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Can't decide between these 2

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#1 eb1019

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 01:35 PM

Hi everyone. I am new to this forum and thought maybe you guys could help me with this one. About a month ago I purchased a pair of Nikon action extreme waterproof 12x50's. For $200 I am completely blown away with the quality of these binoculars. So now I am looking to buy another pair. The only problem is I am stuck deciding between these 2 pairs. The first is the Pentax 20X60 PCF WP II (http://www.binocular...P_II_33200.html) and the other is the Celestron SkyMaster 20x80 Center Focus (http://www.binocular...ocus_33003.html). From my small experience with optics my initial thought's was that the Pentax has better optical quality than the Skymasters. But the extra 20mm of aperture is tempting. I looked through most of the posts here and also the "Best Of" and could not find an anwser. Also this may sound strange but the is one of the main things I need to know. If indeed I buy the Pentax's physically how much bigger are they to look at and hold than my 12x50's. I know for a fact that the 20x80's are much bigger than my Nikon's. But exactly how much bigger is the pentax's vs my Nikon's. With either set I plan on using them for 60% actronomy and 40% land viewing over long distances. And I keep getting mixed messegases where ever I go. I made a post on opticsplanet.com and asked if it was possiable to see the ring's of saturn with the pentax's, even if it was very very small and they told me it was absolutley impossiable. But a couple of post's here said it can be done. Any ideas ? So if anyone here can give me advice on which pair to buy I would very much appreciate it. Thank you very much, Eric :)

#2 Glassthrower

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 01:41 PM

Welcome to CN Eric!


I made a post on opticsplanet.com and asked if it was possiable to see the ring's of saturn with the pentax's, even if it was very very small and they told me it was absolutley impossiable.


I have definitely seen the rings of Saturn with my 25x binos. On a good night, I can "see" the rings of Saturn with my 15x binos....of course with the 15's the rings are visible as a bulge on each side of the disc. Not really "seeing" the rings. But with the 25's, I can almost make out the division between the rings. Almost. So I figure a 20x bino would be somewhere in between, but not "impossible".

As for Celestron optical quality, like most things in this world, you get what you pay for. Celestron offers great "bang for the buck" and very cheap large apeture binos. Of course, Pentax has a reputation for having higher quality optics, but I cannot speak on this personally because I have never look through a pair of Pens.

I'm sure the veteran bino experts in here can give you a wealth of info regarding the Pentax binos.

MikeG

#3 Mark9473

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 02:56 PM

From my small experience with optics my initial thought's was that the Pentax has better optical quality than the Skymasters. But the extra 20mm of aperture is tempting. I looked through most of the posts here and also the "Best Of" and could not find an anwser.

One answer that surely comes out of the 'Best Of' thread, is that EdZ describes how the optical excellence of the Fujinon 16x70 is outperformed by the brute force of even average-quality 100mm binoculars. You can make your own analogy between 60 and 80 mm binoculars.

Also this may sound strange but the is one of the main things I need to know. If indeed I buy the Pentax's physically how much bigger are they to look at and hold than my 12x50's. I know for a fact that the 20x80's are much bigger than my Nikon's. But exactly how much bigger is the pentax's vs my Nikon's.

20x will cause a lot of shake for hand-held use. The heavier pair will be a bit more stable due to inertia, but you won't be able to hold them as long as the other.

I made a post on opticsplanet.com and asked if it was possiable to see the ring's of saturn with the pentax's, even if it was very very small and they told me it was absolutley impossiable. But a couple of post's here said it can be done. Any ideas ?

Seeing Saturn as an elliptical shape with a certain orientation, is easy. Seeing the ring detached from the planet at its extremes, requires a steady mount, low atmospheric turbulence, and sufficient magnification. I've seen it in my 20x80s, though not often. It's also easier during twilight because of reduced glare.

#4 Alby

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 03:14 PM

EB;

Based on my experience with the Pentax PCF WPII 10x50 binocs.
I would advise going with the Pentax. Having briefly tried a Skymaster model also, I think there's a marked build quality in favour of the Pentax.

You'll probably hear it from others here......20x binocs should get tripod mounted.

Good luck

Alby

#5 eb1019

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 03:15 PM

I plan on using a heavy duty tripod and I would never even attempt to hand hold a 20x pair of binoculars. I wanted to know how much bigger is the 20x60's than my current 12x50 Nikon's. Not just lens diamater but the overall size of the binocular. I'm just confused as to go with the 20x80 because of the aperture or go with the Pentax quality. Which would you guys choose? Thanks.

#6 Swedpat

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 03:23 PM

Here you have the specifications for the Pentax, I guess your 12x50 Nikon is equal in size and weight to the Pentax 12x50.

http://www.pentax.co...f-wp2/spec.html

Patric

#7 eb1019

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 06:03 PM

Well they seem to be a little bit larger but not much. Like I asked in my 2 previous post's what would be the better set to buy. I am almost sure the pentax's will have sharper images and better coated optics, but like I said the extra 20mm on the skymasters is tempting.

#8 EdZ

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 07:12 PM

I routinely observe the rings of Saturn clearly separated from the disk with 16x70s and 15x70s. I see elongation with 12x50s and 10x50s.

