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Need Replacement for Celestron Ultima 10x50's

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#1 Altair 4

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 01:24 PM

Probably 20 years ago, I bought a pair of Celestron Ultima 10x50 binoculars that were made in Japan.  Primarily I bought them for astronomy but also use them for birding.  I always loved the optics and features, including the tripod mounting ability.  We've taken them everywhere birding and sky watching.  They were super nice for a quick sweep of the sky when bringing out the 8" SCT was too much.  

 

As I have since discovered, many of the Celestrons from that era suffer from the exterior peeling.  After probably 5 years, mine have gotten to the point where it just feels disgusting to handle them.  I came into a bit of disposable income and want to replace them.  I'm overwhelmed by the options in the marketplace right now.  I'd like the same power, tripod mounting, and a long-lasting exterior (my wife has a pair of smaller Baush & Lomb's that look as good as the day she bought them).  My price is point is about $250.  I might go a little higher, if you all have a great recommendation.  Weight is an issue for birding not a deal breaker.  I wear eyeglasses so eye relief is part of the equation.  

 

Thinking about Nikon Action Extremes, Pentax S-Series (a little heavy), or Celestron Ultimas (a little leery since the last ones).  

 

Thanks for your recommendations!

 

Altair 4

 



#2 f18dad

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 01:43 PM

Action Extreme fits the bill at $175, ER 17.2 mm, wt 1020.6 g, limited lifetime warranty to original owner

 

or 

 

Oberwerk Ultra at 289.95, ER 17.0 mm, wt 1587.6 g, 2 year warranty



#3 The Ardent

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 01:50 PM

See if Suddarth Optical can refurbish them to brand new condition since you like them.
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#4 pat in los angeles basin

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 02:02 PM

Forget the current ultima (they are trading on the ultima name and while ok  are simply another entry level porro. If the old ultimas have the eye relief ( I seem to recall the early ultimas have decent coatings so, little to gain in that aspect). Get them recovered. I happen to  have several scruffy binos and I like them that way- shows a bit  of "character"- they have a story to tell.  Pat


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#5 hallelujah

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 02:26 PM

See if Suddarth Optical can refurbish them to brand new condition since you like them.

 

 

Get them recovered.

Pat

Just get some new skin.

 

www.suddarthoptical.com

 

Stan
 


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#6 Mike G.

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 02:36 PM

Cory at Suddarth Optical can definitely refurbish the gooey mess on the originals and has several optional coverings to boot.  You can even do a faux snake skin!  The Ultimas are a great bino even by today's standard and if I was looking to replace them, I would probably go with a BA8 model which typically start at around $400 or more especially if you want ED glass.  the BA8's are also quite a bit heavier than the Ultimas.

here's 2 of my Ultimas he has reskinned (see post 31)

https://www.cloudyni...age-2?hl=ultima


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#7 harbinjer

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 02:50 PM

Getting them re-covered sounds like the easiest choice. 

However, if you don't want to deal with that I'd be happy to take them off your hands. 


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#8 Mike G.

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 03:03 PM

I seriously considered the snake skin covering for some Carton 10x70's.  they definitely add a cool factor to them but in the end, since the coverings weren't bad, I just left them alone.



#9 DeanD

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 05:21 PM

I love the idea of re-using and getting them re-covered, but if you don't want to go that route, have you thought about the Oberwerk 10x50 Deluxe? CF, 18mm ER, but a bit heavier than the Nikon AE's.

 

- Dean



#10 Bkoh

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 08:27 PM

Probably 20 years ago, I bought a pair of Celestron Ultima 10x50 binoculars that were made in Japan. Primarily I bought them for astronomy but also use them for birding. I always loved the optics and features, including the tripod mounting ability. We've taken them everywhere birding and sky watching. They were super nice for a quick sweep of the sky when bringing out the 8" SCT was too much.

