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354 of 367 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent binoculars which incorporate the most important features for astronomical viewing
This posting begins with a discussion of some core information about binoculars for astronomical viewing that should help potential purchasers make a more informed purchase decision.

If you have other viewing objectives than astronomical objects, or are already familiar with binocular specifications, you may want to stop here or just read the latter part of...
Published on 9 Dec 2009 by One-Reader

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars great for 18 months, then failed
Worked well for about 18 months and then one day went out of collimation (produced double images) in a big way for no apparent reason. It's a mystery why - I didnt drop them or bang them about. Even adjusting the (hidden) prism adjust screws didn't bring them back to collimation. I have modded mine to make a 15x70 monocular - basically I cut it in half! Now it's just...
Published on 10 May 2011 by Dr Chris


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354 of 367 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent binoculars which incorporate the most important features for astronomical viewing, 9 Dec 2009
This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
This posting begins with a discussion of some core information about binoculars for astronomical viewing that should help potential purchasers make a more informed purchase decision.

If you have other viewing objectives than astronomical objects, or are already familiar with binocular specifications, you may want to stop here or just read the latter part of this review before going on to other postings; otherwise, read-on.

There are two main styles of "true" binoculars. Here, binoculars that do not use prisms such as opera glasses, are not discussed further. Most binoculars use one of two type prisms, either roof prisms or Porro prisms. Roof prisms are more modern and have a straight through appearance, i.e., the binocular cylinders form straight tubes. Porro prism binoculars (named after Ignazio Porro) have a tell-tale right angle bend. These usually are manufactured with two prism on each side of the binoculars, i.e., double Porro prisms. Although considerably larger in size, because of their improved optical qualities Porro prism binoculars, such as the model reviewed here, are preferred over roof prism binoculars for astronomical viewing.

Another important aspect of binoculars is the size of their exit pupil. Younger folks have pupils that can open, dilate, to a maximum size of slightly over 7mm. However, as one gets older the size of this window into the eye reduces. Over the age of thirty most folks have a reduction in their dark adapted pupil size of approximately 1mm every 20 years. The exit pupils for a pair of binoculars should ideally approximate the entry pupil of the observer's eye. Although some studies suggest an even smaller exit pupil size, see below. The size of a binoculars' exit pupil is found by dividing aperture by magnification. For example, common 7 x 50 binoculars (7 power by 50mm) have an exit pupil of approximately 7.14mm. In practice, this exit pupil size is larger than many adult's dark-adapted pupil size, particularly when some extraneous light is also present. In most viewing environments such as in or near a city such extraneous "light pollution" is almost always present. In addition, the periphery of the eye's lens exhibits some inherent optical degradation. Thus, an exit pupil size around 5mm may be preferred, although some experimental evidence suggests an exit pupil even less than 4mm may be most appropriate. These 15 x 70mm binoculars have an exit pupil of approximately 4.7mm resulting in more of the light exiting the lenses entering the eye than might occur with e.g., 7 x 50mm binoculars.

One of the most important considerations when choosing binoculars is their light gathering ability. Binoculars are essentially "light buckets". The human eye at its widest has a 7mm plus entry window. The 70mm objective lenses here have over 50 times the light gathering area of the human eye. Another factor affecting the light transmitted by binoculars are the materials used in their lenses and lens coatings. The least expensive binoculars have uncoated lenses or single coated lenses. Multi-coated binocular lenses and BaK-4, barium crown glass prisms, as in these Celestrons, are typically more expensive but improve light transmission resulting in sharper and brighter images.

The best eye relief, i.e., the distance your eyes needs to be behind the exit pupil of a binocular to see the full exit image is probably between 15mm and 20mm. These binoculars provide 18mm and additionally come with rubber eyecups. Thus, I've been able to use these both with and without glasses. I use lightly tinted sunglasses when viewing the moon to see more detail. In this case I leave the eyecups raised. When viewing without glasses I leave the eyecups down.

In use, I've found the images sharp and with adequate contrast to enjoy star clusters, the moon and planets. This pair's primary negative is its size and weight. These binoculars are really big. Owing both to their size and weight and as well as the relatively high magnification they are not comfortable to use hand-held for any but the shortest period of time. Because of their magnification, the slightest shake moves the astronomical object out of the field of view. Fortunately, they come with a tripod adapter. However, for some the need to use a tripod may defeat the value of having a "portable" pair of hand-held binoculars. For these observer's a smaller 50mm binocular is more appropriate. A minor problem is the carrying case, mine arrive with missed stitching on about a 1" section of a vertical seam, letting light through and possibly rain. The case is also a bit tight making it more difficult to easily insert and remove the binoculars, a better degree of quality control for the case, and a slightly larger size would seem more appropriate. Simply holding the case to the light and looking inward will reveal any stitching missed.

