The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Gear and Accessories

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 21, 2007, 09:17 PM   #1
FirstFreedom
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
Posts: 12,451
Big Binoculars: Oberwerk 22x100 and others

Awhile back, we did a thread or two on non-traditional range spotters, and as a result of that good info from Capn Charlie & others, I ended up with an astronomy scope - a Mak-Cas scope (reflector hybrid) from Celestron as a range spotter - I got the C130 Mak, and am very pleased. But since it is very big & cumbersome, more fragile than a refractor scope, and a bit unsteady with all that weight and size atop a standard camera tripod, I thought this a poor combo asking for trouble (tipping over and falling), so I looked at some of the intriguing "big binoculars" as a replacement for my Burris landmark 20-6x80mm spotter - the binocular vision appeals to me - ended up getting the Oberwerk fixed 22x100 the other day for $380 plus shipping and couldn't be more pleased:

http://www.bigbinoculars.com/22100.htm

Talk about clear and bright. Haven't fully wrung it out but it looks fantastic so far for looooong range (seeing whether deer have big antlers or not at 2 miles-plus, when scouting on the plains), and for range spotting. Being a refractor and thus more durable, it's much more suitable for taking to the field and the range than the mak-cas scope, which I will now reserve for astronomy and over 400-yard shooting (seeing little holes). And the big 100mm objective on this Oberwerk means it makes for more resolution than any 80mm spotter, be it a cheapie or even a $2,000 zeiss or swarovski.

I did notice after I purchased mine, that Celestron makes a similar product for over $150 less than the Oberwerk, so may be a better value - this 25x100 fixed:

http://www.opticsplanet.net/ci-skyma...5x100-gab.html

As you can see, on sale there for $223. I'm sure that's a fine product, but the Oberwerk is slightly superior - it has fully multi-coated (all air to glass surfaces) optics to the Celestron's multi-coated, has an additional 3mm of eye relief (possibly important if you wear glasses), and it's slightly less weight than the Celestron. The Oberwerk also comes in a very nice hard aluminum case, vs. a soft case with the Celestron. These are both Japanese-made, not China or Phillipines.

Though some more expensive models do, these two in particular do not have the angled eyepiece, and thus you need a tripod that cranks up pretty tall for terrestrial viewing.

But the binocular view, which gives your brain a very nice picture, with the large objectives, and the reasonable price, makes these great range and bird/wildlife spotters, IMO. Only drawback other than largish size, is that, not being variable power, in the summer, when there is mirage, no way to dial them down like a 15-45 spotter for example.
FirstFreedom is offline  
Old March 26, 2007, 04:54 PM   #2
FirstFreedom
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
Posts: 12,451
On the other hand, it's quite possible that very few people find this subject as interesting as I do.
FirstFreedom is offline  
Old March 30, 2007, 07:01 PM   #3
ClarkEMyers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 13, 2004
Location: PacWest
Posts: 455
Some do, see the discussion and extensive testing on 24 Hour Campfire

Quote:
From my observations, the majority of hunters who venture into these waters follow the same pattern that Major Painter and I did, initially dismissing the utility and applicability of Big Eyes to their own hunting. The optics are too big, the tripods are too heavy, and "I already own 10x Leiczeiskis." Then they try them, and all doubts evaporate. Once you try Big Eyes on a tripod, you will know what I mean.
BIG EYES: Seeing Is Believing
by Rick Bin
ClarkEMyers is offline  
Old March 30, 2007, 09:28 PM   #4
FirstFreedom
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
Posts: 12,451
Yeah, and it's not even so much as a substitute for binocs as it is a substitute for a traditional monocular spotting scope. These have a bigger objective(s), AND bincocular vision, AND cost less than a mid-range monocular spotting scope. What's not to like, other than a bit of weight/size?
FirstFreedom is offline  
Old March 31, 2007, 12:58 PM   #5
FirstFreedom
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
Posts: 12,451
Does anyone think this would work for spotting at the range? I would guess that you could see holes at 1,500 yards pretty easily, even at night:

