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Thread: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?



    Hello all,

    the basic performance difference between the binoculars when use astronomy is:
    the contrast of the views and the spectral transmissivity.

    The contrast can be easily checked on the dark nebulae, like the Pipe in Ophiucus, the Epsilon in Aquila, the LDN 885 in the Gamma Cygni region, the Dark Cigar in Cygnus, and the Le Gentil 3 in Cygnus. High grade glass materials, fully multicoated optics, and buffled bino interiors with blackened lens and prism rims are required for a sufficient contrast to reveal these low contrast objects.
    The spectral transmissivity peaks as a rule close to the 550nm wavelength, and even the budget bottom line binoculars achieve here 85% or slightly better. High-end multicoatings and high transmissivity glass materials are required to stretch the transmissivity of about 85% towards the nebular wavelengths of 500nm (OIII line) and 486nm (H-Beta line) in order to comfortably see the diffuse emission and planetary nebulae. Another stretch of the the high transmissivity towards the red wavelengths is required to perceive the color contrast of the faint red Miras and Carbon stars, and the color contrast in the star associations and in some open clusters

    The binoculars with a sufficient high contrast and with a broad spectral transmissivity for astronomy viewing can be easily counted. At the lower price end, these are the discontinued Carl Zeiss Jena and Zeiss West binoculars when manufactured fully multicoated (some even with T*) shortly before 1990, and available on the 2nd hand markets for under 400 USD, with some luck. The next ones are the BA8 (and FB) in the price segment 400 USD - 600? USD. Beginning with the Fujinons and higher, the increasing problem is the cost-to-the-performance ratio, and the questionable good reson to spend that much money or not.
    I have in my arsenal the Leica Ultravid 7x42 and the Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Swarovision: the first offer awesome views, the second are masterpieces of the optics design and making. Even if they are perfectly suited also for the astronomy, I would not recommend them solely due to their exorbitant prices. The BA8 10.5x70 does the astronomy job perfectly well for just a fraction of the Leica and Swarovski prices.

    The budget binoculars are still good enough for dozens of the open a and globular clusters, and for the brightest nebulae and galaxies. What I really dislike, are some brand names and marketing, awakening expectations of high performance in astronomy. On todays markets, you get what you pay for, not a bit more.

    Best,

    JG
    pushrod, larrywalls, DeanD and 5 others like this.
    Binoculars: Leica Ultravid 7x42, 8x42HD; Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Swarovision; Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe; Docter Nobilem 7x50 Porro; Jenoptem 7x50W, 10x50W; BA8: 10.5x70, 15x85; 25x100FB, AsahiPentax 8x40, Refractors: Sky-Watcher 150mm/750mm; Leica APO Televid 82mm (25x-50x WW ASPH); EPs:Baader Classic Orthos; Fujiyama ortho, Leica B WW, ultrawide zoom ASPH, Periplan GF, HC Plan S, L; DOCTER UWA; Wild UW mil; Tele Vue Delos, Nagler Zoom, Plössls; Swarovski SW; Pentax XW; ZEISS diascope B WW T*, Carl Zeiss E-Pl; Hensoldt mil; Filters: Astrodon, Astronomik, Baader (CCD), TS; Astrophotography: AstroTrac; Leica R7: Leica 2/50, 2/90mm, 2.8/180mm lenses
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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tube Screamer View Post
    Hi guys,

    Some of you may have read my post in the introductions forum where I was asking for some advice on the possible purchase of another pair of binoculars for the purpose of viewing the night sky (planets, Andromeda etc). In the post I explained that I had only recently got into astronomy, and although I didn't feel ready to invest huge sums of money in a telescope, I would like to purchase a pair of binoculars possibly more suited to astronomical purposes than the pair I am already using (an old 1980's pair of Zeiss 10x40's).

    I received many good replies, a number of which seemed to recommend a pair from the Celestron range.

    I just wanted to ask what the quality of these were like? My problem is, that coming from a pair of Zeiss, which really are phenomenal binoculars, and virtually mint condition, that I am going to be somewhat disappointed with the Celestron?

    I also read that the Celestrons are made in China, which is another put off for me.

    So I basically wanted to ask, just how good are the Celestrons? Is there any other make I should be considering (I am not against pre owned)? And what size would I be best to be looking at, considering they would almost definitely be used 100% of the time on the tripod?

    I have also been looking at the range from Opticron.. They are a little more than I wanted to spend at around £500, but possibly an option pre owned? I believe these are of reasonable quality, and also made in Japan?

    Any advice on the subject would be very much appreciated guys, as there are so many options out there, I really don't know which way to go.

