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Stellarvue 12x60

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Date: 1-5-2001
Price: $200.00
Design: 60mm objective lenses with Bak-4 prisms.
Description: Large astronomical binoculars with rubber armor and multi-coated optics.  Also features long eye relief.  The package also includes a case, caps, strap, and L bracket for tripod mounting.

Review

HANDLING 12x60s are over two pounds, pretty heavy next to 7x50s. Also the magnification is pretty high. I find that I can hand-hold them. For best results, I lay on the ground and rest the weight on my eyebrows. The exterior is rubbery which gives a good grip and insulates it somewhat. They can be pretty easily mounted onto a camera tripod and used from a seated position.

OBJECTIVES Huge. They have Stellarvue's trademark green coating. They are really green, too. Lens covers flip down like on a battleship. It is important to keep the binoculars warm or the huge lenses may frost over. Do not use the supplied lens cloth on the objectives as it will scratch the coatings.

EYEPIECES Huge. They are each about as big as a 32 Plossl. It takes a little practice finding the right spots for ones eyes, but the fold-down equips help. They appear to be coated with MgFl. The apparent field of view is quite wide.

OBSERVING Views are razor sharp and appear to be sharp to the edge. Also, the contrast is tremendous. Suburban views are good. With a 5mm exit pupil, one can use these binoculars under somewhat polluted skies. [NB: Conventional wisdom indicates that wide exit pupils and low power are best for binoculars. There is a more recent point of view, however, that states that higher power and narrower exit pupils are necessary for maximum contrast and sharpness. The 12x60s appear to have been designed with this in mind.] Under dark skies the view is awesome. Open clusters like M35, the Auriga clusters and the Double Cluster all appear clearly. Others that are too big to appreciate in a telescope are easily viewed through 12x60s (Pliedes, Hyades etc.) M33 appears as a fuzzy disk. M31 is truly amazing occupying nearly the entire field of view. The entire sword of Orion fits in view. M42 appears as a well defined, big, fuzzy thing in the center. Its basic shape is easy to discern. Saturn appears as a yellow football. Jupiter's two darkest belts can be seen along with the Galilean moons. Some false color is visible around Jupiter and maybe the moon, but that is all. Pretty good for a fast achromat.

ACCESSORIES Kind of cheesy, but usable. I replaced the neck strap immediately. Chuck that lens cloth or use it for your eyeglasses. It is too rough for coated lenses. The supplier recommends using the brush end of a Lens Pen to clean the objectives. The care instructions are enclosed with the invoice, so be careful not to pitch them along with the box. Also, enclosed are some generic care instructions on a small, double-sided, multi-lingual page. Again, the real instructions are enclosed with the invoice on the box exterior.

BACKPACK BINOCULARS Roof prism, tiny. Same green lenses. Nice bright images. Focus mechanism is internal, so it is not necessary to crank-down the focuser to fit them in the case. Images seem pretty bright for such small objectives. They were available at a big discount when ordered with the 12x60s. You will need to check the website to see if they still are. Far superior to dept. store stuff.

CUSTOMER SERVICE Consistent with Stellarvue's reputation, which is excellent.

If you are looking for a quick peek scope or something airline portable and you cannot afford a TV85, this may be the answer. These binoculars are made from lenses either made or selected by Stellarvue's people in California, USA. The lenses are coated and the binoculars assembled and tested by experts. The customer pays for optics, not advertising.

Submitted by Anonymous

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