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F15Rules

Newly arrived Pentax 12x50s

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I've been wanting some slightly more powerful bins (higher magnification, better contrast) for a little while now. I have been using an excellent pair of Tento 7x50s for about a year, and they are optically excellent with sharpness out to about 80% to the edge of the c5.5degree field, but with moderate light pollution and an exit pupil of 7 in the Tentos, I wanted a spec that would maximise the views for my late fifty-something eyes..

After a lot of looking at various reviews and sites, including Mr Tonkins' excellent reviews, I decided on the Pentax SP 12x50/WPII's, slightly more magnification than the 10x50s reviewed by Steve.

I know 10x50 is often cited as the ideal all rounder spec, but as I only intend to use these for astronomy, I went for these, offering a 4.2 degree field and an exit pupil of 4.2 - ideal for someone my age, and with nice dark sky background even from my semi-urban location.

First impressions are good, both of build and views, but skies have been poor here since they arrived so proper first light will have to wait.

I can handhold these ok, there is some shake but bracing greatly helps. And I will use my trusty Ravelli tripod and trigger grip for much of my viewing.

I'll post more soon, but in the meantime here are a couple of pictures taken on my phone:-)

Dave

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Look very nice. I got some Strathspey 7 X 50 Marine binoculars a few weeks ago. Not had too much chance to use them fully yet with the weather, and tend to still favour my Celestron Skywatcher 15 X 70's for scoping the night sky still. Think I might invest in a swivel head piece like yours to go o my camera tripod too.

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I used these for a while, they are as sharp as anything out there but I couldn't get on with the huge eyepieces.

You're OK with eye positioning ? Lucky [removed word], I really wanted to love them ! Such a wonderful build ! 

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I've got a pair of really old 10x40s and they as solid as a rock. They too have large eypieces (maybe a Pentax thing?) but I don't have problems using them.

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They're a great design. I own the 10x50, and the locking focus and detent on the diopter adjustment sold me on them.

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I'm finding the eye positioning OK, but it does take a little getting used to. I like to push my eyes close up to the eyepieces and the twist eyecup function let's me do that without my eyelashes touching the lens.

I really like the focus lock function, again it takes a little practice not to knock the focus a bit whilst engaging the lock, but it's a nice feature. And the right diopter has stepped click adjustments which are good too.

Lens coatings are excellent and daylight views of a nearby aerial mast are sharp almost to the edge..

All good so far! - just need the wind to drop and the skies to clear now!

Dave

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I got some Strathspey 7 X 50 Marine binoculars a few weeks ago. 

.....me too!

I ordered both the 7x50s and the 10x50s, returning the 7x50s soley on the fact that my Helios  8x40s have a wider field of view, nevertheless, the 7x50s were still very good.

As for swivel heads, my best purchase  this Year to-date was for a Manfrotto 222, its appears in  mint condition, works very well, its clean, doesn't smell, no pets/tobacco?  and not a word mentioned in the advert about  the branding, so it sometimes pays to widen your search when goggling or on the bay auction site! best of luck in finding something.

I  favour the  Manfrotto  over my 3LT system for mounting binoculars, due to the horizontal  positioning of the centre column.

Edited by Charic
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.....me too!

I ordered both the 7x50s and the 10x50s, returning the 7x50s soley on the fact that my Helios 8x40s have a wider field of view, nevertheless, the 7x50s were still very good.

As for swivel heads, my best purchase this Year to-date was for a Manfrotto 222, its appears in mint condition, works very well, its clean, doesn't smell, no pets/tobacco? and not a word mentioned in the advert about the branding, so it sometimes pays to widen your search when goggling or on the bay auction site! best of luck in finding something.

I favour the Manfrotto over my 3LT system for mounting binoculars, due to the horizontal positioning of the centre column.

Got them from their site on eBay, and luckily when I was looking they were having a sale on them, so got the Marines for for £89.99, which was £30 less than what they normally go for. I also order up some of their general 12 X 50 binoculars too to replace my old 12 X 50's that were starting to show their age, and got £10 of their normal price too.

