Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_dslr_mirrorlesss_winners.thumb.jpg.9deb4a8db27e7485a7bb99d98667c94e.jpg

Space Kat

Binos choice meltdown - help, please! (RESOLVED: went for Celestron SkyMaster 8x56)

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone

I've been a silent reader for quite some time now, and time has come to ask for some advice.

I've been researching this for weeks, and the more I read, the more I'm stuck. I'm looking to purchase bins for stargazing on the go (whilst travelling) as taking my Skymasters 20x80 with the HD tripod is not the best idea. I've narrowed the choice down to two options:

- Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 (I tested them out during daytime only)

- Celestron Skymaster DX 8x56

I will use them only during nighttime, hence my conundrum. Shall I go with better glass and roof, or stick to reliable but lesser quality glass porro? I'm going away in a week's time and spent the past 3 trying to decide. Or do you suggest something entirely different? I definitely want to go with 8x magnification; 10 is good for hand-holding, but 8 allows me to have longer sessions. Budget up to £200.

Edited by Space Kat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's always tough when you narrow things down and think you've made a choice and the something else pops up.   

If your set on a pair of x8s then I guess it comes down to the quality of the glass Vs light gathering power.  The extra light gathering that the 56 gives over the 42 is going to open up so many more targets and tease out a little more detail fainter objects...... But you do have your 20x80s for more light power.... So maybe the EDs may be the way go.....but.... I've always found Porros to produce cleaner stars (but that's just me..)

Are you certain your going for ED glass?  For under £100 the Olympus 8x42 (not ED) are fantastic - lots of other models which compare well  too- but it all depends on personal preference....

Mark

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, mark81 said:

It's always tough when you narrow things down and think you've made a choice and the something else pops up.   

If your set on a pair of x8s then I guess it comes down to the quality of the glass Vs light gathering power.  The extra light gathering that the 56 gives over the 42 is going to open up so many more targets and tease out a little more detail fainter objects...... But you do have your 20x80s for more light power.... So maybe the EDs may be the way go.....but.... I've always found Porros to produce cleaner stars (but that's just me..)

Are you certain your going for ED glass?  For under £100 the Olympus 8x42 (not ED) are fantastic - lots of other models which compare well  too- but it all depends on personal preference....

Mark

Thanks Mark!

20x80 are the "home" binos, so looking to add a pair primarily for travelling and for when I cannot be bothered to set up in the garden. I'm not hell-bent on ED glass, but I've seen the difference and it's tempting. The aperture is the one thing that makes me lean towards another pair from Celestron; in photography 4.2 and 5.6 produce very different images, so I guess it would be the same in binos. But lots of people far more invested in binos seem to go for the glass rather than other parameters...and that's why I've been pulling my hair for the last few weeks. 

To make it simple - you suggest sticking to porros, yes? I found the Celies for £139. Triple-checked if it's definitely 72002 and it appears to be. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Space Kat said:

Thanks Mark!

20x80 are the "home" binos, so looking to add a pair primarily for travelling and for when I cannot be bothered to set up in the garden. I'm not hell-bent on ED glass, but I've seen the difference and it's tempting. The aperture is the one thing that makes me lean towards another pair from Celestron; in photography 4.2 and 5.6 produce very different images, so I guess it would be the same in binos. But lots of people far more invested in binos seem to go for the glass rather than other parameters...and that's why I've been pulling my hair for the last few weeks. 

To make it simple - you suggest sticking to porros, yes? I found the Celies for £139. Triple-checked if it's definitely 72002 and it appears to be. 

I always stick to Porros as in the past I have found that Roofs add little spikes to stars - it certainly was the case a few years back.  

Hold on and see what other members suggest about the ED glass, I really can't comment as well be only used them during the day - the difference was notable, but for me, not worth the extra 400 the guy paid for them..

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just sticking to those 2 options, I would consider size and weight, if they are to be hand held then these things will quickly become something you are happy with or unhappy with. I don't know which are lighter (I would guess the 42mm due to less glass) but that would count for a lot with me.

The 56mm's are going to give a very large exit pupil (7mm) which you will only benefit from at the darkest of skies and if you are still young enough or lucky enough to have big pupil diameters yourself.

I can't comment much on roof prisms and their effect on star shapes. I've got a couple of roof prism monoculars (10x in my case but I would go for  8x if I was buying now) and I enjoy using them for astronomy and terrestrial.

In the end 8x and either of those apertures is in the right ball park for hand held astronomy.

Edited by Paz
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Space Kat, 

I can +1 for the olympus 8x40's, they are optically excellent under the stars for a very good price.. Way, way under your price range. 

I also +1 for the roofs distorting stars, as my Barr & Stroud 10x42's prove, ( I use them for daytime observation and shooting) and they do not perform nearly as well for astronomy as my porro prism bins. 

If you hold on a little longer I'm sure @BinocularSkycould maybe offer you some sound advice. 

Cheers, 

Mark. 

 

 

Edited by MaHa
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't used either of those but based on your intended use I'd go for the Hawke's.

 

18 hours ago, Paz said:

Just sticking to those 2 options, I would consider size and weight, if they are to be hand held then these things will quickly become something you are happy with or unhappy with. I don't know which are lighter (I would guess the 42mm due to less glass) but that would count for a lot with me.

The 56mm's are going to give a very large exit pupil (7mm) which you will only benefit from at the darkest of skies and if you are still young enough or lucky enough to have big pupil diameters yourself.

 

+1 on what Paz says here. The Celestron weigh over 1kg compared to 650g of the Hawke. They will likely be significantly bulkier and coupled with the weight will probably make them uncomfortable to use hand held for long periods and if you can't take advantage of the larger exit pupil then you lose any further benefit the larger aperture of the Celestron will bring.

