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Hi all, 

 

I was looking at some 15x70 skymaster on amazon for around £60 thought I might give them ago to compare to my 10x50's as they seemed a good price, then saw some opticron 11x70  for similar price just wanted to know peoples thoughts on either product and how they compare before I press the buy button?

 

Thanks 

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If hand held observing is something you intend to do often, the 11x70's make that a bit easier.

The Skymasters actually operate at a slightly reduced aperture due to the prism design I believe - about 65mm ?

Not sure about the Opticrons in that respect.

 

 

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11x70's perhaps - if observing from a reasonably dark environment. Either option, consider stabilising accompanied on a monopod. 

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11x70's would be slightly easier for handheld use. I have the Revelation 15x70's which I think are the same as the celestrons optically, had them for 9 years and absolutely love em! 

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i believe the 11x70 are stopped down to 63mm as well 

the skymaster pro tho are a lot better and not stopped down 

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I have the older Japan made 11x70 Opticron Oregon LER's and they operate at full aperture as well. Out of production now though.

 

 

11x70s.JPG

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Hi all, 

 

 

Thanks for the opinions and info. I think I might go for the 15x's hopefully battle against light pollution slightly maybe and I have a monopod so should hopefully steady enough. 

 

Didn't know if there was any difference build quality wise between the Celestron and the opticron. 

 

 

Thanks 

 

 

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10 hours ago, John88 said:

Didn't know if there was any difference build quality wise between the Celestron and the opticron. 

Probably none if both were recently made in China.  I have Chinese made Galileo 15x70s I picked up over a decade ago that look identical.  I love the wide field and long eye relief of the eyepieces on them.  These binos are heavy and long, so I grab them by the objective ends and wedge the other end into my deep eye sockets while sitting to observe.

They were also great for watching the Balloon Fiesta launch field in Albuquerque a couple of years ago from a nearby field over a mile away.  I just supported them on the top of the steering wheel while I stayed warm in my car awaiting the morning warm-up.  The view was very similar to this telephoto image I shot:

IMG_2232_edited.thumb.jpg.5a865980321d8cfefd7296d2718c52fa.jpg

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Posted (edited)

The Celestron SkyMaster 15x70s have known quality control problems.  The first pair I bought from Amazon arrived broken.  The replacement pair arrived badly out of collimation and I’ve never been able to collimate them well.  They do pull out deep sky objects well if I use them as a monocular.

I bought my wife a small pair of Opticrons for nature watching and they’re quite good for the price.

 

Edited by jcj380

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Posted (edited)

I can't say on the Opticrons, I think they are generally well-regarded for the price, but worth looking at reviews. In the range you mention, I've some 12x70 Celestron Cometrons, 15x70 Helios Apollos and a pair of 20x60 Pentax. I love the Cometrons for the price (£27 second-hand), build quality is ok but not amazing, optically ok my me, and seem very similar to the 15x70 Skymasters. Light, plenty of eye relief, easy to hand hold, central focus wheel so no fiddly single-eye focusing  - not a big deal for astro if you set up infinity focus at the beginning, but highly annoying for terrestrial use.

The Helios are in a different league, much beefier build quality but weight around twice as much (2.5 or 2.6kg?) and I struggle to use them hand-held for any length of time without support. They do take filters which is a massive plus for astro, For example, I caught the entire Veil last night with UHC on one side and OIII on the other. They've the individually focusing eyepieces, but I only use them for astronomy so no problems there. 

If I had to choose one pair for astro, I'd go for higher magnification and something that takes filters as I get a bit bored with low mag/non-filtered views pretty quickly, but that's just me and a lot of people happily go lower than 11x. 

The Pentax 20x60s are just the bees knees for all-around use, I use them for birds, ships, jets, astro, anything really. They have a somewhat limited FOV (2.2 deg) compared to the others, but you quickly learn it's not a problem. They are so light and compact compared to the Celestrons & esp the Helios. In addition, the Pentax is outstanding optically to my eyes, has tons and tons of eye relief (I use them only with glasses) and aare easy to handhold at 20x for me as they're so light. The only drawback is they don't take filters, but I've already got my bases covered there.

I've really been wanting to try the Apollo 22x85s as a bridge between the 15x70s and my 20/40x100mm obsy bins. 

PS I buy virtually all my equipment second-hand when it pops up online. A few duds over the years, but a lot more toys for the money and occasionally truly superb bargains appear 👍 

 

Edited by Ships and Stars

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3 hours ago, Ships and Stars said:

The Pentax 20x60s are just the bees knees for all-around use, I use them for birds, ships, jets, astro, anything really. 

 

I did see the Pentax but bit expensive for me at the moment but maybe I should save my pennies and wait for a good deal 

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8 minutes ago, John88 said:

I did see the Pentax but bit expensive for me at the moment but maybe I should save my pennies and wait for a good deal 

I think picked up the 20x60s for £140, as new, box and all. I had to jump on those fast. Paid substantially more for the 15x70 Apollos second-hand. 

The Celestrons were silly cheap, but I've had a lot of use out of them. Can't fault them one bit.

@John88 I just found these 15x70s online, the seller says perfect collimation. Decent for £50 and might satisfy the binocular bug? 

I try to weigh the difference between waiting ages for a nice bargain, or buying what's available at the time within my budget so I can actually get out there and start viewing, and when I have a few quid saved up and a really good deal pops up, then I'll jump on it. 

Don't think you can go to far wrong with some budget bins that are in collimation! 👍 Beats an expensive pair that aren't! 🤣

 

 

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I think those are Celestron branded BA-1 binoculars. I had a lot of fun with a similar pair, but they are effectively 15x63 (still a very useful observing tool). I replaced them by Helios Apollo 15x70 bins and they are clearly a step up, but also a lot more expensive. I have since got a pair of Helios LightQuest 16x80 bins, and they are even better, showing more detail, and coming in at the same weight as the Apollo 15x70 bins. The BA-1 types are certainly worth the price asked, but they can be knocked out of collimation quite easily. 

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I have Delta Optical Extreme 15x70 ED, BA8, this is the same as TS or Orion, they are great!

fae6418f1257200fe9ead87cd09e0c48_1.jpg.ffe673887933111ca193b4a8dcc3dbc4.jpg

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