View Full Version here: : Andrews WA 10x50 binocs actually Saxon? And more
13-06-2012, 10:28 PM
I own several pairs of cheap binocs. By far the worst for astronomy are my DSE Digitor 10x50s. So I decided to get myself some slightly better 10x50s. Anyway I ended up going with Andrews 10x50 WA for $49. I had to go back as they only had a display pair in the shop, but they were by far the best of the $49 pairs I tried.
Anyway I went looking to see what else was out there and came across Saxon 10x50 BFWA binocs which appear to be exactly the same as the Andrews binocs, down to the thumb wheel with the orange filters. As far as I can tell the only difference is the price.
I also managed to pick up a pair of Bushnell 20x50s the other day for $30 at Parklea markets. I realise these are difficult to hand hold but the optics are stunning compared to the junk I'm use to.
What I really wanted was Orion Scenix binocs for which all the reviews I've read are positive. They sell for $90 + $10 postage in the US but they won't ship here. I'm still very tempted to ask a friend working over there to forward on a pair for me. I suspect they'd outclass the Andrews/Saxons and Bushnell by a margin.
The other ones that I was looking at were Tasco essential 10x50. From what I've read the "zip focus" mechanism leaves something to be desired for accuracy. You can pick these up for $25 in the US but of course here they are $110.
My first pair of binocs, bought around year 2000 were "Winner" brand but have developed a collimation issue. I'm going to have a go at re-collimating because I think their optics isn't bad.
Pricing in Australia is just awful. Suppliers don't need to look very far to work out why people buy overseas whenever possible.
Would be interested to hear from anyone who has any experience with any of the binocs I've mentioned.
In case you're wondering why I'd want so many binocs, I'm happy to have backup sets and sets for my family to use. At ages 3 and 2, my children can't really use them just yet but the 3 year old is getting close to the point where he could use them supervised. At the moment I'd rather have 5 okay pairs to play with than one really good one.
14-06-2012, 02:51 AM
Thanks, a pretty useful post :thumbsup:
14-06-2012, 08:40 AM
10x50 binos for $49!
Do you have anymore info about them? Is there a website that I can go check them out on? I guess at that price they are not fully multi-coated.
Any info you could give would be fantastic
14-06-2012, 09:54 AM
The store I bought them from is no secret. It's often mentioned here. The binoculars I bought use BAK4 glass but are only fully coated. The HG series (which I looked at) costs $169 and are fully multi coated. A word of warning the long eye relief 7x50s listed here as nitrogen purged are not nitrogen purged and frankly they were not very good at all.
The staff are friendly, and helpful (even checked the pair I bought for collimation before I came in a second time) but I did have to make two trips in despite calling first as they didn't have the 10x50s on hand at the store. They were the last copy they had, but I've left my name down for a second copy. The prices at Andrews are great but you have to know what you're looking for. I'd rate the Andrews 10x50 WA about a 9/10 for the price.
For $40, the Dick Smith Electronics Digitor 10x50s I have been rather harsh about are okayish if you don't want to wait for a restock, but don't plan on using them long term - they aren't really astronomy binoculars and they have the awful ruby objectives. Sharpness is okay. There is some CA. I'm thinking of keeping mine in the car but don't know how long they'd last on a hot day. Looking at some truly awful 10x50s at a bargain shop yesterday reminded me of how bad a bad pair can be and on that basis I'd rate these Digitors about 6/10 for the price.
I've been lucky in the past and picked up very good 7x50s for $25 from HomeArt. Haven't seen them again since unfortunately. I'd rate them about an 9/10 for the price too.
14-06-2012, 10:04 AM
Can't comment on the 10x50, but I have a Saxon 15x70 (which Andrews have a clone of on their website for $129). They are best when viewed mounted on a tripod.
They are ideal for casual observing. There was also an article in Aust Sky and Telescope a couple of issues back talking about binos. So I'd recommend you grab a copy and read it, it is very informative.
14-06-2012, 10:45 AM
A lot of optical gear out there comes "from the same factory". Brand names, house brands, generic brands, all source their gear from a few manufacturers. We think that a lot of brands actually make their own gear. Most don't!
