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best binoculars for dark sky

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#1 paulsky

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 06:20 PM

Hello,I looking for a binocular for astronomy use ,range magnification 12X/15X and 50mm /63mm aperture, very light weight, handhold,and with the best exit pupil for a very..very dark sky,
Thanks for your help in advance

#2 KennyJ

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 06:31 PM

Paulsky,

You've already answered half of your own question if you think about this.

Given your quoted parameters :

1. You want "hand -holdability " = 12x

2. You want "maximum exit -pupil" = 63mm

So what you are REALLY asking is what is the "best" 12 x 63 or as close to that hypothetical configuration.

Trust me , you CANNOT hold 15x steady -- period.

SO -- How much money are you prepared to spend ?

Regards -- Kenny.

#3 werewolf6977

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 08:53 PM

Kenny, I come awful close! WW :jump:

#4 Erik D

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 10:45 PM

Paulsky,

Kenny has arrived at a very logical recommendation for you. I do not use a tripod with my Oberwerk 12X60 and I like it fine that way. It has a wide 5.7 deg FOV for a 12X60. $109.

Erik D

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 12:11 AM

for a very..very dark sky,


Just curious, where is this sky?

#6 Rusty

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 12:55 AM

It can easily be found 95% of the time at a mere 45,000 ASL.

#7 777Guy

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 02:32 PM

Rusty,
I like my Fujinon 10x70s and have been considering adding a larger pair like Oberwerk 22x100. Yesterday I stopped by Anacortes Telescope and wildbird and looked through a Burgess 25x100. We found a bald eagle sitting on a telephone pole about a mile away and was impressed with the view. There seemed to be alot of false color with purple fringing at the brighter objects and was bothersome. My question to you is, are you pleased with your Oberwerks and do you recommend them? Since I live on the water, I spend alot of time looking at terrestrial objects with my Fujinon but haven't used them very much for astronomical purposes. Is the Oberwerk good for both purposes?
Anacortes also had a pair of the Celestron 20x100 and 20x80 but did not look through them. Have you had a chance to look through various brands before you picked the Oberwerks?
What I am looking for is a high quality binoc that serves both purposes equally well, if that is possible.
Thanks
Army Sink Navy
Jim

#8 777Guy

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 05:17 PM

Greetings Rusty,
I am interested in buying a Oberwerk 22x100 binocular. Just curious if after owning yours for awhile if you would recommend them. I live on the water just north of Whidbey NAS and plan on using the binoculars for both terrestial and astronomical observing. I currently have a Fujinon 10x70 and like them but don't like the individual focusers for terestial viewing and my wife hates them. So I like the center focus feature of the Oberwerks. I also like the appearance of the Oberwerks but have only read reviews so was wondering what your opinion is. I was planning on going through BigBinocular.com to order them, any experience with them? Their price is $395.00 plus another $149.00 for tripod. Any suggestions or advice are welcomed. Thanks.
Clear Skys,
Jim
Army Sink Navy (well sometimes) :bow:

#9 Erik D

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 07:59 PM

Jim,

Oberwerks has excellent reputation in the astro bino community. I have the Oberwerk 12X60 myself but my buddy has purchsed three pairs from Kevin Bursrow. His most recent purchase is the 22X100 model. I had a chance to test it for about a week last year and I like it. They have much better eye relief and wider FOV than my ProOptics 25X100 which cost $900. You will notice slight false color if you are viewing objects against bright background but it's to be expected with large 100mm non-ED objectives. The 22X100 comes with winged eye guards. You may want to order the optinal folding eye cups if you need glasses to observe.

Which tripod do you have in mind for $149? You'll need a tall tripod and heavy duty fluid head to mount this beast. It's twice the bulk of giant binos such as the 20X80 Orion/Megaview.

Erik D

#10 777Guy

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 05:55 PM

Erik D.,
Thanks for your input. I feel stupid as I thought I was sending a personal message to Rusty and did not realize that both messages appeared on this thread. I have read very good things about Oberwerk 22x100 binoculars and was seeking input from people I knew that had a pair. With regards to your question the $149.95 price I quoted was in error. That is the price of the Bogen 501 Heavy Duty Head only not including the tripod. I believe that would be a good mount. I believe the quoted price for the head and appropriate tripod is about $250.00.
Thanks for your recommendation for the folding eye cups. I do wear glasses but not required when I observe.
Thanks again,
Jim

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Posted 24 February 2004 - 09:34 PM

I have just purchased some 22x100 obies from bigbinoculars.com and they are wonderful. The shipment was nicely packaged. Nothing broken and perfectly collimated. They arrived in a timely manner too. I also purchased a Bogen/Manfrotto 3221NW tripod with the Bogen 501 head to go with the binos. The whole setup is quite nice.

#12 777Guy

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 12:04 AM

Night watch,
Thanks for the review. Your opinion mirrors what most folks have been saying about the obies. It helps to make my decision easier.
Cheers,
Jim

#13 Tom L

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 06:26 PM

ok, Nightwatch, this is a personal question....

How much did that whole setup cost you? (it sounds perfect!)!

Thanks, Tom

#14 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 08:02 AM

I got the Bogen/Manfrotto 3221NW tripod and 501 head combination for about $295 from adorama.com...that includes shipping and it came with a travel bag. I found this price to be a little bit cheaper than other photography stores online. The only negative thing I could say about the tripod is that there isn't a ratchet system installed to lower/raise the binocular elevation. I have gotten used to it though. I hope this helps!

#15 Rusty

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 01:19 AM

IMHO, one of the better setups for binocs is a used Quickset Samson with the standard (longer) elevator. The trick is finding one with a usable head - the older version of the QSH-9 (with the counterbalance springs removed and the head reversed) is my favorite.

