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Celestron 25x100mm Skymaster Binoculars
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I stargaze from Southern Louisiana, and while
I am a beginner at amateur astronomy, I have always had an interest in binoculars
and telescopes. As a kid, my family always had a pair of binoculars around
for general use. So while I may not know a globular cluster from a emission
nebula, I do know a thing or two about binoculars from 30 years of hiking
and bird watching.
I have owned a pair of 15x70mm Celestron Skymaster binocs for about 6 months, and recently I added a pair of 25x100mm Skymasters to my collection. My expectations for these new giant binocs were high. So while I cannot begin to touch the review written by Ed Zarenski, but I can add some things that I have noticed.
1) The fit and finish on the 25x100's leaves a little to be desired. Everything Edz said about the integrated mount is correct. The center bar wiggles a bit no matter how hard you tighten it. It also would have been nice if Celestron had included some kind of tripod-mount shoe or flanged mounting plate instead of the little knurled knob with a threaded hole in the bottom.
2) The 15x70's had some really nice rubber armor that I have no complaints about. I had expected that the 25x100's would have the same skin. Wrong. What you get is the standard covering ("skin") that all cheap binocs have. Supposedly they are "waterproof" but I would not want to test this, as some of the seams on the skin are not 100% tight. For the money I spent, I would have preferred the look, feel, and shock-absorbency of rubber.
3) The eye pieces do not have "click" diopters. I prefer a focus wheel that makes a nice little click with each increment. The diopters on the 25x100's is smooth, but you cannot tell where the focus is at without shining a light on it to read the dial. A nice click would allow you to guestimate focus settings without looking away from the eyepieces.
4) Edz mentions that the pair he reviewed had some kind of flaw that prevents one side of the binocs from being fully focused. I have a similar problem, albeit minor in comparison. No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to get the right eyepiece to focus as tightly and cleanly as the left. Perhaps it is my horrible eyes (20/400 vision), but I do have brand new Nikon-lens eyeglasses that are small and fit close to the face.
I observe while wearing them, perhaps that is part of the problem? Regardless, the left eyepiece appears sharper than the right. Nobody else who looks through them seems to notice, so maybe it is my eyes?
5) I agree with Edz about the FOV clarity. The center is nice and clear and above-center about 2/3 of the way up to the top is very clear. Go 2/3 of the way down towards the bottom and it gets blurry fast. So in my pair at least, the top of center is clearer than the bottom of center.
6) I have not noticed anything out of the ordinary when it comes to chromatic abberations or other distortions. Colors appear vibrant but natural. But again, I am no expert in this area, so for all I know Jupiter is supposed to be plaid with polka dots. (*grin*)
7) I don't care for the chincy little eyepiece cover that comes with the Celestrons. It's the same rubber cover as the 15x70mm has. Unless the eyepiece cups are folded back, there is nothing to hold it in place and it slides off. My Bushnell binocs have a molded rubber eyepiece cover that fits snugly and does not fall off. Celestron might learn from that.
8) The "deluxe" soft case is nice, but it's not practical for use in the field. It's too much of a production to open the thing up and remove the binocs which are strapped in 8 ways to Tuesday. would have preferred a molded HARD case with foam lining. But what do you expect from a $200.00 pair of Chinese made binocs?
9) Documentation : NONE. The same owner's manual that came with the 15x70's also came with the 25x100's. The manual is little more than a pamphlet and it tells you NOTHING about the binocs. No specifications, no usuable details, nada. It's about as helpful as a stack of Burger King napkins. A pair of binocs like this should come with some technical specifications. When I need to know something about them, I have to
Overall I am very pleased with my 100mm Skymasters. But you get what you pay for when it comes to optics. If you want an absolutely flawless FOV and a really TIGHT pair of binocs, then spend the extra money and buy the Fujinons, Oberworks, or some of the other higher-end binocs.
If you want a good bargain : seeing nebulas and Mag 11 stars for under $200.00, then get the Celestrons. I might have some niggling complaints about them, but I am still happy with my purchase. Are there better binocs on the market? Of course. Are there better binocs for the same money? No. Celestron is truly the choice of the poor man. Until I win the lottery, I'll stick with my Skymasters.