Goodness, I've now had three extraordinarily calm, clear nights to observe in the span of two weeks. Perhaps the lower levels of particulate pollution due to the greatly reduced road and air traffic have contributed, but I haven't seen clear skies like these in months. Now that my state is reopening, the road traffic has increased so we'll see what the rest of the summer brings. Last night was one of those nights when I struggled to end the session and go to bed.
I used my OB 5000 tripod and alternated viewing with the DB 15x56s and a Pentax 20x60, with 8x56s handheld for spotting. Some minor notes: the tripod blanking cover was extraordinarily difficult to remove and required needle-nosed pliers to unscrew; and the IPD I need puts the barrels very close together, requiring me to remove the objective caps to slip the tripod adapter through. I used the thinner adapter I have, not the heavy-duty adapters that came with the OB tripod.
Jupiter and Saturn were out and nicely spaced near each other. Jupiter's moons were sharp, little pinpricks in the 15x56s but the bright planet had some bloat, minor CA, and I thought I could see a couple of very faint spikes. The view was much the same in the 20x60, aside from the larger image scale. Saturn showed a clearly elongated shape in both higher mag binoculars and a little bloat. Even in the 20x60s you could not make out any gap between the rings and the planet.
Panning through Cygnus on this clear night was a feast of sights. Aesthetically, the 15x56 had better "framing" than the 20x60 but both showed star formations and star clouds equally well. Viewing Cygnus, I also had confirmation that picking up the 8x56 was worthwhile because the star clouds and dark veins in the MW were easy to see. Looking at the sights between Cassiopeia and Cygnus, the 15x56 put up sharp stars throughout.
Swinging to the south to look at the Lagoon and Trifid nebulae and the Sagittarius star cloud, I thought the wider FOV of the 15x56 better framed the objects and allowed a better appreciation of the stars and nebulae together than the higher magnification of the 20x56. The smaller exit pupils of the two higher mag binoculars also helped improve the contrast. The light pollution looking south toward the city of Providence makes the skies appear gray to the naked eye. These same objects in the 8x56 were faint and ghosty.
I spotted the the Double Cluster low in the northern sky. Here, the 20x60 did a better job of framing and bringing out details, but the 15x56 did fine, bringing out the details but just at a smaller image scale. Although both high mag binoculars showed the DC well, the 15x56 showed the star cloud the DC is in just a little better and brighter. Also low in the sky was M31, but it was just an fuzzy, elliptical blur in all the binos. I spotted numerous satellites crossing every which way through Cygnus during the evening, some seeming to be much faster than others (maybe members of Elon Musk's "constellation"?).
As a lot of the more interesting objects moved to positions directly overhead, I switched to the zero-g chair and used the binos handheld for a while. This led to a thought about using the 15x56s on a tripod, with regard to eye relief as compared to the 20x60, which has eye relief in abundance. Wearing my glasses and with the 15x56s on a tripod, I found the eye position needed to get a sharp view a little fussier to find and hold. This is not the case when using the 15x56s handheld, although of course the views are shakier. Once centered properly views through the 15x56 were very good, but it can be a little fatiguing to have to adjust eye position frequently. With the 20x60s and their 22 mm of ER I view with the eye cups out one stop and as a result the views are more comfortable, despite their very restrictive TFOV and AFOV. You may not have this problem if you don't wear eyeglasses while viewing or if you have a prescription that's weaker than mine. But it is a factor you should consider when evaluating these DB 15x56s as you may find yourself using them on a tripod more often than not. As always, YMMV and it pays to buy from a vendor with a good return policy.
I'm having a lot of fun with these new DB 15x56s, especially with the exceptionally (for my location anyway) clear, dry, and calm night skies lately. I still have to take and post some pics and try some daytime viewing on a tripod, and I'd like to try and get some views of the local red-tailed hawks soaring around to see what the CA looks like. Based on what I've seen so far though, I think Vortex has a winner on their hands.