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Grumpy Martian

OK,What are the best 15 x 70 binoculars then?

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A few years ago I found a set of high resolution Opticron 8 x 40 binos for £11. They say HR and by golly they give a bright crisp view of the night sky. I will never part with these. But I would like to compliment them with a set of large binoculars. Above 70mm I feel would not be transportable,especially holidays abroad.

I did have a set of Helios Stella 15 x 70. They were fine. But I always felt that they did not give that crisp sharp views. The 8 x 40's were nicer to use.

So my quest is to find a set of larger binos that give crisp,sharp views with dark skies. Also easily transportable.I would welcome 15 x 70's also 10 x 60's or 10 x 70's.

Edited by Grumpy Martian
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Fujinon 15x70 were reckoned to be very good some years ago, not sure about 'best' though.

ChrisH

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My Celestron Skymaster 15 X 70 binos do pretty good. I live in quite a bad area for light pollution, and can see quite a few deep sky objects quite easily with them, so at a dark site they would perform even better. As to been the best, well I wouldn't say that as I am sure there are some much more expensive binoculars that do slightly better, but to be honest I could never justify spending 5 times or more the amount that I paid for the Celestron 15 X 70's for just a very small increase in DSO objects that I could see.

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I see lots in the night sky with my Celestron skymaster 15x70 binoculars, I would not part with them.

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Same.

Then again. I keep hearing its easy to bump the prisms out of place. So I'm being extremely careful with them.

So, i think there should be something 'better'

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I own both Skymaster and Helios Apollo 15x70's,and ,unsurprisingly,the Apollos are significantly better that the Celestron BA8's.

 Then again,so they should be,costing about five times as much!

  Having said that,as soon as I tried them out at 'first light' proper,I could see that they were indeed a quality bit of kit and that all of the positive reviews that I'd read here on SGL ,that influenced me to buy them, was justified.

 I consider them a real keeper,and don't foresee upgrading to something even more expensive,unless I come into a considerable amount of cash!

  I'm not familiar with the Helios Stella,so I can't comment on how the two models compare.

   As for the Skymasters, they were my re-introduction to Astro-observing after a break of nigh on forty years,and, if they are well collimated,represent great value for money.

 I'm hanging on to mine,at least for now,because they are only about half the weight of the Apollos,so if I'm travelling REALLY light,I can hand hold them relatively steady for a lot longer than the Apollos ,that really require a monopod at least.

 So ,as usual,it really comes down to how much you can afford to spend.

  However,if you want a GOOD bit of kit,and only want to buy once-then my money is on the Helios Apollo's.

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I have owned a pair of Skymaster 15x70 for many years. They are well collimated and I had fabulous views in Yosemite, California this year. As stated they are quite light, easy to handhold and  go on a flight as hand luggage without a problem.

In saying that I still fancy a pair of Apollo 15x70 solely to keep at home because I have reasonable skies. The thought of being able to screw in some UHC filters makes them very desirable.

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The Helios Apollo 15x70 are sharp and are reckoned to see deeper than most others in the 70mm bracket, due to superior lenses, coatings and the fact that they actually measure 70mm - most cheaper 70mm binoculars actually measure more around the 60mm mark. From what I've read they are pretty well matched with the Fujinon's, which cost a lot more. What is the best is really restricted by how much you're prepared to spend. I'd say that the Apollo's are the best you can buy for £270. They are rather heavy though, you'll need some sort of mount to get the best out of them.

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For 15x70s, probably the UO BA8s (Helios Apollo, etc.), but there are 16x70s that are better (e.g. Fujinon - but not, IMO by enough to justify the price difference). I'd also love to get my mitts on a Lunt 16x70 (I'm trying! :grin: ).

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I take the points that your replies suggest in that my question "what are the best" could open you up to bankruptcy.

There are a lot of Celestron out there. Has anyone tried 10 x 70's?

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I wonder if there is a 10 x 60 that has ggod views.They would give a liitle more light gathering and still be hand holdable.

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I personally don't think that the step up from 50mm to 60mm is that significant in pure light gathering terms..it's more about the magnification and you don't find many 50mm bins with 15x or more magnification unless they are either cheap and poor quality or zooms which are usually also poor quality.

I've just ordered a pair of Pentax SP 12x50 WPII's to get that bit more contrast, magnification and an exit pupil that at 4.2mm should suit my ageing eyes nicely. I'll post my thoughts when they arrive:-). I have a Ravelli trigger grip/ mount for steadiness but should also be able to hand hold these fairly well too.

