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mini Shoot-out: Pentax vs. Canon... shocking results!

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#1 Nate1701

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 01:50 PM

Ok i have to admit, title might be a little on the click bait side. I couldn't resist having some fun and being a little emphatic. 

Part of what prompted this comparison was a discussion on Stabilization worth the hefty price and a review of my 15x50 plus an idea i had in the back of my mind for a simple mounting system with articulation arm that i wanted to try. https://www.cloudyni...ice/?p=10605671

But let's get to the results...

 

Binoculars:

Pentax 20x60 SPWP

Pentax 12x50 SPWP

Canon 15x50 AWP

 

Targets: 

M29

M39

M32

Sweeping through Cygnus, Lacerta, Cass, Andromeda, Pegasus and back to Cygnus

 

Conclusions:

I will start with my conclusions because often some just want to scroll to the bottom and skip all the details.

 

And The Winner is.............. um........... well...........to be fair there can't really be a winner. 

Each bino has one area where it shines and is more applicable /useful  than the others, I will get to that 2 paragraphs down.

But one can have "preferences" - and these are different per individual. 

 

This may be shocking to some; but after this head to head my results are...

1st place - Pentax 20x60 

2nd place - Pentax 12x50

3rd place - Canon 15x50

 

This is not based just on the optics alone, but a conglomerate of factors / qualities. Also my preferences are influenced by how i prioritize certain qualities such as  convenience and comfort, performance per dollar, quality, aperture as i have mentioned here: https://www.cloudyni...all/?p=10622164

 

For pure observation - not sweeping or peeking or finding - the 20x60 wins for me. To locate a target and really just observe it - the 20x60 does an amazing job for the money. This comparison is mostly based on Targets - and that's why the 20x60 wins - because it is suited for targets, not sweeping. The performance per dollar is just outstanding for my use. I think the 20x60 is the most overlooked and under appreciated astronomy binocular, at the same time it is the most controversial - all for the one and same reason - a 2.2* FOV. But if one is using it for targets then it that is where it excels. For me the drawback is not FOV at all - it is the 3mm exit pupil makes eye placement a bit more tricky, however once IPD and eyecups are set - this also is minimized. All other qualities are exceptional - sharpness, eye relief, light weight, comfort, and superficially... it looks nice too. Performance per cost is one advantage -  to get a sharp 15x70 like this - well you will need to pay more than a 15x70  Skymaster Pro!  Also Performance per weight is another advantage - a good quality 15x70 will weigh much more that this Pentax - requiring better mounting. For TARGET viewing - the 20x60 does as good or better than a APM 15x70 ( as an example) - and it weighs less - which allows me to use a light mount like the articulating arm. 

 

The more i use my 12x50 the more i am impressed with it. The sharpness is so good and sooo close to the Canon that for me it gets 2nd place - such good quality for the money. However - it must be mounted to beat the Canon. That is the drawback. But again - for observing targets - a mounted 12x50 for me is so much easier than hand held - even if the Canon has a bit more power. Mounted the 12x50 view just hovers and is plenty wide for me and very comfortable. No drawbacks like FOV and eye placement. IT is just a SOLID bino with no compromises to complain about.

12x50 also works very well for sweeping unmounted. Because it does so well at both - for so little cost - it gets 2nd place. 

 

The Canon is really the best sweeper - no surprise here. For sharp views with no mount it wins. BUT, i was also evaluating performance by observing targets - in fact 75% of this shoot out is targets. 3rd place DOES NOT mean it is inferior optically. It is probably the best quality - but the Pentax both keep up so well for the money - they take the cake. 

 

 

Setup: 

Partly this is a competition of similar aperture and magnification binos mounted vs. Image Stabilized 15x50 

The articulating arm is a Manfrotto with a Ball head threaded to the top ( I used 3/8" rod to thread them together).

Pics from previous post here: https://www.cloudyni...wer/?p=10011918

However - in the past some tests and comparisons were compromised by "heartbeat" vibrations coming from the chair. Using the arm plus a tripod in combo with a chair can be a bit awkward. The legs push the tripod further from the chair. So i had the idea of staking a pole in the ground and setting a chair beside it. Pics at bottom of post. Using the arm and ball head takes some practice - and locking it takes patience as it can move when you let go - but the swivel lets me keep the arm locked and just adjust the swivel until i get the view centered. 

