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Alan White

When do you reach binocular upgrade time?

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Alan White    1,534

I am visiting relatives in Herefordshire and it is clear but cold with snow on the ground, so a short 45mins with my trust 10 x50 Olympus DPS1.

Dark sky and views that still makes my jaw drop, but, resolving of some features fall apart, so I presume I am seeing the faults of my binocular that go unnoticed under light polluted home skies.

So would I get more out of better optics? 

Your thoughts please.

One thing I do need is more dark skies.

Edited by Alan White

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kev100    276

Hi Alan,

I can't really comment on better quality optics, as I've not really tried anything particularly high-end. However, I would suggest more aperture as another option. I really enjoy the views through my Celestron 20x80s, and they weren't madly expensive.

Kev

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Mark at Beaufort    2,766

Hello Alan

I have used Celestron Skymaster 15x70 in the past and they were good. However, about 18 months ago I purchased some Helios Apollo 15x70 binos which simply blew the Celestron binos out of the water. Adding UHC or OIII filters allow the delights of even more objects like Rosette, NAN, The Veil etc.

In April I am going to California and I did not fancy taking the Apollo binos so I purchased some Celestron Cometary 12x70 (£39.99) which I used last night. They are pretty good but I then used the Apollo binos and compared. Really no contest. 

 

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F15Rules    2,163

Alan,

To get much better performance than your Olympus bins, I think you would need to spend significantly more. The main benefits of better bins are better sharpness in the outer 50% of the field (many cheap bins are actually very sharp on axis) and a sharp, wider field of view usually costs more.

However, here are a few suggestions that might help, based on bins I have used and liked. Note that all of the above will give of their best if you use a tripod or monopod for stability. You just cannot hold any bins as steady as a tripod/monopod can...after all, we wouldn't hold a 3" refractor in our hands for best views, would we?:D

I use this tripod/trigger grip (-Steve Tonkin has written a very useful users manual for this). It is superb for the money, great height adjustment, and very lightweight..

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adjustable-Trigger-Ravelli-APGL4-Professional/dp/B003SQEAY0

Pentax SP 12 x 50 very nice bins, good build quality, and the higher magnification makes the sky a bit darker and improves contrast. I really liked these bins, and they were bought from me by John (Tescope40) who I believe still has them and is pleased with them. I think these go used for around £70-£90, great value.

Helios 10.5 x 70s. These are BA8 high quality bins, similar to the more popular 15x70 version. They are very solid and heavy for hand holding, but are superb when mounted on a mount like the one above. Sharp well out to 80-85% of the edge. My 10.5s were a prototype pre-production pair which I got for a great price. I think the 15x70s go for around £160- £180 in good used condition? So not cheap, but definitely worth the outlay.

Tento Russian 20x60. Lightweight compared to the Helios. Optically excellent, but check before you buy, I had a couple of pairs which were slightly out of collimation. Contrast is superb. Expect to pay around £70-£100 for a used pair if you can find some.

Pentax 20x60s. I have not used these, but they have a great reputation. The only downside I believe is the narrow fov, which is only 2.2 degrees, although it is sharp across the whole field. There is another thread on these here:

 and a review by Steve Tonkin here:

http://binocularsky.com/reviews/Pentax_SP_20x60.pdf

I think a pair of these in good used condition will cost you around £120-£140 or so..

Hope that helps Alan :lol:

Dave

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25585    488

+1 for Helios LightQuest. Have 11x70 pair and a 20x100 may follow. Good eye relief and light for their size.

Where do you buy filters for bins?

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Mark at Beaufort    2,766
35 minutes ago, 25585 said:

+1 for Helios LightQuest. Have 11x70 pair and a 20x100 may follow. Good eye relief and light for their size.

Where do you buy filters for bins?

Only the Helios Apollo bins have the ability to screw standard 1.25" filters into the eye lens. Here is the link - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/helios-binoculars/helios-apollo-high-resolution-70mm-binoculars.html

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25585    488
7 minutes ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Only the Helios Apollo bins have the ability to screw standard 1.25" filters into the eye lens. Here is the link - https://www.firstlightoptics.com/helios-binoculars/helios-apollo-high-resolution-70mm-binoculars.html

Eye relief too short for me on the 15x sadly. 

Edited by 25585

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Charic    2,264

Alan, if you like your 10x50s', then something like an 8x40 will be easier to hand hold, should have a wider field of view, and with the same sized exit pupil, providing you with  the same bright view, however for me, its the field of view thats more important to me at night, as I find, binoculars just don't provide enough Planetary detail, infact on Jupiter all I see is a bright white disk, no detail. Thats not a bad thing, thats just the way it is, physics! but I don't use binoculars to look at the planets or galaxies?

Going the other way provides the opposite, more magnification, heavier and harder to hand hold, often requiring  a decent steady mount, but the field of view is much narrower, probably half the 8x40's if say your using something like 15x70 binoculars.

I owned some Helios Stellar 20x80's, and sold them, just too heavy and too narrow in the field of view, but I wasn't into astronomy back then. I did see Saturn! could just make out the shape that the rings provide, but no other detail.

My present 15x70s are similar,  Jupiter just a bright white disk, and they fare better from a darker site, same for most optics, but I'm sure there are better optics out there, but how much do you/we need to spend to see the same image?  I had for the shortest time the Helios Apollo 15x70's, but not long enough to fully evaluate them, but I'm sure they would have been keepers, but they would still get less use than my 8x40s.

My 8x40s are always close to hand, at work,  at the scope, though I might consider something that can take a few more rattles and knocks, just to be on the safe side, or buy a better case for them! but If I had to replace them today, for me, it could/would probably be the Strathspey Marine 7x50's. I have tried them, I like them, and they'd compliment my present 10x50s, and despite my entry pupils being much smaller,  than the 7mm provided from the 7x50's, their a good pair of binoculars for what I need. I still might get some anyway, just to allow more folk to use them as/when required?
I tested them for a while, alongside the 10x50's and really enjoyed what they provide, armoured, rugged, inert! the only reason I did not keep them was the field of view, the present 8x40 Naturesport beat them by a small amount.

There's nothing wrong owning a few pairs of binoculars, but I have avoided using zoom binoculars, preferring fixed focus. 
I read recently someone compared/put the larger  Strathspey 15x70 binoculars into Oberwerk category, but I doubt thats the case!  At about £120 thats a bargain for something in  BA8, Apollo's or  Oberwerk Ultimate territory?

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25585    488

Strathspey 15x70 are light for that type. I have a pair. Only their magnification makes hand held viewing really tiring - just keeping still.

I am saving to get a bino viewer - would like a 2nd/twin 22mm Vixen LVW, then get a Baader bv I expect. 90 deg bino view on a mount, with variable magnification, fov and better optics at less than the price of high spec big bins is attractive and with the right scope, at least as portable.

 

 

Edited by 25585
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Alfian    1,104
On 2/11/2018 at 22:31, Alan White said:

so I presume I am seeing the faults of my binocular that go unnoticed under light polluted home skies.

So would I get more out of better optics? 

I would not see the differences that you see as a "fault" as such in your binocular just that it is to some extent revealing the limitations of the binocular, but it also highlights the significant difference that very good seeing conditions make. I was in Galloway a few months ago and on one night I was seeing open clusters with the naked eye that I've only picked out at home with binoculars, and views of the milky way were just astonishing.That said, better optics will make a difference. I had the Williams Optics 10x50ED bino but with a slightly heavy heart replaced them with the Imagic10x42s because I was finding the hefty weight and the less than ideal eye relief an issue. The iMagics are a very nice binocular, no question, but the WOs always had that additional "wow factor" which was always a demonstration of the difference very good optics can make. More aperture will resolve objects better so a move up to a 15x70 (which will need mounting) would make a noticeable difference  but quality is the real key. Living in the real world its not within everyone's reach to be able to spend hundreds of pounds on kit, but its worth saving and waiting a while and maybe pick up a good second hand bino. As mentioned a BA8 series or Lightquest would be good.

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25585    488

If somebody has a small refractor, is there much point in buying bins with an OG diameter, near, or the same, as said refractor.

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Alfian    1,104
15 minutes ago, 25585 said:

If somebody has a small refractor, is there much point in buying bins with an OG diameter, near, or the same, as said refractor.

That's an interesting question. I have several scopes and several binos and I'll confess to being a bino fan. There will no doubt be many who can extol the technical virtues of binoculars better than I, binocular sumation etc, but I find the views through binoculars quite "compelling", for want of a better term, and enjoyable. Even with matched objective diameters scope/binocular its doesn't have to be either or - its nice to have both.  

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LukeSkywatcher    8,515

Ive only ever used Strathspey bins, so i cant compare quality of optics with any other bins. I have 10x50 and 20x90. Funnily enough, i bought my 20x90 bins to replace a 90mm refractor. I wasnt thinking the views would be the same......because they are not. Planets are just tiny dots in the 20x90's. Much the same as the 10x50's. Why?....because your magnification is fixed. The big bins are better for galaxy hunting. Those too are tiny and just faint fuzzy patches. 

Like Alfian, i too love using bins. I have 3 very able scopes (70mm,130mm and 200mm), but i just prefer the stereoscopic view of bins.

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25585    488

Having a ST80, I was wondering about getting another, with prism etc to make a 90 deg viewing pair. That would give from 10x with 40mm Plossls to 80x at the 5mm end using Vixen SLVs for eye relief. Sounds nice in theory anyway.....

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Alan White    1,534
51 minutes ago, 25585 said:

Having a ST80, I was wondering about getting another, with prism etc to make a 90 deg viewing pair. That would give from 10x with 40mm Plossls to 80x at the 5mm end using Vixen SLVs for eye relief. Sounds nice in theory anyway.....

