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Gander Mountain 10x50mm

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Date: NA
Price: $59.00
Design: 50mm objective lenses with Bak 4 prisms
Description: Rubber armored and fairly rugged in design. The are average in terms of weight and their size. Fully-coated lenses have a deep blue-purple hue to them. They will also accept a tripod adapter.

Review

I purchased these simply because at the time I really needed a larger pair of binoculars. It was before I owned my newest telescope so they were to be used as my primary observing instrument. Price was also an option because I did not know how much I would use them or if my interest in astronomy would justify spending more. So in other words at the time they seemed to be a good deal.

Keep in mind for this review that they are not the most expensive binoculars out there but for all practical purposes they serve my needs effectively. First of all just having a larger pair of binoculars has allowed me to see much more than I would of without them. They are now used for nightly quick looks and on some camping trips when I don't want to bring my big scope. It is on these trips in mag 6.0 skies that they actually do a good job. Here in the city however (mag 3.0 at best) their usefulness is questionable. Most of the larger globular clusters are hard to find from the city and the only deep sky objects that I can see in these are the Great Orion nebula and Andromeda Galaxy. They do a decent job on most of the local open clusters. On camping trips it is a completely different story. I have seen many of the fainter nebula in the Northern summer sky. They also offer excellent wide field late night views of the summer milky way as it arches across the sky.

On the downside the focuser is extremely loose and has required me to rig up a system of rubber bands to lock it at infinity. When you press your face against the eyepieces it would knock them out of focus. By wrapping two rubber bands tightly around the base of the focuser this problem has been completely solved. Another negative in these binoculars would be the edge of field effects. I would say that the inner 10-15% of the field is so distorted that only the center of the view is of any use. Not only is this annoying but it cuts down on the overall field of view.

In the end these are still my most useful observing tool only because I have not replaced them yet. Believe me that new binoculars are on my short list of new equipment. They have however been extremely useful and will be into the near future. If I had to give them a ranking out of 10 they would get a 6.0 in the city and probably an 8.0 in the country. The problem is I only get out into real dark skies a few times a year.

Submitted by Curt Irwin - irwincur@excite.com - Grand Rapids, Michigan

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