Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Astronomical Binoculars

  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#1 Justin Milkyway

Justin Milkyway

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 39
  • Joined: 05 Dec 2015

Posted 06 December 2015 - 08:14 PM

Hello. I have lurked on this forum for years, and the information has been a tremendous help.

 

I was looking at Orion astronomy binoculars for my  15 year old astronomy loving severly Autistic son for Christmas. I need to get a good idea of what to invest in within the next few days to, hopefully, get something in hand before the holiday.

 

We have a 10" Dobsonian and a Meade ETX 90, we find our selves using cheap department store binoculars most. I began thinking binoculars on a photographic tripod might be a good idea for more casual viewing, I love our dob, and we use it fairly frequently but I thought binoculars would be easy enough that we might use them more. Plus, it would be kind of neat to watch deer on our property, my back yard is 30 acres of open pasture and 60 acres of wooded area. So terrestrial viewing would be a plus, but only secondary.

 

I started poking around all the useful information here and I probably shouldn't be surprised the subject is more complicated than my initial impressions. The parallelogram mounts kind of discouraged me, I would like to keep this as simple as possible and with out spending a lot.

 

I am leaning towards the 20x80 with XHD tripod  bundle, they have an attractive price point, but admit the 25x100 are awfully tempting. I understand that I need a tripod with a greater than 10lb limit to hold the 10lb optics. What tripod would I need? Is 25x100 overkill? 

 

My budget is $500 and no more, preferably less.

 

Any thoughts or recommendations to help me expeditiously decide will be greatly appreciated.

 

 


Edited by Justin Milkyway, 06 December 2015 - 08:28 PM.


#2 BillP

BillP

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20,807
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Spotsylvania, VA

Posted 06 December 2015 - 08:56 PM

FWIW, it is not just the weight of the binocular that impacts hold ability, but also the magnification.  Much above 10x and things get shaky quick for anything more than momentary views.  I have 12x50's and consider those about as strong as I want to go without mounting.

 

I think we all have personal preferences on how to conduct binocular astronomy.  For me I use a two prong approach and use 8x42s (Zen-Ray Summits) for observing and bring with me either a 15x50 monocular or a small spotting scope (Pentax 65 ED II on a camera tripod) if I want to get closer into something I am observing with the binoculars.  If I was going for binoculars for "astronomy", which for means getting deeper into favorite targets, then I would not go lower than 25x, so a mount is required.  And if you are going for larger binos and will use them at all for terrestrial, recommend they have center focus as many have individual focus on each eyepiece which for me is a showstopper for terrestrial use.


  • Jon Isaacs likes this

#3 Michael Covington

Michael Covington

    Author

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 6,692
  • Joined: 13 May 2014
  • Loc: Athens, Georgia, USA

Posted 06 December 2015 - 09:04 PM

Different people's eyes work differently.  There is no substitute for actually looking through the binoculars you want to buy.


  • Jon Isaacs likes this

#4 Linn

Linn

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 463
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2013

Posted 06 December 2015 - 09:55 PM

Hello and welcome to your first posting!

I have a similar path from lurking to asking to whatever. :)  May I suggest you ask this question down in the Binocular section. I have found there is a wealth of knowledgeable people there. My son is on the Spectrum and is seemingly finding his place behind a telescope. Tonight he is playing with a 16 inch Clark!

Best of luck,

Linn



#5 Justin Milkyway

Justin Milkyway

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 39
  • Joined: 05 Dec 2015

Posted 06 December 2015 - 10:35 PM

Good info.

 

Voyager 1, the Orion 20x80 has a center focus the 25x100 have individual eye piece focusers. (Not sure if that is appropriate terminology) terrestrial viewing is far less important and not necessarily a determining factor. He is severely autistic, but knows how to use a center focus. He kind of seems to struggle with the Dob focuser. I have much poorer vision than he so I can't tell if he is using it correctly. Although, you bringing up a point about the center focuser makes me think that he might be more familiar with it over individual focusers.

 

MCovington, I think he might prefer binoculars, he uses our Chinese brand binoculars regularly. He has very limited speech skills  so it is hard to know exactly what he prefers. Time is of the essence, so unfortunately attending a star party is kind of unrealistic. I guess maybe I should have considered it sooner. He can be a handful, so taking him to a local astronomy meet might be disruptive to others.

