New Oberwerk XL Series Binocular Telescopes

For the last three years, we’ve been working on an updated replacement for our BT-80-45 that was discontinued in 2010. Inspired by the iconic Bj100-iC “Galaxy” from now-defunct Miyauchi, as well as the sleek Kowa Highlander, our goal of the XL-Series was highest-possible optical performance (“to excel”) with the lowest-possible weight (Xtra-Light). After testing eight or so prototypes over the last two years (some were actually 3-D printed), we finally achieved that goal, and the BT-82XL and BT-82XL-ED were approved for production. Around that time, our engineer surprised us with a 100mm ED prototype using the same body, which was tested and found to be optically-fantastic, but quite objective-heavy. With two simple modifications (magnesium alloy objective tubes and an offset mount foot), the balance issues were solved, and the BT-100XL-ED was also approved for production.
A few new colors were tested until we were down to two- a bad-ass “Big Eyes” Gray and a lustrous “Luna Pearl” White. We couldn’t agree on a favorite, so for now, all models will be available in your choice of these two colors. The first production models were received and tweaked to perfection just 2 days before heading for New York to introduce them at NEAF 2018 (Northeast Astronomy Forum- the largest astronomy expo in the world).
For the technically-minded- what we now have is a combination of highest-possible optical performance using FK-61 ED doublet objectives, in a all-magnesium alloy 10.5 lb. 45° BT-82XL-ED (fl=450mm) and 12.5 lb. 45° BT-100XL-ED (fl=560mm) binocular telescope, at prices far below comparable models from APM. The prisms have a clear aperture of 24mm, which means the 82XL can operate as low as 19x, and the 100XL as low as 25x. These models also have an effective aperture that is very close to the actual objective size, with just enough baffling to eliminate the less-than-optimal performance delivered from the outer-most edge of all objective lenses. The IPD range is the widest of any binocular ever produced- from 50mm to 80mm, which means even the smallest child can view through both eyepieces. The handle is a industry-standard Picatinny rail, so can be used to mount a variety of finder-scopes and laser pointers, including our new Deluxe Multi-Reticle Finder.
While magnifications as low as 19x and 25x can be used, the XL Series is supplied with the finest eyepieces we’ve ever offered- a 70° 14mm pair that delivers 32x in the 82XL and 40x in the 100XL. The views are so spectacular that you may not need any other eyepieces. But with their ED objectives, chromatic aberration is so minimal that magnifications up to 75x can be used in the 82XL-ED, and up to 94x in the 100XL-ED!
We also offer a non-ED model, the BT-82XL, that offers remarkably-good performance, with minimal chromatic aberration up to 56x magnification- at a most-affordable price. For the home-with-a-view, the BT-82XL mounted on one of our gorgeous hardwood tripods, is well-under $2000. Not only is it absolutely beautiful, and highly-portable at just over 20 lbs. for the entire setup, it will optically out-perform anything else on the market anywhere near its relatively-low price- especially so the $2500 Skyhawk 9600.

Oberwerk at NEAF 2018

The Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), held at Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY, on Apr. 21st and 22nd, is the world’s largest astronomy & space expo. Oberwerk will have a large display, featuring all of our products, including our new line of made-in-Dayton TR3 hardwood tripods. We’ll also be introducing our all-new XL-Series Binocular Telescopes! Stop by and see us, or stay tuned to this website for more info…

Farpoint UBM

Can the Farpoint UBM mount to a standard camera tripod? Can it only mount to your tripods?
Thank you

The Farpoint UBM comes with a 3/8″ mount post, so it can mount to any tripod with a 3/8″ stud. Keep in mind though that the tripod has to support the combined weight of the mount, the binocular, and the counterweights. For a 10 lb. 25×100 binocular, the total weight would be close to 30 lbs.
Kevin Busarow

Thanks Kevin. Good point. My camera tripod probably won’t be able to handle that kind of weight. Even with my current 10×50 I would need something sturdier.

My replies are after each question below-

I’ve been looking to replace my old Minolta 10×50 ultra wide (7.8 degree) binoculars. I’ve been looking for several weeks and have concluded there is no one pair that can do all that I want.
What I want is a “grab and go” to just sit out back and scan the heavens. I also want to view all the M objects with good detail. I have a Celestron 9.25 but it’s too much work. I currently have it for sale on Craig’s list. So this leaves me with two issues.
1) For the grab and go binocular, what would give me the best wide view, sharpest image, high contrast and wow factor? The 10×42 Sport ED, the 8×40 Mariner or the 10×50 Ultra? They all sound like great bino’s, but for pick up and view without a tripod, what would you suggest? I have no problem spending more if the view is going to be much better.

