Jump to content

sgl_imaging_challenge_2021_annual.thumb.jpg.3fc34f695a81b16210333189a3162ac7.jpg

Binoculars - £1000 limit


Oli
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi All,

It's been a long time since I've been on here! I am looking for some advice on a good pair of binoculars, the kinda pair that I will only need!

I currently live in flat (and this isn't going to change any time soon due to house prices in the south of England!) and my only decent access to the night sky is on the beach, so this rules out buying a telescope. I currently own a pair of celestron 15x70 binos but these are just too heavy without a tripod to enjoy.

So what are best binos I can buy?

I've seen a couple of recommendations for the Canon IS 10x42 and 15x50.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't comment on the image stabilised offerings as I've never used them, but with that sort of budget I'll start the ball rolling and wholeheartedly recommended the Fujinon 10x50 FMT-SX. I've owned mine for less than a year and it still takes my breath away every time I put it to my eyes, day or night! The clarity and sharpness of the views is stunning, 6.5° and sharp almost right to the very edge. With £1000 you'll also have change for a decent monopod & trigger grip ball head if you feel additional support is required.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing to keep in mind with the Canon IS binoculars is that they effectively have a fixed lifespan, I believe the gyro mechanism wears out after a certain amount of use and they're not economical to repair.

I own a pair of Canon is 10x30 and they're great but If I was spending £1000 I'd want something that could last a lifetime (touch wood that I last longer than 20yrs)

James.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your replies! I will have a look at the Fujinon 10x50 FMT-SX but to be honest IS Bino's are really intriguing me!

JED, do you know what the lifespan is of the IS in the Canon Bino's? I've tried searching google about the issue but can't find anything. 

Also if I were to go for the Canon IS, has anyone compared the 10x42 and 15x50? I appreciate the extra magnification of the 15x50 but the weight isn't too different from my 15x70 celestron bino's (200g lighter I believe) which makes holding them for long periods difficult.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing to keep in mind with the Canon IS binoculars is that they effectively have a fixed lifespan, I believe the gyro mechanism wears out after a certain amount of use and they're not economical to repair.

I own a pair of Canon is 10x30 and they're great but If I was spending £1000 I'd want something that could last a lifetime (touch wood that I last longer than 20yrs)

James.

11 years and counting James  :laugh: mine are still doing the business. They're well used too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 years and counting James  :laugh: mine are still doing the business. They're well used too.

Yep I'll have to check how long I've had mine.

There was a thread on Cloudy Nights(?), that i can't find now, and the general consensus was 20 years max and less than half that if treated roughly.

I think you have to judge these things on how much it costs per hour of use, and the fact that nothing will lose money faster than a new car and lots of people seem to have those.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All,

Just a quick update, I'm planning on checking out three binoculars in my local shop on Saturday.

Canon IS 10x30

Canon IS 18x50

Vortex Viper HD 10x50 (for a comparison to the IS models)

They should have the Canon 10x42 and 15x50 in stock soon so I shall also be trying these out before making a decision!

Oli 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I had bought some Fujinon SMTFX 10x50s in London, I now feel that my money could have been wasted?

Yes their a fine example of quality, but may have seen less than my 15x70s, which I now use less for astronomy, and maybe a little more power than my 8x40s which are my prefered binoculars for my astronomy needs right now.

The views I get from the 10x50 Strathspey Marines are very good, so would another £500 on top of the Marines have given me a much of a better view, unlikely.

Just try as many binoculars as you can, getting the field of view right for your needs, and let your eyes choose whats best, rather than whats available in the wallet. You'll be surprised just how little you need to spend to get great results.

Edited by Charic
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I presume that the truncated life span of the IS series refers to the IS mechanism?, surely they would still be useable as a "normal" binocular?   :smiley:

I guess, The batteries would last longer too  :undecided:

I see that WEX has a 10% off discount on Canon IS binoculars at the moment using voucher code   CAN10  

Makes the 15x50s a little more tempting at  £737 ish.  not in stock though.

post-26021-0-73024500-1447428191.jpg

You could get an extra 2% cashback from Quidco too.

Edited by JED-E3
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess, The batteries would last longer too  :undecided:

I see that WEX has a 10% off discount on Canon IS binoculars at the moment using voucher code   CAN10  

Makes the 15x50s a little more tempting at  £737 ish.  not in stock though.

attachicon.gifWex capture.JPG

You could get an extra 2% cashback from Quidco too.

