Which of these binoculars are best for my needs?
Posted 28 July 2005 - 07:11 AM
I quite fancy going to 10x50 though.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 07:19 AM
Thanks Rich, I will take a good look at these.
I quite fancy going to 10x50 though.
Ok, here is their 10x50 model. It's 27oz.
In the daytime you won't notice any difference between a 10x42 and a 10x50. Even at night you need to be pretty well dark adapted.
This 10x50 has a relatively narrow true field. The 10x42 of the same type has a wider true field.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 08:00 AM
My all-time favorite binoculars (of reasonable size) are Celestron Ultima 10x50. Japanese made, with high quality construction, excellent optics, and very lightweight for their size. Easy to carry around for daytime use and excellent for astronomy, too. I recently went on a 2000 mile vacation odyssey and these went with me every bit of the way. They saw considerable use in both day and night.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 09:16 AM
I recently did some research on small binoculars for both day and night use, and ran across this article here on CN that you might find interesting if what you are looking for is a wide expanse view of the Milky Way. Note the star count figures in the comparison chart provided in the article as compared to the respective powers and sizes of the binos mentioned. A smaller 8x42 or something similar just might fit the bill better than you realize. Consider the "overall view" when using binos on the night sky, rather than trying to pick out detail. Lower powers and wider angles (TFOV) give you that proverbial "space-walk" exerience, and even slight increases in power or decreases in true field of view can make a big difference in what you "see" and what you "don't". That is the key to getting the utmost enjoyment out of handheld binos at night. Just a thought that might help.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 09:41 AM
If you wish to see the limits of magnitude as tabled in barry's article, you will need to be under the darkest skies you can find. maybe mag 6.5 to mag7.0.
I've done hundreds of limiting magnitude tests on binoculars. In skies mag 6 or less there is not a binocular on the planet that can see those magnitudes.
For mag 5.5 to 5.7 skies, reduce all those values by a full magnitude or slightly more. That also means for mag 5.7 skies, you need to cut all those star counts in half.
If you want to increase the density of stars seen in the same size filed of view, you should increase magnification. For instance, for any two binoculars with a 4° field of view, the higher magnification will see more stars. So while Barry's article describes the number of stars seen as determined by the field of view, it does not give you an indication of the density of stars seen in an equivalent field.
If you want to resolve more clusters and see more small objects, increase magnification. If you are content to scan the skies and see wide field vistas, but at magnifications too low to see detail, choose a low power wide field binocular.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 10:47 AM
As always, there is give and take, advantages and disadvantages, and many variables to consider in trying to match the optics to what views you reasonably expect to see. Tree bark can be interesting, but sometimes views of the entire forest give the most satisfaction.
Just a thought.......
Posted 28 July 2005 - 11:05 AM
Posted 28 July 2005 - 02:01 PM
My first REAL binos were the less-expensive Nikon 10x50s. I was always pleased with them. I'm shooting from the hip here, but the higher-priced binos possibly have quality features that matter much to birders and other daytime users, and somewhat less to nighttime users. In any case, I really liked my cheaper Nikons. I only retired them because they fell onto pavement. After that my observations of double stars took a huge leap forward.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 02:29 PM
Which is why any more than one bottle of Jack Daniels is NOT recommended prior to a viewing session :- )
Posted 28 July 2005 - 02:44 PM
Definitely not true. Everyone wants high-end, and thus expensive, glass. To what purpose depends on the user.
the higher-priced binos possibly have quality features that matter much to birders and other daytime users, and somewhat less to nighttime users.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 04:41 PM
In my experience (and I grant you it is limited) the premium optics stress field flatness and high level of false color control. Again in my experience (and this will be subjective) for viewing the night sky these qualities are desirable but not strictly necessary. The one place where I see a serious weakness in my supposition has to do with coatings - good full multicoatings appreciably brighten the night image.
That said, I cannot imagine the lesser Nikons skimp significantly on coatings. I'd think the big differences would be in number and type of objective elements - and the quality and features of the housing.
I am not adamant about any of this. Informed dissent is invited. Unless I've seriously stepped on my shorts with the above, the point on which I am so indirectly converging is this: Yah, everybody wants the high-end glass, but does everyone need it? Today's mid-range binos from reputable brands are really quite good. They'll never beat the class leaders, but (as a really crude generalization) they should afford 90% of the ride at 30% of the price.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 05:08 PM
OK educate me. What are the substantive differences between the two price-point Nikon 10x50s?
