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Helios Naturesport-Plus 10x50 WA worth the price?

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I'm thinking of buying a pair of Helios Naturesport-Plus 10x50 WA binoculars for ~100 euros. Are they worth the price? Are there any significantly better alternatives available for about the same price? Would doubling my budget to ~200 euros give me a lot better options? I'm going to use the binoculars hand-held and mainly for astronomy. One thing I like about the Naturesports is their weight (0,79 kg), most 10x50 binoculars seem to weight ~1 kg. Will the reduced weight show in lower build/optics quality?

I currently have a pretty beaten-up pair of old Telemax 5 7x50 binoculars. They are nowhere nearly collimated, the diopter adjustment on the right eyepiece isn't working, and the lenses have also received quite rough handling over the years. There is some mold like stuff on one of the objectives (in the inside). The binoculars are also quite heavy (a bit over 1 kg). Am I correct in assuming that these are beyond repair, and that getting the Helios would be an improvement? :grin:

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Hi,

I use a pair of these for astronomy use and they are very good.Excellent for clusters and sweeping the milky way. Go for it.

Cheers, John.

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Not familiar with these binos. John seems pleased with his so I should think quality must be good (BAK4 prisms, multicoated etc.), so provided this is the case, and collimation is ok, you should be fine.

All the best

Phil

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I used to have one (about 10yrs ago, so it may have improved). OK, but I didn't keep it for more than a few months, and I have never been tempted to get another one.

Also, please don't fall for the "if it's got BaK4 and FMC it's OK" nonsense - for reasons why, see http://binocularsky.com/binoc_minefield.php

On the batphone, so expect typos...

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I used to have one (about 10yrs ago, so it may have improved). OK, but I didn't keep it for more than a few months, and I have never been tempted to get another one.

So did you find better binoculars in the same price range, or move to more expensive ones? I'm a beginner, and I don't want to end up with a fancy pair of binoculars that I never use. However, I'm not planning to start collecting 10x50 binoculars either. I'd rather get one pair that's good enough, and either upgrade to something bigger or get a telescope in the future.

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So did you find better binoculars in the same price range, or move to more expensive ones?
Both! :smiley:

Are you sitting comfortably? It goes like this: back in 1998, I had a Swift Newport (Mk1) that I'd picked up for £40 and made the common, but false, assumption that a modern lightweight one would be all-round better. First attempt was an Olympus that I picked up at AstroFest. A side by side comparison showed that its only advantage was ergonomic; it was optically inferior, so I sold it on. A few years later, having tried bought and enjoyed a Helios Stellar 15x70, I assumed (you'd think I'd have learned!) that the new lighter-weight Helios Naturesport 10x50 (which had some very good reviews) would be optically as good. I needed to sell the Newport in order to fund the purchase. What a disappointment! The Naturesport was lighter, but that was it. The Newport was crisper, more robust and considerably brighter. The Naturesport was no better than a used Greenkat that I'd picked up for my son several years earlier for £15. Aroound this time, a back injury meant that I was finding it too painful to set up an equatorial, so I sold a lot of my kit and bought some decent binoculars, one of which was an Opticron 10x42 - much more expensive, but also very much better, than the Naturesport. A bit later, the Strathspey Marine became available and I decided to give it a try -- it was only £60 back then (slightly less than the Naturesport). Optically and mechanically better than the Naturesport (but still not as good as the Newport).

It's difficult to reliably compare binoculars with years in between (memory potentially playing tricks, etc), but the Strathspey Waterproof is in the same price range as the Naturesport and the one I tried certainly seemed better than I remembered the Naturesport to be: crisper, brighter and more robust. But, as I said, the Naturesport may have changed. I wouldn't mind another Newport, though....

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A bit later, the Strathspey Marine became available and I decided to give it a try -- it was only £60 back then (slightly less than the Naturesport). Optically and mechanically better than the Naturesport (but still not as good as the Newport).

Strathspey Waterproofs seem to be even heavier than my current Telemax 5. I won't be getting an expensive tripod anytime soon, so won't the added weight mean more hand shaking?