 

Vostok, mine adores stargazing, meteor showers and using our Dob. He struggles with constellations, but ironically exels at individual star identification. Sirius, Arcturus, Polaris, Pollux etc. It is strange how he is able to point out stars but despite my best efforts has difficulty with constellations. He can point towards Orion and say Orion nebula, or towards the Andromeda galaxy with no seeming regard for the constellations themselves. The mechanics of his mind never ceases to amaze me.


Edited by Justin Milkyway, 06 December 2015 - 10:44 PM.


#6 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,441
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 06 December 2015 - 11:54 PM

What are you using now?   10X50s?  Something else? 

 

I have an inexpensive 10X50 that I use a LOT!

 

I added 15X70s.   I can hand hold these but just ordered a binocular monopod for it.

 

I don't think I will ever go above 15X70.  

 

So, what do you have now?



#7 Justin Milkyway

Justin Milkyway

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 39
  • Joined: 05 Dec 2015

Posted 07 December 2015 - 08:38 AM

They are 10x50, I think. They are of a very low  quality. 



#8 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,441
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 07 December 2015 - 08:46 AM

You have a big dob and a Mak so  I would advise you keep your binoculars lighter and ready to pick and view.   I would go for better 10X50s if  you feel yours are pool quality.  or perhaps in the 10-12 X60 range so they can still be hand held.  

 

We all have our bias and for me binoculars are grab and go, quick use tools so 15X70 is the top for me and I don't expect to go higher.   Naturally your smileage will vary.



#9 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 88,172
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 07 December 2015 - 09:56 AM

Justin:

First let me say hello and :welcome: to Cloudy Nights. This is how I see it:

I believe that everyone ought to have a good pair of hand holdable binoculars, such binoculars are simple, versatile, capable, and most of all, they represent freedom, you can just look unencumbered.

Most amateur astronomers find that binoculars in the 8x40 to 10x50 range are well suited as all around binoculars, I use 7x35s, 7x42s, 10x42s and 10x50s, most often the 10x50s. The 7 x42 and 10x42 are roof prism birding binoculars, they have the virtue that they can focus as close a 6 or 7 feet.

Binoculars over 10x generally need to be mounted and that's a double whammy, you lose that sense of freedom and the mounting adds complexity as well as awkwardness and uncomfortableness. Viewing the night sky with straight through (rather than angled eyepiece) binoculars is literally a pain in the neck. The parallelogram mounts are an attempt to rectify these issues with even more complication and they do help, particularly if you add a reclining zero gravity chair. I have such a rig but its a lot to setup and that freedom is gone.. To move from one part of the sky to another, I have to get up, reposition the whole thing.. It's a lot of effort.

Instead of mounting a pair of binoculars, what works best for me is a small "wide field" telescope on a simple alt-az mount. The ETX 90 is small and handy but does not offer the binocular like wide field views and the point where you want to when you want to is missing.

Telescopes can be much more comfortable because they diagonal eliminates bending your neck to look up. Binoculars with diagonals are available but very expensive..

One can spend any amount of money on short focal length, wide field scope but there are some that are very capable and in you price range. I prefer refractors for this because they keep the image upright and can, with the right diagonal, provide a correct image left to right as well as top to bottom. Refractors also make good spotting scopes for watching deer and other widelife.

The Orioin ST-80 is a good choice for this. The Celestron 102XLT Alt-Az is another..

I think a decent pair of hand holdable binoculars would be a welcome addition to you and your son's astro tools and a small, short focal length refractor would also be most useful..

I will save recoomondations of which might be best for a following post.

My best to you and yours..

Jon Isaacs
  • Jim Nelson, BFaucett and aeajr like this

#10 BillP

BillP

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20,807
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Spotsylvania, VA

Posted 07 December 2015 - 10:01 AM

They are 10x50, I think. They are of a very low  quality. 

