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Celestron Skymaster 15x70 & Helios Apollo HR 15x70 Binoculars


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Celestron Skymaster 15x70 & Helios Apollo HR 15x70 Binoculars

Or what happens when a pair of £50.00 binoculars meet a £279.00 pair of binoculars.

I've just sold the Helios Apollo 15x70s (being shipped off to an SGL member on Tuesday) and the Celestron 15x70s had just arrived, so last night was an ideal opportunity to compare them. The Apollo 15x70s will be replaced by a pair of Apollo 22x85s in a little while and I bought the Celestrons as a temporary replacement. Of course the Apollos trounced the Celestrons but considering the price difference that was always going to happen, but still it was interesting to see what paying over five times as much gets you.

The first impression of the Apollos is of just how well they are built. Extremely solid and the body feels like it was hewn out of one piece of metal. Fit and finish are flawless. The objectives have a green hue and no blemishes in the coatings could be seen. They are heavy though at 2.5KG, but feel like they could stand up to a lifetime of abuse and still function perfectly. The Celestrons felt very lightweight in comparison. Build quality was adequate for the job, but they felt like you should handle them gently in case they got damaged. Fit and finish was adequate (there's that word again). The objectives had a purplish hue and no flaws in the coatings. They are quite lightweight for 15x70s at 1.36Kg. In comparing the two bins you can see in the photos just how much more robust the Apollos are and how much larger the prisms are. The eyepieces in the Apollos are also much larger. and take standard 1.25" filters. The Apollos have independent eyepiece focusing and the Celestrons use centre focusing.

In daylight the Celestrons showed they were well collimated, gave very nice views and CA wasn't very noticeable. I was quite impressed with them for the money. However then I tried the Apollos and I wasn't prepared for the increase in brightness, contrast and sharpness. It wasn't just a bit better but rather miles better. So in daylight......no contest.

So onto night time to see if the differences would be so great.

First the Moon

The Celestrons gave a nice sharp image with a fair bit of crater detail and no really noticeable CA. The Moon was bright but comfortable to view. No ghosting or internal reflection problems either. Then the Apollos. First thing was that the Moon just about blinded me with it's brightness. I think you would need filters for viewing the full moon. Despite the brightness I could still see nice sharp crater details. Then a break to let my eyes recover!

Then Jupiter

With the Celestrons some detail and several moons were evident. Not bad at all. Then the Apollos again. This time Jupiter was brighter and more distinct and the moons just jumped out at me. Also the background was darker. (EDIT: should have put three moons not several)

Then M31 (Not ideal with the almost full Moon )

With the Celestrons it was still very easy to see even if just an elongated fuzzy patch with a brighter core. With the Apollos it was larger and more distinct with a brighter core.

So overall at night time the Celestrons did well and showed a lot of pleasing views, but were just simply outclassed by the Apollo's brightness, contrast and sharpness.

Conclusion

It may seem strange given some of the comments above, but I'd have to say there are two winners here. The Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars are a great buy and will be the best £50.00 you've ever spent on astro gear. However if you've got the cash for the Helios Apollo HR 15x70 Binoculars you won't be disapointed. They're not cheap, but are still good value for money, and you won't find anything better in a 15x70 binocular at anywhere near the price. You're talking serious money to better them.

One last thing. If you're going to buy a pair of the Celestron Skymaster 15x70s make sure you get them from a dealer like FLO that checks them before shipping them out.

John

Edited by johninderby
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Celestron Skymaster 15x70 & Helios Apollo HR 15x70 Binoculars Or what happens when a pair of £50.00 binoculars meet a £279.00 pair of binoculars. I've just sold the Helios Apollo 15x70s (being shi

hi John, thnx for your reply.. my budget is around £50.. well, i have ordered for Celestron 15x70 from FLO.. thnx for the advice of FLO you have given.. i did contact with Martin. he is a very nice pe

Just received a pair of apollo 15x70 bins and they come with an adapter made of metal to attach to a tripod. Seems very similar to the strathspey adapter I purchased a few months ago.

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Excellent report with a not surprising outcome.You're right about buying the Celestrons from a reputable company who checks them before release. I think it would surprise people just what some people send out before checking. I know someone who had to go through five(5) returns before he got what he paid for.

Could I just ask about the 'several' moons of Jupiter.

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Great writeup.

I got my Skywatcher 15x70's delivered yesterday (from FLO) and fortunately got a chance to try them out last night. I saw those same three objects and concur with what you what you wrote about them. As I'm starting out at the moment these were great value and will keep me busy while I explore the sky and learn to navigate my way round.

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That's what I like about FLO - and only found out about incidently - they do check the binos before sending out so hopefully none of that pain of receiving a pair finding flaws sending back receiving a new pair checking etc etc.

Rob

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Well FWIW i would never trade a BA8 series 15x70 for the Celestron 15x70 (BA2 series?). Me too i was always and i am still impressed with the brightness and sharpness of the BA8 series bino.

Still don't understand why you sold it, johninderby.

