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Any OK 8x42's for under $50?

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#1 BillP

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Posted 22 February 2021 - 11:40 PM

Wanted to know if anyone can recommend any inexpensive 8x42s for under $50.  Would be for someone who just wanting to get their feet wet night time observing of stars and some binocular appropriate DSO to see if they are even interested in pursuing.  So they do not want to commit more than $50.  Less better.  I've not used anything under $150 so have no idea.  And before you recommend, no they do not want to borrow others or go to a gathering (i.e., COVID).

 

Thx.


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#2 DeanD

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 12:16 AM

I'm not sure about under $50: you get what you pay for! 

 

However, if they want to stretch the budget a little bit, Pentax SP 8x40 are around $70 (eg: https://www.bhphotov..._binocular.html ), Nikon Aculon aren't much more expensive, especially if you shop around. Olympus 8x40 DPS-I are good value and give good views for the money. I can get them here in Oz for under $US70 (ditto the Aculons). They are called "Troopers" in the US.

 

Any of these would be good all-rounders, and would last for many years.

 

I would steer clear of roof-prisms at that price.

 

Another option would be to check out pawn shops or local e-Bay or similar sites. Lots of binos there.

 

All the best,

 

Dean

 

(PS: I have seen/used cheap binos at different times, and they are really a bit of a lottery as to the optics. Some can be fine, others not so much- and it is a real pain if you have to keep sending them back until you get an OK one. They aren't worth even $50 if they can't come to focus properly, fall out of collimation or are stopped down to get better CA or edge control...)


Edited by DeanD, 23 February 2021 - 01:01 AM.

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#3 Dave_L

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 12:16 AM

Hi Bill,

 

I have some experience with Eagle Optics 8x42 Shrike Binoculars. Eagle Optics is out of business, but you can still find their wildly popular 8x42 Shrike binoculars for $99 new or about $50 used. They are surprisingly good quality for the money. And customer service for existing Eagle Optics products can still be obtained through Vortex Optics. Keep looking up and clear skies.



#4 Grimnir

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 05:21 AM

Wanted to know if anyone can recommend any inexpensive 8x42s for under $50.  Would be for someone who just wanting to get their feet wet night time observing of stars and some binocular appropriate DSO to see if they are even interested in pursuing.  So they do not want to commit more than $50.  Less better.  I've not used anything under $150 so have no idea.  And before you recommend, no they do not want to borrow others or go to a gathering (i.e., COVID).

 

Thx.

 

No, better to save your money than have a disappointing and off-putting experience with a poor quality instrument. That said, you may be able to find (for example) a Nikon 7x35 9.3* Wide Field on ebay for about $50. Otherwise it would be better to invest in S&T's Pocket Sky Atlas and a planisphere.

 

Graham


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#5 DeanD

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 06:07 AM

No, better to save your money than have a disappointing and off-putting experience with a poor quality instrument. That said, you may be able to find (for example) a Nikon 7x35 9.3* Wide Field on ebay for about $50. Otherwise it would be better to invest in S&T's Pocket Sky Atlas and a planisphere.

 

Graham

I agree the Pocket Sky Atlas is a great resource, but for a rank beginner what about Gary Seronik's "Binocular Highlights" ( https://www.shopatsk...fplor85lk6a0mm3 ), or S&T's Skywatch 2021 (https://www.shopatsky.com/skywatch-2021 )?



#6 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 06:12 AM

Bill:

 

Some years ago there was a thread here on the Simmons ProSport 10x50s.  These are available at Wal-Mart for about $30.  I believe the consensus was they're actually very usable binoculars.  I bought a pair at the time and used them for a while before I gave them to a friend.

 

I found them to be acceptable binoculars.  They measured about 40 mm effective aperture, not a big issue. The field of view was close to the claimed 6.5 degrees and sharp in the center.  Eye relief is on the short side, the spec is 12mm and it seemed consistent with other binos with similar specs like the 10x50 Nikon Aculons. They were in collimation and seemed reasonably robust. Self focusing (Bill Cooks thumb test) didnt seem to be a problem.

