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Upgrading my binoculars

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#1 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 07:02 PM

My wife is trying to figure out my birthday present this year. I’m thinking of upgrading my binoculars. I’m thinking of a budget around $250-300. I like my current Cometrons, but would love to either:
1) Upgrade to a nicer model of similar handheld binoculars e.g 7x42, 7x50, 10x50 as I love the simplicity of just being able to go outside
2) Get a pair of low magnification Galilean binoculars, but with Bortle 7 skies is it worth it?
3) Get a larger pair 15x70, 20x80 and a parallelogram mount

Any advice is appreciated.

#2 DeanD

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 07:25 PM

If you want to upgrade your current binos, then maybe something like Oberwerk 10x50 Ultra's (lots of other re-brands of the same binos: Orion Resolux etc), however, if you are looking for better views of dso's etc, then I would look at something like the Oberwerk 15x70 Deluxe, which is in your budget. You can still use your 7x50's for hand-viewing, but the 15x70's will offer a major jump in what you can see. They are suitable for very brief hand-viewing, but much better if you can sit back in a reclining chair! Ideally you would mount them on a tripod: and you are right, a parallelogram mount is even better. If you don't have the budget, but have the tools, it is easy enough to make one, and there are lots of plans out there.

 

I have a pair of the Galilean binos: and they are great for a general look: a bit like travelling to a darker sky (they will give you a couple of magnitudes better than naked eye), but I don't think you would use them much compared to your 7x50's.

 

Good luck, and have a great birthday!

 

- Dean

 

(PS: I have no connection with Oberwerk, it is just that they have a good reputation, a good selection, and they check their products before shipping. Check out their comparison chart: https://oberwerk.com...mparison-chart/

They are no good for me though: the postage from anywhere in the US to my home is ridiculously expensive at the moment: I was quoted $180 postage for a 0.5kg item that was only worth $60 the other day!!!) 


Edited by DeanD, 18 June 2021 - 07:33 PM.

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#3 paul hart

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 08:02 PM

I second the OBI's. I have the 15x70 LW's but I would love to have the Ultra's


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#4 astronomus1930

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 08:12 PM

Happy Birthday!
I second the suggestion for Oberwerk 15x70 [you will need them mounted] or, given your Bortle 7 skies, perhaps the 10x42 Sport HD II for a slightly smaller EP?

Clear Skies!



#5 Echolight

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 08:38 PM

I bought the Vortex Vulture HD 8x56 on close-out. It fits your budget. And they're still available. Marked down from the original $399 to $299. I got mine during a Memorial Day weekend sale for $249.

 

It's not the best you can get. But surely the best 8x56 roof prism for under $300. 

 

I like the 8x56. It whoops a 7x42, 8x42, 10x42, or 7x50, And I don't have to think about holding it steady like I do with a 10x50. Works great in my Bortle 7-8 skies. Open clusters are awesome. And I've had no problem detecting all the DSO's in Sagittarius.

 

Great in the daytime too. Great depth of field. And fits in a glove box better than a 10x50 porro.

 

Here they are between a collection of 50mm porros

0BC6EFC1-2F77-4F51-A2D1-57A360C6FA43.jpeg


Edited by Echolight, 18 June 2021 - 08:45 PM.

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#6 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 05:34 PM

Happy Birthday!
I second the suggestion for Oberwerk 15x70 [you will need them mounted] or, given your Bortle 7 skies, perhaps the 10x42 Sport HD II for a slightly smaller EP?
Clear Skies!


Would you suggest the monopod or the Oberwerk 3000?

#7 DeanD

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 05:45 PM

Would you suggest the monopod or the Oberwerk 3000?

The 3000: you don't have to hold it up so it is more stable. 



#8 astronomus1930

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 05:50 PM

The 3000: you don't have to hold it up so it is more stable. 

yes! the 15x70 is over 4 pounds and the tripod will really give you the ability to split doubles far more easily!



#9 sevenofnine

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 06:16 PM

If you really like your 7x50's, a pair of Nikon AE 10x50's might be a better choice. With 10x you can just relax in a zero gravity chair. Anything more powerful requires some set up time and dealing with equipment and their challenges. Good luck and Happy Birthday! watching.gif


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#10 Nate1701

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 08:36 PM

10x50 or 15x70 are good solid choices.