 

Comparisons: 

This is also a bit similar and a follow up to one of my posts here: https://www.cloudyni...wer/?p=10105332

 

Ok let's get to some details. As in the title this is a "mini" shootout - i didn't have time for a plethora of targets, and as there is a 3/4 waning moon + light pollution - lots of targets are not the best option anyway.

M29 and 39 were facing away from the moon in the NW. Andromeda is in the West which from my  location a good viewing direction ( and other directions in the year put it over light pollution or close to moon ) . 

 

M29 - I love this little cluster for pushing a bino's limits. This cluster was most rigorous test of the night. 

I started with Canon 15x50 - direct vison was a cluster with no individual stars.  i could only see discern individual stars with averted vision, but it was too hard to count any.

The 20x60 revealed 6 stars with direct vision -  FANTASTIC performance. So much punch in a small package. This first test immediately brought expressions to mind such as "pocket rocket", "cluster buster", "giant killer". 

The 12x50 had the same result as 15x50.

I went back to 15x50 convinced i should be able to get more out of it. Fiddled with focus, steadied as carefully as i could and really concentrated. i could barely count 4 stars switching quickly from averted to direct vision. it took concentration. So it did pull ahead of the 12x50 a bit in this test - as would be expected from the extra magnification. 

I will have to go back in my logs for other observations of this target. But my feeling is that the 20x60 was competing with  past views using my 25x100 - just stellar performance. 

 

M39 - This target was out of convenience partly because it is so close to M29. This test is not really as rigorous and about pushing magnitude limits - more how qualitative the views is. 

All 3 binos had a nice view of this target. But the 20x60 made it pop out. Perfect framing size and just pulled all the stars closer. Easy to count and study. The 15x50 and 12x50 were also good and close to each other - just a difference of a bit more or less mag and a bit more or less FOV. But the 12x50 seemed a bit better - because it  was mounted - the view and sharpness - and that is why it gives 15x50 such a run for it's money - mounted gives it an edge. Having the image comfortably hover using the 12x50 just made it a bit more enjoyable. 

 

M32 - Andromeda Galaxy. Similar in all three. But the 20x60 had the best contrast, 15x50 next, 12x50 last. From a darker location i have had really enjoyable views with 15x50. And during a new moon it would probably perform the best of the 3, and/or  at least better than the 20x60. But with moonlight during this test - the 20x60 pulled ahead. Just proves that the best for Galaxies / DSO is not always the best - depending on conditions an unexpected bino could be better. 

 

Sweeping - I looked around at different stars. Gave the reddish Garnet's star a bit of recognition. Hunted around for different objects. Well, no surprises the Canon is the best here. Hand held with sharp views - hard for the others to compete with that. The 20x60 definitely comes in last here - the FOV makes it harder to find targets. The 12x50 is very good but just not as sharp when i pause and study something for a moment. But i can get that sharp pause with the Canon. If sweeping is your thing or going out for quick peeks - then this is the only 25% of the test that really matters to you. I did slack off the tension on the articulating arm and the ball head and sweep with the 12x50 on the arm - this works VERY well. It's like having a third arm steady your binos. I can pause on a target and it is more steady than pure hand held and almost as sharp/steady as Image Stabilized. If i want to stay on target then i can just lock the arm, then adjust the swivel. I used this method on the double cluster comparing the 12x50 and 15x50 ( didn't bother with 20x60 on the double cluster but i should have included it in hindsight) - and again the 12x50 impressed me with how well it did. The 15x50 was a great view. But the rock SOLID view of the 12x50 once locked was just awesome - it made up for the -3 magnification. 

 

Summary: 

 

As i was already partial to mounted - some of my conclusions are not shocking at all. Ultimately the results are determined by what kind of observing style one prefers. For observing targets - the simplicity and comfort of the "stake mount" + articulating arm was a success. The steady views and hovering image are better quality and comfort compared to I.S. For Sweeping - I.S. has the advantage. With a chair - 12x50 does pretty good - and combined with the arm it sweeps very well and contends with I.S. If a person likes OBSERVE and uses a chair - they might find this shoot out very interesting - perhaps reassuring that I.S. may not be the Binocular Panacea. For someone who packs a bino for trips and hikes - with no regard for chairs or mounts - or who likes to just sweep for 20 min before bed - then only 25% of this shoot out really matters to them - and I.S. has the advantages. 

