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Celestron Skymaster PRO 15x70 my review

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#1 Wallabing

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 05:27 PM

Hello everybody, it's my first time posting here, I've never wrote a review before, but I know that there are little (if not any) reviews of the Celestron Skymaster pro 15x70, other than a few on store websites.

I got my hands on one now and I'm gonna go ahead and post one. I'll try to keep everything simple and short, pardon my writing skills, they are not quite up to spec.

 

I'm actually not an astronomer or a birdwatcher, I just happened to like glassing (terrestrial observation). I actually have quite a few binoculars, but non at any higher than 10 power. I've knew of the release of the Skymaster pro's 15x70 for almost a year now on websites such as BH photo and Hi point scientific. What attracted me to these pair of binoculars was the advertised large Angle of view, (being 66 degrees) which is quite amazing for a 15 power optic. I was also attracted to Celestrons claims of a XLT fully multicoating, which they also use on their high end expensive Echelon binoculars. I've been saving up cash for almost a year to get these in my hands, and I just happened to finish that goal a month ago. I purchased these of BH Photo website on sale for $185.95.

 

Time for a test,

 

There is only one test I do to test the performance of my new binoculars.....

 

Hawk Hill Marin

 

med_gallery_262249_6515_181439.jpgmed_gallery_262249_6515_151259.jpgsml_gallery_262249_6515_382196.jpgmed_gallery_262249_6515_14315.jpg

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By the way, Here's what you get in the box

 

2x White Foam padding surrounding the binocular

1x Microfiber cleaning cloth

1x Nylon case + Manual

1x Nylon case strap

1x Binocular strap

1x Celestron Skymaster Pro 15x70

2x flip down Objective lens covers

1x Rainguard/eyeyepiece cover

1x 1/4 tripod adapter with clamp on dovetail for red dot sighters

2x Winged eyecups

2x Standard eyecups

 

The Nylon case and the strap is cheap. That is pretty much expected. 

One thing that impressed me was the included 70mm flip down objective eyepiece covers, they are very well made, and generally stay secure without falling off the objectives.

On the flipside, the eyecups (both standard and winged) have a tendency to come loose if you so happen to bump hard against them. They are attached to the eyepiece simply by grabbing a little indent that runs the circumference of the eyepieces.This is especially noticeable in the winged eyecups because the sides of your face will eventually bump into them knocking them off, they also cannot be covered the the eyepiece cover, which is why I elected not to use them at all. I wished they were tighter fitting design.

I want to add that the construction of the eyepieces are very good aswell, they seem to made out of milled anodized aluminum with a red ring, adding a nice touch to the overall nice look of the binoculars. The eyepieces also have nice machined knurlings around the edges.

The 1/4 tripod adapter works well, it happens to made out of some cast metal alloy. The tripod adapter has a clamp on red dot sight mounting system on top of it. I didn't happen to use any so I cant speak for it.

 

The Good new:

 

Everyone knows of the collimation problems and QA with Celestron binoculars.I can say that my pair has arrived in my hands very well collominated. This is very good news. I can look through them for many minutes on end and get no eye strains or headaches in the process. Blinking my eyes back and forth 3 inches away from the eyepiece, I can see the images are perfectly aligned together.

 

This binocular is very sturdy and well built. The exterior polycarbonate shell construction is of very high quality, I am impressed. If it weren't for the silver rings that surround the necks of the barrels, these binoculars would be very "tactical sporty" in my opinion.

One you get to handle them, they feel rather medium weight, not as heavy as I would expected.

 

I can say that the  image quality is tack sharp. This is the icing on the cake for me. Looking across the span of the Golden gate, I can easily make out the pedestrians jogging and bicycling over.  

 

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The 66 degrees angle of view/apparent field of view is awesome and very eye filling. The 3D effect is very good aswell. The 17mm of eye relief is comfortable, it spaces "just" right my eyes against the eyecups.

 

Furthermore the image is very bright, as would be expected for 70mm objectives and fully multicoatings, and to add to note, a 4.6mm exit pupil for 15x power. Safe to say the brightness of this binocular is immense in the daytime, and excellent in low light conditions.

 

The center focus wheel is stiff, but very smooth. Same goes for the dioptic adjustment on the right eyepiece. I suppose this is a good thing so they dont get turned out of focus too easily.

 

The interpupillary folding action is very smooth and stiff. (everything on this binocular is stiff) and accommodate my IP distance very well. The degrees of the IP distance is also marked on the keel aswell should you need to remember your setting.

 

I also need to add that you will need a very study heavy duty tripod to get this binocular rock solid and still to get the best image out of it, you could probally handhold it for a few minutes, but you're not gonna like it.

 

 

Optical impressions:

 

 

Center resolution- Very crisp and sharp image.

 

Edge to edge resolution - Image begins to fade when you get close to the edge of the image. You can see it well in my phone snapshots.

 

Chromatic aberrations- Unfortunately, this pair does have chromatic aberrations, although it is very subtle and not a deal breaker. There is purple fringing near the bottom, orange fringing near the top, and very slight purple , I could barely make out the chromatic aberrations through the center of the image, it was only then  I saw a girl in a yellow bikini walking along glowing with a purple auru around her.

 

Distortions - There is some stretching near the edges. The image has a 3D effect to it.

 

Color - Colors look natural, a bias toward a slight cyan color when looking at white objects.

 

Contrast - I can say that the contract is leaning towards the lower side.

 

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The view through these binoculasr are excellent, pure eye candy for me, if you dont mind the chromatic aberrations, which isn't bad at all for this price point to say. ($185.95)

 

If other Celestron Skymasters Pros are like this pair I received, then I can say that Celestron has hit a big home run them. $200-250 gets you an awesome large aperture binocular excellent for glassing or stargazing.