Dave

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There are some 12x56s around (eg Celestron DX's) which are an interesting in-between size but given that they would be on the limit of hand-holdability (?) its probably just as well to go to a 15x70. The Pentax 20x60s that I have are very good, very sharp and contrasty, but at 2.2 degrees fov  they are very much into a more limited window of application, great though they are.

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I see lots in the night sky with my Celestron skymaster 15x70 binoculars, I would not part with them.

I'm happy as a pig in slop with mine.

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I think the general view is that the Apollos are the best among the mid priced binos, but they are massively heavier than my Helios Stellars. Would still like a pair though.

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I'd also love to get my mitts on a Lunt 16x70 (I'm trying! :grin: ).

...and I succeded. Here.

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There's some Apollos going cheap on the FLO thread at the moment. I'd definitely go for them if they weren't so heavy.

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Well I bought the Helios Apollo 15x70 binos and I can confirm that they are superior to the Celestron 15x70. I have used the Apollo binos a few times including viewing Comet Catalina and they produce a very sharp and better contrast image than any binoculars I have used in the past.

Yes they are heavier than the Celestron but I have hand held them for several minutes without being unconfortable. However, for longer viewing I will place them on a monopod.

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A few years back I bought six pairs of the TH 'Revelation' branded 15 x 70 binoculars for my local astronomical society.  I wanted something that was good value,  light and easy to hold but with plenty of light grasp and a mid range magnification.   At £50 a pair I did not expect to be blown away by either the build quality or indeed the optical performance.  

After testing each of the six pairs individually I was pleasantly surprised by what the Revelations delivered.  Optical quality was certainly there and their combined size and weight meant they were light enough to use handheld over extended periods of time.   The rubber construction also gave them that rugged feeling.

My biggest gripe was that in the case of two of the six pairs I had bought I had that double image problem where the prisms have come slightly jogged during delivery.  This was quite easily sorted though by using the collimation screws and the other four pairs were fine from unpacking.

These binoculars are targeted at both beginners and more experienced users and I would say they meet up to that.

Edited by Philip Benson

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Helios Apollo 15x70s (Kunming United Optics BA8 - they are sold under many brand names) offer the best value for your money.

See here.

Really good binoculars. Strong and solid. Heavy too. Bright and very sharp. Fine colour rendition. Oversized prisms. Impressive broadband coatings on all surfaces. Very high transmission. Waterproof and dry gas filled.

Excellent for astronomy and horizon scanning. Individual eyepiece focusing makes them less suitable for birding because it takes twice as long to refocus. I have the 7x50 model because it is more compact and it gives a wider true view at its lower magnification. 

The 15x70 are 2.5 kg. You'll definitely need a monopod or another form of support. The quality of the view, however, is worth the weight, all two thousand five hundred grams! Every time I look through them I feel the urge to get myself a pair of the 15x70s.

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I have used three different BA-1 15x70 types: Celestron Skymaster (returned due to black gunk in the optical pathway and bad collimation), Omegon Nightstar 15x70, and a TS 15x70 pair. The Omegon lasted me a long while, and bagged me loads of objects under southern skies. Great value for money, but both optically and mechanically not that good compared to heavy hitters like the BA-8 I own now (Helios Apollo HD). They are quite easily knocked out of collimation, and as I was comparing them to the Helios, the (fairly wobbly) bridge holding the EPs broke :eek:. The TS 15x70 is better in terms of coatings, but otherwise similar to the Omegon. The Helios Apollo is great, but I might replace it by the 16x70 Lunt, or the 16x80 Vixen Arc due to eye relief issues.

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The Helios Apollo is great, but I might replace it by the 16x70 Lunt, or the 16x80 Vixen Arc due to eye relief issues.

Agree on the Helios Apollo 15x70: extremely bright binocular. I have just acquired the Lunt 16x70; it's better than the HA. Not sure if it's actually brighter, but the better contrast means it will see slightly fainter. Reviews incoming soon.

(Edit: Typo & removal of grocer's' apostophe's)

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Ooooo hello, with the help of a couple of videos on YouTube I have today collimated my 15x70's... I could see rain bubbles on the Soffit boards at least 20 metres away! Now hurry up clear skies I need a star/moon test :-)

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