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Delima - Binos vs 80f5 scope

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#1 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 01:44 PM

I have been tossing this around for awhile now and can't seem to come to a happy conclusion. I currently have an 8" Skywatcher Dob so I am in the market for something that is more portable and can be used for camping. My delima is between a small short tube refractor (80f5) or a pair of 15X70 or 20X80 binos. I already have a pair of 10X50s that I use fairly regularily as well. I have never looked through binos larger than my 10X50's so I am uncertain how much more I would gain with a pair of 15X70s. What are your thoughts?

#2 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 01:52 PM

StellarVue Nighthawk, but only because you already have a good pair of binoculars.

did I do good, Keith??? :jump:

Seriously, since you do have a decent size pair of binoculars already, and I am assuming you want this for star gazing, not terrestrial use, I would seriously consider augmenting the 8" Dob with a an 80mm refractor of some type. The Nighthawk is an good size and weight and fit the bill.

Good luck! Tom

#3 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 02:30 PM

Tom

Great job!:waytogo: :lol:

gdakin,

I have 11x70's and an 80mm scope. Both have their place. I would agree with Tom. I think you would get great use out of a short tube refractor. Pick one with good optics. My favorite is a Stellarvue, see link, Williams Optics and Televue also build good scopes. All are a definate step up from the Chinese imports.

Stellarvue link
http://www.stellarvue.com/

Blessings
Keith

#4 EdZ

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 03:41 PM

If your camping intentions include packing, then I'd go for the 15x70s and a light weight tripod. I did a 30 mile romp thro baxter state Park In Maine this last summer with a pair of Oberwerk 15x70s and a 6# tripod (too heavy). The binocs easily fit in the pack the tripod strapped to the outside. I saw stuff I've never seen in a scope before.

15x70s will show you a tremendous amount more detail than 10x50s. Twice the light gathering power vs 50mm. Versus a scope, at an assumed 20% binocular vision gain, it's the equivalent of looking through a 77mm mono lens. 50% more magnification than the 10x.

Doesn't allow the versatility of changing power like a small scope would. But weighs only 3#2z. For packing, even a small scope weighs 5 to 6 # and requires a heavier mount.

I also own a Stellervue and they are great, but for camping I prefer binocs.

edz

#5 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 03:45 PM

I didn't consider the hiking angle. But hiking is the reason my binocs are only 8x42s and nothing bigger...I'd rather carry more water and a few more oranges.

#6 Blair

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 06:19 PM

The Oberwerk 20X80 LW weigh only 3.6 pounds ($199 shipped at Opticsplanet). I do not own them yet but do own thier 11X70mm and am very happy with them for the price ($149).

#7 brocknroller

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 07:24 PM

The problem with Obies is that they get knocked out of collimation too easily, at least that's been my experience. Ed seems to have had good luck, but I probably wouldn't take them camping unless it was a short trip on flat terrain. Plus, I'd also have to drag along a HD camera tripod and "L" bracket, and all that would take up another suitcase.

If you buy an Obie for camping, pack it in the original box rather than just the soft case and put some bubble wrap around the bin if you plan to drive over rough terrain. The upside is that after the camping trip, you'll have a nice pair of bins to scan the skies with. I find them more satisfying than a ST 80mm, but the collimation problem bugs me.

I prefer to travel light and take my Nikon 10X35 E2 with me on trips. I can bird or stargaze, and they only take up room for a few pair of socks. I may return with stinky feet, but I have the satisfaction of bagging a few messiers and perhaps observing an indigenous bird I'd never seen before. Personally, I'd stick with the 10X50s for camping, but still buy the 15X70 for use at home.

Brock

P.S. Also pack a jeweler's screwdriver, you might need it!

#8 Blair

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 08:59 PM

EDz has a nice article under binoc articles here on Cloudy Nights on how to collimate binocs.

http://www.cloudynig...-collimatin.htm

#9 jrcrilly

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 09:54 PM

If you want it all: versatility (changeable eyepieces), Vixen optics, and true binocular vision there's always the BT-80 binoscope offered under the Orion name. Nothing Chinese about this one - and no parasitic marketing.

http://www.telescope...iProductID=3523

#10 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 10:59 PM

JRC;

I have wanted a set of those since the first time I saw them. I keep hoping to find a nice used pair at about 50% off on Astromart.
Add a couple of widefield 32 or 40mm EPs and a pair of click stop zooms. Could be a match made in heaven.

Keith

#11 brocknroller

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 01:59 AM

Thanks, Blair. I've tried collmating them using Oberwerk's collimation Website:
http://www.oberwerk....t/collimate.htm

If a co. has a special site for collimating their bins, that must tell you something!

