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Garrett Optical 20x90 WP Binoculars

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I've been an amateur astronomer for over twenty years and live in south central Texas. I observe with a C-8, a 11 x 70 binocular, and a 12.5 inch dob. I was looking for something easy to use that was bigger than the 11 x 70s without the size of the 100mms nor a field of view smaller than three degrees.


The binoculars arrived very well packed in their foam lined case inside a box with bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Questions and correspondence with Garrett Optical were answered promptly before and after purchase.

I also purchased a series 5000 tripod at the same time. It was also well packed and came with a nice soft side padded case. It works very well with these binoculars.

The fit and finish of the binoculars was flawless except for some small scratches under the rubber eye guard that aren't seen unless you are looking for them. Eyepiece caps are individual but connected. Objective covers are rubber and fit snuggly inside the objective housing. They will not fall off. The coating on the objectives has a greenish tint.


Collimation appears excellent to me. Both the focus and the interpupilary adjustments are very stiff. You can install or remove filters on the eyepieces without the focus moving. No shake or moving was noticed while using the series 5000 tripod. The fluid movement is adjustable. You can point them and release and they stay put. I learned to point them using the handles on the tripod head. I initially made some pointing adjustments by holding the binoculars. The mounting screw came loose and when I released them the top heavy binoculars swung around not hurting anything but got my attention! Now I snug the mounting screw and use the handles for aiming. The binoculars have a 3/8 inch socket with a 1/4 to 3/8 inch bushing so they can be mounted with either size. The tripod has both 1/4 and 3/8 inch mounting screws. The binoculars have a three degree field of view, large enough so I don't need a finder. I often leave the tripod set up with the legs scoped in and the quick release plate attached to the binoculars in their case. In a very short time I can stand up the tripod, slip on the binoculars and start observing.

Before purchasing I was concerned about field curvature as I've seen some binoculars where the f.c. was pretty bad. Garrett Optical told me their Signature series had a flatter field especially at lower powers, but the 20 x 90 waterproof series was what I wanted. I am very pleased at how flat the field is. I've found that a 5mm exit pupil works about best in my telescope so I wanted something similar in binoculars. The binoculars feel very sturdy and well made. At 8 pounds and 7 ounces they have some heft but are still easy enough to handle and carry around while mounted on a tripod.


Observations were made on November 16 when naked eye stars could be seen to mag. 5 and on November 18 when stars could be seen to mag. 4 to 4.5. The prettiest object I saw was the Double Cluster in Perseus. These binoculars brought out more color in the stars than I expected to see. Also the stars in these clusters were pin points. Brighter stars showed some flaring. NGC 6946 in Cepheus was a nice size galaxy. 253 in Sculptor was the best and brightest. M33 was big and easy. M78 appeared to be a gray blob. M1 was small and faint (on a mag. 4.5 night). These binoculars have eyepieces threaded for a 1 1/4 inch eyepiece filters. I used a Lumicon Deep Sky filter in one eyepiece and an Orion Ultrablock filter in the other. The Deep Sky is a short filter that is an excellent match for use in these binoculars darkening the sky just enough to enhance views. The Ultrablock is a little too strong and its a little taller reducing eye relief a small amount causing some vignetting for me. The Helix Nebula was large and easy with or without the filter, M27 was bright without a filter. M57could be seen as round and diffuse but was very small. I observed the North American Nebula and The Veil Nebula (only the brighter part) both with and without filters. They were difficult without the filters. With filters they were more obvious especially the Veil. It looked like an arc nearly 180 degrees around. Double stars that appear close and difficult with the 11 x 70 binos were wide and easy with the 20 x 90s.


Higher magnifications give more resolution to a point. Lower magnifications especially in less than top dollar instruments yield flatter fields and sharper images over a wider area. I believe these 20 x 90s are a good balance of power in an instrument that is about the largest that I would consider easy to observe with. They were also very reasonably priced. I'm well pleased with them and am anxious to use them in a really dark location.


Phil Harrington is right, "two eyes are better than one".


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