Also, are you sure you had the "Plus" model of the Naturesports? There is also a bit cheaper non-"Plus" model available. The one with the good reviews is the "Plus" model.

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Strathspey Waterproofs seem to be even heavier than my current Telemax 5. I won't be getting an expensive tripod anytime soon, so won't the added weight mean more hand shaking?

Ah, it seems I got the weight wrong. The Marines are heavy, but the Waterproofs aren't that heavy after all. Couldn't find a way to edit my post.

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Ultimately, the only way you'll find out if a binocular suits you is to lift it to your head and try it! You may loathe things that someone else likes, and vice versa.

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Ultimately, the only way you'll find out if a binocular suits you is to lift it to your head and try it! You may loathe things that someone else likes, and vice versa.

I understand that. The problem is the overwhelming amount of information and options to choose from. I can't decide! And I definitely can't try everything either. :laugh:

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The problem is the overwhelming amount of information and options to choose from. I can't decide!
Ah, the tyranny of choice! :grin: All I can suggest is that you forget about trying to ensure you are getting the ultimate VFM -- you'll never know if you were right anyway -- just get something in your price bracket that seems to do OK in comments here (preferably by people who seem to have some astro knowledge) or other astronomy forums -- ignore comments on e.g. Amazon -- there's a lot of Dunning-Kruger Syndome there!

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Still haven't decided! :grin:

While the Strathspey Waterproof looks interesting, they don't seem to be available here.

Available in my price range:

- Helios Naturesport-Plus 10x50 WA

- Olympus 10x50 DPS I (Monolayer coating?)

- Nikon Action VII 10x50 CF

- Pentax XCF 10x50

- Focus Optica 10x50 (a bit cheaper)

More expensive options (I'm not sure if I want to spend this much):

- Pentax PCF WP II 10x50

- Nikon Action EX 10x50 CF

I'm still leaning towards the Naturesport-Plus, but I'm a bit annoyed by the reviews stating that it lacks sharpness (and brightness). They make me think it must be completely unusable! :huh:

Did I just list any better options? Or is the Strathspey so superior that I should absolutely order it from the UK?

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While the Strathspey Waterproof looks interesting, they don't seem to be available here.
Where is "here"? It is sold under different brand names; Strathspey is an importer; the manufacturer is United Optics.

As for the others you mention, the Oly DPS1 is OK (BK7 prisms, but still optically and mechanically superior to several others in its price range); the two "not sure I want to spend this much" ones are both very highly regarded in their price range.

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It sounds like you are suffering with 'Paralysis by Analysis'. Adding even more options will only make the condition worse. :)

You probably have, but searching the birding forums rather than the astro forums is a far better idea for binoculars. Most astro folk only want a pair of bins for a quick sweep of the sky or to locate a star pattern. I don't know a single one who really wanted the absolute best optical quality like they want from their scope. But birders are going to be a lot more choosy when it comes to a good pair of bins.

I use a pair of Helios Stellar 15x70. I've looked through other people's swish Nikon, Pentax and Canon binoculars and have not yet seen anything that would warrant me doing an upgrade. I love my binoculars.

There is a thread on Cloudynights forum discussing the 8x40 version of the Naturesport, it is looked upon favourably. The 10x50 model gets a mention too and is also liked. They describe the Naturesport as having good contrast, very sharp on-axis, a bit soft off aixs and a touch of light cut off at the extremes of the field. But for the price there is nothing that will do any better. A good choice basically.

Edited by fredster

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uname, I've just come across this article from Holger Merlitz (really knows his stuff) which includes discussion of the little brother of the Strath WP 10x50. The one I tried did not have the "tilty bridge" phenomenon he mentions.

I don't know a single one who really wanted the absolute best optical quality like they want from their scope.
Me, me! :grin:
I use a pair of Helios Stellar 15x70.
I used to have one of those. Very nice, but not a touch on the Helios Apollo! :smiley:

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It sounds like you are suffering with 'Paralysis by Analysis'. Adding even more options will only make the condition worse.

