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Celestron Skymaster 15x70 vs 20x80

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#1 DeanMeurer

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 12:29 AM

I wanted to post my experience with two of Celestron's most popular Astronomy Binoculars.

and

Hope to hear of others experiences as well.

 

About a month ago, I purchased the Celestron 15x70

Prior I had only daytime and birding binoculars in the common sizes 7x35, 8.5x44 and 7x50

Each of those were great for helping to locate items in the night sky and for general astronomy observation,

 

However,

I was blown away by the experience I had with the 15x70's

While the field of view definitely decreased,

The amount of stars that could be seen dramatically increased due to there higher magnification and light gathering capabilities

This also increased my ability to locate DSO such as galaxies and nebulas,

 

While I have a Meade 14 goto scope (great for quickly moving from one object to another, it's field of view is quite small.)

I also have a Vintage Celeston C8 (With the added fun of star hopping your way around the night sky)

However,

Locating and navigating to DSO was often quite a problem for me and my C8,

Using the 15x70's in conjunction with the finder scope on the C8 made locating and centering those items in the telescope SO much faster.

 

Plus

I truly discovered how many broad DSO there really are that are simply to large to comfortably fit within the narrow field view of my telescopes

and

Just dim enough and small enough to escape being viewed in my smaller sets of binoculars.

 

I was SO impressed with the newness of seeing the sky at 4.4 degrees vs .7 degrees using an Omni 32mm plossl eyepiece with my C8

I chose to then purchase the Celeston 20x80's as well.

 

While the 15x70 can still be hand held for short periods of time and with there 4.4 degree field of view proved to be fantastic companions for aligning my C8 on many Messier objects not visible with my smaller birding or daytime use binoculars,

The Celeston 20x80's with their slightly higher magnification and slightly smaller field of view 3.7 degrees gave still another beautiful perspective.

 

The 20x80's worked great while resting back in a lounge chair staring at the night sky,

 

Yes the 20x80 are MUCH harder to hand hold,

However,

While supporting them with from the relative comfort of the lounge chair,

Open clusters and larger nebula's came to life,

The 20x80 simply have too small a field of view and too difficult to hand hold while using them to assist in aligning my C8

I have none the less been FULLY grateful I made both purchases.

 

Putting the 20x80 on a tripod made the image more stable by far,

However,

The freedom of laying back in the lounge chair and panning the night sky is an amazing experience.

Looking at the Lagoon Nebula in the 20x80's is simply spectacular,

As well and seeing the depth of the Saggitarius Small Star Cloud "breathless"

The stars simply come to life.

 

The night sky simply has SO much to offer,

Starting with naked eye observing, then advancing to higher and higher magnification and light gathering capabilities,

Each instrument has it's strong suites and presents the sky in there own special way.

 

It truly does take multiple instruments to explore all the night skies beauty,

No one instrument is better than another,

Each simply shows you it's own unique perspective.

 

So glad I made my purchases.

ALL of them,

Dean

 

 


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#2 theApex

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:59 AM

While I totally concur with the whole new views binoculars give us - specially in comparison to high focal ratio scopes such as a C8, I consider the disclaimer "not easily hand-holdable" in any binoculars's review above the 10x mark - though stated in good faith, I'm sure - as pointless as noting in a sports car review, how frustrating the reviewer's experience with it on the short gravel driveway to their own countryside estate was - or worse: the same reviewer recommending its use on short driveways only on which driving won't take longer than a few seconds!

That just ain't obviously what it was designed for - at least not to get the most out of said vehicle's capabilities.

Back to our less aristocratic terms, though there are many people who will still be able to use such binoculars by hand-holding them for a certain amount of time, that obviously isn't something for the long, seriously useable run - i.e, the appropriate use it's meant for.

So why people still bother mentioning it, is, honestly, beyond commonsensical to me.

I'm naturally not implying in any way this is the first time I see it - neither am I trying to have a go at the OP.

It's just that, after reading such pointless parameter over and over and realising its equally pointless outcome (people eventually end up using tripods for large magnifications) I am prone to believe many get here have already grown rather tired of hearing it.

Sent from my Mi A1 using Tapatalk

Edited by theApex, 19 July 2019 - 06:02 AM.

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#3 williew

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:49 AM

I am totally spoiled by binocular tripods. I even keep my 10X50s mounted. Like you, I moved up to the Orion 15X63s. Much impressed. I then became interested in getting a telescope bino viewer but after doing some research, ended up with the Orion 20X80 ED binos. Can't put them down. Love the views. Then there's the 7X50s. Having many binoculars might seem wasteful, but for me, It's no different then having multiple eye pieces for your telescope. And, you can't beat the 3D grab and go views. (Tripod mounted of course.) 


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#4 hallelujah

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:59 AM

Dean,

 

Experimenting with different magnifications & different binoculars is all part of the overall learning curve.

