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binoculars quality - vintage vs modern

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Thank you~ yes, it must have been. It was the brightest star in the sky at the time from the back garden, and last time when I gazed at Jupiter was 1975 summer with a crummy 7x35 bin (It was not really for Astronomy at this level I think, and I do not recall seeing any moons of Jupiter with it). Being a poor boy at the time, I had no means to upgrade the 7x35, and gave up Astronomy.

But last night, I could see at least 3 of the moons - tiny shiny dots around Jupiter, were clearly visible, and I was quite thrilled.

And thanks for your recommendation for a monopod - I have ordered one this afternoon. :)

Congrats on your first light. You must have seen Jupiter with its moons. A tall monopod is better than a tripod, BTW.

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Hi Jay,

Welcome to Stargazer Lounge.

I too, started out in the 1970s with a pair of Prinz 8x30 binoculars and a simple Star map.With these, I was able to see the crators on the Moon, Jupiter's four moons, some coloured stars, wide doubles and large loose clusters. Later, I took a reluctant break from the hobby before returning to it in the early 90s. As mentioned in other posts, modern binoculars are very good indeed. 

I can recommend the Russian bins, especially their 12x40 model, which is excellent for astronomical use and will show you many of the Messier objects.


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I have too many binoculars, more new than old - ranging fron Baush & Lomb 1942 7x50s to Helios Apollo 11x70s. The former I started out using then when I retired, my retirement present I chose was the Strathspey 7x50 Marine pair which got a good write-up in Sky at Night. They are a vast improvement and also have sufficient eye relief that I can see the whole FOV keeping my spectacles on.

For astronomy Marine binoculars generally give bright images, often have good eye relief, and give a steady image for hand holding. They are usually porro prism.

High end older models compare well with newer cheaper. Another pair I have, Carl Zeiss 7x50 B Marine binioculars 1970s model is almost as good as contemporary mid-range models.

Edited by 25585

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I have recently migrated towards the decades old extra wide field 7x35.. many of which are very good, some excellent. Companies don't make bins with that kind of performance, favouring roof prisms and narrower fields of view. Lying on the ground with them is great from a dark sky, wide field makes finding things easy!



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