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tjr

10x50 or 15x70?

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I'm in the market for a new pair of bins. I've had on long-term loan a good pair of 10x50's which I was planning on replacing with a pair of Helios Weathermasters, but I've just seen that I can get a pair of Celestron Skymaster 15x70's for pretty much the same cost.

I am conscious of the extra weight and bulk of the Celestrons, but I already have a sturdy binocular mount for my AZ4 if I find the weight too much for extended viewing.

What do you think? Will the extra light grasp be worth the loss of light-weight and compact convenience?

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I find my  Opticron Oregon (15*70) quite convenient, especially with a comfortable chair. If you already have a mount, go with the larger. the 70's would theoretically double the light input as compared to the 50's

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Out of all my binoculars the ones I reach for most for the best views are my Celestron 15x70's. To be honest I don't really find them heavy at all, but depending on your health and age this might become a factor. However there are easy ways to take off the load of the binoculars without having to buy expensive mounts or anything. Sitting in a deck chair and viewing this way helps, along with using a pole (or a covered up brush) to help support them. The only times I really struggle with any binoculars is when objects are close to zenith really.

Edited by Knighty2112
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That's pretty much decided it for me then. I'm still young(ish) and healthy so hopefully I'll find them comfortable to grab and use without the need to always set up with the tripod which I'd prefer.

Thanks.

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Whichever Bins you decide to go for,I'd certainly suggest that you get a monopod.

 No need to set up the AZ4 then.

 Just a lounger or deckchair,and you're set.

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Thanks all for the feedback. My mind is now firmly made up!

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I would suggest 10x50's at first, because you can hand hold them and easily stabalize them with a broom stick or such.  I know a lot of people out there hand hold their 15x70's, but I really believe they need to be mounted to get the full benefit of the increase in aperature and magnification (then again, I believe all bins should be mounted to get the most out of them).  When, and if, the time comes that you want more aperature and magnification, and you're willing to go to the expense of mounting your bins, why not skip the 15x70's and get something along the lines of 20x80's or 25x100's?  Well mounted giant bins are an awesome experience!

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I always grab my 8x40s first?

None of my Binoculars, some not listed, do not give me the details I require for astronomy, except on the Moon, therefore I prefer the wider field, low powered binoculars, taking in more of the sky, and even better from unpolluted skies, and even the 8x40s get mounted on a tripod somtimes!

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I second getting a monopod. Whatever size bins you get, the extra support helps a monopod preserves the grab and go portability of bins that a tripod gets in the way of. Even a cheap and cheerful Dynasun does the job, and so would some ad-hoc such as the broom suggested although a actual pod will be better still.

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I'm 60 and I have no problem hand holding my Celestron 15 x 70 bins.

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It's a curious thing that nobody in the birding world would advocate hand holding at 15x but lots of people in astronomy say they do this. Personally I'm very sceptical. You want the higher magnification in order to resolve more detail. OK, try an honest self-test. Find some distant text which you can just make out in, say, 8x42 or 10x50 and read the letters out to yourself backwards (to prevent the brain guessing the rest.) Now try the same test in your hand held 15x70. Can you really do better? If you can you'll be in a minority in my estimation.

It isn't a matter of weight, it is a matter of stability - just as it is with telescope mounts and guiding.

I think the light grasp of the objective is of little importance. Contrast and exit pupil are what matter. (I had some 11x80s for a while but the exit pupil of 7.2mm wasn't going into my eye. A waste of aperture.)

For me 15x needs stabilizing whereas 8x does not. It's a different experience but I like the freedom of hand held sweeping.

Olly

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Here's a relevant interesting article from Ed Zarenski in Cloudynights:

http://www.cloudynights.com/page/articles/cat/cn-reports/binocular-reports/binocular-resolution-handheld-vs-mounted-r1369

In another large work on Limiting Magnitude in Binoculars amongst all the data he finds that even down to 8x42 mounting binoculars can yield an additional 0.4- 0.5 magnitude.

I love binos for the almost instant access to the night sky and the benefit of bino vision but I do not have steadiest hands in the world and though I can hold my fairly heavy-ish 10x50s for a while, putting them very quickly onto a mono-pod transforms the experience. I've found (surprisingly) that suitably perched/braced I can hold my 20x60s to gain a usably sharp image for a short while but that is something of interesting but pointless exercise when simply mounting again makes the world of difference.

I see little point in hand holding 15x70s when even a cheap monopod detracts very little from the portability of binos but makes them so much better to use.

Edited by Alfian
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I see little point in hand holding 15x70s when even a cheap monopod detracts very little from the portability of binos but makes them so much better to use.

Or, put another (probably over-verbose) way: exactly what is the point of spending more money on something you can't really hand-hold in order to get a worse experience than you would with something you can hand-hold, unless you are going to do the little bit extra that is required to give you a better experience?

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I wouldn't say "over-verbose" but certainly more articulately put!

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It's a curious thing that nobody in the birding world would advocate hand holding at 15x but lots of people in astronomy say they do this. Personally I'm very sceptical. You want the higher magnification in order to resolve more detail. OK, try an honest self-test. Find some distant text which you can just make out in, say, 8x42 or 10x50 and read the letters out to yourself backwards (to prevent the brain guessing the rest.) Now try the same test in your hand held 15x70. Can you really do better? If you can you'll be in a minority in my estimation.

It isn't a matter of weight, it is a matter of stability - just as it is with telescope mounts and guiding.

I think the light grasp of the objective is of little importance. Contrast and exit pupil are what matter. (I had some 11x80s for a while but the exit pupil of 7.2mm wasn't going into my eye. A waste of aperture.)

For me 15x needs stabilizing whereas 8x does not. It's a different experience but I like the freedom of hand held sweeping.

Olly

If you look at my "signature", you'll see I use a zero gravity lounger to steady my body.

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If you look at my "signature", you'll see I use a zero gravity lounger to steady my body.

I'm not sure what a zero gravity lounger is and the stability of your body isn't the problem. It's the stability of my binoculars which concerns me...  :grin:  :grin:

Olly

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