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Binocular Telescope - Which One to Choose?

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#26 Rich V.

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 02:11 PM

I've found I rarely want anything more than my 22x70 binos for terrestrial views.  Even at 16x70, there's a lot of turbulence most times of day.  You're only going to get so much detail and beyond that is empty magnification.

 

If Ron wants more aperture for astronomy, but still maintain some protability as a complete setup, an 82mm SD BT (Kowa would be excellent if 50x max is enough) on a Manfrotto 608 head and perhaps a 475B geared column tripod or Gitzo CF geared tripod would keep the weight around 30# maximum, which I consider portable enough.

 

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#27 gwlee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 02:16 PM

Thanks Fiske. My 92mm f6.7 refractor on a TR3 weighs 29# ready to observe, and I find it heavy and awkward enough to use at this site that it doesn’t get much use here, so I expect the 82XL wouldn’t either, but perhaps the 70XL might be suitable here. 

 

For comparison, my 72mm f6 refractor is my most used scope here:

 

AT72EDII w/ rail, rings, finder, diagonal, and 27mm Panoptic = 7.0#
M2C mount= 6.0#
475B tripod = 9.5#
—————————————————-
Total = 22.5#
 

Gary



#28 cimar

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 02:37 PM

Hello,

a binoscope is nice for stargazing. For nature observation, I would prefer a high quality spotting scope. A spotting scope also gives great views of the night sky. For daytime observations, the single eyepiece focusing of a binoscope is a hassle for me.


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#29 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 06:12 PM

Thanks Tamiji - 10 x 50 I agree is great for a lot of terrestrial viewing. I may be trying to ask one piece of equipment to do too much....smile.gif



#30 aznuge

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 06:21 PM

Welcome aboard Ron, nice retirement location!

 

When I think about your situation either the 70mm or 82mm Binocular Telescopes come to mind.  These have been mentioned already.  I would get them in the 45 degree angle to accommodate both earth and sky.  I think Oberwerk and APM are good vendors, at least my experiences with them have been good.  A video head like the Manfrotto 608 is what I would prefer, as well as a lightweight but strong enough carbon fiber tripod.  That's to keep the whole package relatively lightweight for mobility.  I own the Manfrotto 475 tripod, but it's a little on the cumbersome side.  Just my opinion.  I am showing it below supporting the Oberwerk BT70 XL.  Good luck!

 

sml_gallery_347100_17026_19292.jpg

 

OB BT70XL left; APM 82mm 90 right.



#31 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 06:38 PM

Thank you - I'd lazily assumed that 100 would be 'better' than 70 or 82. Hadn't considered mobility enough, which I now need to do



#32 aznuge

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 08:39 PM

Nothing wrong with a 100mm BT. Mine is certainly mobile, and is also mounted on a 608 head and supported by a lightweight CF tripod - Velbon Geo N830 (hard to get now, at least in the US).  It is my most used BT for astronomy double stars and deep sky objects - even planetary viewing.  It travels to multiple places in my backyard during a typical observing session, and I keep it mounted inside the house.  Total weight is about 28 lbs including the APM 100 BT.

 

The minimum power for a 100mm BT is realistically about 27x.  This maybe a little high for daytime viewing to some.  The 70mm and 82mm BTs would be lighter than the 100s, and can realize a more minimum power down to about 16x.  The smaller BTs are very mobile with the right set up.  Some experts on the site will opt for the heavier, aluminum tripods and fork mounts.  Nothing at all wrong with that, except I think you do lose some mobility, which for me is key to my observing style.

 

sml_gallery_347100_17026_71471.jpg



#33 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 09:04 PM

Many thanks for this - each comment by folks like you makes me think more about the details, which is really useful.

 

On the mobility issue, I don't think I need to worry about that as I'll just be moving it three metres through a wide door from a good indoor location to a good outdoor one on the same level, and won't be travelling anywhere with it.

 

The minimum power issue is something I hadn't thought about, though. I'd like to use it not only for the night sky but also for the coastal wildlife 2-5km away and the passing ships 3-8 km away. Is that too close for one of these large BTs do you think? 



#34 jrazz

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 09:13 PM

Probably not an issue for terrestrial use as even at 40x you are going to have a view that covers 60 meters at 2km.

 

The issue is more for astronomy where many of the interesting structures can easily stretch 5°-7° or even more. For these a 10x or 7x hand held cannot be beaten.

 

 

One more thing to note is that a larger instrument does not make things brighter, it only allows you to magnify more. A 10x50 is just as bright as a 20x100. That is why many of us keep several instruments.


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#35 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 09:26 PM

Thanks again Jordan, I appreciate your comments. I'm on a mission to try and stick to one instrument, but already starting to weaken.........


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#36 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 10:55 PM

I've found I rarely want anything more than my 22x70 binos for terrestrial views.  Even at 16x70, there's a lot of turbulence most times of day.  You're only going to get so much detail and beyond that is empty magnification.

 

If Ron wants more aperture for astronomy, but still maintain some protability as a complete setup, an 82mm SD BT (Kowa would be excellent if 50x max is enough) on a Manfrotto 608 head and perhaps a 475B geared column tripod or Gitzo CF geared tripod would keep the weight around 30# maximum, which I consider portable enough.