 

I'm not an astronomer, but I looked at the moon with this pair and I can easily see the craters. Stars in the endless black sky also looks small and sharp.

 

I highly recommend these binoculars, if it peaked your curiosity now, yes it is good, you should definitely go get these.


Edited by Wallabing, 11 September 2016 - 12:42 PM.

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#2 Man in a Tub

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 05:10 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights and thanks for the report.



#3 Pinac

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 07:22 AM

Thank you for this nice and well written report on a binocular that sometimes got mixed reviews, I'm glad you got a well collimated sample in good condition, and hope you enjoy using it!!



#4 hallelujah

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 12:17 PM

Excellent photography. :waytogo:

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Stan



#5 jrbarnett

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 02:16 PM

Thanks for the report, and especially for making the effort to share the view rather than just describe it.

 

I am looking at these as a possible replacement for some 16x60 Pentax binoculars.  My use would be exclusively astronomical and always on a mount; never handheld.

 

What caused me to consider these was the price.  $199 if decent quality isn't a bad price for basic 70mm astronomy binoculars.  But when shopping the affordable end of the spectrum you have to compare the item to alternatives including lower cost alternatives to assess value.

 

What I notice in the through-binocular images is a pretty messy FOV to be honest.  The freighter picture in particular shows a fairly small well-corrected sweet spot with gradual then rapidly increasing aberration as you move to the edge of the FOV.  Specifically if you look at the shipping containers on the deck of the vessel, those on the left at the edge of the field are mushy and distorted to the degree that the lettering is clearly warped and not comfortably readable.  The next row of containers moving right toward the center of the field is better but still shows distortion where the left edge is taller/larger and less sharp than the right edge of the container.  Only the two rows of containers immediately behind the pilot house appear to be in a well-corrected portion of the FOV. 

 

It looks to me as if the outer 10-15% of the FOV is pretty bad.  The next 10-15% of the field of view improves and ranges from not so hot to adequate as you move center-ward.  That leaves a well-corrected sweet spot encompassing only the interior 40-60% depending on where you decide the really ugly and only kind of ugly zones start and stop.  The issue might even be more noticeable at night with a more dilated pupil.

 

That is not uncommon for big binoculars in this price range.  The Pentaxes I am using currently (16x60) were about $160 new and perform very similarly to what you've pictured through the Sky Master Pros.  So rather than "something for nothing" these new Celestrons seem to be "about what it is reasonable to expect".  What they aren't is "tack sharp" across the field of view or "a binocular priced at $200 that performs comparably to binoculars at twice the price" which is more what I am hoping to find.

 

So they aren't off my list, as I think the full XLT coatings and extra 10mm of aperture would still offer gains over my Pentaxes, but my expectations are tempered and I am not anxious to pull the "buy" trigger without examining other affordable big binocular alternatives.  I'd love to see similar images through the standard Skymasters, mid range Resoluxes, and through Fujinons or some other high end unit.

 

Net-net, your review and the extra effort you put into it to supply performance pictures was extremely helpful; almost as good a "being there".  I'd like to emulate your methods when in the future I review binoculars I've purchased for this forum.

 

Thanks again and awesome effort!

 

- Jim 


Edited by jrbarnett, 07 October 2016 - 02:27 PM.


#6 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 02:39 PM

Now, if someone tested the true working aperture...

 

It would have been useful to have a photo taken through an objective that showed the eyepiece-produced 'mini' image as appearing to just 'touch' the objective edge. This would provide a qualitative assessment of the illumination/vignetting aspects.


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#7 Magellanico

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 02:15 PM

Good review. Could you please do the flashlight test for aperture...



#8 starbase25

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:10 PM

Welcome!  welcome.gif

 

Thanks for such a nicely done, detailed review! I fully enjoyed reading it. 



#9 Eric.TB

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:56 PM

I have to say that, as someone who enjoys long range terrestrial observation, and viewing from vantage points, far more than any birdwatching or stargazing, the pictures you provided are the kind of vantage points in my dreams. That looks like an amazing viewpoint. I am quite envious of you :)

 

Thank you for your review. The Skymaster pros look a lot like the Celestron Echelons.


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#10 KennyJ

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 04:01 AM

I also appreciated the photographs that accompanied the report.

 

However, given the report was posted 9 months ago, without a single post since from the O.P., I for one am not holding my breath for a report of the flashlight aperture test. smile.gif

 

Kenny


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#11 Binojunky

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 10:44 AM

Glad they worked for you, I just picked up a pair of the Celestron Cavalry 15x70 on sale for $70 Canadian, though not as good as the  pair you bought I,m pretty happy with them, Dave.



#12 Will_S

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:46 PM

I get about 66-68mm diameter doing the flashlight test on my 15x70 Skymaster PROs, although there is slight prism clipping on one side.



#13 JimH123

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:38 PM

I have the same binoculars, and this review matches what I am seeing. The image looks sharp, edge to edge.

#14 coutleef

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 02:55 PM

i just bought these for astronomy

 

i am very pleased especially considering the eyerelief that allows me to keep my glass s

 

wide field views were wonderful 



#15 Binojunky

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 11:12 AM

I dropped on a pair of these on sale for about $125 Canadian, certainly a different kettle of fish  than the bog standard Skymaster or the Cavalry for that matter, I like them, one minor problem is the fact that the rubber eyecups come off too easily, I settled on the standard low profile eyecup, the winged one went back in the box and used a couple of small dabs of clear silicone to hold them in position, D.




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