Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

We all started somewhere! Ask your questions here. We are a friendly bunch!
Post Reply
User avatar
William Gilson
Earth Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:43 pm
Location: Colorado
Has thanked: 2 times

Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

#1

Post by William Gilson » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:45 pm

Hi folks! Need you expert advice on lightweight and affordable binoculars for stargazing.

I cannot consider a telescope since I am going to stargaze during my backpacking trips.
I am new to stargazing, but I did some basic research on what I actiually need, SO:
1) No tripod (there is not much space in a backpack u know)
2) Weight less than `5lbs (I guess that is the maximum weight to be able to hold them steady enough?)
3) Under 400$ (there are many options from 10 to 2000 dollars, but most review websites suggest products in 300-400 price range)
4) Be able to do some astrophotography stuff (grab my smartphone closer to the objective and take pictures)
5) x7 or more magnifying power (this is the least magnification required for stargazting)

One more thing:
Some review websites also suggest Celestron Cometron 15x70 https://wildproofgear.com/best-binocula ... targazing/ say, it is very rugged,durable and waterpoof. Its weight is only 2 lbs.
But can a product of such quality cost only 29.99$ ? I am ready to spend 300-400$ for one more item in my outdoor gear collection, but if this Celestron would work I will be really happy.

:text-thankyouyellow:
User avatar
pakarinen
Orion Spur Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 752
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:33 pm
Location: Illinois
Has thanked: 817 times
Been thanked: 1114 times

#2

Post by pakarinen » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:07 pm

I've had bad luck with Celestron binos as have many people. It's apparently a QC issue. However, other people have had no problems at all. I guess it's a crap shoot.

My Nikon Aculon 10x50s are decent for astro and they're relatively light and affordable. Others will chime in.
If you don't understand your noise, you cannot reliably extract a meaningful signal.
~ES

Orion ST120, Meade AdventureScope ST80
Twilight 1 with Astro Devices encoders and Nexus II currently on a Manfrotto 475B tripod
Nikon Aculon 10x50 binos
User avatar
AbbN
Mars Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri May 10, 2019 1:38 pm
Location: Windsor Ontario Canada
Has thanked: 434 times
Been thanked: 221 times

#3

Post by AbbN » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:13 pm

Since your budget tops up at $400 and want something hand held I'd definitely get something in the neighbourhood of 8x50's or 10x50's from Oberwerk as they are top quality. Take a look https://oberwerk.com/

Abb
TELESCOPES: Celestron Omni XLT 120, Explore Scientific AR102, Orion ST80 Refractors; 8" Skywatcher Dob; Orion Apex 102 Mak; Coronado PST. LENSES: ES 4.7, 6.7, 11, 18 and 30mm 82° EPs; Baader 24mm 68°; Luminos 15mm 82°; Meade 8-24mm Zoom. OTHER: CG4+16" Orion Pier Extension; Celestron Skymaster 20x80 binos etc;
User avatar
helicon
Co-Administrator
Articles: 1
Posts: 2754
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 1:35 pm
Location: California
Has thanked: 3021 times
Been thanked: 3486 times

TSS Awards Badges

#4

Post by helicon » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:34 pm

Also would recommend Oberwerk. I have currently a 10 x 50 pair of Bushnells (OK), a 15 x 70 pair of Celestron SkyMasters (Decent, but not great), and a 25 x 100 pair of Oberwerks (my current favorite binos - of course they sit on a tripod). For backpacking trips 10 x 50's would probably be fine - under dark skies they show an amazing number of deep sky objects.

:telescopewink:
-Michael
Various scopes, 10" Zhumell Dob, ES AR152, AWB 5.1" Onesky newt, Oberwerk 25x100 binos, two eyeballs
User avatar
JayTee
Co-Administrator
Articles: 0
Posts: 1951
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:23 am
Location: Honolulu, HI
Has thanked: 1280 times
Been thanked: 2252 times
Contact:

TSS Awards Badges

TSS Photo of the Day

#5

Post by JayTee » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:34 pm

I've owned two pair of Bushnell binoculars over the last 50 years expensive ones and not so expensive ones. They both provide excellent views. I currently own a pair of these, https://www.walmart.com/ip/Bushnell-Pow ... DQQAvD_BwE

In my younger days I made several binocular backpacking trips and I always had the less expensive binoculars from Bushnell with me. The reason for not spending a lot is that stuff in your pack gets tossed around and you know that there is the potential for breakage. I didn't want something so expensive that if it broke I was heartbroken. These are both durable and give excellent views and will be with you on many trips.

