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Looking to get first pair of binoculars for backyard skywatching

beginner binoculars
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#26 Tony Flanders

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 09:28 PM

I am currently saving for my first telescope which will be a large aperture dob on a computerized mount.  While I am doing that I thought it might be fun to pick up some relatively inexpensive binoculars to begin wandering around the night sky.
 
Of course the first thing I looked at were a big pair of Celestron 25x100 Skywatchers but after reading many tales of woe and a lot of bad reviews I am no longer considering those.  Many seem to recommend something in the 10x50-12x50 range and I have been eyeing a pair of Nikon Action Extreme 12x50s on Amazon for a few days now.
 
One thing I should mention is that hand-held observing is not an option for me as I have "essential tremor" which is a condition that basically causes my hands to shake under any significant load.  So I will absolutely have to use a tripod for any size binocular.  This is the primary reason I'm considering the 12's over the 10's, not that I expect a lot of difference.


For what it's worth, there is quite a significant difference between 10x50s and 12x50s; magnification generally matters more than aperture for astronomical binoculars. But stepping back from that specific question, you're facing a basic tradeoff.

 

The higher the magnification, the more faint objects you will be able to see, and the more detail you will see in bright objects. The difference between (for instance) 10x50 and 15x70 binoculars is truly dramatic. Take galaxies as one example. With the 10x50s, you're basically just detecting galaxies; you won't see any detail whatsoever except in M31 and M33 -- and not much even in those. With the 15x70s, a number of other galaxies begin to come to life, most notably M82, but also others. With 10x50s, you can detect all the Messier objects under dark skies, but some are quite difficult. Under identical conditions, all the Messier objects pop out instantly through 15x70s.

 

However, the whole point of binoculars (for me, anyway) is their huge field of view. And the higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view. So if you have no familiarity whatsoever with the night sky, you might well find the extra field of view of 10x binoculars -- or even 8x, 7x, or 6x -- outweighs the hugely improved light grasp and resolution of the 15x70s.

 

Ideally, you would own at least two different pairs of binoculars. But that's another problem for another day; your immediate problem is which one to start with. On which subject I have said all I have to say.

 

If not for your tremors, I would say that the hand-holdability of 10x binoculars tips the balance solidly in their favor. But since you will be using a tripod in any case, it's a toss-up. Only you can decide.


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#27 bulletdodger

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 07:47 PM

I am going to take a different tact then others on the website. I see you wear eyeglasses like myself. I enjoy gazing without my glasses rather then with them.
Maybe you feel the same way. My eyesight is such that I cannot adjust focus enough with my Pentax 10x50 but I can attain proper focus with my Pentax 12x50. This is just another thing to consider if your eyesight is really bad like mine. If it is not bad and you only need a small correction it probably won't be an issue.

Try before you buy if possible. Pentax do not have a large field of view generally but I find them a good value for the money.
My favorites are the 12x50 and the 16x60.
Good luck in your choice!

Bob Shields

#28 jazzsalsadrummer

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 07:56 PM

Oberwerk LW 15X70. You'll also need a tripod adapter.



#29 jazzsalsadrummer

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 09:04 PM

Hi All,

I am currently saving for my first telescope which will be a large aperture dob on a computerized mount.  While I am doing that I thought it might be fun to pick up some relatively inexpensive binoculars to begin wandering around the night sky.

 

Of course the first thing I looked at were a big pair of Celestron 25x100 Skywatchers but after reading many tales of woe and a lot of bad reviews I am no longer considering those.  Many seem to recommend something in the 10x50-12x50 range and I have been eyeing a pair of Nikon Action Extreme 12x50s on Amazon for a few days now.

 

One thing I should mention is that hand-held observing is not an option for me as I have "essential tremor" which is a condition that basically causes my hands to shake under any significant load.  So I will absolutely have to use a tripod for any size binocular.  This is the primary reason I'm considering the 12's over the 10's, not that I expect a lot of difference.

The binoculars I currently own are a cheap pair of 7x35s that I inherited from my parents and they are badly out of collimation (double image) and basically unusable.  So any reasonably good instrument will be a vast improvement.  Any input is appreciated and I don't pretend to know anything about this as I am totally new to astronomy in all it's forms.

 

BTW, if it matters according to lightpollutionmap.info, I live on the edge of a Bortle class 5 zone with pretty easy access (10-15min) to Bortle class 4 skies.

 

 

https://oberwerk.com...mparison-chart/

 

The above compares the specs of all Oberwerk binos. Very useful info to simplify decision 




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