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.

stargazine_ep28_banner.thumb.jpg.b94278254f44dd38f3f7ee896fe45525.jpg

TrevorW45

Advice on first astronomy binoculars please

Recommended Posts

Hi, I’m new to astronomy and the forum, and would like some advice on buying my first pair of binoculars for star fields, lunar and planetary obs. I’m particularly keen on being able to view or at least be able to see the rings around Saturn. I’m considering a good pair of 25 x 100 for this purpose. Any advice on brands welcome! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to SGL, you will find a lot of helpful folks here. I use binoculars (Celestron 12x70s, Helios Apollo 15x70s, Pentax 20x60s and Helios 20/40x100s) and telescopes (a couple of dobsonians) and think binoculars and telescopes complement each other well in the arsenal.  

I could just make out the rings of Saturn with 20x60 Pentax WPs a while back, but I mean just barely - more of a sense that they were there than an actual view but others may have better impressions. I'm not sure an extra 5x magnification will improve that a great deal, but I can't knock it until I've had a go. I haven't tried the 20/40x100 observation binoculars yet on the planets (shame on me!) but that's on my list for the next clear night from home.

I mainly use binoculars for widefield views of the Milky Way, constellation sweeping, travel, terrestrial etc. My fav for astronomy are the 15x70 Apollos under dark skies with UHC/OIII/Nebustar II filters or Hb on certain targets under the right conditions (California Nebula is one).  Views are excellent, but not many binoculars come with filter threads and a pair of good filters will bump up the price up a fair bit.

Celestrons get mixed reviews when compared to more expensive offerings, but most owners seem happy with theirs. I've been happy with mine for the price. The Helios line are generally well regarded, especially the higher end Apollos and Lightquest lines. 

I had the 25x100 Celestron Skymasters, they were ok but I couldn't use them with eyeglasses and the dioptre adjustment available on those wasn't enough for me to reach focus in one of my eyes. The eyecups started to split pretty quickly as well. Otherwise I was happy with them for the money. I used a Skywatcher AZ4 tripod which struggled a little pointing at high altitudes, but it was still certainly usable and smooth.

I'd say the APMs and Helios are good options if you want to go a bit pricier than Celestron for some big binoculars. 

If you want to drop £1000 plus, then some observation binoculars with interchangeable eyepieces are within reach which would allow for better planetary views.

One thing you will need for big binoculars is a tripod or parallelogram mount to hold them steady, not a cheap wobbly camera tripod for small DSLRs, but a proper heavy tripod to hold them rock steady. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to see something faint or tiny with giant binoculars wavering all over the place! I do use my 15x70s handheld, but only for short periods or if I'm laying on my back. I did use the 25x100s handheld a bit for a quick glance at something, but only for a few seconds at a time. Not very useful unless you are built like a rugby player.

@BinocularSky is a walking goldmine of binocular information, not only the equipment, but what you can see with binoculars - Steve may weigh in here!

This is just my opinion, but I'd be inclined to skip the 25x100s and instead go for some decent 15x70s plus a small telescope like a Heritage 150p or a 200p Skyliner (or bigger works too - a 250p, or 300p...sorry) 🤣 dobsonian with a couple of good eyepieces etc.

I'd hate to be without both binoculars and a scope though! 

 

 

Edited by Ships and Stars
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have Helios Lightquest 16x70’s and on a tripod I can make out the rings of Saturn. Well, more like a disk round Saturn but still I am very impressed with them especially as I’ve read that it wasn’t possible with magnification under 20. The 4 main moons of Jupiter are clearly seen too. I had Celestron 15x70 but I sent them back after 1 day, you couldn’t make anything out in the night sky with them. Everything just looked like big grey golf balls but they would focus perfectly on buildings. I’m glad I spent the extra money on the lightquests. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Ships and Stars said:

@BinocularSky is a walking goldmine of binocular information, not only the equipment, but what you can see with binoculars - Steve may weigh in here!

Weighing in.... 🙂

@TrevorW45 - I've seen fleeting dark space between Saturn's disc and the ansae with a mounted Helios Apollo 15x70, and with a Lunt Magnesium 16x70 -- but I do mean "fleeting". More clearly an actual ring in Pentax 20x60, so your suggested 25x100 will let you see it has a ring (optical quality permitting), but you really need to get to around 35x before it becomes reliably distinct.

But really, as @Ships and Stars indicated, the requirements for starfields (wide angle) and planets (magnification) are mutually exclusive. Binoculars are superb for the former, but not the weapon of choice for the latter, unless you are going for really top-end stuff that I would not advise a newcomer to buy (pick a number between 5 and 20, and add three zeroes).

Some ideas + reviews + what to look at on my website; URL in sig. FYI, I recently reviewed the Orion GiantView 25x100 for AstroGear Today.

I hope that helps; do ask if you have any questions.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thank you for your advice. After careful consideration, I have opted for a pair of Celestron 20x80 Pro 

Edited by TrevorW45
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Hi @TrevorW45 and welocome to SGL. :hello2:

Below is an image of my 7x50's and 20x80's...

post-4682-0-36306500-1445866821_thumb.jpg.757bd596989253acbfdbeb380f979e56.jpg<--- 7x50's

post-4682-0-32308400-1445866920_thumb.jpg.c0b1c23e89dd3188337b1a9403d37110.jpg<--- 20x80's

and mounted on a joystick/trigger grip/ballhead on a Mantrotto 055PROB tripod.

Edited by Philip R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

great topic ,I use my Celestron 15x70 for star hopping these are great for star clusters .

 for planetary viewing I like to use my Meade etc 90 .I have had good views of Saturn Jupiter and Mars and its very portable.

I also occasionally use my Celestron 6se which also is very good .

Looking at your photo of the binocular set up  I find ball joints to wobbly I use a good heavy 90 degree bracket on a Manfrotto 128rc head this is rock solid and easy to manoeuvre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your going for the Celestron 20x80 bins i would go for the pro version bit more money but a lot better set of bins

I had the standard 20x80 a few years ago and did find them ok but not that good   

I have the Celestron 15x70 Pro version and find them to be better bins 🍻

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks for all your advice guys! 
I got the Celestron 20x80 Skymasters Pro.

Edited by TrevorW45
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The trigger ball does need cleaning of metal dust and the adjuster screw tightening, that way it works fine with my heavyweight 10x50.

Peter

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I overhauled the Manfrotto 222 I picked up for a song and a nice simple job, works really well and as you say Peter easy to adjust for the load.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • 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.