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Oberwerk LW - lightweight binoculars

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#1 cNumb

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 08:24 PM

Hi All, I am interested in the Oberwerk lightweight series for 'hand-held' astronomy.

 

The 11x70 mm and 15x70 mm looks pretty interesting, with a weight around 4 lbs. The reviews overall seem to be overwhelmingly positive.

 

Anyone with direct experience? how do they compare to the deluxe or the ultra series?

 

Recommendations about 11 vs 15? will the 15 be too shaky to be 'hand-held'? 

 

https://oberwerk.com...ght-binoculars/

 

Thx!


Edited by cNumb, 21 March 2019 - 08:28 PM.


#2 jaraxx

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 09:20 PM

I can take quick looks thru a Nikon 12X50 handheld, but that's my limit. I think 15x is too shaky for most of us if the truth is told, and I guarantee you can see a lot more with a mount anyway. And I don't think being lightweight helps steadiness at 15x. Maybe at 6x, but not 15 where your heartbeat is a problem...

I've never used them but I've read they are good binoculars. I've found Oberwerk to be an excellent company for what it's worth.



#3 Astroman007

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 10:11 PM

The idea of the 20x80 LWs on the Oberwerk monopod for daytime aircraft and nature observation certainly appeals to me (a cheap higher power light weight knockabout setup compared to my pricier heavy quality astronomy Oberwerks).

And to repeat / confirm what the poster just above me said, the company's customer service is excellent, as is their warranty and their packaging. Source: my (so far) two-time first hand experience.



#4 tmichaelbanks

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 09:49 AM

Lying back in a zero-gravity chair looking at targets roughly overhead, I can manage hand-holding the OB 15x70 Ultras at 5.5 lbs. for a minute or so at a shot.  The trick is to rest the eyepieces on the brow of your forehead and stabilize the binos with your grip.  It naturally gets harder as the elevation decreases, and a tripod/mount helps tremendously in all instances.

 

I would recommend 15x over 11x, simply because the added magnification will tease out more details at night, especially if you observe under light-polluted skies.



#5 Rich V.

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 10:21 AM

Be careful with the LW binoculars; they have delicate prism assemblies and do not hold collimation as well as the other models you mention.  Price has its compromises.  While Oberwerk's models may have a higher spec, better warranty and customer service, the LW design is still the same as the infamous Celestron Skymasters.

 

Rather than having prisms rigidly mounted on an adjustable prism shelf, the LW binos rely on tiny grub screws that push directly against the prisms to align them.  I've seen a number of these "LW" binos get knocked out of alignment by a relatively small impact.  Frequently, a prism is dislodged from its normal position far enough that the grub screws are ineffective in returning it back to a usable condition.

 

The Ultra line uses the superior rigid prism shelf design and are much more rugged.  I believe the Deluxe models also use this prism shelf design.  IMO, considering the longer term can be very worthwhile when you invest in a binocular.

 

Rich


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#6 cNumb

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 10:28 AM

Thanks everyone for the replies.

One more piece of information after further reading. The LW series is water resistant and not water proof as the deluxe and ultra series. Some users complain that in high umidity conditions the LW can get foggy. I guess this is another compromise for the lower price (even a good company as Oberwerk cannot make miracles).

At this point I will consider the deluxe or ultra series and a mount.

Any suggestion between deluxe and ultra? Thanks everyone for the thoughts

#7 Binojunky

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 12:03 PM

If the OP can push the boat out a bit further so to speak then the Nikon Action Extreme, Bushnell Legacy or Pentax SPWP will give a better experience over the years,D.



#8 Astroman007

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 01:23 PM

Thanks everyone for the replies.

One more piece of information after further reading. The LW series is water resistant and not water proof as the deluxe and ultra series. Some users complain that in high umidity conditions the LW can get foggy. I guess this is another compromise for the lower price (even a good company as Oberwerk cannot make miracles).

At this point I will consider the deluxe or ultra series and a mount.

Any suggestion between deluxe and ultra? Thanks everyone for the thoughts

Price wise, if you are on a tighter budget, I would recommend the 15x70 Oberwerk Deluxe. If you could stretch it a bit, then the Oberwerk 10.5 or 15x70 Ultra.

The Ultras may be a bit more robustly built and a bit heavier, but the two lines are not that much different as far as quality is concerned. My 25x100 Deluxe and my 28x110 Ultra are fairly similar externally, though the Ultra does have a bit of an edge on the Deluxe.

Internally and through, they are both fantastic.


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#9 Astroman007

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 01:26 PM

Oh, and by the way, where are you? (A generality is fine). If you live in a dry area like the desert SW I wouldn't be too concerned about the humidity fogging up the insides of one of the LWs.

If you live in Florida or the Pacific NW, well...


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#10 harbinjer

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 02:31 PM

While Oberwerk's models may have a higher spec, better warranty and customer service, the LW design is still the same as the infamous Celestron Skymasters.

