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Thread: What size binoculars to buy for a beginner?

  1. #11
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    Although a little out of your price range, I just got a pair of Celestron Skymaster 9x63s, which are fantastic binoculars. They have a large 7mm exit pupil- optimal for low-light conditions. I find them convenient for travel, since they are 10 times easier to store, transport, and use than a small telescope would be. They may actually wind up replacing my old 60mm refractor which, in all honesty, is kind of a POS.

    If you can afford the Skymaster 9x63s (about $200 US), I highly recommend them. Or, for something slightly smaller, you could go with the 8x56s.
    10" f/5 L.E.O. (Lightbridge with Enhanced Optics)
    Celestron Skymaster 9x63 Binocular

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  3. #12
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    I couldn't make up my mind and bought Celestron 8x40, 10x50, and 15x70 all for $108 with shipping from Amazon. They have pretty good apparent field of view -- 68, 70, and 66 deg., resp. -- only minor color fringing and blurring at edge of field, so I'm happy with them.
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  4. #13
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    I own a pair of 8.5x44 Swift binoculars with multi-coated optics, which I bought for bird watching; I was surprised to learn how many amateur astronomers are also into bird watching. Anyway, there's no chromatic aberration or blurring at the edges with my binocs. I'm not sure if they even manufacture them anymore. And they're rather high-end; they cost me $500, which is more than my Dob cost me! But, they work just great for astronomical observing.
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  5. #14
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    Eric, isn't it refreshing in a weird way when we look through a great pair of binoculars? I have looked through a few, not many to be honest, but I know immediately when a superior product is held up to my eyes. They seem brighter and crisper, and they often cost a fair bit of coinage. It is good knowing that you generally do get better products in this hobby as the price rises.

    -Crandell

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    Nikon Action 10x50 are on sale right now from Amazon for $81.53 with free shipping.
    Greg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inkie View Post
    Eric, isn't it refreshing in a weird way when we look through a great pair of binoculars? I have looked through a few, not many to be honest, but I know immediately when a superior product is held up to my eyes. They seem brighter and crisper, and they often cost a fair bit of coinage. It is good knowing that you generally do get better products in this hobby as the price rises.

    -Crandell
    I could not agree more - don't get me wrong, there are some really good value for money binoculars out there but in the main, the very cheapest binoculars are just that - cheap and sometimes nasty!

    I think you are far better off spending a little more (It does not have to be a fortune) and you will find that you get a far superior pair of binoculars.

    The reason that binoculars get more expensive is mostly down to the build quality, finishing, quality of the optics, prisms their coatings used and least important the value of the brand.

    In general and not specifically for Astronomy, I think that Bushnell make some excellent value for money binoculars and if you want to go a little more upmarket, Steiner's are excellent for birding and wildlife observation. They do make have the Nighthunter series that come in 10x50 and 12x56 configurations, they are not cheap.
    Jason
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  9. #17
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    One thing I've found, is that for astronomy purposes, Apparant Field of View (AFOV) is a very important factor... Well it is to me anyway
    In fact, I'm gonna stick my neck out a little here, and say that (for me at least) I'll put up with slightly inferior optics, in return for a significantly wider AFOV

    **Notice the word 'slightly' in there - I wouldn't put up with garbage, simply because of a big AFOV**

    There's not much worse IMHO, than what appears to be akin to looking down a drainpipe - For me, the binocular astronomy experience is about wide vistas, a feeling that you are 'there'
    One thing I've found is that in binoculars with 40mm or more aperture - sub-10x binoculars tend to have a narrow AFOV
    And if the aperture is 50mm or more, the AFOV gets even narrower.

    This is because of optical issues - Binoculars are, after-all, simply a small refractor for each eye.
    Binoculars have pretty 'fast' f/ratios, compared to most telescopes, and fast f/ratios generate an aberration called 'coma' around the outside of the field.
    A low-magnification eyepiece, with wide AFOV, would show an awful lot of that coma - so it appears that low-power binocs have that narrow AFOV in order to avoid showing the coma inherent in a 'fast' system.
    You can get wide-angle eyepieces which correct for coma pretty well (Televue's 'Nagler' series springs to mind) - but the cost of a couple of Naglers (or equivalent), in binoculars, would be prohibitive to all but a 'niche' market

    I've been compiling (off-an-on) the various specs of different binoculars I've seen advertised, and so far the widest AFOV I've found in 9x binocs is 51° (True FOV 5.66°)
    Compare that to the commonest AFOV among 10x binocs - 65° (True FOV 6.5°)
    As you can see, the commonest 10x50s, give a significantly wider view than even the widest 9x that is readily available.

