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Thread: Better choice of binoculars

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    Default Better choice of binoculars



    I am thinking about a pair of binoculars. Which is a better choice. Nikon 10x42 or Bushnell 16x32. What. Does each number represent in the magnification specs.

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    Default Re: Better choice of binoculars

    The first number is the magnification (power) and the second number is the size of the lenses (aperture). A larger aperature will gather more light, everything will be brighter and you can see dimmer objects, but it will also make the "black" of the sky (skyglow) seem brighter. Higher magnification will make objects look larger, but will also give you a smaller Field Of View. So between those 2, the Nikon will give you less magnification but you'll see dimmer objects. And vice-versa for the Bushnell.

    The more magnification you have, the steadier your hand will need to be to keep the object from jumping around. And the larger the aperture, the heavier they will be. I'd advise a good reclining lawn chair, or maybe a tripod to put them on.

    I can't comment on the quality of the two you listed. I know binoculars are made with different types of lenses, and some lenses are better suited to astronomical use over terrestrial use. I'd probably go with the Nikon, based on size & mag. alone. How about looking for some 10 X 50's? That's a pretty standard size for astronomical use.

    Here's a link to some 10X50's made for astronomical use. Orion 10x50 Binocular Stargazing Kit | Orion Telescopes & Binoculars
    MEADE 8" LX200ACF
    SBIG STT-8300M
    SBIG FW8G-STT self-guiding filter wheel
    BAADER PLANETARIUM LRGB filters

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    Default Re: Better choice of binoculars

    Hi Rockey!

    Can you post links to the ones you are looking at?

    At first blush, I'd be inclined to lean toward the Nikons. Knowing which particular ones you are looking at would be helpful.
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    Default Re: Better choice of binoculars

    The 16s are going to be hard to hand-hold. The most common size for hand-held astronomy binos is 10x50. I have a pair but at times they get a bit heavy and I wish I still had my old 7x35s. OTOH, if you're going to go with a tripod, then you are into a different mode. A friend who has a backyard observatory has tried a number of higher power binos and likes 20x, which works well for many larger objects and for seeing things in the context of their surroundings. But at that magnification you are going to be on a tripod.
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    Default Re: Better choice of binoculars

    Hi Rockey,

    The vast majority of us here recognize that Oberwerk makes a very fine binocular. Along those lines, this link will show you a pair of 9x60 binocs that cost less than the Nikons but a little more than the Bushnells and will blow both of them out of the water - performance wise.
    https://oberwerk.com/product/9x60mm-...ht-binoculars/

    Cheers,
    JT

    BTW my next pair of binocs will be a pair of Oberwerks!
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    Default Re: Better choice of binoculars

    I use exit pupil as a rough rule of thumb regarding how easy binoculars are to use. Divide the second number by the first to get exit pupil. 42/10=4.2, 32/16=2. So, the Nikon exit pupil is 4.2 mm, the Bushnell 2mm. I would walk away from the Bushnell pair on the basis of that number alone. For binocs, anything less than 2mm is difficult, anything more than about 4mm is excellent.

    I use binoculars all the time for astronomy, but I always do it hand held, and I normally use them for target locating and for scouting an area before reaching for the scope. So, in my hands, I want about 8-10X (first number). Bigger objective diameter gives more light, making larger binocs (second number is objective diameter) easier to use in the dark. Larger binocs are heavier, and so there are a balance of interests. If you get dedicated astronomy binoculars you'll find huge Porro prism designs that you need a special support to use. I use my binoculars for bird watching and other terrestrial targets, so I prefer a general small pair that don't cause much arm strain to use overhead.
    Dave

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    Default Re: Better choice of binoculars

    I second the 10x50 binos. Go for a set of binos with BAK4 glass, they're rated for better optical quality.

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    Default Re: Better choice of binoculars

    Hello Rockey,

    I second with Bryan, when you are not sure what to take, then the Nikon sport optics binoculars offer the best performance/price ratio.
    Regarding the Oberwerk, they have a nice selection in the up to 200 USD price range, and their robust 'Marines' and 'HD' binoculars are certainly worth of consideration.

    Best,

    JG
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