 

10x50 is good If you want hand held only and can steady it enough.

15x70 if you are willing to buy a light mount.

 

other notes:

You will find on here that some can handhold 10x with satisfaction and even higher like 15x, and more. But it depends what is satisfactory for you.

 

10x50 is the minimum i would consider for astronomy - but because i will also mount it. For handheld ONLY i prefer 8x. Thus Echolights suggestion of 8x56 is appealing.

 

There is a lot to be enjoyed by going larger, as long as you don't mind cost and extra weight - less portability. 15x70 is a good jump up from what you have but not so hard on mounting like 20x80.



#11 Echolight

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 07:40 AM

10x50 or 15x70 are good solid choices.

 

10x50 is good If you want hand held only and can steady it enough.

15x70 if you are willing to buy a light mount.

 

other notes:

You will find on here that some can handhold 10x with satisfaction and even higher like 15x, and more. But it depends what is satisfactory for you.

 

10x50 is the minimum i would consider for astronomy - but because i will also mount it. For handheld ONLY i prefer 8x. Thus Echolights suggestion of 8x56 is appealing.

 

There is a lot to be enjoyed by going larger, as long as you don't mind cost and extra weight - less portability. 15x70 is a good jump up from what you have but not so hard on mounting like 20x80.

I don't mind hand holding a 10x50. But for me, there's enough difference in the stability of the image that I don't gain any added detail when using a 10x50 hand held as opposed to an 8x56 hand held. And I personally appreciate the brighter, more natural looking background of the 8x56. Although for my particular Bortle 7-8 location, I don't care much for 7x50.



#12 f18dad

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 10:08 AM

If you really like your 7x50's, a pair of Nikon AE 10x50's might be a better choice. With 10x you can just relax in a zero gravity chair. Anything more powerful requires some set up time and dealing with equipment and their challenges. Good luck and Happy Birthday! watching.gif

Agree with this.



#13 f18dad

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 10:09 AM

Would you suggest the monopod or the Oberwerk 3000?

Yes.


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#14 Nate1701

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 10:52 AM

I don't mind hand holding a 10x50. But for me, there's enough difference in the stability of the image that I don't gain any added detail when using a 10x50 hand held as opposed to an 8x56 hand held. And I personally appreciate the brighter, more natural looking background of the 8x56. Although for my particular Bortle 7-8 location, I don't care much for 7x50.

This is exactly my experience.

Which was what i was trying to say here: https://www.cloudyni...lar/?p=11167756

 

But that got taken Waaaaaaay out in left field....

 

( Echolight, shame on us for telling the world that technically an 8x bino will show more than a 10x  lol.gif  joking! )


Edited by Nate1701, 20 June 2021 - 02:00 PM.


#15 f18dad

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 11:19 AM

For me the point of binoculars is their portability, i.e. hand-held. Once I mount them for astronomy I'm ready for the telescope. This is heresy on this forum. Daytime viewing is another matter.

 

Definitely echolight's analysis, purchasing and reviews are intriguing. My consideration between his 8x56's and a Nikon 10x50 AE would be weight. I am not sure how the weight compares but I am sure echolight does. I know there are schools that suggest the weight is not the factor and the magnification is because of reduced FOV. I am of the school that BOTH matter. I find my 10x50 ultras quite heavy for hand-held astronomy. I love them, mostly for their optical quality. But not for their hand-held portability. By comparison the Nikon AE's are lighter and IMO more what the average person would expect from a set of binoculars. Research them.

 

Unless you are planning on becoming a binocular aficionado like most who opine in this forum I would recommend a pair of 10x50 Nikon AE's and you won't be disappointed. Otherwise, welcome to the rabbit hole!


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#16 Echolight

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 12:04 PM

For me the point of binoculars is their portability, i.e. hand-held. Once I mount them for astronomy I'm ready for the telescope. This is heresy on this forum. Daytime viewing is another matter.

