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20x80 Celestron vs Orion vs ??

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#1 Jarrod



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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:37 PM


My interest in astronomy binoculars was sparked by an article I recently read about the two comets that will be in the neighborhood this year. I'm all but completely ignorant on the subject.

My first stab at this was to head to Amazon and buy Celestron Skymaster 20x80's which are well-reviewed there. They arrived but we had cloudy weather so I took them out during the day. I was never able to get both eyes completely in focus with the diopter ring. When viewing deciduous trees against the overcast sky, there was also horrible CA surrounding the bare branches, particularly in the left tube. They were so bad that I didn't bother to wait for a clear night before I returned them. Perhaps my mistake was to buy a "like new" pair from their warehouse. I believe that I greatly increased my odds of getting a bad set by doing that.

I was all set to go ahead and place my order again, this time for a factory-fresh set. But after exploring the wonderful resources here, I'm now aware of several other options, and aware that there is a good possibility that the new pair will have similar faults. I'm also now aware that Celestron does not manufacture these and that frequently, the same binoculars will be sold under several different brand names.

Are the Orion 20x80mm binoculars substantially the same as the Celestrons? Or if I give the extra $50 to Orion can I expect a better product? Are there other 20x80mm binoculars that merit serious consideration in the under-$200 price range? Any higher than that and I'd probably consider moving up to 25x100mm.

Thanks in advance.

#2 BobinKy



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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:34 AM

One nice thing about Orion is you get excellent customer service. And someone will answer the telephone when you call and switch you to a "technican." My conversations with Orion technicans have always been helpful.

You have found what to expect from Celestron.

Two other sources are BigBinoculars.com (Oberwerk) and Garrett Optical. Garrett Optical no longer accepts customer service telephone calls, but does accept e-mail and attempts to deliver a reply within a day or two. This is very unfortunate for Garret customers because a few years ago Garrett provided excellent telephone support for their customers. I am sorry, but I do not know Oberwerk's current practice of answering the telephone.

I will probably get blown out of the water for saying this, but here is my current ranking of the above sources for Chinese-manufactured giant binoculars.

Bob's Rank of Top 4 Giant Binocular Vendors
Customers in U.S.

(1) Orion
(2) Oberwerk
(3) Garrett
(4) Celestron

My two cents. :penny: :penny:

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