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Thread: Binoculars

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Binoculars

    Ok...optic related, but maybe not photo related. But I have typically used a pair f 8x32 Pentax or 10x42 Bushnell binoculars. I'll try to keep the story short, but for the eclipse, my 10x42 pair is being left in NH. My sister had said she was going to pick up a pair, so I bought the solar filters for them. I found out last night that she hasn't and probably isn't going to pick them up. Which has me debating whether I should pick up another pair of binoculars.

    So, I was wondering what people use? What do you like and recommend? I am tempted by Canon's 15x50 IS or 10x42 IS binoculars. The former would be very different from what I currently have with both IS and more reach. But the 10x42 I already own are very nice and IS would be a good feature.

    Thoughts? Recommendations? Are the $1,000+ binoculars that much better than my $200 Bushnells...or, as I suspect, this is like going from a good lens to an "L" lens.

  2. #2
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    I think my Canon is 10x32 with IS
    I can say the IS is great for my shakey hands. I wouldn't recommend anything else.

    How great the optics are does not matter if you can't hold it still.

    I bought a cheap eclipse set from B&H. Tried them yesterday evening and the optics were fine but to shakey.
    My son and daughter in law will get to use it.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Thanks Rick,

    I ended up buying a pair of Canon 10x42 IS binoculars. I had solar filters on the end for the eclipse. My sister called them her favorite part (not including totality). I have to say, image stabilization is very helpful. Before, I wouldn't have said my hands were that shaky, but push that button and things got a lot smoother. I also found that I could often get even better focus after engaging the IS than without it. As you said, a whole other level of sharpness and detail. I could even make out galaxies such as Andromeda.

    Of course, now I am tempted by the 15x50 IS pair
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 08-25-2017 at 06:21 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    I think that 10x42 would be a very good design for general-purpose use. The exit pupil is 4 mm (42 divided by 10), which is just about perfect. A human eye pupil can go as wide as 7 mm diameter but that ability is reduced with age. If you are using the binoculars for astronomy (which you definitely should!) then a 4 mm exit pupil will just about match your dark-adjusted eyes. I notice that the newly announced Canon IS binoculars (coming in November) are 10x32, 12x32, and 14x32. They would have smaller exit pupils, so they would not be as good for astronomy. The 10x42 is on sale at B&H, and from the reviews, the optics are superb. Plus it's waterproof, which is probably a selling point if you're a kayaker . I like the porro-prism design (with the jog in the barrel). These kind of binoculars typically give better results than roof prism designs (which have the straight barrel), due to a reduction in internal reflecting surfaces. However the top-end roof prism binoculars have spectacular optics. The general rule that "you get what you pay for" is very true with binoculars --- price is often a good indicator of quality.

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    I actually had not thought of binoculars for star gazing. But in preparing for the eclipse, I came across Gary Seronik's webpage. Not only does he review the Canon IS binoculars for astro, but has a variety of tips for star gazing with binoculars.

    I played with this briefly one night before the eclipse. Pretty impressive really. I'll definitely try again.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    That's a good resource for sure. I do take slight exception to his assertion that exit pupil size doesn't matter. Yes when using a telescope you often have to deal with a tiny exit pupil. But it's a pain. The bigger the exit pupil, the easier it is to view. Another important factor is eye relief, which is the distance your eyes need to be from the eyepiece. If you wear glasses, then a long eye relief is useful because you can fold the eyecups over and easily view with your glasses on. Anyhow I think you made a great choice with those 10x42's.

  7. #7
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Not a big user of binoculars. I have an old Nikon 8x25 set (bought >20 years ago), and I have the Canon 10x30 IS which I got for free a few years back. I do find the IS helpful on the rare occasions that I use them.

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