FUN! FUN! FUN!  waytogo.gif

Likewise, tripods are a necessary & valuable piece of viewing equipment.

Glad for you & your happy experiences.

 

Stan


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#5 Jeff Struve

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:21 AM

Nice write up...

 

Thanx!


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#6 Natdiamond

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 02:03 PM

I just bought the Celestron 15x70 and I am anxious for it's arrival!


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#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 03:18 PM

It's just that, after reading such pointless parameter over and over and realising its equally pointless outcome (people eventually end up using tripods for large magnifications) I am prone to believe many get here have already grown rather tired of hearing it.

 

I thought Dean did a good job and handled the hand holding nicely.

 

Not everyone reading this thread is as experienced as you and I.  I believe Dean's post/review was meant as a general  overview for anyone considering purchasing these binoculars. And Dean was comparing two binoculars so the differences in things like ease of hand holding them is relevant.

 

If one is reviewing a C-14, mentioning the extremely narrow field of view is worthwhile. If one is reviewing a Newtonian, frequent Collimation requirements and coma deserve passing mention. If one is reviewing an achromatic refractor, mentioning, chromatic aberration needs to be discussed.

 

These threads, our posts, they are not just for members of this forum, they're archived and searchable, people use them as resources. They may be reading what you and I wrote 50 years from now.

 

I keep that in mind before I push the POST button.

 

The one caution I will make regarding the 15x70 and 20x80 Skywatchers is that they are known to have frequent collimation issues.

 

Jon


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#8 hallelujah

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 06:18 PM

The one caution I will make regarding the 15x70 and 20x80 Skywatchers is that they are known to have frequent collimation issues.

 

Jon

like-button.jpg

 

Stan


Edited by hallelujah, 29 July 2019 - 06:18 PM.

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#9 stargazer193857

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 11:26 PM

I've looked though Celestron 20x80, 15x70, 25x70, 10x50, and 8x40.

The 25x70 was best for enlarging and revealing the wings of the Orion nebula, as well as adding extra fuzz to M13 and other globular clusters. Besides the shaking, the big draw back was the narrow field of view making it hard to find stuff. After much observation, I sold them.

The 15x70 were a very fun power and size, reviewing many DSO I did not notice in the 10x50. I did not look at Saturn's rings, but all binos 16x and higher could show them if held steady enough, elbows on a table or such.

10x50 was a fun size, easily finding brighter DSO and having enough aperture to enjoy M31. I don't recall if I saw fuzz around M31 like I did with my 16x50.

8x40 is smaller in the hand and wider view still, but M31 is more wispy, and Jupiter's moons are tighter into the planet. Shake is much less, unless I look at smaller details, in which case the shake is there.

All my binos have gone out of collimation except for the 5x25, which are great for seeing the big picture. M31 is small, but I don't mind. I use them for locating M31 near the trees above my scope, all in focus at once.


Almost forgot the 20x80. Even mounted on a good tripod, it was hard for them to find M31. I had to use my 10x50 to find M31 and guide them. The view in the 20x80 was not much better than in the 16x50 or 10x50. The 16x50 was hard to aim too.

So my favorites are 5x25, and maybe I'll get a 12x60. I gave away the 8x40 and 10x50, and I plan to sell the 16x50.

Edited by stargazer193857, 03 August 2019 - 11:30 PM.


#10 stargazer193857

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 11:32 PM

I thought Dean did a good job and handled the hand holding nicely.

Not everyone reading this thread is as experienced as you and I. I believe Dean's post/review was meant as a general overview for anyone considering purchasing these binoculars. And Dean was comparing two binoculars so the differences in things like ease of hand holding them is relevant.

If one is reviewing a C-14, mentioning the extremely narrow field of view is worthwhile. If one is reviewing a Newtonian, frequent Collimation requirements and coma deserve passing mention. If one is reviewing an achromatic refractor, mentioning, chromatic aberration needs to be discussed.

These threads, our posts, they are not just for members of this forum, they're archived and searchable, people use them as resources. They may be reading what you and I wrote 50 years from now.

I keep that in mind before I push the POST button.

The one caution I will make regarding the 15x70 and 20x80 Skywatchers is that they are known to have frequent collimation issues.

Jon


And if talking about an APO, should mention the weight vs an achro.

#11 Rick150

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 01:51 AM

There was an issue with my Celestron 25 x70's, every time I went to use them they were not as I finished with them, focus I mean. I found out why they were sold to me cheap with tripod hardly used. My win!

 

On the pivot shaft there is a cap that is reluctant to come off and when you remove it the only way back on is glue. Behind this cap is a brass screw with two very small 1mm steel screws in the brass. Back off the steel screws with a very fine screwdriver then rotate the big brass screw (clockwise) until you feel the slack taken up on the RH focuser. Be careful not to over tighten it, this can be judged by pivoting the bino's in and out. Once it feels not to stiff and the slack is taken out then re-set the steel screws and glue the cap back on. You will not be disappointed at the fix, pity QC skipped this.



