re: Best binoculars

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 19:23:00 EDT

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    Ronnie Henley wrote:
    > Being new at this could I get some advise on what size 
    > and type binoculars works best when observing satellites.
    There are no doubt varying schools of thought.  One major 
    question is if you intend to use them handheld (lower power
    binoculars) or with a tripod and mount (higher power).  
    There are trade-offs.  Lower power models have a larger 
    field of view and are lighter in weight, and tend to have
    less image shaking.  Higher power models have a smaller
    field of view and are heavier and tend to have more image
    shaking, but of course you can see fainter objects.
    In any case, I would strongly recommend getting a model 
    that is fully multicoated.  Getting the best coatings gets
    you the best light transmission, reduced glare, etc.
    I like handheld, lower power observing.  A good size for
    that is 10x50.  If you want even larger field of view and
    lighter weight, 8x40 or 8x42 are good.  If you feel like
    you can do it, you could go for more power, such as a 
    12x50, or even add more light-gathering (and more weight)
    and get a 12x60.
    One more question is if you would use the binoculars for
    other activities, such as birding, camping, hiking, 
    sports, etc.  For almost any of those, you ought to look
    for a waterproof model, which is not needed for astronomy.
    Will you be wearing eyeglasses?  If so, get "long eye
    relief", at least 16mm.
    Two vendors who specialize in binoculars are Oberwerk
    and Garrett Optical.  Both have pretty good reputations 
    for quality control and customer service.  They also 
    have good prices.  Orion is a good vendor.  I like to 
    "window shop" on the Eagle Optics website, which has 
    some good ways to sort by price, model, brand, etc.
    On the website there is a very active 
    and helpful binocular forum with over 250 mini-reviews
    of lots of models of binoculars and much discussion.
    Ed Cannon - Austin, Texas, USA
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