 

 

Something I enjoy immensely since it is so easy and intuitive, is using my 8x42s and 12x50 binoculars together.  So much fun to sit back and scan with the low power, then use the higher power to zoom in on something interesting.  I don't feel wanting for a telescope doing this too because a lot of the joy comes from being able to simply go a little deeper when you want to.

 

The Nikon Action Extreme binoculars are very nice quality and they do not break the bank (and EdZ highly recommends them - a binocular guru here).  I have the 12x50s.  So you might consider for him a pairing of binoculars like this, and leave the Dob for the higher magnifications instead of using mounted very large binoculars if ever necessary.  Getting both will come in

 

Nikon 7x35 AEs ($115) will give a really nice wide 9 degree TFOV --

http://www.adorama.c...CFVYYHwodPmEDcQ

 

Nikon 16x50 ($220) or 12x50 ($160) or 10x50 ($150) AE for closer examinations --

http://www.adorama.com/NK1650AE.html

http://www.adorama.com/NK1250AE.html

http://www.adorama.com/NK1050AE.html


Edited by BillP, 07 December 2015 - 10:03 AM.


#11 BillP

BillP

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 20,807
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Spotsylvania, VA

Posted 07 December 2015 - 10:10 AM

Binoculars over 10x generally need to be mounted and that's a double whammy, you lose that sense of freedom and the mounting adds complexity as well as awkwardness and uncomfortableness. ...

 

Instead of mounting a pair of binoculars, what works best for me is a small "wide field" telescope on a simple alt-az mount. ...

 

The Orioin ST-80 is a good choice for this. The Celestron 102XLT Alt-Az is another. ...

I think a decent pair of hand holdable binoculars would be a welcome addition to you and your son's astro tools and a small, short focal length refractor would also be most useful..

 

Also a great dual approach if not using my dual binocular approach.  I do this often as well using my 8x42s with a little 80mm scope with only two eyepieces that get me 25x and 50x.  I find that for the majority of famous targets up there that 50x is plenty deep enough to reveal their secrets after observing them with the binoculars. 

 

So if you think he can adapt to the context change easily going from binocular operation to telescope operation then this is a great pairing.  Otherwise the dual hand-held binocular approach might be easiest for him that I previously mentioned.


Edited by BillP, 07 December 2015 - 10:12 AM.


#12 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,441
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 07 December 2015 - 10:20 AM

Justin:

First let me say hello and :welcome: to Cloudy Nights. This is how I see it:

I believe that everyone ought to have a good pair of hand holdable binoculars, such binoculars are simple, versatile, capable, and most of all, they represent freedom, you can just look unencumbered.

Most amateur astronomers find that binoculars in the 8x40 to 10x50 range are well suited as all around binoculars, I use 7x35s, 7x42s, 10x42s and 10x50s, most often the 10x50s. The 7 x42 and 10x42 are roof prism birding binoculars, they have the virtue that they can focus as close a 6 or 7 feet.

Binoculars over 10x generally need to be mounted and that's a double whammy, you lose that sense of freedom and the mounting adds complexity as well as awkwardness and uncomfortableness. Viewing the night sky with straight through (rather than angled eyepiece) binoculars is literally a pain in the neck. The parallelogram mounts are an attempt to rectify these issues with even more complication and they do help, particularly if you add a reclining zero gravity chair. I have such a rig but its a lot to setup and that freedom is gone.. To move from one part of the sky to another, I have to get up, reposition the whole thing.. It's a lot of effort.

Instead of mounting a pair of binoculars, what works best for me is a small "wide field" telescope on a simple alt-az mount. The ETX 90 is small and handy but does not offer the binocular like wide field views and the point where you want to when you want to is missing.

Telescopes can be much more comfortable because they diagonal eliminates bending your neck to look up. Binoculars with diagonals are available but very expensive..

One can spend any amount of money on short focal length, wide field scope but there are some that are very capable and in you price range. I prefer refractors for this because they keep the image upright and can, with the right diagonal, provide a correct image left to right as well as top to bottom. Refractors also make good spotting scopes for watching deer and other widelife.

The Orioin ST-80 is a good choice for this. The Celestron 102XLT Alt-Az is another..

I think a decent pair of hand holdable binoculars would be a welcome addition to you and your son's astro tools and a small, short focal length refractor would also be most useful..

