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PatrickO

Ultra Wide Angle Binoculars

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I want to do more naked eye observing. Unfortunately, my eyesight is not great, especially in my left eye. I've been thinking that some ultra wide angle binoculars might help. Something like 2x40.

I've done a little research and come up with a few options and wondered if anyone has personal experience of these? Or have suggestions for other similar binos.

The ones I really fancy are the Orion 2x54, but apparently not available in UK/Europe.

Available in UK:

Omegon 2.1x42 £132

Vixen 21x42 £250

Kasai  2.3x40 £169

Thanks, Patrick

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All should give pretty similar views, differing on the detail on focussing etc. I made some 2x54 but with no focussing and no eye relief they’re not for everyone. I see the new Orion that look interesting, but they haven’t started shipping so I am not surprised they are not available in the U.K. I’d check with companies stocking Orion kit in a few months and ask them what they’d cost.

depends on what the ”not great” is about your eyes, astigmatism, excessive diopter issues etc... which might make using these tricky. They give an added 1.5mag or so, making urban  skies slightly less rubbish and even more stars when at dark skies.

Peter

 

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I owned the Kasai widebinos for a while and wrote a short review - reference below, and there is other discussion on here if you search.  They are interesting and nice to have but, a personal view, I wouldn’t see them as a solution to any visual issues you might have. As Peter says, how well they worked for you would depend on the nature of those issues, something I’m not qualified to comment on.  The eyepieces are individually adjustable for focus.  Being of Galilean design, there is quite a lot of distortion in the outer parts of the field and chromatic aberration was evident. Overall recollection is that they were worth having especially for sweeping dark skies but not quite as immersive in effect or as intuitive to use as I’d hoped.

Kasai WideBino 2.3 x 40 mini review

By JTEC,  September 27, 2018 in Discussions - Binoculars  

 

Edited by JTEC
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These are wide real field, but not especially wide apparent field, I assume this is why you find them less immersive? What are the best examples of immersive you’ve had?

Peter

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I owned the Kasai Widebino, I thuoght it was brilliant. Only sold as I needed some quick money to buy other astro gear that came up for a good price. I'd buy another pair without hesitation.

I'd like to have used them with filters, but 2" filters aren't cheap as we know, and the hands-free goggles were originally on my shopping list but would have cost more than I paid for the bins second hand (£105 I think).

I haven't used other makes, but the WideBinos are very well made optically and mechanically and are like supercharging your normal vision, a bit clunky to use without the goggles, but probably could have cobbled some DIY elastic straps for minimal fuss. I only used them at dark sites and never noticed edge distortion or CA, but then didn't really look for it either, wasn't intrusive to me at any rate.

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I’d agree that they’re well made and they do offer something different. The idea of enhanced widefield vision is an attractive one.  But part of that attraction, I think, is the expectation that it might be possible to experience a seamless extension of natural vision.  For me, that didn’t apply, mainly because of the optical and ergonomic compromises involved. And, living where I do, I felt that I quickly exhausted what they had to offer. But that’s not to knock the design - which is constrained by what is optically possible to a budget - or the concept. I’d happily own another pair, especially for a trip to truly dark skies. 

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4 hours ago, PeterW said:

These are wide real field, but not especially wide apparent field, I assume this is why you find them less immersive? What are the best examples of immersive you’ve had?

Peter

Peter, interesting question.  I think ‘immersive’ is partly a subjective thing, though facilitated or not by an optical system.  Something like being able to forget the presence of the instrument, feel part of what you’re looking at and experience the sensation that you could dive deeper into it to explore.  For me, that means binocular vision. Not so much to do with width of field, more about a sense of depth. Best single example that comes to mind: M42, 140 apo, ZeissBaader binoviewer, 2xPowermate ahead of prism, 2x18mm Tak LEs.  It’s like being inside the nebula ... well, not quite and of course the impression is illusory ... but you know what I mean. Single eyepieces don't do this for me, wonderful though many of them, Ethos for example, are in providing expansive views.

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With dark enough skies the Denkmeir  3D binocukars (with array of little wedge prisms) can produce an interesting effect. Not so useful under urban skies and not for daytime use!

For me I look for >70degree apparent field of view so the binoculars are less visible and you can focus on the thing you’re looking at.

Peter

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I've only tried the Vixens which a guest brought along a while ago. While the FOV is clearly enormous I only felt comfortable looking straight through them rather than peering into the edge of field as you do with a widefield eyepiece. Then again, does this matter because with binos you can just move your head and bins together? (I think you can even buy a head clamp device so you wear them like specs, in effect.)

It was like having super-duper eyesight and very interesting. (My unaided vision is poor.) The Milky way was wonderful. I liked them but wasn't afflicted with that deadly 'must have' conviction that we all fear!

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
Typo
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On 27/02/2020 at 11:44, PeterW said:

no eye relief

god i hate long eye relief

i have a pair of 26* 2x42 no eye relief and that makes them so comfortable, just plop them on my eyes and they become an extension

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On 28/02/2020 at 04:13, Ships and Stars said:

Kasai Widebino

svony makes clones of these - amazing comfort!

i think it's the zero eye relief

do you guys know a binoviewer  or even binoscope setup that matches this comfort?

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On 29/02/2020 at 18:41, Mark Daniels said:

I have a pair of the vixens they are great

I would go along with that, I had a pair last year, stupidly sold them in my great stupid sell off! They are very solidly constructed and so convenient to have in your pocket.

live and learn live and learn...so stupid of me...trying not to cry.

 

chaz

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