Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Binocular Telescope - Which One to Choose?

Binoculars Equipment Mount Orion
  • Please log in to reply
58 replies to this topic

#1 Ron Knee

Ron Knee

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2022

Posted 16 August 2022 - 08:56 PM

Hello Everyone - I’m a newbie to this group, and pretty inexperienced with binos and telescopes too. So thought it best to ask for some advice, please, as you seem a friendly lot.

Need advice on a binocular telescope and mount. Over the years in England I’ve had one cheap telescope for basic skywatching, and some general-purpose bins for spotting, but haven’t used either for a few years due to  light pollution where I lived. But have now retired and moved to a house on a hill by the coast in rural New Zealand. The view to the coast is 3km of bush and farmland with assorted birds and wildlife, then the sea with yachts and the occasional whale and dolphin for another few km. The living room has a large window facing that view, and a deck at the same level to see the night sky. So my ‘retirement present’ is to buy something to take advantage of both day and night views.

I like the idea of a BT, such as the Orion Giantview BT - 100 with 45 degree eyepiece orientation, on a mount like their Orion U mount on their Paragon Plus XHD tripod. Which I’ve seen on YouTube, but not in the flesh. There aren’t any in stock in New Zealand, but I can order one. Which is why any advice first would be appreciated, especially any alternatives, such as the one from APM. Thanks in advance!.



#2 ihf

ihf

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,238
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 16 August 2022 - 09:03 PM

Answering a few extra questions may help others to give you better answers.

 

Do you need to wear glasses?

Does your face have any restrictions like a very narrow interpupillary distance or deep set eyes?

Is the view to the beach generally against the sun, with the sun? Fog? (A lot of glare?)

Does it rain in New Zealand? Well, I guess it does. But is the humidity very high while you are watching?

Do you plan to move the binos often?

Did you have any particular size in mind?


  • Pinac likes this

#3 Ron Knee

Ron Knee

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2022

Posted 16 August 2022 - 09:32 PM

Good points, thanks ihf.

I just use reading glasses, no need for glasses for distance.

No facial restrictions. Whenever I've used friends' different binos I've had no problem.

The view is generally against the sun. The view is south facing which, being New Zealand, means opposite to the UK. So little glare, and the night sky is amazing.

There is rain, fog and mist quite often where we are. But more often than not there's neither so I'd just use the binos when the view is clear, which is most of the time. But it's normally humid, even when quite clear.

I'd be moving the kit about three metres from indoors to outdoors through a 1.5m wide door on the same level to change from daytime viewing of wildlife / sea to outdoors at night for the stars.

As for size, every hobby I've ever taken up  (shooting, cycling, bowling, etc) has involved upgrading the kit to something better soon after starting and wishing that I'd got the good kit when I started. Which is why I'm wondering whether to jump straight into the 100mm BTs.

Thanks for the questions. Would appreciate your views.

,



#4 Fiske

Fiske

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,233
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2004
  • Loc: Kansas (Kansas City area) / USA

Posted 16 August 2022 - 09:48 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights, Ron!

 

welcome.gif


  • Ron Knee likes this

#5 jrazz

jrazz

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 937
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2022
  • Loc: NoCO

Posted 16 August 2022 - 10:25 PM

I really understand wanting to skip the entry level and get the "good kit".. I do! I still think you are running a pretty big risk. You are going to end up spending $4k-$5k. Are you really going into this blind? Do you know what you want to observe? It's easy for us to make recommendations based on what we like and indeed, you can look at this forum and see reviews aplenty. I think spending $300 on a 20x80 and maybe $450 on a nice tripod (which can later be used for a BT) is probably a safer choice. You will still use that binocular later but you will be able to make far better choices on you selection.

 

For example, that Orion Giantview is not something I would recommend. For the same money I would rather get something like the APM 70 SD-APO. Basically I would rather get the better optical quality over pure aperture. But here's the rub: that's MY preference. Will you truly be happy with a 70mm apo? Maybe you'd rather spend more and get the 100 SD-apo? Unfortunately the only person who can know this is you and the only way you can know is with experience.