Today's mid-range binos from reputable brands are really quite good. They'll never beat the class leaders, but (as a really crude generalization) they should afford 90% of the ride at 30% of the price.
I would not disagree with your 30/90% assumption. The Eagle Optics Platinum Ranger recommended by Rich N above is an excellent binocular. You could easily pay 3 times the $419 asking price while gaining LESS than 10% in performance.
Premium binos from Leica, Nikon, Swarovski and Zeiss offer better coating, higher% light transmission, rugged build, AND pride of ownership. Many people will gain a life time of enjoyment from $300-$500 binos and never know the difference between 95% or 97% light transmission.
Edge sharpness is much more important to bino astronomers than birders. Some of the premimum Euro roof binos(8X32 to 12X50s) do not offer best edge performance.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 05:31 PM
And then there are intangibles involved like warranty cost, name recognition, snob-appeal, middleman involvement in the food chain, advertising campaigns, and etc.
As has been illuded to here on occasion, those excellent bino warranties and any resulting claims are not given away for free. The consumer ultimately pays the price for them too, whether they are ever put to use or not. Double the price of the bino and give it a "lifetime warranty". So what if you end up having to replace 10 or 12 percent of them over time, you are still WAY ahead. Why not go into the insurance business as a hidden sideline by working the charges into the price ?
Inversely, there are many examples of very "high end performance" binos out there at low to mid-level price points that simply don't seem to catch on with the buying public (beyond some limited word-of-mouth recommendations on places like the internet) because they are NOT priced high enough to demand attention. Any retailer worth his salt will tell you that you can take two identical items, place them side by side with differing lables, and price one at half the price of the other, and the "better" item will demand the most attention (and often the better sales rate) just on the perceived difference in quality. Look closely at differing brands and models of binoculars and you will see the same thing.
I think it is obvious that those who recommend "looking through them first" have been around that binocular block a few times themselves. Nothing beats comparison shopping, and all that matters ultimately is which one YOU like best for your own needs, purposes, or preferrences. Everything else is just someone else's opinion who's uses and needs may or may not apply to your situation.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 06:31 PM
Which is why any more than one bottle of Jack Daniels is NOT recommended prior to a viewing session :- )
Jack Daniel's? Can't you Brits get a GOOD bourbon like Maker's Mark over there?
Posted 28 July 2005 - 06:33 PM
I trust neither the original poster Barry Simon , or moderator EdZ will object to me extracting a very small section of one of Barry's 3 -way bino reviews from August 2004 to illustrate just ONE point I think might go some way to justifying the kind of price / quality differences you highlighted in your last post no. 535823.
Bear in mind this is just ONE person's ( Barry's ) opinion.
< I will say that (for me) the Nikon Action Extreme exhibited very sharp and uniformly round tight stars out to 50% of the way from center to edge, from this point an additional 20% was fair, 15% beyond this was marginal and the remaining 15% was quite poor. >
O.K - now 50% of the way from centre to edge might sound a pretty POOR radius to some people.
In fact , in my own experience , it is not unusual for even more expensive models to be only " very good " to somewhere around THAT distance from the centre.
But with , for example , the Nikon SE ( which is not available in a 10 x 50 as it happens ) but is available in 10 x 42 and 12 x 50 , I would estimate the " very good " to be closer to 85% " of the way from centre to edge ".
Doubtless others will disagree and insert their own estimated percentage figure -- perhaps up to 5% lower , or maybe up to 10% higher ( meaning 95% from centre is VERY GOOD in THEIR eyes )
My main point , however , is that we are talking here about imaginary concentric circles of division , as if drawn by means of a compass from the centre point , as if being used to designate and create circles of increasing diameter from a central point.
Those " outer areas " thus created by our imaginary two -dimensional sectionalisation , due to their much larger circumference , take in far LARGER AREAS of field of view than do the " inner areas ".
It is well after midnight at my location and I am too tired and without the aid of a calculator to hand -- otherwise I would provide precise AREAS involved here , but what I'm getting at is that THESE KIND of differences in parameters of perceived field sharpness , although appearing quite minimal / marginal when expressed in the way Barry did , can , in reality , amount to a VAST difference in the AREAS of SHARPNESS seen through the binocular.
