casual astronomy binocular suggestions
At first I was going to go for the Oberwerk 9x60, but I think I have upsold myself to the Vortex Vulture 10x56. Its safe to assume this upgrade will put me in a completely different class and is totally worth the extra $300 right?
Is there anything else I should look at in this price range? My favorite feature is the large objective lenses, but maybe there is some fancy coating that can make 50mm or even 42mm just as bright? I'm very new to all this as you can tell.
Going to the Vortex gets you the roof prism advantages of internal focusing, nicer handling, better waterproofing and so on, not to mention better overall durability and build quality for that extra $300, but, for astronomy, these are not major advantages. If all you are doing is astronomy, you may, in fact, find the Oberwerks to be as bright or even brighter, given that porro prisms are more light efficient. That's why most dedicated "astronomy binoculars" are porro prisms.
If your goal is to get a binocular that you can use by day as well as night for a multitude of uses, the Vortex is certainly the better choice, though, be warned, no 56 mm bino is a lightweight. If all you want to do is astronomy, I'd put that money into a good Fujinon 10x50 or similar. That would put you into top of the line optics AND superb quality.
I like a 10x50 as an option for a dual purpose astronomy and wildlife binocular. You can get some quite useable 10x50 porros under $200, such as the Nikon AE or Pentax PCF WP II. Either of these will be a step up from your zoom in terms of both optics and construction.
Typically around $300 to $400 for a roof to match the optics of a $150 class porro and, yes, at that price all roofs will be phase-corrected.
Great bino for the money, yes. Enjoy