Andrews sources their gear from the same places as Saxon does. The difference may be the coating standard that the other requests on the lenses, but the actual optics are the same. Other changes that may be requested are the appearance of the stuff. The result is you get a huge price range, from bargain Andrews gear to paying for a brand name - And it is the same gear!
I'll give you an example. The Baader Hyperion (http://www.baader-planetarium.com/pdf/hyperion-okulare_englisch.pdf) eyepieces, Orion Stratus (http://www.bintel.com.au/Eyepieces-and-Barlows/Orion/Stratus/108/catmenu.aspx) and Saxon Wide Field (http://www.astronomyalive.com.au/telescope-eyepieces/premium-wide-angle-68-degree-field.html) are all really the same eyepieces. The Saxon and Orion ones are identical too! The differences are the "modular" design of the Hyperions, making them unique to Baader (maybe the coatings too, but I'm not sure). But the only difference between the Orion and Saxon eyepieces is the writting on the outside, and maybe the packaging. They are the same eyepiece - take your pick.
Look carefully. You may find the same item at a bargain price if you know what to look for if a brand name sticker isn't what you want.
Edit: I need to note that all three of the eyepiece models I mentioned are actually all very, very good eyepieces at a good price! I have three Hyperions myself, and if I came across the Saxon's or Orion's, I pick them up without hesitation.
14-06-2012, 12:27 PM
Yes I thought you were about about Andrews optics but couldn't see them during my quick look through the site this morning.
Thanks for the further info and link.
I'm with you on the Dick Smith binoculars. A few members of my group have a pair and they suck to say the least. The pearl coating over the objective cuts out so much of the light, that the views through them could be described us underwhelming at best. There collimation isn't to bad, at least in the two pairs I looked at.
Once again thanks for the info syousef.
14-06-2012, 01:25 PM
I must admit I'm more than a little fed up with suppliers and retailers over-charging and mis-informing. The interest in science has died off more than enough without pricing people out of their own curiosity. If the product is expensive to manufacture or import then fair enough pass that cost on to your consumer, and ensure you make enough of a profit to survive and even prosper.
Selling a pair of Tasco binocs that retail for $25-$40 in the US for between $110-$200 in Australia I just can't stomach. I'm not even talking about a different brand in this case. Just who in the supply chain is raking in the extra money? GST is only 10%. Import duties aren't so high it prevents other companies from keeping prices reasonable.
Then there is the evil of the exclusive distribution channel. Again what I really want is Orion Scenix binocs for around $100. But to get them here my guess would be they would cost something ridiculous IF the 3 stores that can get them would consider special ordering. I write email via their web form and get a canned response that includes the 3 retailers here that are Orion suppliers. I try to respond and get an email notifying me the messge isn't delivered as it is caught by some spam filter. Great. Clearly they dont' want my business.
14-06-2012, 01:34 PM
I probably wouldn't go as far as suck. They are usable, but as you say underwhelming. Still at least they are sharp.
If you want something that I'd rate perhaps a 1 or 2/10, take a look through some Fernglas 10x50. I took a look at a pair in a bargain shop yesterday and felt dirty ;-) Everything had a green cast, more colour fringing than a hippy festival, more smudged than the windows on a Cityrail train and they make the DSE binocs look bright. I've seen children's toys that gave a better image. I can only imagine what they'd be like at night. I wouldn't give these to a child. They'd probably make an okay stage prop for a small amateur theatre group, or a good paper weight.
...and yet the 7x50s I mentioned I got for $25 from Homeart are just a tad below the Andrews binocs in quality...
"You get what you pay for" is just incorrect. The correct version is "AT MOST you get what you pay for".
14-06-2012, 01:46 PM
Just a dumb question, if I may:
When people say collimation with reference to binoculars, do they mean the individual collimation of the two scopes (i.e. alignment of their respective objective and ocular lenses), or the parallelism of the two scopes?
Anyone have any experience with the Garrett Optical bino's?