It can all add up to the difference between "OK" and "GREAT"
A partner can be OK or a partner can be GREAT.
A job can be OK or a job can be GREAT.
A bed can be OK or a bed can be GREAT.
When you spend a long time with , at or on something , that difference between OK and GREAT is invaluable , in my book.
It actually CAN be worth far MORE than 60%.
Hope you get my drift !
Goodnight and God Bless , Kenny
Posted 28 July 2005 - 07:56 PM
Well that's enough.
Posted 28 July 2005 - 07:57 PM
This is a loaded question. If you do not want to be hardware limited in obtaining the best image possible, then yes, you need it. Another intimately related question is, can you afford it? That is where the battle is--finding bins who's cost will get you the furthest within your budget.
Yah, everybody wants the high-end glass, but does everyone need it?
Posted 28 July 2005 - 08:17 PM
You're both right, of course!
Perhaps I should explain one of my "angles", underlying premises, in what I'm saying.
This thread was begun by a newcomer to binoculars, astronomy and how they combine. (That's how I'm reading it, at least.)
Now, while I'd gladly shop for that last expensive increment in performance if doing so for myself or another who knows his/her bino preferences through experience, I'd counsel more fiscal caution to a newcomer, especially one on a budget.
Granted, if Steve is certain that these binos will be a lifetime workhorse, the justifiably expensive binos begin to make very good sense.
The other factor in the back of my mind is this: We're talking about a travel situation here. I don't take my best binos onto an airplane or on an extended car trip. I'd be seriously crestfallen if they should be dropped or stolen.
So I have defaulted into a mode where I'm wondering what would be a good place on the price/value curve to find an optic that'll satisfy and yet not break the bank or heart should a travel whoopsie occur.
Specifically I'd gently point Steve (and the dozen or so silent lurkers who are thinking along the same lines) to a site like maybe Oberwerk. Their binos, while not the last word in mechanical or optical quality, still handily are of a quality I'd pronounce "good". Also to the point, they represent astounding value. I recently bought a pair of 8x56es from them and, while they're obviously not Leica or Fujinon, they have no serious defects and are a pleasure for me to use. "Ya gotta like that."
I hope this places my posts in "context".
(edit) Just saw your last post, night watch. I didn't intend the question as loaded - sorry!! Naturally I'm seeing this all through the filter of my subjective experience. I have discovered that while I regard the highest-quality products very highly, *for my own needs* the next level down works well, and it leaves me more money for non-astro pursuits.
This is not an easy subject for me, because imo it boils down to subjective elements. If I have presented mine too forcefully or declaratively, I have done a disservice. By your leave, I'll tiptoe away from the topic before I asphyxiate on my own foot!
Posted 29 July 2005 - 10:01 AM
Posted 03 August 2005 - 04:31 PM
I know what you're going to say.... "try this magnification before you buy" and you're probably right.
Posted 03 August 2005 - 04:41 PM
happened to come across a pair of 8x30's today whilst visiting a client. I had a look through his office window with them to see what an 8x magnification felt like. I could hold this thing absolutely still with no shaking AT ALL, so I predict that I'll be able to hold twice that amount magnification without too much of a problem.... and these looks pretty darn good and are Nikon too!
Were you in a standing position or seated ?
Posted 03 August 2005 - 04:44 PM
Posted 03 August 2005 - 08:17 PM
There's a big difference between daytime and nighttime viewing with respect to tolerating shaking. I can handhold 10x just fine in the daytime, but at night, the wiggles give me fits if I'm looking for details.
I happened to come across a pair of 8x30's today whilst visiting a client (you could tell they were cheap though). I had a look through his office window with them to see what an 8x magnification felt like. I could hold these bins absolutely still with no shaking AT ALL, so I predict that I'll be able to hold twice that amount magnification without too much of a problem, for short periods of time at least...
Posted 04 August 2005 - 02:55 AM
Once I'm back from the honeymoon I'll then think about upgrading.
Thanks to everyone who has posted here for their help.
I'm going to ready through this entire topic (sober) and read everyones points again before I make a final decision anyway.