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Old Thursday 16th February 2012, 19:48   #1
Giorgio
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Stargazing Binoculars advice

Hi

I'm searching for a good (preference for porro, but prisms isnt exluded) pair of affordable binoculars for stargazing.
I don't want a monster size (50-60 diameter is the max) as i will carry the binoculars and won't use a tripod nor monopod neither.
I want to spend like 100-200 euros for it, it will be an occasional use, to complete the 8x30 bins i have.
If you have any experience with a good-cheap bin for stargazing, which should be non flaring issues, im totally open minded to good, original, exotic advices.
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Old Thursday 16th February 2012, 22:51   #2
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Most on Cloudy Nights astronomy site would suggest 10x50s

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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 00:16   #3
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Yes, either a 10x50 or 7x50. I agree with the above poster that most CN members would probably suggest a 10x50. Something like a Nikon Action EX or a Pentax WPII. I was just outside last night a bit with some vintage extra wide angle 7x50s that provided an absolutely beautiful view of a vast area of the sky. I was looking at Orion's Nebula and the Pleiades. The field was so rich and full of stars. It was a bit breathtaking.

Still, either a 10x50 or 12x50 might be more versatile as it would give you a better view of smaller celestial objects such as planets or moons.
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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 00:54   #4
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If I was mostly looking at star fields I'd go with the 7x50. Most planets outside of the moon really need a telescope IMO. The 7x50 would be perfect also for close galaxy's such as Andromeda.
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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 01:02   #5
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What about a Celestron Skymaster 15x70? Might need a tripod, but I looked through one once in daylight and was thoroughly impressed with the quality. Cost less than 100 euro.
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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 05:38   #6
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An 8x30 is quite pleasant for stargazing. For all its size, 7x50 shows surprisingly little more. Magnification counts for more than aperture.

10x50 is a good step up, and is about as much as most people can enjoy hand holding, unsupported. 10x42 is very close in what it will show, and easier to handle.

But give your 8x30 a try, you might be surprised.
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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 07:31   #7
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Thanks for the replies
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronh View Post
An 8x30 is quite pleasant for stargazing. For all its size, 7x50 shows surprisingly little more. Magnification counts for more than aperture.

10x50 is a good step up, and is about as much as most people can enjoy hand holding, unsupported. 10x42 is very close in what it will show, and easier to handle.

But give your 8x30 a try, you might be surprised.
Ron
I'm surprised a 7x50 is very close to 8x30? The 50 should get 2 to 3 times more light than a 30 diameter no?
I am thinking about a 7x50 or 10x50 in the Nikon Ex series, it seems interesting.
Sancho, this stuff is good for deepfield observations. It is just too heavy for proper carrying, and i don't want to need a tripod. I already have an apo 80x600, i want a binocular to be this apo's companion.
I have red that Nikon EX and Nikon action VII doesn't have the same optics, which surprises me. Their lonely difference should be according to Nikon, the waterproof system.
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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 09:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giorgio View Post
Hi

I'm searching for a good (preference for porro, but prisms isnt exluded) pair of affordable binoculars for stargazing.
I don't want a monster size (50-60 diameter is the max) as i will carry the binoculars and won't use a tripod nor monopod neither.
I want to spend like 100-200 euros for it, it will be an occasional use, to complete the 8x30 bins i have.
If you have any experience with a good-cheap bin for stargazing, which should be non flaring issues, im totally open minded to good, original, exotic advices.

Just my two cents...

I use bino+telescope too... and about the 7x50, it is great. But without tripod it really really make your arms weary ... in minutes.

Seriously it is uncomfortable to use it hand held. I really think you should reconsider it.
I, myself, I always take one of those "beach chairs"(sorry for my english) along with an magic arm mount... so the only thing to weary is my own eyes.
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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 10:39   #9
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Just some comments on the Opticron porros.

