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Worth an Upgrade While Saving?

Binoculars Beginner Equipment
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#1 Chicken

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 01:35 PM

Hey guys,

 

As my signature suggests I have a pair of Leupold Wind River 8x42 binoculars that were gifted to me. They must have been used when I got them as it appears the coating on the lenses is worn. When looking at the lenses it doesn't seem like they have an amazing coating for light gathering, and it's almost impossible to focus them (maybe user error?). They seem like really nice Binos for wildlife viewing although I'm beginning to wonder if I'd be better suited with a pair of cometrons or something similar.

 

I'm currently saving to get an 8" dob, the area I live in doesn't have used ones for sale very often, so I'll likely have to buy new. Among the never-ending flow of bills I've experienced recently it might be a while, so I want some opinions. I can't find much online about my binos so I can't tell how they match up against others on the market. I have fun with them but can see some obvious points of improvement. Would you guys upgrade in my position or just stick with my current setup?



#2 sevenofnine

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 03:07 PM

If you just want a good quality replacement binocular without going overboard then the Nikon Monarch M5 8x42 is very good for day hikes and decent for night views. On the other hand, if you just want to add a binocular that's great for night sky scanning then I recommend considering the Nikon AE 10x50. Good luck with your choices! borg.gif

 

https://www.bhphotov...culars_and.html.

 

https://www.bhphotov...inocular&sts=ma.


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#3 jrazz

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 03:58 PM

If you don't have the money then don't upgrade!

 

We tend to look very critically at these things and make it seem as though there is a huge difference but ultimately the more important thing is to just go out and look. 

Your binoculars should be perfectly sufficient and can be great fun for many many years. Try to use them as much as you can. You'll know if they are limiting you. 


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#4 gwlee

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 04:24 PM

I would start by learning to focus them. If it turns out they are broken, so can’t be focused, I would replace them. Otherwise, they should be fine for getting started in astronomy. 


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#5 pat in los angeles basin

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 04:28 PM

clean the optics, learn how to use a bino if they are an unknown to you then use them! The scratched /damaged coating will cut down on the contrast  more on bright objects- fill moon/brightest stars/planets  and daylight use  aiming anywhere near the sun, but  for the rest of the time, should be good. Use what you have,  learn, then throw money at what you really really want... An 8x40 ish bino is a good place to start. The darker the skies - the greater the # of stars, the better.

https://imaging.niko...using/using_01/

 

Directions for using center focus /individual focus binoculars


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#6 Chicken

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 04:36 PM

If you don't have the money then don't upgrade!

I definitely keep coming back to this. If I'm supposed to be saving for a dob I'll just have to wait longer if I spend some of that money on a new pair of binoculars.

 

 Your binoculars should be perfectly sufficient and can be great fun for many many years.

Thanks for the encouragement, my fear is killing my passion with frustration. I know that if I continue to be unable to focus the binoculars, I'm going to get very frustrated. Of course, I can always rely on naked eye observing but the binoculars add a new layer to it that keeps me engaged. Plus, I get to learn a little bit of star hopping before I jump into the big leagues with the aforementioned dob. I'll definitely keep up with my current binos for a while before making a decision though!



#7 Chicken

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 04:38 PM

clean the optics, learn how to use a bino if they are an unknown to you then use them! The scratched /damaged coating will cut down on the contrast  more on bright objects- fill moon/brightest stars/planets  and daylight use  aiming anywhere near the sun, but  for the rest of the time, should be good. Use what you have,  learn, then throw money at what you really really want... An 8x40 ish bino is a good place to start. The darker the skies - the greater the # of stars, the better.

https://imaging.niko...using/using_01/

 

Directions for using center focus /individual focus binoculars

This link is incredibly useful thank you!



#8 Chicken

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 04:46 PM

I would start by learning to focus them. If it turns out they are broken, so can’t be focused, I would replace them. Otherwise, they should be fine for getting started in astronomy. 

Focusing on things like a tree, a distant mountain, the moon etc seems easy enough but the stars are hard to make into pinpoints. I find they turn into comma shapes frequently or are just blurry. I will certainly experiment more when the skies finally clear up.



#9 gwlee

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 08:06 PM

Focusing on things like a tree, a distant mountain, the moon etc seems easy enough but the stars are hard to make into pinpoints. I find they turn into comma shapes frequently or are just blurry. I will certainly experiment more when the skies finally clear up.

I don’t believe poor or worn coatings can be responsible for the problems you are reporting. Focusing on stars is a tough test for optics. It will quickly find weaknesses in even the very best binoculars. The same flaws might not be as obvious looking at trees are a distant mountain.

 

Generally, less expensive binoculars usually have more flaws. Inexpensive roof prism binoculars usually have more flaws than porro prism binoculars that cost the same.

 

It’s difficult to tell from your description whether you are seeing more than flaws than should be expected from your binocular, but it could be damaged, or misadjusted, or you might have a vision problem that becomes more obvious when using a binocular. 
 

Here are some questions and suggestions that might help to diagnose the problem: 
 

Do you a more experienced friend that can take a look through your binocular and tell you whether what you're seeing is normal for a binocular in that price range?

 

Do you wear eyeglasses or have astigmatism? If so, are you wearing your eyeglasses when using your binocular? 

 

Are you familiar with the procedure for setting the binocular’s diopter adjustment? 
 

Are stars sharp in the center of the field, but become progressively less sharp towards the edges of the field of view? 



#10 pat in los angeles basin

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 08:28 PM

Chicken; Is there a temperature difference between the inside of the dwelling and outside. If so, allow the binos to normalize with the outside temps and give . Do both side exhibit the same coma? When's the last time you had your eyes checked?. You can try flipping the binos over and look through the right eyepiece with the left eye and refocus everything to see if the distinctive coma follows with the left side or the right side.  Pat



#11 Hawkeye17

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 09:21 PM

Others have provided lots of good suggestions, here's my two cents worth...

 

Leupold has an excellent life-time warranty service.  Go to this link, follow the directions and send your binocular to them, they will either fix it or replace it.  I sent them an 10x30 porro prism binocular that actually had a screw and a washer loose in one barrel and fungus in the other barrel.  They sent me a new binocular (10x50 roof prism) instead of attempting to fix it. 

 

https://www.leupold....rranty-services


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