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Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

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

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:07 pm
by pakarinen
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.

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:13 pm
by AbbN
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

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:34 pm
by helicon
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:

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:34 pm
by JayTee
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

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:47 am
by Refractordude
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.

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:17 am
by Lady Fraktor
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.

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:43 pm
by pakarinen
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...

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

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

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:56 pm
by Ruud
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.

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:28 pm
by Lady Fraktor
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.

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:44 pm
by Bigzmey
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.

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:12 am
by Baurice
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.

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:21 am
by Sky Tinker
If you can't deal with a tripod, then perhaps a monopod would be in order.

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:21 am
by JayTee
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

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:47 am
by Sky Tinker
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.

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

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

Re: Astronomy Binoculars for Avid Backpacker

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:24 pm
by pakarinen
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.