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Pentax 12 x 50, Orion 10x50, Oberwerk 15x70

Started by EdZ, 09/06/2002 08:22AM
Posted 09/06/2002 08:22AM Opening Post
I picked up a used 12 x 50 PCF binocular last week on the mart. These Pentax are the sharpest binoculars I have looked thru. I haven't looked thru Fujinon. I set up the other night with my Orion Ultraview 10x50 on one side and my Oberwerk 15x70's on the other side for a comparison. I viewed Albierio to test for poor image, the point at which I could no longer see it split. I noted star patterns at the limit of fov to find true fov size and I viewed the oc IC4665 in Oph for a wide range of faint stars to test how deep each binocular could see.

The Orions have a 6* measured fov but can't begin to compare to the sharpness of the Pentax. Orions are sharp only out to 60% of field, between 70-80% out the image becomes un-useable, leaving only about a 4.5* clean view. In the Orions favor, the wider fov does make it easier to initially find objects and at 32oz. they can easily be handheld.

The Oberwerks measure the full 4.4* fov as advertised with a good sharp image out to 60-70% of field. The image doesn't become poor until about 90% out giving a fairly good sized viewable field of 4*. The Oberwerks have the edge on power, allowing to see deeper into every cluster I tried but need to be mounted for best results.

The Pentax measured a hair less than their stated 4.2* fov and are sharp across 70% of the field, with a fairly sharp view all the way out to 90%+! This gives the Pentax just under 4* clearly useable fov. The Pentax have the best eye relief - 20mm, the best focus mechanism, and at 12x they saw almost every faint star seen in the 15x Oberwerks, although a few were harder to see. I think they also have the best color. And they only weigh about as much as the Orion 10x50, they can be hand held.

Previously I had tested the Oberwerks against Orion Giant 16x80 and the Oberwerks had wider fov and more of it sharply focused. These Pentax were proving equal to or better than the Oberwerk in every way except image size, 12x vs. 15x, and the ability that magnification gives you to see fainter stars. If you're looking for a great astro binocular try out the Pentax 12x50. Not for wide field views, but sharp across the field they provide. And they do it in a package that appears to be very high quality and is nicely sized.

Posted 09/06/2002 06:11PM #1
Ed, your impressions of the Oberwerk are that much more meaningful because you related them to your experiences with the Pentax and Orion units.

Now, go check out the 12x63 and 15x63 Mini Giants and the Minolta 12x50 Activas and report back to us -- say, in a week or so :-)

Thanks for sharing your impressions of this trio of very popular binoculars. You've helped give me a little more perspective on all three. I'm sure other readers feel the same way.

Best wishes.