    Here are a few notable figures from what I have compiled so far.....
    7x binocs:-
    Widest 7x - Nikon Action EX 7x35 - 65° (9.3° true)
    Widest 7x42 - Zeiss Victory 7x42 - 60° (8.6°)
    Widest 7x50 - William Optics 7x50 ED - 53° (7.6°)
    Nikon Marine 7x50, Orion Resolux 7x50 - 52° (7.45°)
    Fujinon 7x50 FMTR-SX - 51° (7.3°)
    Nikon Action EX 7x50 - 45° (6.45°)

    8x binocs:-
    Widest 8x - Celestron Upclose 8x40, Viking 8x40 WA - 66° (8.25° true)
    Widest 8x56 - Zeiss Victory 8x56 - 60° (7.5°)
    Nikon Action EX 8x40 - 65° (8.15°)
    Celestron Outland 8x42 - 59° (7.4°)
    Celestron Skymaster 8x56 - 52° (6.5°)
    Bresser Spezial JAGD roof 8x56 - 50° (6.25°)
    The porro version of the above has 48° AFOV (6° true)

    9x binocs:-
    Widest - Bresser Diorit 9x63 - 51° (5.66° true)
    Opticron SIF 9x62 - 50° (5.55°)
    Celestron Skymaster 9x63 - 45° (5°)
    Orion Mini-Giant 9x63 - 45° (5°)

    10x binocs:-
    Widest 10x - Opticron Vega II 10x50, Viking 10x50 WA, Celestron Upclose 10x50, Orion Scenix 10x50
    All at 70° AFOV (7° true)
    Then a whole bunch of 10x50 at 65° (6.5°), including:-
    Celestron Outland LX, Nikon Action EX, Helios Naturesport, Helios Ultimate HR, Orion Ultraview, Orion Resolux, Bresser Travelview, Meade Natureview.

    Fujinon 10x42 BFL - 60° (6°)
    Zeiss Victory 10x56 - 62° (6.2°)
    Nikon Monarch 10x56 - 60° (6°) - same FOV specs for the 10x42 version
    Helios Quantum 10x60, Orion Vista 10x50, Orion Havannah 10x50, Leupold Mesa 10x50 - all 53° (5.3°)

    11x binocs:-
    Opticron SIF 11x77 - 49.5° (4.5°)
    OPticron Observation 11x80 - 46° (4.2°)

    12x binocs:-
    Opticron Vega II 12x50 - 72° (6°)
    Nikon Action EX 12x50 - 66° (5.5°)

    15x binocs:-
    Celestron Skymaster 15x70, Orion Resolux 15x70, Helios Quantim 4 15x70, Revelation 15x70
    All at 66° (4.4°)
    Helios Stellar 15x70,Helios Apollo 15x70,Orion Giant-view 15x70
    All at 60° (4°)

    16x
    Fujinon 16x70 FMT-SX - 65° (4°)


    And in 20x and above 'Giant' observation binocs, AFOVs in general are even wider than 15x/16x models

    **Just another note**
    FOV is not beccesarily linked to quality.
    While I use 'FOV' as a major pointer when I buy binoculars, I always like to look THROUGH any pair before I buy.
    I'd advise everyone else to do the same wherever possible - or at least read some reviews - and definitely do not buy a cheap-nasty model simply because it has a wide FOV
    Last edited by Carlos_dfc; 02-10-2010 at 02:47 PM.
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    Default Nikon Monarch Questions

    Anyone experience the 2010 Nikon 10x42 or 12X 42 Monarch ATB Binoculars with Dielectric Coating?

    Which would be a better fit for land and sky? The 12X42 specs look good.....

    Are they worth the price compared to the Celestron Outland or other?

    Thanks,
    Richard

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    hi my name is onil and i am from india.I Want to buy a binocular.What do u think about zhumell 20*80.binos here are very costly but my brother works in US and going to bring it for me.so what is your suggestion?

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    Welcome to the forums onil.
    You will see a lot with those. One suggestion.. have your brother inspect them carefully while he is still in the US. Give particular attention to ensuring that they are well collimated.

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