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Best value bins for around £200.


lankywolf
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Hi folks, it's been a while since I've posted on here.  The arrival of my 4th (and last) son has been somewhat restricting my opportunities to look up at the heavens in recent times unfortunately... However, I'm now 'back in the game' hopefully.  In fact I blew the dust off my Revelation 15X70 bins last week hoping to catch a glimpse of comet lovejoy only to realise that the collimation was horribly out. They may have taken a bang without my knowledge to be honest. :sad:

So, rather than spending money on repairing a set of relatively cheap bins, I've persuaded my darling wife that it would be a good idea for her to furnish me with a shiny new pair of bins for my upcoming birthday.  She has told me that I can spend up to £200. :grin:

I was quite fond of my Revelation bins and was quite comfortable with the mag & FOV afforded by 15x70's.  I could also use these hand held for say 15-20 mins without any real discomfort, although I do have a tripod to mount them on for longer/steadier sessions. However the Revelations only cost me £50, so I'm after something along the same lines, but with significantly better optics. I'm not the most clued up person regarding bins so was wondering if anyone has any any advice or suggestions for some good value bins around £200 mark?

Many thanks,

Tony

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Hi Tony, I reckon it's down to three choices - A) Helios Apollo 15x70, B)Helios Apollo 15x70, or C) can you guess? Yes,Helios Apollo 15x70!   Only £169 from FLO. You won't regret buying them,though I must admit to some slight bias! :laugh:  Seriously though-they are a brilliant bit of kit for the money!

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You could first collimate your binoculars if you want. Not difficult. And buy a quality 8x42 or 10x50 binocular which will make hand-holding much easier and complement the 15x70.

At your price range I think there is nothing at the 15x70 range which is significantly better than what you have, as 15x70 with better prisms run at a much higher price. The best 15x70 binocular that doesn't break the bank and is comparable to much much more expensive binocs is the Oberwerk Ultra 15x70 but it's $379+ shipping, VAT and optics duties (back-ordered at the moment).

If you want however to get a 15x70 for life and have no regrets, this is the binocular you should get. This has much better prisms and baffling and a more usable FOV than the Revelation / Celestron / Barshka / e.t.c. binoculars.

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Hi Tony......I dont like my Revelation 15x70s any more for Astro work? they just don't give me any detail on Jupiter. If I need detail, I use the telescope. That said, I now prefer wide field views, I really like the Helios Nature Sport 8x40s. They give me what I need. FLO reduced the prices last Summer, best deal I've had for a long while. They compliment the 200P and at £69 wont break the bank.  I almost bought the Opticron 10x50 iMagic TGA WP on their advice,  another good optic?


Our kit is similar  our eyes are not?  there lies the problem, I have a few Years on your age, so 10x50 or 8x40 may be better suited for me. At your age, you could still get brighter views from say a pair of 7x50s. Just so many choices. 


Just an aside, but £148 gets you the Helios 8x40s and a nice 32mm Panaview for the Skyliner, lovely  low power wide views   :grin: ( I added a gift here  too for wife, but already mentioned above!)


I had some Helios Stellar 20x80 some Years back, I sold them,  but I reckon the Apollo's have better optics, should you wish to stay at the higher magnifications.  

Selling regulations will allow you to return your optics! Speak with someone at FLO.

Edited by Charic
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OOPS,price of Apollos is £269! :rolleyes:  Your wife would NOT be happy!

It is a time honored tradition to downplay the value of astronomy gear to your significant other. She is contributing 200. Pony up the difference and get a good set of binoculars for life.

The Helios are probably the UK variant of the Oberwerks I recommended and if so, they are an excellent set of bins.

I have found (the hard and expensive way) that expensive is actually cheap in our hobby. Tony, buy once, buy quality and then you will not second guess yourself and invest later to upgrade.

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Tony,

If you can locate a Nikon dealer somewhere close to you take a look at either the Nikon 16x50 Aculon or a Nikon 16x50 Action Extreme.
If you do not wear eyeglasses the Aculon should work just fine. If you do wear eyeglasses the Action Extreme has longer eye relief.

Stan

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Stan, the bins required must have an aperture of 70mm. 

Having tested my Celestron 15x70 (which are the same as the Revelation) against my 10x50 Nikon Action Extreme, the Nikons won easily due to better coatings, better prisms, better stray light suppression, yielding higher light throughput and increased contrast. I did this test on Comet Lovejoy this week and was really surprised.

So, the binoculars you recommend are a step above what Tony has, but not at the 70mm class he wants to remain in.

Edit: Tony, the Revelation / Celestron / Barshka e.t.c. 15x70 by the way has an effective aperture of only 63mm, not 70mm...