Cheers,
JT
Main: C-stron CPC1100 #2 Scope: 8" f/7.5 Dob mounted Newt AP Scopes: TPO 6" f/9 RC, ES 80mm f/6 APO G&G Scope: Meade 102mm f/7.8, Bresser 102mm f/4.5 Guide Scopes: 70 & 80mm fracs Mounts: C-stron AVX CGEM & GT Alt-Az, Meade DS2000 Cameras: Canon T3i (x2), ASI120MC Binos: 10X50,10.5X70,15X70 (x2), 25X100 EPs: ES: 21 100°, 30 82° X-Cels: 9, 12, 18, 25 Clubs: RCA & HAS
HOME Image

My Wx https://dashboard.ambientweather.net/de ... 837a4f803c
I never met a scope I didn't want to keep. "My God, it's full of stars."
Searching the skies since 1966!
User avatar
Refractordude
Pluto Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 499
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 1:05 am
Location: United States
Has thanked: 1840 times
Been thanked: 920 times

#6

Post by Refractordude » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:47 am

What ever you get make sure the eye relief is 18mm or greater. I can only enjoy binoculars with a tripod. My 7x50 need a tripod for steady and relaxed views. Perhaps you can strap it on the side of your gear bag. You need a tripod.

https://www.amazon.com/Magnus-VT-350-Vi ... ics&sr=1-3

An even smaller option.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=orion+tritec ... b_ss_i_2_5

https://www.amazon.com/BARSKA-AF10546-B ... 139&sr=1-3

Make sure the tripod and adapter is shipped or fulfilled by Amazon.
Telescopes: Meade LX70 120mm f/8 Refractor, Vixen 70mm f/12.9 Refractor, Tasco 49N 50mm Red Refractor
Binoculars: Zhumell 20x80 Giant, Levenhuk Sherman 7x50
Mounts: Orion SkyView Pro Equatorial, Orion Versago II Altazimuth, Farpoint Universal Parrallogram Mount
Finders: GSO 8x50 Raci, Svbony Red Dot
Diagonals: GSO Dielectric 2", GSO Dielectric 1.25"
Eyepieces: GSO Plossls 32mm/25mm/20mm, GSO 20mm Superview, Svbony 20mm/15mm/9mm/6mm, Svbony Aspheric 23mm/10mm/4mm, Agena Super Wide Angle 15mm, Few No Name Brand Ebay Plossls
User avatar
Lady Fraktor
Co-Administrator
Articles: 0
Posts: 2587
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:14 pm
Location: Slovakia
Has thanked: 5139 times
Been thanked: 3769 times

#7

Post by Lady Fraktor » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:17 am

Also for backpacking size and weight may be a concern, a decent set of 8x42 will show you a lot when in darker skies.
I would not go with very expensive binoculars for hiking/ backpacking for the same reasons JT mentioned above.

Depending on length of trip (room considerations) I have taken a 8x50 Antares finderscope and a monopod/ walking stick for viewing on multi day hikes.
Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7
Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier
Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite
Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss
🇸🇰Image
User avatar
pakarinen
Orion Spur Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 752
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:33 pm
Location: Illinois
Has thanked: 817 times
Been thanked: 1114 times

#8

Post by pakarinen » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:43 pm

JayTee wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:34 pm
I've owned two pair of Bushnell binoculars over the last 50 years expensive ones and not so expensive ones. They both provide excellent views. I currently own a pair of these, [...] Bushnell-PowerView-10x50mm-Porro-Prism-Binoculars
Wow. $50 10x50s that are good quality? I'm a little surprised, but truthfully I've never researched Bushnells. Good to know! I could keep a pair in my car...
If you don't understand your noise, you cannot reliably extract a meaningful signal.
~ES

Orion ST120, Meade AdventureScope ST80
Twilight 1 with Astro Devices encoders and Nexus II currently on a Manfrotto 475B tripod
Nikon Aculon 10x50 binos
User avatar
William Gilson
Earth Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:43 pm
Location: Colorado
Has thanked: 2 times

#9

Post by William Gilson » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:54 pm

Thank you for your expretise! Guess these Oberwerk 10x50 gonna work well! They look so compact BTW.

