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Celestron Ultima 8x56 vs Ultima DX 10x50

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#1 Tom Duensing

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 09:12 PM

I recently purchased a pair of Ultima DX 10x50s. I live in the western suburbs of Chicago and the viewing conditions here are pretty poor. On a good night I sometimes have mag 3 skies and that is about it.

I have a pair of Ultima 8x56's that I bought about 7 years ago for about $250. They are a very good pair of binocs but the eye relief is something less than the 19mm that was advertised. Also, the leatherette covering leaves something to be desired--it's not very durable. Due to the eye relief (I'm near sighted) they have been a pain at times to use. This was not helped by the roll down eye cups which are a pain to use. Having said all of this, the views were always very sharp except to the edges. They are a fine pair but I never used them as much as I wanted due to the eye relief.

Anyway, I found a pair of the newer DX 10x50 model for under $100 and decided to give them a try. They are fully waterproof and have twist down eyecups; however, they are made in China by our Communist "friends". (Actually "were" made in China as they have since been discontinued.) This gave me a little cause for concern. Also I could find very few reviews of the DX model.

The DX's are made like a tank and seem to be very solid. To my surprise they are a little smaller in length compared to my 8x56s.

Last night I took them out under poor, mag 3 skies. Compared to the 8x56's, the 10x50s are virtually as sharp in the center. However, the older 8x56's are sharper to the edge. The difference isn't huge but it is noticeable in a side-by-side comparison. The 10x50's are still usable as the difference isn't huge.

Interestingly, the field of view of the 10x50's is a little larger than the older 8x56's. This was pretty nice as it made the comparison between the two easier. I like that I didn't have to give up the 8x56's wide view.

The DX's appeared to give me another .3 to .5 mag improvement under the conditions I was testing under.

The eye relief of the DX'x are much better. All I had to do was to slightly turn the eye cups a little bit to get a comfortable view. Putting some pressure on the eye cups will move them back down a bit, but you have to put a fair amount of pressure to make them move, so it isn't a big deal. I normally view with a home-made mirror mount anyway.

Handheld, the 10x50's are easier to hold steady than the 8x56's. I was surprised at this. Both pairs seem to weigh about the same, but the thicker 10x50's seem easier to handle.

I'm pleased with the performance of the DX model, especially for the price I paid. The eye relief makes them much easier to use than my older 8x56's. And, although the visual quality is slightly inferior, it is very close to the 8x56's and frankly, the difference is pretty small.

As I had mentioned, the DX 10x50's have been discontinued. The DX 8x56 and 9x63 appear to have been added to Celestron's SkyMaster series.

I'm looking forward to driving out west the 25 miles to my in-law's home. The sky is much darker there--about mag 5--and I'd like to see how the two pairs compare under dark skies.

#2 ronharper

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:09 AM

Welcome, Tom, and thanks for that review. The DX is discontinued? That was quick. We've had few, and somewhat varying, reports on the DX here. They seem to quite a different bird from the lightweight, narrow fielded, and quite decent old style Japanese Ultima. (I have one of those old 10x50s) Like many Chinese binos in this price range, it seems to be a bit of a gamble--the one you get may be good or bad. Sounds like you got a good one. Enjoy the dark sky shootout.
Ron

#3 Wes James

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 04:18 AM

Welcome also, Tom- and glad they worked out for you! A pair of bino's that work well for a person can provide many hours of great viewing pleasure. Bet you'll love them under darker skies.

#4 Tom Duensing

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 08:12 AM

Hi,

Thanks.

They appear to be discontinued. They are no longer listed on Celestron's website and the 8x56 and 9x63's now appear to be listed on the web site under the SkyMaster series. It's odd that they don't have any 10x50's in that line.

I'm pleased I got a good pair. I know it can be hit or miss when they are made in China....

#5 Psyire

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 01:17 PM

I just recieved the 8x56 DX's for my bday a few weeks back. If you check OPTCorp you may still be able to get the 8x56 DX's for $99, an absolute steal IMO. I haven't been able to use them much due to weather, but from what I have I really like them so far.

#6 RussL

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 05:24 PM

Hi Tom,

Sorry I am so late jumping into this thread. I also recently bought the DX 10x50s and have a report stashed somewhere on here (I think it got put in the reports as part of a sticky--I appreciate that). But after my report I noticed a problem in the left barrel. Things would become distorted when moved slightly off center to the right, but only in the left barrel. I considered sending them back, but so far have just been living with it. Otherwise I love them except for just a little play in the focuser. Eye relief is excellent, if not too good. I too rotate the cups out just a hair to get comfortable. And it seems you're right about them being discontinued, so it looks. TFOV is 6.5 degrees, giving an APOV of 65 degrees. I like that even if it isn't flat to the edge. I also find that they are very steady if I extend my little fingers out toward the ends of the barrels. I've probably been out with them more often than my scope since purchasing them.

Clear skies to ya--I got them tonight in just a couple of hours! :jump: :jump:

#7 Tom Duensing

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 04:30 PM

Sorry to hear that the left barrel is "whacked". I've only used mine for a couple of hours--I'm may be able to get out with them tonight. I like them over my Ultima 8x56's, which surprised me. The FOV is great. Still haven't had a chance to drive to darker skies....sigh.

Regards,

Tom

#8 RussL

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:17 PM

Still haven't had a chance to drive to darker skies....sigh.


As a matter of fact, I just did that with mine, hoping to get a good low view to the south. When I got there, it had clouded up. All I could look at was Leo straight up.

I've quit looking for that flaw in my left barrel. Besides, it costs $25 to send them back, and I don't want to be without them. Plus, I'm just lazy. For $81 I didn't do too bad. If they're discontinued I may not have any luck swapping them anyway. I just love them otherwise. It ain't all that bad. :crazy:






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