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Newbie here - need advice on bino upgrade options

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#1 benedictine

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 06:18 AM

Hi everyone. Newbie here who has scanned through CN many times before making purchases.

I’ve got some kit already: Olympus DPS I 8x40 and 10x50, Celestron Skymaster 15x70 and Bushnell Legend L 10x42s alongside my recently acquired Meade LX65 5” MCT. My toddler expressing some interest in planets and astronomy recently finally gave me an excuse to get that telescope I’d been wanting to get since I was six years old (it’s for him, I swear, hahahahaha!).

Am looking at upgrading my current DPS I 8x40s to something with better coatings as I’ve been finding the image to be a little dim when I’ve been out and about looking up at the Milky Way at night (which is just barely visible to my naked eye from the Bortle Class 5 suburban skies I’m under). I’m currently tossing up between these options if I’m staying under AUD$500:
- Bushnell Legacy 8x42,
- Olympus EXPS I 8x42, or
- Olympus PRO 8x42s.

If I save up a bit more, I was considering to instead go for a pair of Swarovski Habicht 7x42s but really not sure if that’s really the right thing to do (they are just under A$1200) even though these should be a lot brighter based on their light transmission specs.

At some point in time the DPS I 10x50s will also get upgraded but wondering if I’m better served by just using the 10x42 Legend L’s I have instead and putting upgrades for that towards the 8x40/42 upgrade instead.

Thoughts from all of you more experienced folks on here would be appreciated.


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#2 Mark9473

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 07:00 AM

Welcome to the forum.
We all know the lure of new gear, and if you hang out here long enough, it gets worse.

That Olympus Pro 8x42 appeals the most to me of the three you mentioned. Too bad it doesn't have a wider FOV.

The Habicht porros are highly praised, but the FOV is just too narrow IMHO.

I'm not sure what you're aiming to get that your 10x42 doesn't already deliver.
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#3 Rokkor

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 09:10 AM

There is only approximately a 13.5% light loss to reflection in the single-coated Olympus DPS I 8x40, if every surface is coated (and I'd be surprised if they were not). This will reduce to about 1.8% with full multicoating. Using the same calculation, the Olympus EXPS I 8x42 with fully multicoated lenses would have a 2.6% loss. The very expensive 8x42 Pro has a 3.4% loss. The more complex they are making the binocular, the more elements they are adding. I personally could not claim to notice a 10% difference in brightness from one binocular to the next. 

 

Now I don't know what exists out there, but I suggest looking into light-pollution cut filters for your binocs or telescope. Simply increasing the total amount of light coming to your eyes is also magnifying the intensity of the light pollution.

And, possibly your eye pupil becomes too narrow to take advantage of any increase in transmission from fully multicoated lenses or a larger aperture because of the general brightness of the sky. Night vision is not only about the pupil size of your eye, but involves a complex biochemical reaction in the retina that increases the overall sensitivity to light and low-light colour exponentially - that's your dark adaptation. 

 

My best advice is to get to darker skies, then you can take full advantage of the instruments you already have. The Milky Way is going to be dim and unexciting regardless of what you use, because it is Bortle 5. I also live in a Bortle 5 area, and we are quite blessed in Australia compared to other countries.

From a major city, it only takes about a 20-30 minute drive to be in a Class 4 area, 30-60m to be in a Class 3 and 1.5-2h to be in a Class 2. Add another 30-60m if you're in Sydney. It's well worth it, and usually you can go camping in these places. Why not buy some camping equipment and fuel then?

 

A couple of nights or the weekend out in a Class 2 is worth a 1000 nights under bright, suburban skies. As we are still in the colder months, the viewing conditions are even better. 


Edited by Rokkor, 12 August 2020 - 01:17 PM.

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#4 benedictine

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 05:06 PM

Welcome to the forum.
We all know the lure of new gear, and if you hang out here long enough, it gets worse.

That Olympus Pro 8x42 appeals the most to me of the three you mentioned. Too bad it doesn't have a wider FOV.

The Habicht porros are highly praised, but the FOV is just too narrow IMHO.

I'm not sure what you're aiming to get that your 10x42 doesn't already deliver.


Thanks for the reply :)

Yes, well I think I know about the lure of new gear as it was many moons ago that I saw what people had said about the DPS I’s on here that got me into bino astronomy.

The 10x42s I have are bloody good but I find them a little shaky at times (which is a bugger when I’m looking up greater than 60 degrees above the horizontal). With the current 8x40 DPS I’s I get a more stable image.

As to what I’m looking for, I guess I’m looking for more edge to edge sharpness. The DPS I 8x40’s are giving great wide field views of constellations but It’s really obvious to me now how stars on the edge are quite blurred which I am noticing more and more these days.


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#5 benedictine

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 05:22 PM

There is only approximately a 13.5% light loss to reflection in the single-coated Olympus DPS I 8x40, if every surface is coated (and I'd be surprised if they were not). This will reduce to about 1.8% with full multicoating. Using the same calculation, the Olympus EXPS I 8x42 with fully multicoated lenses would have a 2.6% loss. The very expensive 8x42 Pro has a 3.4% loss. The more complex they are making the binocular, the more elements they are adding. I personally could not claim to notice a 10% difference in brightness from one binocular to the next.

Now I don't know what exists out there, but I suggest looking into light-pollution cut filters for your binocs or telescope. Simply increasing the total amount of light coming to your eyes is also magnifying the intensity of the light pollution.
And, possibly your eye pupil becomes too narrow to take advantage of any increase in transmission from fully multicoated lenses or a larger aperture because of the general brightness of the sky. Night vision is not only about the pupil size of your eye, but involves a complex biochemical reaction in the retina that increases the overall sensitivity to light and low-light colour exponentially - that's your dark adaptation.

My best advice is to get to darker skies, then you can take full advantage of the instruments you already have. The Milky Way is going to be dim and unexciting regardless of what you use, because it is Bortle 5. I also live in a Bortle 5 area, and we are quite blessed in Australia compared to other countries.
From a major city, it only takes about a 20-30 minute drive to be in a Class 4 area, 30-60m to be in a Class 3 and 1.5-2h to be in a Class 2. Add another 30-60m if you're in Sydney. It's well worth it, and usually you can go camping in these places. Why not buy some camping equipment and fuel then?

A couple of nights or the weekend out in a Class 2 is worth a 1000 nights under bright, suburban skies. As we are still in the colder months, the viewing conditions are even better.


Thanks for your observations Rokkor.

I’m up here in Brisbane. I guess instead of my backyard for visual observation, I could walk down to the park close by where trees will block out a fair bit of streetlight pollution (and this, will assist the dark adaptation of my eyes more easily). I’m in a location which is close by to the transition point between Bortle 4 & 5.

You mentioned filters. I have a skyglow filter on my MCT and that helps out immensely, but whereabouts can I get filters for a 8x40 or 10x50 pair of binos that would help out?

I presume the comment above about simply increasing light entry also increasing amount of light pollution entering into my eyes is the reason why it seems that most folks here on CN seem to advocate for smaller exit pupils if you live in a light polluted area? Hence the 10x42s will assist in that respect?


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