Glad to know I am not the only person who sees this super low price suspicious :D
User avatar
Ruud
Earth Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:56 pm
Location: the Netherlands
Has thanked: 71 times
Been thanked: 49 times

#10

Post by Ruud » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:56 pm

I know the Oberwerk 10x50s (if they are still the Kunming United Optics BA8 model). They have very good optics, but they are bulky and heavy. They also lack a central focusing wheel and their near focus isn't very near at all. They are certainly not meant as butterfly binoculars.

Because of their considerable weight you'll want to use a monopod with them for astronomy. It doesn't have to be a very tall monopod, as long as you have a chair to rest it on so that it can lift the binoculars overhead.

The Oberwerk 10x50s are excellent for astronomy and at sea, but they aren't general purpose binoculars. Having to refocus each eye separately ruins the experience of viewing a moving target or scanning a scene from near to far.

It's personal of course, but I would advise an 8x42 ED roof prism pair: two pounds lighter, much more compact and central focusing. Mine have an 8.1° wide view and a very near close focus distance.

If you want to go really lightweight and very wide you could consider a 4x22 Kasai (with 17° it easily covers half of Orion). Due to its low magnification it is sharp over a wide range of distances, so that its lack of central focusing does not have much of an an impact on their ergonomics. You won't have to refocus much anyway.
7x50 Helios Apollo 8x42 Bresser Everest 73mm f/5.9 WO APO 4" f/5 TeleVue Genesis 6" f/10 Celestron 6SE 0.63x reducer 1.8, 2, 2.5 and 3x Barlows eyepieces from 4.5 to 34mm
User avatar
Lady Fraktor
Co-Administrator
Articles: 0
Posts: 2587
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:14 pm
Location: Slovakia
Has thanked: 5139 times
Been thanked: 3769 times

#11

Post by Lady Fraktor » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:28 pm

Oberwerk binoculars are made in the Yunnan Optics factory in Kunming, Oberwerk is joint owner of the factory.
The quality of the optics and mechanicals have improved steadily since this arrangement in 2007.
Proper Telescopes: Antares 105 f/15, Celestron 150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNGDX 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, UR 70 f/10, Vixen ED115s f/7.7
Mounts: Celestron AS-GT, Celestron CG-5 w/ Argo Navis & tracking motor, SLT w/ pier & tripod mods, Manfrotto 028b w/ SV M2C, Mantrotto 055Pro w/ 128RC, TAL MT1C, Vixen SXP w/ HAL-130 & half pier
Diagonal: 2" A-P Maxbright, 2" Baader Herschel Wedge (P), 2" Zeiss/ Baader Amici Prism (DX2), 2" Orion Amici Prism, 2" Stellarvue DX, 2" TeleVue EverBrite
Eyepieces: Antares to Zeiss
🇸🇰Image
User avatar
Bigzmey
Milky Way Ambassador
Articles: 5
Posts: 1796
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 7:55 pm
Location: San Diego, CA USA
Has thanked: 2782 times
Been thanked: 2516 times