 

Rich

Thanks Rich - portability not an issue (not that I'm strong, I just don't intend to move it much) so now weighing up 82 v 100 pros and cons cheers



#37 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 10:57 PM

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.

Very useful, thanks. Was wondering just how many eyepieces to get!



#38 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 10:58 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.

Thanks Garrett - now weighing up 82 v 100.......



#39 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 11:02 PM

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

Tempted to make the trip but decided to go with internet  research (like this) then cross my fingers. There's no fool like an old fool..... Am sold on the Oberwerk range though - and thanks for the recommendation. Have emailed them about delivery practicalities, etc.



#40 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 11:03 PM

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

Thanks for the photo - reminds me that I need to buy an appropriate chair also!



#41 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 11:07 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.

 

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

Thanks again Fiske! If I get an Oberwerk 100 I'd likely get the TR3 tripod too. 'Cos it's pretty and I like old-school wooden things. Woukd you recommend it? And which mount for a 100? Cheers



#42 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 11:10 PM

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.

Many thanks for this. I've found a local club today and will try to learn from the folks there too. Am leaning to Oberwerk and waiting to hear from them cheers!


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#43 Ron Knee

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Posted 17 August 2022 - 11:12 PM

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

Thanks Dean  



#44 ArsMachina

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Posted 18 August 2022 - 03:26 AM

Thank you - I'd lazily assumed that 100 would be 'better' than 70 or 82. Hadn't considered mobility enough, which I now need to do

Hello Ron,

 

I would not start with less than 100mm

The 70 and 82 are nice for traveling, but having such a nice spot to observe like you there is no need for less aperture.

 

The 100mm you can still carry in and out as one piece with the tripod.

 

I did start with 125mm and very soon wanted "more" ;-)

 

For the eyepieces:

The 24mm Panoptic is a must :-)

Probably the new APM Super Zoom 7,7mm bis 15,4mm can cover the need for higher mags and helps to keep the stuff you need to carry around small.

 

 

Jochen


Edited by ArsMachina, 18 August 2022 - 03:35 AM.

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#45 Ron Knee

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Posted 18 August 2022 - 03:59 AM

Thanks Jochen. I think I've decided on 100mm and the next step is to choose the lenses. So much choice!


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#46 Skittersqueek

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Posted 18 August 2022 - 04:30 AM

Definitely listen to Jochen on that...Spoil yourself and get that 100mm. Also super portable and can be set up within minutes!
And oberwerk is solid


Edited by Skittersqueek, 18 August 2022 - 11:25 AM.

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#47 ArsMachina

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Posted 18 August 2022 - 05:40 AM

Eyepieces are very personal.

The holy grail eyepiece of one person may not work for another person.

 

As told before, you definitively need the Panoptic 24 (or its APM clone)

It will give you the widest possible view and will probably become your most used eyepiece.

 

I love wide views and only have 100! eyepieces (APM XWA and Ethos)

This gives me a view like through the window of a spaceship.

 

Other people say 70° are enough.

 

You need to find this out by yourself.

 

It is not only about magnification, it is more about exit pupil ans also "framing" the objects to give a pleasant view.

 

So the APM zoom eyepieces might be a good start for you to find out what you like.

If there is one preferred focal length then you can still get a pair of fixed focal length.

But ma feeling is, that the zoom will be enough.

 

Did you already decide on the optical quality of the objectives?

SA, ED oer SD?

I would go for ED at least...

 

Jochen



#48 Fiske

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Posted 18 August 2022 - 08:17 AM

Thanks again Fiske! If I get an Oberwerk 100 I'd likely get the TR3 tripod too. 'Cos it's pretty and I like old-school wooden things. Woukd you recommend it? And which mount for a 100? Cheers

Ron, as you are probably realizing, for any question you are like to get at least 6 conflicting answers. lol.gif

 

Nuge has a different take on this from me. I have tried the 100XL-SD on the TR3/Carbon Fiber elevator/N608 mount, and it wasn't quite in my comfort zone. Sort of felt like a $2900 USD lollipop. wink.gif I'm much happier with it on the fork/161MK2B combo. If the inside to outside journey at your place is all one level, you could go for a wheeled dolly. To me, the 82XL is a better match for the TR3 setup.

 

Also, I have zero regrets about springing for the SD option, which was about $400 USD more than the ED if I recall. Well worth it.

 

Oh, about the 24mm Panoptic. I own one, but opted for Explore Scientific 24mm eyepieces instead. They show a tad less vignetting in BTs than the 24mm Panoptic and to me are more comfortable. I don't have anything against the Panoptic -- like it in telescopes. I do observe wearing glasses, so that might make a difference.


Edited by Fiske, 18 August 2022 - 08:19 AM.


#49 garret

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Posted 18 August 2022 - 08:24 AM

For daytime observations I find the presence of 'lateral colour' of the eyepiece very disturbing; with the Vixen 22mm LVW in my APM 100 ED in a landscape setting during the day, every sheep outside the center of the field of view had a blue 'flag' on them...

 

From what I've read, the APM superzoom doesn't come into focus with several binocular telescopes, check before you buy!


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#50 ArsMachina

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Posted 18 August 2022 - 09:56 AM

From what I've read, the APM superzoom doesn't come into focus with several binocular telescopes, check before you buy!

Ah yes, this is possible, I forgot about that issue

 

Jochen




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