bino advise needed

3 replies
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  • Member since
    November, 2013
bino advise needed
Posted by elmatthijs on Friday, November 15, 2013 3:47 PM

I plan to buy a pair of binoculars to both aid me viewing the sky at night ( next to my 6” Newtonian ) and to use as an independent tool; I am addicted to looking at the moon, and thus the bino’s will predominantly be used for viewing the moon ( and Near Earth Objects ).
When I look at the moon with my naked eyes, the aperture is the width of my pupil. When I use the view finder of my telescope ( as a monocular ), I get a head age from the amount of light streaming into my eye ( bigger aperture and magnification ), and tent to put sun glasses on when planning a longer viewing session.
When I buy a pair of bino’s, say 7x50, which seems to be the general advise, or bigger, which requires a more steady hand, do I need to protect my eyes with a moon,- or polaroid filter ?
And if so, what is the bigger issue: the magnification factor or the aperture size ? Or the combination of both ? Are there any bino’s that can have filters screwed on them ?
Any models that are especially suited for lunar viewing ?
I am currently looking at the Celestron Skymaster DX 8x56 or the 9x63 ( both fully multi-coated ). Should I go for a pair at say 20x80 or 25x100, I would need a tripod ( or an upside down broomstick ), which would make the whole setup “cumbersome”, and I would just as well setup my telescope. “Grap & point” is key here !
On the other hand, if I can get a far more superior image with a 20x80 or 25x100, then it would be “foolish” to settle for the 8x56 or the 9x63… Although the weight of the bino’s will be a damper for long term viewing, and any hand shaking will be amplified, I like to see detail J
Any advice welcome !
( newbie to bino’s – Amsterdam, the NL  )
  • Member since
    August, 2010
Posted by PeakOilBill on Saturday, November 16, 2013 1:13 AM

Hi elm... If you are going to use them for astronomy, and don't mind buying a tripod designed for HEAVY video equipment, like the Smith-Victor Propod III, Mfr#700103 that can support 20 lbs. (B&H Photo in New York City sells it for $119 + shipping. It is the only reasonably priced, strong tripod that doesn't cost a fortune, that I could find.) I would suggest you consider the very reasonably priced Zhumell 25X100mm binoculars. The light gathering power of 100mm diameter lenses will let you see many FAINT astronomical objects. They are GREAT for comets. Many people complain about the mount built into the binoculars, but any problems are VERY easy to fix with a few drops of epoxy. See my article in this binocular section for how to do it. Once you have a set in your hands, it will be easy to see what I am talking about in the article that I wrote. You can search the Internet for the Zhumell binoculars. They run about $300, and are well worth the money. You don't need filters to look at the Moon with anything. The tripod can support a solar telescope too, should you ever get one. You can use any eyepieces in a solar telescope, like a Coronado PST from Meade. Get an extra quick release plate for the tripod. It seems like a lot of money, but will last a lifetime unless you drop them. Hope I helped, Bill in Slidell, Louisiana.  


  • Member since
    July, 2002
  • From: Texas
Posted by chipdatajeffB on Saturday, November 16, 2013 11:56 AM

You won't need filters for viewing the moon, but you could rig large camera-lens polarizing filters to the front optics of binos if you wanted to.

When I observe the Moon with binos or telescope, I like to leave a white light on near the eyepiece, so my eyes stay undilated and the extra light from the Moon is not so hard to bear. This also aids using a Moon map or software app to look up the names of features, by the way.


If you plan to observe the Moon a lot using binos, then you do want a good tripod or parallelogram mount, as it will be much more comfortable than trying to hand-hold them -- even with a brace.

I don't generally observe the Moon within about 3 days before or after Full phase, thus avoiding the brightest glare.

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine. --- JBS Haldane

Come visit me at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (we're on Google Maps) in Texas.

  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Posted by DaveMitsky on Saturday, November 16, 2013 5:10 PM


I own a number of binoculars up to 80mm in aperture and speaking frankly can't recommend them principally for lunar and NEO (I assume you mean planetary) observing.  Binoculars excel at producing wide vistas and are great for scanning the Milky Way and observing the relatively few large deep-sky objects such as M31, M45, the Hyades, Melotte 20, Melotte 111, and the North America Nebula (NGC 7000) and a limited number of comets.  They are also great for planning star hops with manual telescopes.  

Most people can hand-hold 10x50s fairly well.  A 20 or 25x binocular is going to require a sturdy tripod and an expensive binocular guider (mount) to be fully effective.

The Moon is still rather small even at 25x.  Try plugging in focal lengths to produce 25x in the calculator at to see what I mean.

The only planet that I find interesting through a binocular is Venus when it's near inferior conjunction.

I fully agree with what Jeff said about using a white light while lunar observing.

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

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