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Celestron Cometron 7x50s Review
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Celestron Cometron 7x50s Review
By Zane Landers
This review describes the Celestron Cometron 7x50s including my initial impressions along with examination during actual use for around 1 month. I live in a suburb in New England under Bortle 6-7 skies. I have 3 telescopes, the oldest of which I have had for one year.
The Cometrons currently retail for $26 on Amazon (MSRP is $55)
Selecting the Cometrons
I had heard about observing with binoculars before but believed it was all just a strange fad, done by skilled observers at dark sites. When I was in the French countryside and looked at M31 with my family's cheap 8x26 binoculars I decided I had been completely wrong, and began doing some research. I found that most good beginners' 50mm binoculars fell in the price range around $100, which I didn't really want to spend. The reason for this price is the expensive BAK-4 prisms and supposedly better coatings than cheaper binoculars, which usually use BK-7 prisms. The vast majority of under-$100 binoculars, including the Cometrons, I heard, had collimation problems and light loss, due to the inferior build quality, prisms, and coatings. I know Celestron's customer support is usually quite good and I figured that they would ship me a replacement if my pair wasn't collimated, and I could always return them if they were still horrible. So I ordered them on Amazon and waited.
I was rather impressed with the quality of the Cometrons given their price. The whole body is rubber armored, and there are only a few areas where water could seep in. Celestron markets these binoculars as "water-resistant" and I suppose they are. There are large indentations on each side of the binoculars for your fingers to grip.
The center focusing knob is large and cylindrical, and has rubber notches that make it rather easy to adjust with gloves. The diopter adjustment has similar rubber notches and is very smooth to adjust.
The binoculars come with a case, neck strap, and cleaning cloth. From information in other reviews and on the product pages I had no idea it came with any of these.
The one complaint I have about these binoculars is the lens caps. While the eyepiece caps are hard plastic and grip the eye guards rather tightly, the front lens caps are bendable rubber which easily fall off. My fingers once accidentally touched the glass while I tried removing them from their case.
The largest complaint of binocular observers about BK-7 prisms, from what I've heard, is that they cut off the exit pupil. While this is true with the Cometrons, the sides of the exit pupils are pinched by a small enough amount that it is rather difficult to notice.
The Cometrons have a 6.8-degree field of view, which means that at 7x the apparent field is 45-47 degrees. Compared to my 55-degree Plossl eyepieces in my telescope this is a bit narrow, but it is fine for normal use. The field has next to no distortions except right along at the edge of the field stop, where it's hard to tell anyways. Chromatic aberration on the Moon is remarkably controlled as well.
I have used the Cometrons several times, under both crystal clear and partly cloudy conditions. Keep in mind that the following observations were made at my home in a Bortle 6-7 zone.
M31 is rather easy to find and is a clearly prominent fuzz with little to no detail. It is remarkably bright though.
M42 appears similar to what it does in a small telescope, just a smaller. The wings are visible with averted vision, and the the whole region has a slight glow.
The region around Cassiopeia and Auriga is beautiful, similar to diamonds strewn across black velvet.
The Pleiades and Hyades are both simply stunning, showing many stars.
The Moon shows remarkable detail, especially when seated in a chair. The Earth's reflected light on the unlit side of the Moon is extremely evident in the binoculars, unlike with a small telescope.
The Celestron Cometron 7x50s are a fantastic bargain for the price and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone interested in astronomy with a budget below $100. I am planning on supplementing them with better binoculars but I think that for the price you simply cannot get anything better. Even if you own a small telescope, I would still recommend these for quick peeks and wide-field views, and/or for travelling. If I do not bring a telescope to view the solar eclipse next year I will definitely purchase solar filters for these binoculars and bring them. For less than the price of a cheap Plossl it is difficult to not want a pair of these!
- nickcodybarrett and Ben Bajorek like this