 

I have some Oberwerk LW 15x70's, and they are definitely much better than the Skymasters(the one's I've seen and Glenn's thorough description). Their coatings are on all air-to-glass surfaces, and quite effective. Also I measured mine at closer to 68mm effective aperture, but it could've been innacurate.  The prisms mountings might be a bit delicate, but I have had mine tip from a tripod, and survive with collimation intact, so they have some basic ruggedness.  They have a wide field and a good sized sweet spot. And the edge doesn't get annoying fuzzy.  Also, the difference between 10x and 15x will allow you to resolve many open clusters from a fuzzy patch into stars. It really is a different sky at 15x. I've found that they work ok hand-held from a zero gravity chair for a while, but a parallelogram or tripod, or chair mount will allow much more resolution through steadiness. 

 

They have a log eye relief and that does help with fogging. You can buy a lot of dessicant for the price difference to the Ultras. And you will see 98% of the same stars as the more expensive units, they just might have a slightly better view, and in a dark sky, you definitely see stars that aren't in an atlas. 

 

For exclusively "hand held" astronomy, I think 8x56 are a great size, or even 9x63, but by 10x50 or 11x70, it will be very shakey, if not right away, after a few minutes. Even with steady hands, any bit they shake will be multiplied by the magnification, and it definitely make a visible different. 7x50's are very popular for this reason. Though you may not see as deeply, it will be a pleasant view. 


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#11 MFD

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 06:09 PM

I have had my Obie 11x70’ s for almost 15 years and they have served me well. The rubberized outer shell has discoloured slightly and the metal part past the oculars has become sticky some how ( no idea how that happened , goo gone took it off ). They are stil in collimation. I just bought a new tripod so I have been using them again, no problem with fogging up ( Vancouver BC ). They need to be mounted. I will be upgrading at some point.
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#12 cNumb

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 06:56 PM

Oh, and by the way, where are you? (A generality is fine). If you live in a dry area like the desert SW I wouldn't be too concerned about the humidity fogging up the insides of one of the LWs.

If you live in Florida or the Pacific NW, well...

I am in the greater Boston area. As far of humidity it goes up and down, but summer days can often be quite humid.

 

To briefly introduce myself, I have a PhD in lasers and optics. However, I spent most of my time looking to very small objects very close by, and not very large objects very far away as you guys do cool.gif


Edited by cNumb, 22 March 2019 - 07:08 PM.

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#13 cNumb

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 07:06 PM

Thanks for replies (again). I had a very old pairs of Leica 8x42 and was hoping to get to something with higher magnification. That's why I was considering the LW series (which I was hoping to use handheld) with 15x. However, it seems like I would need a mount anyway, so let's go for it at this point wink.gif

I guess that within my budget, I can get:
- Oberwerk 15x70mm Deluxe
- Oberwerk 15x70mm Ultra
- Oberwerk 20x80mm Deluxe III

the Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe is a little tight for my budget (considering the additional price for a mount).

Anyone that can help me with this choice?

Edited by cNumb, 22 March 2019 - 09:08 PM.


#14 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 07:10 PM

Thanks for replies (again). I had a very old pairs of Leica 8x42 and was hoping to get to something with higher magnification. That's why I was considering the LW series (which I was hoping to use handheld) with 15x. However, it seems like I would need a mount anyway, so let's go for it at this point wink.gif

 

I guess that within my budget, I can get:

- Oberwerk 15x70mm Deluxe

- Oberwerk 15x70mm Ultra

- Oberwerk 20x80mm Deluxe III

 

the Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe is a little tight for my budget (considering the price of a mount).

 

Anyone that can help me with this choice?

Personally I would have to mount any of those three or use a monopod/brace/deck chair/bino chair, etc

 

too much mag for handholding anything longer than a quick shaky look. Binos that are stable are great observation tools, but not so much when shaky. Even my 12x60 LW’s are too shaky unless going for quick looks. The longer barrels help handholding, but not the lighter weight really. 


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 22 March 2019 - 07:12 PM.


#15 cNumb

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 09:07 PM

Yes, I am going to get a mount for those binoculars mentioned above. Just trying to get my head around the 4 models mentioned above. Thanks

#16 Astroman007

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 10:06 PM

I use my 16x70s without any need for mounting, and I'm almost positive that they're heavier than the LWs.

 

But we're all different, I suppose.



#17 CAAD9

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 10:41 PM

I use my 16x70s without any need for mounting, and I'm almost positive that they're heavier than the LWs.

 

But we're all different, I suppose.

I wonder if the balance of a binocular is more impactful on holding it steady than outright weight?  I have an 8x42 roof that weighs half of an old Nikon 7x50 Porro marine binocular which weighs 1.4-1.5 kg.  I can’t hold those roofs anywhere near as steady as that solid old Nikon. Even putting aside that 8x is a higher magnification than 7, but the difference in ability to hold both steady is not even comparable.

 

cNumb welcome to the forum.  Have you considered image stabilised binoculars? It’s not a gimmick, the technology really works.  Canon 10x42L is the “best” of the bunch optically, but the 18x50 can reach a lot deeper in terms of details of DSOs etc. The reduced aperture compared to 70/80mm binoculars is mostly offset by the fact the view is steady. Also the advantage of higher aperture is limited by light pollution.  

 

Good luck with your choice.



