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AstroVisioneer 12x60mm

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Date: NA
Price: $75.00
Design: 60mm objective lenses with Bak 4 prisms
Description: Large astronomical binoculars with rubber armor, fully coated optics, and Plossl eyepieces.  5.7 degree field of view.

Review

A good pair of binoculars are probably the easiest and fastest thing to use for that quick look or for more casual laid back observing.  My thirty year old Binolux 7x35's have seen better days so I was looking for a more powerful pair without spending a fortune.  Once again I turned to Bill Vorce of Telescope Warehouse and he recommended a this model.  Optics fully coated, BAK4 Prisms, Plossl eyepieces, 5.7 degree FOV, generous eye relief, rubberized coating, dust caps, soft case.  Since I had their 80mm short tube and was happy with the workmanship, I figured I'd give it a try.  Considering that they were being sold for $75 plus $5 for a tripod adaptor, how could I lose?  When they arrived, I was impressed with the nice finish of the binocs.  No ragged edges, all the edges of the rubberized coating neatly trimmed and tucked as one would expect to see on a far more expensive pair.  The focusing mechanism worked tightly, but smoothly and the right hand ep had it's own focusing range so that if your eyesight is not quite balanced, you can make the adjustment on the binocs without having to wear glasses.  It was still daytime, so I took the binocs outside and was blown away by the images of birds and boats (I live near the shore).  The 12x magnification is  just high enough to get up close visually without having too much shake, at least during the day.  Luckily the skies cooperated and I was able to test them that night.  What a disappointment.  No matter what I did, I could not get the two images to merge into one.  I am pretty good at controlling what my eyes do and can cross my eyes and un-cross them pretty much at will, but the collimation on these binocs was just too far off.  Funny how it wasn't apparent at all during the day.  Maybe because the image is so much brighter and your pupil is smaller and the whole depth of field changes that your eyes adapt better.  At any rate, I contacted Bill and he gave me a choice of either sending them back for a refund, sending them back for a replacement, or he would send me directions on collimating the binoculars.  I just hated to think I would have to part with these babies so I opted to try and collimated them myself.  The directions were very straight forward and I was able to adjust the prisms without a problem.  I took a chance, and I will admit that this kind of adjustment is not for everyone.  You need to have some mechanical skill and a set of jewelers screwdrivers.  But the end result is that I ended up with a pair of binoculars that  perform exceptionally well for under $100.  The optics are very good to excellent, with stars focusing down to tight little pinpoints almost to the edge of the field of view.  Sure, there is some distortion towards the very edge but because it is all the way over it does not interfere with the primary object being viewed.  There is no doubt in my mind that a

$1000 pair of Swarovsky (sp?) or Fujinons give a better view.  The workmanship and design of the binocs must be far better, just like a Mercedes is better than a Ford.  But if what you need is transportation without the luxury, why not?  I ended up making a parallelogram mount for my binocs because the 12x magnification is just a bit too much for star viewing hand held.  But with the para-mount I can now sit back in a nice outdoor recliner, position the binoculars in front of me completely hands free and just lie back and enjoy the view for hours without any shake, tired arms or achy neck muscles.  Now if I could just hook up that little beer keg/long straw to the mount as maybe a counter weight......:-)

submitted by Eugene Artemyeff - ecart@surfbest.net

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