Edited by nicoscy
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I'm not the most clued up person regarding bins so was wondering if anyone has any any advice or suggestions for some good value bins around £200 mark?

Tony

Based upon his question, he seems to be more concerned with price. Perhaps he is flexible.  ;) 

Stan

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Stan,

I think we've all pitched in enough for Da Boss to decide. I wholeheartedly agree with your recommendations if he is to remain in his price range but if 70mm is critical, the Helios is the best option if the funds are available.

Tony, do let us know what you shop!

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Thanks for all the replies so far folks.

Darling wife update: She has agreed to stump up the extra £70 required to get the Helios Apollo 15x70's if I choose to go down that road  :grin:.  This leads to two questions;

1) Where on earth is she getting all this money from?

2) There seem to be a few suggestions of 10x50's, and having had a read through the 'what bins do you own' thread this morning, there seem to be lot of people who own these that are very happy with them.  I live in the West Midlands an do most of my observing from my back garden, so light pollution is an issue.  Although I do like to go camping and plan to take the bins with me to get some darker skies, so the easier portabilty of a smaller pair is attractive in that sense.  I'm keen to shop with FLO as I've dealt with them a few times before and find their customer service very good, but unfortunately they don't stock the Nikon's suggested . So I think I've narrowed it down to the Apollo 15x70's (which seem to be universally well respected) and the William Optics 10x50 ED's (which get a glowing write up from the seemingly very knowledgeable binocular sky fellow)... So in the words of Harry Hill, which is better? There's only one way to find out... FIGHT!!!

So in my position, Which of the two would you good people plump for?

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Personally speaking I would find 15x70s too heavy so I have 10x50s  - Opticron Imagic TGA WP - They work well for me and they are dual astro/nature use.  I was at one time going to get some very large binos but have never really found the need.  The weight is the problem for holding them.  I find even 10x50s quite tiring for long periods. 

I think much probably depends on what you use them for, if they are your main observation tool then probably bigger is better and you can always whack 'em onto a tripod but if they are supplemental to a scope and used less then lighter/wider field is probably the way to go.  I almost never use mine unless I am on holiday where lightness and ruggedness are the key points.  Everyones needs are different - with close on £300 to spend you could probably improve on the Opticrons quite some bit.

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I would go for the 10x50 bins. The Helios are heavier than your Revelation and may cause your arms to shake a bit, thereby reducing effective aperture.

How about you get the 10x50 and collimate your Revelation? I posted a link to how you do this and it is pretty easy actually.

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Opticron iMagic 10x50 or the Pentax PCW  10x50 ( with  focus lock for Astronomy?)  are good choices.

10x50 offers good magnification that doesn't require a tripod. Although any standard binocular that is steadied, will often appear to give a sharper image.

I'm sure the good people at FLO will allow you to change your mind after trying some binoculars?

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most of my observing from my back garden, so light pollution is an issue.

If you can't do anything about the lights, then the next best solution to LP is aperture. For that reason I'd echo the Helios Apollo recommendation (the Oberwerk Ultra, also recommended in this thread, is the same binocular with different branding). I use mine a lot! I also use my Oberwerk Ultra 10x50 (same as the WO, except for the colour and the ED glass) as my main hand-held bino when I am using it as a "pre-finder" for my big binos or my telescopes. ,But if you decide on portability being a major factor for your main binocular, you may be better off spending the money on an 8x40-ish with decent glass. The difference between it and a 10x50 is not enormous, but it is far easier to hand-hold steadily for longer periods (note Astro_Baby's comment abut 10x50 getting tiring) and is much more portable. It won't show you nearly as much as the HA 15x70, though.

It's difficult to over-emphasise the advantage of good glass.

Edited by BinocularSky
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Just to echo Steve's comments, the WO 10x50s are very good, great quality and never cease to impress me - but they are heavy. This is easily solved by mounting them on a monopod, which does not have to cost much, but something to consider. The Apollos similarly will need mounting to get the best out of them.

This is by no means a recommendation, but came across these yesterday:

http://www.astroboot.co.uk/bargain-zone.html

The previously mentioned Q4 15x70s at £95.00 look a bargain assuming they are OK (collimation?) They will probably be 15x63mm like many other cheaper 15x70s but should be a cut above the Revelation/Visionary/Celestron 15x70s.

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I do have a monopod that I use sometimes with the william optics 10 x 50s mostly to steady them rather than because they're heavy. However I often just hand hold them, particularly looking high. I note you said you were quite comfortable holding your 15 x 70s for 15 to 20 mins so I wouldn't think these would be a problem if you went down this route.

However if I could use larger aperture just as easily I'd rather have those, particularly if I didn't have a scope.

Edited by Scooot
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