#18 Astroman007

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 12:35 AM

I wonder if the balance of a binocular is more impactful on holding it steady than outright weight? 

Indeed.

 

Even the positioning of your hands on the binocular's body makes a great difference, as does how the eye-cups rest against the bony areas about the eyes.



#19 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 01:11 AM

I use my 16x70s without any need for mounting, and I'm almost positive that they're heavier than the LWs.

 

But we're all different, I suppose.

Hats off to you if you can hold a 16x70 free of shaky views. I think the majority of the forum members here would find that difficult.



#20 Tony Flanders

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 06:53 AM

Price wise, if you are on a tighter budget, I would recommend the 15x70 Oberwerk Deluxe. If you could stretch it a bit, then the Oberwerk 10.5 or 15x70 Ultra.

I own a pair of Oberwerk lightweight 15x70s that went badly out of collimation. Before that happened, I loved those binoculars. They have amazingly good optical quality for the price, and I find the eye relief and the way they fit my hands to be just about perfect. Aside from the issues with mechanical quality, the aperture of these binoculars is closer to 60 mm than 70 mm.
 
I recently bought the Deluxe, and I'm very pleased with them. They're not as comfortable for me as the Lightweight, but they're still quite comfortable. The optical quality is no better than the Lightweights, but the mechanical quality is vastly superior. And they have full 70 mm aperture, or pretty close to it.

 

Although the Ultras clearly have the best optical quality of the lot, I find their eyepieces deeply uncomfortable, so they would be my last choice. But I have deep-set eyes, which exacerbates the problems with these fat eyepieces digging into my nose. And the Ultras are still far more comfortable than the Fujinon 16x70s, whcih have truly fat and nasty eyepieces, but also the best optical and mechanical quality of the lot.



#21 Astroman007

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 11:40 AM

I own a pair of Oberwerk lightweight 15x70s that went badly out of collimation. Before that happened, I loved those binoculars. They have amazingly good optical quality for the price, and I find the eye relief and the way they fit my hands to be just about perfect. Aside from the issues with mechanical quality, the aperture of these binoculars is closer to 60 mm than 70 mm.
 
I recently bought the Deluxe, and I'm very pleased with them. They're not as comfortable for me as the Lightweight, but they're still quite comfortable. The optical quality is no better than the Lightweights, but the mechanical quality is vastly superior. And they have full 70 mm aperture, or pretty close to it.

 

Although the Ultras clearly have the best optical quality of the lot, I find their eyepieces deeply uncomfortable, so they would be my last choice. But I have deep-set eyes, which exacerbates the problems with these fat eyepieces digging into my nose. And the Ultras are still far more comfortable than the Fujinon 16x70s, whcih have truly fat and nasty eyepieces, but also the best optical and mechanical quality of the lot.

Interesting. I find the 16x70s to be the most comfortable binoculars that I own, including the eyepieces, of which when I first got them and tried them out, I thought "this is the epitome of eye-cup comfort." The binocular truly "disappears" to me.

Funny how two observers can be so radically different from each other in their tastes. But my eyes are quite the opposite of deep set, and the bridge of my nose is quite thin. That could explain it.


Edited by Astroman007, 23 March 2019 - 11:41 AM.


#22 cNumb

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 03:55 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

 

Spending more time on Oberwerk website. They have various binocular mounts/tripods/heads (Oberwerk series 3000, 4000*, 5000). Anyone using them? good quality product?

* "The 4000 Series combo is simply our 3000 Series tripod with the 5000 Series head."



#23 Cali

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 04:25 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

 

Spending more time on Oberwerk website. They have various binocular mounts/tripods/heads (Oberwerk series 3000, 4000*, 5000). Anyone using them? good quality product?

* "The 4000 Series combo is simply our 3000 Series tripod with the 5000 Series head."

I have the Obie 20X80 LWs and they sit on the Series 5000 head/tripod with ease. Its a nice mount and has an elevator arm which to me was important in selecting the 5000. I have also used the head/tripod to host an Orion 127mm Mak. Fully loaded the scope clocks in at just over 12 pounds.

 

When the tripod is fully fully collapsed, from the floor to the eyepiece of the mounted binocular is 3 feet. This height is good for me because I always try to view while seated and if I need a bit more height for the binocular, I just turn the elevator crank. Easy peasy. The two over sized pan handles are also a nice feature.

 

Its a rock solid head/mount combination.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 23 March 2019 - 04:38 PM.

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#24 paul hart

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 06:17 PM


Recommendations about 11 vs 15? will the 15 be too shaky to be 'hand-held'? 

 

I have the 15x70 LW's they do need to be mounted however If I am lying back in a recliner chair and looking straight overhead, I can hold them almost steady, otherwise 10x is my upper limit for handheld.

 



#25 tmichaelbanks

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 09:22 PM

I have the Oberwerk 5000 head and tripod combo and use it with the OB 15x70 Ultra and lighter fare.  It's very stable and I've had no mechanical issues with it.

 

I view standing with it exclusively, and although it can extend to 84 inches I usually have it set to about 6.5 ft. with the 15x70s.  The hand crank for the head is really convenient for changing targets and viewing heights.




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