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Thread: Lunt Engineering 10x50 Manesium - First Impressions

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    Default Lunt Engineering 10x50 Manesium - First Impressions



    So I've decided for a Lunt Engineering 10x50 Magnesium series binoculars. I was considering several 7x50 options but the Lunt seamed great and, with a price on the limite of my budget (280€), I've changed to a 10x50 which, I guess, will maintain their performance longer, in terms of exit pupil, and give access to a little more detail.

    I have little experience with binoculars and in particular binoculars for astronomy so my comments bellow can be considered as random observations from an amateur that is excited with the new binos.

    The stuff

    1.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG4.JPG 5.JPG 6.JPG 7.JPG

    The binoculars feel well made and robust. Not much to tell about the rugged magnesium body. It looks nice. The red band, in particular, is a nice touch. The fontal caps are practical and a tight fit. They have little flaps to help take them off and that are easy to rotate inwards, so they don't get stuck when placing the binos back in the case. I've seem some complaints about caps falling off but that's not seem a possibility here.

    The eyepiece cap is a single piece that has some flexibility, in the middle, so you can put the cap without changing the eye distance (up to a limit). They are also a tight fit with the eye cups. When I put the cap there is always this sound of air coming out of the space inside the eye cups. The eye cups are a foldable rubber that is somewhat hard to fold. Once folded it's easier to unfold but it won't happen by accident. Each eye piece is adjusted individually. The system is smooth and offers a good resistance. It's easy to repeat a setting without looking through and fine-tune it while looking.

    The case is simple but seems sturdy. The discrete green/brown may be considered a plus as it failed to pick my daughter's interest when I forgot it in the living room. There is a sleeve, on the inside, where you can put something small or thin. It does not have a zipper nor velcro so some care must be taken when putting the binos in. Otherwise they will get stuck there, as they enter.

    The straps are also discrete and in a style matching the case and binos. Nothing much to say about them except they are a bit on the thin side and have minimal cushion for the shoulder/neck. When carrying things for a long time it will be noticed.

    Observation from the balcony

    I've tried the binos from my balcony. It's this amazing observing place with two streetlights nearby, at exactly my height. In those conditions, and with lights on behind me at home, it's easy to spot some reflections happening, in particular in the eyepieces. Being perfectly round and hard rubber the cups do not fit the face (at least my face) tightly and light can get in easily. Without light right behind me it mostly vanishes. But still, in some angles, light from the street lights would reflect on my cheek and then be visible in the eyepiece. Changing angle or not abusing the eye relief so much would suffice to avoid any reflections.

    From the font, the stray light was bad where it was supposed to be bad, I guess. The light being reflected from the body of the binos could be seen only the streetlight approached the field of vision. Looking directly at the street light showed me a very bright, but sharp street light. Looking away from it quickly removed any visible reflection. Contrast was probably very affected but I've spent a great length of time roaming the sky, between the two street lights without noticing them, except when I took my eyes from the binoculars and got blinded by them.

    Observation from the terrace

    The terrace is way above street lights and observation is mostly affected by the orange blobs (light pollution) of nearby population centers... and full moons. It was almost a full moon that day.

    So, I started with the moon and used it to check the focus of each eye. At the end I could see excellent detail and craters where very sharp. Craters near the edge of the moon are great because they have more shadows, become less bright and give me a real 3D effect. With the moon at the center of the field of view it had no color aberrations and no distortions but as I moved it out of the field of view it started to produce blue/yellow aberrations. Aberrations were obviously greater near the edge and it was also possible to see some darkening in the final 5% of the field of view.

    Still at the moon, it was possible to see that 10x is the limit for hand held binoculars. For me, it is a little over the limit. Even with arm support, my heartbeats can be noticed and I saw the moon shake each time. It's worth mentioning that the mount adapter seemed sturdy and in light with the construction quality of the binoculars.

    After the moon I've moved to Vega. In the same field of view I can easily fit Vega, Zeta Lyrae, Delta Lyrae, and Epsilon Lyrae (Double Double). Zeta Lyrae can easily be seen as a double star with its 44'' separation. Due to Vega's brightness some blue color aberration can be seen. It's also possible to detect coma if Vega approaches the top of the field of view. Less bright starts are less affected by these effects and it seems just a loss of image sharpness. So I would say there is some 4.5º of sharp FoV. I confirmed the 6.5º of field of view by framing Theta Lyrae and Zeta Lyrae. A little downwards I tracked Albireo which could also be seen as a double start. With its 34'' of separation it was close to the limit of a clean separation. Still, Albireo's separation could be discerned to about 80% of the FoV.

