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Started by Kimballcorson, 04/03/2003 09:41PM
Posted 04/03/2003 09:42PM #1
I dabbled too long in just telescopes before learning about and getting my first pair of big binoculars, a Burgess 25x100. (Little binoculars don't count, because they don't offer a comparable experience.) My 25x100 binocular was an eye opener, and an astronomical experience I believe I should have had much earlier, as an amateur astronomer. For once, I really saw the porthole into space Televue touts, but I never saw through my scopes and Naglers. Even then, however, I only bit on a big binocular because such big Chinese binoculars seemed to be so well built and perform so well, optically and mechanically, for what is really just a pittance. The low cost of Chinese labor makes these big binoculars almost a gift to Americans. Too many telescope aficionados are missing out on too much that can be for too little. Also, big binoculars are a much better way to learn the night sky for those just getting started and for intermediate astronomers as well. A high quality dob with a Zambuto mirror, such as a Portaball or the like, and the Oberwerk or Burgess 25x100 is all an amateur astronomer really needs in the normal course. Getting a light weight Oberwerk or Burgess 20x80 on a Bogen 3011 with a 3126 video head as well simply guilds the Lilly with great portability and adds grab n go facility, but with some compromise of images, of course.

The customized big Chinese binoculars offered by Bill Burgess of Burgess Optical ( and Kevin Busarow of BigBinoculars ( are something ever reasonable amateur astronomer should look into. For the price of a used TeleVue Pronto (tube only), you can get a Burgess or Oberwerk 25x100, find a Bogen 3046 tripod, and get a suitable mount (T+T, Universal Astronomics or a Bogen 501 video head) and be so far ahead on the fun curve, it is unbelievable. The TV 101, Pronto and TV-85 I have owned never provided me with a comparable or as interesting an experience. I still have the TV-85, but its use is getting squeezed out by the big binoculars and my Portaball 8, and it is gathering dust.

My notion is you have to become an aficionado of the cheap big binoculars before you are ready to bite the financial bullet on the big expensive ones. Many more people need to get their feet wet in this quarter The cheaper Chinese big binoculars will satisfy most, but a few will eventually go for the better stuff, when and if they can. However, the cheap Chinese stuff is really of very decent quality, both optically and mechanically, and a wholloping bang per buck, something the field of astronomy sorely needs. So heads up, folks. If you don't know about these big binocular opportunities, you are really missing out on something terrific and fun. Forget your 10x42s. They are not even in the ball park. Try the big binoculars I describe. You won't regret it.

Kimball Corson