    Thank you for reading

    Russ
    I, along with many others, have the Celestron Sky Master 15x70 binos and they put up some pretty awesome wide field views on those great seeing nights. For the price you get a pretty solid, well constructed pair of binos! Actually I have 2 pair, one for home and one for my remote wilderness camp.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

    Quote Originally Posted by ARDeane View Post
    There are quite a few factors involved with answering this type of question. The first that comes to my mind is if you plan to hand hold the binoc's or have a suitable tripod you'll mount them on. The second question would be a budget concern.

    The Celestron binoc's aren't "bad" by any means. IMHO they don't have a high quality build factor. If you're buying from a local dealer you can certainly go through their inventory and check to make sure you purchase a pair that are well collimated and have limited obstruction in their light path. I've seen some really poorly assembled ones that were sent back as defects. When you find a set that meet your quality standard they certainly will perform well. They definitely fall into the performance for a value category and good set will provide good performance.

    If you are shooting for high magnification and plan to tripod mount your binocs, the sky is the limit! Pun intended. You can certainly stress your financial situation as there are companies producing binocs that require a dedicated tripod and specialized for astronomy.

    Here's a link I've gone to numerous times in my quest for understanding. Astronomical Binoculars: The best binoculars for astronomy It's packed full of information but really focuses on retail, consumer grade manufacturers.

    FYI I use the Vixen BT80 and love them! Being able to exchange sets of eyepiece to change magnification is wonderful. I wouldn't consider them for the budget conscious purchaser.

    Hope some of this helps.
    You are right about collimation but I think you will find for the high number of these models sold (15x70) the high, high % of them are well collimated, as we have been through in past threads. I think if we did a survey, we would find that they out sell all other binos by quite a margin so the number out there is probably pretty high ? For well less than $100, many times, they are a good buy especially if you are buying them as a compliment to a good scope.
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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

    Quote Originally Posted by WBB View Post
    From a purely bang for buck perspective, you might consider a Dobsonian mounted reflecter. Much cheaper than a quality pair of large aperture binoculars and better views.

    I would highly doubt you would see much, if any, improvement with the cheaper 50mm sets on the market. Bigger aperture from quality manicures would of course yield better results but the price is not insignificant.

    I had considered a pair of 70 or 80mm binoculars but for me I decided they really wouldn't be much less trouble to set up and use than the dob. In the end I stuck with my canon 10x42 is and the dob.
    If you are like the rest of us, at some point you will have them all, binos, Dob, everything ! The more you read / hear on here the more you want / buy. LOL !
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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

    Quote Originally Posted by WBB View Post
    From a purely bang for buck perspective, you might consider a Dobsonian mounted reflecter. Much cheaper than a quality pair of large aperture binoculars and better views.

    I would highly doubt you would see much, if any, improvement with the cheaper 50mm sets on the market. Bigger aperture from quality manicures would of course yield better results but the price is not insignificant.

    I had considered a pair of 70 or 80mm binoculars but for me I decided they really wouldn't be much less trouble to set up and use than the dob. In the end I stuck with my canon 10x42 is and the dob.
    I'm not sure that you can fairly compare a mid-range set of 15x70 binoculars (3 to 4 hundred u.s. dollars) with 6 or 8 inch dob of the same price range and say that there "really wouldn't be much less trouble to set up and use than the dob". Not when the dob system will weigh 30 to 50+ pounds, need set-up/alignment time (even if you dragged it out earlier in the day) then cool-down time, plus larger storage space when not using, not to mention tear down time and dragging it back inside where ever you store it.

    When I want to look at the stars, I go out with my binos already attached to the tripod or monopod, walk to where I view (25 feet from my backdoor), sit down in my comfortable, homemade chair with my journal and star map and start viewing the sky. When I'm done, I stand up, pick up the tripod/monopod w/binoculars still attached and go back inside my house and put the setup back in the corner of my office. It's apples vs oranges. Both telescopes and binoculars serve an excellent purpose.
    ~Rob~
    "Remember; no matter where you go, there you are." --Buckaroo Banzi

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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

    Thanks for this JG.

    Just a question: do you know of any comparison tests for binos looking at their spectral transmissivity?
    I would be interested to see if any comparative work has been done on current brands.

    If anyone is interested I found an interesting article about this here: Colour rendering in binoculars and lenses - Colours and transmission - Lenstip.com
    This does in fact include spectra from a few older binos, and shows the Docter Nobilem 7x50 B/GA in very good light (pun intended!)...
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    Telescopes: 12" home-made dob, Celestron 150 f5, Tak TSA102, TV 76, Celestron 800CPC, ETX 125
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    MiniTower, HEQ5Pro
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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

    I have Celestron 15x70 SkyMaster binos and I. They were my "first love" in astronomy. I mount them on a camera tripod and they really work nice evenmore in my light polluted skies. In dark skies they are awsome.

    Recently I had a post in my blog about some Binos and telescope comparison:

    Polluted Skies Stargazing: Globular clusters in Ophiuchus.


