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Nigeyboy

Celestron Skymaster 20 x 80 Binoculars - A Review

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Hi all,

Been a while since I have been on the site – work has been really busy these last 18 months, and although it’s still manic, things are slowing down a bit!!

Viewing my previous posts, you will see that I was in the market for a new scope to adorn my EQ3-2 mount that I had purchased ages ago now!! Well, things didn’t turn out as expected, and while I am still hoping to get a scope, hopefully at Christmas if Santa is kind to me (I have been a good boy lol!!) I decided to get a pair of Binoculars to fill the gap!

Budget was tight, and I did want a pair of larger aperture bins. A lot of reading up on the internet, and I settled on the Celestron Skymaster 20x80’s. I already have a pair of 10x50’s so was after something with a bit more power, and larger objective’s. The skymasters seemed to fit the bill, and the price was right as well! I dropped into Rother Valley Optics with my cash on the off chance they would have a pair in stock – they didn’t, so I left my details, and less than 24 hours later, Adam from the shop called me to say they had a pair in! I drove over to their shop, tried them out outside the shop, as I had read that some pairs are known to have collimation issues. These where perfect, so I parted with my £99 cash and went home with them! First class service from RVO, and I will be using them again when it comes to getting my scope – thanks guys!

So, onto the bin’s. They came double boxed up, and within the branded box inside the plain box, the bin’s were securely packed in foam and wrapped in plastic. They come with a basic carry case, which won’t protect them from hard knocks, but will keep the dust off them while not in use. The eye pieces are protected by a one piece cover, while each large objective is covered by its own, separate cover. There is also a basic neck strap, but it appears quite flimsy, and I won’t be using it.

The bins have a built in tripod adaptor, on an adjustable slider, meaning they can be securely attached to a tripod and balanced up. Weight wise, they tip the scales at just over 2.6kg. This isn’t hugely heavy, and while I did use a tripod for some observing, when I wanted to look at things nearer the zenith, I hand held them, and did so for quite some time. I didn’t feel they were overly heavy, even after prolonged use.

It seems that new scope curse also affects owners of new binoculars, as I had to wait 5 days for clear skies!! I went out at about 10:30pm into the back garden, and while the side of house has a street lamp directly over the hedge, round the back its cut off, and quite dark. I began by finding M31, which at is currently nearly at the Zenith. I could see the central core clearly, and with some averted vision, make out some finer details in the disk. Moving on to M45, the Pleiades, that was just rising over my neighbours fence – what a sight!! Even though it was quite low down, the cluster filled the view, and I could see loads of fainter stars within it. Moving through the Milkyway, the view was filled with thousands of stars and star clusters!! I was really impressed. I intend to go to a dark sky site up in the Peak District, just north of Ashbourne when time and the weather permit, to get some proper dark sky viewing in!

I have not yet been able to look at the Moon or any planets through them – the Moon hadn’t risen by the time I turned in, and is now a very small waning crescent. I will have to wait a bit longer, and will update the review once done. Mars was up, but low in the sky, and due to the street lights, swamped with LP.

With terrestrial viewing, they provide bright and crisp views. While there is some CA when looking at things with bright edges, general viewing wasn’t affected in any way. I plan to take them to my local nature reserve to test them out on some wild life as well. I am also a bit of a plane fan, and when time permits I park up near East Midlands Airport to watch the aircraft coming and going – these will be great for that, set up on my tripod for easy viewing!

Conclusion – the Skymaster 20x80’s are a decent pair of binoculars. While they don’t have the build quality of more expensive ones, treated well I can see no reason why they won’t last for years. They actually come with a 5 year Celestron guarantee anyway!  For causal use when you don’t want to set up the main scope I think these fit the bill nicely, and I would recommend them to anyone.

Cheers all

Nige

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Hiya. I've had a pair of these for nearly six years now, and absolutely love them. Currently they're with Celestron to be recollimated, and I can't wait to get them back!

Kev

 

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Hi Kev - they are good! Can't wait to get to a really dark sky site and give them a proper go. Just need those pesky clouds to clear for an evening or two . . . 

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I have the Revalation Astro 20x80's and are identical, except for the brand/name. Your report and descriptions are spot on with mine. The 'Coathanger' asterism just fits... and the 'Pleiades' is another one of those "Wow!" moments to add to the list. The only downside I find is that they do not have a focus for each eye as standard, but I suppose that would increase the purchase price for the consumer.

I find that using a joystick/pistol grip/trigger/ball head, as shown in the photo below, is very comfortable, rather than using a traditional alt-az/pan & tilt head with a tripod or monopod.

post-4682-0-32308400-1445866920_thumb.jpg

 

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Nice set up there Kev - I like the idea of a pistol type grip. I have a traditional photo tripod, so might look into getting one of these!

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Update, and some pics:

Popped outside again late last night, after I got back from a pub installation in Bristol. Seeing was not so good - there seemed to be a very slight haze in the atmosphere that dulled things slightly. I returned to M45 - has to be my favourite at the moment! I could also just see Taurus rising over the neighbours hedge ,so took a look at Alderbaran - the orange colour was quite evident, and the loose cluster that makes up the Hyades was quite something!

Here are a few pics I snapped off today. The 'small' bins next to the Celestrons are my poor old battered Miranda 10x50's! The eyepiece shot was handheld using my mobile phone camera, so its a little OOF, but gives an idea of magnification and FoV.

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Hi Merlin - I honestly don't know the answer to that. I would hope not, as they are marketed as 80mm. I would feel pretty cheated if that were the case!! 

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On 08/10/2018 at 13:18, Philip R said:

I have the Revalation Astro 20x80's and are identical, except for the brand/name. Your report and descriptions are spot on with mine. The 'Coathanger' asterism just fits... and the 'Pleiades' is another one of those "Wow!" moments to add to the list. The only downside I find is that they do not have a focus for each eye as standard, but I suppose that would increase the purchase price for the consumer.

I find that using a joystick/pistol grip/trigger/ball head, as shown in the photo below, is very comfortable, rather than using a traditional alt-az/pan & tilt head with a tripod or monopod.

post-4682-0-32308400-1445866920_thumb.jpg

 

 

On 08/10/2018 at 18:11, Nigeyboy said:

Nice set up there Kev - I like the idea of a pistol type grip. I have a traditional photo tripod, so might look into getting one of these!

😱 ...I think you have got me confused! 

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