TSS Awards Badges

#12

Post by Bigzmey » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:44 pm

I can highly recommend Nikon Action EX 10x50 or 8x40. Wide field, long eye relief, good sharpness and contrast, waterproof and lifetime warranty. On a few occasions Nikon fixed binos dropped by users at no charge.
Scopes: Stellarvue: SV102 ED F7; Celestron: 9.25" EdgeHD F10, 8" SCT F10, 6" SCT F10, Omni XLT 150R Achro F5, Onyx 80ED F6.3; Meade: 80ST Achro F5.
Mounts: ES: Twilight I; Bresser: EXOS2; SW: SkyTee2, AzGTi; UA: MicroStar.
Binos: Orion: Little Giant II 15x70, WorldView 10x50, Nikon: Action EX 8x40.
EPs: Pentax: XWs; TeleVue: Delites, Panoptic, Plossls & barlows; ES: 68s; Vixen: SLVs; Baader: BCOs, Aspherics, Mark IV; Meade: UWAs & Plossls.
Diagonals: Baader: BBHS silver mirror, Zeiss Spec T2 prism, Clicklock dielectric; TeleVue: Evebrite dielectric.
Filters: Lumicon: DeepSky, UHC, OIII, H-beta; Baader: Moon & SkyGlow, Contrast Booster, UHC-S; Astronomik: UHC, Orion: UltraBlock, SkyGlow.
Observing: DSOs: 1694 (Completed: M110, H1, H2. In progress: H3: 195, H2,500: 1272, S110: 77). Doubles: 1150, Comets: 14, Asteroids: 73
User avatar
Baurice
Vendor
Articles: 0
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:42 pm
Location: England
Has thanked: 87 times
Been thanked: 172 times

#13

Post by Baurice » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:12 am

You would need a tripod to take photos. Although many photographers have taken good photos with smartphones, I found the compact digital cameras much easier. You might consider some larger bins for home use. You can also take some great photos with a DSLR camera and I have taken mine worldwide, along with my 15x70 binoculars.
User avatar
Sky Tinker
Mars Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 188
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:16 am
Location: Mid-South, U.S.
Has thanked: 34 times
Been thanked: 241 times

#14

Post by Sky Tinker » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:21 am

If you can't deal with a tripod, then perhaps a monopod would be in order.
"Look, son! Up there!" His son shouted back, "I see it! What is it?" The father regaled, "The galaxy! Andromeda! Our origin, our destiny!" And so the boy was hooked, and for the rest of his natural life.

Alan

Apochromat: Takahashi FS-102 f/8 - Achromats: Meade "Polaris" 90mm f/10(flocked & blackened), Antares(GSO) 805 80mm f/6(flocked & blackened), Celestron(Synta) "AstroMaster" 70mm f/13(flocked & blackened), Sears(Towa) #4-6340 50mm f/12(flocked & blackened) - Newtonians: Orion(Synta) 6" f/5(flocked & blackened), Meade "Polaris" 114mm f/8, Zhumell(GSO) Z100 100mm f/4 - Catadioptrics: Explore Scientific(JOC) 127mm f/15 Maksutov-Cassegrain, Celestron "PowerSeeker" 127mm f/8 "Bird Jones" reflector(modified, flocked, blackened...& collimated!)...and mounts, eyepieces, barlows and diagonals.
User avatar
JayTee
Co-Administrator
Articles: 0
Posts: 1951
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:23 am
Location: Honolulu, HI
Has thanked: 1280 times
Been thanked: 2252 times
Contact:

TSS Awards Badges

TSS Photo of the Day

#15

Post by JayTee » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:21 am

pakarinen wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:43 pm
JayTee wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:34 pm
I've owned two pair of Bushnell binoculars over the last 50 years expensive ones and not so expensive ones. They both provide excellent views. I currently own a pair of these, [...] Bushnell-PowerView-10x50mm-Porro-Prism-Binoculars
Wow. $50 10x50s that are good quality? I'm a little surprised, but truthfully I've never researched Bushnells. Good to know! I could keep a pair in my car...
I know, I was surprised too, but you can't argue with the image they produce, clear and sharp to the edge and they are not terribly difficult to collimate should the need arise.