I will save recoomondations of which might be best for a following post.

My best to you and yours..

Jon Isaacs

Jon,

 

Really good comments.

 

As I said I started on 10X50s.  When I purchased my ETX 80 it was because the short FL 25 mm lens would give me 15X view with a 3.4 degree FOV.  Not quite as wide as my 15X70s but no jiggle and no mounts to struggle with.   I later added 15X70s which I can hand hold but they just move too much so I ordered a Monopod with swivel head, $100, to try and stabilize them.  But I can still use them hand held.

 

But it takes only a few seconds to drop that ETX 80 with the 25mm to get those wide views when I am going to want to dwell on something.  Your ST80 would serve the same purpose.  Wide and steady.

 

One thing I will note as an advantage to binoculars, the images in my 15X70s are brighter than the image in my 80 mm scope.   Because  the binoculars have two objectives each eye gets light.  The brain stacks the images and so the image seems brighter.  

 

I discovered this one night when I was observing M31, the Andromeda galaxy.  It was brighter with the 15X70s, though not steady.    I wondered why.   I closed one eye and now the 80 mm had the slight advantage.   Opened that eye and the binoculars gave the brighter image.

 

And, of course that stereo view of binoculars is nice.

 

Justin, clearly you have to do what works for you.  I hope the sharing we are all doing is helpful to you.



#13 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,052
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 08 December 2015 - 08:46 PM

My favorite bino is celestron skymasters 8x56 fuly multicoated optics. Waterproof. Easy to hold held extremely sharp views. The night sky is gorgeous in them and hand shake is kept to a minimum unlike 10x to 15x binos I have the skymaster 15-75 as well, not fully multi coated. They are heavier, stars are there but I much enjoy the 8x56's. They are about 230 Canadian. A bit more expensive then ones not fully multicoated but the views are very sharp.

#14 Binojunky

Binojunky

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,839
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2010

Posted 09 December 2015 - 12:10 PM

My favorite bino is celestron skymasters 8x56 fuly multicoated optics. Waterproof. Easy to hold held extremely sharp views. The night sky is gorgeous in them and hand shake is kept to a minimum unlike 10x to 15x binos I have the skymaster 15-75 as well, not fully multi coated. They are heavier, stars are there but I much enjoy the 8x56's. They are about 230 Canadian. A bit more expensive then ones not fully multicoated but the views are very sharp.

I have these also(8x56) however they do not work at full aperture, more like an 8x52, for less money you can get the Nikon Action Extreme in the 10x50 size, however either pair will give you lots of satisfaction under the stars, shipping costs, return policy and rebates and sale prices should also enter the equation in regards to a final choice. Pentax have recently revamped their WP11 line (cosmetic changes), its still possible to find samples of the earlier version heavily discounted, I picked up a 10x50 for $120 Canadian , TD.



#15 Mike_

Mike_

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 41
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2015

Posted 09 December 2015 - 12:35 PM

I'm a newcomer to the hobby but have both a 5.1" and 10" dob, and the $35 Celestron Cometron 7x50 binoculars, which I find myself using the most of the three.

 

Still learning my way around the sky, and I'm beginning to appreciate why so many folks consider naked eye viewing and binocular viewing as their favorite.

 

What I find most interesting is that the great thing about binoculars is not that they make things bigger - but that they make things brighter.  They turn my fistful of stars in my suburban light polluted neighborhood into an actual sky with enough stars I can work with.  I certainly wouldn't give away the lightness of my 7x50's by getting 12x50's or more and frankly I'm not sure I understand the point.  As a matter of fact, the 7x magnification I have is too much - its 6.9 degree FOV is really too small and kind of a nuisance in trying to associate one star with another and guess at the enormous star hops involved.  I would love to have a 2x50 or even a 1x50 pair that would put me closer to my naked eye view, but with superhuman sensitivity.   :)  How come they don't make them things?

 

:)


  • aeajr likes this

#16 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,441
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 09 December 2015 - 12:39 PM

I'm a newcomer to the hobby but have both a 5.1" and 10" dob, and the $35 Celestron Cometron 7x50 binoculars, which I find myself using the most of the three.