Forget the 8×40- wide FOV, but not enough light-gathering. Also consider the new 10×50 Deluxe– very close to the Ultra, but just $169- so a great value in my opinion. If wide FOV is important, also consider the 8×42 Sport ED– 8.1 degrees, and it’s apochromatic. Bonus- it’s also our finest bird-watching binocular.

2) For astronomy, is bigger really better? Are the 28×110 Ultra much better than the 15×70 Ultra? Or is field of view the only difference?

One comment- objective lens size has nothing to do with FOV. It’s simply about light-gathering, and generally speaking, more is better- but that greatly affects size, weight, and of course cost.

Is the cost of bigger bino’s worth it? Will they both work well in light polluted area’s. I’ve looked at all your mounted bino’s and it gets confusing. Because they all need to be mounted on a tripod, Which to you feel would work best in light polluted area and give me the best view, sharpest image, high contrast and wow factor?

Yes, the best are the BT Series (binocular telescopes). For 3 reasons these are always the top choice for astronomy- 45-degree viewing, interchangeable eyepieces, and highest optical quality.

I really like the BT-70-45. Will the view really be worth the significant difference in price? Or is it just convenience of the 45 degree angle?

I’m sold on Oberwerk and thanks again for any information you can provide for me to make a good decision.
Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks for all you help and for answering all my questions. At this time I’m looking at the 15×70 Ultra. A bit more than I wanted to spend, but the reviews and my needs make this binocular the best choice.
Another question. Is the Farpoint UBM mount far better than the 4000 or 5000 series? I don’t plan on sitting, so what would be a solid stand for the 15×70?
Thanks again for all your help.

Can’t go wrong with the 15×70 Ultra. Parallelogram mounts have advantages and disadvantages. The great thing about the parallelogram mount is the binocular is suspended in front of you and you can make the binocular move anywhere you can point your head, and the binocular will stay put when you let go. This works well while seated or standing. The other advantage is you can raise or lower the binocular about 2 feet without losing your target- so great for sharing the view. On the other hand, The parallelogram is bulky, heavy, and takes extra time to set up and tear down- not to mention expensive. A 4000 or 5000 tripod is more of a “grab and go” setup. Let me know if that answers the question- or not.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

I was recently asked “what’s different about your brand- what sets Oberwerk apart from the competition?” Well, there are a number of unique and important things that make us different- but just one that I want to talk about right now.
If you’re considering buying a binocular, ours or another brand, you probably have some questions- especially so if you’re looking at one of our Long-Range Observation binoculars or our Binocular Telescopes. The fact is I spend much of my day on the phone answering questions and answering questions by email. The first thing I do in the morning is respond to the email questions that came in the previous night. When I think a question/answer might be interesting or informative to others, I’ll post them on our Email Questions/Answers Archive. I wear a wireless headset so I can take customer calls while I’m checking/testing binoculars that are to be shipped that day, or building our TR3 hardwood tripods. I’ve heard countless times “you’re the only company I can contact and get thoughtful and knowledgeable answers to my questions.
So when I was recently asked “what makes us different”, it struck me that there really is no other binocular retailer I can think of that you can call and speak instantly with, or email and get a timely reply from, someone that is truly knowledgeable about their products, as well as the competition’s. Someone that’s lived and breathed binoculars for the last twenty years. Someone that’s not a salesperson or an order-taker. But your business is selling binoculars- right? True, but I don’t consider myself a “sales type” at all, I’ve never read a book on how to close a sale. But what I do pretty well is answer customer’s questions, explaining technical things in a way people can understand. I believe that our products are such a unique value, that as long as I can impart enough knowledge to a customer, they’ll come to that conclusion on their own- without any arm-twisting on my part. Sometimes our product isn’t the best solution, and I’ll be the first to say so. Sometimes I have to set realistic expectations- “no, you can’t read a license plate 3 miles away“, “yes, you can see the rings of Saturn, but it’s still a very small object in the field of view“, because 1) nobody likes dealing with returns and 2) we want everyone to be thrilled with their purchase. They’ll tell their friends and relatives, and they’ll want one too, and so on- until everyone on the planet has heard of Oberwerk.
Any questions? Feel free to call me at 937-640-1040 (9-5 EDT) or email to [email protected]

