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Celestron 25x100mm unbiased thoughts

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#1 Glassthrower

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 09:47 AM

I have owned a pair of 15x70mm Celestron Skymasters 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 now that I have them and have used them on two clear nights, what's the verdict?

I'm no expert in the field and I cannot begin to touch the masterful review written by Edz http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1, 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 hate 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. The Bushnell's we 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. I 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 Google it.

10) I paid $199.00 plus shipping for these from Adorama. Shipping was prompt and it was packaged well. The binocs arrived no worse for the wear and they were collimated.

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.

To read a copy of my first observation report using the 25x100's, follow this link :

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

Mike

#2 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 10:00 AM

Thanks for posting the reivew. At $200 for 25x100 bins, this may explain a few of the shortcomings. I'm sure they're not junk, but it's the little things that can add up to make a whole binocular that much better.

#3 Craig Simmons

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 10:42 AM

Good review. I'm amazed a bino with 100mm objectives can be built, imported, sell for $200 and actually work reasonably well.

#4 EdZ

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 10:44 AM

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?



I also wear my corrective glasses while viewing. It not your eyes and it's not your glasses. I've looked thru enough other binoculars to eliminate that suspicion. When you view with both eyes, your brain averages out the images so that's why others might not see it.

edz

#5 Glassthrower

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 10:48 PM

I've had a couple of nights to try out the 25x100mm binocs
on the Tiffen Magnum XL tripod with "f-10 fluid head". And
I have a verdict...

Not too shabby. As Edz pointed out, this is NOT the optimal
setup for a heavy pair of binocs like the 25x100mm
Skymasters. However, all things considered, the head and
tripod is holding up well. The head moves smoothly in
any position and it locks the binocs tightly in place with
no wiggle. Like Edz said in his review, the tripod mount
bar on the Skymasters leaves much to be desired. It does
indent the rubber gasket on the head, but not badly. The
main issue is that the mount *barely* clears the bottom of
the main housing. This is a design flaw on Celestron's
part, and I suspect these problems would arise regardless of
the tripod used.

I have used the binocs fully extended to maximum height and
there is some minor shake, but nothing that doesn't die
down within a second or two. When fully retracted with the
binocs sitting squarely on the the head and tripod base,
the view is rock solid with no shake at all. Of course,
the panning-grip must be turned around to point at the sky,
or else it gets in the way while trying to view.

All in all, I would advise one of the following courses of
action for owners of these big binocs who have tripod woes :

1) Don't blow $25 to $40 on a cheap Walmart camera tripod.
You are throwing away your money. Spend $50.00 on eBay
and get a used tripod. I scored a Tiffen Magnum XL that
retails new for about $149.00. This will give you a tripod
that is not optimal, but it is more than adequate.

2) Drop $150-200 for a used Bogen setup, or $250 to $400
for a new Bogen or Manfrotto setup. This will give you a
solid mount that can withstand anything you throw at it.

BTW, as a side note. My old Walmart camera tripod didn't
go to waste. I disassembled it and removed the head.
I found an old wooden telescope tripod in our storage
unit (I had forgotten it was there!), and now I am going
to Frankenstein the two and make a nice solid mount for
our 15x70mm Skymasters.

Pics will follow soon....

Mike

P.S. Thanks for the inspiration people.

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 08:29 AM

I second your second suggestion! Through Ebay I was able to buy a slightly used Bogen 475 tripod for $200. Normally it's about $250 total.

#7 EdZ

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 09:58 AM

Just a few days ago I snagged a Bogen 475 with Bogen 501 head on Astromart.

$200 + fee.

This would sell for about $350.

edz

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 12:39 PM

That's awesome EdZ. I don't know if you have used that particular combination before, but it's great. I'm loving mine!

#9 Rusty

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 09:11 PM

I tend to favor the Quickset Samsons - I still have two, one with the head (rated at 35#) for the binocs, the other with the head removed for general use. $100-$125 on eBay.

#10 EdZ

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 09:49 AM

The Bogen 475 (Manfrotto 028) tripod, with only one exception, is EXACTLY the same as the Bogem 3246. The upper and middle legs are the same length and thickness. The center column elevator is the same. All connections are the same. The capacity is the same.

The only difference is the 475 has a much longer bottom leg extension which means it can stand much taller. I find I only extend that bottom leg section about 9" or the tripod is too tall to reach.

edz

#11 Rich V.

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 11:09 AM

The Bogen 475 (Manfrotto 028) tripod, with only one exception, is EXACTLY the same as the Bogem 3246.


Ed,
There seems to be some model number inaccuracy here; just to clarify, since the numbers can be so confusing, the current Manfrotto 028 is identical to the U.S. Bogen 3046/3246, not the 475. The 028/3046 have a fixed angle leg spreader, double tube upper legs and a tall (19") geared column.

The Bogen 475 is another animal altogether, nearly identical to its predecessor, the 3036/3236 (Manfrotto 075) except for their being 10" taller than the 475. These models have single tube legs w/independent leg angle settings via adjustable spreaders and a short (10") geared column.

All these tripods have a 26.5# rating.

Rich V


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