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What Is Your Favorite Hand Held Binocular?

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#1 rushintuit

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 10:36 AM

If you could only own one pair of binoculars for astronomy and they could only be hand held, which binocular would you pick?

#2 EdZ

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 10:48 AM

See

If you could only have TWO binoculars?
with about 60 replies to a similar question

and this one
High quality handheld?
with another 75 replies

edz

#3 KennyJ

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 11:20 AM

Although I've never actually tried one , from what I know I like and what I've read , specifically for HAND HELD ASTRONOMY use , I think the Canon 15 x 50 Image Stabilised would probably take some beating .

I've never actually tried a 15 x 50 Canon , however .

In DAYTIME , I've briefly tried two 10 x 30s ( which I quite liked ) and a 18 x 50 ( which I did NOT like at all )

Regards , Kenny

#4 johnno

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 11:30 AM

Hi All,
In answer to your question.

I will base my answer on what I actually own,rather than what I would like,but,cant afford.

11x56 without doubt.

Regards.
John

#5 brocknroller

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 11:31 AM

I DO only own one pair of binoculars for stargazing. I occasionally use my birding binoculars to sweep the Milky Way or look at star clusters, but they don't show the level of detail my Nikon 12x50 SE does on the night sky.

I need to be well braced to use the SE handheld since 12x is just passed the limit of what I am normally able to hold steady. I need to lie down in a lawn chair and prop up my arms. I still get some "bounce" with each heartbeat, but it's a lot easier on the neck than using a tripod.

The ergonomics are excellent for stargazing. For day time use, I don't find them as easy to hold, because the balance point is below the prism housings, making them somewhat front heavy, so I need to place my hands near the end of the barrels. But when I'm lying down, the weight is shifted backward, and the balance is good.

The weight is also light enough that it takes a while for arm fatigue to set in, and if my arms are propped, I can stargaze for long periods w/out a break.

The 10x42 SE is easier for me to handhold for stargazing, but it doesn't pack as much "punch", though it is more versatile.

Bright stars seem to pop out from the fainter background stars, giving the sky a 3-D look. Stars appear as VERY bright, pinpoints (with good seeing), and the contrast except on bad transparency nights is exceptional. While not sharp to the edge, the edges are very good. I don't notice the defocused stars at the field edge since the "sweet spot" is large.

During the winter, I saw Sirius as a round ball with NO spiking! The SE is the ONLY bin I've used that showed that. Excellent detail on brighter DSOs and suprisingly good detail on fainter fuzzies under darker skies.

I do notice some CA on Jupiter and the moon and on hawks against a bright, gray sky, but except in high contrast situations, CA is usually not noticeable.

I find the ER works fine for me with or w/out my glasses, however, some users have complained about image "blackouts".

If you can handhold 12x while braced and perhaps put up with a little bounce, you would be hard pressed to find a more comfortable handheld binocular for stargazing with as sharp and bright views.

#6 Bob W6PU

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 12:15 PM

Rushintuit, without hesitation I would choose my Oberwerk 15X70.

They are considerably lighter than my Vixen 11X80, and the 15X and "almost" 3" objectives allow me to scan for DSOs which I can then examine with my 10" Newt.

Interestingly enough, I am able to pick out faint objects such as M51, and M57, which I can't see in my 7X50 !

Cheers!
Bob in NM

#7 EdZ

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 12:23 PM

I couldn't help but notice that the title of this post and the primary question ask for two completely different things.

My favorite hand held binocular (if I could come up with one) would not be the same choice as "If you could only own one pair of binoculars for astronomy and they could only be hand held, which binocular would you pick?"


edz

#8 Glassthrower

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 01:09 PM

I'll limit this to the one good handheld day/night binocular that I actually own : the Bushnell Audubon 8x42WA. It has an 8 degree FOV with good edge performance and the 5mm exit pupil seems to provide good contrast under my light polluted skies. I originally bought this binocular for birding and general daytime use, this was back around 1992 when this model was made in Japan and retailed for about $189.00. That was a "big" purchase for me back then.

Years later I got into astronomy with giant binoculars (70mm and 100mm), and I discovered that my smallish 8x42 binos were good for stargazing as well. They have good balance and a sturdy build. After over 10 years of sometimes-neglectful use, they have held up well with no scratches on the lenses, but there are a few spots on the coatings. I've never had the urge to buy another handheld bino until recently and I just purchased a vintage 7x50IF Binolux which won't arrive until tomorrow. But I strongly suspect my favorite handheld will remain the 8x42.

Clear dark skies...

MikeG

#9 Rich N

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 05:28 PM

For relatively low power views I love my Swarovski 8.5x42EL.

My favorite hand held binoculars for astronomy are:
Swarovski 8.5x42EL
Zeiss 10x42FL
Nikon 12x50SE
Leica 12x50BA
Canon 15x50IS

Rich

#10 KennyJ

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 05:41 PM

< I couldn't help but notice that the title of this post and the primary question ask for two completely different things.

