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Reged: 04/07/05
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Loc: Oort Cloud 9
GO Signature 22x85 - Tentative First Light new
      #1198749 - 10/15/06 09:49 AM

There is some truth to the old saying of "new gear brings new clouds", and my new binoculars were heralded by a solid cloud deck. I managed to snap a few pics of them with my crummy digital camera before darkness fell. I was not optimistic of my chances of getting first light. The weather forecast was dismal - cloudy with intermittent rain between last night and the middle of the coming week.

But, I must have been a good boy this year. For the bino-gods shined down upon me and bestowed upon me a pleasant gift : a giant hole in the clouds right over Cygnus.

Actually, I got several large holes over the course of two hours. The seeing was bad, as a weak front was moving through, pushing before it a line of disturbed air and showers. Houma dodged the showers and as the night wore on, the thick deck gave way to a high layer of gauze-like thin clouds. These high clouds had gaps in them and as the clouds slowly moved through, the gaps would expose areas of starry sky. Some of these gaps had surprisingly-good transparency.

I managed two long looks at Cassiopeia, one long look at Cygnus, and a few short peeks at several small unidentified areas of sky.

My Cygnus look was : SPECTACULAR. WOW.


Ok, here are some brief thoughts, in random order, about the binocular :

1) Color fidelity is excellent. I cannot help but make comparisons to my previous/other large binoculars, which are both Celestron Skymaster models. (15x70 and 25x100) Color, the good kind of color, is much more apparent in stars with these GO Signature bins. I had no idea there were so many subtle shades of colors in stars. This was not the seeing, or my imagination. My previous experience with color in stars, using primarily my Skymaster giants, is : mostly white, some brilliant blue, some subtle blue, some yellows, some orange, and some pale reds. Now, with the GO Signature model, I am seeing colors I never noticed before. Subtle shades of red - deep blood red, cherry red, pinkish, pale rose. Amber and orange and every hue in between. And more variations of blue. Albireo's amber component was noticeably more GOLDEN, making the contrast more pleasing.

I sold the 25x100 Skymaster a couple of weeks ago, so I cannot do a side-by-side comparison, but the view through the 100mm Skymaster is still fresh in my mind's eye. I can say, without reservation, that I was not seeing that kind of color rendition in the Skymaster.

2) Sharpness. View is noticeably sharper than my other Chinese giants. I had a tight double centered for a casual test. I have no idea what double it was, but it was a little tighter than Albireo in distance and about the same in magnitude contrast between components. I let the double slowly drift off the field in the four cardinal directions towards the edge and off the field stop (which I could just see if I mashed my face and glasses right up against the eps, another thing I could not do with the Skymaster) ... the double remain cleanly seperated until the extreme edge. Stars begin to degrade and elongate at about 1/10 of a FOV-diameter distance from the edge. I hate to put a percentage number on the sharpness, but if forced to, I would say it is pleasingly-sharp to 80%. Bearing this mind, I would go back and re-evaluate the field sharpness of my old 25x100 Skymaster to 60%. What's more, the remaining 20% in the GO is more usuable than the Skymaster's remaining 40%. Using a trick I read about on Holger Merlitz' website, I focused the center of the FOV to infinity. Then, I let a field of stars begin to drift in one direction towards the edge. Just when a gauge star (in this case, another double) started to show some image de-focus, I stopped and slowly tweaked the diopters to bring it back into focus. The result, a wider sharp field. The amount of re-focus was slight, and the result is a wider field of sharp usuable stars. Using this technique, I have myself a much bigger usuable FOV than ever before. I guess this technically means that the dead center is ever-so slightly off focus, but the overall image is still much sharper than any of my other giants - so the compromise is a welcome one.

3) Flaring or radial-spiking. It's still present on VERY bright stars. Surprisingly, Deneb showed very little, and some of that might have been the scratches on my eyeglasses. Which, by the way, the scratches on my glasses are MUCH more noticeable and distracting now! Now I have to rush forward my plans for new observing glasses. Before, in Celestron Confinement, flaring was excessive and any spiking from scratches in my eyeglasses was well concealed by the spiky-nature of the Celestron view. In the GO, stars are cleaner little balls or beads. Any spiking or flaring is more immediately evident. And I found my glasses to be VERY distracting. I had to carefully position my head and eyes to get a clean view betwixt the scratches. A fleeting peek at the Pleiades through a cloud hole confirmed the amount of flaring. Compared to what I am used to seeing, the view of M45 was much improved, with no noticeable flaring on ANY of the members. Some hints, which again were probably my glasses, of spiking were seen if I moved my head a certain way.

