Oberwerk 15x70

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Brand and Model:Oberwerk 15x70
Price ($USD):$149.95
Attributes:un-checked Waterproof checked Armored
Objective Lens Size:70 mm
Magnification:15 x
Prism Type:BAK4 Porro
Field of View:4.3 degrees
Eye Relief:0 mm
Near Focus:60 ft
Weight (lbs):3.1 lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):
Description:Giant 70mm objectives gather a serious amount of light- so these are ideal for astronomy. They are also excellent for nautical applications and surveillance.
The new low-reflection broadband multicoating has a subtle green color, with faint green and purple reflections- just as you'd see on very expensive binoculars costing several times their price. Light loss due to reflection and scattering is minimized, providing the highest level of light transmission possible. The view is very close to Fujinon FMT-SX series quality, for a fraction of the price. Don't just take our word for it- read a couple of independent reviews of this model at Todd Gross' well-known binocular review site and the Astronomy Discussion Page (scroll down).

New "slow-focus" provides precise focus control that won't drift. Both offer long eye relief (especially the 11x model), so they work well with eyeglasses (the rubber eyecups fold down). All Oberwerk binoculars have rugged rubber-armored metal bodies, all-glass lenses, right ocular diopter adjustment, brass 1/4-20 tripod adapter threading, case, caps, and our premium heavy-duty strap. Truly an incredible value for only $149.95 (Retail- $179.95)

See http://www.oberwerk.com/bigbinos/1570.htm

Vote Highlights Vote
Oberwerk 15x70
This is a comparison between the Oberwerk 15x70 and the Orion Giant 16x80.

My opinion, based on these test results, indicates that the 15 x 70’s provide more of what I am looking for. They are a very good optical tool and offer a tremendous value (Oberwerk’s $149, Orion’s $399).

Out of the box, the 16 x 80’s were really impressive and were my strong favorites. I expected the Orion 16 x 80’s, with a higher quality of build, better bracing, laser collimated optics and a larger aperture would win hands down over the Oberwerk 15 x 70’s. The extras that come with the 16 x 80’s, the tripod adapter and the hard carry case, are probably valued at about $30 to $50 if sold separately. Shipping on the 70’s was $8 and on the 80’s it was $21.

The 70’s have a nice hand fit and comfortable feel against the eyecup. The 80’s seem built much more solidly, but the 70’s were not cheap by any means. They are marginally hand hold-able whereas the 80’s are far too heavy to hand hold. Although it was difficult to hold the 70’s still, I was able to daytime view for short periods and it was easy enough to brace these while hand holding. On the 70’s focus was achievable while holding although stillness of the image was a problem. On the 80’s, the focus dial cannot be reached while holding the binoculars and focus cannot be adjusted successfully without the binoculars being still. Therefore, the 80’s must be mounted to adjust focus.

The inter-pupilary pivot hinge motion was very good although very tight on the 16x80’s due to the brace hinge at the objective lens. The 15x70’s were fine. The eyepiece bar on the 15x70’s had some slop, allowing it to rock in & out. However, in both binoculars the eyepieces moved in & out equally at all times when focusing and held focus under normal pressure. Both had a focus mechanism that operated smoothly with moderate pressure throughout the entire dial range with no bumps, slip or image shift.

For me, even with my glasses on, the 15x70’s required a setting in the minus diopter range to focus. Without glasses, the 15x70’s did not have sufficient minus diopter adjustment to reach focus for my 20/200 right eye nearsightedness. A 2nd pair of Oberwerk 15 x 70’s had a hair more minus diopter focus than the 1st pair I tested. The 80’s had more than enough diopter range with or without glasses. Exit Pupil Image distance was measured in both at 17mmfrom the lens. Usable Eye Relief, the distance back to the eye guard with eyecups folded down, was 15mm for the 15x70’s and only 10mm for the 16x80’s.

The 15x70’s did not show any light loss due to impairment of the light path. The 16x80’s have a light loss calculated at about 5% due to Vignetting.

I have noted that my eyes do need to pull together the images in the 15 x 70’s. In the 80’s, the images seem to be dead on. However, the 15x70’s have a collimation adjustment screw, the 80’s do not.

I expected the narrower field of view in the 80’s wouldn’t make that much of a difference and the slightly higher power and larger aperture seemed to offer everything I wanted. It didn’t turn out that way. The field measured FOV in the 80’s is 3.3*. The field measured FOV in the 70’s is 4.4*. That’s nearly twice as much area of sky.

Overall image quality in the 80’s was sharper on-axis, but the 70’s were very close and the 70’s had a sharp image over a much wider field of view. This made a huge difference in the usable field of view, in favor of the 70’s by a very wide margin. The 80’s were rated Poor between 60% and 70% out from the center. Images between 70% and 80% out became grossly distorted, reducing the fov to a useable limit of 2.3*. The 70’s were rated Poor at 80% out from center. They weren’t Bad until near the very edge, reducing the fov to a useable limit of 4.0*. That’s three times the useable area of sky.

