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Advise for first binos needed please,

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#1 Brian Carter

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 02:30 AM

Ok, the time has come and I need to do this this weekend, so i can get them soon.

Going to be in South Africa for 6 weeks this summer and need binos. Most of the time will be used to see animals, mostly nasty ugly baboons (gotta get this trip funded somehow, right?). I habe some time for astronomie hopefully. After I get back it will just be another accessory to take out with my dob.

question though: what weight do you think I can hold? I am not well built, I am kind of a skinny guy, so definately can't do heavy binos. about how low do you think I can realistically keep these steady?

Thanks

#2 holger_merlitz

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 03:14 AM

Hi Brian,

To observe wild animals, a high magnification is quite useful to see maximum details. Most people can steadily hold a 10x binocular, and a weight of 1 kg or slightly more should cause no problems. If you want to go for higher magnifications, a stabilized one may be the right choice, like the Canon IS 15x50. These are suitable for astronomy, too, but be aware that their field of view is not so big at such a high magnification. So it depends on your preference.

Otherwise I would go for a 10x42 or 10x50 (hand held), where the latter is more heavy but has got an extra margin for low light observations.

Regards,
Holger

#3 SaberScorpX

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 03:28 AM

Hi Brian-

One's ability to steadily hold binos also has alot to do with the magnification.
Up to 10x50 is acceptable for alot of people. Above that, increased power and larger objectives (overall bulk) really start affecting handheld stability.
Or you could go with image-stabilized models depending on your wallet.

Saber

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#4 SaberScorpX

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 04:04 AM

The simple formula M*W (magnification x weight) can also be used to estimate the relative handholdability of binos (e.g., 7x50s weighing 30 oz. and 10x50s weighing 21 oz. would seem comparably handholdable):
http://www.pacificsi...Bino.shtml#Hold

Saber

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#5 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 07:05 AM

"Holding Power Index"? That's a new one to me! Brian, binoculars in the 7x50 to 10x50 range would probably be ok. If there's still a concern, IS binoculars would help greatly, but at a price. I suggest going to a shop that has a selection to choose from and try them out. At least then you can get a sense of what to expect.

#6 EdZ

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 08:04 AM

Asking which binoculars you should buy is like asking someone to do your homework. If you were to read all the advice that has been tagged and highlighted in this forum, , it would take a week, but you would be much better informed. And that is our goal, to make you better informed. SO, You need to do some of this research for yourself to form your own conclusion. Several threads in just this last week deal with answering the same question, so it would be a repeat to type it all again. here are links to helpful information in newthreads and threads copied right out of our "Best of" links, which should be yourt first stop.

Ready to purchase - Orion 20x80 or 25x100?
The same issue came up here. Although the original request was for 20x80 or 25x100, the discussion lead to 10x50s and 10x60s.

READ THIS REVIEW TO MAKE THAT CHOICE.
http://www.cloudynig...ments/nikon.pdf

The Oberwerk 15x70 is another good choice, but now you are into mounted territory.

edz


Look at all of these photos in the Binocular Gallery and see more than a dozen different kinds of mounts.

http://www.cloudynig...cat=528&thumb=1


This post gives a summary of the views of a selection of items through various sizes of binoculars from 10x50 all the way up to 22x100s, 25x100s and a BT100 binocular telescope with changable eyepieces from 24x100 to 62x100.

Some brands are mentioned, but it is not intended as a post on the differences in quality between binoculars. It's intended to give an indication of the differences in the VIEWS between various sizes.

Next BIG Binocular, How BIG!


There's a lot of opinion about what's best, but this thread highlights links to some very good choices and makes a few good points for the buyer to watch out for.

In this link you will find a well organized presentation of suggested binoculars put together by Mike Swaim. While originally prepared for the purpose of recommending various binoculars for specified use or price ranges, Mike's gathering and organization of information leads us to a collection of short reviews within product lines. Mike touches on over 30 different binoculars in this very worth-while post that groups binoculas by powers and by price ranges
Light Trap's beginning binocular suggestions


Best all purpose binoculars for under $100


And this thread dedcribes one user's approach to "inexpensive" <$100 binos.
Got my Skymaster's



Several recommendations here lead the buyer in the direction of how to get the most for a $400 budget. Is that $400 just to buy the binoculars or to buy the binoculars and a good sturdy mount? How much binoc and mount can you get together for $400???

$400 Budget What do you recomend?


This poster started out by stating "My budget is about $700 for bino's & mount". You'll soon find that forum participants here love to spend other peoples money. In the thread "So many topics & STILL no definite answers" we give our suggestions ranging from $425 for a used Fujinon 16x70 to a discussion about the $1500+ Oberwerk BT100.

$700 for bino's & mount.


Now, if you like premium optics in small packages here is a comparison of two premium Nikon 42mm optics

$800 to $900 buys Nikon premium 42mm binocs


Several Top of the line 12x50s Nikon, Leica, Zeiss
Strengths of Nikon / Leica 12x50s to a potential premium 12x56

#7 EdZ

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 08:07 AM

This forum has discussed the relative merits of the holding power index at length. Just go look up the Best Of links to small binoculars and how to hand hold. It is the general opinion of most members here that the index doesn't tell you much of anything. It all depends on the balance and the feel of the binocular in your hands. Balance is far more important than weight.

edz

#8 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 08:35 AM

It is the general opinion of most members here that the index doesn't tell you much of anything.