 

For the observer who likes to spend time on targets - and does not really feel like forking out for I.S. - don't feel left out of the party - experiment with some mounting options. I would think combo of low mag + high mag binocular really may be a better option - especially for the budget conscious. Examples would be 8x42 roof for sweeping and 15x70 for targets. But if one is interested in an articulating arm then i would highly recommend the 20x60 + a 8x42 roof or 10x or 12x for sweeping - giving the benefits of I.S. and more. 

 

Pictures:

 

Stake mount with cross piece ( for stomping into the ground)

The bottom portion is welded angle iron with a 1/2" nipple threaded into old aluminum pipe. I have a 45* fitting on the top bushed down to a washer and 3/8" thread protruding. This was part of an old prototype boom arm i used in the past for my 20x80 and trigger grip. I left the 3/8" in case it might be handy in the future for just threading a fluid head / ball head / trigger grip right on the top of it. 

stake.jpg

 

Chair and Stake mount 

chair.jpg

 

Pentax 12x50 on Articulating arm

pentax12x50.jpg

 

Views of 20x60 on the arm - Hard to get this kind of power without extra weight. 

20x60back.jpg

20x60side.jpg

20x60side.jpg


Edited by Nate1701, 05 November 2020 - 01:59 PM.

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#2 hallelujah

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 02:31 PM

 

This may be shocking to some; but after this head to head my results are...

1st place - Pentax 20x60 

2nd place - Pentax 12x50

3rd place - Canon 15x50

 

 

For pure observation - not sweeping or peeking or finding - the 20x60 wins for me. To locate a target and really just observe it - the 20x60 does an amazing job for the money. This comparison is mostly based on Targets - and that's why the 20x60 wins - because it is suited for targets, not sweeping.

 

The performance per dollar is just outstanding for my use. I think the 20x60 is the most overlooked and under appreciated astronomy binocular, at the same time it is the most controversial - all for the one and same reason - a 2.2* FOV. But if one is using it for targets then it that is where it excels. For me the drawback is not FOV at all - it is the 3mm exit pupil makes eye placement a bit more tricky, however once IPD and eyecups are set - this also is minimized.

waytogo.giflike-button.jpg

 

Stan
 


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#3 LIVE LONG

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 02:41 PM

   Another great post !!!

        Bill


Edited by LIVE LONG, 05 November 2020 - 02:42 PM.

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#4 Grimnir

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 04:21 PM

 

For pure observation - not sweeping or peeking or finding - the 20x60 wins for me. To locate a target and really just observe it - the 20x60 does an amazing job for the money. This comparison is mostly based on Targets - and that's why the 20x60 wins - because it is suited for targets, not sweeping. The performance per dollar is just outstanding for my use. I think the 20x60 is the most overlooked and under appreciated astronomy binocular, at the same time it is the most controversial - all for the one and same reason - a 2.2* FOV. But if one is using it for targets then it that is where it excels. For me the drawback is not FOV at all - it is the 3mm exit pupil makes eye placement a bit more tricky, however once IPD and eyecups are set - this also is minimized. All other qualities are exceptional - sharpness, eye relief, light weight, comfort, and superficially... it looks nice too.

 

I am in total agreement with this. The tricky bit is obtaining the optimal position for eye relief - that aside it's a truly remarkable glass for the money.

 

Graham


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#5 DrJ1

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 08:03 PM

Nate: I enjoyed your shootout.  I considered the Pentax SP 20x60 WP but bought a used Pentax 16x60 PCF WP because of its greater exit pupil.  I bought a Pentax 12x50 SP  (precursor model) and it was very sharp in the center of the field, contrasty, BUT had a very small sweet spot--unacceptable.  I returned it for a full refund.  I don't know whether I bought a bad specimen or the small sweet spot is typical.  Consequently, I've been gun shy about buying the Pentax SP 12x50 WP without seeing it.  By luck, I was able to buy an older, Japan made, Pentax 12x50 PCF 4.2 degree for $25 so I'm covered for now. However, I would be tempted to buy a 12x50 or 20x60 SP WP if I could see one and the price were right.  Have you compared your Pentax SP 20x60 WP to a Pentax 16x60 PCF WP?  Thanks, DrJ1