 

I'll just say that as much as I love my 100XL I would still be happy with only the 20x65 and I honestly find myself using it more. Bigger is not always better.



#6 Ron Knee

Ron Knee

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2022

Posted 16 August 2022 - 10:52 PM

Thanks Jordan. I completely agree that you can't beat experience and that trying things is way better than buying blind. But I live in a place (New Zealand) with minimal stock of anything remotely attractive in this field and where for something like this you have to do your internet research and then order it from abroad and cross your fingers that you like it. Even for Orion BTs, for example, Orion won't ship direct to NZ and I'd have to have it sent to Australia and then shipped on to NZ. So it's good to have views from more experienced folks like you before I roll the dice.... Cheers! 



#7 MT4

MT4

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,110
  • Joined: 05 Jun 2021
  • Loc: Tokyo, JP

Posted 16 August 2022 - 11:15 PM

If I were to start over and if I had regular access to dark skies (which I don't) I'd start with a low-powered bino, something like a good quality 7x or even something like the Orion 2x54, or the Canon 10x42 IS L.    These would come before any BT as they'd allow you to learn the sky and prepare you for the big guns.

 

You'd likely find that you'd enjoy the lower-powered hand-held binos in a lot more occasions than something like a 70/80/100/120mm BT.

 

Regarding BTs, I'd agree with Jordan that if you have access to dark skies, go for quality instead of raw aperture.

 

Good luck!


Edited by MT4, 16 August 2022 - 11:16 PM.

  • Mark Y., jrazz and Ron Knee like this

#8 oldmanrick

oldmanrick

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 995
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2015
  • Loc: Western Montana, USA

Posted 16 August 2022 - 11:44 PM

Welcome Ron!

 

Nice to have another potential BT owner aboard.

 

It sounds to me like you have pretty well made up your mind that you need/want a nice binocular telescope.  Well justified too from your description of where you live, and your place along life's road.

 

I was much like you when I bought my Lunt 100mm ED BT a few years back.  I had never looked through or even touched a BT, and where I live, had little opportunity to do so.  I thought it would be the final step in BT ownership for me.  I bought it, loved it and still own and love it, but after a few years I got a case of aperture fever and longed for a bigger BT.  Saved my money and eventually APM came out with a new 150mm model.  I got an opportunity to buy a display model at a really good price, and took the jump.  Haven't regretted buying either one of them.  They sort of complement each other.  The big one is mounted on a home-made dolly, almost permanently, that I can roll out of my shop, ready to go at a moments notice, onto my driveway or lawn.  The 100mm is more of a "grab and go", and it too is often mounted, on a Gitzo 5 series CF tripod with a geared center column and geared photo head, and the whole assembly is light enough that I can pick it up and move it about where I want.  When I travel away from home, it often goes along.

 

I think, that like myself, a 100mm instrument would be a great place for you to start.  From what you say, I think you would be well advised to purchase the best 100mm instrument that you can afford.  Be aware too, that you may want to acquire an array of quality eyepieces for the BT, and these can amount to a large expense.  Fortunately, they can be purchased a pair at a time as you can afford them.  You will also need a good mount, and I think a fork mount is hard to beat for overall utility.  Make sure that you get a tripod that is up to the task.  There is great frustration in trying to view at high magnification through an instrument that jiggles in the slightest breeze, or takes a long time to settle after touching up the focus, or moving it to track and object.  From your description of your home, a wheeled dolly for your tripod might be worth considering.  I often use a Manfrotto heavy duty photo dolly, which works great, and will fit down a normal hallway and through a door.  My dolly, 161Mk II tripod, geared mount, Gitzo geared column, plus some eyepiece pairs were acquired used, and thereby saved me a lot of $$.

 

As far as recommendations, I will say that we are fortunate nowadays to have a large array of quality equipment to choose from.

 

BT's; I would look at either Oberwerke 100 SD or APM 100 SD,  The choice would probably be for the one having the best and nearest dealer to you.  As it sounds like you have a lot of terrestrial use planned, I would opt for the 45 degree version.

