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first crack at BTs .... recommendations?

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#1 NHRob

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:58 AM

I am thinking of getting some big binos for mostly astro and am thinking perhaps a BT is the way to go.

I've owned straighthrough 70mm binos in the past (forget the model) about 15x IIRC.    They were quite fun but, I didn't use a mount and gave up on them.  That was many years ago.

 

  I often feel that if I have to drag out a mount, I' would use a scope instead.  

Now, I am thinking otherwise.  The bino experience is nice.

 

  I am thinking either straightthrough 25x100 Obie Deluxe or perhaps the Obie BT82ED.

A 45deg BT is nice in that I could also use it for terrain viewing on trips.

 

I am reluctant to go right up to 100mm EDs until I get more bino experience.

 

What do you think?   Try a modest size BT to start with,  like 70-80mm class?

 

Any experience stories?

 

Thx,

Rob



#2 markb

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:55 AM

I agree on avoiding straight-throughs, in my opinion. I had 70's-120's, including an extraordinarily fine 20x80 UO pair, and got very little use out of them due to discomfort in extended use. A parallelogram mount eliminates the easy use argument.

 

I sold all except one pair of 70s (acceptable discomfort to ease of use ratio in limited viewing sessions) as soon as I tried my first 45 degree flak binos, 10x80 WWII vintage. Heaven.

 

They slap right onto a zero friction alt az (not a Porta, too much side torque on the bearings/bushings) witha $30 Orion L bracket, on a standard SP tripod or surveyors tripod. A balance slider on the other side of the mount makes it a breeze to balance.

 

10x80 Russion border guards were just as nice, and multicoated so they pass more light. I have them in the classifieds only because the experiment instantly had me shopping for APM 100s. Never looked back.

 

The flaks and border guards are oversized exit pupils and large prisms, and are super comfortable to the eye and brain. No, CA is NOT a problem, naysayers have not used them. 70+ degree eyepieces, great fun with a 7 degree  true field, great for clusters.

 

The Russians and flaks are carry-on sized, the 100s are too big but awesome.



#3 Rich V.

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 10:06 AM

An 82mm ED BT is a great start and is still relatively compact and portable.  An ED version is best for day/night combo use.  No p-gram is necessary for an angled BT which simplifies setup.

 

It will mount easily on readily available Manfrotto tripod/head combos.  The 26# rated geared column tripods like the 475, 075 (3036) or 028 (3046) will support it very well.  I recommend a 13# rated 501HDV head as the minimum; a 17# 503 HDV would be better.  These tripods and heads are common on the used market and can be found at reasonable prices.

 

Rich



#4 GamesForOne

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 06:25 AM

The Obie BT-82XL-ED would be a great choice. The Obie Series 5000 tripod/head is a very respectable and affordable mounting option as well.

 

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#5 edwincjones

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 07:46 AM

.......................

I've owned straighthrough 70mm binos in the past (forget the model) about 15x IIRC.    They were quite fun ...........

I am reluctant to go right up to 100mm EDs until I get more bino experience.....................

 

Any experience stories?

 

Thx,

Rob

question.gif        I went from 70 to 100mm without difficulty.

 

edj



#6 Allan Wade

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 08:35 AM

What do you think?   Try a modest size BT to start with,  like 70-80mm class?

 

Any experience stories?

My experience is that the 45 degree and 90 degree binoscopes have revolutionised bino observing. I had a nice 15x70 binocular on a parallelogram that I eventually sold because of the hassle and discomfort of mounted, straight through viewing. After that I stuck with hand held only for a long time, until I discovered the APM binoscopes.

 

I use mine only for astro use, and observe high in the sky a lot, making the 90 degree versions mandatory for me. The APM 82 is not a whole lot smaller than the APM 120, but quite a bit lighter. You shouldn't worry about choosing a 100mm binoscope straight up, they are quite easy to handle. The 70mm and 80mm class won't be so demanding on the mount and offer a larger field of view. You could start with a smaller set, and then when you inevitably become smitten by them, get a larger set to complement the smaller one.

 

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#7 paulsky

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 10:42 AM

The 120 must be pure dynamite!
Paul


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#8 markb

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 12:47 PM

I absolutely agree with Allan, no need to loiter at 80mm unless funds restrict you. The only reason I did not get APM120s, which Markus said are absolutely free of chromatic aberrations, was the money. I did spend part of the difference on hand tuning as high power use was a must for me, long-term. Straight throughs are a waste, as your first pair showed you.

 

I like 45s, but I do not expect to go near the zenith often. 90s may be more versatile.

 

I don't see a learning curve, and I have myself learned that 'beginner' or 'starter' equipment just leads to frustration over money that has to be spent twice when you upgrade.