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#6 Nate1701

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 08:32 PM

Nate: I enjoyed your shootout.  I considered the Pentax SP 20x60 WP but bought a used Pentax 16x60 PCF WP because of its greater exit pupil.  I bought a Pentax 12x50 SP  (precursor model) and it was very sharp in the center of the field, contrasty, BUT had a very small sweet spot--unacceptable.  I returned it for a full refund.  I don't know whether I bought a bad specimen or the small sweet spot is typical.  Consequently, I've been gun shy about buying the Pentax SP 12x50 WP without seeing it.  By luck, I was able to buy an older, Japan made, Pentax 12x50 PCF 4.2 degree for $25 so I'm covered for now. However, I would be tempted to buy a 12x50 or 20x60 SP WP if I could see one and the price were right.  Have you compared your Pentax SP 20x60 WP to a Pentax 16x60 PCF WP?  Thanks, DrJ1

No i haven't compared to the 16x60. Not too many come up on the used market very often in Canada. I wish they still made them. I suspect that i might enjoy it more than 12x50, and probably be a best all rounder. Not as wide as a 15x70 but lighter. I'm very certain i would enjoy it for the reasons you got yours. 

Thanks for sharing about the sweet spot on the 12x50 - i will have to look more critically in the future - but everything appeared sharp to my eye. I suppose in this price range some do slip by the QC. 



#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 07:31 AM

I guess I will have to play the party pooper.  I don't see the results as shocking, I see them as to be expected. 

 

- Mounting the binos eliminates the advantages of the image stabilization.  At the least, the Pentax's should have been compared hand held and it would have been appropriate to test the Canon's mounted. I think we all know how that comparison would have worked out. 

 

- Testing during under moonlit skies is a game changer.  Andromeda is over three degrees in length, it won't fit in the field of the 20x60s.  Lower powers mean large exit pupils, not such an advantage under moonlit skies.

 

- From a personal standpoint, I don't get 20x binos with a 2.2 degree TFoV.   If I want to stare at something while seated, an 8 inch Dob is capable of a 2.2 degree field of view.  

 

YMMV

 

Jon


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#8 WALL.E

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 09:42 AM

Nate 1701,

 

Very nice article! That was an enjoyable read and expressed very well.

A thumb up from Stan is good!

 

Your phrase; "so much punch in a small package", strikes a chord in my heart regarding a post I submitted some weeks ago regarding a 30ish X 70ish SELSI binocular as a "specialized" instrument.

(No more shall I say at this time before Kenny throws me back into the Lobster kettle to boil).

 

I'm inspired to take out my SELSI 20 X 60 to "check things out" again.

However, my old (excellent) glass will still be far outclassed by your Pentax with it's modern coatings.

 

By reason, I agree with the wisdom of Jon.

Certain (astronomical) targets for intensified observing are much better suited to a telescope. 

I mean no "blasphemy" here!

 

Good job Nate!

 

Eric


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#9 junomike

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 10:33 AM

Great review, but ya lost me at "set up".  If I'm gonna be setting something up (Mount/Holder/Etc) It wouldn't be for a small Binocular as I find my Evo/APM 100's a small set up.

Hand held is IMO the aura of Binoculars and for me that's only possible with a 7X standard or IS Binocular.



#10 Grimnir

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 11:16 AM

- From a personal standpoint, I don't get 20x binos with a 2.2 degree TFoV.   If I want to stare at something while seated, an 8 inch Dob is capable of a 2.2 degree field of view.  

For those of us who suffer from floaters binocular viewing greatly improves the signal to noise ratio. Of course, one can have a bino-viewer on a Dob but I also love the convenience of binos. These are personal preferences of course, and as Jon points out, YMMV.

 

That said, I would gladly trade some of the eye relief in my Pentax SP 20x60 WP for greater TFoV.

 

Graham


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#11 *skyguy*

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 12:10 PM

I call my 20x60 binoculars my "Cluster Busters", because they do a great job pulling out faint stars in open clusters. I went with the Oberwerk 20x60 bins over the Pentax model because the Oberwerk's have a 3ยบ TFoV while still showing a sharp, high contrast image right across the entire FOV. I think the extra FOV in the Oberwerks is worth bypassing the overall excellent quality found in the Pentax bins ... but it's a difficult call. 

 

. I think the 20x60 is the most overlooked and under appreciated astronomy binocular, at the same time it is the most controversial - all for the one and same reason - a 2.2* FOV. But if one is using it for targets then it that is where it excels. For me the drawback is not FOV at all - it is the 3mm exit pupil makes eye placement a bit more tricky, however once IPD and eyecups are set - this also is minimized. All other qualities are exceptional - sharpness, eye relief, light weight, comfort, and superficially.


