Well, I decided to grab a pair of Oberwerk 9x60s for now. I've never really used binos much for astronomy. Guess I've always been more of a scope kind of guy. Anyway, for 100 bucks, I figure these will be good to see if I even like using binos. I am all about convenience, so that is one big thing binos have going for them. I have a big, cumbersom 5" refractor, but the scope I usually grab is my Celestron 6SE. I shouldn't complain because it's not really a big deal to set up and align, but it's not as simple as just grabbing a pair of binos and plopping down in a comfy seat.
If I do end up liking the binos, maybe a monopod is in my future, and then possibly some IS peepers later on.
I think that was a wise move. First see how much you like using binos. I was a "Scopes only" guy for years. I totally discounted and underestimated and overlooked and bypassed binoculars for astronomy. But now they are my preferred tool. I still use my scope a lot. But two eyed viewing, wide field, convenience of binoculars is just a different and complimentary and very enjoyable experience compared to scopes. And 9x60 is a really good choice to start. Easy mag to use, Good FOV, Good exit pupil, Good eyerelief = comfort. I think you will really enjoy them.
I liked bino's so much i got the Canon 15x50. I really like them. But Is it worth it? Maybe. I'm still deciding. Here's where I'm at...
- 15x50 is an excellent config for Bino Astronomy IMHO. Good Mag, Good contrast, 50mm is a good diameter and almost minimum for me ( 42mm is good and would be rock bottom for me.)
- Canon optics are excellent
- Suuuuuper convenient. Binos are convenient But Canon-IS = convenience x 10. No tripod setup, just go out and look.
- 4.something degrees is good field for a 15x50. I'm happy with the FOV and mag combo.
- For good reason they really can claim 'the keeper' title, or the 'you will have to pry them from my cold dead hands' title, because they are a potent little tool. It's like having a 15x70 that is relatively compact and light and can be handheld FOR EVERYONE ( not just the minority of outliers that hand hold 15x70, 20x80 and the fewer that try 25x100 ).
- to get the absolute most binocular viewing for the most convenience - this is it. It's a serious tool for serious binocular users. I have seen more objects in one night with these binos than my telescope for a whole summer. It has seen more objects total than any other instrument i own. And it sees and finds them really well. Especially if i get 30 min away from town.
- In cold weather the eyepieces fog really easy - that makes them a warm weather only bino for me. Thus cooler climate states, provinces, countries might negate some convenience. i can view in them with glasses or not. But non-glasses creates the fogging. They fog quicker than any bino i have. If i view with glasses that reduces heat and moisture contacting them from my face, but that takes me to my next con...
- eye relief is a bit tight with glasses. i loose just a bit of the edge of the FOV. For some they get the FOV with glasses - but i think it varies from person to person. Lower ER is no doubt the trade-off of 15x and 4+ degrees. It's ok but it's just not as comfortable as i want it to be.
- batteries. But if i dont use in cool weather it's less of a problem. but again - cool weather takes away from convenience. But i should try the Lithium - still have to do that. But none the less - it's just something else to plan and think about. And without them they are just like any other bino, or worse.
- it's not as good as tripod mounted... for me. I like mounted A LOT - that's why this is a con. For some who just can't stand the idea of mounting a binocular this is a moote point and not a CON at all. And i totally get that - the stability of 'IS' is really good and not having to think about a mount has value, for some THIS IS THE #1 Reason to get ImageStabliized. But the clarity of mounted is better. With mounted i don't have to take breaks for my shoulders, also i can look at my phone or a chart and look back in a mounted bino exactly at the target. With ImageStabilized if i want to reference something i have to take my bino away from the target and then find it again. With mounted i can sit - and the view hovers in front of me and i can enjoy the view indefinitely. I don't just want to find objects - i want to study and absorb them. Only thing is with a chair: a tripod is a bit clumsy beside it. I have experimented with a Articulating arm - but attached to the chair shows heartbeat vibrations. Actually i have been thinking the past few months i might make a stake with a foot plate to push in the ground with my foot. Stake it beside my chair and just attach the arm to that. I think that would be a fantastic setup. And that's my problem - i keep trying to find a way to get my ideal mounted setup.
- 12x50 gets me very close for a lot less money. And i can use it free hand or mounted. I REALLY like 12x50. Almost as much as 15x50 but not quite.
- there is a life to 'IS'. The guts won't last forever. Probably not even a lifetime. But take care of your Obie 9x60 and they will last a long long time. If i take care of my Pentax 12x50 it's going to long out live my Canon. But people have their Canon's 20+ years and going strong. If they divide the cost over 20 years it's not that bad either. As long as it doesn't put a lump in your throat that you have to replace these after 20 years - you are GOOD. Or you are smart enough to put something aside for when that time comes - then this is a moote point also. For me i get a lump in the throat, that i might not be in a position to afford replacing or repairing when the time comes.
- Both 'IS' and 'non-IS' binos are best enjoyed with a chair for astro. If so - then the chair already adds stability to the non-IS. For me the 'IS' is still better - and most will agree. But the fact that really i need to drag out a chair for either one - kind of puts the Canon on equal footing with 'non-IS'. Maybe that devalues the Canon. I have just walked out and taken peeps at a few sky objects with no chair, it was nice and 15x makes it nicer than 10x.
What does this all mean? I have no idea. I think i almost talked myself into selling my 15x50. But i have had that inner debate before and still keep using them and liking them....they really are a fantastic Bino.
Really though i think it emphasizes that it depends on a persons goals, viewing habits, limitations, location, passion for the hobby etc. as to whether stabilization is worth the hefty price.
If a person wanted to do astronomy and had a decent budget ( $1000), but had little time, wanted simple, lived in mostly mild conditions year round ( not too far north or south), no astigmatism i.e. needed glasses, wanted portable and easy storage, wanted to easily take with them for travel, enjoys DSO, widefield, sweeping over star fields; more than planets and splitting double stars - then these would be very very worth while.
Some could argue a 80mm ED on alt az could suit just as well - but it would not be as light, and as portable, and as simple.
Myself, as above - l lean toward mounted, and because i have to setup a chair anyway, something for mounted is not that much more, but no set up is nice too. I'm on the fence because of all this. But i have no quibbles about the quality of the package - they are one EXCELLENT binocular, and MemphisAstro channel convinced me to try them - and i still think those guys make good points.
Edited by Nate1701, 24 October 2020 - 07:31 AM.