My favorite hand held binocular (if I could come up with one) would not be the same choice as "If you could only own one pair of binoculars for astronomy and they could only be hand held, which binocular would you pick?" >

Not only do I agree entirely with Ed's point above ( which is WHY I worded MY previous post the way I did ) but now Rich has mentioned no less than FIVE " favourite hand held binoculars for astronomy "

The plot THICKENS ! :-)

Next suggested question ?

How about " What are your 46 favourite binoculars if you were ONLY allowed to look at sheep through them whilst tripod mounted , but could only pick 45 pairs of binoculars to take along with you to a sheep party in any case " ?

Kenny

#11 btschumy

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 06:22 PM

Ewe... we're not going to talk about sheep again, are we?

#12 Bob W6PU

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 07:38 PM

Bahhh! :lol:

Bob

#13 Joe Ogiba

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 09:06 PM

If you could only own one pair of binoculars for astronomy and they could only be hand held, which binocular would you pick?

Canon 10x42L WP IS

#14 John F

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 11:12 PM

I couldn't help but notice that the title of this post and the primary question ask for two completely different things.

My favorite hand held binocular (if I could come up with one) would not be the same choice as "If you could only own one pair of binoculars for astronomy and they could only be hand held, which binocular would you pick?"

edz


Good observation Ed. Fortunately for me, I can provide a common answer to both questions - the Swarovski 8.5x42 ELs.

John Finnan

#15 Bob W6PU

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 11:36 PM

Oh , I don't know. You can only have so many words in a post title, as this is limited.

I thought that rushintuit, then clarified, or expanded, if you will, the title with his opening question.

Hey, IMHO, the guy is just trying to get some information and not attempting to write a literary masterpiece! :lol:

My feelings are, that I'm happy that he contributed by posting, and I enjoyed reading some of the answering posts!

If we get to critical, we'll only succeed in discouraging some of the new folks from posting! But hey, what do I know, I'm only the cowboy "Sage" from New Mexico :shrug:

Bob

#16 Rich N

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 11:40 PM

Ok, Kenny if we have to pick only one I'll go with the Zeiss 10x42FL.

I usually take 5 or 6 binoculars with me when I go out observing. I may not use them but it is nice to have them with me. When I dig into my bino supply I usually use at least 3 of them. Why? It's fun. I'm a bino nut.

Rich

#17 Stephonon

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 02:48 AM

Fujinon 8x42 BFL. Most comfy binos ever. :) Super light and small with excellent performance.

#18 DJB

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 04:56 AM

Hi all,

I'll stand by my favourite(s) in the former post. However, today, for this question, I'll simply say the Canon 10x30 IS. I grab this one on nearly every ocassion for almost every first look.

Best regards,
Dave.

#19 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 10:22 AM

The best 11x80's I could find.

#20 medinabrit

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 10:39 AM

Definately the canon 15x50 IS.With the 12x36 IS a close runner up.
Brian.

#21 rushintuit

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 11:30 AM

Some excellent feedback. Thank you all!

#22 EdZ

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 11:49 AM

Well as I said earlier,

I couldn't help but notice that the title of this post and the primary question ask for two completely different things.

My favorite hand held binocular (if I could come up with one) would not be the same choice as "If you could only own one pair of binoculars for astronomy and they could only be hand held, which binocular would you pick?"


I have thought about this

What Is Your Favorite Hand Held Binocular?

a number of times and I have never been able to answer it. I just don't have a handheld favorite. There are several, all 12x50 or smaller, but none is a favorite.

But I thought about this also

If you could only own one pair of binoculars for astronomy and they could only be hand held, which binocular would you pick?

Now this leads me down a completely different path. As I said, it wouldn't be the same choice as my favorite handheld, at least not based on something I would be comfortable handholding all the time. They would all be too small to satisfy my type of observing. I'm not a sky sweeper, I'm a detailed observer. If I could OWN ONLY ONE binocular, and it was intended FOR ASTRONOMY, even though it must be hand held, I think it would be the Fujinon 16x70. I would find ways to brace myself to gain extra stability. This binocular sees so much more than any smaller binocular that nothing in the 12x50 or smaller range comes close, except maybe the Nikon 12x50 SE, but the 16x70 still sees more than that. Lighter weight 15x70s come close in view, but not in quality. Is the 16x70 my favorite handheld? Not at all. Would it be a choice if I could own only one? You bet.

FWIW, somewhere in the depths of this forum I have published a report of using the Fujinon 16x70 handheld.

edz

#23 rushintuit

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 02:03 PM

I knew as I typed the Subject line that I had to do something to narrow the possibilities. While I had only limited success, I still enjoyed Edz lasering in on it!

#24 rushintuit

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 02:46 PM

I find it curious that the Fujinon HB series binocluar is never mentioned. This roof prism bino comes in 10, 12, and 15x60. Is there a reason for ignoring this particular series?

http://www.ebinocula...culars-388.html

#25 Magellanico

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 06:34 PM

Hi folks,

If you could only own one pair of binoculars for astronomy and they could only be hand held, which binocular would you pick?


Fujinon 10x50 FMT/SX

Clear skies to all,


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