4) Image brightness. Surprisingly, the drop in brightness from 25x100 to 22x85 is not all. I had to try very hard to notice a difference. I guess it is the improved coatings and light transmission. But old familiar targets like NGC 457 looked about the same. I did notice that some of the fainter members of NGC 457 were a bit harder to pick out, but the overall view was much cleaner, so I did not mind the small drop in aperture. I did not attempt any star counts, because it was gusty and my rig was shaking somewhat. Having a grocery bag with a 1# can of corn in it, hanging from my counterweights did not help with the shakiness! (these bins are heavier than my 10# Skymasters) I did not view any extended objects, only point sources.

5) IPD adjustment is smooth and positive. No backlash, and no shift or wobble around the central axis. The objective brace and bar is similar in overall design to the 25x100 Skymaster, but is much heavier and the bar is one machined rod, not an assembly. The tightening knob is larger and gives a positive feel as well. These binoculars do not shift around as much as my Skymasters either. The hold of the tripod-adapter is more sure. The bottom footprint of the tripod adapter is similar, almost identical, to the 100 Skymaster. It is small and I imagine would deform the rubber face of some tripod heads.

6) Diopters travel to +/-5. Diopters are tight and very sure. No drift. No sounds, no scrunching grease. Both eyepieces focus well, no discrepancies here.

7) Eyepiece lenses are deeply recessed. I lack a proper measuring tool (I need to invest in a good mm ruler and some dial calipers), but I can say this.... : compared to both Skymasters, the eyelenses on the GO are recessed about 3 times as deep. I actually LIKE this. Since I observe with glasses on, this helps protect the bino eps from incidental contact with my eyeglass lens and frame. I can smash my face into the eps and not worry about contacting the glass of the eyelens. I like this. On my Skymasters, I had to be more guarded in this respect. Eyelenses are large and well coated.

8) The included hard storage case is not on par, quality-wise, with the build of the binocular. The bino is built far better than the case. But, hey, no complaints here. This hard case is FAR more useful than any softcase I have seen previously included with big bins. The interior is a cutout of the bino, with felt-lined foam. There is no extra room in the case to cut out additional holes for RDF or other goodies. Overall, the case is decent and it will serve it's purpose.

9) I got a free lenspen optics cleaner/brush with the bins. I avoid using these. They scare me because they involve rubbing something across the surface of the lens. That's fine when the lenspen is VIRGINAL, but after one use, there could be foreign material trapped in the head. And any future use could rub that material across dirty but unscratched lenses, turning them into clean but scratched lenses. I would prefer the former, although I tolerate neither. This lenspen will probably keep company in my widget box with some other unused doodads.

10) I have a signed certificate from Zach Garrett and Cory Suddarth, which documents my binocular's encounter with the Mark-V collimator. As expected, I did not have any trouble merging images. I did a brief check of rough collimation during the day on some rooflines and power wires, and everything checked out 100%. Nothing noticeable and no complaints here.

Last night's wander through Cygnus was a great gift from above. My local western sky is unsuable, and my window for viewing Cygnus is rapidly closing now. Even though it was at the zenith and my neck is now killing me, I am glad I got to take these GO Signature bins on a quick tour of the area. WOW. WOW. WOW. The Milky Way starfields were like a scattering of COLORED jewels across black velvet. I fell in love with binocular stargazing all over again.

Zach Garrett, you sir, are THE man.

Ditto for you Mr. Suddarth.

These are keepers.

A full review to follow in the next few weeks after I get more opportunity to use these under the stars.

Clear dark signature skies...


Michael Gilmer - Member of the Meteoritical Society & Collector of Falling Stars.


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Reged: 09/19/06
Posts: 74
Loc: Milan, Italy
Re: GO Signature 22x85 - Tentative First Light new [Re: Glassthrower]
      #1198822 - 10/15/06 11:03 AM

Mike, congratulations for your new binos!
I'm also interested in them and I'd like to know if the eye relief (I observe with glasses on) is enough for you to enclose the entire field of view (3).
Milan, Italy

Zeiss 15x60 B/GA T*
Carl Zeiss 7x50W Jenoptem
Zeiss Victory 10x56 FL
Miyauchi BJ-100 iC

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Rich V.
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Reged: 01/02/05
Posts: 3143
Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Re: GO Signature 22x85 - Tentative First Light new [Re: Glassthrower]
      #1198829 - 10/15/06 11:08 AM


It's nice knowing your new glass was checked out before it left Garrett. Just a nice sense of security!

These bins sound like a quality optic; your continued inspection will hopefully remain positive! Now you won't have the glass get in the way of your observations. Besides, just the FEEL of a quality binocular helps make a special experience.

I wish you clear, warm skies soon!! Keep up the reports!

