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Are Celestron Binoculars both high quality & affordable?

Monday, 16 October 2017  |  Sam Lancaster

So, you've decided that you want to upgrade from the binoculars you acquired for 75p at a car boot sale. You’re looking for affordability, alongside a dramatic improvement in quality over your last pair. Do these binoculars exist? To answer this question, I’ve taken a straightforward look at the Celestron UPCLOSE G2 Roof 10x25 binoculars; a budget pair of compact binoculars produced by an industry leading company.

As a man with hands that are notoriously “average at best”, I managed to find a cosy hold on the pocket-sized binocular’s frame. If you’re blessed with hands like frying pans, you’re going to find it a little more awkward.

The black rubber casing is well appended to the aluminium body, so well that it gives me reason to believe in Celestron’s ‘water resistant’ promises. The rubber’s mould is well thought out. The shape of the rubber around the eyepieces makes it kind to those wearing glasses, and there are plenty of different ridges and textures to help you hold on to your beloved lenses without it looking too ‘space-age’.  It took me a while to come to terms with the pouch. The material is unknown to me. Reminiscent of wet-suit. Everything else is as standard: snug fit, Velcro fastener, belt loop.

In use, I find the central focus wheel to judder slightly. As I rotate away from its extremes, the resistance behind the wheel changes noticeably, with the highest resistance being enough to warrant the use of two fingers to regain control. This took a couple of minutes for me to adjust to. 

Likewise, the UPCLOSE G2 has an adjustable diopter eyepiece on the right-hand side. It’s a bit meek. I find myself having to recalibrate this before every use, as even placing it back in the pouch would cause it to move off kilter.

I was flipping pleased with the imagery I was seeing. The enhanced contrast was noticeable and I’m not sure what kind of voodoo magic Celestron binoculars use, but my view was far brighter than is thinkable with a 25mm aperture. It was brighter than my future. Looking out from my upstairs window, I could enjoy the ups and downs of an aspiring golf pro, sulking towards his misplaced ball. The golf course was an impressive 1.3km away, the multicoated lenses did a good job, they kept the picture crisp. 

I’d look elsewhere if you’re pursuing astronomy as a hobby, however, the 10x magnification lends itself to several other uses: birdwatching, sports viewing and safari/hunting - to name a few. It’s the perfect amount of control, without sacrificing the versatility of the field of view.

Altogether, the Celestron binoculars have put on a good show. The problems presented by the central focus wheel were minor, in comparison to the quality of binocular’s lenses. It has the feel and the look of a well-made product and all for a reasonable price-tag. Quality and affordability.