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• View topic - Possible Bino-Junky in the Making

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:41 am 
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I've always loved binoculars, but I usually only keep to a single pair. When I was observing frequently I always spent 95% of the time at the scope and just used the bins for finding objects, or playing around at the beginning or end of a session, but never did a heck of a lot of serious observing with them.

Over the last few years my observing time continues to dwindle. It's to a point now that I have not had a scope out in my backyard since probably September or October. I've been having a little fun with my 10x42s at night, and since we have a large number and variety of birds in our neighborhood, they are seeing a lot of daytime use on the weekends as well.

If one can stay away from the Big 3 (Leica, Zeiss, & Swarovski), it is possible to have multiple pairs of bins to cover a variety of daytime and astronomical uses without really breaking the bank. So I've been thinking about increasing my binocular inventory. Since my time is limited it's nice just to step outside a few times over the course of an evening, see a few things, and be able to come back in without a bunch of setup / knock-down hassle.

I've been looking heavily at Vortex. These have received excellent reviews and their lifetime warranty is unsurpassed from what I understand. Maybe a pair of 10 x 50 porros. They also have a variety of phase-corrected roof prism units for daytime use that range from entry level at $169 all the way up to their top of the line at $1,300. So they offer something for everyone. They also have these little 6.5 x 32s porros that have an 8* field, which might be a lot of fun.

I've also been looking at the new Lunt Magnesium Series 16x70s for astro use. Among a dozen other possibilities. :lol:

Anyway, should be ordering at least one set in the next week or so. Where to start? :mrgreen:

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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:29 pm 
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Geez, that's a good question. We recently got two pairs of Orion Shoreview 8x42's (I liked the first pair so much that we got a second pair for Justine) because they were:
Inexpensive
Lightweight
Optically decent
Easy to hold at 8x

The biggest difference I see with "cheap" binos and the Big 3 as you put it is the build quality and the false color. The Orion's do have a bit of CA and it's most noticeable on birds etc against a solid background like the ocean. For astronomy, it's probably not an issue except on the moon.

I'm not familiar with Vortex but it sure does seem that binos in general have gotten better and cheaper over the last few years. The aforementioned Orion binos completely destroyed the more expensive Nikons (that were a few years old) that Justine had.

Another company you might look at is Garret Optics. They had an ED pair of binos that I was really interested in checking out but we're out of stock when I was looking for a pair.

Sorry, that probably doesn't help too much. I wish I was more familiar with the brands you mentioned.

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Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
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Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
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"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:00 pm 
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Okay, where to start?? I have limited experience, only owning three pairs. I have looked through some 7x50 Swaros and 11x70 Fujis at past observing sessions. Both provided pinpoint perfection at nighttime. Both are also expensive.

I have been really happy with my 15x85 Garretts for years now as my main Astro binocs. The issue with guns that size is the mounting necessity. Add a few hundred for something that can handle those. If that's too big I think 70's would be a minimum requirement for me on stars. The aperture makes comets and Messiers both very enjoyable. I actually don't believe you can even get the 15x model anymore, only seeing the 22x at Oberwerk. That's the other thing, Garrett doesn't even seen directly anymore, so I'm not sure what availability his stuff has these days.

My smaller pieces are Pentax 8x40 PCF WPII's. Perfect all around hand holdable units. Well corrected for CA under the stars, fantastic ly clean for birding (the original purpose for their purchase).

If I could do it all over, though, I'd probably forego both of those and dig my heels into a Canon 15x50 IS. Those are purported to have fantastic optics, and denounce the requirement for tripodding. It's not an easy question to answer. I'm a bit of a Bino lover, but also a Canon IS lover. I've never used the binos but imagine thousands of reviews on the system, and my experience with the stabilized lenses should give me a reasonable idea of what to expect. Just food for thought. I bet those would do it all. Of course, they aren't small or light, and require maintenance of the battery, so it does add some extra care to own. Hmmm.

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Single ride personal records: Distance-76.7miles, Max Speed-50.4mph, Max sustained speed (20miles) 19.5mph
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:56 pm 
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My bino experience only covers about 4 different pair... But I can say that Vortex makes/resells high quality stuff.