The SR.GA is the top of the range and very well regarded. I've only tried the 8x30 myself and it is excellent. There is field curvature which may not be ideal for astro use. They do an 8.5 and 10x50.
http://www.opticron.co.uk/Pages/srga.htm

The TGA WP is in the middle. I've only tried the 7x42. Still some field curvature, but with a broad sweetspot. Maybe with younger eyes with better accommodation it might be quite reasonable for astro. I rather liked it (particularly the longer ER and waterproof), but not quite the match for the SR.GA.
http://www.opticron.co.uk/Pages/im_tga_wp.htm

The Aspheric WA I've not tried, but it seems the 8x40 did well in an astro magazine test.
http://www.opticron.co.uk/Pages/aspheric_wa.htm

David

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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 11:48   #10
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I purchased the Helios Fieldmaster 7x50 porro binocular. Another option would be the Opticron Aspheric 8x40. Both are previous group test winners in the Sky at Night Magazine
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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 15:12   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giorgio View Post
Thanks for the replies


I'm surprised a 7x50 is very close to 8x30? The 50 should get 2 to 3 times more light than a 30 diameter no?
I am thinking about a 7x50 or 10x50 in the Nikon Ex series, it seems interesting.
Sancho, this stuff is good for deepfield observations. It is just too heavy for proper carrying, and i don't want to need a tripod. I already have an apo 80x600, i want a binocular to be this apo's companion.
I have red that Nikon EX and Nikon action VII doesn't have the same optics, which surprises me. Their lonely difference should be according to Nikon, the waterproof system.
Giorgio

I've got of the best 7x50's made but don't often use them unless I'm traveling to a very dark site. When I'm looking at the night sky in or close to town I usually pick something in the 8x to 12x range with an exit pupil of around 4-5 mm. The smaller aperture keeps the sky background darker and the larger exit pupils are often wasted depending on your eyes dilation capabilities.

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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 15:44   #12
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Giorgio,
It does sound crazy, doesn't it? But I am fortunate to have Fujinon FMT-SX in both 7x50 and 8x30, and that is what I find. My pupils open to over 6mm at night, so I am actually using most of the 50mm.

The views are quite different, for sure. The 7x50 shows the sky background as bright as it really is, and stars are fat and meaty looking--the view is certainly natural and compelling. But the 8x30's small exit pupils and less light give me star images that are tiny and perfectly sharp, against a black sky--a beautiful view. The tighter images, combined with the noticeable magification increase, make it better than 7x50 at resolving detail, although it lags a little in showing the very dimmest stars. It is hard for me to pick a favorite.

10x50 leaves both in the dust.
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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 18:02   #13
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Yes Ronh it is kinda strange, but thanks to your description i now better understand your logics.
My choice went for ... Nikon action VII 7x35, as strangely as it is.
Im going to use this pair to watch the deepsky (no Moon, no planets), Milky way and some Monsieur Messier objects. It will also be an "insidecar" quick use pair of bins.
At 60€ it can't be wrong. It seems to be as an french would say, a good "gang for the butts".

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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 19:29   #14
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Sounds like a good choice. I use my Vortex Raptor Porro 8.5x32 for stargazing with very good results.
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Old Saturday 18th February 2012, 16:31   #15
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If you're not going to use a tripod then you're only limited in magnification by what power you can hold steady on a single star. Or, if as me use a higher power & not worry about the stars moving a bit.

I use mounted binoculars on an inexpensive lightweight tripod w/small Boden fluid mount for the majority of my stargazing. You can pick up the mount & tripod used for around a C-note.
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Old Sunday 19th February 2012, 06:30   #16
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I agree with the Nixter's advice. When you're stargazing, you're looking at objects millions of miles to millions of light years away. You need to pump up the power.

I read some of the discussion about 7x50s above, and to me, they are totally inadequate for stargazing. Even if your in your thirties, the exit pupil is already too big, and unless you observe from a dark site, the skies will look washed out. Plus the FOV in a typical 7x50 is only about 7-7.3*, which gives you a rather narrowish 49*-51* apparent field of view. You wouldn't want to look down a pipe at birds, why would you want to at the night sky?

But most importantly, you won't see much (if any, depending on your skies) more detail than you can with your 8x Habichts but your arms will tire much more quickly because of the heavier weight.

7x50s are best for marine use. Like a modern day Galileo, somebody pointed their marine binoculars up at the sky and decided that these were the "bong" for stargazing and the rumor got passed on until it became mythic in proportions, but it's still a myth.

My favorite binoculars for handheld stargazing are the Nikon 12x50 SEs. I can see more detail on bright extended objects than an Obie 15x70, but they are beyond your budget (but worth thinking about down the line).

I have pretty shaky hands, but when I'm well braced in a reclining lawn chair, I can minimize the shakes even in a 15x bin. Yeah, stars bounce a little, but my brain cancels out the shakes and concentrates on the moments of "steady seeing" and I can still see more detail than I can with a 10x bin.

If you want to resolve some outer detail in M 13, separate the hub from the spiral arms in M 31, and see the swan shape in M 17, you need higher magnification and bigger aperture.

If you don't mind collimating them when they arrive (if they get knocked out being shipped from one state away, they will get knocked out flying overseas), and you don't have expectations of robustness beyond their price point, the Obie 15x70s are hard to beat for handheld stargazing at your price point.

http://oberwerk.com/products/70mm.htm

If they seem too heavy, you can knock off half a pound by stepping down to the 15x60s.

http://oberwerk.com/products/60mm.htm

Now if you have a telescope and are just looking for a bin to sweep the Milky Way and to look at asterisms, a decent 10x50 will give you a wider FOV.

For that purpose I actually prefer my Nikon 10x35 EII, with its wide 7* (70* AFOV). If I want to see more detail on DSOs, I'll switch to my 10x42 SE, though the 12x50 SE would be better, but my opportunities for stargazing on a dark, cloudless night that isn't freezing are so few and far between that the 10x42, which also serves me for birding/nature watching, gets more use.

So the first thing is to decide if you really want a dedicated pair of binoculars for stargazing or if you want a "two-fer" - a bin that will work for either hobby. That will determine your aperture size since you will probably don't want to carry around a 15x70 for birding.

I also find it harder to hold 12x-15x steady for birding than I do for stargazing since my back is braced in the recliner when I'm stargazing and the weight of the bins is on my face not out in front of me.

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Old Sunday 19th February 2012, 10:12   #17
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Thank you Brock for your precise post.
I ordered some basic Nikon Action vii 7x35's.
I wanted to get first the EX 10x50 but i realised i didn't really want to spend 200 euros to a big sized pair of bins that will force me to empty my car glove box if i want to put them in.
The fov of the 7x35 is huge, but a big part of it must be full of blurr as they are some "bas de gamme" Nikon's.
I assume they will play a good role in the scene: gemmequickouttatheglovebox, wait 15 puff puff minutes by puff puff hinking on the hills till they fog out, stargaze.
That is why Brock, even as bright and trusty as your new signature is, i cannot carry the weight of a very good 12x60 for 15 minutes of harsh hinking, plus it will not fit in a smart little pocket nor glove box.
It doesn't mean i won't need, anyday, to get a real astro set of binocs.
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Old Sunday 19th February 2012, 12:35   #18
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If you have dark sky and are mostly looking at star fields then you will love the wide FOV.
Much less so if you are looking at the moon and planets.
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Old Sunday 19th February 2012, 16:32   #19
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You are right black crow. I bought an apo a year ago for the moon and the planets. The Nikon will serve only for the deepsky objects, and simply watching the thousands of stars in a wide field of view. They will be a kind of backup binoculars, in case i don't want to use the Habichts in certain places.
I have the feeling they will work well for that.
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Old Sunday 19th February 2012, 17:21   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giorgio View Post
Thank you Brock for your precise post.
I ordered some basic Nikon Action vii 7x35's.
I wanted to get first the EX 10x50 but i realised i didn't really want to spend 200 euros to a big sized pair of bins that will force me to empty my car glove box if i want to put them in.
The fov of the 7x35 is huge, but a big part of it must be full of blurr as they are some "bas de gamme" Nikon's.
I assume they will play a good role in the scene: gemmequickouttatheglovebox, wait 15 puff puff minutes by puff puff hinking on the hills till they fog out, stargaze.
That is why Brock, even as bright and trusty as your new signature is, i cannot carry the weight of a very good 12x60 for 15 minutes of harsh hinking, plus it will not fit in a smart little pocket nor glove box.
It doesn't mean i won't need, anyday, to get a real astro set of binocs.
Hey there, Giorgio,

When you wrote in your OP that you planned to carry the bins, I assumed you meant you would drive to a dark site and then carry them on to a field. I stargaze from the ball field across from my house when conditions permit (which isn't often). I didn't think you meant "15 minutes of harsh hinking". That must exhaust your eyebrows. :-)

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Hinking

Yes, if you're hiking, you do not want high power bins for any purpose, your muscles will twitch like Samantha's nose in "Bewitched" and make the view shake, so lower is better with hiking bins

With 9.3* FOV (65* AFOV), you will get the "Big Picture" with the 7x35 Actions. When you jump up on magnification and aperture, you'll be surprised at how much more detail you can see on the night sky, but looking at asterisms and brighter DSOs with a low power, wide field bin is enjoyable too.

I've haven't been out in a while since my injury, but some objects of interest with the 7x35s would be the belt stars in Orion (note the "S" shaped "string of pearls" asterism that weaves through it), the Orion Nebula, Betelgeuse and Rigel, the Alpha Perseus Cluster (another "S" shaped asterism but much bigger. You can "star hop" from there to the Double Cluster at the bottom of the "W" in Cassiopeia. Some other small clusters in that area.

Then follow the point in the top "V" in the "W" over to the Andromeda Galaxy (use averted vision for better detail).

Then over to the Big Dipper to split Mizar and Alcor in the handle (if you have good eyes and good conditions, you can see this double naked eye).

Jupiter is fairly high if you get out early. You can see the Galilean moons. Also a good test for CA in the Actions (no, forget I said that - see your quote in my signature :-).

There is quite a bit of field curvature in the IVs (or Vs or whatever number they are now) but unless you're under bright skies, it might not be distracting. Under bright skies, the out of focus area can form a "Ring of Fire" around the edges of the view like a doughnut. For daytime use, you can focus out a lot of the "fuzz".

Besides the 12x SE, my other favorite bin for handheld stargazing is the Swift 804 Audubon HR5. Wide 8.2* FOV, good edges out to 75% (only on the MC model), good ergonomics for my hands, and the tightest pinpoint stars I've seen in any bin. Astigmatism is really low.

What happens to a lot of binocular stargazers is the same thing that happens to telescope stargazers, they get "aperture fever". Pretty soon they are jumping from 7x to 10x50s, then 15x70s, and the next thing you know they are buying heavy duty mounts for a monster 25x100. Now trying take those babies on a hike! :-)

For me, a 15x70 is as much as I can handhold, but I prefer the 12x50 SE. I had a 20x80 LW, which was doable, but the 12x-15x is easier to hold. I figure if I have to drag out a mount with me to use a 25x100, I might as well use a telescope and really pump up the power to see the ring in the Ring Nebula and detail on other DSOs that won't resolve in binoculars.

Good Luck! with the Actions and have fun "hinking" (just don't get caught :-).

Brock

Last edited by brocknroller : Sunday 19th February 2012 at 17:24.
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Old Monday 20th February 2012, 13:13   #21
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consider a tripod mounted pair of binoculars
-the steadyness greatly increases the quality of viewing, and allows for larger binoculars

then I would recommend 10 or 15-16 x 70

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Old Monday 20th February 2012, 20:58   #22
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Aperture crazy is merely a form of bin disease towit no cure is in sight. Get it?

I bought a 25x100 Apogee and dropped a C note rebuilding a heavy duty Samson friction mount from the 60's I guess. Collar was eighty as one of the bolts mount threads was busted. It's a dandy and now will allow full zenith w/me underneath.

Bigger is better, so I picked up a bottom of the barrel dreg Barska 45* 20/40x100. The bock beer, though not as tasty, of heavy bins, Exit pupils are so truncated they look like bak-7 save not nearly as symmetric. The 25x & 20x shows better view of stars though the 40 will eek out a little more detail, separate a close moon from Jupiter/split some stars.

The used Barska came w/Barska tripod that isn't tall enough past 65* to look through the 45* eyepieces w/o squatting. However it's much lighter and I can sit in a wooden planked lawn chair & view in the 65* to zenith range.

Anywho, I also use the 40/100 to spot birds & planes and just as I was about to come in I noticed a hawk high to the west w/good breeze coming out of the east. It was as if a kite suspended. I pulled the cover off and watched the hawk manipulate the wind w/wings allthewhile scanning terra firma for a morsel.

I could've done the same w/smaller glass, but not w/that detail or that close. Quite breathtaking & wouldn't have been able to pan smoothly if not for the used Bogen fluid mount that I picked up/mounted. Still, I enjoy handheld glass looking at stars, yet I'll never forget seeing M45 w/25x100 on the old Samson for the first time. As well, 20x100 on the lighter weight shorty tripod makes for nice star clusters.

There's a little fogbank/mist/clump of a zilion stars inside of M44, @ 40x, that I try to resolve another star(I can only snag 10) out of w/40X, yet the beehive cluster is more enjoyed @ 20X/25X.

I have to shoot between trees & limbs from the deck/back yard. If not for an aversion to cutting trees next to the house, and losing the shade from the south, I'd fire up that 6.5hp Swedish wood muncher and fell a half a dozen or so.

High magnifiction is better to a point and even a flimsy camera tripod from the seventies w/plastic adapter trumps handheld. Still, as in drag racing run what ya brung.
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2012, 12:15   #23
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"Swift 804 Audubon HR5"

I tried mine against the 704 Holiday Mark II & though I like the extra 1.5X & coatings of the HR/5 during the day I found that I could hold the 7x35 w/more assurance.

The 11.4* helped ease the pang of multiplication lost.

Yesterday I was spotting more planes than birds. Watched an Airbus, about 60* vertical, overtake a passenger jet. I don't know how close they were, but they were both focused in the picture framed.

To the NW three jet & three twin prop cargos on maneuvers. They love to cruise the National Forest. The F-16 squadron out of Chaffee is 86'd and exchanged for a warthog wing.

Around that time of day the air is bit crowded. Passenger jet low ascending and so close I can't hardly find it in the 40X. When I do it's filling up right at 3/4 of the FOV.

{Field of View (ft@1000yds/m@1000m) 131/43.8@20x, 63.9/21.3@40x}

I think I saw a stew wave.

At night, a little farther away, I can see the cockpit and windows lit up.

Saw a few Turkey buzzards and crows & then whilst training the Holiday on a yellowtailed/belly bird w/black mask around it's eyes one of his buds, more directly above in the same oak, left me a small token of his appreciation.

Obviously I'm etiquette challenged and somewhat the cad bumping me own thread. Typical brash Americano bravado I suppose.

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Old Thursday 23rd February 2012, 09:51   #24
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Thank you Nixterdemus.
I found on many forums, including here and allbinos review, that swift porros were great for the price.
The problem is that in France you cannot find this brand... Same goes with vortex, only one found at a weapondealer.
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Old Friday 24th February 2012, 20:32   #25
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I see a few listed from your neighbors about 26 miles north of the English Channel on auction sites. I figured there would be a few there as you're much closer than being on the other side of the pond.

There's always the chunnel for a quick jaunt.

Yesterday I'm worming a couple of nanny goats and I hear an odd suction sound. I look north & see nothing for a moment, yet I know this peculiar sound is coming from that general direction.

A private jet comes into view around 1,200' up and 1/3 of a mile over. I didn't have any glass on me, nor did I require any. He's so low & slow in his ascent that once clear of the small 40 acre lake/pond that I can't see it for the trees.

Later I watched some black vultures soaring and a lone hawk on the prowl. The temperature made 85*. I'm switching to 20X on the tripod as the wind is gusting & it's far easier to locate the target & maintain it within the FOV.

It's a shame that the cheap design prohibts using any other eyepieces. As if it would've killed them to use 1.25". If the optical path was true, the prisms large enough & properly aligned I think 30X would be the best for me. The 40X is hard to be smooth, even w/fluid mount, and the 20X is not as close as I'd like.

But, I suppose for the price I've no room for complaint. The 25X bin is a better view except 45* eyepieces on the other have spoiled me. I grow weary of looking up through the regular binoculars.

Good luck in finding what you want.
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