 

4 or 5 months ago, I was in Wal-Mart and bought a pair. I used them for a while. At the time of the Jupiter-saturn conjunction, I gave them to a friend. He was thrilled with them and has been using them quite a bit.

 

There is also an 8x40 version.  There are binoculars in this price I would not give to a friend, these are good enough, I've used them for an evening star hopping along side a telescope.  

 

https://www.walmart....-Black/22949592

 

https://www.walmart....Black/133624643

 

I'll probably buy a pair just to have the next time I'm in Wal-Mart, someone will need a pair soon enough.

 

Jon


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#7 Captain Zero

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:19 AM

I have been using cheapo bins for years. You get what you pay for. They are better than the unaided eye, can be used to hunt. Even decent vin bins though run rings around them, and the decent new stuff is another galaxy.

 

Can’t  see anyone into good optics buying them. Spend a hundred to two hundred bucks and get something worthwhile.



#8 harbinjer

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:29 AM

If you insist on an 8x42 roof, I think the Bushnell H2O is an option. I recall hearing that they were decent, all things considered. But they are currently closer to $100. Maybe a used pair is available on ebay or facebook marketplace or a sale somewhere. Otherwise the Celestron Cometron 7x50 is very cheap, but useable, from what I recall.  The Nikon Aculon is probably among the best you can get for that price. 


Edited by harbinjer, 23 February 2021 - 10:29 AM.


#9 hallelujah

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 01:05 PM

https://www.ebay.com...cgAAOSwkz9f9gQl

 

Stan



#10 DrJ1

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 06:08 PM

If you insist on an 8x42 roof, I think the Bushnell H2O is an option. I recall hearing that they were decent, all things considered. But they are currently closer to $100. Maybe a used pair is available on ebay or facebook marketplace or a sale somewhere. Otherwise the Celestron Cometron 7x50 is very cheap, but useable, from what I recall.  The Nikon Aculon is probably among the best you can get for that price. 

I agree with Harbinger on the Bushnell H2O Waterproof 8x42.  I bought a pair from Adorama for $59, shipping included.  They are sharp, decent sweet spot, well made, and bright enough under most conditions.  I wouldn't use them for viewing wildlife at dusk.  OK for informal sky viewing after one is dark adapted.  Adorama sold out but used H20 binocs are available and shouldn't be too old.  I have several Bell & Howell 8x40 porros and they give a wide (510 ft at 1000 yds) FoV and are sharp.  They are available used for under $50 but make sure they are properly collimated.  DrJ1


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#11 sonny.barile

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 06:33 PM

Celestron Cometron 7 x 50 porro’s are $37 new. 
 

Celestron Outland 8x 25 and 10 x 25 are roofs and just a tad over the budget. 


Edited by sonny.barile, 23 February 2021 - 06:34 PM.


#12 BillP

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 07:48 PM

Appreciate all the suggestions...especially those at $50 or below.  I know the sentiment that many have regarding about what they might consider less than effective equipment, but have to realize that for many folks $50 is not a trivial expense.  So need to stay within bounds of what someone can afford and try to give them the best we know of for the price point without making them feel like it is worthless junk.  Helping them how to enjoy the stars and bring a little wonder into their life without breaking the bank for them is most important.  Anyway, thanks again for the great feedback!


Edited by BillP, 23 February 2021 - 07:48 PM.

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#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:19 PM

Appreciate all the suggestions...especially those at $50 or below.  I know the sentiment that many have regarding about what they might consider less than effective equipment, but have to realize that for many folks $50 is not a trivial expense.  So need to stay within bounds of what someone can afford and try to give them the best we know of for the price point without making them feel like it is worthless junk.  Helping them how to enjoy the stars and bring a little wonder into their life without breaking the bank for them is most important.  Anyway, thanks again for the great feedback!

 

:waytogo:

 

I have some very nice equipment but I'm still able to enjoy simple, optics that are less than perfect in numerous ways.  Optical perfection is unnessary in order to enjoy the wonders of the universe.. 