I used their optics exclusively back when I competed in high powered rifle and heavy metal. Never had a single issue, and heard from everyone that their customer support was great. Some of their optics come from the same assembly line as the Trijicon and Leupold gear I used in the Army.






(Politics incoming!)






I would still be shooting and wouldn't have sold all my gear if club meetings and events started and ended with something besides "Obama Obama Obama, Eric Holder-Obama conspiracy, THEY'RE COMING FOR YOUR GUNS! Vote for (your name here, contact lobbyist for details)."

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:34 am 
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Thanks for the info, Turd. I have never used any of the Vortex stuff, so it's great to get some other first hand opinions.



FWIW, if anyone wants to respond to that last comment, feel free to cut and paste in the political forum...and let 'er rip! :cheesygrin:

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Single ride personal records: Distance-76.7miles, Max Speed-50.4mph, Max sustained speed (20miles) 19.5mph
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:56 pm 
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Yeah, we haven't gone at it in the political forum for awhile now. Where's Mike Casey when we need him! :)

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:01 am 
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Thanks everyone for the helpful replies. I have a few errands to run today, but will post more detailed responses / questions to each post when I get back. Appreciate your time!

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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:56 am 
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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:18 am 
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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:22 am 
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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:50 am 
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Jason, I checked Big Binoculars.com for the Oberwerk version of the 15 x 85s, and they don't have them. Looks like that size was discontinued. 15 x 70 is the largest they have in the "Garrett closeout" items. They do say the 20x110 and 28x110 Ultras were formerly Garrett items, and those are are now in the Oberwerk Ultras.

The 15x70s and other sizes seem to be integrated into the "LW" series. I'm guessing they are all coming out of the same factory in China, so still should be good I would think.




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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:16 pm 
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I thought the 15x was gone. Maybe I'll keep mine. If you're a real junky you might want those 110's. They are supposed to be something impressive to look through. Real monsters with good optics. Just sayin...

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Single ride personal records: Distance-76.7miles, Max Speed-50.4mph, Max sustained speed (20miles) 19.5mph
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:09 pm 
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If I did that I'd probably go for the 20x. The close focus is *only* 30m, whereas the 28x close focus is 200m. Maybe it doesn't matter for those. They'd be long-range terrestrial anyway when not being used for astronomy.

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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:46 am 
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Velocepedist
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Yeah, honestly binocs that big really lend themselves to astronomy. I was attempting to be somewhat humorous, but probably failing. :cheesygrin:

I think big binocs like that are a hoot to use, but I always feel like they are limited by fixed magnification. That is why I haven't actually purchased the 28x110 yet. I know at some point, when I can justify a second full course of gear purchasing I will do things the "right" way. One pair of stabilized 30-50mm binocs, one 70-100mm binoscope, and one truss dob in the 10-16" range with premium optics. I kind if wish I had the foresight to do that in the first place, but then again I was newer to the hobby with almost all of my currently owned gear.

Anyway, back to topic, 50mm really is a sweet spot for astro/terrestrial use. I'm following your thread with great curiosity.

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Single ride personal records: Distance-76.7miles, Max Speed-50.4mph, Max sustained speed (20miles) 19.5mph
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:13 am 
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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:47 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:49 am 
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Nice rig! Excellent info on the optics, thanks.

From everything I'm reading, that quality does transfer to their bino lines. Their top of the line Raptor roof prism bins have been compared favorably to Swarovski & Leica, at about half the price. I'm reading very little negatives about their products. Appreciate the feedback! :food-smiley-004:

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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:47 am 
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Dang, having a difficult time trying to figure out whether or not to go with the IS bins or not. Not having seen a pair in probably close to 10 years, I should probably try to find someone or some place that has a set that I can at least test briefly.

If I don't go with the IS, I'll probably go with a set of the 16x70 Lunt Magnesiums, and one of the smaller Vortex bins.

