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Found 10 results

  1. I thought that a Helios 10x50 review may be useful to others and I had occasion to buy 3 pairs of budget astro binos (two as gifts), so took the opportunity to run a comparison for the benefit of others tonight, after they arrived from FLO and there were finally clear skies tonight. I've done no daylight terrestrial testing. I tried to run a 'Semi-blind' comparison by unboxing in a dimly lit room, ignoring packaging and immediately taking all three binoculars outside, to compare in the dark as objectively as possible, noting and ranking as I went. There was initially mediocre seeing, with intermittent to heavy high cloud cover, followed by full cover and then clear, good seeing for a while (Kemble's cluster, M52, NGC7789 etc) and then heavy cloud cover again. Obscured, low 1st quarter moon, which rose and later outcompeted stars in the south Sky. During the first minute of observing, it was a fairly quick process to separate the three instruments into order of my own preference. I tested and noted usage individually and then compared against each other, finally coming inside to identify which model was which, in the light. Initially, early evening, the quarter moon was the obvious target, partially shrouded by cloud. Then a greater number of stars, in between high cloud, followed by terrestrial tests on distant streetlights across the town, and hills with isolated houses on the horizon. I followed this with a close focus test on a garden led solar lamp and later returned to a clear sky for slightly deeper observation, before it clouded over. Final Rank (my preference): 1: Helios Naturesport-Plus 2: Helios Weathermaster III 3: Helios Fieldmaster Specifications are from FLO and, apart from what I paid, plus weight (an interesting comparison of manufacturer's quoted weights v actual), I've not checked other specs, but simply repeated what's on FLO's site. For info, I weighed without eyecaps etc and the manufacturers seemed well off (I checked my scales). 3: Helios Fieldmaster (£49.90) Quoted: 5.5°, 180mm, 825g (I weighed these at an accurate 845g) Small and light, making them very easy to handhold. Really good high friction rubberised texture over the entire binocular. Push on tripod bush cover. Overly heavy central focuser (moving 'backwards' to me: clockwise to get closer), with a tiny 'slop', it felt a little difficult to get diopter and focus right in the dark. Eye relief ok (although, unusually, I folded the eye cups down to get my eyes a little closer - I believe I got a better image this way) . Noticeably high internal reflections, especially terrestrial lights or lunar viewing. Not particularly sharp or defined at edges. Easiest to hold, but least rewarding night time viewing, not quite so robust feeling as the other pair, however great value for money (considering it's £30 or 60% cheaper than the Naturesport). 2: Helios Weathermaster-III (£69) Quoted 6.5°, 190mm, 890g (I weighed these at 960g), "waterproof/fogproof, nitrogen filled") Larger and a little heavier, but still relatively light. Again, fully rubberised body but much less nice grippy texture than the cheaper Fieldmaster. Central focus not as stiff as with the Fieldmaster - and easier to operate and find focus (but 'backwards' to me: clockwise to get closer). Right eye dioptre adjust smooth and just the right resistance. Tripod bush cover (labelled 'Bak4') stiff to begin with. On use, feels larger in the hand, less stable than Fieldmaster, but with better image quality: a noticeably wider field of view, with better light transmission and greater contest. Better edge to edge viewing with a overall good 'feel' to the image. 1: Helios Naturesport-Plus (£79) Quoted 6.5°, 170mm, 790g (I weighed these at 930g - significantly different). Small, feeling solid & robust, a rubberised body; not as grippy as Fieldmaster, but more than made up for with a very grippy thick rubber ridged band across the centre, knurled central focus knob with a medium action. Dioptre adjustment is a strange twist ring, which I'm not convinced has a fell range on the model I received, I may check this with FLO, but i's fine for now. It has Twist-up eyecups, although I prefer deep eyecups for astro to block out stray light, they work fine and I'll get used to them. They were on a par with the Fieldmaster for their size / feel, but felt easier to hand hold because of the rubber banding. On viewing, they were immediately and obviously the most rewarding binoculars: a crisp, clean, immersive view of star fields, with best light gathering / transmission, contrast etc. I don't know the eye relief or exit pupil figures for these, compared with the Weathermaster, but they felt easier on the eye. Image was sharp (sharp enough for me) to