 

Jon


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#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 08:57 AM

I will add:

 

I try to keep a small stock of binoculars, telescopes, eyepieces etc that serve as loaners and as outright gifts.  In a situation such as this, I'd just choose a pair and give it to the person.

 

Jon


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#15 Captain Zero

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 10:19 AM

Completely agree with you Mr. P that $50 is a significant expenditure for some for a pair of bins. For a long time I would include myself in that category. I’m talking about almost all of the folks here that appear to enjoy good to superb optics. I wouldn’t put them in that group. For this crowd, I can’t see anyone not willing to spend $75-$100 to get something at least decent.

 

Seems like this isn’t the group you are talking about, but even there, I would think the intro should be at least with decent gear.


Edited by Captain Zero, 24 February 2021 - 10:24 AM.


#16 NYJohn S

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 10:31 AM

I'm slowly putting together a set to use for outreach, loaners. I'm in a populated area so Craigslist and garage sales are a good place to look. Plus you can try them to make sure they're collimated. 

 

Front to back, Bushnell Ensign 7x35, Alcron 7x35, Bushnell Ensign 7x40. Thompson 12x50, Bijia marked 20x50 More like 7x50. The Bushnell's come up cheap on CL quite often. One of mine is made in Japan and the other Korea. Both are decent. 

 

The Thompson & Bijia were purchased new. The Bijia were out of collimation and I had to unscrew the objectives to get them collimated. I wouldn't recommend them. The Thompson was $19.39 on Amazon with free delivery. They are sharp in the center. My copy falls off in sharpness  a little more on the left edge than the right but it's acceptable. They make 10x50's for $14.88. Unfortunately there's no 8x42. 

 

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#17 Captain Zero

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 11:07 AM

Very generous both Jon and John S.

 

I guess what I’m saying as a member of the target “newbie” group, I don’t use bins for astronomy. It seems literally and figuratively to be a whole new world for me. If I were to stick my peepers into the universe above, I would want a good experience at least, and methinks you prolly need to spend at least a little more than 50 bucks to get it. I would borrow a pair, or spend around a hundred and get something reasonable.

 

Having said that, I have likely used more cheapos than most here on a regular basis. Killed my share of game and game birds with them easy peasy. Would use them again for that purpose. Used them also plenty for birding, but wouldn’t now.



#18 Cestus

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 11:16 AM

Found this on Amazon for $60. That's pretty close.

 

Levenhuk Karma 8x42 Compact Lightweight Binoculars with Roof Prisms and Fully Multi-Coated BaK-4 Glass Optics.



#19 harbinjer

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 11:49 AM

Appreciate all the suggestions...especially those at $50 or below.  I know the sentiment that many have regarding about what they might consider less than effective equipment, but have to realize that for many folks $50 is not a trivial expense.  So need to stay within bounds of what someone can afford and try to give them the best we know of for the price point without making them feel like it is worthless junk.  Helping them how to enjoy the stars and bring a little wonder into their life without breaking the bank for them is most important.  Anyway, thanks again for the great feedback!

Bill, 

Another option is to look on shopgoodwill for a 20 pack of binoculars there. Chances are 15 will be usable.  Then you can loan them out and if they aren't returned, its not a big deal.. Misaligned ones can be practice fixing, or with a hacksaw, monoculars or finderscopes, or you can salvage them for eyepieces(like Red Henry posted about), that you can give to newbies. 

 

Just brainstorming other options.

 

Anyway, another idea is this: https://www.amazon.c...s=photo&sr=1-13

 

I haven't looked at, or through a pair, and the quality control might be all over the place, but maybe someone wants to try them and report back. 


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#20 JamesDuffey

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 11:54 AM

waytogo.gif

 

I have some very nice equipment but I'm still able to enjoy simple, optics that are less than perfect in numerous ways.  Optical perfection is unnessary in order to enjoy the wonders of the universe.. 