Brightness was sufficient in the 70’s to see a star like core in eg M81 with a broad surrounding glow, a pear shaped eg M51 with the south member larger and brighter, and a bright core on gc M13 with fainter circular outer extension. The 80’s showed M13 with a large bright core with a slightly dimmer outer glow and M51 had slightly more defined shape with the south member more prominent. The 80’s may have had a brighter image on those faint or diffuse objects that needed brightness to be seen well.

I noticed extremely sharp images from both the 70’s and the 80’s on the moon in high contrast situations. I was able to easily let my vision wander around and see hundreds of clearly defined craters and mountains all along the terminator, with both the shadow side and the lit side very prominent.

The 70’s and the 80’s split fairly even doubles, several in the range between 20” down to 14”, with a slight edge in performance going to the 80’s. The 80’s had a very nice star image that could be focused precisely. Both had a problem splitting doubles where the components varied widely in magnitude or where the primary was very bright.

Both the 70’s and 80’s exhibited considerably curvature. It could be noticed at 20% out from center and at 50% out from center that straight vertical objects were significantly curved outward to the point of distraction. This defect was not noticed during any nighttime dark sky viewing.

The 80’s showed a light fringe around Venus, but it was acceptable. Also, the 80’s show a blue-green fringe around the leading edge of the half moon. The 70’s showed a very unpleasant broad yellow border around the leading edge of the half moon. This would sometimes disappear as I moved my eye around the field. The 80’s showed no apparent color fringing on bright stars. The 70’s seemed to show a very slight color fringe only on Vega.

When it came down to choice, I decided the 16x80’s had much too narrow a field of view and the 15x70’s, although not as precisely sharp, performed as equally as could be expected considering aperture and magnification and they had so much more useable field of view that they would be far more easy to use on more objects in the long run.


Overall Rating: 9
Optics:8 Value:10
Weight: 30 (Notable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.149.200)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=109357

That saves me. Thanks for being so sseinble!
June 2003, 
2003 model Improvement

Recently, I was given the opportunity to test a new 2003 model of the 15x70s to compare the coatings to the older models.  Although my 2002 model is listed as FMC, there are obvious reflections indicating uncoated surfaces, possibly on the prisms.  These newer 2003 version show substantial improvement.  All surfaces appear to be coated.  The eyelens is now multi-coated as compared to the 2002 model that appeared to have single blue MgF on the lenses.  Reflections off the objective lens are reduced.  Contrast is improved.  I was able to view objects at the limits of performance with these newer 2003 15x70s that I could not see in my older 2002 15x70s.  Significant improvement.  Excellent value.


Oberwerk 15x70
Loose focuser cure:
1. pry off the rubber cover between the eyepieces (oculars)
2. using a precision screwdriver remove the setscrew
3. use a large screwdriver to remove the disc
4. remove the THIN brass shim (there are two)
5. re-assemble...tighten the disc and try the focuser...when you like
the action tighten the setscrew
6. use a small dab of silicon glue on the rubber cover

I love my 15 x 70 oberwerks! The new ones supposedly have an
"improved focuser."

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 9 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.201.194)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41958

Oberwerk 15x70
Killer giant binos for the price. Excellent eye-relief. I use over my thick glasses with room to spare. Good sharpness all the way to the edge - not world-class, but very decent. Contrast is good. Nice rubberized construction. Very light - can hand hold for about 10 minutes on deep sky. Planetary and extended viewing requires a tripod or monopod - 15x is pushing it for hand held in any event. It shows Jupiter as a disk with 4 moons visible, Saturn is resolved with rings and hint of Cassini (pretty tiny at 15x, but you can definitely see it). Great views of extended deep sky objects. I just can't believe the value for the money. Drawbacks? Eye relief is so deep you get blackouts at mid-distances. You have to either pull back at bit or push in at the eyepieces. Short focus travel means it's only good at long distance-infinity focussing. Not much use for forest birding. The 15x70 combination of high mag and excellent light gathering makes for great birding when viewing distant nest sites, with a tripod of course. I'm a totally satisfied customer. I'm giving a 9 because the Fujinons are sharper - at over 3x the price.

(My original post is the first post in this category) - Just a follow-up now that I've had them almost a year.

1) Rubber eyecups have fallen off. The rubber was thin and delicate and they ripped off in pretty short order. I use these with my glasses on, so it hasn't affected their usability for me at all, but it is some cause for concern.

2) When I mentioned I could see a hint of Cassini division in Saturn's rings I must have been delusional - absolutely no way. I can hardly see it with my 4.5" newtonian.

3) Took these to a football game last week and, sitting in the top deck, view was like watching TV. Image is brighter through the scopes than naked eye, to a noticeable degree. These are really satisfying for sports. The lightness and hand hold-ability are key here. They're a little less great for birding because of the longer short-focus. I've found plenty of birding situations where I couldn't close-focues enough with these.

Otherwise, they've held up great, are a great value, and make for great deep sky viewing!

