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Stu

Opticron 20x80 first light

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In an effort to try to have more, quick but useful sessions, I picked up these nice Japanese made Opticron 20x80 binos recently. They are a very solid piece of kit, the rubber armour seems pretty sturdy and generally they have a good feel to them, despite being somewhere around 10 years old I think. The optics are clear and free of scratches or fungus, they have been well cared for.

One reason to try them was my recent acquisition of a 'Trigger grip ball head thingy' which I tried with my Canon 15x50IS and was impressed at the simplicity, so it encouraged me to give these a try. I picked up an L-bracket from FLO, again Opticron and again very solidly made.

In practise, they worked nicely on the Trigger mount, but it was struggling to maintain its position when at higher elevations. By that I mean when I released the trigger they dropped a little before holding. I think there may be a tension adjustment which I will play with later.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with the binoculars. Collimation is spot on, and focus was easy to set and seems to stay put. They are sharp on axis, but do drop off towards the edges noticeably. Unlike a scope though, you tend to concentrate on the centre, and move the binos when needed so I did not find it that distracting. CA levels seem pretty well controlled too, although the moon was fairly colourful on the limb it was by no means objectionable, and perfectly acceptable on brighter stars such a Rigel and Betelgeuse.

I'm no expert by any means on binoculars, but checking them out, the exit pupil appears to be correct at 4mm, but shows a slight intrusion from the prisms which I guess is normal?

I didn't view too many targets, but enough to get a flavour. M42 looked amazing. It had a greenish tint to it which I've only seen before in scopes. The trapezium was obviously tiny, but three stars were clear, and the fourth was visible when the seeing allowed. The 'fish's mouth' was clearly visible, and the whole thing quite impressive, particularly with averted vision.

Mintaka split nicely, although there was some glare/flaring around the primary star. I also tried for Mizar and again, that split very nicely and the whole system including Alcor was beautifully framed. The x20 mag was noticeable here vs the Canons and the split was easier.

M45 was framed well in the 3 degree fov. I couldn't accuse the view of showing pinpoint stars across the field, because it didn't! All in all though, very pleasant to see.

I caught M81 and M82 using my normal star hop. Not dramatic under urban skies, but there, and identifiable. I also finally got the Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina myself. I'd seen it once previously, found by another club member in a 12" Meade SCT under pretty poor conditions. It was quite dim, nothing spectacular in the binos but good to see finally. Star hopping is certainly much easier in binos!!

In terms of usability, the trigger grip and tripod work pretty well, but objects near the zenith are tricky. I either need to add my pillar extension and stay standing, or sit down which is what I did last night.

Looking forward to being able to use these for quick sessions from dark sites, perhaps on weekends away when taking a scope would be frowned upon by SWMBO ??

Dodgy iPhone shot included for reference ?

EDIT Yes, I know the neighbours hedge needs cutting!!!! ??

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Nice write-up; thanks.

 

Quote

In practise, they worked nicely on the Trigger mount, but it was struggling to maintain its position when at higher elevations. By that I mean when I released the trigger they dropped a little before holding. I think there may be a tension adjustment which I will play with later.

Comprehensive manual (by me) for the trigger-grip head on my web site (see sig) >Choosing & Using

 

1 hour ago, Stu said:

but shows a slight intrusion from the prisms which I guess is normal?

Slightly undersized prisms.

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Thanks Steve.

Can you just clarify what you mean by slightly under-sized prisms? Does this mean the aperture is effectively stopped down a little? Any idea how much?

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Yes, but I can't tell how much without examining them; usually inconsequential - maybe a bit of vignetting that you could detect with photometry but not with the Mk-1 eyeball.

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Nice report Stu.

Co-incidentally,I made use of Steve's manual,when I tightened up my 'Trigger Grip Thingy' (LIKE IT!)  yesterday.

I'd mounted my ST80 on it on Monday night,and it was exhibiting a bit of slippage,which was a little bit of an inconvenience when upping the magnification.

Anyway,it works brilliantly now.

So,thanks are in order to Steve Tonkin!

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Nice writeup Stu :)

Are these the bins I was eyeing up on a well known auction site a few weeks ago? If so, good buy, they had me tempted for sure.

 

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3 hours ago, Chris Lock said:

Nice writeup Stu :)

Are these the bins I was eyeing up on a well known auction site a few weeks ago? If so, good buy, they had me tempted for sure.

 

Thanks Chris. No, these were off ABS. Similar price, but mine say 3 degree fov rather than 3.5 on the flea bay ones. I'm surprised there are different versions, I gues it's just a change in eyepiece to a wider afov?

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Nice report Stu! :)  Lots of people under estimate how powerful good bins can be. 

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1 hour ago, Piero said:

Nice report Stu! :)  Lots of people under estimate how powerful good bins can be. 

I've certainly been guilty of that myself Piero. Hopefully that will change now.

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1 minute ago, Stu said:

I've certainly been guilty of that myself Piero. Hopefully that will change now.

Naah! you have a taste for small telescopes, Stu ! That's more than sufficient ;-)

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10 hours ago, Stu said:

 

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.......LOOK INTO MY EYES!..........

 

The simple things make me laugh! Nice report

Edited by Charic
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