 

Mount; I like the APM fork mount, but haven't used Oberwerke's version, which is probably fine.

 

Tripod;  the Manfrotto 161 model is good and sturdy with a good geared center column, (highly recommended for astro use), but is quite heavy.  A good heavy duty, tall carbon fiber tripod is very good, and much lighter than the aluminum Manfrotto, and can also be had with a geared center column.  CF is more expensive though.

 

Best of luck with your acquisition, and many happy hours of viewing ahead!

 

Rick


  • cookjaiii likes this

#9 Ron Knee

Ron Knee

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2022

Posted 17 August 2022 - 03:35 AM

Thanks Rick - that's very useful - am now reading good things about the Oberwerke 100 SD in particular. But beggars can't be choosers and getting stock in New Zealand can be difficult so, if I may, I might be asking you later for other alternatives cheers! 



#10 Takuan

Takuan

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 60
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2020
  • Loc: Barcelona/ Universe

Posted 17 August 2022 - 03:58 AM

If you are going to combine terrestrial and astronomical use and you do not like to lift weight, you can consider that 70-80mm is enough.
  • Alex04, ihf and Ron Knee like this

#11 ArsMachina

ArsMachina

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,492
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 17 August 2022 - 05:42 AM

Welcome Ron,

 

that sounds like a good place to have a lot of fun with binoculars / binoscopes at day and at night.

 

But most probably it will not be done with a single instrument :-)

 

I do agree, that a 100mm binoscope with 45° eyepieces is a very good start and you can use it for wildlife and the nightsky.

Here I would go for ED optics at least...

 

But while living in such a place an handheld binocular you can grab every second and also use while hiking is a nice toy to have.

Here I also recommend the Canon 10x42IS

The stabilizer does make the difference on all targets, no matter if these are stars or birds.

The 10x42IS has another benefit, the nearest usable distance is very close.

I do have a lot of fun observing tiny critters in my yard with them.

 

Best wishes and good luck in your decisions

 

Jochen


  • oldmanrick, cookjaiii, ihf and 1 other like this

#12 Ron Knee

Ron Knee

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2022

Posted 17 August 2022 - 05:59 AM

Thanks Jochen


  • ArsMachina likes this

#13 DeanD

DeanD

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 688
  • Joined: 05 May 2018
  • Loc: South Australia

Posted 17 August 2022 - 06:30 AM

Hi Ron, and welcome! I am just wondering if this ad I noticed on Cloudy Nights might appeal to you? It sounds like he is open to offers, but I am unsure about costs to ship to NZ from Sydney:

https://www.iceinspa...ad.php?t=199748

 

It sounds like your new house is in paradise! Happy viewing. smile.gif

 

- Dean


Edited by DeanD, 17 August 2022 - 06:30 AM.


#14 Fiske

Fiske

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,233
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2004
  • Loc: Kansas (Kansas City area) / USA

Posted 17 August 2022 - 07:08 AM

Here is an Oberwerk 82XL on a TR3 tripod with a carbon fiber elevator and Manfrotto N608 video head that is light enough to easily carry around yet still has sufficent aperture to provide great deep sky views. Although I also own a 100XL, which is marvelous, the 82XL is used more frequently because it is grab and go.

 

med_gallery_2707_18605_3379153.jpg

 

Here is the 100XL-SD with an Oberwerk 240XL fork on a Manfrotto 161MK2B tripod. The BT is still relatively portable at 12.5 pounds and only about 4 inches longer than the 82XL. But to be used to best advantage, a beefier tripod is helpful. This is another great configuration, but two trips instead of one to set up for observing.

 

med_gallery_2707_15761_579642.jpg


  • Dave Mitsky, garret and cookjaiii like this

#15 drt3d

drt3d

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 414
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2015
  • Loc: Cleveland Ohio USA

Posted 17 August 2022 - 07:20 AM

I have the APM 70/90 on an APM single arm mount that I like a lot. Here is my setup

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • APM-Set-Up.jpg

  • Fiske, m11, wrighty338 and 1 other like this

#16 ihf

ihf

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,238
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 17 August 2022 - 09:18 AM

You could consider the Kowa Highlander Prominar with 82mm aperture, which might be available locally, or ships from Japan (a good deal at current exchange rates). It has high quality optics and low sample variation, but costs more than APM/Oberwerk at lower aperture and a more limited set of eyepieces (only 3 different ones). It is also a bit heavy. But it was optimized for day viewing (and some wide angle astronomical eyepieces have problems with that).