This is the second pair I bought that was out of collimation, the first was sent straight from Kevin, and the box was initialed by him, and it was still out. He said my eyes must be very sensitive to miscollimation since they were only slightly out of collimation when he got them back, but they looked VERY out to me. So perhaps he's right. In any case, I tweaked this pair so they look good during the day (no double images), but at night, they're still a mess -- astigmatism and vertical miscollimation (Saturn looks like conjoined twins, one on top of the other).

One of the flimsy eyecups tore on me, and when I tried to replace it, I found that the whole eyecup is glued to the diopter ring (99% of other bins' eyecups just pop off). I think the Oberwerk may have been designed with those oversized eyecups so they look like Fujinons, but in fact, I replaced the large eyecups with the pair from my 8X42 Ultralites, which have fairly small EPs. Now they are comfortable to use with eyeglasses off or on.

Also, I had to turn the right diopter all the way to reach focus, and after just a few times of doing this, it became unglued!

So... while I like the optics, at least when looking at one eye at a time, I'm not happy with the mechanics. Of course, for $98 used, I'm probably being too picky, and I'm sure there are people who receive their Obies collimated and have no trouble reaching focus with the diopter, and who like the eyecups. However, I'd glady pay up to twice the price for a hybrid bin with Obie '03 15X70s optics and better quality mechanics. That would still be half the price of the Fujinon 16X70 FMT-SX, which does not have sufficient ER for me (I'm amazed that Ed can see 90% of the FOV with his glasses!).

But I don't mean to turn you or anyone else away from the otherwise excellent optics because of my frustating experience. I know others who are perfectly happy with their Obies. As I've said and others have said, binoculars are highly personal, what fits and works well for one person won't necessarily for someone else.

In the case of non-WP bins for birding and casual stargazing, I've found a close if not perfect match in my Nikons, but I'm still searching for a big astro binocular that I can live with. Hopefully, once I can get the Obie collimated properly and glue the eyepiece ring back on, I'll be happy with them. :jump:

Brock


#12 Blair

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 04:57 AM

Hello Brock,
Sorry to hear about your problems.
My Oberwerk's 11X70mm (I bought about a month ago from OpticsPlanet) seem to be okay but have not done a critical check out of them. Collimating Binocs is new to me. Did not realize they had a web page for it. Thanks.

#13 moynihan

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 11:18 AM

Howdy,
I use binoculars hand held for both astronomy and bird observation. (I avocationally study crows. You really are sensitive to chromatic abberation if you do that for awhile :lol: )
In fact, i use bino's handheld on the sky more than anything else.
A couple decades ago I used celestron 11x80 binos for the sky. Later sold them due to lack of use.. I cannot focus binculars without glasses on. And, independently focusing occulars are difficult for me, due to astigmatism in my own eyes. Consequently, i am driven to the optical high-end in binos.
In stead of "giant binoculars" I use an out of production 80mm f/6.25 refractor that is limited to low power, (i will skip discussion of scope's provance, which can be found on my website). I have a 2" diagonal in it with a 32mm Brandon occular for 16x and a fov of 4 degrees. The eye lense on the occular in about 1.5" wide. Consequently, the barrel kind of disappears when you look through it. A telerad rides on top of the thing. The RFT performance is sometimes remarkable. From a dark site I can see alot of dust/gas cloud, etc.

jay

#14 rboe

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 06:46 PM

I'm a bit surprised by EdZ's answer, I would have pushed for the scope since you have good binoc's now. And I have a pair of the 15X70 (if you own two, is that a pair or a quad?).

While I would weight EdZs' opinion quite highly, you'll have to take your personal use in mind. Besides, any kit worth having will have a small wide field refractor in it.

#15 wilash

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 09:56 PM

I have both Vixen 20X80s and a Chinese 80mm f/5. The refractor shows more simply because you can change eyepieces. The refractor is light, inexpensive, and simple. I use it between 12.5X and 60X. Over 60X the image starts breaking down. But this upper limit is a personal thing. I've heard of people using it over 100X and do not mind the views.

The refractor has one more advantage. It can use a diagonal. Viewing at the zenith can be a pain in the neck with binoculars.

I think if you already own a pair of 10X50s, the refractor would be a better complement.

I've climbed 3000m mountains with the 20X80 binos and a tripod. While I've yet to take my 80mm refractor, it would be lighter and not that much of a problem to pack.

#16 EdZ

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 10:49 AM

I based my suggestion on backpack camping.

With a pair of 15x70s you could get away with a 3-4# tripod giving a total weight of about 6-7#. For a scope I would expect minimum weight of scope and tripod about 10-12#. On a backpack trip, the last night before the trip is usually devoted to shedding the last 5-6# that you can do without. Every # hurts. In the past my backpacking choice was a pair of 10x50s and an L bracket attached to the top of my walking stick (2# total). I'm looking for more now.