The major advantage of the Samson is that the elevator is raised/lowered with a worm-gear arrangement, and that means it doesn't have to be locked down - it stays where it's put. The tripod is rated at 40# minimum. They go on eBay for $100-150 plus shipping. The trick is to get one with a head that can be adapted.

#16 Tom L

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 04:01 PM

Hi Rusty, I do see several Quickset Samson mounts on eBay, all are used but in the price you stated. I also see a lot of Monfrotto 3221 out there, but they are close to retail.

Thanks...Tom

#17 Erik D

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 08:18 PM

QuickSet SamSon and Hercules are great tripods but very expensive new( $700-$1,500 without a head) You need to be patient to find a used one in very good conditon. Be very careful when you buy from Ebay. Read the description and look at the photos carefully and asked questions and read the seller's feedback.

I bought two Samsons used last year. The first one had a missing bolt and the locking knob for the center column elevator was cracked. Thought I could just go to Lowes and get a hex bolt replacement but Quickset use fine threads not available anywhere locally. I paid about $80 for the tripod+ shipping but Quickset wanted ~$30 for a single replacment knob. Put an auto hose clamp around the locking knob and used it that way.

I have seen quite a few Bogen 501 heads sell for close to or above mail order discount price on Ebay. A few were in new condtion but missing the pan handle. They sold for slightly below mail order price but would cost another $25 for the missing handle. Buyer beware!

Anyone interested in Bogen/Manfrotto tripod should check <adorama.com> for price of new equipment before bidding on Ebay.

Erik D

#18 Rusty

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 01:31 AM

Hi Rusty, I do see several Quickset Samson mounts on eBay, all are used but in the price you stated. I also see a lot of Monfrotto 3221 out there, but they are close to retail.

Thanks...Tom


All four of the Samsons I bought had a minor problem; the most common was lubrication; Quickset must buy its lubes from the same Water Buffalo Grease factory that the Chinese mount makers, because I've had to soak some parts in mineral spirits quite a while. Two were bought for other people, and they're quite happy for the $125 they paid.

OT: Never remove grease with anything stronger than mineral spirits or kerosene (i.e., lacquer thinner, MEK, acetone, etc.)

I can now overhaul a Samson in about 20 minutes. The bolt for the collar (the one which keeps the head from coming off) is 1/4"x28 (NF pitch) - I get socket head ones 3/4" long and use a 3/32" fiber washer, and it works fine (the 1/2" is about 1/16" too short). Mostly I clean the worm, spur gear, and bearings and relube with SuperLube grease. It's important to clean the gear rack on the elevator as well.



#19 Rusty

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 01:43 AM

I bought two Samsons used last year. The first one had a missing bolt and the locking knob for the center column elevator was cracked. Thought I could just go to Lowes and get a hex bolt replacement but Quickset use fine threads not available anywhere locally. I paid about $80 for the tripod+ shipping but Quickset wanted ~$30 for a single replacment knob. Put an auto hose clamp around the locking knob and used it that way.

Erik D


Some of the Quickset bolts are NF thread pitch. Most Ace Hardware stores carry what you need (but not Lowe's or Home Despot).

The knob itself may be styrene, and any modeler's plastic "glue" will work (i.e., MEK, Acetone, Tenax 7, Ambroid Pro Weld, or Plastruct Plastic Weld - all solvents). Clamp the knob as you have with a hose clamp, apply the solvent to the crack; capillary action will draw it into the crack. Give it about 30 minutes to evaporate, and you're set.

A few might be acetal plastic, or even aluminum - for those JB Weld is the answer.


#20 Erik D

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 06:43 AM

Rusty,

Thanks for the tip. I did stop by a well-stocked local Ace Hardware first. Two of the clerks have no idea what NF thread is. I like your idea about plastic weld better anyway. It will look and work better if I can fix the orginal knob.

Erik D

#21 ngc6475

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 11:32 AM

Paulsky,

I have a pair of Nikon Superior E 12x50 binos and they are a terrific pair of medium-high power glasses. They're not cheap, but they combine respectable power, light weight, and excellent optics. They are also center focus binos, unlike the Fujinons. The exit pupil is going to be on the small side (a touch above 4mm) but, for your purposes, that may not be as important as useful hand-held magnification. Eye-relief is about 12mm, if memory serves, and I believe the field of view is in the vicinity of 5*. The binos lack a threaded socket for mounting, however, but that isn't important to me and it sounds as if that may not matter to you, either. The Nikon Superior E series of binoculars have earned an excellent reputation for optical and mechanical quality and are definitely worth considering.

#22 Rusty

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 03:18 AM

Rusty,

Thanks for the tip. I did stop by a well-stocked local Ace Hardware first. Two of the clerks have no idea what NF thread is. I like your idea about plastic weld better anyway. It will look and work better if I can fix the orginal knob.

Erik D


If the Ace Hardware clerks didn't know what NF is, they're idiots. :foreheadslap: SAE ("English") bolts/screws come generally in two thread pitches for each diameter - NC - National Coarse, and NF - National Fine. For the 1/4" bolt, NC is 20 threads per inch; NF is 28 Threads/inch. This is not rocket science. The chances are they stock it - go to their bolt/screw section and you can find "socket head heat treated" bolts/screws in both NF and NC flavors.

If you can't find them, PM me, and I'll send you one for about $0.90 most of which would be for postage.

#23 ngc6475

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 07:08 PM

I visited a website to check my numbers and the eye relief for the Nikon SE 12x50 binos is 17mm, the FOV is 5*, and the weight is about two pounds.


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