 

It sounds like your day viewing would be the main use. Day viewing favors higher quality/smaller optics and better usability (like center focus).

 

I think you want too much from the one gadget that does it all. You don't just have risk from sample variation (might be lower for Oberwerk than APM), but also that you may not like with what you end up with. So you will need to guess right the first time what you may like, or at least iterate at a lower cost.

 

Trying to get night and day use into one instrument is going to cost you in terms of weight and mount. For day use a straight through bino either with image stabilization or with an inexpensive carbon tripod would be perfectly fine. For night use you want 45 degree (or 90 degree) eyepieces, more aperture, a heavier tripod, an elevated column, an expensive and heavy fork or video head.

 

A 100mm BT will also not magnify under 23-25x, which means you won't look at anything close around the house. It is probably also going to be too clunky to follow moving animals anywhere nearby. Probably awesome if all you want to see are whales and pelicans far, far away. I often look at landscapes at 5x and I find 10x plenty. But yes there are applications for 20x, but no, you likely won't be able to use more than 40x over land due to turbulent air degrading the image. Well, at least that is my experience in California.

 

I am particular to Canon IS binoculars. Lightweight, easy to use, center focus, available in big sizes in 10x, 15x and 18x. But not everyone likes them (and I don't know if you would). Except for lack of center focus (and signifantly larger size) the Oberwerk 20x65ED would be a more economic and even more capable choice for the day. But mounting the Oberwerk for the night is going to rival the extra cost of image stabilization.

 

Overall I think for most folks (especially people not knowing yet what they will like) it is better to decouple the day and night use with different instruments, e.g. a telescope for the night, and a binocular for the day. To circle around, some folks are vey happy using telescopes during the day for high power viewing, some even attach bino viewers.

 

Well, maybe you can go into a local hunting or astronomy store, or join a local astronomy club or a bird watching event, and see what the locals are using? In my experience the people that are really into watching animals (like rangers) often don't have the high end stuff. But they use what they have and that every day.


  • Dave Mitsky, Rich V., cookjaiii and 3 others like this

#17 Fiske

Fiske

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,233
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2004
  • Loc: Kansas (Kansas City area) / USA

Posted 17 August 2022 - 10:19 AM

Would a visit to Oberwerk (Dayton, Ohio, USA) be cost prohibitive? That would enable you to see and try out some of the instruments in question, though maybe not for actual astronomy observation. Or what about attending one of the larger annual star parties to see some of the options and actually see night sky views with them? In the meantime perhaps starting with a 10x50, a 15x70, and a UBM style mount...

 

hmm.gif



#18 Tamiji Homma

Tamiji Homma

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,577
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2007
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 17 August 2022 - 11:09 AM

Hi Ron,

 

I also do terrestrial view with binocluars, telescopes during daytime.

3Km distance is quite challenging due to air current smears view, ie: local seeing.

 

I have several short video clips on YouTube.  Take a look.  I am not discouraging you but it is good to know what to expect for daytime viewing before spending a lot of fund. 

 

Kowa spotting scope 40x, 64x, 96x, target is 1.5 miles away, bad seeing:

https://www.youtube....h?v=_E5G9nI4GTQ

 

Swarovski ATX 95 at 75x, target is 4 miles away:

https://www.youtube....h?v=v8UJMdXrfHc

 

LZOS 152mm f/7.9 refractor with 1.5x crop factor camera:

https://www.youtube....h?v=hnD01phkJY4

 

TMB 130 f/7 refractor:

https://www.youtube....h?v=w1bi-9gU-7A

 

Swarovski ATX 95 at 70x:

https://www.youtube....h?v=sxg220mKMSU

 

Takahashi FS-60Q f/16 refractor:

https://www.youtube....h?v=ciweU29lG0M

 

About 90% of time, daytime viewing 1.5 miles away, I don't see more beyond 40x.