    Afterwards I moved south to Saturn. The planet and the disk can be easily seen. There's no detail on the planet, due to the brightness, but a 3D effect is there as the shadow of the disk on the planet can be seen.

    Moving downwards from Saturn it was easy to find the Ptolemy's Cluster. Through the binos it is a different view and has this windmill pattern with 14 visible stars, at the center, and then some branches. A nice view. The Butterfly cluster is also nearby and easy to find. It's much smaller though. I counted 7 bright stars and many faint ones.

    After those clusters I moved to familiar Jupiter. As I expected it was a bright white disc of light. No detail whatsoever due to the brightness. The Galilean were all visible and Ganymede and Europa could be easily resolved although they were around 30'' apart, at the time.

    Finally, I looked for some Deep Sky Objects with lower magnitude and available in the sky. I started with M11 which was easy to find. As I star-hopped from Altair along Aquila, the white smudge becomes clearly identifiable when reaching Lambda Aquila, as 12 Aquila and Eta Scuti point the way. Afterwards, I tried M4 which is close to Antares but is barely visible. I could only know where it is with averted vision while looking from Antares to Sigma Scorpii and back. Other Messier objects where less bright or were in light polluted areas of the sky so I wrapped it up.

    Conclusion

    I've only used the binoculars a couple times so I was only trying to get the feel of them and compare my experience with other reviews.

    I continuously have this situation where after some observation time starts seemed to get less sharp. Simply pausing my observation for a few seconds and trying again would solve it, in the sense that things would become very sharp again. I guess that it was caused by heat or moisture accumulating in the eye/eyepiece and the cold night air was the quick solution but don't really have the experience. That situation was unexpected.

    I also did not expect so much coma to be visible. It wasn't something consistently mentioned in the reviews I read. If I look now for reviews that mention coma in binoculars I can find reports of coma in Nikon AE, for example, that are far worse than anything I see in the Lunt. Yes, coma starts at around 60% of the FoV but at the edge it is a elongated sharp star and not at al distracting. For example, I can still see the shape of a double star in Albireo, when it close to the edge of the FoV.

    Everything else was pretty much aligned with what I had read. Even the product page, if you turn the Sales-Speak dial just a notch down, is a good description of the binoculars. You have to assume that what is not mentioned is just OK for the price range.

    Overall, I was mostly observing and the sharpness and brightness I can get is impressive. The first look was somewhat disorienting even after having looked before through smaller Nikon binoculars. The 6.5º FoV is very nice and "too many" stars appear immediately. I sometimes had troubles start-hoping. I used Celestron SkyPortal in my mobile to find where things are and plan a star-hoping path but when I started looking through the binos I saw "too many" stars and needed some time to figure the magnitudes, relative positions, and find the path. It's a interesting difficulty to have and that entertained me quite a lot just by looking at a patch of sky and compare what I saw with the now seemingly lack of detail in the SkyPortal app .

    Other reviews

    While evaluating this binos, before buying, I found another review which seems balanced and is a bit more technical. It compares these binos (although under the name United Optics) with the Fujinon.

    Cláudio Gil, Portugal
    Scope: Konus 60mm f/15 refractor Eyepieces: H8mm, H20mm Barlow: 2x, 1.5x Rectifier Filters: Moon
    Binos: Lunt Engineering 10x50 Magnesium

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    bladekeeper (06-10-2017),Lowjiber (06-10-2017),ProfEclipse (06-10-2017)

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    Default Re: Lunt Engineering 10x50 Manesium - First Impressions

    A most excellent review, Cláudio! Thank you very much for taking the time to share this with the forum!
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Lunt Engineering 10x50 Manesium - First Impressions

    Congratulations on your new purchase and thanks for the review. The central light path through this class of binocular will show a big improvement in sharpness and resolution if you compare them with a lower priced pair. If you place wide angle three element eyepieces in short fast achro refractors, you also find lots of coma. This is inherent in this type of optic and can only be reduced with much more complex multi-element designs. This is still preferable to maintain the field of reference stars around your targets, which you lose if you select narrow field eyepieces.

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    Default Re: Lunt Engineering 10x50 Manesium - First Impressions

    Enjoyed reading your review. Sounds like a good quality instrument, gratz!

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    Default Re: Lunt Engineering 10x50 Manesium - First Impressions

    Thanks for the well-written review. Good Job!!!

    Clear, Dark Skies
    John (Urban Astronomer)
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    Default Re: Lunt Engineering 10x50 Manesium - First Impressions

    Congrats for a nice pair of binocular! And thank you for the great review...Enjoy!
    Harshil.


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