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Suitable bins for under £70?


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How does one discern which Bak4 is in any particular bin? Is £70 too cheap for 'real' Bak4? I know that being satisfied is a subjective thing but it would be nice to know what I'm buying. I am yet to make my purchase as finances disappeared although I'm glad to be able to think more about the whole topic of astronomy.

This is a very interesting discussion, thanks for your efforts Steve.



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Excellent piece of detective work Steve :icon_salut:

I confess I am not sure what to make of this new information regarding Chinese v German Bak-4 specs but I will dig deeper for more information.

Personally speaking I have a preference for Japanese-made binoculars but every now and then the Chinese produce something exceptional. The Helios Apollo series are a good example, they could easily pass for Japanese. It'll be interesting to know what glass they use for prisms.

Perhaps this is what makes discussions like this so interesting (at least to us). Just when you think you have a grasp on what really matters new information, a product or material comes along that makes you pause, reflect and reconsider.

Regarding binoculars around £50. We don't offer any at this price-point because we feel there is too much smoke and mirrors but if you look for bak-4 (whatever flavour) porro-prisms and fully multi-coated optics then you shouldn't go far wrong. Don't be swayed by aspherics, not at this price. If you try before you buy or order from an established online dealer with a good returns policy you should be okay if you find they don't suit you or are not as described.

Hope that helps :)


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it has indeed been a fascinating thread.

A week or two back while researching I saw some bins with the following spec for £65-£73 (two sources, and they really rather appealed to me.)

Magnification 8x

Objective Lens Diameter (mm) 30

Field of View 8.2°

Field @ 1000 metres 143.5

Bright 14

Exit Pupil Diameter (mm) 3.75

Minimum Focussing (metres) 3

Eye Relief (mm) 18

Optics Fully multi coated

Prisms BaK 4 Porro prism

Style Zeiss Wide Centre Focus

Body Black Rubber Armoured

Eye Cups Rubber Fold Down

Tripod Socket Yes

Weight (gm) 510

Dimensions (mm) 113x167x50

Case/Strap Soft

Special feature Wide focus wheel

Country of manufacture Japan

I'm guessing I quite probably could have done a lot worse than to have taken a punt on those?

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You know, we should be very clear about what this means in practice: I have a Helios Apollo 15x70; it is a very, very good binocular; where image quality goes, it is on a par with the Fujinon 16x70 that costs 3x as much. I also have a Strathspey 15x70 which I use for "experiments" and a 10x50. None of these show any "cut offs" on the prisms, i.e. the refractive index of the prisms is sufficiently high for the purpose (as, indeed, is BK7 sufficient-- even preferable -- for binoviewers and some specialist binoculars with objectives that work around f/8). I'm assuming that all mine have "Chinese" BaK4. If they do, this is potentially an advantage: the Abbe number is higher than for Schott BaK4, so there will be less image aberration from the prism. There might be slight attenuation and scattering of light due to bubble-count, but I'm damned if I can see it in practice.

So, despite the fact that I feel miffed that a glass described as BaK might not be BarichtleitKron (Barium Crown), it might actually confer a slight advantage over the thing that it pretends to be!

Edited by tetenterre
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I wouldn't normally comment in threads like this but FLO doesn't offer binoculars at around £50 so hopefully people will accept this advice as neutral and objective.

I don't understand why the Olympus 10x50 DPS-I is getting so much positive attention. It sells for around £50.


I think that FLO, as a proper shop offering Celestron 10 x 50 bins for £65 is directly competing with non-specialist web retailers selling bins for fifty quid. The difference is the premium for buying from a knowledgable specialist rather than taking a chance on a 'pile it high and sell it cheap' generalist e-tailer.

Anyway, having said that, the reason the Olympus DPS-1 gets a positive reaction is that, whatever the paper specs, it works damned well. The only really telling way to rate any bins is by putting them up to your head and have a look through them.

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And it reflects well on your business, too.

Personally, although I'm prepared to take an occasional punt on something from a discount retailer, or even eBay, for major purchases of specialist items I'd go for a good retailer everytime. Not just astro stuff, I also buy a lot of musical instruments (some of which make astro gear look cheap). My favoured retailers would win out every time. OK, the initial purchase price might be a smidge higher, but the long term ownership costs are likely to be lower, and the risk of bad service is much lower.

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Wow - so much more has been added to this thread since I last posted. Hmmm, interesting.

This has certainly made me re-think about buying a pair of bins. It's also made me consider pushing up my limit, to the point of considering something like:

First Light Optics - Helios Naturesport-Plus 10x50 & 7x50

They seem to have a good review, just need to find them in stock.

Ultimately, I want a good pair that I can actually use (the 15x70's were too big), and will be using them for casual astonomy, or when I can't be bothered to get the scope out :icon_salut:, for holidaying etc.

Steve @ FLO - appreciate your openess in suggesting a different pair with a competitor, and do appreciate all the comments & discussion here although the technical aspects are somewhat over my head.



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I got my Celestron 15x70 bins today. Where I agree, they are a little heavy unless you have a tripod, I would definetly recommened them. For my first pair of bins they have blown me away. I'm no expert though I must admit! :icon_salut:

I paid £58.99 + £4.00 post.

Edited by oldtownblue
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I received my Strathspey 10x50 today.

Not not used them at night yet but its fair to say they are of excellent quality. Very sharp with good focus.

I think £44.99 delivered is a superb price for these high quality bins.

Edited by KentRuss
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Now I bought and paid for a pair of Celestron 15x70's and had to return them to the store. He sent me out another pair, lo and behold same thing was wrong with them. They were out of collimation. I was viewing twin moons with both pairs. I got a full refund, bit the bullet and bought a pair of Nikon Actions 10-22x50's and they are really nice. Didn't really need another pair as I also have a pair of Pentax XCF 10x50. I just like spending my wages I think

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Decided & bought a pair of: Helios Nature Sport Plus 10x50WA's. Just waiting for the delivery.

Read though this thread with real interest and what's struck me is how powerful (misleading???) marketing claims can be - "bak-4", "super dooper multi coated" etc. Buying something is an absolute minefield.

I suppose the proof is ultimately in the pudding - I'm just waiting to try that pudding!

Good thing is is that I have something to compare them to as I have a pair of 30 yr old USSR made 12x40 bins which I far more preferred to my previous Celestron 15x70's.

Anyways, thanks for all replies:)


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I have a pair of Bressier 10x50 purchased a few years back for the small sum of £11.

They seem to get good reviews and I am happy with them (although to be honest I know no better).

Edited by weemax
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