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 7 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.103.93)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41947

Oberwerk 15x70
Great value.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
By: sleikind
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=119873

Oberwerk 15x70
I've been using my pair of Oberwerk 15x70's for six months.

My two cents worth:

1. At $150, I can travel with these, take them camping, and use them at public viewings without worry.

2. Lots of power and apeture for the money.

3. Love that rubberized body armor.

4. Good views in low light. They are my favorite "in town" binos for doing stargazing from my light-polluted back yard. In very dark skies, however, I get better results from my Orion 10x50 Ultraviews. There must be some optical reason for this, but I don't know what it is.

5. Everything you read about the focusing is true. Very short travel, and comes out of focus by itself. Fix this and you'll be quite satisfied.

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.85.235)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41962

Oberwerk 15x70
Nice base design with a few shortcomings.
Good manufacturing quality.

The Good:

Light but solid construction. There is no appreciable flex between the two halves. The thin rubberising is well applied and of high quality.

Good optics: Objective and eyepieces have a very clean coating. Objective mounts are solid. Decent edge sharpness. Very little color.

The Bad:

Flimsy focuser. These binocs seem quite sensitive to focus. Unfortunately, the central knob focusing mechanism is somewhat loosey-goosey and not up to snuff. Just applying gentle pressure on the eyecups (looking through the units) or attempting to adjust the left/right focus offset is enough to knock the units out of kilter.

Lack of baffling: I see lots of glare and ghosting when a bright object is anywhere near my field of view. Extra long dewcaps / lens hoods have helped the problem. I haven't yet used them at night.

Given all I've read, I was a bit disappointed. I still think they're "good for the money," but the design quality level was lower than I expected. If not for the stray light and focusing issues, I'd be VERY, VERY happy. As is, I see them as a promising fix-it project.

I just got these guys today. I'll post a follow up if I change my mind significantly or come up with any improvements to the units (focuser fix).


Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.81.102)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41954

Oberwerk 15x70
These are great except for the focus mechanism. Despite assurances it was "much improved" from the company and that "each pair is individually inspected before shipment" my pair was poor to be charitable. There is a dead area when changing focus direction and a bump or lump in the focus when going from distant to close focus. What you have been warned about in this rating forum is true so don't expect it to be better that you think. The optics are great and the overall finish is fine. Others offer a much better warranty however and the focus mechanism does not give one confidence that they will last very long. I returned them.

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:9 Value:7
Weight: 2 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.224.50)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=62835

Oberwerk 15x70
I am somewhat disappointed with my Oberwerk 15X70. The upraded focus is sticky. However, the biggest problem is with flare when looking at a bright object like a planet. You get what you pay for! I would like to upgrade to Fujinon. I would trade for a pair and pay the difference.

Overall Rating: 6
Weight: 2 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.113.88)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41965

Oberwerk 15x70
I've had these for a couple months now, and have been very happy with them. I used to have a pair of Fujinon FMT-SX 7X50's that were tragically lost and I've been pining for them ever since. These don't replace them- being much higher power, but they're just fantastic in their own way, especially for the price. I just wish I had a less polluted site to view from. I did have them is Palm Springs this weekend, which was more polluted than I'd hoped, but managed to see Saturn's rings and Jupiter's moons. I'm just starting to get into astronomy, so these objects were a real surprise to see just by stumbling onto them both by mistake.

These binoculars are light and easily holdable, but the power is so high I'd recommend an L-bracket on a tripod. The focusing mechanism, despite claims it has been improved, is not very smooth. It works fine, but it's stiffer in one direction than the other, and has "lumps" in it.. The eye relief is very good- and I know now what someone else here meant when they wrote that it's almost "too much". With the cups out, if you press them into your eyes, the views black out a little, so even with glasses, I tend to keep the cups unfolded. Otherwise, I have no complaints. The optics are superb, to the extent that they point out the flaws in my own vision before I can really get the most out of them (I have slight astigmatism, so when I switch from contacts to glasses that correct for that, the views are much sharper.) The case is soft, nylon-like, and very light, and looks very contemporary. I'm wishing I had the mirror mount for my neck's sake, but these binos, along with a star chart, should keep me fascinated for years. Excellent buy, excellent optics.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 2 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.27.155)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41963

Oberwerk 15x70
Very cool binos! Cannot believe they are so inexpensive. Definitely a great bargain. Jupiter resolves to a disk, with no purple flare, easily. Can see Saturn and rings from suburbs, but couldn't quite make out separation between planet and rings, maybe due to light pollution here. Pleaides and Orion Nebula are absolutely beautiful! Could see many more stars than with my old 10x50 binoculars. Can easily split trapezium, 4 stars distinctly.
street interfering with my views at times. Fully multicoated, and surprisingly light, they are comfortable to handhold for several minutes at a time, although a tripod helps for prolonged viewing. Views are clear to the edge. They are good for using during the day for nature and bird viewing from a distance, but do not have a very close focus, so best for astronomical use.Am rating a 10 because of such high quality at such a low price.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 2 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.205.77)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41948

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