Sky and Telescope
||70mm objective lenses with Bak-4
prisms and UHTC (ultra high transmission coating)
astronomical binoculars with rubber armor and featuring 16mm eye relief.
am writing this in order to relay impressions of a recent binocular purchase.
I am a fairly active amateur during the winter (3-5 1hr sessions per week), but
don't do much observing in the summer due the our proximity to the gulf coast,
insects, heat, humidity, etc. I am primarily a planetary observer, but do
enjoy hunting down the occasional faint fuzzy. I have approximately 4
years of such experience, so don't consider myself an expert by any means.
I have heard of Burgess Optical Company initially through the E-groups as a
producer of excellent focusers and such for the Chinese imports. I have
not found any negative input about the company, and when Bill Burgess posted on
an E-group that he needed volunteers to test out some new imported binoculars he
was preparing to offer, I sent him an E-mail. I was attracted to the
binoculars because of Burgess Optical's reputation for excellent products, and
the extremely low price (around 100 bucks). It wasn't long before he had a
pair of 10X70 binoculars on the way for evaluation.
Upon arrival the they were found to be well packed. They were contained in
a soft case, double boxed, inside a very large box full of foam peanuts.
Although somewhat abused by UPS, the box which actually contained the binoculars
First impressions- Boy is this a big pair of binoculars. Quite impressive.
I am used to 10X50's. These are rubber armored and seem very utilitarian.
The objectives have a nice green coating on them that looked very even and
smooth. Examination of the internal components through the objectives
reveals that there are some areas which could use some additional application of
the flat black paint, but overall they appear to be acceptable. The
focuser seems very solid with a very minimal amount of play when pressure is
applied to the eyepieces. There is a typical central mount focuser,
along with a right diopter adjustment. Soft rubber retractable eyecups are
present, along with removable objective and eyepiece covers. A strap and
lens cleaning cloth are also present. The objective end of the focuser
also has a receptacle for a tripod adapter (with a snap on cover).
I found myself having a bit of trouble initially getting the images to hold.
Had blacking out problems for about 10 minutes. Then it hit me that these
are long eye relief binoculars. I folded out the rubber eye cups, and had
no more problems. The eye relief is listed as 16mm, and this seems
I currently have a pair of Bushnell 10X50 binoculars which I have been looking
to replace for astronomical use. My 10X50's do have quite a bit wider FOV,
but the stars have never come to focus as fine points. The Burgess
binoculars have nice sharp stars. I like this personally. I am
willing to give up some FOV to get nice sharp images.
I am lucky from an observation standpoint in that I have a fairly decent dark
sky. M31 is visible naked eye from my yard at times of new moon.
However, most of my review time was spent fighting mosquitoes during a nearly
full moon. M31 was quite easy even during this time. I am very
impressed. I did catch an evening with about an hour of clear sky to the
South. I just spent the time in a recliner scanning the Milky Way. I
picked out numerous faint fuzzies, of which I did not identify, but enjoyed the
time very much. Although, I must admit that on extended sessions, I think
these may get a bit heavy. I will probably make one of the monopod type
supports such as described in a recent Sky & Telescope issue to augment the
In conclusion, I must ask you to remember that this was written by a fairly
inexperienced, but enthusiastic amateur. I am impressed with these
binoculars. I think they represent excellent value for the money.
They have decent aperture, are hand holdable for short sessions, and have a very
solid feel. They have long eye relief, which is good for those of us who
wear glasses. As far as minor improvements A) For longer sessions, some
type of support may be necessary B) I think the internal blackening could
use a bit of improvement, and C) The field of view seems a bit narrow. All
in all though, I think those are very minor notes when compared to the price.
I also am not afraid to allow my 6 yr old son to use these binoculars, as
compared to expensive, top of the line equipment.
For what it is worth coming from me, very highly recommended. I purchased
the pair that Bill sent for the review.
by Dennis Foster