As I have since discovered, many of the Celestrons from that era suffer from the exterior peeling.
...
My price is point is about $250. I might go a little higher, if you all have a great recommendation. Weight is an issue for birding not a deal breaker. I wear eyeglasses so eye relief is part of the equation.

The original Ultimas are said to be very good optically. For $250 new, today's offerings may be disappointing in comparison due to poor outer field (Nikon AE) or narrow AFOV (Pentax SP).

Certainly you will not find a new made in Japan 10x50 for $250. I do not know of anything even at $500, though you might get lucky in the classifieds or on eBay.

If you are willing to go for 10x42, Opticron offers some made in Japan roofs with long warranties for under $500:

Natura BGA ED
Verano BGA VHD+

Cameraland NY also lists the (made in China) Athlon Cronus G2 10x42 for $499. Field flatteners, long ER.

For $250, Cory Suddarth may be your best choice. For $350 I would take a look at the Japanese made 10x42 Opticrons.

 

Edit: The made-in-China Svbony SV202ED roofs (8x32, 10x42, 10x50) have gotten positive reviews here on CN, though others have noted quality control issues eg collimation. The 10x50 (around $150) could suit, if you get a good sample. Order from a place with a liberal return policy e.g. Amazon. Maybe order 3 and keep the best one.


Edited by Bkoh, 15 January 2022 - 03:14 AM.

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#11 WALL.E

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 02:59 AM

Greetings Altair 4.

 

I am a hardcore vintage Ultima fan.  I have six of them.

Tragically, the original covers are NOTORIOUS for disintegration on the original Ultimas.

 

Now, I will risk a few "Boo's" and "Hiss's" here....

 

You can simply strip them "naked".  It is not difficult. But a little patience will be required.

 

Parts of the original cover will peel off in larger "chunks".

The sticky, gooey residue can be removed using patches of duct tape. This is where the "patience" comes in.

This removal can be achieved without disassembly.

You must pay attention to detail and use great care not to scratch the binocular body.

(I would not lather the body in "goo-gone" or any such solvent).

 

You may need simple wooden implements like tooth picks, etc., to get into some tricky areas like the strap lugs.

 

What you will have in the end is a shiny black binocular body that does not look awkward at all.

Certainly not to my eye. In fact, I find them rather unique and handsome looking.

I have done this to two of my Ultimas, 7X50 and 8X32.

I actually like them that way and it certainly makes them "distinctive".

 

Just floating a thought for a fun and "free" project with results you'll likely be quite proud of.

 

Even at the time of the original production run for the Ultima line (JB56), they seemed to appear "antiquated" compared to other Porros of that time. Stripped down, they have a sleek, streamlined feeling in the hands and look even more, I think it's called, "Steampunk". The greatest surprise being the terrific images they offer.

Salvage and hang on to those Ultimas!

 

With relative modesty,

 

Eric


Edited by WALL.E, 15 January 2022 - 03:01 AM.

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#12 Fiske

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 03:53 AM

The BA8 10x50s, like the Oberwerk Ultra (also sold under other brand names), are good but heavy and not center focus, so not suitable for bird watching. The Oberwerk 10x50 Deluxe is not on that quality level. For a better quality 10x50 binocular now, $250 USD is not a realistic price point for a new instrument. And 10x42 binoculars will not be as bright for astronomy. Probably better options closer to your price range in the x42 size, though.

 

Having Cory Suddarth recover your binocular is the best bet, IMO.

 

For new, something like the Oberwerk 10x42 Sport ED would be a good option for day/night use and close to your price range.

 

Fiske



#13 Fiske

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 04:01 AM

For a better quality new 10x50 center focus binocular, consider a Maven b.6, about $1000 USD, so 4x your price range, but maybe the top 10x50 choice under the alpha binocular level (which is way more money). 


Edited by Fiske, 15 January 2022 - 08:41 AM.


#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 04:36 AM

Certainly you will not find a new made in Japan 10x50 for $250. I do not know of anything even at $500, though you might get lucky in the classifieds or on eBay.