I don't know too many who have reported using the 20x60 Pentax. But for two reasons I would go with the larger 20x80. One, the field of view on the 20x60 is only 2.2°, smaller than every 25x100 that I know of. Two, the 20x80 would give you a 4mm exit pupil which will really be a benefit when you go to observe faint nebula and other types of extended objects. I would expect the Pentax quality to be pretty good, but there are some very nice 20x80s out there right now.

edz

#9 eb1019

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 09:17 PM

Looking at pictures of the celestron's the build quality dosen't seem to look that great.

#10 Craig Simmons

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 06:52 AM

I would pick the 20x80s over the 20x60s. The 20x80s extra light gathering would let you see deeper and wider, but will need a stronger mounting than the lighter 20x60s.

#11 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 07:13 AM

I also support the choice of the 20x80 bins.

#12 eb1019

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 04:58 PM

So I see most of you support the idea of getting the larger 20x80's. So let me ask you this. What is the absolute best buy for around $230 to $300. And could you tell me if this tripod could support the weight of a large 80mm binocular. http://www.opticspla...uslomtalma.html If not could you recommemd one for around the same price range. Thanks :)

#13 Swedpat

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 05:48 PM

I would go for the Pentax 20x60 if it wouldn't for the small FOV. The fairly light weight body and small size is an advantage. If I get a 20x80 (and that is tempting) I will go for a Oberwerk 20x80mm Deluxe II.

Patric

#14 Rich V.

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 08:13 PM

And could you tell me if this tripod could support the weight of a large 80mm binocular. http://www.opticspla...uslomtalma.html If not could you recommemd one for around the same price range. Thanks :)


Eric, I have one of these tripods; I use it as a lightweight tall tripod for my 10x glasses. It would be OK with the 3# 20x60s. It is quite marginal (and scary $$$!) with my 4.75# 16x70s. The 7# 20x80 deluxe II is out of the question IMO. The head is plastic and the "fluid" tension adjustments are inadequate for binoculars over 15x70. You'll be hard pressed to find any tripod that is adequate for a 7# load in this price range.

For the bigger binoculars you need something like the Bogen 3036/475 or 3046 tripods with a sturdy fluid head rated for at least 11-13#. These can be found used in the $150. to $250. range, new $350.-$400. Sad to say, the mount can be more than the binocular!

Perhaps the Obie 15x70 would be a good compromise between magnification, wider field and aperture. I doesn't need the HD tripod like the Big Boys and is highly regarded in this forum.

Good luck,

Rich V

#15 eb1019

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 07:21 PM

Well it looks like I am going to go with the pentax's because $200 for a tripod is WAY out of my budget.

#16 Glassthrower

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 09:02 PM

For the bigger binoculars you need something like the Bogen 3036/475 or 3046 tripods with a sturdy fluid head rated for at least 11-13#. These can be found used in the $150. to $250. range, new $350.-$400. Sad to say, the mount can be more than the binocular!


As one of the more unorthodox members of the group, I bucked the trend a little bit and went with an underrated tripod for my big 100mm binos. This was strictly due to budgetary reasons as I could not afford to spend more on the mount than I did on the bino. Apeture fever overruled common sense and I bought a "heavy duty" Tiffen Magnum tripod used (like new) on eBay for under $50.00 shipping included. It has no center crank, but it has a nice tight smooth fluid head. And while the head is undersized for my very heavy 100mm binos (10# range), it works without any problems so far. So there are options when it comes to saving money on a mount and using big binos. But I am sure not everyone would agree with my view, and I will state that a tripod that is overloaded is not as stable as a tripod/head that is actually rated for that load.

MikeG

#17 Rich V.

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 11:03 PM

Binocular mounts are kind of like the tires on your car. Sure, you can drive your car with undersized tires but your stability, control and safety will be compromised. When you push the limits you will be unpleasantly surprised.

The same goes for your binocular mount. It might hold your glass up but a too light, shaky mount will compromise the stability, control and safety of your binocular. :(

Rich V

#18 eb1019

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 12:31 AM

Well I found these after some searching http://www.binocular...dard_21493.html and it says on multiple sites that they only weigh 4.5 pounds. They seem like a good buy . Now since they only weigh 4.5 pounds surely I could find a decent tripod in the $80 to $135 range. Could you reccomend one. Any replys would be much appricated THanks :)

#19 Rich V.

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 07:54 AM

Eric,

That B&L tall tripod you referenced WILL work with a 4.5# binocular; I've used it with nearly 5# bins. I wouldn't put anything bigger on it though. For the price, it's an OK light tall tripod. You can always use it for smaller bins (like I do) if you move up to a sturdier tripod later.

Even a Bogen 3011 with a 3130 head will cost you around $175. + frt. $79. for the B&L would work for now. Perhaps there are some recommendations from others for a suitable tripod; I just can't think of one. Look for used; there are some great values out there.

Rich V

#20 ChrisR

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 09:27 PM

you may want to try the Bogen 728B. It should be able to hold a 4.5 lbs bino though it will be toward the top end weight wise. The 728B costs approximately $150.00. Bad thing is it is not a fluid head, its a ball joint which is ok for most applications including astronomy.


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