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Which of these binoculars are best for my needs?

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#26 aporigine

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 04:18 PM

KennyJ - your points are well-taken. I realize that my choices, and my reasons for them, are very personal and a coupla standard deviations removed from the fat part of the bell curve. After all, I use a pair of Oberwerk 20x90s as my "large" handheld pair. The 20x100s ... even I have to confess that I tripod-mount those. What can I say ... I'm a Slobbering Bino Freak. It's twoo, it's twoo!

In fact, after I wrote my post I picked up my Foojes and thought to myself: "Hey, these ARE pretty big!" Once I got them away from under the shadow of the big Obies....

I tip my hat to you - you added perspective to my musings. :rainbow:

cheers aporigine

#27 KennyJ

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 04:23 PM

Apo ( good name ! )

I am quite astounded by the pleasant tone of your reply !

When I saw you had replied in such quick -fire time , I must confess to having suffered one of those all - too familiar pangs of " OH NO -- HERE WE GO -- AGAIN ! "

Cheers to YOU to my freind :-)

Kenny

#28 Rich N

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 04:33 PM

I hope this isn't too late. Here are two binoculars I think you would really enjoy and not spend too much.

Eagle Optics Ranger Platinum Class 8x42 $379 USD
http://www.eagleopti...urch=1&pid=2991

Eagle Optics Ranger Platinum Class 10x42 $399 USD
http://www.eagleopti...urch=1&pid=2992

I believe some stores in the US selling bird watching items sell Eagle Optics binoculars. I guess you could mail order them when you get here and have them sent to one of your vacation spots. I'm sure Eagle Optics could have the binocular shipped over night by UPS or Fed-Ex.

All the best,
Rich

#29 KennyJ

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 05:15 PM

Well Rich ,

I reckon our friend Steve has either collapsed with a splitting headache after trying to work out what all this waffle actually MEANS -- or he has already called off the wedding and ordered one of every pair suggested thus far :-)

Kenny

#30 Rich N

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 05:28 PM

Hi Kenny,

Maybe he can relax a little once the wedding is over. He may have time to think about binoculars again, maybe. ;)

All the best,
Rich

#31 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 07:24 PM

About the tripod consideration Steve, some people would say that 10x magnification is on the fringe of hand holdable or not. Since you are trekking across the US, I would recommend going no higher in magnification. Maybe a little lower would be best OR maybe you can hold 10x just fine. Again, this is a reason why you, as a beginner, should try before you buy. You certainly don't want to be carrying a tripod along on your honeymoon. Your new wife might get jealous.

#32 DJB

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 01:56 AM

Kenny,

For every three binoculars I have purchased from eBay, I have to scrap one for parts, refurbish one, and, perhaps, keep one. I am sort of a collector, you see.

I do not know how those people learn how to describe a product in such eloquent terms! I hope I'll get some profits from my investements.

I purchased a really beautiful WWII-coated (1944) B&L 7x50mm. Lucked out on that one, but, the one before. Well, I don't want to even discuss the issue. eBay=63% OK, IMHO.

Regards,

Dave.

#33 EdZ

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 08:28 AM

I would agree with a smaller binocular. This discussion comes up quite often. I'm guessing, but I would say the record probably shows about 70-80% of all the forum participants here and in other forums generally find 10x-12x and 2.5# as their limit for handheld astronomy. Another 10-15% find 7x-8x as their limit. Then their is that 10-15% that report they use 15x70s, 20x80s and can hold up to 8 pounds.

I've done handheld test comparisons with several models of binoculars where I compared the results of detailed observations handheld to the same binocular mounted. The larger the binocular gets, the wider the spread in the results gets. A mounted 12x50 vs handheld will show you stars a full magnitude fainter. A mounted 4#12oz. 16x70 will shows stars more than a full magnitude fainter than when handheld. A mounted 8# 20x80 will show stars about 2 full magnitudes fainter.

My point is not that you should mount your binocs, although that certainly becomes evident for the larger models. My point is that there is very little to be gained from any attempts to try and handhold a 4# or 6# or 8# binocular in the 10x70 or 15x70 to 20x80 range. You will get to see plenty with a 2#-2.5# 10x50 or 12x50.