Tripod Advice

Can you recommend a mount (or, preferably, a head I can use on my current tripod) for stargazing through your 15×70 Ultra binoculars?
Longer version:
I recently bought a pair of your 15×70 Ultra binoculars to use for stargazing during travel, and I’m extremely happy with them. I carried them (with a Manfrotto 190CSPRO4 tripod and 128RC head) along on a recent flight to Borrego Springs, CA without trouble. Great views!
I do have one problem — it’s really hard to view objects near the zenith! Is this just a fact of life with binoculars, or are there mounting solutions I should consider. (Cost is a consideration. I just broke my budget buying a high-quality pair of binoculars. 😉

Unfortunately it is difficult to view near zenith using a straight-through-view binocular with a conventional tripod/video head. The biggest problem is the eyepieces are too close to the tripod to get your head under the binocular. The best way to solve that is with a parallelogram mount, such as the Farpoint UBM, which places the binocular away from the tripod (so you can get your head under it)- but they are bulky and expensive ($279). Another option is The Oberwerk 2000 monopod. It has a grip-action ball head that gets the binocular away from the monopod, plus you can tilt the monopod back enough to actually view to zenith. It’s quite affordable too at just $89.
Kevin Busarow

11×56 vs. 8×56 LW FOV

Your catalog lists the specifications for both these binos with the same (FOV of 6.0)
How is that possible? I own the 11×56 LW but was thinking I’d like a wider FOV.
What is the FOV on the 8×56 and 11×56? If you could convert that to feet of view also it would be helpful for me but it’s OK if not.

It’s actually true that both models have the same 6° FOV. The 11x model has a wide-angle eyepiece design, the 8x model does not. Similar to some other models such as the 9×60 and 12×60– the 12x actually has a wider FOV (5.7°) than the 9x (5.5°)! Our 11×70 is 4.5° and the 15×70 is just slightly less at 4.3°. In all these cases, wide-angle eyepieces are used on the higher magnification model. This also affects AFOV (apparent field of view), which is typically 50° on the lower magnification model and 65+° on the higher magnification model.
But back to the 8×56 (and 11×56)- the FOV is 105m at 1000m, or 105 yards (315 ft.) at 1000 yards. Your 11×56 is about as wide as it gets at this relatively-high magnification. But if you’re looking for something wider, take a look at our 8×42 Sport ED. It has a huge 8.1° FOV, is small and lightweight, and is also apochromatic due to the ED objectives. It’s actually our finest bird-watching binocular, but I really like it for astronomy as well. It would nicely complement, rather than replace, your 11×56.

Kevin Busarow

Oberwerk BT-100-45 Giveaway Contest – Winner!

Congratulations to Donna T. of New Jersey, winner of the Oberwerk BT-100-45 Giveaway Contest! Donna’s name was randomly drawn by our advertising agency from a list of contest entries collected from early December through Jan. 31st. Donna won a one-of-a-kind prototype “Big Eyes” Gray BT-100-45 binocular telescope and fork mount, as well as a one-of-a-kind Slate Gray Maple TR3 hardwood tripod. The production “Big Eyes” Gray is a shade lighter than the prototype, while Slate Gray finish is only available on the poplar tripod (not maple). We wish Donna and her husband Steve many enjoyable nights of stargazing with their great new astro-gear!

Question about 20-60x82mm Sport ED Spotting Scope

Is the eyepiece of this scope removable? Will it take normal astronomical eyepieces? What size if so?

Yes, it is removable, however most spotting scopes use a bayonet-type attachment instead of the 1.25″ smooth barrel used by telescope eyepieces. But the supplied 20-60 zoom eyepiece is very good and really all you need, it covers the full usable range.
Kevin Busarow

Thank you so much for getting back to me.
While your eyepiece seems very high quality, I’ve got an idea for a unique spotting scope, and am exploring ideas on how to accomplish it. My idea is to create a cheaper version of the Swarovski BTX spotting scope, which has a proprietary binoviewer. It’s great of course, but the whole package for one of those is like $5k. So I’m brainstorming to try to create something similar.
I’m wondering if I had a high quality body, like your 82mm Sport ED, removed the eyepiece, and attached a binoviewer (the ones I’ve found so far seem to be all 1.25 telescope mounts), then attach Baader Hyperion Clickstop Zoom eyepieces. Since those eyepieces have click stop zooms, I wonder if it would work well to peep through one side, find subject, focus, zoom in, and quickly match the other side’s zoom level with the click stops, perhaps even just doing that by feel, never needing to look up.
I have no idea whether this kind of system would work well. Seems to me that if the zoom click stops were off by even a little bit, that that might make the system unpractical. On the other hand, those particular Baader eyepieces are supposedly of high quality.
I’m exploring all options, and have looked through your products. I really like what I see. Your Oberwerk BT-70-45 Binoculars seem really neat. I wonder if the Baader Hyperion Clickstop Zooms would work on those?
I realize you have a company to run, and so I won’t bore you with further long emails. Thank you again,