14-06-2012, 02:12 PM
steffen when talking about bino collimation they usually referring to parallelism of the two refractor scopes, not how an individual lines up with its respective objective (as this can't usually be adjusted in a bino - you are stuck with whatever aberration there is present)
14-06-2012, 02:16 PM
14-06-2012, 02:38 PM
No direct experience with them but have read a lot of positive comments about some of their binocs on some forums. Not to say that every model is good.
I looked at their 10x50 Gemini LW on their Canadian Ebay store. BAK4 and FMC. US $74.95 but shipping is US $67.15. Not so tempting at around the $150 mark.
Do you know of a local retailer that carries them?
14-06-2012, 03:02 PM
I thought I'd give a certain local supplier of Orion products a call just to enquire if they could get me a price on the Scenix binocs. The sales person I spoke to, whose name i did not bother to get, spent the whole call rubbishing the quality of Orion binocs and trying to steer me towards buying Nikon Action or Action EX binocs, which cost twice as much and aren't fully multi coated.
Great relationship those two companies have.
Between being fobbed off and blocked by spam filters by the supplier and being "handled" by the retail, it sure makes me want to open my wallet right up and start throwing money at them.
14-06-2012, 04:58 PM
Finally got a price from an Australian store on the Orion Scenix. "List price $229 but we can do them both for $189" He meant either of the 7x50 or 10x50.
...so just a hair under double the price...
For now I'll stick with my $49 pair. Pity
14-06-2012, 05:13 PM
I can understand scopes coming from overseas being nearly double. The size of them would incur huge shipping costs. But binoculars being double... Someone is making big profits.
Have you also noticed that the binoculars with magnifications and apertures most sort after by astronomers can often be a lot more expensive.
When I got my binoculars the Nikon 10x50's where nearly twice the price of the 20x50's with the same optics same manufacturing process, everything. At the time I couldn't work it out, knowing very little I went with the 20x50's, something I now regret. I ended up having to buy a tripod to get the best use out of them.
14-06-2012, 06:19 PM
Forgive me but I'm mildly amused (in a friendly, non sarcastic way). I just bought Bushnell 20x50 because I loved the optics and I couldn't pass them up at $30.
I can hand hold these if I'm willing to brace my arm against a tree but I will use them on a tripod for anything but a casual glance. (I'm into photography, so already own tripods, and I already have binoc L brackets).
I've only had a casual hand held look at the southern cross and a quick sweep to Eta Car with them so far, but I was very happy with the result. The extra zoom made all the difference for me being able to spot the jewel box. I found the entire cross just fit in the field of view. Of course I'd love 20x80 or 20x100 but since I'm not willing to pay for one good set, the added variety is good. I now have 8x21, 12x25, and 7x50, 10x50, and 20x50 covered. If I ever manage to get that many friends and family actually interested in Astronomy out at my house on a night with good seeing I have enough tripods and mounts to mount 3 binocs and handhold a couple myself. I have 2 young children so I'm hopeful at least one of them will be interested. If I'm lucky both. My wife will have a casual glance but nothing more.
See it's not the money I mind spending on this hobby (while I have it to spend at least). It's the lack of value. I just won't pay $200 for $40 binocs EVER. Not going to happen. If that means certain companies don't want my business then that's fine with me.
14-06-2012, 07:01 PM
Certainly lots of badge engineering goes on with all these inexpensive bino's,some are way over priced,around $50 should pull most of them up.
I did have some 10 by 50 Celestron brand ones,that cost $90,I was disappointed with them,not the optics for that price,but the build.
I just got a new pair of 8 by 40's in the mail yesterday,from Ron Gibson at Sirius Optics in Brisbane-he has 'no name' clean skins in a number of sizes,very inexpensive-but good value,these 8 by 40's cost me $25 plus $15 freight-cannot complain at all about them for that price.
If the OP can eventually up graded,to some gas filled bino's for astronomy
you will really enjoy.I am thinking about some 8 by 42's Vixen brand from Steve Massey at Astro shop there about $250.
AIf you ever get the chance to own some 15/20 by 80's on a tripod-you will love them-I use mine-they are a great joy to use,good luck with your bino's.