I over-analyze everything, and by everything I mean EVERYTHING. I just can't help it!

Most astro folk only want a pair of bins for a quick sweep of the sky or to locate a star pattern. I don't know a single one who really wanted the absolute best optical quality like they want from their scope.

The problem with that is I don't have a scope yet. And I don't know when (if ever) I'll be getting one. There's a lot to analyze before getting a scope! :grin:

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These 10 X 60 would be my choice, just for the extra bit of light they will gather.....

I've already decided on 10x50. I think. :grin: Also, 1.4kg sounds quite heavy for hand-held use.

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I ordered the Naturesports but haven't received them yet. I figured that I can always return them if I find them absolutely horrible. However, I just realized that they aren't nitrogen filled. Is that a problem in cold (below -15 °C) weather? What can I do to protect them from moisture? If moisture gets in, what should I do? How long can I expect them to last if treated properly?

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The delivery took longer than I expected, but I finally received the binoculars today. Once I saw the box I immediately noticed that the "Plus" isn't mentioned on the box. There's no mention of the "Plus" on the binoculars either. I gave them a quick try and they seemed ok and definitely better than my old Telemax 5. However, it kind of bothers me that the shop clearly claimed them to be Naturesport-Plus with BAK-4 prisms. Is there an easy way to determine which version I got? It says "Helios 'Naturesport', 10x50 Wide Angle Binoculars, Black Rubber, Premier" on the box. I wasn't able to find any answers with google's image search. I don't want to contact the shop until I'm sure, because they are selling only the "Plus" model, so I didn't get wrong model by accident.

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Did some more research on the topic. I did this test, and it seems that the Helios has BaK4 prisms while the Telemax has BK7 prisms. The exit pupils on the Helios aren't completely round though. There's a small black area in the top left on the right exit pupil, and in the top right on the left exit pupil. The image quality seemed pretty decent in the daylight, but it will probably take a while before I get to try them for stargazing. It's been cloudy for weeks, and it seems to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Sleepy posted a picture of an exit pupil on a Naturesport-Plus 8x40 here. The exit pupils on my 10x50 look almost identical to the one in the picture. I guess that's typical for the Naturesports? It would be great to hear some more experienced opinions about the exit pupils. Also, I'm still not completely sure whether I got the plus model or not. If my spam is getting annoying, just say so and I'll try to shut up. :grin:

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Don't shut up but try your binoculars on the sky instead of on the internet! Jupiter is a good test. You won't see any detail but do you get a single clean round disk? If so be happy. It's quite an exacting test. Are they sharp to near the edge? Don't expect them to be sharp all the way. My Leicas aren't.

And did you enjoy the night sky????

Olly

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I have a pair of the Naturesport Plus 8x40's which were bought for nature / birding but they seem work well on the night sky, to me at least. I must be a heck of a lot less fussy with binoculars than most because I've had the Revelation 15x70's and Celestron Skymaster 15x70's and really enjoyed them. Not optically perfect by any means but I saw loads of lovely astro views with them for not many £'s :smiley:

I've also had the Helios 15x70's and some old Swift Observation 16x70's plus one or two larger pairs which I did not find so much fun because of their weight.

As Olly says, get them under the stars and forget all the stats / specs / exit pupil shape for a couple of hours :grin:

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As Olly says, get them under the stars and forget all the stats / specs / exit pupil shape for a couple of hours :grin:

I will, if the skies clear some day. :grin:

The lack of "Plus" on the box just bothers me. Non "Plus" shouldn't be advertised as "Plus"! I can't find pictures of the boxes online, and the binoculars themselves look identical in the pictures. :huh:

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I will, if the skies clear some day. :grin:

The lack of "Plus" on the box just bothers me. Non "Plus" shouldn't be advertised as "Plus"! I can't find pictures of the boxes online, and the binoculars themselves look identical in the pictures. :huh:

Mine don't say "Plus" on them - it's just a word after all, like XLS on cars. They work well, which is what matters :smiley:

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