#12 Nate1701

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 01:15 PM

I guess I will have to play the party pooper.  I don't see the results as shocking, I see them as to be expected. 

 

True, I expected it as well. I expected the mounted to be a bit better. BUT HOW MUCH better?... was what i wanted to know. I can only know by actually comparing and reporting my results. And as for "shocking" i did start with a disclaimer that i was exaggerating. Did you read the entire post Jon? 

 

 

- Mounting the binos eliminates the advantages of the image stabilization.  At the least, the Pentax's should have been compared hand held and it would have been appropriate to test the Canon's mounted. I think we all know how that comparison would have worked out. 

 

As far as using hand held with Pentax.. I did do that comparison...to quote part of the post...

 

"No suprises the Canon is the best here. Hand held with sharp views - hard for the others to compete with that. The 20x60 definitely comes in last here - the FOV makes it harder to find targets. The 12x50 is very good but just not as sharp when i pause and study something for a moment. But i can get that sharp pause with the Canon. If sweeping is your thing or going out for quick peeks - then this is the only 25% of the test that really matters to you."

 

And further down as far as optical quality of Canons i will quote myself again..

 

"The Canon is really the best sweeper - no surprise here. For sharp views with no mount it wins. BUT, i was also evaluating performance by observing targets - in fact 75% of this shoot out is targets. 3rd place DOES NOT mean it is inferior optically. It is probably the best quality - but the Pentax both keep up so well for the money - they take the cake."

 

- Testing during under moonlit skies is a game changer.  Andromeda is over three degrees in length, it won't fit in the field of the 20x60s.  Lower powers mean large exit pupils, not such an advantage under moonlit skies.

 

I realize that. But not all conditions are ideal - which is my point. Sometimes the favored bino ( Canons) loses because the conditions are different - this is the point i am making. 

You are talking as if i NEVER looked at Andromeda in Moonless sky with my Canons. 

To quote myself again: 

 

"From a darker location i have had really enjoyable views with 15x50. And during a new moon it would probably perform the best of the 3, and/or  at least better than the 20x60."

 

At least better means that for sure it will beat the 20x60 - exit pupil is nice on the 12x50 so its tougher competition. 

 

- From a personal standpoint, I don't get 20x binos with a 2.2 degree TFoV.   If I want to stare at something while seated, an 8 inch Dob is capable of a 2.2 degree field of view.  

 

Well this is a fair point and really it's personal preference. I find a Dob too cumbersome  - compared to a chair and mount. But i have in mind to do some small scope comparisons in the future. 

 

YMMV

 

Jon

Replies are in Red.

I always enjoy your perspectives Jon - it's not poop to me. 

 

One could say that i am trying to poop on the I.S. party and you are coming along and pooping on my anti- I.S. party. But in fact i'm not discounting I.S. at all. I like them - and use them - and enjoy them. My point is THEY are not the PANACEA. 

 

Really this is just an attempt for me to QUANTIFY and QUALIFY how much i enjoy mounted vs. I.S.  and as i stated it's not a comparison based PURELY on optical quality. 

 

My intention is that this could be REALLY helpful for someone who observes from a chair for a couple hours but thinks they are missing out on the I.S. party - my implication is - such a person may not be missing out. Be happy with a mount that works and a comfy chair and enjoy! 


Edited by Nate1701, 06 November 2020 - 01:17 PM.


#13 ihf

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 01:36 PM

 

My intention is that this could be REALLY helpful for someone who observes from a chair for a couple hours but thinks they are missing out on the I.S. party - my implication is - such a person may not be missing out. Be happy with a mount that works and a comfy chair and enjoy! 

I accept that the Pentax is an economic way to get a quality 20x. But there is a big division in practicality between hand holding and mounting. Once willing to deal with a mount, one should go to their own practical limits on aperture, weight, price.



#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 01:36 PM

For those of us who suffer from floaters binocular viewing greatly improves the signal to noise ratio. Of course, one can have a bino-viewer on a Dob but I also love the convenience of binos. These are personal preferences of course, and as Jon points out, YMMV.

 

That said, I would gladly trade some of the eye relief in my Pentax SP 20x60 WP for greater TFoV.

