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Ed Kessler
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 05/17/06
Posts: 1163
Loc: Millersburg, PA
Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) new
      #1698738 - 07/04/07 12:59 AM Attachment (359 downloads)

FedEx dropped these off (figuratively speaking) at my door this afternoon, and I spent about an hour testing them tonight.

Sky Conditions: Fair transparency with thin clouds overhead most of the night.

Bottom Line: For those of you who prefer to get right to the point, the Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP binoculars are very, very good!

Background Info: I posted another review of the Garrett 45/100 binoscope a while back. I really enjoyed using the binoscope but I also picked up a Borg 125ED f/6.4 scope which I began using with my TAK Twinview binoviewers. The Borg/binoviewer combination performs nicely on the less-extended DSO's, and weighs about 10 lbs. lighter than the binoscope. So I decided to sell the binoscope and look for a lighter pair of binoculars. For weeks I waffled between Fujinon 15x70's, the Miyauchi's, a 45/80mm binoscope, and the Garrett Signature 22x85's. I decided against the Fujinons because I wanted something with a bigger aperture. (Although, I once owned a pair of 10x70 Fujinons that were absolutely superb.) I didn't like the reviews of the Miyauchi's (sorry Miyauchi fans) but I thought I might prefer the 45 degree viewing. And the 22x85's won out over the 45/80 binoscope because of weight. There are just too many choices out there!

Shipping/Packaging: The binoculars came in their case, securely packed in bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts. Garrett does a good job in packing their binos for shipping.

Construction: These are very attractive binoculars and I was actually quite surprised at their quality. After a thorough inspection I could not find any defect in the armoring, finish, or coatings. The center support rod is securely attached, something I checked immediately because I've owned several binoculars that frustrated me because the support rod kept coming loose. The mounting post locks the binoculars snugly in place.

The only issue that I found is that focusing is a bit stiff on each ocular. I rotated each one the full length of its movement several times, however, and they did appear to loosen up a bit. I suspect that they will get a bit better over time.

I was also surprised by their weight and balance. I knew they were 10 lbs. when I ordered them, but I'd almost forgotten how convenient a 10 lb. pair of binos can be. As you can see in the photographs, I tested the binoculars on a lightweight tripod, and although I plan to use them with a heavier, homemade parallelogram-style mount, they were quite useable on the lightweight tripod.

Collimation is excellent and lateral merging is very good. The exit pupils are nice and round.

The 22x85 HD-WP's oculars are also threaded to accept standard filters. Garrett's web page states that on some of their models, including mine, there is a slight error in the threading for the filters. I found this to be true and was only able to turn my filters about two threads before they got tight. This takes up just a bit of eye relief, but since I view without my eyeglasses, it shouldn't be a problem. (Note: this is only a problem with this specific lot of binoculars and not all their models which have this feature.)

Optics:
At first the clouds frustrated me so I focused the binos on a neighbor's porchlight about a mile from my backyard. The light was very bright and I noticed just a hint of purple CA around it. The CA increased slightly and changed from purple to green when I moved the porchlight to the extreme edge of the field. Then I watched their three dogs play in the backyard for a while. Twin 85mm objectives gather quite a bit of light.

When the clouds dissipated a bit I checked out Jupiter and was immediately impressed! Most of the larger binoculars that I have owned displayed some flaring on Jupiter, but through the 22x85's I saw only very minor flaring and that could be attributed to my mild astigmatism. Jupiter's disc was nice and round, and I could make out a hint of surface detail. But what impressed me most was that I was able to resolve Io which was only about 10 arcsec. (I think) east of the planet. The contrast between the planet and its moon was excellent and I'm sure it could be resolved when it is much closer to the planet. Jupiter's moons were pinpoints of light out to about 90% of the FOV.

Next, I panned the sky and looked at the double star Albireo which displayed a beautiful blue/yellow contrast. I could detect M57 but the thin clouds made viewing it difficult. Even through the clouds, the star fields of Cygnus were stunning. Stars focused to pinpoints of light and contrast was excellent considering the poor skies. The views reminded me of what I've seen in Fujinon 15x70's with a narrower FOV.

