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Choosing first astro binoculars

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#1 JTank70

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 09:22 AM

I've been looking into purchasing a pair of binoculars for those quick viewing sessions and or when I do not feel like setting up the telescope.  Also for visual viewing while I use my scope with camera attached.

 

Being new at bino astronomy.....My initial thoughts were to use them hand held only while sitting , or from my zero gravity chair.so I was checking out the 10x and 12x models for this.   Then I realized that my 8x42 Bushnell H2O roof prism's may just fit that roll.  This got me looking through the vast options of 15x and 20x models for mounted use.  

 

So I am a bit torn at the moment between getting a better quality set for handholding at 10x or 12x versus a bit higher mag and mounting on a tripod.

 

I guess I am just seeking a little advice on which way you might go in my situation and maybe a few suggestions on which binoculars you believe would work well for either of these situations.

 

I plan to use my telescope's for my longer more "serious " viewing and the binoculars as more of a stand by /fill in role at home class 4-5 skies.  Also for use at our cabin in the north  woods class 2 skies.

 

Not a large budget st $200-300 for the binoculars alone.  

 

Thank you.

JT 

 


Edited by JTank70, 12 October 2019 - 09:22 AM.


#2 Binojunky

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 09:32 AM

The old advise still rings true, a good 7x50 or a 10x50 porro prism if you can handle the extra magnification, Bushnell Legacy, Nikon Action Extreme, Pentax SPWP11, all have been owned by me (10x50 and 8x40-42  size)and are recommended, Bushnell often offer a mail in rebate.D.

PS all in your price range.


Edited by Binojunky, 12 October 2019 - 09:32 AM.

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#3 Hubbletrouble

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 09:35 AM

I absolutely LOVE my Canon 10x30is (image stabilized) binoculars.

Yes, they are only 30mm, however I continue to be amazed at the faint targets I can pick up. The stabilization works like magic.

They are small, light and perfect for a quick grab and peep ...or longer sessions in the lawn chair.

I just completed the AL Binocular Messier Program with them.

I paid about $400 on special...a little over your budget, but highly recommended.


Edited by Hubbletrouble, 12 October 2019 - 09:39 AM.

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#4 Astroman007

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 09:46 AM

Celestron 8x56 DX SkyMasters. My first astronomy binoculars...actually, first piece of astronomy equipment period...and the gateway to a lifetime of celestial adventure.

My Mom got them for me when I was ten or so and showing a serious interest in the night sky.



#5 JTank70

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 11:10 AM

Thanks for the advice.   I will check these all out.   I was under the impression that all of the IS models were much more expensive than that.   



#6 GabrielKnight

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 01:49 PM

If you have steady hands, I'd also give thought to the Nikon 12x50 Action Extreme and Pentax SP 12x50 WP. The higher magnification can make them trickier to hand-hold, but they do allow you to see a little deeper into the night sky - esp. in light polluted areas. You'd have to be OK with a narrower FOV than a 10x50 though.

Cheers,

G.K.

Edited by GabrielKnight, 12 October 2019 - 01:49 PM.


#7 Foss

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 03:43 PM

JT: If you want to use them when not inclined to set up a telescope, and taking them to a cabin, seems like a grab and go 10x would be perfect. 15-20x, you'd likely want a tripod.



#8 JTank70

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 04:34 PM

JT: If you want to use them when not inclined to set up a telescope, and taking them to a cabin, seems like a grab and go 10x would be perfect. 15-20x, you'd likely want a tripod.

Thank you I am finding that this is actually  my source of indecisiveness, as I do not think the addition of a tripod and mount would complicate my intended use all that much  and I just need to make up my mind (mounted or handheld) .

 

I have my 8x42's but have not really used them for the sky yet  so I do not know how good or bad they may be for this purpose (clouds tonight too).

 

If they are not so good then the 10x50 would probably be the way to go.

 

Or , If they are half way decent, I could use them as my grab and go hand help option,  and get a bit higher magnification like 12x or 15x  and a tripod setup which would be relatively easy to take to the cabin also. 

 

My original thoughts were to just get a 12x50 set for handheld use.

I am reading / learning that even 12x can be hard to steady for many folks, so anything higher than 10x I am thinking I should plan on mounting.

 

 I am still reading and learning and am just not leaning one way or the other as of yet.


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#9 JTank70

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 04:52 PM

If you have steady hands, I'd also give thought to the Nikon 12x50 Action Extreme and Pentax SP 12x50 WP. The higher magnification can make them trickier to hand-hold, but they do allow you to see a little deeper into the night sky - esp. in light polluted areas. You'd have to be OK with a narrower FOV than a 10x50 though.

Cheers,

G.K.

 

Thank you,  this brings my thoughts back to my original plan to get a set of 12x50 for handheld use.