 

Still learning my way around the sky, and I'm beginning to appreciate why so many folks consider naked eye viewing and binocular viewing as their favorite.

 

What I find most interesting is that the great thing about binoculars is not that they make things bigger - but that they make things brighter.  They turn my fistful of stars in my suburban light polluted neighborhood into an actual sky with enough stars I can work with.  I certainly wouldn't give away the lightness of my 7x50's by getting 12x50's or more and frankly I'm not sure I understand the point.  As a matter of fact, the 7x magnification I have is too much - its 6.9 degree FOV is really too small and kind of a nuisance in trying to associate one star with another and guess at the enormous star hops involved.  I would love to have a 2x50 or even a 1x50 pair that would put me closer to my naked eye view, but with superhuman sensitivity.   :)  How come they don't make them things?

 

:)

 

2.3X40 Owl eyes

http://www.cloudynig...inoculars-r1743

 

http://holgermerlitz...pera2.3x40.html

 

4X40

http://www.amazon.co...s_3381367011_16

 

2.5X42

http://www.opticspla...-binocular.html

 

http://www.amazon.co...=x42 binoculars

 

2.5X50

http://www.opticspla...ars-2-7x50.html

 

 

1X to 6X binoculars

http://www.opticspla...bymagn-1-6.html

 

 

http://www.fineoperaglasses.com/


Edited by aeajr, 09 December 2015 - 12:56 PM.


#17 Mike_

Mike_

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 41
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2015

Posted 09 December 2015 - 03:00 PM

Well, I'll be...



#18 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,441
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 09 December 2015 - 04:16 PM

They are waiting for your order.  :D



#19 Man in a Tub

Man in a Tub

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 16,741
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2008
  • Loc: 802,701½ C.E.

Posted 09 December 2015 - 04:43 PM

 I would love to have a 2x50 or even a 1x50 pair that would put me closer to my naked eye view, but with superhuman sensitivity.   :)  How come they don't make them things?

 

:)

 

There are discussions about this 2.1x42 in the Binoculars Forum. It doesn't have "superhuman sensitivity" and you can't use it well when wearing eyeglasses. And it's not cheap. There are other similar binoculars on the market.

 

Vixen Optics 2.1x42 SG Wide-Angle Binocular

 

(Your post #15 made me stop to reply and I didn't notice aeajr's (ed's) post #16.


Edited by Man in a Tub, 09 December 2015 - 10:44 PM.


#20 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 30,356
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 09 December 2015 - 05:50 PM

Hello. I have lurked on this forum for years, and the information has been a tremendous help.

 

I was looking at Orion astronomy binoculars for my  15 year old astronomy loving severly Autistic son for Christmas. I need to get a good idea of what to invest in within the next few days to, hopefully, get something in hand before the holiday.

 

We have a 10" Dobsonian and a Meade ETX 90, we find our selves using cheap department store binoculars most. I began thinking binoculars on a photographic tripod might be a good idea for more casual viewing, I love our dob, and we use it fairly frequently but I thought binoculars would be easy enough that we might use them more. Plus, it would be kind of neat to watch deer on our property, my back yard is 30 acres of open pasture and 60 acres of wooded area. So terrestrial viewing would be a plus, but only secondary.

 

I started poking around all the useful information here and I probably shouldn't be surprised the subject is more complicated than my initial impressions. The parallelogram mounts kind of discouraged me, I would like to keep this as simple as possible and with out spending a lot.

 

I am leaning towards the 20x80 with XHD tripod  bundle, they have an attractive price point, but admit the 25x100 are awfully tempting. I understand that I need a tripod with a greater than 10lb limit to hold the 10lb optics. What tripod would I need? Is 25x100 overkill? 

 

My budget is $500 and no more, preferably less.

 

Any thoughts or recommendations to help me expeditiously decide will be greatly appreciated.

Particularly for a young person just getting their feet wet, I would go light weight and wide field.  Light weight helps hold them steady.  Wide field makes it easier and more intuitive to locate what you're looking for.  A young person will have great pupil dilation and the traditional "night glass" producing a wide 6-to-7-degree field and large 7mm exit pupil would be great.  The classic would be 7x50s.

