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Burgess 10x70mm

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Date: 9-6-2002
Price: $100.00
Design: 70mm objective lenses with Bak-4 prisms and UHTC (ultra high transmission coating)
Description: Large astronomical binoculars with rubber armor and featuring 16mm eye relief.

Review

I 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 was unharmed. 

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 about right. 

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 longer sessions.

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.

Submitted by Dennis Foster

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