 

 

That is probably true today but it was only about a year ago that Orion switched the production of the 10x50 Ultraviews from Japan to China.

 

Jon



#15 Albie

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 07:21 AM

Here's another vote for sending the binocular to Cory Suddarth for recovering .



#16 Altair 4

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 11:21 AM

Thanks for the recommendation for re-covering my binoculars!  That's a great suggestion that just never occurred to me.  I'll reach out to Cory Suddarth.  Thanks again!  

 

Altair 4



#17 grif 678

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 11:29 AM

I have a pair of the vintage Ultima 8 x 56 from the same period, and the covering on these are just like they were when I got them. Something must have gotten on them to cause this. If the optics on yours are as good as mine, I would consider re-covering them also.


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#18 astro744

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 01:36 AM

I have Vixen 7x42 Ultima from around 1992 which have recently started losing their outer skin.  Whilst I like these binoculars particularly the glass used giving a wonderful view, I have since invested in a few other binoculars that are all superior in performance to the Ultima.  My goto binocular is the Carson 10x42 3D ED but I also have the Carson 8x32 3D ED although the latter have a bit of barrel distortion.  My larger astro binoculars are the Orion 9x63 Mini Giant (Japan) which give a wonderful bright view albeit at a reduced apparent field compared to the Carson.  I also bought some Svbony SV202, 8x32 ED that give beautiful colours in the daytime and I gave these to my daughter as she likes bird watching and astronomy.  All of these more recent binoculars give bright clear views and when compared to my 7x42 Ultima are much more pleasing.

 

There are many high quality binoculars available these days at reasonable prices and it is always best to try them first if you can to see what you like.  I bought the Carson sight unseen because the price was reduced and am very happy.  I bought the Svbony based on favourable comments on this forum.  I dismissed the Orion 9x63 based on their 45 deg apparent field until I actually tried them in an astronomy store and bought them immediately as they were that good.  (I have Japan model).



#19 bob midiri

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 11:05 AM

I too have a pair of original Ultimas mine are the 8X56 and yes the coverings are starting to be a problem, the mechanics and optics otherwise are still fantastic, but getting back to your question about replacement, I agree about replacing the covering or just stripping it, but if you ever come across a great conditioned Orion 10X50 Vista, they are pretty close in my opinion. Very light in weight, very sharp IMO, and similar FOV of 5.3 and made in Japan


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#20 Altair 4

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 11:10 AM

I have a pair of the vintage Ultima 8 x 56 from the same period, and the covering on these are just like they were when I got them. Something must have gotten on them to cause this. If the optics on yours are as good as mine, I would consider re-covering them also.

 

It does make you wonder.  The issue of the failing skin is pretty well-documented and seems wide-spread.  I don't use any hand lotions and my wife uses her own binocs (she only birds and her B&L's are smaller, lighter, and fit her hands perfectly), so I'm certain that if something got on them, it was in the manufacturing end.  Conversely, maybe it was a bad batch from the manufacturer (or perhaps you got the more rare "good" batch).  I've got a perfectionist streak - I take good (my wife would say "obsessive" - another reason she won't use mine!) care of my stuff.  

 

Going back to the recommendations for Suddarth - I've reached out to Corey with a few questions and got very quick responses.  I plan on getting these sent in as soon as I can get out and buy a bunch of bubble wrap.  Thanks again to all who suggesting Suddarth.  I can't wait to get these sent and back for when the weather begins to warm.  


Edited by Altair 4, 18 January 2022 - 11:21 AM.

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#21 Altair 4

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Posted 18 January 2022 - 11:17 AM

My larger astro binoculars are the Orion 9x63 Mini Giant (Japan) which give a wonderful bright view albeit at a reduced apparent field compared to the Carson.  

Not really in the market for these now, but am curious when you bought yours, seeing that they are Japanese.  Telescope.com is quiet about the country of origin but I'm guessing that at a current price of $200, they are from China.  




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