Now the 22x85 surely will impress you because it has far more lightgrasp and is as bright as the 15x70 but it is less versatile and need to be mounted every time you want to use it. As it is a bigger bino it will show you easier CA and other abberations also. Just the law of optics.

I just hope the Celestron will keep you happy though together with the 22x85.

Clear skies!

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well I for one am very happy John agreed/decided to sell. I was drooling when I saw them but did not have the cash, managed to sell some books in time and they will be with me soon!

they will become my main holiday/grab and go kit along with a pistol grip mount on my monopod. On this basis and as they will be my 'hand luggage' the weight was a key factor for me.

I hope John loves the 22x85s and I reckon he'll be totally happy with them as his current monopod/mount will more than take their weight.

Although I have never used the Celestron ones, it seems that a good pair from eg FLO will serve the buyer well for a long time if looked after.

That said, I am also delighted that John's assessment is very much that it's worth paying for the Helios ;)

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Chinese designations;

The BA8 series of binoculars is the series found on the united optics website.They are sold under different 'private labels' like the Apollo series in Britain , Garret signatures in the US, TS Marine by Teleskope service in Germany , General HI in Italy and probably some others.

Giant Binoculars

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well I for one am very happy John agreed/decided to sell

I can imagine. You will be more then pleased with, i assure you. It's about thesame quality of the famous Fujinon 16x70 allthough the latter still has a better corrected field toward the edge. That's about the only difference but at almost double the price...

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Hi johninderby,

how r u? hope you are doing fine. i have read your review and i have to say that it's really nice and detailed. i am so much interested about astronomy. but i am entirely new for stargazing. i want to have a pair of binoculars and doing some research from last few days on it. and finally i have almost decided to get celestron skymaster 15x70 binoculars. but before getting it i would like to ask you something. i hope you will help me with this.

1. Revelation 15x70 Binoculars are almost the same price as the celestron skymaster 15x70, somewhere revelation is little cheaper than celestron. is this revelation binoculars are really good for stargazing?

i am bit confused now, what to get? i dont have enough money even i can hardly spend £60. but i also prefer quality things.

2. you said about a dealer named FLO for celestron. they are reliable. i couldnt find them could you please give me the link of them?

could u please reply me? it would be really nice of you.

i am eagerly waiting for your reply.

thank you ..

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Nothing wrong with the Revelation binoculars, they are very similar to the Celestron. However being fairly low cost binoculars some of the Celestron and the Revelation binoculars will come from the factory with collimation and other problems. That is why I recommend getting them from someone like FLO who will check to see that they are OK before selling them.

John

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How much is your budget?

If it's under £100.00 then get the Celestron 15x70s from FLO as they will be checked properly before they are shipped, and they are a good pair of binoculars. Probably the best "cheap" pair of 15x70 binoculars around.

The Helios Apollo 15x70s are much better but cost £279.00. If you have the money for the Helios Apollos then definitely get them as they are a great pair of binoculars and you will really like them.

John

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hi John,

thnx for your reply.. my budget is around £50.. well, i have ordered for Celestron 15x70 from FLO.. thnx for the advice of FLO you have given.. i did contact with Martin. he is a very nice person and very helpful..

thnx john.. take care and be fine.. :o

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hi John,

thnx for your reply.. my budget is around £50.. well, i have ordered for Celestron 15x70 from FLO.. thnx for the advice of FLO you have given.. i did contact with Martin. he is a very nice person and very helpful..

thnx john.. take care and be fine.. :o

I see that FLO is sold out now, so you got one of the last pairs at such a good price. :)

I hope that you will enjoy using them.

John

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hi John,

yes.. i m feeling lucky.. coz its really hard for me to spend more... and i should thank you, coz i new about FLO from you.. anyway.. could u pls help me one more time? that is, i m totally new about stars. is there anything to for beginner like me to be introduced with stars? (and of course for free :o ) any link or free download..

thnx

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Good report. Just looking at the images posted i have to say that the Helios bins look to be more well constructed and chunkier.

I like your final comment that on a budget the Celestron perform very admirably but if you have a bit more cash to spend then the Helios are the way to go.

That was a very fair and just conclusion.

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  • 1 month later...

Anyone knows how do the Helios Quantum 4 15x70 compare to the Apollo 15x70?

For a layman like me they seam to have the same specs:

- both have BAK-4 prisms and are fully MC

- both are water proof

Only difference I could see is the Apollo haves IF while the Quantum haves CF.

So why the 144£ price difference?

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Anyone knows how do the Helios Quantum 4 15x70 compare to the Apollo 15x70?

For a layman like me they seam to have the same specs:

- both have BAK-4 prisms and are fully MC

- both are water proof

Only difference I could see is the Apollo haves IF while the Quantum haves CF.

So why the 144£ price difference?

In a word... Quality.

Better built, better optics and simply in a different class. The Helios Apollo bins are actually very close to their stated aperture whereas the Quantum 4s are closer to 60mm actual aperture. The Apollo bins are surprisingly close optically to the very top brands such as Fujinon, but are a fraction of the price, so you could consider them as a bit of a bargain really.

John

Edited by johninderby
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