 

There's no reason to spend a fortune on them, either.  Great 7x50s can be had for ~$140.  Here are a few:

 

Nikon:  http://www.bhphotovi...EX_Extreme.html

 

Nikon:  http://www.bhphotovi...culon_a211.html

 

Vixen:  http://www.bhphotovi..._Binocular.html

 

Opticron: http://www.bhphotovi...ga_wp_7x50.html

 

Orion:  http://www.telescope...c/72/p/9332.uts

 

Oberwerk 8x56:  http://www.bigbinoculars.com/1156.htm

 

Oberwerk 7x50:  http://www.bigbinocu...com/mseries.htm

 

A pair of young eyes, 7x50s and a binocular oriented observing sky chart would be aces.

 

Regards,

 

Jim 


Edited by jrbarnett, 09 December 2015 - 05:52 PM.

  • BFaucett likes this

#21 bluesteel

bluesteel

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,159
  • Joined: 24 Mar 2013
  • Loc: KILM

Posted 09 December 2015 - 07:01 PM

How well does your son handle the binoculars, such as focusing them for both eyes? If he does that well, here is a suggestion that might appeal to him - zoom binoculars. Zooming in and out is quite an enjoyable activity when you find something that piques your interest. Nikon has a 10-22x, 50mm aperture binocular. I have the pair, and enjoy using them very much.
Only issue I have with them is when fully zoomed at 22x, you either need to be seated, or have them mounted on a tripod in order to keep the image displayed stable, but that is the case for anything above 12x magnification.

#22 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,441
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 10 December 2015 - 12:23 AM

I have been strongly and repeatedly warned away from zoom binoculars.  The basic issue is that the two sides eventually go out of sync and the binoculars are useless with no way to fix them.  

 

I have never had or used zooms but this is the advice I have received.



#23 Man in a Tub

Man in a Tub

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 16,741
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2008
  • Loc: 802,701½ C.E.

Posted 10 December 2015 - 12:35 AM

How well does your son handle the binoculars, such as focusing them for both eyes? If he does that well, here is a suggestion that might appeal to him - zoom binoculars. Zooming in and out is quite an enjoyable activity when you find something that piques your interest. Nikon has a 10-22x, 50mm aperture binocular. I have the pair, and enjoy using them very much.
Only issue I have with them is when fully zoomed at 22x, you either need to be seated, or have them mounted on a tripod in order to keep the image displayed stable, but that is the case for anything above 12x magnification.

 

 

I have been strongly and repeatedly warned away from zoom binoculars.  The basic issue is that the two sides eventually go out of sync and the binoculars are useless with no way to fix them.  

 

I have never had or used zooms but this is the advice I have received.

 

Whenever someone drops into the Binoculars Forum and asks about zoom binoculars, we will link to an excellent article by Kevin Busarow of Big Binoculars/Oberwerk.

 

Just Say No to Zoom Binoculars
a.k.a. Friends Don't Let Friends Buy Zoom Binoculars

by Kevin Busarow

 

So, take heed.


  • Jon Isaacs, Jim Nelson, Juan Rayo and 1 other like this

#24 Mike_

Mike_

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 41
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2015

Posted 10 December 2015 - 07:41 AM

Telescopes can be much more comfortable because they diagonal eliminates bending your neck to look up. Binoculars with diagonals are available but very expensive..

One can spend any amount of money on short focal length, wide field scope but there are some that are very capable and in you price range. I prefer refractors for this because they keep the image upright and can, with the right diagonal, provide a correct image left to right as well as top to bottom. Refractors also make good spotting scopes for watching deer and other widelife.

The Orioin ST-80 is a good choice for this. The Celestron 102XLT Alt-Az is another..

I think a decent pair of hand holdable binoculars would be a welcome addition to you and your son's astro tools and a small, short focal length refractor would also be most useful..
 

 

The idea of using a small refractor/mount combination such as the 102XLT Alt-Az makes a lot of sense to me as a quick grab and go and something to fill the gap between my binoculars and dob(s).  I also covet the slo-mo controls and the tripod which would be heavenly (heavenly - get it?) if I could use it with my little AWB as well.  Any reason why the mount wouldn't work with the AWB dovetail?