Rich V

33/50/71/150x100 Saturn III, 22x70ED, 16x70 FMT-SX, 10x50 PCF-V, 10x43 DCF-SP, 10x35 EII, 7x35 E, 8x30 EII,
7x26 Custom, 8x23CF AS Diplomat, 6.5x21 Papilio
C9.25, TMB130SS, SV80S-LOMO 80/480
IDA member

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super member

Reged: 06/25/06
Posts: 191
Re: GO Signature 22x85 - Tentative First Light new [Re: Rich V.]
      #1198874 - 10/15/06 11:35 AM

Hello Mike,

I just tracked you down. I was wondering if you had a chance to see some stars last night.

Congratulations, I am so happy that your new binoculars are a winner. I hope they are much better than you expected and from this report it looks like they are.

I find star color one of the most rewarding things in the hobby, much more fun for me than tracking down most deep sky objects, even with a large scope. I believe my favorite thing in astronomy is to slowly scan the milky way with a wide-field scope or binoculars and just stop. ponder and enjoy the different colored stars. Cygnus, Saggittarius, and Scorpius have kept me busy for countless hours doing this (not this year, though ). I usually don't even bother to identify the objects I come across.

I had a pair of Japanese 12X80s, part of the $20K of equipment I had stolen a few years ago, and they were wonderful for this. I do not believe they were the quality of your new binoculars, and 12X was a bit too low for my taste, but I really enjoyed using them. I know you will get innumerable hours from your Garretts.

Once again, my friend, clear skies.

Tom B.

Edited by tbourg (10/15/06 11:37 AM)

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Fearless Spectator

Reged: 03/02/02
Posts: 5024
Loc: 3821'N 12055'W
Re: GO Signature 22x85 - Tentative First Light new [Re: tbourg]
      #1198950 - 10/15/06 12:21 PM

Thanks for your enthusiastic review! Your new GO 22x85 looks like a winner!


"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."
-George Carlin

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Vendor - Galactic Stone & Ironworks

Reged: 04/07/05
Posts: 17931
Loc: Oort Cloud 9
Re: GO Signature 22x85 - Tentative First Light [Re: ngc6475]
      #1199027 - 10/15/06 01:14 PM

Thanks for the feedback folks!

I am this close ---> <--- to being in binocular nirvana.

I can't wait to get these out under some really dark and clear skies. Last night was a TEASE.

Clear dark skies...


Michael Gilmer - Member of the Meteoritical Society & Collector of Falling Stars.


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Reged: 07/21/05
Posts: 6459
Loc: 51N 4E
Re: GO Signature 22x85 - Tentative First Light new [Re: Glassthrower]
      #1204209 - 10/18/06 11:12 AM

congratulations on that purchase, Mike. Good to know these have finally hit the market. I'll be keeping an eye out for them too!

Leica 8x20; Nikon 7x35; Vixen 8x42; Orion 15x63; Docter 15x60
WO Megrez II 80 FD / APM 107mm f/6.5 / Mewlon 210 on DM-6 + Berlebach Planet

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Art Fritzson

Reged: 01/29/05
Posts: 315
Loc: Northern Virginia, USA
Re: GO Signature 22x85 - Tentative First Light new [Re: Mark9473]
      #1204391 - 10/18/06 12:54 PM


Congratulations on the purchase! I know you've been considering these for a long time and it sounds like they're living up to expectations. Hows the damping and handling on that Astrowood mount you've got with the increased weight?

- Art

2006 "Bagging on a Budget" Award for Excellence in Binocular Astronomy
Garrett 25x100 IF, Oberwerk 15x70, Celestron Noble 10x50, Meade 10x50 and 8x42 Travelviews
William Optics Zenithstar II 80mm APO
Teleport 10" - an incredible all-in-one Planetary/DSO/"Grab and Go"

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Phillip Creed
Idiot Seeking Village

Reged: 07/25/06
Posts: 1715
Loc: Canton, OH
Re: GO Signature 22x85 - Tentative First Light new [Re: Art Fritzson]
      #1204476 - 10/18/06 01:47 PM


Make it worth your while to get to a dark sky. Get to a spot that's at least in the "green" on the CSC light pollution map. You'll be FLOORED by what those Garretts will reveal.

(I'll give you hint--the Flame Nebula, NGC 2024? Yes, it's a binocular object!)

Clear Skies,

"The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say"--Rush, "Manhattan Project"

Wilderness Center Astronomy Club member since 1995
ICQ Comet Observer Code: CRE01
12" f/4.9 Skywatcher Collapsible Dobsonian
8" f/4.9 Orion Newtonian on alt-az mount
Oberwerk 15x70 Binoculars
Minimalist Eyepiece Collection: 30mm ES-82, 22mm Vixen LVW, 14mm Delos, 10mm Delos, 2X GSO ED Barlow, 4X Powermate

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