 

Jon

Thanks Jon, for a sentiment we often forget. I occasionally enjoy the simple pleasure of viewing the wonders of the universe with an old 10x Balscope that belonged to my father-in-law.


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#21 harbinjer

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 12:24 PM

I'm slowly putting together a set to use for outreach, loaners. I'm in a populated area so Craigslist and garage sales are a good place to look. Plus you can try them to make sure they're collimated. 

 

 

There are a bunch of older threads about good value older binoculars, and sometimes ones to avoid:

Here is one: https://www.cloudyni...rable-classics/

 

And another: https://www.cloudyni...age-binoculars/


Edited by harbinjer, 24 February 2021 - 12:26 PM.

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#22 BillP

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 01:59 PM

Optical perfection is unnessary in order to enjoy the wonders of the universe.

 

Amen to that.  I know of a number of newbies where recommendations that were focused more on optical quality and growth in the hobby actually ruined the experience for them as it exacted a level of cost and complexity that they were just not ready for.  I look at it like crawling, walking, running.  Those in the crawling phase do not need anything near expensive or perfect.  For them the equipment needs to be something superfluous to the activity as their focus needs to be on the stars.  All the equipment needs is to be functional, non-cumbersome, and provide performance better than the naked eye.


Edited by BillP, 24 February 2021 - 02:00 PM.

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#23 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 02:00 PM

Very generous both Jon and John S.

 

I guess what I’m saying as a member of the target “newbie” group, I don’t use bins for astronomy. It seems literally and figuratively to be a whole new world for me. If I were to stick my peepers into the universe above, I would want a good experience at least, and methinks you prolly need to spend at least a little more than 50 bucks to get it. I would borrow a pair, or spend around a hundred and get something reasonable.

 

Having said that, I have likely used more cheapos than most here on a regular basis. Killed my share of game and game birds with them easy peasy. Would use them again for that purpose. Used them also plenty for birding, but wouldn’t now.

 

I think the experience depends on the individual rather than the equipment.  

 

I'm more of a telescope guy than a binocular guy but I have some nice binoculars. I think that the Simmons Prosports are good enough to provide a good experience, I've enjoyed using them..

 

I'm reluctant to recommend that a beginner buy their first binoculars used. There are bargains to be had but I've had far too many beginners hand me a pair of binoculars that were horribly out of collimation and think nothing of it.

 

To buy used, it's best to have some experience with binoculars.

 

This can happen with new binoculars, the Celestron 15x70 Skymasters are famous for it but the Simmons Prosports 10x50 Porros seem to be quite decent in this regard.

 

Jon



#24 Captain Zero

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 04:02 PM

I will take your word on it. You’ve obviously been around the block with these things.

 

I am not a novice though with cheap bins. Have used my share, just not for astronomy.

Also know what what they look like versus the better quality stuff. And, I’m not talking about hundreds of dollar alpha quality stuff.

 

Its all personal preference but if I had my druthers and wanted to give star gazing a try, I wouldn’t start  with less than 50 buck bins. Not to say that there may not be a few outliers there that could fit the bill okay, but I wouldn’t look there first, nor at anything real expensive either. Would try to be like baby bear and the porridge I think.

 

P.S. Also, wouldn’t I be better to start out with something less magnifying like the 8x42? 10x50 gives me a shaky view after a few minutes of holding them.


Edited by Captain Zero, 24 February 2021 - 04:21 PM.


#25 KennyJ

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 04:29 PM

Our "link guru" Stan ( Hallelujah ) already provided a link earlier in this thread to a model I believe would be very difficult to improve upon for it's price.

 

Its a Bushnell H20 8x42 PORRO.

 

https://www.ebay.com...cgAAOSwkz9f9gQl

 

I bought one of my daughters one of these around 16 years as a modest, surprise little gift.

 

Unlike myself, she is literally out almost every single night in and out of her observatory, mainly engaged in astrophotography, but also looking through various telescopes and binoculars.

 

She still enjoys viewing the night sky through that modest 8x42 even now, and it has never suffered from any problems.

 

For $40 these are a real steal.

 

Kenny


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