I really need a good camera tripod to replace my old one I have. Was looking at the Manfrotto tripods, but scared off by the prices! Maybe I need to have a good scout around for a second hand one like you! :)

Edited by Knighty2112

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..... that's a good price for the 7x50s. I was offered a great deal, but in the end only purchased one set.

The New Manfrotto 055 series appears to be a real solid tripod. Amazon £208 with no head was the deal I secured ?

Edited by Charic
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For this size of bins you don't need to spend that sort of money..look at the AmaOn Essentials tripod and trigger grip (same as my Ravelli I think). Superb value and a really decent mount for bins up to 60mm:-)

HTH

Dave

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Correction, its "Amazon Basics" but will come up any way under the google search..£40.99 and in stock!

Dave

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Dave, one suggestion: reverse the trigger-grip so the trigger is at the objective end of the binos, so you operate it with your fingers: much easier to control. (In case you haven't discovered this, the entire body can rotate on the ball-socket if you squeeze the trigger, so you can keep the slot at the eyepiece end.) This also means that the thumb-latch for the QR head is actually accessible to your thumb! :grin:

Also, I have written a comprehensive user-manual for the trigger-grip; it is in the Choosing & Using section of my website (see sig).

Edited by BinocularSky
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Dave, one suggestion: reverse the trigger-grip so the trigger is at the objective end of the binos, so you operate it with your fingers: much easier to control. (In case you haven't discovered this, the entire body can rotate on the ball-socket if you squeeze the trigger, so you can keep the slot at the eyepiece end.) This also means that the thumb-latch for the QR head is actually accessible to your thumb! :grin:

Also, I have written a comprehensive user-manual for the trigger-grip; it is in the Choosing & Using section of my website (see sig).

Hi Steve,

Well spotted! :grin: ...feel a bit silly now, I haven't used the tripod/grip for a while and just bunged the new binos on it quickly to take a few shots, and completely missed that I had the grip back to front. All sorted now!

And thanks for the heads up on your user manual, I will be sure to check that out properly soon.

I had a quick first light look at the Moon tonight (with the grip the right way round! :p ) and noticed something slightly odd..at first look, there was a noticeable amount of CA in the view in the form of a mainly yellow ring around the lit side of the moon's globe..but after adjusting the IPD distance outwards a bit to better suit my eyes and get a more comfortable view, the CA largely disappeared, to a level I find acceptable and in line with what I would have expected, ie not much at all. The terminator was very crisp and lots of detail visible. Also had a brief look at a few stars and they focus down to nice, sharp points, with clearly visible colours from white through to bright orange depending on the stellar class of the star. I would say that the night sky field sharpness is very good out to about 80-85% of the field, so I am very happy with that. Contrast is excellent, just as I had hoped it would be with slightly higher magnification.

I bought these online for £105 shipped, and am delighted with them at that price. They look, feel and view like good quality binos, and are very manageable. I am really liking the focus lock feature, as well as the micro-stepped right diopter adjustment.

Happy to recommend these bins to anyone who wants them mainly for night time use. For more general purpose use a 7x50 or 10x50 might be better given their wider field, but for astro use these tick all my boxes :laugh: ..

Dave

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I had a quick first light look at the Moon tonight (with the grip the right way round! :p ) and noticed something slightly odd..at first look, there was a noticeable amount of CA in the view in the form of a mainly yellow ring around the lit side of the moon's globe..but after adjusting the IPD distance outwards a bit to better suit my eyes and get a more comfortable view, the CA largely disappeared, to a level I find acceptable

This is a very common phenomenon: some binoculars are remarkably sensitive to eye placement for CA.

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Yep, the 20x60s are very sensitive to ipd and eye position but you quickly get the knack with it.

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Yep, the 20x60s are very sensitive to ipd and eye position but you quickly get the knack with it.

The one that bit me recently was the Opticron Adventurer 10x50. I was reviewing it for TBS, and was really impressed with it. Earlier this month I was reviewing a different one for somewhere else, and the images I was getting were vile. Was this really bad consistency at the factory or had I just been stunningly incompetent the first time round? Neither: I was also testing a tripod, so I had the bino mounted on that; couldn't get my head in exactly the right place; once I'd sorted it,it was back to the impressiveness I'd experienced first time.

Edited by BinocularSky
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