 

Graham

 

Larger exit pupil is also very helpful in dealing with floaters..

 

I love the convenience of binoculars too. I value comfort in viewing.  

 

I have tripods for mounting binoculars, I have a parallalogram mount.. they're not very convenient and for much of the sky, not very comfortable.  Setting up my 15x70s on the Parallogram mount more work than setting up my 120 mm apo and by no means as comfortable.

 

For me, convenience and comfort in binos means hand holding... that where IS binos enter the picture.

 

YMMV

 

Jon



#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 02:09 PM

Replies are in Red.

I always enjoy your perspectives Jon - it's not poop to me. 

 

One could say that i am trying to poop on the I.S. party and you are coming along and pooping on my anti- I.S. party. But in fact i'm not discounting I.S. at all. I like them - and use them - and enjoy them. My point is THEY are not the PANACEA. 

 

Really this is just an attempt for me to QUANTIFY and QUALIFY how much i enjoy mounted vs. I.S.  and as i stated it's not a comparison based PURELY on optical quality. 

 

My intention is that this could be REALLY helpful for someone who observes from a chair for a couple hours but thinks they are missing out on the I.S. party - my implication is - such a person may not be missing out. Be happy with a mount that works and a comfy chair and enjoy! 

 

Nate: 

 

For someone observing seated using a mount, IS makes little sense. I view seated but hand held.  And sometimes on a balmy night with a big scope, I'll get sleepy. I'll grab the zero gravity chair, a pair of binos and go to sleep as I wander around the night sky.

 

Anyway, my question for you then is comfort and convenience.

 

For seated, mounted viewing, I much prefer a fast refractor on an alt-az mount to straight through binoculars. The setup is easy, it can be one trip plus the chair. 

 

Comfort wise, the right angle diagonal makes a world of difference, I can view the essentially the entire night sky in reasonable comfort. That doesn't happen with mounted straight through binoculars.

 

The other difference is the versatility, I'm not stuck with a single magnification.  If I sitting down and observing objects, it'll range from the lowest power, widest field, to the planet's and double stars.

 

So for me, the virtue of binoculars is the hand held freedom. Unless an object is relatively close to the horizon, mounted viewing is just too awkward. The comet Neowise was perfect for the 15x70s on the parallelogram mount. It was three glorious weeks of clear, dark skies. My wife and up before the comet rose, watching it rise against the horizon and then as shifted it to the evening, watching it over the pine trees..  

 

neowise 1 july 7, 2020.jpg

 

 

Jon



#16 Nate1701

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 03:38 PM

Nate: 

 

For someone observing seated using a mount, IS makes little sense. I view seated but hand held.  And sometimes on a balmy night with a big scope, I'll get sleepy. I'll grab the zero gravity chair, a pair of binos and go to sleep as I wander around the night sky.

 

Anyway, my question for you then is comfort and convenience.

 

For seated, mounted viewing, I much prefer a fast refractor on an alt-az mount to straight through binoculars. The setup is easy, it can be one trip plus the chair. 

 

Comfort wise, the right angle diagonal makes a world of difference, I can view the essentially the entire night sky in reasonable comfort. That doesn't happen with mounted straight through binoculars.

 

The other difference is the versatility, I'm not stuck with a single magnification.  If I sitting down and observing objects, it'll range from the lowest power, widest field, to the planet's and double stars.

 

So for me, the virtue of binoculars is the hand held freedom. Unless an object is relatively close to the horizon, mounted viewing is just too awkward. The comet Neowise was perfect for the 15x70s on the parallelogram mount. It was three glorious weeks of clear, dark skies. My wife and up before the comet rose, watching it rise against the horizon and then as shifted it to the evening, watching it over the pine trees..  

 

 

 

 

Jon

I don't disagree one bit on a small scope with alt-az.

In fact my pendulum started with Big scopes only ( ok 8 inch is not big - i know - but it's not small either)  - then swung to binos only ( at one point i didnt have a scope only binos ) - now its swinging back to more a middle zone of using both - and I'm headed in the direction of getting a small refractor and GnG  mount - it's on my to do list. And I'm convinced i will enjoy the benefits. Much of the influence coming from yourself and tony flanders. And i will take this moment to thank you both for it. 

 

however on your last paragraph - i will add one point for me - The virtues of binoculars is not just handheld. It's two eyes. And for me the information that gets to my brain with both provides a lot of satisfaction. Mounted viewing with binos as i described in my report is NEVER awkward. It is SUPER comfy in a chair when i use the arm - just lay back a relax.

