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meteoriot

Which Binoculars Celestron Skymaster 15x70 or 25x70

Celestron Skymaster 15x70 or 25x70  

1 member has voted

  1. 1. Celestron Skymaster 15x70 or 25x70

    • 15x70
    • 25x70
    • Keep current 10x50 and save £80
    • Save up for something better


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I'm going to move this thread into the binoculars forum where it might receive more feedback. I'll leave a link to it here too, so people can find it easily :smiley:

The Celestron binoculars I have used (15x70 and 20x80) were pretty good for ones at the lower end of the market. You really need to budget for a stout and tall tripod to make the best of them for astronomy though and these can cost as much as the binoculars. I have owned a pair of the 25x100 ones too and for those a really heavy duty tripod is an absolute must have - they really can't be used "hand held" at all really.

Have a browse through the threads in the binoculars forum to see what other brands are favoured.

By the way, even 10x50 binoculars will show star clusters and galaxies and other deep sky objects outside our solar system. They are small and faint in general but can be seen.  

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1) Is Celestron a good make of Binoculars for Astronomical use?

Firstly, Celestron isn't a "make", it's a brand -- the maker in this case is usually  United Optics of Kunming, China. The quality of the budget stuff varies enormously (lousy or absent QC), but it is still amazing that they can produce a binocular for less than the cost of a single half-way decent astronomical eyepiece.

2) If not (or even if so), are there other makes that are as good or better (Meade etc)?

Yes, most of the Kunming BA1 output (of which Celestron Skymasters are but one example) are at least as good and some (e.g. the Strathspey Giant or the Visionary Pro) are distinctly better. Stepping up a notch or two to the BA3 (e.g. Helios Q4) or BA8 (e.g. Helios Apollo) gives you much better quality. There are also other brands like Zeiss, Vixen, Kowa Highlander, Docter Aspectem, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, and Fujinon all of which offer significantly better astro binoculars.

 

3) Are there any makes that stand out as exceptional (even if I have to wait and save up)?

Vixen, Fujinon, Kowa Highlander, Docter Aspectem. Also Miyauchi and Takahashi, but these are no longer made, so it's a case of used only.

 

 

4) Are there any makes to steer clear of (eg Sakura - which seem too cheap to be true)?

Loads. Too many to mention. I have a page here on how to evaluate a binocular, which may help identify the dross.

 

 

5) Will a decent camera tripod be OK when using binoculars for Astronomy or do I need to think about a special tripod too?

Camera tripods are OK for low-altitude observation, but are a real pain for anything else. Some mounting hints here.

 

 

6) I can get the Celestron 20x80s from Amazon for about £110, but the 25x100s cost almost £250 - are they worth it for the extra magnification and light gathering?

I wouldn't get either. Both are internally stopped down so they are not really the aperture that they say they are. I would advise saving a few more pennies and getting something like the Helios Apollo 15x70 (or getting a used one -- if you can find one): it's a seriously nice bit of kit and well worth the money.

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Hi,  Steve mentioned "Visionary Pro" - the "Pro" bit I haven't come across before. Visionary also  do a "Neoma" range  which by their price tag shoud be better than their other models  ( they also look like a different build) but they rarely get mentioned anywhere - anybody come across them?

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As Steve mentioned, there are various BA8 models from United Optics. Mine are the Delta Extreme ED 15x70's which although relatively new (early 2013 I think), rarely get mentioned. They are identical to the Helios Apollo, TS Marine etc, but they have an ED glass element which is supposed to reduce CA (chromatic aberration). IMHO, I find the differences between the budget BA1's (Skymaster etc) and these as staggering but then I guess we'd expect that given the price differential. As mentioned elsewhere, I am only selling them as I now have a decent scope and evaluating smaller bins as my 'grab n go'.

Mark

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Do don't really need anything more powerful than 10x50.   But 15x70 should be the highest I would consider.

Anything beyong 15x is utterly useless without a x-pod (15's really need one), unless you have the VERY expensive VR binos.

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