the edges. I'd like to compare against the Apollo 15x70 another night). Back to night sky viewing examples: The Moon looked good in the Fieldmaster, through passing cloud there were occasional good patches and it was overall a nice view, with insignificant Chomatic Abberation (I thought less than my Apollo 15x70, but I didn't have them to hand to compare just then. The Weathermaster was better again, brighter and showing clearer views of the terminator and higher relief on the mare. Naturesport pipped the Weathermaster again, with an even brighter image, with best contrast. By far the brightest, clearest image of the three. Kemble's cascade (follow from Beta Cassiopeia > Epsilon Cass for same distance): fair viewing in the Fieldmaster, although a little dim. Good in the Weathermaster, brighter. Much crisper and illuminating in the Naturesport. NGC7789 - off beta Cassiopeia. I found it in the Weathersports as a clearly visible light nebulous patch, but which was dimmer and less obvious in the Fieldmaster (which also lacked the FOV to see this in best context), but clearer again in the Naturesport, which provided the best view. M52 - a dimmer version of NGC7789 in this sky tonight (find it by following on from A>B Cass). I saw an indistinct smudge in the Fieldsport, noticeably brighter in the Weathermaster and, again, best in the Naturesport with a milky 'cloudy patch' against a deeper contrast of dark sky with a greater number of pricks of light in higher relief. Plus the Naturesports were better to edge with a significantly wider, richer, star field than the Fm, marginally better than the Wm. By contrast, all of these (I know from experience but didn't compare on the night), are better viewed in the heavy Apollo 15x70. However, it's extremely difficult to handhold the heavy Apollo's but quite possible to handhold any of these 3 models of 10x50s. This portability is their joy. Close up tests (I didn't test closest focus as I'm not interested - plus it was dark) 1) distant streetlights 1/2 mile to 1 mile: again, it was easiest to find focus in the Naturesport, plus it's clearest to the edges and with better resolution. The Fieldmaster had less contrast and a significant distracting glare / reflections from. The Weathermaster have a solid performance only marginally less good than the Naturesport . 2) Garden solar led 15 metres away: even more polarised with the internal reflections from the Fieldmaster. The other two had less to separate them. Naturesport are easier to use, feel significantly better built, plus with a better optical performance than the other two models. On a relative level, they're 60% more expensive than the Fieldmaster. On an absolute level, there's only £30 difference… and it's easily worth it. However I'd buy a rigid carry case for all models. Only choose the Weathersports if you need their weatherproofing / ingress protection. All pairs appear to be well collimated (certainly closely enough for me not to notice any imperfection or eye strain in this short time). Only after coming back in did I look at boxes, cases and accessories and, as could be expected, they varied a little in quality with the extremely inexpensive Fieldmaster and more expensive Naturesport having slim neckstraps, the Weathermaster's was padded, wider, more comfortable, but (although the only one branded Helios) both this and the Fieldmaster had thinner carry bags than the Naturesport. Irrelevant at this stage anyway, because I would fairly quickly find a protective case for any of them. I was surprised that there was so much variation in their boxes, packaging etc. The Weathermaster reminded me of a Swarovski Optic box and the Naturesport looked less impressive than the 'premium' branding on the box (until you use them). Conclusion: unless you also need it to be weatherproof, or longer life for some reason, I don't see a reason to bother with the Weathermaster-III because only a £10 difference separates the, from the £79 Naturesport. However, at £49, the Fieldmasters are certainly worth considering as a budget bino. If you don't own any binoculars and want to spend very little, go for the Fieldmasters… or upgrade to the Naturesport for significantly better optical performance and night sky views. As assumed, I'll keep the Naturesports and give the other two, perfectly capable, pairs away to friends as presents, along with a tripod and Binocular Astronomy book each. I know that they will both get a great starter set of collimated Astro Binos. I do have some photographs of them all together which others may find useful in future. I'll do that tomorrow. For nnow, apart from going to bed, I'd like to compare agInst the Helios Stellar II 10x50 (£149, 6.5°, 185mm, 1150, "waterproof, nitrogen filled")… that's definitely for another day. Night all.
