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Which Oberwerk(s)?

Started by williamichang, 08/05/2003 05:05PM
Posted 08/05/2003 05:05PM Opening Post
The following choices look to me like the "sweet spots"... Are the FOV figures reliable, and which one(s) do you recommend? Also, any difference optically between the 20x80LW and Standard?

12x60 5.7* 2.6lb $110
15x70 4.3* 3.1lb $150
20x80LW 3.5* 3.6lb $200
22x100 3.3* 8.8lb $400

Thanks, -- William

Posted 08/05/2003 05:34PM #1

I have the Oberwerk 12X60 and the 20X80 LW from Burgess. I have not done detailed measurement of the FOV as Edz but I am inclined to believe the 5.7 deg FOV of the 12X60. My Burgess 20XLW is rated for the same 3.5 deg FOV as my Orion 20X80 but the actual usable FOV is better in the Burgess LW. My Orion 20X80 is sharp to about 2/3 from center while the Burgess is good to about 80%.

I believe the Burgess and Oberwerk LW are from the same factory. The Oberwerk may have better broadband multi-coating but I am not sure if is a detectable difference at the eyepiece. The Oberwerk 20X80 standard has the same optics as their 20X80 Deluxe. Slightly loner F ratio could mean less false color but again I am not sure how much difference is detectable for astronomy.

I like the optics of my Burgess 80mm LW very much. However, I do have some concern about the mechanical ruggedness of these low cost 80mm and bigger binos from China. My Burgess 80mm LW was perfectly collimated when it arrived five month ago but it seemed to have developed a slight out collimation conditon recently. I treat all my binos with extra care and Burgess have not been subjected to rough handling or extreme temperature change. I expected them to hold up better under such gentle use.

I do not have the Oberwerk 22X100 myself but this pair would be at the top of my list if I were shoping for a pair of 100mm bino today. For me the center focus feature and the extra bracing of the objectives is well worth the exrta $100 over similar 25X100 binos from Apogee/Burgess/Celestron.

ERik D
Posted 08/05/2003 06:11PM #2
I've had the Oberwerk 11x56 and Oberwerk 15x70 (early version) and the Celestron 20x80. Based on those experiences and many others, as well as nearly everything that I've read or heard on the subject, I don't really think you're going to beat the new improved Oberwerk 15x70s until you spend substantially more than 5x-7x their asking price. By all accounts, they represent a sort of sweet spot merger that encompases good contrast, good clarity, reportedly much improved mechanics, and just generally the most bang for the buck. There are a lot of physical reasons why a 15-16x70 binocular will generally outperform models with slightly more or less magnification and/or aperature. Going to either a higher mag. or larger obj. means lots more attention has to be paid to eliminating chromatic aberation, and that, generally requires lots more money than simply doubling an already low figure. Also, from a strictly visual astronomical perspective, there's not terribly much difference between 15x and 20x, though there is a whopping big difference between 10x and 15x. To put it another way, 15x70 is the most major step up from 10x50, and the next step on the ladder really requires almost a doubling of either power or quality. And a doubling of quality from the Oberwerk 15x70s may well entail more than a quantum increase in price, not an incremental one such as a mere doubling or tripling. IOW, the next step up from them may well be something in the 25/40x100 range. Arguably, a really good, very high contrast smaller obj. bino with very good optics and slightly higher mag. would also be an option, but again, that raises the cash outlay to many times that of the Oberwerk 15x70s.

Obviously, I can't go too far commenting on what I haven't actually tried, so I'll suggest a different approach. Why don't you call or email Kevin Busarow himself and ask him your question straight out. Kevin is one of a very, very small group of folks in the astro biz that strikes me as a phenomenal straight shooter. I've had enough experience with a variety of other players in the astro world to say flat out that Kevin is one of the very few whose word on something I would take at literal face value. Phrase your questions well, and ask him straight out for his personal opinion. I bet he'll take the time to give a thoughtful and personalized response.

Mike Swaim
Posted 08/08/2003 09:52AM #3
Kevin at Oberwerk states the 20x80 standard would be a better performer than the 20x80 LW since it has a longer focal length. It should have less false color. I have No first hand experience with either one of these.

I've done accurate measurements of the true field of view in the 15x70s (4.3°) and the 20x80 Deluxe (3.2°).

Posted 08/08/2003 10:20AM #4
Erik mentions, "The Oberwerk may have better broadband multi-coating (than the Burgess) but I am not sure if is a detectable difference at the eyepiece."

I have not used the Burgess, but the new Oberwerk 15x70 have better (fully FMC) coatings than the older Oberwerk 15x70s. I have tested both new and old Oberwerks side by side. The improved coatings make a substantial difference that can readily be detected between the two binoculars. the newer (truely fully FMC) coatings are better.