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Binocular vs Monocular and Collimation

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Binocular vs Monocular and Collimation

Postby GYS on Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:48 pm

Is it common for low priced binoculars like the Carson Raven 8x26mm Compact Binoculars to have collimation problems right out of the box? If I order it online, what are the chances that I will get a perfectly collimated one without having to return or exchange it? Also, will cheap binoculars go out of collimation even with careful handling? Is it inevitable?

Will I be better off just buying a monocular like the Celestron 10x25 Water Proof Nature Monocular instead of the Carson Raven in order to avoid the possible collimation issues that it may have or may occur? It seems that the monocular will be less prone to this problem since it only has one barrel and less moving parts.
GYS
 
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Re: Binocular vs Monocular and Collimation

Postby Jne_K on Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:41 am

Hi

The lower the price, the less quality control and, therefore, the greater the risk of getting a lemon right out of the box, yes. On the other hand, there is nothing inevitable about a binocular going out of collimation. Reasonably careful handling and even cheap binoculars can give you good service for many years.

Choosing a monocular for fear of collimation issues is not a good reason to choose a monocular. Keep in mind that monoculars have issues of their own. They are harder to steady and locate targets than binoculars and produce much more eye fatigue over long viewing sessions. Choose a monocular for quick peek work or when you need the utmost in portability.
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Re: Binocular vs Monocular and Collimation

Postby GYS on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:28 pm

Thanks for your reply.

When you say "quick peek work", about how many minutes would that be of continous viewing? About how long are the viewing sessions that would require the use of a binocular?

When using a monocular does the eye fatigue occur on the eye used for viewing or is it on the eye being closed or both?
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Re: Binocular vs Monocular and Collimation

Postby Jne_K on Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:43 am

Hi

Basically just long enough to identify something as needed, but once you need to start observing something continuously, you'll be a lot happier with a binocular in terms of both ease of use and performance. In fact, just getting objects located in the eyepiece is easier in binoculars. No way to put an actual count on it, but certainly in terms of minutes. If you expect to do much observing beyond that or need to really study fine detail, I strongly recommend binoculars. Of course, much depends on how good you are with the monocular. If you can manage to keep both eyes open when you use the binocular - some people cannot - you'll extend your viewing time without eye strain. Here's an article of mine on monoculars, What is a monocular? and a recent blog post on the subject.

Personally, I think you could largely escape the issue of collimation and get great performance by squeezing your budget a bit and getting into that $50-100 range on a compact binocular. Be well worth waiting and saving for a binocular such as a Nikon Travelite 8x25 or the Pentax UCF X II 8x25. Both great binoculars with a long established track record for performance and reliability.
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