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How much do you miss the view, or do you?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2016 at 14:00
algae View Drop Down
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Hey all,  For my first post I have a question that is really bugging me.  For many years I've enjoyed the birds, the stars and nature in general with an older pair of 7x50 Adlerblick binoculars.  Very nice, Japanese made of German glass.  I'm finally in a place where I can walk out on my deck day or night and enjoy an upclose view of nature.  So lately, I've been yearning for a better view of everything from birds to those elusive star clusters, and pretty much decided to pull the trigger on a spotting scope. 

I know that old question of what to buy always comes up...along with the pat answer of, "Well, if you are 80/20 in favor of one or another, then buy the telescope, or the binoculars, or the spotting scope, or whatever.  Well, I'm kind of a 50/50 guy who already has a very nice pair of glasses and doesn't want to deal with what I consider a high maintenance thing like a telescope.  Hence, the decision to buy the spotting scope.  And I've pretty much settled on the Pentax 80 ED-A with the very highly rated Pentax smc zoom. 

But I've started to wonder about something, and here is my question to all of you at the forum.  How much do you miss the stereo view of the binoculars when transitioning to a scope.  Or do you?  (This would apply to telescopes as well.)  Using both eyes with a pair of binoculars still only gives you the same field of view as if you close one eye and look through only one side.  But with both eyes, it SEEMS as though you are seeing 20 to 25% more.  I've started to worry that after having that stereo (or some say, three dimensional) view for all these years that I'm going to be disappointed with the monocular view of the scope, no matter how excellent the quality of said scope.  And I understand that VERY large binoculars are available out there, but they would have to be HUGE to afford the same quality optics as I hope to get from the scope. 

What has been your experience going from binoculars to a scope? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2016 at 16:51
koshkin View Drop Down
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How much you miss the stereo view is sorta personal.  If you plan to have a stationery set-up and can afford to drop some serious cash...

Well, there is a reason things like this exist:

By the way, your impression that you loose 20-25% of visual acuity by using one eye instead of two for the same FOV and magnification is quite accurate (it is closer to 30% for most people).  That, and depth perception is one of the reasons I prefer large binos to spotters for prolonged observation.  It is a much more relaxed view.  

The big problem with high quality high magnification astronomy-grade binoculars is that they are expensive and large.  These are equivalent to two spotting scopes sitting in  bracket that allows them to be perfectly aligned with each other.  If they are not well aligned to each other, you will have headaches minutes into your observation period.

I do not know what kind of distances you get from your deck, but if you do not need too crazy of a magnification, some sort of a 20x or similar binocular does not hit the wallet quite as hard as the Kowas I linked above.  

Steiner makes a very decent 20x80:

If you want to do some night time observation, this is your best choice.  Those 80mm objectives really make a difference.  However, if you plan to hike out somewhere with the tripod and high magnification binoculars, this makes for a bulky package.  The binocular alone weighs almost five pounds if memory serves me right.

If what you are going for is more of a day/dusk use and if you want to be able to take the binos with you, I would suggest you take a look at Vortex Kaibab 15x56 or 20x56.  These are excellent binoculars in a comparatively compact package that works well even with a compact spotter.

I reviewed the 15x56 Kaibab in the past and thought it was excellent.  I have seen the new 20x, but have not done a thorough test.  I plan to do so later this year.

ILya


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2016 at 19:22
algae View Drop Down
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Thanks, Ilya.  I'll look forward to reading that review.  I'm still curious though, about how others out there feel about making the transition from binos to a scope.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/20/2016 at 11:25
tahqua View Drop Down
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I think ILya's response covers the bases quite well. I also have a similar pair of the Steiner binoculars in 15x80. They are great for star gazing and watching distant ships. They are also reasonable to use without a tripod because the objective ends are huge and easy to grasp at the ends. It is amazing how steady I can keep them by holding them like this. That said, they are a specialized binocular.

You already have a pair of general purpose binoculars so I would certainly get a good spotter like you are looking at. Compared to binoculars, I do get some eye strain if I am constantly looking through a spotting scope. I just back off and take a breather. It is more than made up for by being able to dial it up to 60X and see the stars, ships and critters. Also, for sky gazing I would get the angled body. Looking through a straight body at the sky is a pain in the neck, literally.

http://swfa.com/Pentax-20-60x80-ED-Spotting-Scope-P4402.aspx

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/20/2016 at 11:44
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algae,

you can find Ilya's review(s) on his website (in his signature).  In my opinion, it's the best collection of unbiased optics reviews on the Web.  Well worth your while.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/23/2016 at 02:12
koshkin View Drop Down
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I thought that this was an interesting question, so I have a Kaibab 20x50 on the way.  Now I need to pick a 60mm or 65mm spotter to run against it.  I have done this to s limited degree in the past, so I have a fairly decent idea of how much extra magnification a spotter needs to compensate for the use of two eyes with the binocular.

However, I am curious to see how it will play out as the light gets a bit lower.  I think what I need for this is a 60 or 65mm spotter with a variable eyepiece that starts below 20x and that weighs and costs about the same as the Kaibab.  Preferably, it should be a spotter I have limited or no experience with.

I am open to suggestions.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2016 at 13:16
SafariDreaming View Drop Down
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hey mate

I have a range of optics from binos to spotting scopes to a small refractor telescope to a large 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain astronomy telescope.

I find binoculars the most relaxing to view through.

For my large astro telescope (the 11") I bought something called a Binoviewer - it essentially allows me to view using both eyes as this is naturally the most comfortable. However, I dont use this setup regularly as it adds too much weight to the back of the scope and causes it to misalign sometimes.

I also my spotting scopes for star gazing, as well as observing nature etc. I find the most comfortable way for me to view through a scope over a longer timeframe is to keep both eyes open. I get fatigued a lot more when I try and keep the other eye closed..

Even though I have both eyes open, over time I've trained myself to focus on the image from the eye pressed against the spotting scope eyepiece. This normally works, however at nights I have to ensure that there are no lights on around me otherwise I struggle to focus on the image in the spotter.

Sometimes, I also wear a patch on my free eye. This allows me to leave my eye open without mentally trying to keep focusing on the image through the scope.

That being said, I avoid spotting scopes, binoculars, astro eyepieces that dont offer eye relief of at least 15mms. Anything lower and I dont like the comfort factor (or lack of it).

I'd love to get a set of those astro binoculars that Ilya mentioned, but at this stage the price is a turn off as I'd also have to get a set of eyepieces to go with them.

cheers
Jeelan
 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2016 at 09:40
Dogger View Drop Down
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Damn Ilya, almost fainted, that beautiful Kowa with fluorite lenses is $7000 Canadian.  My truck isn't worth that much but I would love to be able to afford them.  Very high marks from astronomical review sites against dedicated astro optics.
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