Purchasing a new binocular but which one?
Selecting and buying the right binocular really boils on on your budget!
Choosing which binocular to buy?
- binoculars are an inexpensive, perhaps essential, way to get started in astronomy.
- many people consider binoculars to be a necessity and will recommend learning the constellations and how to find night-sky objects first using binoculars before going out and buying a telescope.
- even when using a telescope, your star-gazing will be enhanced by the ease of use and wide field of view of having a good pair of binoculars with you!
- binoculars sold at sports stores or department stores aren’t suited for night-sky viewing.
Categories for Binoculars
- Astronomy is a demanding application for astronomy – the optics must be great or you will be disappointed with the results.
- for beginners – 7×50 and 10×50 binoculars are acceptable quality for astronomy.
- in the serious amateur range between £100-£300, 7×50 and 10×50 binoculars from Nikon, Fujinon, Celestron, and Carton Optics work well for astronomy.
- in the serious professional range of £500+, binoculars from Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski provide exceptional performance and quality.
- also in this range are giant binoculars and image-stablized (IS) binoculars from Canon and others.
All-around binoculars for astronomy
- either 7×50 or 10×50.
- 7×50 binoculars will give you an exit pupil of 7mm, which is the largest you want to use.
- 10×50 binoculars have a 5mm exit pupil, which is even better.
- if you are over 40 years old, your maximum dilated pupil size at night will probably be closer to 5mm.
- the smaller the exit pupil, the brighter the image will be, but the closer your eye must also be to the eyepiece, which can make them harder for some people to use.
- consider a 7×50 or 10×50, maybe 15×70 model – this will allow steady hand-holding without binocular shake
- spend at least £50 for acceptable-quality binoculars.
- get a model that will mount on a camera tripod – look for a threaded hole.
- get a tripod adapter, this is a low-cost way to stabilize your binoculars
- consider getting a pair of solar filters for viewing sunspots and other solar activity
- porro-prism type binoculars are generally better than roof-prism binoculars.
- don’t buy from a department or sports store – these are not suited for astronomy.
- don’t buy a fixed-focus or “perm-focus” model – these are not suited for astronomy.
- don’t buy zoom binoculars – optical quality is compromised to keep costs down. (photo)
- don’t buy the compact, roof-prism type of binoculars. (photo)
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