 

On a solid alt az mount the 100s (cannot speak on the 120s) are a breeze to use. 

 

However...

 

there are a couple of other considerations:

 

Travel transport:  While the 120s and 100s are not enormous, they do exceed the size limit for carry-on baggage. Locating a case for the 100s was not fun, but once I looked for commercial photographic lighting cases I was able to find a reasonably priced, solidly made one, with wheels. The flaks and border guard fixed eyepiece 80s (post above) are easily packed, and I could even bring clothes! Only partially in jest, as I have transported 5"  and 6" f5 achromats, partially disassembled,  as well as the border guard 10x80s in carry on luggage on different trips, and still was able to bring clothes with me.

 

Field and Power: While the 100s, and 120s (I assume), are phenomenal to use, they do hit a wall on low powers due to the tube length/focal length. The 100s are 525 or 550 fl, and my maximum field in 1.25 eyepieces, 20mm Widescans and, I think, 24mm UFFs, still only hit about 20x-25x, 3.5-4 degrees TFOV (about, I'm not cracking out a calulator right now).  The fixed eyepiece WWII flaks, and the post war multi-coated Russian BorderGuard TZKs, are both TFOV 7 degrees and 10x. Yes they 'waste exit pupil' but I understand this was done by design, to increase user comfort and speed of target acquisition. And they are marvelous to use, so comfortable, and lovely for clusters and large scale targets. I am remain surprised my border guards are still in the classifieds.

 

The APM 82's look like 470mm fl per APM's website, so power and field are still close to the 100s.

 

The Flaks manage the low power by using very short fl objectives (WWII flaks are around 275mm), oversize fixed eyepieces combined with monster prisms. They are a unique beast. Even uncoated WWII flaks are amazing.

 

Not to scare you off the APMs or any other big bino, but things to keep in mind.

 

And I am a solid APM fan, Markus keeps a tight ship on his specs and expectations from his suppliers. I assume the lesser objectives go elsewhere.


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#9 GamesForOne

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:24 PM

 

I like 45s, but I do not expect to go near the zenith often. 90s may be more versatile.

 

I have owned both for many years and I think the 45s are more versatile. I personally do not like trying to use the 90's for viewing anything near the horizon. I have to bend my head over a low bino position (I'm 5' 10") and find something to hang on to for steadying.

 

The 45's are great for nature and low elevation viewing. You can stand or sit very comfortably with the bino body at just below eye level and look nearly straight ahead.

 

The 90's are superior for near zenith viewing of astronomical objects where the sky is the darkest.

 

YMMV. I know there is plenty of disagreement with my opinion.

 

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Edited by GamesForOne, 16 July 2019 - 09:16 PM.

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#10 NHRob

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 04:31 PM

What do you think ... 82mm ED or 100mm non-ED?
Somewhat budget limited. I could mount either.
Dont plan much planetary with them but lunar would be nice.

#11 Allan Wade

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 05:12 PM

The 120 must be pure dynamite!
Paul

After my dob, the APM 120’s are my favourite piece of Astro gear. They really are fantastic under a dark sky.


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#12 Allan Wade

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 05:24 PM

What do you think ... 82mm ED or 100mm non-ED?
Somewhat budget limited. I could mount either.
Dont plan much planetary with them but lunar would be nice.

I bought the ED versions to eliminate any doubt about the optics. I don’t want to be constrained by what I look at because of the optics. I don’t do much planetary with them, but still take quick looks.

 

Lots of people will say the non-ED is fine if all you do is deep sky. Just personal opinion.



#13 duck2k

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 06:02 PM

The 100 APM 45/90 ED APO, is a great bino.  For me they revolutionized my sky viewing.  I have completely gone over to two eye observing (rarely use my scopes).  These binos sit on the APM fork mount with an Oberwerk tripod.  I use my Star Chair for all observations.  

 

I also have the 120’s which sit on the APM fork mount and the Manfrotto 161MK2B. 

 

All I can say is the views through both these binoculars are more than I expected.  The optics on them, are bar none.  Through the right eyepieces, the fields are free of distortion and the pinpoint stars are clear.  Setting them up is easy, no aligning (unless you have go-to, or push-to), and ready in a few minutes.  Having the Sky Safari Pro app on a phone or tablet makes night viewing a breeze.

 

I use other binoculars in tandem with the APM’s.  I do have other giant binos with mounts I built, and all my equipment gets rotated around for use.  I am a two eye addict.smile.gif

 

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#14 Skittersqueek

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:04 PM

From personal experience I would just get 45* 100mm apm's or Oberwerks equivalent. You will not be stuck wishing you had just pulled the trigger on the bigger ones and it saves you from sinking more money into a future pair and then having to worry what to do with your smaller one. Just my 2 cents of course cool.gif .

 

 

Aaron D.


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