http://www.telescopes.com/products/d...ope-42324.html
FirstFreedom is offline  
Old March 31, 2007, 09:06 PM   #6
Seamus
Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 2006
Location: Interior Alaska
Posts: 63
I'm really curious as to how these work at the range as spotters. I seriously considered some of the binocular choices but went with an Alpen variable - just conservative I guess. The reviews at opticsplanet and bigbinoculars are very helpful...for example, you Will need a tripod, etc. Just out of curiosity, have you looked at the moon with them. This would be a good time. Anyway, can you see the holes being made in targets at 200 yds, 300? Mile? lol
Seamus is offline  
Old March 31, 2007, 09:19 PM   #7
MEDDAC19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2005
Location: Endless Mts,NEPA
Posts: 379
Only problem I see with these is that you have to use some type of support and that you can't focus on anything closer than 27 yards away. Can't use them on a 25 yd .22 shoot.
MEDDAC19 is offline  
Old March 31, 2007, 10:11 PM   #8
FirstFreedom
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
Posts: 12,451
Well, no, for 25 yards, I just use hand-held 8x50 binos or the rifle's scope. For that matter, I use ditto at 50 yards.

No, haven't looked at the moon yet - been very busy. My range only goes to 200, but haven't even taken them to the range yet. In my neighborhood however, I can see a church straight down at the end of this one road over 1/2 a mile away (about 950 yards), and it looks like I'm looking at it from 100 yards with regular 6 or 7x binos. From the 6th floor of an office building, I can see birds well enough to make out the fact they they're pigeons, at what appears to be about almost 2 miles, near a mall.

Yes, you need a tripod for anything over 10, 11, or maybe 12 power - but they hook into any regular camera tripod with standard single-screw attachment. However, being that these are a tad on the heavy side (8-9 lbs for the 100mm ones), you want a good sturdy tripod with a good head on it - preferably not the quick-release type, although those will work in a pinch. Of course, there are many other models of the big binos with 80mm and 70mm objectives, too, that are lighter.

As a good basis of comparison, I once paid about $240 plus tax for a Burris Landmark 20-60x80mm spotter - the Celestron 25x100 is $232 shipped to your door, and that's for TWO spotters, each with 100mm objectives, not 80mm. That extra 20mm of objective (10mm radius) translates to over half again as much (56.27%) more light gathering ability (surface area) than the 80mm, and thus resolution. TWICE. And I can't imagine that the Celestron glass quality is any worse than Burris's economy line. Not that it's terrible; just that I'd imagine they are on a par.

I'll post further as I use them at the range....

P.S. After further reading, I was misinformed by a salesperson - the Celestron, Oberwerk, etc. are Chinese-made, not Japanese. Doesn't mean they're junk. But they're not Japanese.
FirstFreedom is offline  
Old April 7, 2007, 05:03 PM   #9
stellarpod
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 18, 2001
Location: OKC,OK
Posts: 263
I used a 102mm Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain for many years as my primary spotting scope. It does a pretty good job, but I currently use an 80mm Nikon Earth & Sky with angled eyepiece. It's certainly more convenient - especially with the zoom eyepiece.

Now the Meade sits on an equitorial mount on the back patio and is used for casual nightsky observation.

stellarpod
__________________
Things are a lot more like they used to be than they are now
stellarpod is offline  
Old April 7, 2007, 06:22 PM   #10
FirstFreedom
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
Posts: 12,451
ClarkMyers, here is a link to that article you mentioned:

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/

At the end, I wish they would have evaluated the ones larger than 12x56 or 15x60, such as the 70, 80, 90 and 100mm scopes (15-25x), to evaluate how well they scan efficiently. There may come a point where you start to get diminishing returns - when the magnfication & resolution are higher than you need to spot the game, and yet slow down your efficiency in scanning. So that's what I'd like to see evaluated - where is the sweet spot? But a $500 big objective beats a $2,500 smaller objective every time, in brightness & resolution. Only downside is weight. If you're glassing from the pickup truck, doesn't matter. If you're packing in the optics, then the "Leiczeisovskis" are worth it. In any event, a 15x optic is going to be less prone to mirage, so that's certainly an advantage over the 20-25x's.
FirstFreedom is offline  
Old April 22, 2007, 12:08 AM   #11
PeteQuad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 9, 2007
Posts: 198
I have Oberwerk binoculars from bigbinocular.com and they are excellent quality for the money. However, I don't think it makes sense to get 80-100mm binoculars for spotting at the range; the large aperture makes more sense for astronomical puposes (to see faint objects), and just annoyingly heavy for spotting purposes. What you want is something with high magnification and just decent enough optics to see the holes.