I'm very critical when it comes to binocular performance. What good is a wide FOV, if half of it is distorted? These Garretts initially appear to meet all my criteria for a very good to excellent pair of astronomical binoculars. Star fields are very sharp on axis and remain so across almost all of the FOV. I could detect only a hint of on-axis CA. Lateral merging is very good. (I dislike a figure eight FOV.) The 3 degree FOV is my minimum tolerance for "widefield" viewing and 22x is a good magnification for the moon and for all but the largest DSO's. At 10 lbs. they are easy to handle and can be accomodated by a variety of lighter mounting arrangements. I can use my deep sky filters with them. Their 12mm eye relief is adequate, albeit a bit short. They have nice armoring and come with a solid case. Best of all they are currently discounted $80.00, presumably because of the filter threading issue.

As you can tell, I really like the Signature 22x85 HD-WP binoculars from Garrett. I know there is no such thing as Nirvana when it comes to optics (except for, perhaps, Bill C's 150mm Fujinons), and each binocular model will have its advantages and its drawbacks, and personal preferences will also be a factor. But IMHO, among the choices of excellent binoculars that we have today, these binos are one of the best buys available.

Attachment

--------------------
Clear, Steady Skies,
Ed Kessler

sic itur ad astra
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.

16" Jeff Counsil Dob, Stellarvue SVA145mm, TV-85, Coronado SM60, 2007 Questar Duplex
Eyepieces: Vernonscope Binoviewer and Brandons, Zeiss, Pentax, Leica ASPH Zoom, Denkmeier
Mounts: EM-200, Discmounts DM-6


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Ed Kessler
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 05/17/06
Posts: 1163
Loc: Millersburg, PA
Re: Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) new [Re: Ed Kessler]
      #1698740 - 07/04/07 01:01 AM Attachment (217 downloads)

Objectives . . . .

Attachment

--------------------
Clear, Steady Skies,
Ed Kessler

sic itur ad astra
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.

16" Jeff Counsil Dob, Stellarvue SVA145mm, TV-85, Coronado SM60, 2007 Questar Duplex
Eyepieces: Vernonscope Binoviewer and Brandons, Zeiss, Pentax, Leica ASPH Zoom, Denkmeier
Mounts: EM-200, Discmounts DM-6


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Ed Kessler
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 05/17/06
Posts: 1163
Loc: Millersburg, PA
Re: Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) new [Re: Ed Kessler]
      #1698742 - 07/04/07 01:02 AM Attachment (184 downloads)

Eyepieces . . . .

Attachment

--------------------
Clear, Steady Skies,
Ed Kessler

sic itur ad astra
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.

16" Jeff Counsil Dob, Stellarvue SVA145mm, TV-85, Coronado SM60, 2007 Questar Duplex
Eyepieces: Vernonscope Binoviewer and Brandons, Zeiss, Pentax, Leica ASPH Zoom, Denkmeier
Mounts: EM-200, Discmounts DM-6


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Ed Kessler
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 05/17/06
Posts: 1163
Loc: Millersburg, PA
Re: Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) new [Re: Ed Kessler]
      #1698745 - 07/04/07 01:04 AM Attachment (182 downloads)

Another view . . . .

Attachment

--------------------
Clear, Steady Skies,
Ed Kessler

sic itur ad astra
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.

16" Jeff Counsil Dob, Stellarvue SVA145mm, TV-85, Coronado SM60, 2007 Questar Duplex
Eyepieces: Vernonscope Binoviewer and Brandons, Zeiss, Pentax, Leica ASPH Zoom, Denkmeier
Mounts: EM-200, Discmounts DM-6


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Ed Kessler
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 05/17/06
Posts: 1163
Loc: Millersburg, PA
Re: Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) new [Re: Ed Kessler]
      #1698747 - 07/04/07 01:05 AM Attachment (180 downloads)

Exit Pupils . . . .

