BT-127XL-SD In-Depth Review

The binocular aficionados at have published the most comprehensive review to date for our flagship BT-127XL-SD binocular telescope. You can read the written review here. It’s in Italian, but most browsers will translate to English. There is also a 15-minute YouTube review. It’s also in Italian, but has English subtitles. As always, the video quality is excellent, and the scenery is breath-taking. This review very clearly shows the remarkable absence of CA (Chromatic Aberration) due to the BT-127XL-SD’s apochromatic triplet objectives. If you’re considering a larger-than-100mm binocular telescope, this video review is well-worth your time.

Supply Chain Woes / Christmas 2021

Oberwerk has experienced tremendous growth over the last two years. During this time, we’ve been able to to manage our supply chain and overseas shipping to keep our warehouse well-stocked most of the time. The cost of sending cargo by air has increased greatly, but we’ve been able to absorb that for now because 1) shipping cost for our larger/heavier binoculars is still a small percentage of their cost and 2) less-expensive models are relatively-lightweight, so shipping cost is still a manageable percentage of their cost. So even though many of our most popular binocular models keep running out of stock, we’re bringing in air shipments as often as possible to prevent long back-orders. Customers that placed out-of-stock binocular orders in November should receive those orders before Christmas. For orders placed in December for out-of-stock products- we’ll do our best, but we can’t guarantee delivery by Christmas.

The situation is different with our popular Model 5000 aluminum tripods. The cost of air freight is prohibitive because these items are rather heavy, yet sell for a relatively-low price. In fact the current cost of air freight, plus the cost of the tripod, exceeds the selling price of the tripod! So we’ve had to put our most recent order of 5000 tripods on a sea shipment. We’re hoping to have these sometime in late-Feb./early-March. We know the 5000 is a popular choice for several of our binoculars, so what to do if you can’t wait until then? For binoculars up to 10 lbs., our Model 4000 (which uses the 5000 head), will work almost as well as the 5000- and is $70 less. If you were considering the 5000 for one of our XL Binocular Telescopes, we highly recommend the TR3 hardwood tripod instead. While the cost is over $300 higher, the TR3 is much steadier and is the best choice for binoculars that are capable of such high magnifications.

Please contact us by phone or email if you have any questions about availability, as well as best mounting choices for our various binocular models.

Oberwerk PM2 Awarded a “2021 Star Product” by Astronomy Magazine

We’re pleased to announce that Astronomy Magazine just named our PM2 Parallelogram Mount a “Star Product” in their October 2021 issue. A parallelogram mount is the best way (only way?) to view the night sky comfortably with a straight-through view binocular, especially when combined with a reclining chair. They’re also great for astronomy outreach, as the 28″ vertical range easily accommodates most adults and children.

StarScope Monocular Scam

Here’s yet another product scam that apparently lots of people are falling for. This one isn’t quite as egregious as the “10-300x40mm Super Telephoto Telescope” we warned you about previously, but it’s still full of deception. Despite the false claims of military-grade magnification, better than $3000 Telescopes! and …will give you the power of a $4000 DSLR in your pocket, it’s just an ordinary low-end Chinese-made monocular. Note that it’s claimed to be 12x50mm, but the exterior diameter is 53mm, and with the thickness of the objective cell, body, and rubber covering, the objective lens itself could be no more than 42mm. The exit pupil diameter is listed at 3mm, which if correct means it’s actually 12x36mm.
They’ve even created a number of fake review websites, such as “Best Honest Reviews“, which asks the question StarScope: The REAL DEAL Or Just Another SCAM?, but sadly, concludes with the wrong answer.
Here’s another website called “Top Reviews Daily“, with a fake reviewer named Douglas Jones. Douglas is a gadget lover. He has two sons aged 7 and 16. Douglas loves good wine and stand-up comedy.

While Douglas doesn’t appear to be a real person, the claims for the StarScope could be a stand-up comedy routine. Here’s a sample (I’ll be the heckler)-
Douglas: The team behind this amazing product was tired of carrying around heavy, expensive monoculars and binoculars with their huge bulk. And because they have the skills, they created a brand new monocular that is both easy to carry around and affordable.
Me: Ah, they have the skills! “Girls like guys who have skills” (Napoleon Dynamite voice).
Douglas: Because technology was advancing so fast, the team behind StarScope Monocular used modern CNC equipment, optical programs on the fastest computers, and high-tech designs to create a reasonably-priced telescope that was as good as those from the most expensive brands.
Me: Fast technology, fast computers- and the skills!
Douglas: StarScope Monocular is a success beyond its creators wildest dreams. It is now being offered to perfectionists who appreciate quality…
Me: I’m a perfectionist that appreciates quality. I don’t appreciate this.
Douglas: Perhaps the finest monocular ever built, it can be handheld or mounted to a tripod for more stability. It comes with a built-in tripod socket, perfect for mounting to a camera or for long term observation!
Me: The finest ever built- yet it doesn’t even use expensive ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass. It’s a miracle!
Douglas: The StarScope Monocular team wants to get its awesome telescope out to people who will tell others about it, and that’s why they are offering such an AMAZING DEAL!
Me: When buyers tell others about it, this scam will be over.
Douglas: The magnified viewing of StarScope Monocular has been tested, and found to equal or exceed the zoom and photo quality produced by some of the most expensive brands on the market.
Me: But StarScope doesn’t zoom or take photos- your phone does that!

Gotta admit, Douglas is pretty funny! I bet you’re LOL right now too- unless you already ordered one of these?

Conclusion: The price for the StarScope “special offer if you buy now” is around $57. While this is pretty high for the low-end Chinese 12×36 monocular that it is, it’s not a complete rip-off. While the claims for the StarScope are ridiculous, it should function as well as, but no better than, other sub-$50 monoculars.

Considering the BT-127XL-SD?

Since the announcement of the BT-127XL-SD, we’ve been surprised by the large number of pre-orders we’ve received, even before any customer reviews have come in. While we do sincerely believe it’s the finest binocular telescope that money can buy, at least that one person can easily manage, it may not be the best binocular for you. The BT-127XL-SD was intended for the serious amateur astronomer. When used under very dark skies, it excels at bringing out detail in the faintest nebula and galaxies. But we’ve noticed that some are buying it simply because it’s our most expensive model, apparently assuming “most expensive” means “best”. For those that are mostly interested in watching whales from their oceanfront home, or those that mostly want to view Saturn and Jupiter from their somewhat light-polluted skies, the BT-100XL-ED could be the better choice. The only real difference between the 100XL and 127XL, when used for daylight viewing, as well as viewing brighter night-sky objects, is the 127XL is operating at 93x with our optional 7mm eyepieces, while the 100XL is operating at 80x with the same eyepieces. This is not a noticeable difference, and therefore the much higher weight, size, and cost of the 127XL may not be worthwhile. Besides cost, the much heavier 127XL has some other disadvantages. The carbon-fiber elevator that we normally equip with the TR3 hardwood tripod, which allows up to 18″ of instant height adjustment, can’t be used with the 127XL. The only way to have an elevator with the 127XL is to opt for the much more expensive (and not as pretty) Manfrotto 161MK2B tripod. The 127XL, in its huge trunk-style wheeled case, weighs 54 lbs., while the 100XL, in its much smaller case, weighs 25 lbs.- something to be aware of if you intend to transport your binocular.
If it sounds like we’re trying to talk customers out of buying our $5400 binocular, that’s not the intent- we’d be happy to sell them as fast as we can build them. We just want to make sure that you end up with the binocular that makes the most sense for your intended usage- and for most, that’s very likely something smaller than the 127XL.