 

Hand held only? without I.S. ? that would limit me to 8x. I would hate to be limited to 8x for binoculars. Wow - i shudder to think of it. Like having a freeway with a 30 mph limit. 

I'm happy  i can experiment with mounts and I.S. -  and enjoy the benefits of both. 


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#17 Tyson M

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 04:20 PM

Nate: I enjoyed your shootout. I considered the Pentax SP 20x60 WP but bought a used Pentax 16x60 PCF WP because of its greater exit pupil. I bought a Pentax 12x50 SP (precursor model) and it was very sharp in the center of the field, contrasty, BUT had a very small sweet spot--unacceptable. I returned it for a full refund. I don't know whether I bought a bad specimen or the small sweet spot is typical. Consequently, I've been gun shy about buying the Pentax SP 12x50 WP without seeing it. By luck, I was able to buy an older, Japan made, Pentax 12x50 PCF 4.2 degree for $25 so I'm covered for now. However, I would be tempted to buy a 12x50 or 20x60 SP WP if I could see one and the price were right. Have you compared your Pentax SP 20x60 WP to a Pentax 16x60 PCF WP? Thanks, DrJ1


The pentax 12x50 sp wp don't have any sweet spot. Field is very good, fairly uniform. Great bins for the money.
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#18 hallelujah

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 05:05 PM

From a personal standpoint, I don't get 20x binos with a 2.2 degree TFoV.

 

Jon

For those of us who are too "fat, dumb, & happy" grin.gif,  with our Pentax 20x60 PCF WP binoculars, I think that your "personal standpoint" is yours alone & not ours.

 

We will continue to enjoy our views of the night sky irregardless of "I don't get 20x binos......"

 

What I don't get is... Why are you always pushing telescopes on a Binoculars Forum?

 

Can you feel the love??  grouphug.gif

 

Stan
 


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#19 ihf

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 09:23 PM

We will continue to enjoy our views of the night sky irregardless of "I don't get 20x binos......"

 

What I don't get is... Why are you always pushing telescopes on a Binoculars Forum?

It may just be the best tool for the task under discussion.

 

In the USA and right now the Pentax 20x60 is dirt cheap on sale for under USD 200. But is it worth it? How about at twice the price as in other countries?

 

My dad lives in Europe. He likes to look at the planets, the constellations. He has the Orion 2x54, Nikon Action Ex 7x50, Zeiss Jena 8x30 and Canon 12x32 and 12x36 (the latter with mechanical focusser issues). What should he get next, if at all? Not academic for me. He prefers not to carry more than a small backpack, so Pentax could work, but how to hold and what about the tiny FOV? The Canon 18x50 may fit better. But a small telescope could show him detail on the planets. Teaching him from afar to use a telescope is not easy. I kept thinking about the APM unfortunately I have my doubts in this case. Maybe the correct answer is: nothing.

 

All very personal.



#20 hallelujah

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 11:43 PM

ihf,

 

For binocular views of the planets your dad would need a binocular telescope, with interchangeable eyepieces, which would have to be mounted on a heavy duty tripod, etc. etc.

All of it would require a substantial monetary investment for starters.

 

A telescope is a better choice for planets, than hand held binoculars, because of the need for reasonable magnification.

 

A small backpack would not work for either a telescope & tripod, or a binocular telescope & tripod, etc.

 

Maybe? a quality spotting scope with a zoom eyepiece would be better than nothing, but, it still needs a tripod of some sort for mounting. I don't think that spotting scopes are available for 90 degree viewing.

 

Even the small Pentax 20x60 WP requires a solid tripod & head, plus a stiff tripod adapter.

 

Planets viewed through hand held binoculars are normally very tiny & not particularly satisfying.

 

Almost forgot....squinting through one eye, for any length of time, for me, is totally uncomfortable and torture. blackeye.gif

 

Stan


Edited by hallelujah, 07 November 2020 - 12:14 AM.

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#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 12:52 AM

I don't disagree one bit on a small scope with alt-az.

In fact my pendulum started with Big scopes only ( ok 8 inch is not big - i know - but it's not small either)  - then swung to binos only ( at one point i didnt have a scope only binos ) - now its swinging back to more a middle zone of using both - and I'm headed in the direction of getting a small refractor and GnG  mount - it's on my to do list. And I'm convinced i will enjoy the benefits. Much of the influence coming from yourself and tony flanders. And i will take this moment to thank you both for it. 