 

Definitely echolight's analysis, purchasing and reviews are intriguing. My consideration between his 8x56's and a Nikon 10x50 AE would be weight. I am not sure how the weight compares but I am sure echolight does. I know there are schools that suggest the weight is not the factor and the magnification is because of reduced FOV. I am of the school that BOTH matter. I find my 10x50 ultras quite heavy for hand-held astronomy. I love them, mostly for their optical quality. But not for their hand-held portability. By comparison the Nikon AE's are lighter and IMO more what the average person would expect from a set of binoculars. Research them.

 

Unless you are planning on becoming a binocular aficionado like most who opine in this forum I would recommend a pair of 10x50 Nikon AE's and you won't be disappointed. Otherwise, welcome to the rabbit hole!

It's a personal choice. The Vulture 8x56 is a bit heavy for my taste at 39 ounces. But other 8x56's are 43 ounces. I believe the Nikon 10x50 AE is something like 2.2 pounds. So 35 ounces?

 

A big thing for me, was I wanted them to fit in places that my 10x50 porros didn't. And I wanted a roof prism because they seem tougher and I'm not familiar with them losing collimation. Also, in waterproof form, they have a smoother focuser because it's ALL internal. The eyepieces are fixed, and don't have to move through o-rings to maintain the seal.

 

I didn't know when I bought the Vulture 8x56 that, hand held, I would be able to see just as much as with a 10x50. But that's what I found after using them side by side. But I'm a lazy viewer I guess. And don't want to have to put in the extra effort to use a 10x50 to it's fullest potential all the time. The 8x56 is a more casual and relaxed hand held view for me.

And I like the brighter view of the 7mm exit pupil. Again, this may vary from person to person.



#17 Echolight

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 12:13 PM

This is exactly my experience.

Which was what i was trying to say here: https://www.cloudyni...lar/?p=11167756

 

But that got taken Waaaaaaay out in left field....

 

( Echolight, shame on us for telling the world that technically an 8x bino will show more than a 10x  lol.gif )

In some cases, I believe it will. I think the brighter view aides in detecting nebulosity to some extent. Although maybe that's just my impression and not real.

 

Certainly I don't think the 8x56 is losing anything on open clusters. I love the big and bright view.

 

Maybe more experienced viewers who use a hand held binocular for splitting double stars as a matter of practice can see a difference better than me. But I'm just scanning star fields and picking out DSO's, and looking in awe at open clusters.

 

For me, the 8x56 seems ideal.

 

But it was said to be, by one tester, an 8.6x55.1.  So maybe that's really ideal for me.


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#18 ECP M42

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 12:16 PM

This is exactly my experience.

Which was what i was trying to say here: https://www.cloudyni...lar/?p=11167756

 

But that got taken Waaaaaaay out in left field....

 

( Echolight, shame on us for telling the world that technically an 8x bino will show more than a 10x  lol.gif )

So, it's not as aesthetic, as you told me back then (just to get out of the bind with BPI). You're just confirming that you agree with the words: "I don't gain any added detail when using a 10x50 hand held as opposed to an 8x56 hand held".

 

I was right in saying that your words were ambiguous: "The jitters in 10x would reduce the benefit IMHO". Because you said you agreed with Fiske who rightly stated "For astronomy an 8x56 is at a disadvantage compared with a 10x50/56 -- the additional 2x makes a significant difference in what can be seen.", but you really weren't. And everything I've written to clarify, it didn't served to nothing.

Indeed, as my grandfather used to say, "washing the donkey's head, wastes soap and water".

 

Nate, you personally never told the world that you see more detail with an 8x than you do with a 10x, but you still agree with those people who assume or believe it or are in some way supporting it.

At least, understand it! 



#19 dries1

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 01:18 PM

Carolina Banker, what is the current format of the Cometron binoculars? 



#20 Nate1701

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 01:56 PM

So, it's not as aesthetic, as you told me back then (just to get out of the bind with BPI). You're just confirming that you agree with the words: "I don't gain any added detail when using a 10x50 hand held as opposed to an 8x56 hand held".

 

I was right in saying that your words were ambiguous: "The jitters in 10x would reduce the benefit IMHO". Because you said you agreed with Fiske who rightly stated "For astronomy an 8x56 is at a disadvantage compared with a 10x50/56 -- the additional 2x makes a significant difference in what can be seen.", but you really weren't. And everything I've written to clarify, it didn't served to nothing.

Indeed, as my grandfather used to say, "washing the donkey's head, wastes soap and water".