If you're car camping, you could take a 6# scope and a 20# EQ mount with counterweights and it wouldn't hurt.

edz

#17 wilash

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 10:12 PM

Welcome to the Mountaineer Astronomy group:


If I'm doing a trek, I would not even carry a pair of 6X30s. But if I was hiking up to a type of "base camp," and then making day trips from there, a telescope would not be a difficult thing to bring along. Whether you have the energy to use it at night is another question.

I'm going to disagree with EdZ (not the first time). I weighed my 80mm f/5 scope with two orthoscopics, a 32mm Plossl, two barlows, dialgonal, a few filters, plus the cases, and a tripod and it comes to 8.8 pounds (the 20X80 and the tripod are three pounds heavier). I can already see ways to shave that. If I was serious about this, I could get the scope kit down to 7 pounds or maybe even 6. I think a weight range of 8 - 10 pounds would be easy.

Now if you wanted to go lighter with the 15X70 binoculars, that would be very easy. The first thing would be not to use a tripod, but rather a monopod. Get a photographic monopod that is the same height or taller than yourself - it makes it easier to use for sky objects. I take my 20X80s to view waterfowl with a monopod - the binoculars are to big for woodland birds. The monopod takes enough of the shakes out of the optics to be able to see details.

Now. weight is the primary concern of hikers. So remember, you can use you underwear twice as long if you turn them in-side-out. :roflmao: (p.s. - mountaineers never ask how long is "long.")

#18 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 10:17 PM

...doing a trek...



I thought that's what they made helicopters for, to bring all the gear! :grin:

Seriously;

Thanks for the monopod/walking stick idea for the binos.

Keith

#19 jrcrilly

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 10:59 AM

JRC;

I have wanted a set of those since the first time I saw them. I keep hoping to find a nice used pair at about 50% off on Astromart.
Add a couple of widefield 32 or 40mm EPs and a pair of click stop zooms. Could be a match made in heaven.

Keith


Hi, Keith.

I haven't seen any deals on Astromart but I did take a chance on a set on eBay for under 50%. If I have to fix 'em I can spend a little and still be OK. I'll let the gang know how they look. I'm trying to figure out what to put 'em on. If I really like them I might even pop for the forkmount Orion offers. I have a couple of telescope alt/az mounts (one Vixen, one Meade) but they are both a little light for two 80mm OTA's. If it's wide enough an old C8 or 2080 forkmount (minus wedge) would be inexpensive and plenty sturdy.

#20 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 01:48 PM

JRC;

Cool Deal. Let us know how they are!

Keith

#21 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 11:48 AM

Thankyou for all the feedback and sorry for not responding sooner. I got a little wrapped up with the Holidays.

I think if I could choose I would probably prefer go for the 80f5. Most of the camping that I will be doing at this point will be with a vehicle until the kids are older. However, cost is an unfortunate barrier for the Stellarvue or Televue that I would like to purchase. I could possibly afford cheaper model like the Celestron 80mm Wide View or an equivalent Skywatcher product. But I am skeptical of their optical quality which is why I have decided to consider the 15X70 or 20X80 Binos. The Monopod sounds like a great idea and may be the ticket…

But if I may ask one further question, are these cheaper Chinese 80f5 refractors worth investing in or should I wait a few years and get a quality Stellarvue or Televue?

Grant

#22 EdZ

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 12:15 PM

Keep one thing in mind about using a monopod. They are for personal use only. If using a monopod, you have almost no hope of finding an object to view and then have someone else step up to the binoculars to view the same object. If you plan on sharing your views with anyone else, the monopod is not the way to go. For those of you that can accomplish this feat, you are better than I.

edz

#23 KennyJ

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 02:21 PM

I realise that thousands of people must be very happy with their Chinese f5 refractors and I maintain that any of the vaious packages represent VERY good value for money.

BUT -- after 18 months of trying desperately to make my 102mm version satisfying for use as either daytime or nightime scope -- I'm afraid my opinion is that by far the biggest problem is nothing to do with image quality , false colour , el cheapo supplied eps and diagonals or badly located slow -motion controls .

Neither it is even the unadequate EQ1 mount / tripod or the fact that it is not at all waterproof , nor even the fact that the 102mm vesrion is a little too heavy to carry around
comfortably.

The MAIN problem in my humble opinion is the jerky focusser which has no "fine focus" capability as one finds on superior scopes of the astro or spotting variety.

DO not underestimate this major inadequacy.

For my part I would gladly swap the whole set -up , including four eyepieces , barlow , extra 45 degree erect image diagnonal , tripod and mount -- for a decent pair of 20 x 80s such as the Opticron ones available in the UK.

Just my three hundred and sixty quids worth !

Clear Skies -- Kenny.

#24 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 03:35 PM

Don't rule out buying your scope used on Astromart. You can get a stellarvue nighthawk for under $300 (for the OTA) if you are patient and persistent.


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