14-06-2012, 10:19 PM
Thanks for posting hotspur.
There were some breaks in the clouds today when I got home from work so I got the chance to compare and I'm going to have to upgrade my Dick Smith binocs to a 7 or 7.5 out of 10 (or downgrade the Andrews to 8...not sure which). The difference between them is not THAT great.
I actually killed my Dick Smith binocs. Well actually they were dead but I hadn't paid attention. Something had come loose - glue I presume and the left side had developed a wobble, and throwing them out of collimation. You could recollimate by bending the binoculars but that's no way to view the night sky. So I took the rubber coating off and had a look, tried gluing them, lost a screw, and basically ripped them apart to learn about collimation (which I hadn't actually tried on binocs...don't know why I thought it was all too hard. It's not). I ended up ripping off the front left half of the tube. I could glue it back, but these are 6 years old with rusty screws and really for $40 binocs I think I'll keep it to show people what the inside of binocs look like. Plus I salvaged the neck strap, eyepiece covers and case. The neck strap will go on the Busnell 20x50s which came with a horrible flimsy ratty neck strap. A huge advantage of buying cheaper end stuff is being able to learn and fiddle without having an aneurism. I think I'm going to be buying another pair of these as well.
Anyway why am I revising the rating? Well despite a slight blue tinge in low light detail was actually pretty equal, at least in Sydney light polluted skies. That nasty ruby red coating seems to actually do it's job and improve contrast. Compared to the Andrews they are ever so slightly dimmer but that also means you're not amplifying sky glow (admittedly on a cloudy night). The Dick Smiths also claim Fully multi-coated optics stamped on the binocs. Not sure I believe that. I'm sure the colours are less accurate than the Andrews pair. Eye relief isn't as good. But overall views are quite similar in detail. In dark skies, or on a less cloudy night it might be a different story. For $40 and very available I think that's okay.
14-06-2012, 11:01 PM
I had this as part of the last post but decided to split it out as it warrants it's own.
Here's one thing I'm confused about - angle of view/field of view. Both the Dick Smith and Andrews binocs are 10x50 and claim 122m@1000m, but the field of view is noticably smaller in the Dick Smith Pair. That's not subjective. I couldn't fit the southern cross in the field on the Dick Smiths. I could with a tiny bit of room to spare on the Andrews. Even stranger the field on the 20x50 Bushnell Powerview also fits the Southern Cross in, but they claim to give a field of 57m@1000m. Can anyone explain that to me?
I think the Bushnells are mismarked. No wonder I can hand hold them. Mismarked factory seconds? If it's a copy/fake it's a darn good one down to the poor neck strap and good optics.
Just to confuse the matter, my old pair of 7x50's (that I sadly don't have anymore) used to state a 7deg field of view, which works out to ~122m over 1000m :)
15-06-2012, 02:11 AM
Well I collimated my oldest (circa 2000) 7x50s tonight, and that broken pair of Dick Smiths I've done a very shoddy repair job on. Basically the left front tube is held on with one screw and contact adhesive. Whether or not they collimate will depend on how that contact adhesive sets.
I also did some more testing. The "20x50" Bushnell Powerview definitely magnify less than either of my 10x50s. Which is fine by me. I just aquired new Tasco Essential 10x50s on Ebay for $44. But I think I can stop buying 10x50s now ;-) ....unless I decide to replace the Dick Smith ones. My wife reckons I can just stop buying binocs period ;-)
15-06-2012, 01:40 PM
I have collected and repaired binos and other optics for decades. I currently have about 30x in my collection. None of them are below about $A300 dollars when they were new. I have brought and sold many cheap ones but never held on to them - why? because they are rubbish Ė plain and simple. They may be the odd exception but primarily this is a true statement.
Most are miscollimated, have poor build and optics qualities with multiples aberrations and distortions. Donít but Dick Smith binos, most of the Saxon stuff is rubbish, donít but a zoom or one with ruby coatings, donít buy any 'entry level' Chinese binocular. If it means saving longer then do so.
If I knew this many years ago I would have saved thousands of dollars and much heart break. Look, it is not hard, pay for quality the first time. They will last a lifetime and they will give you the views the Universe deserves.