  2. As said in the title, 2nd real but short session with my new binoculars. Observations: Seeing Jupiter rise just above the rooftop of the building in front of my bedroom, i grab my binoculars, in speculation of what i will be able to see. Since i've been interested in astronomy for nearly two years now i know how the tilt of Jupiter's belts and moons change over time. So i point my bins towards Jupiter sitting on my bed while resting my arms on the windowsill, this way my view is as steady as possible. I definitely see Jupiter as a blob instead of a dot like the stars look like, and after staring at Jupiter for some time, i start seeing a dot close to Jupiter on its lower left side, and one on the top right side further away from it. I look it up on stellarium and see that io was on the left side close to the planet and callisto was further to the right of the planet. Since i didn't know what to expect, i was surprised to see two of its moons with only a 10x50 binocular. Moving on to the next target being M13 (globular cluster). This has always been an object that i wanted to see, if it was with my telescope, or now with my binocular. This was really difficult to find because i couldn't see many stars with my eye to navigate from. But after trying to navigate from Bootes to hercules and then from there moving down the side of the constellation. I finally spottet a small blurry blob. i kept staring at it both with averted vision and looking straight at it. I was happy that i finally found it. Conclusion: This was everything i saw, since it was 3am in the morning and i had school next day. (not in the morning but next morning). Really satisfied with the session, and now i just love my binocular even more. The sharpness of the stars (and moons) was looking crisp and sharp as pinpoints.
  3. I have a set of Helios 28x110. I have a problem with the IPD adjustment it is so loose that the weight of the binoculars cause both barrels to flop down how do you tighten it ?
  4. I have the 11x70 model which has preferred Baush and Lomb body. Excellent optics and eye relief. Are the 20x100s as good optically, and do they have the same high eye relief?
  5. I got the helios naturesport 10x50 wa for christmas and couldn't wait to get out and try it. I have previously in this forum asked for help to decide which binocular i should get, and i saw a lot of guys that used and liked these bins. So i went outside after all of us had our presents, and looked up to find out that it was clear It was in oslo, so a lot of LP, but went inside and grabbed my binoculars, got dressed, and went outside again. I then tried to find the darkest place in the garden, which didn't take long. Took off the lens-caps and got the bins focused on a bright area of stars. Now for the observations: My first thought was to try and find M31, so i located two of the stars beneath it with my eyes, and then tried to find it in the bins. When i found them i hurried up the "star-ladder" to then stumble upon a faint glowing cloud. I was stunned that i found it, and the way it looked. (it was my first time seeing M31). Then i looked east and found Orion rising up high towards the south-eastern sky. I quickly swung my bins towards the belt of Orion, again, crisp and filled with stars. I looked down towards the sword to try and spot the orion nebula. A grey'ish cloud with two stars in the middle. Couldn't see the flame neb or running man. Then i almost stepped inside to stop the session, until i saw the pleiades hangen like a hand full of diamonds, that has been thrown in the sky. Walked to the dark spot in the garden again, and began to look after the pleiades. Not that long after i found it filling about half of my field of view (6.5). they looked so crystal-clear and the background stars were also visable. It began to be freezing out, so wanted to end the session with just a milky way pan. Started at cassiopeia and looked above and below. above i found a double cluster which i haven't seen before, therefore i had to look it up on stellarium before i knew what it was. It actually looked like a nebula at first, but then i looked closer and found that there was a lot of stars. Conclusion: I love my bins. They have already surprised me big time! I look forward to go to my grandma and grandpas' to get to ar darker place. (they live in a green zone of LP). Back to the conclusion. Really nice bins, not as heavy as i thought, i can easily use them for a couple of minutes straight without getting sore in my shoulders. (i'm 14). If you consider buying these, i only have two words for you: BUY THESE!!! Clear skies!! Victor Boesen
  6. Hi everyone, Just after some advice on these awesome set of bins that I recently bought second hand, I have the Helios Quantum 4 25x100 binocaulars and no matter what position or focus I have them in I am always getting a 'double vision' look through them. Does anyone have any ideas on how I would collimate it or where the adjustment screw are 'hidden' Kind regards Steve