    Blessings,
    larrywalls, JFD and oldpoet like this.
    路易斯 LG
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    Skymaster 15x70, Up-close 10x50, SCT 6" on a CG4 EQ mount
    8x50 RACI and RDF. 9mm X-Cel LX, 15mm Luminos and 40mm Omni.
    My astro-adventures and sketches: http://pollutedskiesstargazing.blogspot.com/

    "A full appreciation of the universe cannot come without developing the skills to find things in the sky and understanding how the sky works." Alan Dyer

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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

    Quote Originally Posted by larrywalls View Post
    You are right about collimation but I think you will find for the high number of these models sold (15x70) the high, high % of them are well collimated, as we have been through in past threads. I think if we did a survey, we would find that they out sell all other binos by quite a margin so the number out there is probably pretty high ? For well less than $100, many times, they are a good buy especially if you are buying them as a compliment to a good scope.
    You sir are correct which is why I stated they aren't bad by any means. Collimation and possible obstruction are possibilities in most any binocular. I would never purchase a binocular or telescope without the opportunity to look through it unless I was ASSURED the return policy from the vendor was stellar (pun intended). Education on what to look for are the keys. I have a pair of Bushnell Legacy 10 X 50's at the back door for that quick grab and go out the back door in an instant. I went through probably a half dozen at the store until I found the set I was confident in. The Celestron definitely fall into the "performance for a value category and a good set will provide good performance".

    Here's to hoping Russ finds just the set that will bring him years of pleasure!!

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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

    Quote Originally Posted by musiclucho View Post
    I have Celestron 15x70 SkyMaster binos and I. They were my "first love" in astronomy. I mount them on a camera tripod and they really work nice evenmore in my light polluted skies. In dark skies they are awsome.

    Recently I had a post in my blog about some Binos and telescope comparison:

    Polluted Skies Stargazing: Globular clusters in Ophiuchus.


    Blessings,
    LG, I visited your Polluted Skies blog. Excellent and precise observation notes. Very informative. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Rob~
    "Remember; no matter where you go, there you are." --Buckaroo Banzi

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    Default Re: Are Celestron binoculars any good?

    Hello Dean,

    there are not many comparisons of the binoculars regarding their spectral transmissivity.
    The most comprehensive source of the published spectral transmissivity is the Allbinos, you have already found.
    The reference standard are the Zeiss Victory Fl T* binoculars, and here is a review with a mass of explanations, Carl Zeiss Victory 8x56 T* FL - binoculars review - allbinos.com . Their performance explains their popularity for hunting and astronomy. The Zeiss Conquest Carl Zeiss Conquest 8x56 T* - binoculars review - allbinos.com is still excellent, but you can see a difference when you pay for the Conquest 1/2 of the Victory price.

    Better than the published reviews is the shootout on the night skies.
    The legendary Fujinons 10.5x70 may show even the Horse Head nebula to the skilled (and patient) observer, Binocular Universe - Mission Impossible - Article

    The binocular tests, whenever I am doing them, are:
    OIII emitting nebulae - preferably the large and low contrast Wolf-Rayet nebulae: Sh2-132 (Cepheus Lacerta border), and Sh2-157 (Cepheus-Cassiopeia border)
    H-Beta emitting nebulae: Sh2-131 the Elephant Trunk Nebula (Cepheus), Sh2-220 California Nebula (Perseus), Sh2-264 Lambda Ori Nebula, and the Sh2-276 Barnard's Loop in Orion.
    The BA8 10.5x70 binoculars show all these objects on my clear dark backyard skies, even if the BA8 are 2%-3% in the transmissivity behind the Fujinons.
    The BA8 15x85, which are possibly the best nebulae hunters on the market, they blink the different forms of the Rosette Nebula through the OIII and H-Beta filters, The Rosette Nebula through the Binoculars and Filters: 3D Viewing?

    Best,

    JG
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    Binoculars: Leica Ultravid 7x42, 8x42HD; Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Swarovision; Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe; Docter Nobilem 7x50 Porro; Jenoptem 7x50W, 10x50W; BA8: 10.5x70, 15x85; 25x100FB, AsahiPentax 8x40, Refractors: Sky-Watcher 150mm/750mm; Leica APO Televid 82mm (25x-50x WW ASPH); EPs:Baader Classic Orthos; Fujiyama ortho, Leica B WW, ultrawide zoom ASPH, Periplan GF, HC Plan S, L; DOCTER UWA; Wild UW mil; Tele Vue Delos, Nagler Zoom, Plössls; Swarovski SW; Pentax XW; ZEISS diascope B WW T*, Carl Zeiss E-Pl; Hensoldt mil; Filters: Astrodon, Astronomik, Baader (CCD), TS; Astrophotography: AstroTrac; Leica R7: Leica 2/50, 2/90mm, 2.8/180mm lenses
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