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Astro Binoculars

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Some advice about the following would be appreciated. 


I've just retired and wish to take up astronomy as a new hobby. I intend starting out just using binoculars. I've got a pair of Zeiss Deltrintem 8 x 30 which I've had for many years and are fine for general use but I'm not certain if they'll be any good for stargazing. Also, I'm planning to go to Egypt in May and I've been told that it's a great place for stargazing as away from Cairo there's little light pollution. If my Zeiss pair are not suitable what should I buy please? They'll need to be light, as they'll be handheld and because I won't have enough free luggage allowance for a tripod. Ideally they'll also need to be relatively compact so that they'll fit in my camera bag with my DSLR and lenses. I've looked at photos of 15 x 70 binoculars and they look HUGE! However, weight is a more important consideration than size. 


Thanks for taking the time to read all of this and I look forward to reading your suggestions. 


Kind regards

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Almost any binoculars are of some use. 8x30 is a bit small for astronomy but Zeiss are a premium brand so the views might well rival cheap larger ones.

7 to 10 x magnification (fixed, not zoom!) and 40 to 50 mm objectives are good “every astronomer” binoculars. Much larger or higher magnification and they can no longer be handheld, a tripod or mount is needed, which means they’re really more for the enthusiastic binocular astronomer.

Be aware Egypt is among the countries that are iffy about binoculars. Questioning and confiscation upon arrival are possible. Their laws and authorities regard them less as tools for birders and astronomers but more as tools for spies and criminals. (A few places such as Algeria virtually ban binoculars). So I would leave the Zeisses at home and take a budget pair.

Edited by allworlds
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Binos are a good way to start out however just remember to factor in the cost of a good tripod as even light bions can become tiresome to hold for long period or keep fully steady.  For a one off trip etc ok to go without the tripod but longer term you will need one.  Also is harder to get in to the best position to observe with binos, you will need a chair and tripod to get "underneath" them or your neck will get sore fairly quickly.  You are looking straight through them rather than at a right angle as you would with most scopes.

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Hello Aristotle1954 and welcome to the site. Just to give you some idea for comparison, I have a set of 10 x 50, light, tripod not needed but expect them to get heavy, you can see the Orion nebula and the Andromeda galaxy from dark areas plus the moon is great. Tripod not needed but a deckchair type seat, gloves and a hat works brilliantly. I also have a set of 20 x 80, heavy, good tripod needed, but recently I have seen Jupiter as a bright coloured dot together with three moons again from a dark area. There are two sections on the site, discussions - Binoculars and Observing with Binoculars, have a good look around to see what people are doing. All the best.

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It is several years, and change of the person in charge, since I last visited Egypt.
My experience was no problem with any optical aids. I took binos and a camera assortment.
It was holidaying in tourist areas, popular for watersports, not next to any military bases!
However, my visits gave me the impression it is a strange place and rules can be made up as they go along.

Totally agree with earlier posts on binos size.

Oh and welcome to the forum.



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4 hours ago, aristotle1954 said:

Many thanks for your comments, in particular those relating to binoculars being banned in certain countries; I'm definitely going to leave the Zeiss ones at home. I'll take a look at the Canon IS range as you've suggested. 

Kind regards

Another word of warning about binoculars being a sensitive topic. I went to Oman a few years ago and upon producing my Leica Trinovid 8x42s, I was asked "do they contain batteries?". They did not, but he told me that had they contained batteries, he would not have let me bring them in. The risk being rangefinders/military use I guess.

My recommendation for a very reasonable but excellent pair of bins would be Meade Rainforest Pro 8x42. I've looked through them and they are very good.


Edited by Captain Scarlet
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