Cheers,
JT
Main: C-stron CPC1100 #2 Scope: 8" f/7.5 Dob mounted Newt AP Scopes: TPO 6" f/9 RC, ES 80mm f/6 APO G&G Scope: Meade 102mm f/7.8, Bresser 102mm f/4.5 Guide Scopes: 70 & 80mm fracs Mounts: C-stron AVX CGEM & GT Alt-Az, Meade DS2000 Cameras: Canon T3i (x2), ASI120MC Binos: 10X50,10.5X70,15X70 (x2), 25X100 EPs: ES: 21 100°, 30 82° X-Cels: 9, 12, 18, 25 Clubs: RCA & HAS
HOME Image

My Wx https://dashboard.ambientweather.net/de ... 837a4f803c
I never met a scope I didn't want to keep. "My God, it's full of stars."
Searching the skies since 1966!
User avatar
Sky Tinker
Mars Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 188
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:16 am
Location: Mid-South, U.S.
Has thanked: 34 times
Been thanked: 241 times

#16

Post by Sky Tinker » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:47 am

In that you desire to take afocal photographs with your phone's camera, I assume the camera can zoom in a bit, and for a closer shot of an object?

It is easier and much more rewarding to take afocal shots through, yes, you guessed it, a telescope...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... 3oQAvD_BwE

...something or other along those lines.

Get some lightweight eyepieces for it, a lightweight star-mirror diagonal, and away you go.
"Look, son! Up there!" His son shouted back, "I see it! What is it?" The father regaled, "The galaxy! Andromeda! Our origin, our destiny!" And so the boy was hooked, and for the rest of his natural life.

Alan

Apochromat: Takahashi FS-102 f/8 - Achromats: Meade "Polaris" 90mm f/10(flocked & blackened), Antares(GSO) 805 80mm f/6(flocked & blackened), Celestron(Synta) "AstroMaster" 70mm f/13(flocked & blackened), Sears(Towa) #4-6340 50mm f/12(flocked & blackened) - Newtonians: Orion(Synta) 6" f/5(flocked & blackened), Meade "Polaris" 114mm f/8, Zhumell(GSO) Z100 100mm f/4 - Catadioptrics: Explore Scientific(JOC) 127mm f/15 Maksutov-Cassegrain, Celestron "PowerSeeker" 127mm f/8 "Bird Jones" reflector(modified, flocked, blackened...& collimated!)...and mounts, eyepieces, barlows and diagonals.
User avatar
Max Nomad
Earth Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:10 am
Location: Virginia Beach
Has thanked: 202 times
Been thanked: 74 times
Contact:

#17

Post by Max Nomad » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:03 am

If weight is a concern and a tripod is necessary I highly recommend the GEEKOTO CT25Pro Craftsman 79" Carbon Fiber Tripod. I keep one in my Jeep along with a set of binos. One of the best features of this tripod is that it also doubles as a monopod.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... arbon.html
SKYWARE: "BANNEKER" (Orion XT8 Classic w/ 9x50 RACI), "SOJOURNER" (Celestron NexStar 90 GT), "HARRIET" (Celestron Travel Scope 70), "THE NIKES" (Nikon WP 10x50 ATB), "SPOTTER" (8x56 Celestron Skymaster DX), "HAWK" (9x60 Oberwerk LW) and "GOGGLES" (2.3x42 Kasai Wide Field). EPs: (1.25") Plossl 6mm, 8 to 24 Zoom, 25mm, 32mm, 2X Barlow, 3X Barlow. SOFTWARE: Android (Camera FV-5, Daff Moon, Sky Map, SkyPortal, Heavens Above), Linux (Cartes du Ciel, Stellarium, BOINC SETI), Windows (Celestia, Starry Night 7, TheSkyX, TUBA, Adobe CS5)
User avatar
pakarinen
Orion Spur Ambassador
Articles: 0
Posts: 752
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:33 pm
Location: Illinois
Has thanked: 817 times
Been thanked: 1114 times

#18

Post by pakarinen » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:24 pm

I have a Benro tripod that I use as a bipod. I extend two legs and keep the third collapsed. It gives me a little more stability than a monopod. YMMV.
If you don't understand your noise, you cannot reliably extract a meaningful signal.
~ES

Orion ST120, Meade AdventureScope ST80
Twilight 1 with Astro Devices encoders and Nexus II currently on a Manfrotto 475B tripod
Nikon Aculon 10x50 binos
Post Reply

Return to “Beginners forum”