If a spotting scope is not good enough for you, you can go to a Schmidt- or Maksutov-Cassegrain, with a 3.5-5" aperture. Then you can buy whatever eyepiece you want and get whatever magnification suits your fancy. I have this little number here, that I use with a 45 degree mirror so that I can see right-side-up: http://www.telescope.com/shopping/pr...rd=starmax+127

But there are lower priced and smaller versions of the same from Orion, Meade or Celestron, and many others. Then, when it gets too dark to shoot, you can look at the stars

Of course, then you end up having to decide whether you are going to buy more telescopes or guns and things get complicated.
PeteQuad is offline  
Old April 22, 2007, 12:15 AM   #12
FirstFreedom
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
Posts: 12,451
Quote:
Of course, then you end up having to decide whether you are going to buy more telescopes or guns and things get complicated
That's a fact, Jack.

Which Oberwerks do you have?

I have to disagree somewhat on the big objectives for range spotting. Higher magnfication will not help at all with resolution (i.e. making out the holes in a target) - only objective size and lens quality help with resolution. Larger objective will get you there more surely and more cheaply than lens quality, at the cost of weight/size. For the range, a little bulk doesn't matter - the pickup truck is 10 yards away (for the field it would). A 100 power bino with a 25mm objective won't let you see squat at 100 yards. A 25 power bino with a 100mm objective will let you see little holes at 200 yards plus.
FirstFreedom is offline  
Old April 22, 2007, 01:15 PM   #13
PeteQuad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 9, 2007
Posts: 198
I have the 15x70 ones; I use them in a lightweight parallelogram mount sometimes.

OK, its a good point about the cheap 25mm binos, but I wasn't thinking of using anything under 60mm. But I still think a small scope with variable lenses is better than binos for this application; for $230 you could pump this thing up to 125x or so and still get good quality
http://www.telescope.com/shopping/pr...iProductID=367
PeteQuad is offline  
Old April 22, 2007, 11:31 PM   #14
skeeter1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 11, 2006
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 3,403
Quote:
No, haven't looked at the moon yet
Wait until you do. Even my 11x80 binocs give a spectacular view. If you know where to look, you can also use them to see the Galilean moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, the Andromeda galaxy, and more from the Messier catalog of astronomical objects. Yes, I guess that makes me a nerd.

Oh, and BTW, they're good for spotting at the range as well. Just make sure you have them on a sturdy tripod. I'd be surprised if you could see anything hand-holding them.
skeeter1 is offline  
Old April 22, 2007, 11:59 PM   #15
FirstFreedom
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
Posts: 12,451
Nerd alert!

Cool; I'll have to check it out. Glad to see the 94 Stanley Cup Champion NY Rangers' captain has other interests in addition to hockey...getting some astro structures named after him.
FirstFreedom is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 10:50 AM   #16
FirstFreedom
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
Posts: 12,451
Update

OK, finally used the 22x100 for range spotting work yesterday. As it turns out, it worked great for 50 and 100 yard spotting. But honestly, I think more magnification is in order for 150 and 200 yards - it was possible to see large holes at 200 yards, but the smaller holes were tough. I'd prefer to have a 30-50x or more, for 200 and beyond. In truth, this 12-36x70 zoom bino would probably work better for 200 range spotting, even with a much smaller objective:

http://www.opticsplanet.net/oberwerk-12-36x70.html

That its, if you're keen on this idea of having bino instead of mono vision as with a traditional spotter. The price is certainly reasonable. You do need the tripod adapter to make the bino work with the tripod, so that's another $20 or so.
FirstFreedom is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:36 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09813 seconds with 7 queries