 

-- Mike

 

P.S.  I note there seems to be an identically priced package using a newtonian OTA (Celestron 22152 Omni XLT AZ 130mm Newtonian) that I think is very close to the AWB, so my first guess is there would not be a problem and no rings would be required, for ex.  ?


Edited by Mike_, 10 December 2015 - 10:34 AM.


#25 bluesteel

bluesteel

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,159
  • Joined: 24 Mar 2013
  • Loc: KILM

Posted 10 December 2015 - 12:07 PM

I have been strongly and repeatedly warned away from zoom binoculars.  The basic issue is that the two sides eventually go out of sync and the binoculars are useless with no way to fix them.  

 

I have never had or used zooms but this is the advice I have received.

After 2 and a half years with weekly use, they have yet to go out of "sync".  I've seen friends "astronomical" binoculars not fair as well after only 6 months of use, and they could never get them properly collimated again.  If you let your eyes defocus like a magic eye picture, the decolimated binocs made a neat 3d effect though!

 

 

 

How well does your son handle the binoculars, such as focusing them for both eyes? If he does that well, here is a suggestion that might appeal to him - zoom binoculars. Zooming in and out is quite an enjoyable activity when you find something that piques your interest. Nikon has a 10-22x, 50mm aperture binocular. I have the pair, and enjoy using them very much.
Only issue I have with them is when fully zoomed at 22x, you either need to be seated, or have them mounted on a tripod in order to keep the image displayed stable, but that is the case for anything above 12x magnification.

 

 

I have been strongly and repeatedly warned away from zoom binoculars.  The basic issue is that the two sides eventually go out of sync and the binoculars are useless with no way to fix them.  

 

I have never had or used zooms but this is the advice I have received.

 

Whenever someone drops into the Binoculars Forum and asks about zoom binoculars, we will link to an excellent article by Kevin Busarow of Big Binoculars/Oberwerk.

 

Just Say No to Zoom Binoculars
a.k.a. Friends Don't Let Friends Buy Zoom Binoculars

by Kevin Busarow

 

So, take heed.

 

Not all zoom binoculars are created equally obviously.  There are cheaper zoom binoculars that advertise, like the "department store" telescopes, claiming extraordinary magnifications.  I would agree in these cases that you are better off buying a fixed focal length set of binoculars at the prices they are selling the cheaper binoculars at (~$50-$75).

 

Yes, the field of view will be less than a fixed magnification, that is a given, just like an eyepiece that has different magnifications. However, just like the binoculars, there are cheaper zoom eyepieces (Zumhell, Celestron) that work okay, and there are good ones (Baader, Lecia, Swarovski) that work great, and many would argue work just as well, if not better, as a fixed focal length eyepiece.

 

Good luck trying to find an object with a 20x fixed magnification binocular without having a finder mounted on top of the unit!  I have no problems finding targets at 10x, then increasing the magnification in the binoculars I have to further study the object. As we all can agree, increasing the magnification on many celestial objects reveals more detail.  I also do not have to have the binoculars mounted on a tripod to enjoy them, as I can just browse around at 10x.  If I want a more stable view, I attach them to a tripod with the included mounting bracket, and can zoom in without any issues of shaking images displayed.

 

I can only go by my own first hand experience, but several friends have bought the exact same binoculars I have without any issues that the article linked described.  Also, Oberwerk is far from the only brand in the game, which the article seems to have a bias towards.  The article is hosted by a web site that sells mainly that brand it looks like, so I have to take it with a grain of salt as well.  I do not see any Nikon binoculars on that web site. 

 

The binoculars I have are linked below:

http://www.amazon.co...aculon 10-22x50

 

You would think there would be more negative reviews for these binoculars if they were so bad. :shrug:

 

Due to handling with shipping, binoculars can be knocked out of proper collimation.  Also, not all binoculars will come from the factory properly collimated, allowing the image to "merge" into one when viewing through them.  This happens with any brand, at any price range.  If you buy them from a reputable dealer, you can just exchange them for another set and try again. 


Edited by bluesteel, 10 December 2015 - 12:08 PM.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics