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Mr niall

Mistral 10x50 ED or Skymaster Pro 20x80?

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Hello there

I'm looking at upgrading my skymaster 15x70's which have served me well but feel I need to make a change. I'm lucky enough to spend a few weeks in the south of France  every year and while I don't have enough room to bring my scope, I do of course have enough room for bins.

But I'm torn - do I go bigger, or do I go smaller. I guess I'd really appreciate some input from those who've experienced a range of bins to point me in the right direction. I've got a pair of the Mistral 10x50's (non ED) at work and they're absolutely brilliant so I know they'd be a safe bet.

But I guess what I cant decide is do I want portability at the expense of depth of view, or do I want depth of view at the expense of usability. I guess my biggest complaint with the 15x70's is they seem to occupy a bit of a middle ground. I'm aware the real aperture is about 63/64mm which isn't an issue, but they're too big to be used handheld recently so I have to mount them. Mounting them isn't a total nightmare but I can't help but think if I'm going to the trouble of mounting bins I'd want a bit more "view wise" if you know what I mean. I know the Skymaster Pro's 20x80s are well respected and give great deep views of the night sky and can happily hoover up globs and most Messiers for example.

Conversely given the faff of mounting them, I'm similarly drawn to the 10x50's as, apart from being much more compact and "family resistant", they'd be more useful as an allrounder for birding / deer spotting and I wouldn't necessarily have to go to the trouble of mounting them to enjoy them. But would I be missing out? Do 10x50 users feel like they are missing out on some of the treasure's in the night sky or does the wider fov and convenience more than make up for that?

Difficult choice... Any opinions appreciated. As with everything else, my max budget is £100 but that has obviously gone out of the window as soon as I see something pretty. For legal reasons (Mrs Niall) its still £100 😉

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A 10x is too different from a 20x and a 50mm is too different from an 80mm to make a fair comparo. Since an 80mm, especially with strong magnification, will require a tripod, you'd be better off bringing a small scope with you in France.

So, if I were you I'd be researching the 56mm, 60mm and 63mm binocs.

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1 minute ago, Ben the Ignorant said:

A 10x is too different from a 20x and a 50mm is too different from an 80mm to make a fair comparo. Since an 80mm, especially with strong magnification, will require a tripod, you'd be better off bringing a small scope with you in France.

So, if I were you I'd be researching the 56mm, 60mm and 63mm binocs.

The 56,60 and 63 would all need mounting so they're not really up for consideration; I'd just get the 80mm. I'm trying to understand if users of 50mm felt they were missing out on the views that an 80mm would give, or whether 80mm users felt the views afforded by extra aperture was worth the faff and lack of mobility that they require. 

I'm not after a comparison - I now the views are different, I'm more looking for opinions on relative merits of usability given their constraints. Apologies if that wasn't clear above.

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2 hours ago, Mr niall said:

I'm trying to understand if users of 50mm felt they were missing out on the views that an 80mm would give

Yes and no. Just looking at any open star cluster, the 50mm shows only the main components and shows them weakly. The 80mm makes many more stars pop up, and displays what the 50mm displays with a very welcome boost in brightness, when comparing them at the same site.

Going to a much better location can level the comparison, though, so it depends heavily on the respective quality of your skies in the UK and in France. There is a 1 magnitude gain from 50mm to 80mm, but if the naked eye star count is 1 magnitude worse, only the extra magnification of the Skymaster will grant some benefit.

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I guess that someone with a pair of 50mm would find themselves thinking they were missing out on that extra bit of detail.... And the someone with the 80mm sat in a chair with their legs between a tripod and a pain in their neck might wish they had the 50s.  

For me, I would base it on the sky quality. ..   if the skies are good and dark there is so much the 50s can see and the wide field is fantastic.  For example, the best view I ever had of the Orion Nebula was with the 50s.  Yes I got more detail with scopes and bigger bins, but the wide FOV and the way it sat was perfect..

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10x50 has a wider true field of view, 20x80 shows more detail. 10x50 has more applications: trekking, sports, close up views, horizon and sky. 20x80 is more for horizon and sky.

I'll tell you what I have and why:

I went for an 8x42 binos for its light weight and its large true field of view (8.1°). Closest focus is 2m, so it doubles as a butterfly bino. It is small and can always come with me and it finds any target in a second or so. I prefer a monopod for it for convenience.

What I miss out on in the sky with the 8x42 I can see in my 73mm APO. Over 700 euros, but much better than any binoculars I ever tried. It needs no more than a photo tripod and a few eyepieces. It is also used as a spotting scope. With an extension tube, nearest focus is 3m at which the scope becomes a long distance microscope. I have a choice of magnifications for it from 12.8x and up.

For extremely wide views I have a pair of inexpensive 4x21 binoculars with a 17° true field. The central 10 degrees are quite well corrected. Since I have the 8x42 I use my 7x50 less. With 14% more magnification the 8x42 has the edge on it.

 

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A tricky one this, for reasons outlined in above posts. We want bigger, deeper but not the weight or the need to mount, but can we live with the limitations of a hand held bino?  I had a Williams Optics 10x50ED (ba8) binocular which were optically always impressive - they had that wow factor which made me smile. I parted with them because  they were heavy for a 10x50 and the eye relief wasn't so easy. I have a Helios Q4 15x70 (63?) and they are good and show a little more than the 10x50s but the image quality does not have that special something that made the Williams Optics stand out. In that respect I have "missed out" on losing that quality element. My advice therefore is that for what ever budget you have,  get the best (optically/mechanically) that money will buy you. If that works out at a 10x50ED, it will ultimately be a more satisfying binocular than a lesser quality 20x80. 

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I have the 20x80 (and 15x70) Skymaster Pro for review at the mo. If you can hold on for a couple of weeks, I'll let you know in detail what I think.

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Really tricky to compare 10x50's to 20x80's. Have you considered just getting better quality 15x70's? From my experience quality makes more of a difference when it comes to binos. 

Scrap that, just saw the £100 budget. In that case I would go for a smaller quality Bino to accompany the BA1 class 15x70 (63's). 

Edited by Lockie
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