 

However when local seeing is superb, I can spot ant on the American flag at 200x 1.5 miles away :)

It happens twice a year on lucky day for a few minutes.

 

You can see the flag size below.

 

large.jpg

 

Tammy


  • Fiske, ihf, aznuge and 1 other like this

#19 Skittersqueek

Skittersqueek

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 190
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Fort Collins Co.

Posted 17 August 2022 - 11:55 AM

Welcome Ron Knee to the cool kids club of Bino Users! Your observing area sounds amazing for both daytime and night time observations. One thing you didn't state was a budget? Everyone has given great advice and I would definitely give them a listen. The only piece of knowledge have is don't be afraid to spoil yourself in this certain scenario! I find 45deg APM 100mm binos to be amazing terrestrial viewing devices, the slight angle of the eyepieces make scanning the countryside a breeze and are ergonomic enough for night time use as well. 


  • Fiske and Ron Knee like this

#20 wrighty338

wrighty338

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 84
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2022
  • Loc: 53.75,-0.87

Posted 17 August 2022 - 12:33 PM

Just here to read what others recommend as a first BT...just out of curiosity of course tongue2.gif  


  • Fiske and Ron Knee like this

#21 gwlee

gwlee

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,510
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2015
  • Loc: 38N 120W

Posted 17 August 2022 - 01:25 PM

Here is an Oberwerk 82XL on a TR3 tripod with a carbon fiber elevator and Manfrotto N608 video head that is light enough to easily carry around yet still has sufficent aperture to provide great deep sky views. Although I also own a 100XL, which is marvelous, the 82XL is used more frequently because it is grab and go.

 

Fiske,

 

What’s easy for you to carry around at your observing might be very difficult for me at my site. What does the complete 82XL system weigh ready to observe? 

 

Thanks
 

Gary


Edited by gwlee, 17 August 2022 - 01:27 PM.


#22 garret

garret

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,944
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Netherlands

Posted 17 August 2022 - 01:40 PM

My advice is the 82mm Oberwerk set-up see photo post#14
Take 2 or 3 sets of eyepieces, about 24, 17.5 and 12mm.



#23 Fiske

Fiske

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,233
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2004
  • Loc: Kansas (Kansas City area) / USA

Posted 17 August 2022 - 01:41 PM

Fiske,

 

What’s easy for you to carry around at your observing might be very difficult for me at my site. What does the complete 82XL system weigh ready to observe? 

 

Thanks
 

Gary

It weighs 32.3 pounds.

 

I'm average height and build and don't work out or anything. Plus I am well past middle age. wink.gif



#24 Fiske

Fiske

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,233
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2004
  • Loc: Kansas (Kansas City area) / USA

Posted 17 August 2022 - 01:44 PM

My advice is the 82mm Oberwerk set-up see photo post#14
Take 2 or 3 sets of eyepieces, about 24, 17.5 and 12mm.

My most used eyepieces are Pentax XW 20mm, 14mm, and 10mm.

 

I sometimes use 7mms with the 82XL, and very rarely will go to 5mm eyepieces. For me, that is the upper limit of what I consider practical.



#25 gwlee

gwlee

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,510
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2015
  • Loc: 38N 120W

Posted 17 August 2022 - 01:52 PM

I also do terrestrial view with binocluars, telescopes during daytime.

3Km distance is quite challenging due to air current smears view, ie: local seeing.

 

I do a lot of longe range (2-80 miles) terrestrial viewing from my mountain home with conventional binoculars and small refractors. On most days the air currents here don’t allow using more than 16x. In these conditions, my 10x50 binocular mounted on a tripod usually give me the most satisfying views. Occasionally, the air will be steady enough to allow using 24x early in the morning with one of my refractors (72mm and 92mm), but almost never more. 


  • Ron Knee likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Binoculars, Equipment, Mount, Orion



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics