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Need a little help upgrading


Dummy
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Hello again dear community!

A couple of years ago I came here for help about 15x70 binoculars. I was really pleased with my final choice and I have to say, the Levenhuk Bruno Plus were really a good pair of binoculars for my budget and options. I got good use out of them in my 3~ magnitude backyard.

I hope this doesn't make me seem selfish or greedy but I recently thought about upgrading to a 20x80 pair. I realize the difference might be negligible for my amateur eyes but sadly I do not have too many options other than ordering a pair on Amazon. Local retailers where I live don't offer much variety in the 20x80 specs as far as I know, and even if they did I'm absolutely sure it would be beyond my budget, let alone 25x100 ones.

So to sum up, I'm undecided between the Celestron Skymaster, the Zhumell 20x80 and the Bresser Astro Spezial (not the SF version) which by chance I found out about on Amazon.uk a couple of days ago. I've considered Celestron's Skymaster Pro but I would have to invest double my budget for those what with shipping and customs.

Now I wear glasses and from what I gather there are a few differences between these. For example, according to Celestron's website the Skymaster aren't fully multi coated but their FOV is 0.5 degrees larger than the other two and the eye relief is stated 18mm. The Zhumell and Bresser are fully multi coated but the Zhumell's eye relief is 17mm and the Bresser website doesn't say about the Astro Spezial. Aside from that, the Skyamster look like they're a bit sturdier and better built than the others. Surprisingly it seems the Astro Spezial are the cheapest although I might be mistaken.


I know I can't expect too much quality out of these three, but I was hoping someone could offer their opinion or experience, if they have previously owend or used any of them actually. I'm sorry but I probably don't have easy access to higher end brands and models in case you think I shouldn't waste my time with these in the first place.

I apologize for the long rant and any grammatical errors, and thanks in advance for any advice or replies!

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I regularly use my 20x80 Skymasters with glasses. The eyecups can be foded back and then there is sufficient eye relief to use them with glasses.

Just bear in mind that the actual aperture of the Skymasters (the non-pro 20x80 version) is something like 72-73mm, I have measured this myself and the same results have been obtained by many others. So if your Levenhuks have true aperture of 70mm you won't get much improvement in terms of light grasp.

Celestron binoculars sometimes arrive out of collimation, again this is well documented. I bought mine from Amazon and they arrived well collimated. In any case be sure to have the option to return them if they are not in perfect order. 

This may sound off putting but actually I'm very happy with my Skymasters and use them regularly. They show quite a lot of deep sky objects, wonderful for the large nebulas like the Veil and have a good field of view. They are sharp across 80% of the field which is also normal for budget binoculars. The chromatic aberration is well controlled, in the centre of the field even the Moon shows very little purple fringing. 

Good luck with your search!

 

Nik 

 

PS. I recommend to avoid the 25x100 unless you have a permanent mounting set up, they will be much more expensive and very heavy.

Edited by Nik271
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Hi @Dummy

I’m not sure I can be too much help, but I’ll try.

Our sponsors FLO deliver internationally so depending on where you are, they may be able to help.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/delivery-information.html
 

What sort of budget do you have? They have a pair of Opticron 20x80 at £149 which have good reviews:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/observation-binoculars/opticron-oregon-observation-20x80-binoculars.html

I assume you have some form of tripod or support to use them with? Binoculars of this size are hard to hand hold and keep steady so it’s worth considering this too.

Regarding glasses, do you have astigmatism? If not then you can observe without glasses just as well, but if you do then yes you will need to wear them. The Opticrons have 17mm eye relief so should be fine either way.

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12 hours ago, Nik271 said:

I regularly use my 20x80 Skymasters with glasses. The eyecups can be foded back and then there is sufficient eye relief to use them with glasses.

Just bear in mind that the actual aperture of the Skymasters (the non-pro 20x80 version) is something like 72-73mm, I have measured this myself and the same results have been obtained by many others. So if your Levenhuks have true aperture of 70mm you won't get much improvement in terms of light grasp.

Celestron binoculars sometimes arrive out of collimation, again this is well documented. I bought mine from Amazon and they arrived well collimated. In any case be sure to have the option to return them if they are not in perfect order. 

This may sound off putting but actually I'm very happy with my Skymasters and use them regularly. They show quite a lot of deep sky objects, wonderful for the large nebulas like the Veil and have a good field of view. They are sharp across 80% of the field which is also normal for budget binoculars. The chromatic aberration is well controlled, in the centre of the field even the Moon shows very little purple fringing. 

Good luck with your search!

 

Nik 

 

PS. I recommend to avoid the 25x100 unless you have a permanent mounting set up, they will be much more expensive and very heavy.

Yes to tell you the truth I think I would have eventually chosen the Skymaster but since I bumped into the Bresser's by chance on Amazon.uk I'm back to square one in terms of comparison.

Question, what do you mean by the Skymasters aperture isn't actually 80mm? I recall hearing about such a thing throughout my web searches but I never payed any attention to it. Why would the aperture not be 80mm? Isn't that like false advertising or something? Or do you mean that the lenses light gathering capability is if they were less than 80mm long?

How would I go about measuring my Levenhuk's actual lens size?

I have something along the lines of a regular camera tripod, adequate for the 15x70, hope it will work well with an 80mm pair too.

Thank you for your opinion an time 😄

Edited by Dummy
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12 hours ago, Stu said:

Hi @Dummy

I’m not sure I can be too much help, but I’ll try.

Our sponsors FLO deliver internationally so depending on where you are, they may be able to help.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/delivery-information.html
 

What sort of budget do you have? They have a pair of Opticron 20x80 at £149 which have good reviews:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/observation-binoculars/opticron-oregon-observation-20x80-binoculars.html

I assume you have some form of tripod or support to use them with? Binoculars of this size are hard to hand hold and keep steady so it’s worth considering this too.

Regarding glasses, do you have astigmatism? If not then you can observe without glasses just as well, but if you do then yes you will need to wear them. The Opticrons have 17mm eye relief so should be fine either way.

Great help Stu. I just went through the observing binoculars catalog and they have a really good selection. Moreover they do deliver to my country (Israel, apologize if that offends anybody) and some products even seem cheaper that on Amazon, but I'm guessing it's only the base price and unfortunately after shipping and customs I believe it would sum up to be more expensive. Not to mention I'll have to deal with clearing customs by myself here when the package arrives as opposed to Amazon taking care of all of that during purchase. But at the very least you've helped me with another, even better option than my initial three so thank you for that, the Opticron in fact seem very well for their price. Wonder if I could find them somewhere else.

I have a pretty good regular camera tripod, sure. Regarding astigmatism, excuse me for being a little ignorant as an eyeglasses wearer, but that's the condition where one eye has problems\difficulties with focusing right? I think.. We just call it by another name here haha.. Well sadly I haven't been to the eye doctor for a long time actually but I think I remember something about my right eye having some sort of issue besides normal deteriorating eyesight. Nevertheless I managed to see quite good through my Levenhuks with and without my glasses. Only problem I can mention is centering the view was a little difficult and finding the appropriate position for the eye cups. Needless to say, viewing without the glasses was easier through the bins but was a pain in the sense that every time I wanted to locate a target with my eyes I had to put the glasses back on and off to view through the bins again. That's why I see myself as a dummy 😆

Thanks again Stu, for your time and help. 

Edited by Dummy
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2 hours ago, Dummy said:

Yes to tell you the truth I think I would have eventually chosen the Skymaster but since I bumped into the Bresser's by chance on Amazon.uk I'm back to square one in terms of comparison.

Question, what do you mean by the Skymasters aperture isn't actually 80mm? I recall hearing about such a thing throughout my web searches but I never payed any attention to it. Why would the aperture not be 80mm? Isn't that like false advertising or something? Or do you mean that the lenses light gathering capability is if they were less than 80mm long?

How would I go about measuring my Levenhuk's actual lens size?

I have something along the lines of a regular camera tripod, adequate for the 15x70, hope it will work well with an 80mm pair too.

Thank you for your opinion an time 😄

The front lenses are indeed 80mm in diameter but the light path is clipped somewhere inside probably because of undersized prisms. You can measure your binoculars, (just need a strong flashlight and measuring tape), as follows

 

Focus the binoculars to infinity and set them up on a table or a tripod facing a wall in a dark room.

Now flash the light directly into one eyepiece from about 10-15cm away and as close to the optical axis as you can align it and measure the circle of light projected on the wall opposite. You may need a friend to help you while you hold the flashlight, othewise try to fix it on a table or on another tripod and measure the projected circle yourself. Ideally you should get the full diameter of the objective lens, i.e. 80mm. In reality in budget binoculars you will get less, sometimes you may even see a square instead of a circle (due to smaller prisms inside, for example in the popular Olympus 10x50). In Skymaster 20x80 you get a circle of diameter about 72-73mm. 

The 20x80 Skymasters weigh 2.2 kgs so an average photo tripod can definitely cope with them.

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2 hours ago, Dummy said:

Regarding astigmatism, excuse me for being a little ignorant as an eyeglasses wearer, but that's the condition where one eye has problems\difficulties with focusing right? I think.. We just call it by another name here haha..

This link helps explain astigmatism

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-astigmatism

The key point is that normal short or long sighted-ness is corrected by the focus adjustment on a scope or binoculars so there is no need to wear your glasses when observing. Astigmatism isn’t corrected so you still need to wear your glasses for observing. You should likely go to get your eyes tested then you would know, and would get an up to date prescription and glasses! 

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Thanks again Nik great tip. Hope I got it right. I'll try it as soon as possible.

 

15 hours ago, Stu said:

The key point is that normal short or long sighted-ness is corrected by the focus adjustment on a scope or binoculars so there is no need to wear your glasses when observing. Astigmatism isn’t corrected so you still need to wear your glasses for observing. You should likely go to get your eyes tested then you would know, and would get an up to date prescription and glasses! 

Good to know. Thanks for your concern Stu you're right I have been neglecting myself a bit. Been through a little tough time the past couple of years. Haha stupid me thought about new binoculars instead of 10 year old glasses. 😅

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