Bit like the old joke about Triumph 2000 car doors,

Car owner to scrap yard owner: "How much is Triumph 2000 car door mate?"

Scrap yard owner replies "£50 to you"

Car owner replies "£50 that's expensive; the're only £25 at the other scrapyard down the road but he hasn't got any in" 

Scrap yard owner replies "When I've none in mine are only £25"

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just tested the three binoculars in the shop.

Canon 10x30: Lovely little binoculars. Very light, reasonably small and felt comfortable when holding. I tested these while looking outside at a road sign across the road. I noticed small shakes from me holding them and then pressed and held the IS button (good position and I didn't find it too much of an issue to hold the button down) and the image locked on and became perfectly still. The IS is certainly not a gimmick!

Canon 18x50: I was expecting these to be rather heavy and cumbersome but what surprised me was that they felt much lighter than my Celestron 15x70 Skymasters, even though it only has around 100g difference. They also felt reasonably comfortable to hold despite being quite large. I found compared to the 10x30, it was quite difficult to keep the image still even with the IS on (I can understand swimming motion people mention), I presume with these I would almost certainly have to lean against something. Despite that though the IS still made a large improvement to the image. Can you anyone confirm if they have any issues hand holding the 15x50's?

Vortex Viper HD 10x50: The biggest surprise of the 3 binoculars. Fantastic optics, very sharp and the image seemed much lighter than the other two (I presume because it has the larger exit pupil at 10x50mm).  It felt comfortable to hold and had a good weight to it but was lighter than the Canon 18x50. The chap at the counter owned these and said the optics weren't far off the Swarovski brand, minus the extra £500-1000.  Has anyone reviewed these for astronomy?

Conclusion: I will skip the Canon 18x50 as I find these just abit to jumpy with the IS on. I'm currently waiting for the 10x42L and 15x50 to arrive so I can test them. The vortex vipers were fantastic but I feel that the IS technology is just too good to skip out on.

Oli

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just realised the warranty on those Vipers are exceptionally good! Lasts for a lifetime and will repair or replace even if you have no receipt! This is a hard decision!

Also, Vortex warranties are transferable; handy if you pass teh binos on at a later date.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good report Oli.

 Never tried the IS bins myself,but I certainly found your comments  on the Vortex Vipers of interest.

Thanks! it's difficult making a judgement inside a shop but compared with the Canon's I thought they had the superior optics. I liked them so much that I spent time yesterday using my Steiner 10x26 Ultrasharp binoculars on the beach trying to replicate the steadiness of the Canon's by trying different ways to hold them steady. But no matter what I tried (leaning against a wall, supporting my elbows on a wooden rail, regulate and slow my breathing) I just couldn't get that perfect still image!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As long as their in your hands, they will never be stable, even a brain surgeon would shake to some extent. The only way to steady the binoculars is if they are rock solid on a tripod, or sat on the wall, car, broom head, whatever you choose. Just supporting the elbows is not sufficient, as you have discovered.

I mount all my binoculars at night, once my target is located, then apart from any optical difference in glass construction, or field of view, with your IS brand, we would see the same image, if your eyes focus like mine?

I have used IS binoculars before, but cant remember the brand, but under the conditions, they worked very well indeed. Infact too good! I had to put them down just to go and be sick? The images were as stable as could be, yet I felt like I was in a washing machine, and the two just dont go together.

Edited by Charic
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As long as their in your hands, they will never be stable, even a brain surgeon would shake to some extent. The only way to steady the binoculars is if they are rock solid on a tripod, or sat on the wall, car, broom head, whatever you choose. Just supporting the elbows is not sufficient, as you have discovered.

I mount all my binoculars at night, once my target is located, then apart from any optical difference in glass construction, or field of view, with your IS brand, we would see the same image, if your eyes focus like mine?

I have used IS binoculars before, but cant remember the brand, but under the conditions, they worked very well indeed. Infact too good! I had to put them down just to go and be sick? The images were as stable as could be, yet I felt like I was in a washing machine, and the two just dont go together.

Sorry you had that experience. I agree with you about needing a tripod to match it, if I had a garden I would be tempted to go for the vipers but I don't want to have to carry a tripod everywhere with me. Every local shop appears to have no 15x50 or 10x42 in stock but I've been told the next shipment will be end of November/ start of December. So hopefully by then I will have a decision!

Oli

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.