That's more than likely why I failed to remember the discussions.

#9 MaritimeSky

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 12:56 PM

Lots of great advice and links already posted here, I recommend you don't skimp on reading it either. Many great points have been raised here in the past about the hand-holdability and versatility of various binoculars.

The skinny on the whole deal as summarized by me -

Keep in mind that it is much easier to handhold a bino for terrestrial usage than for astronomical. What may seem too large for handholding for astronomy may work quite well for daytime use, as I've discovered with my 15x70 Skymasters, though I love using them on a tripod. With something up to 70mm aperture you can get away with using a lightweight tripod and mount and keep the setup quite portable. Very grab n' go, but bigger is bulkier. If you're going to do a lot of stationary viewing, handholding may not be the best way to go. If you're going to be on the move a lot, mounted binos may be too cumbersome. Consider your needs carefully.

Small binoculars intended for handholding need to fit comfortably in your hands, and you may find that heavier small binos are easier to hold stable than the ultra-lightweight binos. I personally prefer slightly heavier binos for stability reasons. The extra weight dampens wobbles, and provides inertia for smoother scanning. Be careful here though, too much weight can tire your arms out in a hurry. Try out various weights for yourself and find your comfort zone.

Consider low light performance - this is a crucial consideration if you will be using the binos in low light conditions such as dawn/dusk or forested areas. Good coatings and a little extra aperture goes a long way if you can financially and physically support it.

Be critical of the mechanical quality. The last thing you want is a bino which feels like it's getting in your way, or one which could potentailly fall apart or lose collimation on you in the field after a little bump or from ordinary wear and tear. This is one of the factors which tends to increase the price quite quickly.

Last but not least - don't buy into the higher price=better binocular myth. Some costly binos are overpriced, and some quality binos are underpriced. Try them. Be discriminating. You are the employer and they are your employee - don't hire them based upon a fancy looking resume. Make sure they do the job YOU want for the best market price available. There are bargains and rip-offs at every price point. If you're not happy with one binocular, keep looking - and take your time. It is your right to be a satisfied customer.

Best of luck! :)

#10 SaberScorpX

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 01:18 AM

Many, including myself, find the Holding Power Index to be of value and fairly accurate, if not comprehensive. I would also assign a bino's lighter weight at least as much importance as balance for handheld stability, especially with smaller binos where one can more easily compensate for balance than significant additional weight. (In larger and higher powered binos however, as mentioned, extra weight can be used as an asset for stability.)
Of course, when the differences in comparable models' weight are minimal, better balance and ergonomics are certainly among my higher priorities.
Potentially helpful guidelines and choices such as these may work better for some more than others. They fall under personal preference and should not be dismissed out of hand.

Saber

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http://www.geocities...rpx/SGH400.html

#11 EdZ

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 06:22 AM

True it is personal preerence, and i myself seem to gravitate to lighter binoculars. However, I cannot disagree with the conclusion reached by the majority of this forum's members that took place in a lengthy discussion of what makes a small binocular hand holdable. And that conclusion is that a greater mass in a better balanced binocular provides a better dampening effect than can be achieved in a lighter binocular.

There are a lot of experienced small binocular users in this forum, some who might be considered near exclusively small binocular users. the findings of that group tend to dispute the light weight low holding index importance, especially within a given size, where the index would be of most value. In most cases, it is the binocular with the greater, but balanced mass, that comes out on top, and not the binocular with the lowest weight and therefore the lowest index. In fact, many of those same small binocular users claimed that the it was easier to control shakes with a slightly greater mass, contrary to what the index would indicate.

edz

#12 SaberScorpX

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 01:04 PM

It would be interesting to see the results of a similar HPI incorporating a bino's dimensions into the formula (weight/area*mag).
Model design and personal preference would still be big variables, but it might yield more accurate estimates.
Those who prefer the greater mass for stabilty could still use such an index to purposely choose the higher rated models.

*just thinking out loud*
Saber

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http://www.geocities...rpx/SGH400.html

#13 edcannon

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 02:37 PM

In terms of holding them steady, I have not found any significant difference between my 32oz 10x50 and 28oz 8x42. For me, for astronomy, this is a strong point for 10x50 over 8x42, although it does tend to mean a somewhat smaller field of view -- which favors 8x42. I think a larger FOV is better for bird-watching, but maybe not so much for non-flying animals at a distance.

There are 12x50 models at about the same weight and cost as 10x50.

If you want to settle for 7x, then I would think that for most people in most situations, especially for primarily daytime use (not in boats or other moving vehicles), 7x35 would be much more advisable than 7x50, which weigh more and have a smaller FOV.

If you will be wearing glasses (even just sunglasses in the daytime), you need to get long-enough eye relief, at least 17mm. Otherwise you lose some, maybe a lot, of your FOV.

Get fully multicoated (FMC) if at all possible.

Seems like recently I've read someone saying that the risk of theft is high where you're going, so that would tend to be a point against getting really expensive ones.

Terrestrial viewing may be steadier because it tends to involve more horizontal than vertical aiming. I believe there's no doubt, in terms of steadiness, that it's more difficult to aim up into the sky than towards the horizon. Also, because one's eye pupils are contracted, it's easier to keep them centered within the binocular's exit pupils.

Ed Cannon - Austin, Texas, USA


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