If you want to test for yourself what it is like to hold a 4# binocular, go grab a full 2 liter bottle of soda and try holding it up to your eyes steady for 2 minutes. Keep the cap on. That won't even address the shake in the magnification, but I don't think you'll need that demonstrated once you find out how heavy 4# really is.

edz

#34 Mark9473

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 08:47 AM

Then their is that 10-15% that report they use 15x70s, 20x80s and can hold up to 8 pounds.

Im one of those...
I quite regularly use my 20x80s handheld.
For me, this is about getting a quick look at something:
- is that comet bright enough to get out my tripod for some real observing?
- how do the Pleiades look now that I haven't seen them for a season or two?
- let's take a quick peek at that conjunction before it sets below the trees.

I don't have many opportunities to go sit outside for a real observing session, but I will spend a few minutes outside if it's clear. Handheld use then makes the difference between at least seeing something, or not seeing anything at all. Over the years I've learned that I almost always go back in to get the 20x80s, so now I take them first.

Besides, you do learn to hold these optics, and with the right technique (grabbing one barell with both hands) I can confidently say that I am now better at handholding my 20x80s than I was during the first years of holding 10x50s.

#35 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 09:54 AM

Again, this shows how just how different we are when it comes to this (and among other things). I always use a tripod for astronomy for two reasons 1) My looks are never quick and 2) I prefer to have my view as still as possible all the time.

For Steve I would recommend something under 10x given his planned usage. This reasonably avoids the whole tripod issue.

#36 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 11:57 AM

I'm flabbergasted and overwhelmed by all the knowledge on this topic!

I'm just going to have to try out some different pairs when I get to New York.

At the end of the day, I'll be using these to peer into the sky more than anything else, and at this point in time I can do without the expense of buying TWO pairs of binoculars! So I suspect that a pair of 10x50's/12x50's/10x70's/12x70's will be the ones for me provided I have a steady hand. I can then buy a tripod when I get home.

Couple of questions:

- When Edz talks about 4# and 8#, what exactly is being referred to here? Zoom? Weight?? Sorry for being dumb.

- Slightly off topic, but how do you people tend to locate stars/galaxies etc in the night sky? I bought a compass on eBay which looked like a good one but it gave different readings all the time. So I emailed this Hong Kong seller and told him so he sent me another one but this one did the same! The only way I'm able to locate stars is by opening up software on my PC like Starry Night and just try and guide myself to find the planets by seeing where the moon is in comparison and looking for patterns in the stars... Where can I find a good compass?

One final question back on topic: Does a pair of 10x70's provide a wider view of the sky than a pair of 10x50's?

Thanks again to everyone who is involved in answering my (mostly very basic) questions.

#37 EdZ

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 12:09 PM

- When Edz talks about 4# and 8#, what exactly is being referred to here? Zoom? Weight?? Sorry for being dumb.

- Slightly off topic, but how do you people tend to locate stars/galaxies etc in the night sky? I bought a compass on eBay which looked like a good one but it gave different readings all the time. So I emailed this Hong Kong seller and told him so he sent me another one but this one did the same! The only way I'm able to locate stars is by opening up software on my PC like Starry Night and just try and guide myself to find the planets by seeing where the moon is in comparison and looking for patterns in the stars... Where can I find a good compass?

One final question back on topic: Does a pair of 10x70's provide a wider view of the sky than a pair of 10x50's?

Thanks again to everyone who is involved in answering my (mostly very basic) questions.


I was referring to weight 4 pounds to 8 pounds.

Go purchase a 9 inch to 10 inch Planisphere from your local bookstore for $10-$15.

10x70 do not necessarily provide a larger filed of view than 10x50s. In fact, in general it would be a narrower fov than most 10x50s. Expect most 10x50s to have about/at least a 6° field of view. My Fujinon 10x70s have a 5.2° fov.

#38 Mark9473

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 12:12 PM

When Edz talks about 4# and 8#, what exactly is being referred to here? Zoom? Weight??

it's an ancient weight unit called pounds.

Slightly off topic, but how do you people tend to locate stars/galaxies etc in the night sky? I bought a compass on eBay which looked like a good one but it gave different readings all the time. The only way I'm able to locate stars is by opening up software on my PC like Starry Night and just try and guide myself to find the planets by seeing where the moon is in comparison and looking for patterns in the stars... Where can I find a good compass?