It’s an interesting idea, but a binoviewer won’t work on the spotting scope for two reasons- the first is the proprietary eyepiece connection, the second is not enough back-focus. I’ve already tested this with a Denkmeier Binotron- even if we managed to attach it, the focus range of the scope is not enough to make it usable. It could work with the addition of a barlow, but this would sacrifice low-power wide-field viewing. However, I do like the Baader Hyperion zoom eyepieces very much, and they work nicely in the BT-70-45. Here’s a review I did-

Review – Baader Hyperion Mark IV 24mm-8mm Zoom Eyepieces

The Oberwerk BT-70-45 equipped with the Baader eyepieces is definitely the better way to go- it gives you two 70mm objectives (vs. the spotting scope/binoviewer’s single objective with a beam-splitter), for true depth perception and perspective. It’s also much less expensive than cobbling together a high-quality spotting scope and binoviewer.

Oberwerk Sport ED 20-60×82 Spotting Scope

I’ve just been reading about your ED 20-60x82mm Spotting Scope. My friend has a set of Oberwerk Sport HD binoculars, and both the clarity and brightness are exceptional. Can I expect the same with your spotting scope even at max (60x) magnification? Do you have a showroom at your Dayton location? By the way, I currently use a Leupold 15-30×50 spotting scope for bird watching. Any comments on comparison will be helpful. Also, I assume that it has a standard thread for use with most any tripod on the market. Thanks.

Actually the Sport ED scope is a level above the HD Series binoculars (due to the ED objectives). The difference between the Leupold 50mm and the 82mm Sport ED is 270% more light-gathering objective surface area. With all that extra light, the view at 60x is remarkably good, and chromatic aberration is almost non-existent. Our scopes have a standard 3/8-16 threading on the bottom, and we include a 1/4-20 reducer- so they’ll work with any tripod. You’re welcome to come see for yourself, we have a small showroom in Dayton. Just give us a “heads up” before coming.
Kevin Busarow
Oberwerk Corp.

How would your product compare to a Swarovski or a Zeiss in terms of optic and image quality? Based upon the clarity of my friend’s Oberwerk HD binoculars, I get the impression that this ED scope, with the better grade objective, would be hard to beat. Is the reduction or near elimination of chromatic aberration a product of the lens construction itself or do other components of design dictate that result? Are the aforementioned brands priced to a certain extent on name recognition, or is there something I’m missing? With my Leupold scope, I see a loss of crispness at max 30x when spotted on a white bird most notably – a little fuzzy around the edges. Darker objects seem not to produce this at all. This is partly what I would like to improve upon while upgrading to a 60x scope.
Thanks again.

The Swarovski and Zeiss scopes are just slightly better, but only an experienced observer would be able to detect any difference. You’re paying a lot for the name, and also a better warranty. Those brands also have multiple levels of distribution, which also increase cost. The Sport ED is a great scope at a great price (direct from factory to us to you). Try it- if you’re not impressed, you can send it back.

Thanks for the help. I just placed my order.

Great! Let me know what you think…

Over the past months I’ve run the new scope through its paces. It is as good as you had described. The color fidelity is excellent, even at max magnification. From migratory waterfowl on the open water, emergent spring buds at the tops of tall trees, to Jupiter and its four Galilean satellites just this past weekend – superb.

10×50 Ultra or 10×42 Sport ED?

If you could buy only one portable binocular for terrestrial viewing would it be the Sport ED 10×42 or Ultra 10×50?

For myself, it would be the 10×42 Sport ED. Has center-focus, all magnesium/aluminum construction so is MUCH lighter and smaller, and chromatic aberration is almost non-existent due to the ED objectives. This is the only binocular I take when traveling light, because it can do just about everything, including astronomy, very well.
On the plus side for the 10×50 Ultra, while it is individual-focus (somewhat awkward when hand-held), the depth of field is quite good, so for objects beyond 50 yards, everything is in crisp focus- therefore not much focusing is required. The view will be a tad brighter due to the extra light-gathering of the 50mm objectives. The optics are superb (albeit with some chromatic aberration). It’s built like a tank, and should last forever. If you’re thinking about the Ultra, another to consider is our new 10×50 Deluxe. Has center-focus, is lighter than the Ultra, and optically is surprisingly-close to the Ultra considering the relatively low cost ($169). But for portability, my preference would still be for the 10×42 Sport ED.
Kevin Busarow