IS, or IS "not"? :lol:

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Kerry




Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:16 pm 
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:lol:

I'm laughing at the pun. And I'm laughing at your ability to twist a simple decision into a maze of impossibilities. Just like someone else I know...:cheesygrin:

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Single ride personal records: Distance-76.7miles, Max Speed-50.4mph, Max sustained speed (20miles) 19.5mph
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:57 pm 
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Ha ha- who could that be? But in the end, you always make the right decision. I guess that's part of what makes all of this fun.

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:46 pm 
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Yup.

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Single ride personal records: Distance-76.7miles, Max Speed-50.4mph, Max sustained speed (20miles) 19.5mph
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:22 am 
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Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:24 pm 
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Everything you said makes it clear- MORE ASTRO-GEAR is always the solution!!! :lol:

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:53 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:20 pm 
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:lol:

You got that right Erik! :cheesygrin:

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Kerry




Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:48 pm 
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Well this decision went an entirely different direction. After a lot of research and comparisons, I decided against the IS bins. Canons best effort are the 10x42s and even fully stabilized I won't get the resolution of a larger binocular. So I decided to go with "very good" instead of top of the line so I can end up with two or three pairs to play with over time.

So the first one was for astro use and terrestrial glassing in low light, and those are the Vortex 15x56 Vultures. These are HD low-dispersion glass and 56mm seemed like a nice compromise in lieu of 70s with twice the weight and bulk. I can carry the 56s with me. I did not want to be pigeon-holed into having to use a tripod so I'm going to give these a shot. Give me a nice night and lounge chair! :grin:

Vortex makes an APO model called the Kaibab which are virtually the same body, but those are full APO bins, but almost a grand more. I didn't need all that, and had read reviews that these are very close in performance, so looking forward to seeing what they can do.



Here's a vid of the Vultures.



Ordered from B & H these should be here Thursday. I'll post some first light impressions next weekend if the weather holds.

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Kerry




Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:27 am 
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Velocepedist
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Location: In search of the ultimate switchbacks and single tracks
Very nice glasses! I think you are making a wise choice starting with hand holdable binos. And the performance of these seems like it will not leave you wanting. I can't wait to read your first reports.

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Single ride personal records: Distance-76.7miles, Max Speed-50.4mph, Max sustained speed (20miles) 19.5mph
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:38 am 
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Steely-Eyed Missile Man
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Location: According to Heisenberg, I'm uncertain...
Thanks Jason. Over the years I've owned 42s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. The toughest to hand hold for any length of time were the 20 x 80s. The 15 x 70s weren't bad and in a lounge chair were good enough for anything I wanted to do with them. 60s were a nice compromise so that helped prompt these 56mm units.

If I decide I want to mount on a tripod, I've got a Bogen with a quick-release plate. The whole head and tripod weighs 6 lbs, so max I'd have a 9lb rig to pick up with one hand and move outside, however I'm not planning on using these in that manner. For the time being simpler is better.

I will keep you posted on the performance. They shipped this morning and will be here Thursday.

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Kerry




Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:44 am 
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Steely-Eyed Missile Man
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Location: According to Heisenberg, I'm uncertain...
The next set I was considering are the Vortex Talon 8 x 42s. These have an 8.1* true field with 65* EPs. The true field is 2.1* larger than my Equinox 10x42s, which is what intrigued me for using during the day as a birding glass, and wider-field sweeps of the MW at night. Very affordable so right now these are in line for an early summer purchase. I like the open-bridge body design too. Supposedly easier to one-hand view like that.


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Kerry




Oh, yeah. The Stifmeister's coming back to Grand Harbor. Deck the halls. Bye-bye, Great Falls. Wipe my a$$ and lick my ba!!s It's Stifler time, baby. Whoo-hoo-hoo. Whoo-hoo-hoo. ~Steve Stifler-American Pie 2 :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:14 pm 
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molecule
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Nice!

I went the opposite direction and picked up a very old set of Asahi-Pentax 7x50s. I hear the coatings are so-so but I want to learn more about these binocular things first hand and compare them to my 35 and 50 dollar 38mm/70mm Celestrons.

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