  7. Having recently acquired some nice Opticron 20x80 binoculars, I of course could not resist the temptation of a larger pair when the opportunity arose. I did buy some 25x100's from AstroBoot but they arrived out of collimation so were returned. Perhaps someone picked them up cheaply to re-align? Anyhow, the Helios Apollos seem to get excellent reviews, so I nabbed these 22x85s when they came up on ABS. They are big, but more manageable than the 25x100s and sit quite nicely on my Trigger grip ball head thingy. Once I had tightened the tension adjustment a little it holds firm even pointing towards the zenith. Not that it's easy to observe up there without significant contortionism! (The smaller binoculars in the image for comparison are B&S 8x56.) These binos have Bak 4 prisms, individual focusing and are described as waterproof; I hope I don't have to test that though. The field of view is three degrees which seems reasonable for this mag, I would rather have a smaller, sharper field than a wider view which suffers from nasty distortions. The exit pupil should be 3.86mm from straight calculation. I have not attempted to measure it, but viewing through the eyepieces shows a nice round disk of light, free of any intrusions which would indicate under-sized prisms. The objective coatings seem good, not that I am any sort of expert, but they appear a deep purple, blue or green colour depending upon the angle of view. Being used, they could do with a bit of a clean but any marks are just dew spots, not coating damage. The central tripod mounting point is solid and holds the binos very firmly, whilst also being adjustable front to back to get the optimum balance point depending upon the type of viewing you are doing. Adjustment of the interpupilliary distance was smooth and easy to set. The focus adjustment on each eyepiece was also smooth, easy to use and seemed to hold position once set. The final nice feature to point out are that the eyepieces are threaded to take 1.25" filters. I splashed out on an ES OIII and UHC filter to put in there for better performance on nebulae. They were a little fiddly to thread in but once engaged they were a good fit. Easier with smaller fingers than me though! So far I have only had a fairly brief first light and am happy with the views. I had no issues with merging the images, collimation seems spot on. I found the separate adjustment of each eyepiece a little fiddly. I am used to adjusting the diopter and then just using the centre focus. I normally tweak the centre focus quite regularly so the concept of setting and leaving is one I am unfamiliar with. When I viewed, I don't think the seeing was particularly good. I was seeing three stars clearly in the Trapezium, but perhaps not as sharply as I expected. I think this may in part be to do with getting used to the focusing though. I must get my eyes checked again soon though, it has been a while and it is possible that I may have developed some astigmatism. Performance on the nebula itself was lovely though. A gentle green glow and plenty of nice detail with averted vision. Under a dark sky I can see these will be amazing. I need to spend more time with these binos but my impression so far is that they seem pretty sharp across most of the field which is very nice. Mizar split with little problem in the centre and if I remember correctly also near the edge but I will confirm this. The field of view is plenty big enough to show M45 framed with enough sky to be taken in in all its glory. That's about all for now, I will update when I have a more extensive session with them, plus get to use the filters. Observing at higher altitudes will probably present a bit of a problem but potentially reclining in a chair with the tripod set widely over them would have a chance of success. If dark enough I may consider lying down too ??
  8. Isn't it nice to have classy, well-behaved visitors? Permit me to introduce (part of) the family Helios Lightquest, which arrived today courtesy of @FLO/The BinocularShop: The visiting members are (back to front) 25x100, 20x80, 16x70, 10x50. I imagine that what a lot of people will want to know is: "Are these simply re-badged and re-liveried Lunt Magnesiums?" The short answer is, "No, I don't think so but, on a cursory inspection, they do ooze a similar 'premium binocular' class." For any more than that, you'll have to wait until I've put them through their paces. However, if there is any aspect of them that you would like covered that I don't usually put in my independent (as distinct from Sky@Night) reviews, please do ask, and I will consider it. Until then, wish me clear dark skies and watch this space...
  9. I came across some Heliosphere Solana 12x50 binoculars on EBay recently and I'm thinking of adding them to my collection. Has anyone used any 12x50s for stargazing? What we're the views like compared to 10x bins? Thanks.
  10. Ok, so i've had my bins since christmas, and since I got a tripod for christmas as well, I want to put my bins on my tripod to make viewing more pleasing. I have sort of searched around the internet to find an adapter that fits both min bins and my tripod. Btw, my tripod is called velbon videomate 638. I hope that some of you have had the same problem as me, and that you can help me! Victor Boesen
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