#12 DeanMeurer

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 12:17 AM

Thank you for all the kind replies and helpful information,

I am lucky mine are properly colliminated for use.

I love the grab and go ability of Binoculars.

The speed at which you can scan the sky.

 

I spent days trying to understand Relative Brightness and Twilight Factor (used to compare binoculars)

Wondering how they would make a difference before I made my purchases.

The numbers DO tell a story.

Since,

I've had opportunity to compare 

11x80's (Swift Observers in mint condition)

to my Celestron 15x70 and 20x80's

 

Strictly from my own observation...

I thought the 11x80's would show more detail than the 15x70 do to their bigger aperture,

However, to my surprise,

The 15x70's outperformed them in seeing more stars and DSO's (greater Twilight Factor)

The 11x80's truly did provide a "Brighter Image" (Relative Brightness)

if I aimed them at a nearby building in the dark of night.

and a wider field of view.

However, for Astronomy,

The greater magnification helped to "Resolve" more detail in the image that was being observed.

Hence, when looking at the night sky, the 15x70's simply resolved and showed more stars and detail.

The 20x80's gain back some of the brightness, then add a little more magnification

and

Voila'  even more detail. (BUT loosing field of view)

 

Since I started this post,

I have had opportunity to attend two GREAT star parties,

The Indiana Star Party

and

Fox Park Star Party in Michigan

 

I've looked through everything from

Small 80mm refractors

to

28in. (711mm) Obsession Dobsonians

From Wide angle Binoculars

to the largest and brightest amateur telescopes

Each shared the sky in there own special way.

 

My own advice to other New Amateur Astronomers like myself.

Buy what you can afford

Get Started.

No matter what you buy,

Your going to have a GREAT time.

Every piece of equipment has it's own set of objects they are best for.

and

NO piece of equipment can do it all...

 

I hope this thread continues to grow with MANY perspectives, shared experiences and advice,

Thanks

Dean


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#13 hallelujah

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 07:31 AM

 

I spent days trying to understand Relative Brightness and Twilight Factor (used to compare binoculars)

Wondering how they would make a difference before I made my purchases.

The numbers DO tell a story.

 

 

Dean

This book has a good explanation of RB & TF.

 

https://www.amazon.c...65094608&sr=1-1

 

Stan



#14 stargazer193857

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:02 PM

My only complaint with 20x was the difficulty in finding M31. My 10x50 picked it up right away. The view, had I measured it, must have been bigger in the 20x80. But subjectively, the improvement was not huge, and certainly not big enough to justify the extra search time, even mounted, unless you are good at memorizing precise locations.

The 20x80 need a stronger tripod, and the near focus is much further away.

Edited by stargazer193857, 13 August 2019 - 10:03 PM.


#15 terraclarke

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 08:12 AM

I put 12X at my hand-holding limit. I use my Obie12x60s as hand-helds all the time, but my vintage Manon 15x50s require a light photo tripod and my 1995 Orion 20x80s need my full-on binocular mount.

Edited by terraclarke, 15 August 2019 - 08:15 AM.


#16 hallelujah

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:07 AM

My only complaint with 20x was the difficulty in finding M31.

The 20x80 need a stronger tripod, and the near focus is much further away.

The Pentax 20x60 has a close focus range under 30'. like-button.jpg

The weight is under 3 lbs. waytogo.gif

 

Stan



#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:30 AM

The Pentax 20x60 has a close focus range under 30'. like-button.jpg

The weight is under 3 lbs. waytogo.gif

 

Stan

 

I think the downside is that narrow 2.2 degree Afov. That makes finding Andromeda even more difficult. 

 

Jon



#18 clearwaterdave

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:45 AM

I was lucky my Celestron 15x70's arrived aligned and have remained good.,I needed them mounted and decided might as well do a 2fer.,These are Nikon AE,12x50's for the counterweight.,works all good.,lots of fun.,day and night.,

  I also was amazed at what can be seen with the 15x70's.,and the 2eyed viewing is great.,cheers

  

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#19 Napp

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:14 AM

I really enjoyed reading Dean’s post.  It was a very good evaluation.  I have Celestron Skymaster 15x70’s and 25x70’s.  Jon commented above that Skymasters have a reputation for being easy to knock out of collimation.  I bought a couple of Harbor Freight Apache 3800 cases for mine. I couldn’t see buying cases that cost more than the binoculars themselves.  Seems to be working as the binoculars have survived many road trips and bumps and are still in good collimation.  

 

Big binoculars can be handheld if you brace yourself but I was not satisfied with that.  Tripods can work but limit the area of the sky you can observe.  So I built a parallelogram.  It wasn’t as inexpensive as clearwaterdave’s but that’s because I didn’t have the lumber lying around.  Definitely the most comfortable observing around when lying back in a zero gravity chair.

 

 

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