Also, the Hawke has a FOV of 7.3 deg while the Celestron only has 6.2. That's going to put a whole load more sky in front of you. Even worth the loss in aperture for me, especially since you already have the 20x80's. If you plan to use them during the day the Hawke also have significantly closer focus.

 

I have two pairs of roof prism, an 8x25 and 8.5x42 and neither of those exhibit the spikes others have referred to here., although they are more expensive. I see FLO have them on deal at the moment 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/offers/offer_hawke-endurance-42mm-ed-binoculars_125512.html

They also got good reviews from in the best binocular website:

https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.com/HawkeEnduranceED8x42-172.htm

 

Good luck with your choice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, all your advice and comments are much appreciated. 

I actually jumped the gun and ordered the 8x56s, but since then another person recommended the 8x40 Olympus and let’s be honest, the cost difference is significant. I think I was a bit stupid here as I went for the brand and not for what I’m actually buying. I was looking at Olympus but ruled them out purely because it’s Olympus. Rookie error I guess.

The weigh is not an issue, I can hold 1kg without a problem so that wasn’t a factor for me. I think I’ve settled on porros as the vast majority of astronomy binos seem to be porro, not roofs. 

 

Ok, so not to confuse things any further, Olympus is the dark horse because of:

- porro prisms

- exit pupil (I’m in the higher end of 30s, so pupil dilation is probably around 6mm from what I read)

- cost

On the subject of exit pupil, would the extra light coming in with 56s really make no difference to the experience?

Also - as the Olympus are bak7 not bak4, is it not going to affect the field of view?

 

Edited by Space Kat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Space Kat said:

On the subject of exit pupil, would the extra light coming in with 56s really make no difference to the experience?

Also - as the Olympus are bak7 not bak4, is it not going to affect the field of view?

 

If your pupils dilate to 6mm then all else being equal the 56's should appear brighter and be able to resolve more detail than the 42's but you would be as well going for an 8x50 as the 6.25mm exit pupil of that would deliver the same amount of light to your eyes as the 8x56. Think of it like stopping down your camera, it's the same principle.

 

Bak 7 v Bak 4 would not alter the field of view but it would likely affect image quality towards the edge of the field of view and generally the glass used in Bak7 prisms is of lesser quality than a corresponding Bak4.

 

1 hour ago, Space Kat said:

The weigh is not an issue, I can hold 1kg without a problem so that wasn’t a factor for me. I think I’ve settled on porros as the vast majority of astronomy binos seem to be porro, not roofs. 

Most people can hold 1kg but it's holding them for long periods and how this affects your viewing pleasure that is the concern but if you're sure it's not an issue for you then it certainly gives you more options. 

 

I hear the 'porro is better than a roof for astronomy' a lot and I think it's misleading. An optically equivalent porro would be no better than a roof for astronomy (although some people prefer the 3D effect porro's give you). What a porro generally does give you is better value for money as a roof is a more complicated design. That coupled with the design limitations and cost of larger aperture roof binos is more likely the reason porros are more prevalent for astronomy use.

 

All that being said as long as you enjoy them and use them all of the above doesn't really matter!

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't worry about it, enjoy your new bins and don't look back. There's always something else you could have bought, whatever you went for!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Paz said:

Don't worry about it, enjoy your new bins and don't look back. There's always something else you could have bought, whatever you went for!

Absolutely. 100% agree with this - there is always something else. 

I'm sure you will get many an enjoyable hour out of your new purchase :)

Mark 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to all once again. 

I will stick to my guns and keep the 8x56. As ignorant as it sounds, I do have very good night vision so I’m assuming my pupils must dilate to a decent size. Where I’m going to use those smaller binos is my back garden with relatively little light pollution around, and whilst travelling. Part of my holiday next week includes sailing, and there is no way I’m going to miss out on zero/minimal light pollution at night and not have binos with me. With those factors in mind I think the 8x56s make sense. However, rest assured I will let you know what I thought of them in action.

I don’t mind brighter skies that I read about as a warning against 8x56; as long as I can stare at the space and stars, I’m good to go. And who knows, maybe in a couple of months my husband won’t notice a third pair appearing, those being either 10x50 or 25x70/100 (the jury is still out on that one).

I thought that knowing a good bit about photography means that the knowledge is easily translatable into astronomy and binoculars. W R O N G! 🤣 Thank you everyone for your help, you’ve created a wonderful community here.

Edited by Space Kat
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So - I received the binos today, and Mother Natured answered my prayers for clear skies at night. I briefly spied on what was visible of the Moon during the day, and two BA flights. Not quite what I was after though, so seeing the clouds clearing completely brought great joy.

WOOOOOAH. I had no expectations of the 8x56s, but my goodness have they delivered. For starters, it was nice to be able to relax on a chair (albeit with my legs on the fence/table for added comfort 🤣), and hold the binos with relative stability (very, very minor jitters, but only after an hour or so). Contrast was good enough for me, clarity and sharpness were very good too. I’m slightly shortsighted, so try to wear contact lenses/glasses when stargazing, however I get a better experience without them, even sacrificing the very small difference in sharpness.

The view is not very wide, but gives me a lot more context than 20x80s. I’m an absolute rookie when it comes to constellations, and I think these smaller binos will give me a decent start to learn the basics (I can tell very few summer sky constellations, probably only Cassiopeia, Perseus, Lyra, and Cygnus. Don’t judge!). I’ve been using the SkyWalk 2 app for a few years, but I really struggle with “translating” what I see in the sky to what’s on the screen and vice versa.

All in all, a very good purchase, although I’m already thinking of the next pair...and a parallelogram :evil:

Edited by Space Kat
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.