I wouldn't really know why you need a compass...? Looking for patterns in the stars, i.e. the constellation shapes, is the essential first step in finding your way around the sky. Buy a magazine with a monthly sky map. A great short-cut is finding somebody who can point them out to you.

One final question back on topic: Does a pair of 10x70's provide a wider view of the sky than a pair of 10x50's?

It can be either way. The field of view depends on the magnification and the eyepiece desing, not necessarily on the objective size.

#39 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 12:14 PM

When Edz talks about 4# and 8#, what exactly is being referred to here? Zoom? Weight?? Sorry for being dumb.

Weight.

how do you people tend to locate stars/galaxies etc in the night sky

Ah, this might generate a huge response. You need two things. 1) a sense of direction. Which way is N, S, E, and W. 2) A beginnner star atlas. Given enough observation time you will be to recognize constellations (and then eventually they'll be burned into memory!) and recall what to look at in those constellations. And of course, the constellations' sky location will change from month to month in a very regular and predictable way. Computer programs and simulations can help, but you'll leave that inside at home, when you're out. A few people have been known to bring a laptop with them, but I recommend a good atlas rather than that.

One final question back on topic: Does a pair of 10x70's provide a wider view of the sky than a pair of 10x50's


Not necessarily. Depends on the eye piece field stops. It does collect more light however.

#40 Mark9473

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 12:16 PM

Sorry Ed for duplicating your answer; it wasn't there when I started.

[Go purchase a 9 inch to 10 inch Planishere from your local bookstore.

This is a splendid tool, however it doesn't show you the position of the planets (at least not those I've seen).

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 12:27 PM

Thanks :)

#42 KennyJ

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 01:36 PM

Steve ,

A publication I find usefel and think you would too is the MONTHLY SKY GUIDE. ( by Ridpath and Tirion )

See my link at the end of this post ( where you can actually view every page of the book without buying it ! )

It is NOT a " monthly " magazine , but a BOOK which is now in it's sixth edition -- and the current edition ( from 2003 ) covers the 5 years 2003 , 2004 , 2005 , 2006 and 2007

You get VERY well illustrated star maps of each of the 12 months of a year , with notes to guide you in the right direction and let you know what to look for in particular.

The positions of the PLANETS are indicated for every month of the 5 year period covered.

http://www.amazon.co...8695149-0777411

Regards , Kenny

#43 KennyJ

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 01:43 PM

Oh -- and Steve ,

PLEASE don't take this post the wrong way !

It's designed to help you.

I would have sent it via PRIVATE MESSAGE but you probably don't even know how that works :-)

You REALLY must try to make special time to read up on binocular basics.

There is a wealth of info on this forum in the " Best of " but even there I suspect some of the VERY basic points are not covered in the way COMPLETELY bino -ignorant people might like to see things explained to them.

If you GOOGLE " binocular basics " or something like that you will surely find lots of info that ought to be of interest to you.

Like I said in my first post to you -- I wish we could talk for about THREE WEEKS :-)

Good luck , Kenny

#44 aporigine

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 02:27 PM

"how do people find galaxies etc." ...

Lame but true: Practice, practice, practice!
I'll let you in on one of my favorite "bino sports". There's a website called heavens-above that'll show you what bright satellites are going to pass each evening. I have great fun finding and tracking these satellites ... they look rather like high-flying jetliners to my unaided eye, but in binos all aircraft have red and blue wingtip lights, whereas a satellite is a moving unblinking point source. (Usually. Some Russian upper stages tumble and do a really cool visual version of the Sputnik Beep.)
What's nice about the website is that it'll give you a planisphere-like full sky map that is correct for the time and location of the sat pass.
I did this routinely from a suburban location with a limiting magnitude of, like, three.

What watching sat passes did for me was to make me sweep areas of the starry sky I'd previously have ignored. After sat hunting I have become a MUCH more confident celestial navigator.