Plenty of folks have fuelled up scopes to make bino scope, Peter Drew certainly has as has one Takahashi owner in Australia.

But not small and portable like a10 x 50 is though.

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F15Rules    2,163
4 hours ago, 25585 said:

If somebody has a small refractor, is there much point in buying bins with an OG diameter, near, or the same, as said refractor.

Yes, because you will see more via the two eye viewing experience, with a wider low power fov☺. It is more immersive at low powers.

Dave

Edited by F15Rules
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25585    488
1 hour ago, F15Rules said:

Yes, because you will see more via the two eye viewing experience, with a wider low power fov☺. It is more immersive at low powers.

Dave

Star fields and open clusters certainly, but single objects not so much, apart from the moon. I am undecided whether to buy a pair of big bins, or a bino viewer for my SCT and fracs. Do like the Lightquest series.....

 

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Alan White    1,534
15 hours ago, F15Rules said:

Yes, because you will see more via the two eye viewing experience, with a wider low power fov☺. It is more immersive at low powers.

Dave

Thanks Dave, what I was going to say. But would add, that yes for a second issue, portability and quickness of deployment.

When I visit my relative I have a car full of things, no room for a scope, but binocular will slip in the available space.

Also when slipping outside for a quick look, I always grab a binocular, not a scope.

Edited by Alan White
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F15Rules    2,163
8 hours ago, 25585 said:

Star fields and open clusters certainly, but single objects not so much, apart from the moon. I am undecided whether to buy a pair of big bins, or a bino viewer for my SCT and fracs. Do like the Lightquest series.....

 

Ah, if you're considering binoviewer s that's a different matter. They can give great views through a scope, although not everyone finds it easy to merge the images (I'm lucky, I can).

But bv's do add considerable weight, so don't really help the portability issue.. at the end of the day, binoculars and binoviewers are two different animals for for different applications😁.

Dave

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25585    488
9 hours ago, F15Rules said:

Ah, if you're considering binoviewer s that's a different matter. They can give great views through a scope, although not everyone finds it easy to merge the images (I'm lucky, I can).

But bv's do add considerable weight, so don't really help the portability issue.. at the end of the day, binoculars and binoviewers are two different animals for for different applications😁.

Dave

Main advantage of bins is totally water sealed optical systems are affordable (ditto spotting scopes) and haze penetration. An 80mm to 100mm spotting scope with excellent optics & decent interchangeable eps, such as Celestron Regal & Pentax, which can take 31.7mm fit, are possibly the ultimate travel scopes, though can cost as much as a Tak frac.

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Telescope40    130
On 13/02/2018 at 11:55, F15Rules said:

Alan,

To get much better performance than your Olympus bins, I think you would need to spend significantly more. The main benefits of better bins are better sharpness in the outer 50% of the field (many cheap bins are actually very sharp on axis) and a sharp, wider field of view usually costs more.

However, here are a few suggestions that might help, based on bins I have used and liked. Note that all of the above will give of their best if you use a tripod or monopod for stability. You just cannot hold any bins as steady as a tripod/monopod can...after all, we wouldn't hold a 3" refractor in our hands for best views, would we?:D

I use this tripod/trigger grip (-Steve Tonkin has written a very useful users manual for this). It is superb for the money, great height adjustment, and very lightweight..

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adjustable-Trigger-Ravelli-APGL4-Professional/dp/B003SQEAY0

Pentax SP 12 x 50 very nice bins, good build quality, and the higher magnification makes the sky a bit darker and improves contrast. I really liked these bins, and they were bought from me by John (Tescope40) who I believe still has them and is pleased with them. I think these go used for around £70-£90, great value.

Helios 10.5 x 70s. These are BA8 high quality bins, similar to the more popular 15x70 version. They are very solid and heavy for hand holding, but are superb when mounted on a mount like the one above. Sharp well out to 80-85% of the edge. My 10.5s were a prototype pre-production pair which I got for a great price. I think the 15x70s go for around £160- £180 in good used condition? So not cheap, but definitely worth the outlay.

Tento Russian 20x60. Lightweight compared to the Helios. Optically excellent, but check before you buy, I had a couple of pairs which were slightly out of collimation. Contrast is superb. Expect to pay around £70-£100 for a used pair if you can find some.

Pentax 20x60s. I have not used these, but they have a great reputation. The only downside I believe is the narrow fov, which is only 2.2 degrees, although it is sharp across the whole field. There is another thread on these here:

 and a review by Steve Tonkin here:

http://binocularsky.com/reviews/Pentax_SP_20x60.pdf

I think a pair of these in good used condition will cost you around £120-£140 or so..

Hope that helps Alan :lol:

Dave

Hello. Yes. Still have the Pentax 12 x 50’s. Very happy with them apart from the caps supplied. They are bobbins. I’ve sourced some new ones that actually fit where they touch 

 

John 

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