 

Nate, you personally never told the world that you see more detail with an 8x than you do with a 10x, but you still agree with those people who assume or believe it or are in some way supporting it.

At least, understand it! 

Echolight said:

 

But for me, there's enough difference in the stability of the image that I don't gain any added detail when using a 10x50 hand held as opposed to an 8x56 hand held.

 

  - and -

 

I didn't know when I bought the Vulture 8x56 that, hand held, I would be able to see just as much as with a 10x50. But that's what I found after using them side by side.
 

And i agree with him.

 

I don't think i'm going back on my words in the other thread. And he is NOT saying that an 8x bino will show more.

It seems you are seriously misunderstanding his words.

 

But i think we have said enough about it already. Let's stay on topic.

 

The main point for the OP is: 8x or 10x can make the difference between enjoying handheld or not. There is no right or wrong to that.

 

edit: ok, in the brackets at the end i was joking. That is what the laugh was for. So I apologize Henry ( ECPM42) if you took that seriously. I went back and put "joking!" at the end of it. https://www.cloudyni...ars/?p=11178926

Otherwise you are correct - that could be misleading to others if they do not know it is a joke.


Edited by Nate1701, 20 June 2021 - 02:11 PM.


#21 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 01:57 PM

Carolina Banker, what is the current format of the Cometron binoculars? 

They’re handheld, porros.



#22 dries1

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 02:00 PM

What is the magnification? 8X30, 8X42, 7X42, 7X50?

Sorry, got it, a 7X50.

 

With Bortle 7 skies, perhaps a 10X42 which can be handheld could be useful, then perhaps upgrade later.


Edited by dries1, 20 June 2021 - 02:07 PM.

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#23 f18dad

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 04:24 PM

For CarolinaBanker,

 

Maybe you already read this but it's a good overview from Sky & Telescope. Also covers porro vs roof prism somewhat.

 

https://skyandtelesc...-for-astronomy/

 

You will only become more confused by studying opinions here further. Best is to try out some and decide from your own preference. This forum is too intellectual. You may end up with far too many binoculars like the rest of us have, and never be quite satisfied that you have finally obtained the true Grail. At the end of the day it's all about your own personal experience...


Edited by f18dad, 20 June 2021 - 04:24 PM.

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#24 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 08:04 PM

For CarolinaBanker,

 

Maybe you already read this but it's a good overview from Sky & Telescope. Also covers porro vs roof prism somewhat.

 

https://skyandtelesc...-for-astronomy/

 

You will only become more confused by studying opinions here further. Best is to try out some and decide from your own preference. This forum is too intellectual. You may end up with far too many binoculars like the rest of us have, and never be quite satisfied that you have finally obtained the true Grail. At the end of the day it's all about your own personal experience...

Unfortunately where I am there seem to be no local clubs nor shops that stock optics. I view this purchase as a compromise, if I get a better 7x50, I still won’t be seeing many DSOs, but the lightweight and handheld nature is convenient and I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my existing pair, I don’t feel bad grabbing them and going out for five minutes. If I go to a 15x70 or a similar set up, I’ll give up some of the convenience as I’ll need a mount. My current scope is quick to set up and a f/6.5 achromatic so it does do wide field reasonably well and set up is quick, I wonder whether I’d wind up using the 15x70s less due to the overlap.



#25 Nate1701

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 09:00 PM

Unfortunately where I am there seem to be no local clubs nor shops that stock optics. I view this purchase as a compromise, if I get a better 7x50, I still won’t be seeing many DSOs, but the lightweight and handheld nature is convenient and I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my existing pair, I don’t feel bad grabbing them and going out for five minutes. If I go to a 15x70 or a similar set up, I’ll give up some of the convenience as I’ll need a mount. My current scope is quick to set up and a f/6.5 achromatic so it does do wide field reasonably well and set up is quick, I wonder whether I’d wind up using the 15x70s less due to the overlap.

Many experienced observers recommend a scope over mounted binos since it is easier to view than straight through binos, and more versatile. Which has a lot of merit.

On the other hand - there is something special about two eye viewing. If small scopes always beat 15x70 - 25x100 for every type of viewing - well there wouldn't be a market for them would there?




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