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Thread: What size binoculars to buy for a beginner?

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    Default What size binoculars to buy for a beginner?



    Hello everyone, any help would be appreciated. I am just starting to get into astronomy and looking to buy my first set of binoculars to get started, I thought this would be a simple affair but the choice is overwhelming!

    I have read loads of reviews and advice pages and I am thinking of buying either a pair of 10 x 50's or a pair of 15 x 70's. I suspect that 15 x 70's are better for astronomy but I may not be able to use them handheld to any great effect. I am also concerned that as I am unlikely to be able to buy a telescope for quite some time that the 10 x 50's will be unsatisfactory in terms of magnification after time (even if they are easier to use)

    I have around £100 ($120?) to spend, any advice, recomendations?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Hi and welcome to the forums!

    Price notwithstanding (perhaps some of the UK folks will chime in), as binoculars climb in magnification and aperture, the physical size and weight increases markedly.

    About the largest binos that can be conveniently hand-held are in the 10x50 and 20x50 range. Larger than that and one generally needs a monopod, tripod/L-bracket, or parallelogram mount to hold and stabilize the binos.

    You'll want to avoid zoom binoculars in any form for astronomical viewing, and avoid "ruby" or other coatings as well.

    Binoculars are a great beginner's tool ahead of a telescope purchase, as well as an excellent all-around adjunct even if one has a telescope. I use a pair of Celestron 10x50 as well as an Oberwerk 25x100 binocular telescope almost every observing session, in addition to use of my telescopes.
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    Default

    Thankyou for that.
    In the Uk Celestron Skymaster 15 X 70 are around £75 whilst Celestron upclose 10 x 50 are only around £20. It suggests that there is a big quality difference? Maybe I should get both and a tripod? Or should I look at other things all together.
    Sorry if I sound a pain but I hate wasting money!

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    Default

    I think a quality pair of 10x50's or 12x50's could serve you well. What sort of light pollution do you have? The Nikon Action Extremes are pretty good.

    Since you are in the UK, you may want to look at this page:

    Helios

    A few things to keep in mind. Weight, eye relief(more the better if you wear glasses), and TFOV(to some degree, AFOV). When comparing two 10x50's, and they state different TFOV degrees, this is because one may use a narrower AFOV eyepiece. Also, some binoculars are sharper than others when it comes to off axis performance.

    For me, my 10x50's are just a different way of looking at the sky. They are no replacement for a scope, and my scope is no replacement for them. The binoculars give me a wide field where I can see tons of stars and whole or partial sections of constellations. Bright messier objects can be seen, however, in 10x50's, most are small.

    Dj

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    Default

    Hi J. I recently invested (well someone else invested on my behalf - thanks Santa!) in a pair of Bresser 10 x 50s. They were less than £30 and they're great for discovering and learning the sky. I think aside from the size and the fact that they'll be harder to hold steady, anything larger would have a smaller field of view making it harder to find your way around the sky (if you're a beginner like me), and wouldn't offer enough of a difference to make the problems/extra difficulties worthwhile.

    But then... I might be wrong!

    Cheers,
    Del

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    I just recently bought a pair of the Celestron 15x70 skymaster's and so far they are quite good. I used them at a dark sky site over the weekend and the views were incredible. The FOV was just filled with stars and the views on the orion nebula were comparable to a low power on my scope. I've heard mixed reviews on these binoculars with some being lemons but for the money they are quite good. They do come with a tripod adapter but i found it to be kinda flimsy so will be upgrading to a metal one and a heavier tripod very soon.
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    I bought a pair of Bushnell binoculars 10x50 wide angle on ebay for 17$ They were in geat condition and I could see the cloud of orion with a very large field of view. Pleiades looked amazing in them also. I would recommend getting a pair of 10x50 wide angle binoculars.
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    This discussion brings up a question that I've had for awhile.

    I have 10x50 binoculars and a 50mm refractor. I almost like the binos better because the view is so much brighter. The refractor does give me a better view of solar system objects.

    When I travel, I take a pair of 10x50 binoculars. I've thought about taking a small grab and go scope, something like an 80mm short tube refractor. This would be just to look over the night sky. It would need to be compact. I often fly and I would be interested in something that would fit as a carry on. The problem is that small refractors aren't always bright enough for dim objects. Would it be better to take a larger pair of binoculars and a small tripod? Why or why not?
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    I'll give a review on these...when I get them, using usps tracking it looks like they have been stuck in KS for about 4 days now, says they are on the truck for delivery today though.

    20x80 Zhumel -http://www.binoculars.com/binoculars/astronomy-binoculars/20x80supergiantastronomicalbinocular.cfm

    & this lightweight tri-pod I use for backyard pics - Zhumell Lightweight Tripod - Tripods at Binoculars

    its actually & pretty good little tri.

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    Thanks everyone for all you replies. i have ordered a pair aof Pentax 12x50 PCF WP II binos which I found on sale for £98. It seemed like a great price for them given what I have read. As I live in an area with lots of light pollution I am hoping that the smaller exit pupil (when compared to the 10 x 50's) wont make to much of diffence to the brightness.
    Anyway, cant wait for them to arrive!
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