Attachment

--------------------
Clear, Steady Skies,
Ed Kessler

sic itur ad astra
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.

16" Jeff Counsil Dob, Stellarvue SVA145mm, TV-85, Coronado SM60, 2007 Questar Duplex
Eyepieces: Vernonscope Binoviewer and Brandons, Zeiss, Pentax, Leica ASPH Zoom, Denkmeier
Mounts: EM-200, Discmounts DM-6


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Rich N
Post Laureate


Reged: 09/22/04
Posts: 5618
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, Calif...
Re: Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) [Re: Ed Kessler]
      #1698756 - 07/04/07 01:16 AM

Thanks, ED!

Very interesting review. It looks great. I'd love to have a look through one.

Rich


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johnno
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/03/04
Posts: 807
Re: Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) new [Re: Rich N]
      #1699331 - 07/04/07 12:36 PM

Hi All,

ED,
Thanks for the review and the pics,those Binoculars look REAL nice.

Regards.John


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Glassthrower
Vendor - Galactic Stone & Ironworks


Reged: 04/07/05
Posts: 17931
Loc: Oort Cloud 9
Re: Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) new [Re: johnno]
      #1699538 - 07/04/07 02:53 PM

Ed,

I rarely regret selling off a piece of gear, but the GO SS 22x85 is one of my regrets.

Quote:


Even through the clouds, the star fields of Cygnus were stunning. Stars focused to pinpoints of light and contrast was excellent considering the poor skies. The views reminded me of what I've seen in Fujinon 15x70's with a narrower FOV.





The star fields of Cygnus were absolutely STUNNING in these binoculars. The proliferation of red, orange and yellow stars is more noticeable versus other giants I have used, including the Celestron 15x70, 25x100 and Meade 20x80. Very sharp on-axis, and considerably sharper off-axis than budget class Chinese optics like the Skymaster models.

For interesting effect, try masking the 85mm objectives down to about 60 or 65mm. It "tightens" up the view somewhat, darkens the background further, and reduces the already-acceptable amount of flaring present on bright targets.

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

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



☄ ⒼⒶⓁⒶⒸⓉⒾⒸ ⓈⓉⓄⓃⒺ ☞ www.galactic-stone.com


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Chopin
Canis Insanus


Reged: 02/03/05
Posts: 3969
Loc: In the doghouse.
Re: Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) new [Re: Glassthrower]
      #1701572 - 07/05/07 08:11 PM

Ed,

Welcome to the club! The 85mm Garretts are a real gem. I have the 15x variant, but I still concur wholeheartedly regarding the very good CA control as well as the phenomenal resolution. I would have considered the 22x if it weren't for that pesky eye relief, but I imagine it won't take much to get used to. Although no other binocular has ever tempted me to spend so much time viewing planets, I find such a task to be well within the realm of these fine Chinese optics. Saturn has been a real treat for several months now, and Jupiter is becoming a new favorite. Although I really bought these for galaxies and globs, and a recent trip to the mountains made me forget every penny I spent on these. Just insane. Like MikeG says, Milky Way scanning is what these babies are all about.

Oh yeah, and the Virgo cluster.

Nice report, Ed. Keep us posted with future inpressions. I'm willing to put money down that once you get a few really good nights that you'll want to sing some praise again.

--------------------
JasonŽ

VeritableImagery

Reflectors: 110/900mm, 250/1140mm (in progress)
Refractors: 80/400mm, 72/430mm ED
Binoculars: 8x40mm, 15x85mm
Eyepieces: Televue Naglers, Faworski Abbe orthos
Canon 1D, 20D, 10-24mm, 50mm, 70-200mm, 150-500mm




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Jay_Bird
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/04/06
Posts: 1493
Loc: Nevada, USA 36N 115W
Re: Garrett Signature 22x85 HD-WP (Brief Review) new [Re: Chopin]
      #1725362 - 07/18/07 09:40 PM

Hi Ed,

That was a nice report, clear nights to you with those new binos.

I had to post just to say that my old Quik-Set tripod is missing even more paint than yours.

Best, Jay


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