as much. - Sort of like a kid's opinion of the taste of ice-cream. No matter how things improve with time, a childhood "first" is never trumped.

#7 KennyJ


    The British Flash

  • *****
  • Posts: 37,648
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2003
  • Loc: Lancashire UK

Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:55 PM

Interesting thread topic , Simon !

I was given a plastic 4 x 30 model when I was about 4 years old , and it fascinated me for years afterwards .

In 1965 , when I was 13 , I was bought my first spotting scope , a Japanese 35 x 60 , via a mail order catalogue specifically for binoculars and spotting scopes .

Following recurring problems with lenses coming loose inside it , even after replacement , the following spring my father managed to persuade the mail order company to replace the scope with 10 x 50 binoculars -- Japanese Telstar , which I still have to this day .

I thought " they " were wonderful -- for about 30 years -- although in 1966 , I'd looked through a 15 x 60 Zeiss belonging to the father of a classmate at school , and promised myself there and then that ONE DAY I would treat myself to " some REALLY good binoculars " .


#8 richtea


    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 309
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2005
  • Loc: UK Yorkshire

Posted 18 May 2010 - 04:23 PM

Hi Simon

Well its a while back but i recall my first binocular was a Praktica reverse porro 10 x 30
I genuinely believed it was an "alpha" optic for some time then i picked up a late Zeiss Jenoptem 10 x 50 and the world forever changed

Actually i was rather fond of that original Praktica and it wasnt really so bad
I've certainly looked through worse since but of course the beauty back then was i simply looked through the binoculars without debating the pro's and cons


#9 waldi


    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 203
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2006
  • Loc: Europe

Posted 18 May 2010 - 04:41 PM

Russian BPC 8x30 and Polish PZO 7x50 but it was almost 25 years ago
I was curious about nigts sky..I remeber that sky was much more darker...

ehh..**** light pollution

#10 Andresin150


    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,511
  • Joined: 14 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Bogotá - La Calera / Colombia

Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:32 PM

An school friend had a very sharp (to my standards at the time) nikon 7x32 or similar. He lend it to me for near two months.... I was 10 years old. The first ones I got for my 11th birthday was a pair of 7x50 tasco ofshore.... at that time, their bright images, compass and not having to focus seemed like magic and I actually thought there was nothing better.... Great memories :)

#11 GlennLeDrew  Happy Birthday!



  • *****
  • Posts: 15,850
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:41 PM

At age 14 (in 1976) I saved up enough paper route money to buy a "Crescent" 7X50 from Canadian Tire. I'd already had a 45mm Tasco terrestrial scope, but I loved the binos more. They allowed me to easily find even more deep sky objects than I could with the 'scope.

After moving back to Newfoundland, I got to compare them to a friend's 7X35 wide angle. That's when I realized that my Crescent was actually rather bad, and that I loved wide fields much more!

#12 hallelujah



  • *****
  • Posts: 7,928
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2006
  • Loc: North Star over Colorado

Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:42 PM

My first binocular purchase was a full size, Japanese, Burris 10x50mm Porro prism, around 30 years ago.

The optics were great in the daytime but somewhat lacking for stargazing.

I send it in for repairs after some 25 years of use, it was never the same again, so I gave it away. :(

#13 RichD



  • -----
  • Posts: 2,144
  • Joined: 08 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Derbyshire, UK

Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:46 PM

My father's WWII era 8x25 uncoated porro with hazy optics and ridiculously narrow AFOV eyepieces!

He still has them.

#14 BillC


    on a new path

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,391
  • Joined: 04 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Lake Stevens, WA, USA

Posted 18 May 2010 - 06:25 PM

a Bushnell 7x50 from the early 60s.


#15 Richard McC

Richard McC

    All of this has happened before...

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,122
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Australia

Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:22 PM

A Hanimex (an Australian importer's label) 10x50 porro given to me as a present by my parents for my tenth birthday in 1980. I logged many hours with them for eighteen years until they were badly damaged in a car accident. In hindsight they were pretty ordinary but not knowing better I was completely happy with them.