15-06-2012, 03:35 PM
I'm sorry Chris, but I'll have to strongly disagree with you.
I do agree about zoom binocs. I don't love ruby coatings either and see what they do (both good and bad) to an image.
I don't have your credentials. I collimated my first pair of binocs yesterday very roughly, and have no experience with optics, but I'm sorry if I've learnt anything in the last few days it is thatwhat you pay is not indicative of the quality in Ausralia.
I'm amazed at the clarity I see from some of the binoculars you dismiss as rubbish. I have also seen binoculars that truly are rubbish. I'm not new to optics. I have a masters in Astronomy, am an avid amateur photographer who's had some decent results. I have less experience with good binocs but I've looked through some high end telescopes.
Nikon Action are AUD189 here or USD70 in the US
Orion Scenix are AUD229 here or USD90 in the US
Tasco Essentials are AUD110 here or USD37 in the US.
US pricing on Amazon vs best pricing I could find via several resources here. If I've learnt anything it's that you can hand just about any sum of money to an Australian retailer and have them give you a $20 pair of binocs.
Also, do you realise there are people who simply will never enter the hobby if you price them out of it? You can get 80% of the way there with these "rubbish" binoculars. There is rubbish and then there is rubbish. The variation is huge.
Also consider those that have children. Would you put any of your binoculars in the hands of my 2 year old? I'll happily pull mine apart to show my older child. You have the skills to safely pull your more expensive ones apart, but most wouldn't consider doing that to $300 binocs to show a child.
Don't get me wrong. I think repairing and collecting old expensive binoculars is a valid hobby in itself, and I don't doubt you'll get better views. But the last thing we need in the hobby is elitism or forcing manufacturers to push prices up for cheap junk just to lure new purchasers who've been told not to buy cheap.
I wonder what your thoughts are on the Galileoscope project...
15-06-2012, 04:10 PM
One other thing. All porro prisms should have those collimation screws user accessible. I've been collimating dobs for over a decade, but was put off collimating binoculars early on by those telling me it can't be done. It's not hard to align the images. I know that's not "proper" collimation but it's a lot better than double vision.
Actually in some ways that Dick Smith Digitor pair breaking was a boon because I actually got to play with aligning the tubes as well as the prisms.
15-06-2012, 06:21 PM
Hence the saying 'never look through a binocular you can't afford'.:)
16-06-2012, 12:39 AM
Meh, never wanted a car that cost over $10k either, even though I've driven them.
As I said Galileo would have done just about anything for some of the bargain optics we're quibbling about. I don't begrudge anyone who can afford or justify better, but these are good enough for me.
16-06-2012, 12:30 PM
Well I think I've found my next pair of binocs! ;-)
Do you think they'd ship to Australia? I bet Australian retailers would charge double.
Hey Chris, you were right. Never look through binocs you can't afford ;-)
(What's life if you can't make a bit of fun of yourself).
16-06-2012, 01:24 PM
I think it is around $49, but the shipping cost kills it… :rofl:
16-06-2012, 04:33 PM
The 10x50 bino's that I use the most came from Lidl and I paid 20 euro for them. Can't fault them, as good as a pair five times the price. Even bought a few pair as gifts for relatives with no issues. Aldi may do specials at certain times of the year. Worth keeping an eye out.
17-06-2012, 08:55 AM
I think part of the reason some people say you have to pay a fortune to get good binoculars is that there are a lot of really horrible pairs for low prices and the good ones are relatively rare. If I take that pair branded Fernglas that I talk about above as an example, it's barely worth calling them binoculars - they are that bad.
That said I have never looked through a $1000 pair of binocs in the daytime, and never a pair over about $400 at night. I would love to compare them to the cheapies to see just how much better they are, and if I ever get a chance to I will.
17-06-2012, 06:19 PM
The ones I use are the Meade or Bresser brand and I picked them up for less than 20 Euro at Lidl. Most of the amateurs astronomers on the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies (IFAS) boards have a pair and all the reviews are good. Aldi does something similar.
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