Maybe this is they way to go and if I am not as steady as I would like with them I could just mount them up.

do you think  the  Nikon Action Extremes would  be  a better choice for any reason over say the Nikon prostaff models or the Vortex Diamondback's ?


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#10 GabrielKnight

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 06:19 PM

JTank70,

Happy to help.

On the subject of whether the Action Extreme 12x50 is a better choice over the Prostaff 12x50, I'd be inclined to answer in the affirmative. I've had the opportunity to sample both at a star party and the former is brighter, has a wider FOV and less chromatic aberration. This appears to be in keeping with the general observation that, more often than note, a decent mid-range porro will outperform its roof counterpart.

The Nikon 12x50 Action Extreme appears to be a fan favourite amongst the CloudyNights crowd and, having tested one, I can see why. For its price point, it offers a great view.

Re: the Vortex Diamondbacks, I've never sample one so can't comment but believe there may be others here who've compared the two.

Regards,

G.K.

#11 Mr. Bill

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 12:01 PM

My recommendation.....

 

https://oberwerk.com...series-10x50mm/

 

Talk to the owner Kevin...



#12 gfamily

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 12:10 PM

Rather than a tripod for a higher power pair you might want to consider a monopod that would allow you to continue to use your reclining chair. 

 

The monopod would stick out to one side (or maybe down between your legs), but would take some of the weight and reduce the freedom of movement available for the binoculars. 

 

I find that a tripod is only really usable for relatively low altitude targets, as you get higher, you really need to get 'under' the binoculars and the tripod gets in the way. 

 

The (expensive) alternative is to get a parallelogram mount with a counterweight as that takes the weight and puts the binoculars off to one side. 

 

Good advice can be found at Steve Tonkins' binocular sky website http://binocularsky.com


Edited by gfamily, 13 October 2019 - 12:12 PM.

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#13 Binojunky

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Posted Yesterday, 10:20 AM

My experience has been negative on the Celestron Skymaster 8x56 and the 9x63, though built to a higher specification and higher price point than the lowly 15x70 they still suffer from the same problems, pitiful QC, the main issue has always been alignment problems, both pairs were returned, anything I have purchased with the Nikon and Pentax name on it  has been fine, also the Bushnell with the exception of one pair that was exchanged, if you go with Celestron then make sure the retailer has a good return policy, just saying, Dave.


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#14 gwlee

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Posted Yesterday, 10:43 AM

I have my 8x42's but have not really used them for the sky yet  so I do not know how good or bad they may be for this purpose (clouds tonight too).

 

I find an excellent 8x42 makes an excellent handheld astronomy binocular. It’s close enough in performance to an excellent 50mm binocular that I own that I prefer to use the 8x42 for astronomy travel where it’s compactness is a big advantage. At home, I use a 7x50 because it has a slight performance advantage, and it’s greater bulk isn’t a disadvantage. 

 

A 10x50 isn’t too much to hand hold for many people, and it really benefits from a tripod as well. However, I find tripod-mounted binoculars much less enjoyable to use. 10x50 might be a good choice because it will definitely show more detail than an 8x42, doesn’t require a tripod for many people, but really benefits from a tripod if you find that you enjoy using a tripod for binocular astronomy, which not everyone does. 


Edited by gwlee, Yesterday, 11:34 AM.


#15 Corcaroli78

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Posted Yesterday, 11:55 AM

Thank you,  this brings my thoughts back to my original plan to get a set of 12x50 for handheld use.

Maybe this is they way to go and if I am not as steady as I would like with them I could just mount them up.

do you think  the  Nikon Action Extremes would  be  a better choice for any reason over say the Nikon prostaff models or the Vortex Diamondback's ?

I usually prefer 10x50 as the right balance between magnification and weight. In the last months, the Vortex Diamondback 8x42 has become the main astrobino due to its weight, weatherproof capabilities and relaxing eye relief with eyeglasses.

 

There will be a wish to push the magnification beyond the current instrument (same with ep´s), and, observing with 8x42, we ask ourselves to take the 10x50, and having them, take a look at the sky with the 15x70 and suddenly we end observing with 3 binos..... it happened to me. but if i need to choose one to stay with is definitively the 10x50. if travel is involved: 8x42

 

the Vortex is an amazing bino: affordable, reliable and good warranty policy. i love it. 

 

Carlos



#16 dries1

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Posted Yesterday, 08:27 PM

I would also recommend a 12X50. You have an 8X42 for the true grab and go. If you can hold a 10X50 steady, you can do the same with a 12X50. The 12X50 will cut through the high altitude clouds with light scatter (in light polluted areas) and provide more rewarding views than a 10X50. Under a pure dark sky, the 10X50 is great. It all depends on the average sky you view under.

 

Andy W.


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