A typical learning curve will go like this, give or take:
1) Learn the brightest stars, where they are on the celestial sphere, where they ought to be in the sky that evening. Usually the really showy constellations (Big Dipper, Orion, Scorpius, Cassiopeia) can be picked up easily at this stage.
2) Learn the constellations starting with the brighter ones - Lyra, Cygnus, Leo ... on through Vulpecula, Monoceros and other gosh-it-doesn't-LOOK-like-a-(fill in the blank) areas of the night sky.
3) Once you've learned to orient yourself by the stars, a printed star map of some sort becomes a must. I find faint objects by looking at the lay of the stars near the object. Then I try to find that same star group in my binos. (This takes two kinds of practice - 1) gaining a feel at where your binos are pointing even before looking, and 2) figuring out how the map relates to the territory. Those pat graded star dots on the map often don't look like the real thing - until you've learned to contort your brain in a special way. Fortunately, the sky is filled with a progression of objects ranging from Easy (constellation Delphinus, cluster Pleiades, galaxy Andromeda = M31) to Uh-uh. Practice pushes the Easy boundary deeper into what started as Uh-uh.

Any treatment that's more in depth I'll leave to my elders and/or betters.

Hope this helps shed more light than heat! :)

cheers aporigine

#45 KennyJ

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 03:47 PM

Apo ,

I must congratulate you on a most novel way of explaining something many of us " sort of know " but very few of us ever seem able to explain !

Regards ,

Kenny

#46 aporigine

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 06:14 PM

Thanks Kenny! You made my day! (well that and my daughter laughing milk out her nose...) :lol:

cheers aporigine

#47 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 06:15 PM

I would have sent it via PRIVATE MESSAGE but you probably don't even know how that works :-)


:roflmao:

What an insult! Believe it or not, I'm totally clued up on the latest technology, and that includes the art of sending and receiving private messages on forums ;)

Just because I'm clueless when it comes to optics doesn't mean I'm totally dense you know!

#48 KennyJ

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 01:31 AM

Steve ,

The LAST thing I intended to imply was that you are even SLIGHTLY , let alone " totally dense " :-)

Lack of knowledge about ANY subject bears no relation to intelligence .

We either KNOW something or we don't , and all have to learn SOMEHOW .

I was a memeber here for quite a while before I even realised the PM facility existed !

A message had been posted to me and was left unanswered for quite a while.

It was quite embarrassing for me , to have appeared to be so unresponsive to a " friend ".

This too has turned out a little that way !

But at the end of it all , it's only because I want to HELP

Sorry for any offence ! -- seriously !

Kind regards , Kenny

#49 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 06:40 AM

No offence taken, it made me laugh.

I appreciate all your help + everybody elses.

Here's another question:

What have a RRP £500 pair of Nikon 10x50 binoculars got that a pair of RRP £129 Nikon 10x50 binoculars haven't got, such as these listed on eBay:

http://cgi.ebay.co.u...RK:MEWA:IT&rd=1

I do have attention to detail, but will I notice a huge difference between a £500 pair and a £150 pair of the same make (Nikon, for example) set of bins, both with 10x50?

My thinking is that if there isn't THAT much of a difference in quality, something like these ones one eBay might be perfect for my trip, leaving me to get a more expensive pair for viewing the sky at home when I return.

HOWEVER, I really want to make the most of viewing the pitch black skies at the Grand Canyon so they must be up the the job!!!

#50 Rich N

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 07:01 AM

Hi Steve,

I see two problems with these Nikons.

1. They weigh almost 34 oz.
2. Their close focus it over 20 feet.

Neither of these things is much of a problem when sitting around at night looking at the stars. However, they can be a big pain in the neck and other places when taking them on day hikes. It is really nice to be able to focus closer than 20 feet. And, lighter is always good thing when hiking.

I hope you will take another look at these two binoculars from Eagle Optics. They weigh only 22.9 oz. Eagle backs their products very well. They are waterproof.

An 8x42 has a 5.25mm exit pupil. It will wide, bright views of the Milky Way. They are light enough your wife won't mind carrying them.

You can have them shipped to you in the US over night.


Eagle Optics Ranger Platinum Class 8x42 $379 USD
http://www.eagleopti...urch=1&pid=2991

Eagle Optics Ranger Platinum Class 10x42 $399 USD
http://www.eagleopti...urch=1&pid=2992

I would add, if you receive one of these binoculars from Eagle and they have a problem, you can get them exchanged in a couple of days via over night shipping.

All the best,
Rich


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