 

however on your last paragraph - i will add one point for me - The virtues of binoculars is not just handheld. It's two eyes. And for me the information that gets to my brain with both provides a lot of satisfaction. Mounted viewing with binos as i described in my report is NEVER awkward. It is SUPER comfy in a chair when i use the arm - just lay back a relax.

 

Hand held only? without I.S. ? that would limit me to 8x. I would hate to be limited to 8x for binoculars. Wow - i shudder to think of it. Like having a freeway with a 30 mph limit. 

I'm happy  i can experiment with mounts and I.S. -  and enjoy the benefits of both. 

 

I won't argue one eye versus two except to say that one allows for more aperture which can result in more resolution and light, definitely more to see.  

 

As far as awkward. It looks pretty awkward to get in and out of, it looks pretty awkward if you want to view something on the other side of the sky.  But for just sitting and looking at a single object, it looks pretty comfy.

 

As far as hand held, we are all different, I can hand hold my 15x70 Orion Resolux's for a reasonable amount of time, particularly if I am lying on my zero gravity chair.  You did say that the Canon's were the best for scanning, this is what I mostly do with binoculars, look around, stop and look for a while.  If I want to study something, I will probably not be using binoculars. 

 

Jon



#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 01:06 AM

For those of us who are too "fat, dumb, & happy" grin.gif,  with our Pentax 20x60 PCF WP binoculars, I think that your "personal standpoint" is yours alone & not ours.

 

We will continue to enjoy our views of the night sky irregardless of "I don't get 20x binos......"

 

What I don't get is... Why are you always pushing telescopes on a Binoculars Forum?

 

Can you feel the love??  grouphug.gif

 

Stan
 

Stan:

 

We all share our experiences and attitudes.  I use both telescopes and binoculars and there's a pretty good chance that I spend more time looking through binoculars at the night sky than some folks here.  I like hand held binoculars, I am not such a big fan of mounted binoculars so I "push" hand held binocular and not mounted binoculars. 

 

And realize, I didn't say "I don't get 20x binoculars", I said "I don't get 20x binoculars with a 2.2 degree field of view."  It's that 2.2 degree field of view.  For me, something with a 2.2 degree field really needs a finder of some sort.  I had a pair of 20x80s and they stated they had a 3.5 degree FoV, it was probably actually 3.0 degrees, that was workable without a finder. They had other issues, that turned me off to them. 

 

And note: the reason for the mention of the fact that an 8 inch Dob was capable of a 2.2 degree field was not meant as a recommendation to use the Dob, rather as a comparison to show just how narrow that 2.2 degree field is for a 60mm instrument.  It's that 2.2 degree field, not the 20x or the 60mm. 

 

If I saw an affordable pair of 20x60s with a 3.0 degree field, new or used, I'd be looking at them very closely...

 

Jon


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#23 hallelujah

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 01:42 AM

Stan:

 

 

If I saw an affordable pair of 20x60s with a 3.0 degree field, new or used, I'd be looking at them very closely...

 

Jon

Jon,

 

How about one of these?

 

https://opticzoo.com...oculars-review/

 

I own one & I have no regrets. (close focus is my only complaint)

 

https://www.ebay.com...nc&LH_PrefLoc=1

 

Stan
 


Edited by hallelujah, 07 November 2020 - 01:44 AM.

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#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 01:56 AM

Stan:

 

I believe there recently was a pair of Tento's on my local Craigslist.  I am not sure what they were, they might have been 20x60s, it's possible that Jack/Foss was actually selling them.  They are not there now, I believe they were $120.  

 

At that that moment, $120 was more than I was willing to pay but if they pop up again, I'll take a look at them. It's somewhat awkward right now with the virus.  I am not sure of the protocol for safe distancing and masking for testing binoculars. If Foss was selling them, I wouldn't have an issue, I would trust they were collimated.

 

How is the eye relief?

 

Jon



#25 hallelujah

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 02:05 AM

Jon,

 

In the review he says short eye relief.

I haven't had mine out for some time but it was not a problem for me.

 

I use to hand hold mine from a sitting position.

For serious stargazing I mount mine using a Nikon tripod adapter.

 

Stan


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