#16 daniel_h



  • *****
  • Posts: 2,528
  • Joined: 08 Mar 2008
  • Loc: VIC, Australia

Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:25 PM

two toilet rolls taped together..age 3 1/2

after that some 7x35 bought 10yrs ago....my youngest son has them now - he drop them in water..i pulled apart & cleaned, dried out
  • CAAD9 likes this

#17 FrankL


    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 677
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:40 PM

This one:
  • Blind as an Eagle likes this

#18 StarStuff1



  • *****
  • Posts: 4,155
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2007
  • Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:44 PM

7x35 Sears WA porros from about 1971. Altho I didn't get back into astronomy as an adult until 1980 they were very useful for a noobie amateur astronomer. They are in the basement in a box somewhere.

#19 edwincjones


    Close Enough

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,443
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2004

Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:27 PM

nikon 10x25 traavelite

nice for travel, but almost worthless for astronomy

  • Bigfun33 likes this

#20 Littlegreenman



  • *****
  • Posts: 4,987
  • Joined: 08 May 2005
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:01 PM

Some unknown Sears, probably 7x50's. I don't remember much about them. My mother worked at the Sears remaindered, returned, discount, and as-is store. Not the place for a shop-a-holic packrat to work at! (I'm still selling stuff from her estate on ebay, 10 year later). They were stolen from my car trunk about 10 years before I got into Astronomy.

Then, I was given some nice little Tasco 7x20's in 1987 as a parting gift when I left a job. I still have them, not bad.

Now, my first astronomy based binocular purchase was a very nice Vivitar 7x50. I think they were Series One. A pretty decent binocular, although a little narrow FOV.

So, you get my first three for the price of one!


#21 star drop

star drop

    The Cardinal

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 123,507
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2008
  • Loc: Snow Plop, NY

Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:18 PM

My first binoculars were 10x50's purchased in 1975 from a catalog store chain called Century. They seemed to work fine during the day but showed every star to be double at night.

#22 ronharper



  • *****
  • Posts: 2,233
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2006

Posted 19 May 2010 - 12:08 AM

An "Official Cub Scout" Galilean 3x, at age 9. A good introduction.

My first adult bino was a Japanese made "coated" Swift Neolight 7x50, bought in 1972 for $50. That one would seriously show some stars, and was pretty well built, to have survived the young fool treatment I gave it.

#23 Man in a Tub

Man in a Tub


  • *****
  • Posts: 16,741
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2008
  • Loc: 802,701½ C.E.

Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:14 AM

Well, they weren't binoculars. They were 7x35 field glasses. They were advertised in either the NY Times Sunday Magazine or Book Review some time in the late 1950s. I pestered my parents to order them for me. They did! They didn't last very long. I've repressed all memory of how they were broken. All that remains is one complete objective.

That lens has been on whatever desk I sit at for over fifty years. Handy little loupe.

#24 Simon S

Simon S


  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,318
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2007
  • Loc: Crawley West Sussex UK

Posted 19 May 2010 - 06:17 AM

It is interesting to see how fond people were of their binoculars even if they no longer have them. I have never failed to be impressed by a good EWA 7x35 or 8x40 binocular, and it seems I am/was not alone.

#25 Erik D

Erik D


  • *****
  • Posts: 4,067
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2003
  • Loc: Central New Jersey, USA

Posted 19 May 2010 - 07:49 AM

a Bushnell 7x50 from the early 60s.


The first pair I purchased for myself was a pair of Bushnell 7X50 (Sportsview?) with green rubber armor. Early 1980s, from Service Merchandise. Back then leatherette covering were the norm. I thought rubber armor would make them more rugged. Not the case. I think I paid less than $75 for them.

They traveled with me to many places. Kept them in my Pontiac Ventura (my first car) for 2 or 3 summers and one of the prisms came loose. I taped the damaged side objective with duct tape and used them as 7X50 monoculars for a while.... till my wife( then girlfriend) asked me what I wanted as a Bday/MBA graduation gift in 1985.

I requested the Celestron Nova 7X50 EWA. The rest.....

ERik D

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics