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Oberwerk 20x80 LW (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Well, Light Weight is somewhat subjective. It's 13" x 9" at 4 lbs. The end caps can be unscrewed then a plastic divider, twixt two sections of armour can be removed along w/short end piece of armour for around 1/4 lb reduction. Naturally if I left end caps off I would drop a bit more weight though exposing the threads. losing the strength/support of the caps and the ability to insert the objective covers.

You might think that weight savings isn't much, yet as long as these bins are it is quite noticeable. I would like to acquire some small/thinner rings of the same thread/pitch to use in their place. I do not know how realistic that might prove to be accomplished. I could live w/o the ability to employ objective covers. As is they sit objectives down on table or floor. I only use the bins around the house.

I've yet to try removing the longer armour sections. One could unscrew the barrels slipping them off in one whole section, yet I do not consider the risk of possible collimation issues worth the chance. I plan to cut this foam style armour somewhere in front of my hands when gripping the small end of the barrels directly in front of the body. Due to the increase of barrel size from there I will have to split the armour, perpendicular to the barrel, in order to remove it whilst leaving the barrels secured to the body. It would be possible to shave right at one-half of lb perhaps weighing in at 3 9/16-5/8 lbs.

I compare this w/auld Beck Kassel Saturn porro at 22x80. My example a product of the 70's. Shorter barrels are wider at the body and comes in 3/4 lb lighter w/single coating of at least on one side of the objectives and oculars.

Beck Kassel 22x80
weight-3.25lbs w/thin strap
length- 10.5"
focus turns- 1 3/20 turns barely over 1 1/8 Comes in hard leather case, has a numbered focus wheel, serial number and removable objectives.

209.95 Oberwerk 20x80 -w/soft case additional 9.99 [w/purchase], $23 ground FedEx shipping. Comes w/foam cut-out inside of hard plastic case w/two metal latches & plastic carrying handle that folds flat. The case provides adequate protection, but nobody is using it for a step ladder. I went ahead and snagged the soft case should I wish to hike. Cloudy Nights members enjoy a nickle off.

Objective size 80mm

Magnification 20x

Prism BAK4

Optic coating Fully broadband multicoated

Field of view 3.2°

Exit pupil diameter 4mm

Exit pupil distance 18mm

Minimum focus distance 25m

focus wheel turns .75 2/3

Weight 4.0 lbs. Actual

length 13"

11/15x70LW 149.99 11x- 4.5°, 15x- 4.3° -minimum focus 20M-11"L x 8"W--3.1 lbs

I remembered the nice lady taking my order. I told her to pick a good one then remarked that i was sure everyone requested a good one. She laughs, agrees and then asks me if I'm viewing terrestrial or astronomical. I replied terrestrial and pondered that answer several times thereafter.

First impression wasn't favourable. I open it up it looks swell and as I peel off one objective cover I note the fine looking coating. Removing the other barrel cover and I'm almost knocked down from the smell of epoxy that's nowhere near cured. I thought it odd that one barrel stank to high heavens whilst the other was not offensive smelling in the least.

The nylon rings that secure the objective lens are glued in place. I ask Kevin about this as I wondered if an issue how to go about a cure. He replies that one would replace the barrel assembly w/another lens also glued in place. Quite a bit of glue w/appearance on the sloppy side. Certainly no visual attempt at being neat. But, it didn't effect the view. The rings were split, as a piston ring, as well.

I played around a couple of days as the weather was overcast. The coatings provided a much brighter picture than the CBS 22x80. The extra lb minus a few ounces spoke to me as well though that was to be expected. Soaring hawks, vultures, swallows, and jets/planes/helicopters were a joy to observe. I'm also noticing dragonflies and bumble or carpenter bees up high in and above trees.

The skies clear I decide it is time to attach the bins to a tripod though the vast majority of the time I use them hand-held. I zero in on a star that becomes two.

I'm not a happy camper and I am immediately reminded of the post purchase inquiry. I send a rather scathing e-mail to Kevin asking him about the hatchet job w/glue and split rings. He's offended by the remark. I offer no apologies and stand by my observations. The one barrel gives the appearance, combined w/collimation being off, of post manufacture repair.

Kevin denies such, claims the bins were checked to +/- 30 arc sec [I noted the checklist & was the same w/second bin] then suggested that perhaps I was at fault for
removing the armour. He speculates that perhaps I unscrewed the barrels removing the large piece of armour as he had done such for me prior to the sale. I had asked
how much weight could be saved by removing end caps/spacer/armour. If I recall correctly it was 104-108 grams a barrel which is almost a half lb combined. I had already decided to leave the barrels and cut the armour at a later point.

I appreciate him taking the pieces off and weighing them for me. I figured he would know the weight as surely I wasn't the first to come down the pike wishing to know how much weight could be shaved as I intend to hand hold the bins.

He quickly sends another pair w/return label. I wait a couple days before returning the first set. If the second at not up to snuff I'm sending them back bundled.

Happily that is not the case. These are also glued, per Oberwerk policy, yet the job is much cleaner and I do not detect the smell of curing epoxy. Mounted on the tripod the collimation is spot on. Had I been a younger man instead of a product of the 1950's I might not have noticed the double image.

No harm no foul. I like them a lot. In fact I've hardly used the Vortex Vulture 15x56 in scanning the skies except to note the difference in 15/20X. However, holding the Heavier Obie has made the Vulture more of a pleasure in terrestrial mode. I really enjoy the 20x80LW. You obtain a lot for the money.

It doesn't have a numbered focus wheel, serial number nor is it as wide and short as the Beck. But, you cannot have everything. And the length, save for the weight, might be an optical advantage over the 63.5 mm shorter CBS.

Swallows soaring high in tight twisting circles when turning sideways head-on disappear as a Klingon bird of prey going into stealth mode. Then all of the sudden boom! the shift angles and reappear. I catch a lot of views looking at aircraft and pick up other opportunities that happen across the fov.

The Obie 20x80 is a fine bin & I'm sure the 11/15X70 is as well. I merely wish they would add a 18x70 as I'd enjoy being on the three lbs side of the scale a bit more.

Kevin was a stand-up guy, answered questions, shipped quickly both times, put up w/me and combined w/Obie performance I highly recommend them as a bargain at the current price.

If I was going to purchase a fluid video head I would want one w/capacity of at least 8 lbs due to the length of the bins.

Using this 20x80 in conjunction w/22x80 and 15x56 leads me to the conclusion of needing an 18x70. Of course if I step off the deck my view improves from less vibration firmly planted on terra firma.

YMMV ...
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Well-known member
I have a Steiner 15 x 80, which is fairly light. Only problem is it is only 77mm or so.
The 16x56 Hensoldt is very light. I can't remember the weight.

Walter David

Walter David
Nice review. Its funny that those are now back ordered so I guess Kevin did not put the set you returned back into the food chain!:t:

I bought the 15x70 Ultra's mainly for astronomy but I did take them with me to the ocean in Frt Lauderdale. The views they gave from the 8th floor of all the cargo ships and cruise ships entertained me for a good 6 days! But I would not try to hand hold them for very long.

I'm glad you like them and glad to read that you had an ultimately good experience with Kevin as did I!


Well-known member
For me the ideal weight is 3-3.25 lbs., so 3.75 or a bit less is close and the length of 13" works as well for my staggered hold. The Obie 20x80 is a nice fit. Kevin got it right, it's all good.


Well-known member
leads me to the conclusion of needing an 18x70. Of course if I step off the deck my view improves from less vibration firmly planted on terra firma.

YMMV ...

Only binos i know with that aperture and magnification are the nikons astroluxe, and they have more CA than you might like ... also doesnt have central focus and are way expensive.

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