I'd read-up quite a bit on the subject of binocs... i'm an occasional user, but most often prefering the aperture a "telescope" offers. My go-to binocs for years had been a pair of 8X56's- decent enough, but quite pedestrian. I thought i might want something "more"...
Opening the box from Oberwerk, i was actually stunned by the CASE these came in! This is a serious affair- stout, with restraining straps *inside*, and sturdy, folding flaps that can open to fully expose the binocs- or just open at the top to retrieve them! Said flaps attach securely with velcro panels. The case itself was nearly worth the price of admission... but was also a preview of what was yet to come...
Lifting the binocs out of the case is also a bit of an eye-opener! Your eyes & brain are braced for much more of a load than that which actually lifts out- yet they're solid feeling, with a pleasant & grippy rubberized finish. Tight-fitting caps at all FOUR key points protect your optics, and the folding mechanism of the binocs is smooth & solid- will not easily flop out of alignment once placed where you want it! As an added bonus, these 'Obies' are VERY friendly to us eyeglass-wearers, the soft rubber eyecups easily popping *down* to provide comfy access for my eyes to the entire view provided, clear to the field-stops.
Lifting them up to my eyes, i was amazed at their weight- or rather, their LACK of weight. Their heft & *feel* would seem to imply perhaps 70mm binocs, but at 80mm of aperture, they DO deliver! Many Messier goodies are readily swept up in their view & very recognizable, as are the "gas-giant" satellites. Saturn itself is obviously not the roundish disk as is Jupiter, its rings just verging on visiblility. And the Moon? Hooey!- its rendered jaw-droppingly BIG and BRIGHT!... you'll need to take care in navigation after viewing thus, as all that light these send up will have your night-vision severely challenged for a while!
While hand-holdable (i termed it "gorilla-mode") for periods, these are heavier than the ubiquitous 7x50 binocs, and at 20x magnification, even a dixie-straw will take some steadying! I've found them held most-easily by gripping up forward, nearer the objectives, and allowing my face to lend a bit of support at the eyepiece-end. This permits me several minutes of comfortable viewing. That stated, the user of these binocs will be rewarded with even more enjoyable views once these are mounted on a simple photo-tripod with the inexpensive 'L' bracket that can be purchased therewith. This little goodie i'd *highly* recommend!
Mounted in this manner, and thereby steadied beyond what the human arm can accomplish, the views these Obies provide will take another leap forward- even fainter stars will twinkle into view, and fainter extensions on your favorite nebulae will be noticed- perhaps even another satellite or two near its gas-giant parent will become visible! As such, you've now got a pair of decent 80mm richfield, short-tube telescopes for your eyes to enjoy... and they can even *share* the view, as opposed to arguing over which one gets the eyepiece!
To sum up, these 20x80 LW 'Obies' provide me the *best* of BOTH worlds:
* Binoculars, enjoyed conventionally,
* Richfield telescopes, enjoyed mounted,
And they do so in a solidly built, ergonomic package, and supplied in an excellent case. All this, and for less than the price of a single "premium" eyepiece!
Its a total no-brainer! These are "gotta-have's".
Pros: Light-weight, hand-holdable, ergonomic
Cons: Not much dew-shielding... but then, what binocs do *that*?
This review was written in the old system and had content requirements that are different than reviews written today.