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Binoculars for astronomy - any ideas?

emmkay Avatar
2y, 2m agoPosted 2 years, 2 months ago
Hi, Any keen stargazers out there? I would like some tips for buying good a pair of binoculars.

1. Should I go for Celestron, Nipon, Strathspey..? or some other better known expensive brands? I don't want to spend more than couple of hundred.

2. Should I go for which maginification / size - 15x70 or 20x80 or 25x100? btw I noticed Amazon warehouse has some returns at slightly cheaper price - is it worth trying? (or returned items are likely to be having technical issues)

Interestingly I noticed 25x100 bins are all looking like they are made in the very same factory [in china :) ] - Strathspey, Celestron, Sutter, Revelation..last one being cheapest at about 176 quids.

I am facinated with the idea of 25x100 having the wow factor but one thing which puts me off is that they are pretty much only for stargazing or odd use, not very useful to carry this giant around much.

Will it make sense to get a smaller, premium brand, that can work for astronomy and can also be carried around with ease, and being premium, likely to be be more robust? Any help with ideas will be appreciated. Many thanks in advance!
emmkay Avatar
2y, 2m agoPosted 2 years, 2 months ago
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#1
As you're in London, I would suggest getting yourself down to Baker Street irregulars if you can. It's run by the guys from the nearby telescope emporium and has lots of knowledgeable people around who'll help you get a proper answer. Plus it's a fun night out where you can get your nerd on without fear of judgement!

http://bakerstreetastro.org.uk

I would happily order from amazon warehouse for something like this
#3
The Lidl ones quite often are out of collimation - you need to check each pair in the shop.

10x50 are general purpose and quite useful. They can be handheld and are widefield.
15x70 probably need a mount but are a step up for astronomy as they gather more light, though could have a much narrower field of view.

Cheaper ones might go soft at the edges of view, spending more means they can spend more on lenses.
http://www.firstlightoptics.com usually get a mention as a helpful shop who could suggest something once they know what your needs are - they have some bins on clearance now...





Edited By: cootuk2 on Jun 29, 2014 12:58
#4
Cheaper binoculars are usually poor at low light. I'd go for the 15x70 Celestron.
#5
DennisG

http://bakerstreetastro.org.uk

I would happily order from amazon warehouse for something like this

Hi DennisG, thanks for the link for the astro club site, I also have excellent experience with Amazon but this being little delicate optics stuff, I wonder if returns are likely to have issues that people are often talking about. The warehouse staff might not have the required expertise to check this?
#6

Thanks scrumpypaul, I understand the deals at Aldi and Lidl are great value for money, but not very suitable for looking at the planets / stars etc.
#7

Thanks cootuk2 this site is interesting and your observations are spot on.

I am thinking of going for something with wow factor, at least 20x80 if not 25x100. But as said above, don't know what is better - quality and mobilty, or massive size that is enjoyable and worth keeping long term.
#8
rev6
Cheaper binoculars are usually poor at low light. I'd go for the 15x70 Celestron.

Thanks rev6 for the comment, indeed cheap in bins = pain in the neck long term.

But I also noticed sometimes 'the new kid on the block' companies seem to be giving established names run for their money - Nipon (sounding Japanese but is UK company with China based supply?) seems like one - all bells and whistles - nitrogen filling, full multi coat etc etc, but the proof of pudding is in eating it, I can't spend hundrends of pounds to check what it is like - hence seeking advice here.
#9
btw there is free app of the day https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vitotechnology.SolarWalkFree

one of the posts today thankfully pointed me to it...looks very good
#10
With your budget I would be tempted to get a £50 pair of 8x50 (Helios are ok), then, if you have room, possibly a dobsonian scope (100-130mm). The scope will capture loads more light than bins.
If you are looking up then bins really need to be highly portable or have a very tall tripod or mirror arrangement.
#11
cootuk2
With your budget I would be tempted to get a £50 pair of 8x50 (Helios are ok), then, if you have room, possibly a dobsonian scope (100-130mm). The scope will capture loads more light than bins.
If you are looking up then bins really need to be highly portable or have a very tall tripod or mirror arrangement.

Thansk for pointing to mirror arrangement - very interesting concept - will look into it.

I recently bought a dobsonian scope - Tasco 114-900, was lucky to find it someone selling local for 35 quid, works fine, need some clear skies, shorter days and not so late moon rises to start using it. Also need to get a hang of using its mount.

Its feel its cons are -
1. It is bit cumbersome to put it up.
2. looking with only one eye is not so pleasent.
3. Field of view didn't look that great (not so wide) but I might be wrong.

.. bins I understand score well on all these fronts and can be additionally used for terrestrial viewing.

Btw I have a Nikon 10x25 sportstar, and the quality is amazing and are joy to use - birthwatching or general use. I wanted something with that extra nice but for astro use now. But the price rise from bigger ones is steep.
banned#12
Wouldn't a telescope be better? They had one in costco today that looked cool, you can program it to point at certain stuff.
#13
Musician
Wouldn't a telescope be better? They had one in costco today that looked cool, you can program it to point at certain stuff.

Depends. Telescopes are better generally but if can't have it setup all the time, dismounting, etc, can be a pain. Binoculars around 15x zoom can be used by hand.
The telescope you're referring to will be slightly more expensive than a pair of 15x70 binoculars :)
#14
Hi, Sunagor are Japanese - quality make, not cheap but reputed to have good zoom / build / lens etc.

They do this - 70 mm - http://www.sunagor.com/acatalog/info_13.html

..will it make sense to get this for use for both astronomy and terrestrial use?

Specs -
Sunagor 30 - 160 x 70 BCF 'Mega Zoom 160' Binoculars

Magnification 30x - 160x
Objective Lens Size 70mm
Fully Coated Optics Yes
Zoom Thumb Lever Yes
BCF Construction Yes
BAK-4 Prism Yes
Dimensions 24.6cm x 20.8cm
Weight 1.4kg
#15
emmkay
Sunagor 30 - 160 x 70 BCF 'Mega Zoom 160' Binoculars

Looks like I'm reinventing the wheel. These don't seem that good..

http://forum.popastro.com/viewtopic.php?t=16529

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