However, even recognizing that these binoculars cannot be hand-held for any extended period, they are probably one of the best choices for astronomical observers who need relative portability compared to a probably more cumbersome and expensive telescope. Perhaps surprisingly, they are also an extremely useful adjunct for those who use telescopes.

In summary, these binoculars allow for considerable additional exploration of astronomical objects compared to the naked eye. However, a tripod is required for any extended observations. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celestron SkyMaster 15 x 70 Binoculars - Excellent Value For Money, 15 Aug 2012
By 
Honest Joe (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
Received them yesterday, clear night sky, first sighting of M31 Andromeda Galaxy - Great!

Really pleased with these binos, they provide long eye relief (I read somewhere 18mm) which surprised me, given that they have powerful 15x magnification. I guess it's helped by the large 70mm objective lens.

The image is very good, no doubt down to the BAK-4 porro prisms and multi-coated lens. They focus well, and keep focus (left and right) when moving from distant to near objects (and back again).

I am pleasantly surprised how easy they are too handle, despite their size, they can be kept as steady as a pair of 10 x 50s that I tested (but returned due to poor eye relief). I suspect that this is mainly because one tends to hold them by the narrow part of the barrels, as opposed to the main body (prism chamber). Adopting this method means that the weight of those long barrels is better distributed and less likely to wobble. However one must be very careful not to bump those long barrels, else the optics might be significantly effected.

A plastic mount is supplied to attach to a tripod, but I bought a more substantial Opticron L mount to use with a monopod or tripod when I want to some support. A more relaxed and comfortable viewing position, which causes less neck strain is to lay on a reclining garden chair.

The binos are excellent for the night sky, far better than the 10 x 50 Olympus binos that I tried out. I would highly recommend their use, especially as they enable you to quickly navigate the night sky in a way that is not viable using a cumbersome telescope. Having said that, I will occasionally haul out my telescope to look at some objects in more detail. I think these binos offer the best value for money and ease of use, say compared to the 20 x 80mm binos by Celestron; those are twice the cost, look rather cumbersome, and probably difficult to keep steady (although more sturdy due to its central strengthening bar).

The package would benefit from a few inexpensive improvements: 1. More substantial neck strap, 2. More substantial case, 3. Better lens caps on the large objective lens. The lens caps seem to be soft [silicone?] rubber which can press upon the objective lens and they exude a horrible oily substance that is truely aweful to remove from the lens. The single 'cyclops' lens hood that fits over the eye piece fits if the eye cups are folded down (for spectacle wearers), otherwise it is too loose a fit.

To get the best use of the binos for the night sky, purchase the Planishere by Philip's, also available on Amazon.
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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Celestron 15x70, 6 Feb 2009
This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
They are nice for the money. I do like mine. Despite what you read dont try 15x70 binocs hand held unless if you are Data from startreck. Yes it can be done, but the vibes mean you lose alot and it aint that comfortable. Tripod mount it. The bracket they supply is a joke though. Plastic and flexes to much. You will need to order a proper one - solid metal - which wont flex.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for star gazing., 17 Mar 2014
This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
Like many people starting out with astronomy, I didn't want to purchase anything too expensive to begin with. These seemed like a good compromise before ultimately buying a telescope, but now I've had them for a week or so, I can honestly see myself using them alongside a telescope. I did debate getting some 10x50 binoculars, but I'm glad I bought these (15x70).

Amazon recommends that you also purchase the Hama Star 63 tripod and an Opticron Tripod L Mount for a total of 88. I'd strongly recommend this. You will get great use from the binoculars on a tripod (and the tripod (for the price) is FANTASTIC). The binoculars come with a mount so you don't NEED to buy the Opticron mount, but for a couple of quid, I'd recommend it. It's metal, rather than the plastic one you get included with the Celestrons.

As for the binoculars - they are great.

Using them without a tripod: You can see some fantastic detail on the moon, including craters etc. You can see stars that you can't see with the naked eye and the stars you can see with the naked eye, become visible in great detail. It is hard to hold the binoculars still (freehand, without a tripod) on individual stars and they will 'jump' around a bit, regardless of how much you try to hold them still. You can see constellations in great detail though and even a couple of galaxies including the Orion Nebula.

With a tripod: Amazing. Point it in the general direction, find your star and clamp down the tripod so the binoculars don't move. Let it settle for 10 seconds or so and then have a look through the eye pieces, trying not to knock the tripod. You will see the moon in amazing detail and the stars in good detail too.

First time using the tripod, I pointed it at the brightest star.... looked a bit closer - it was Jupiter. I could see the ring going around the planet and 3 of the 4 moons. When I say 'see', I mean it appeared about 1cm big, with the ring just about noticeable - but the moons clearly defined and it was obviously Jupiter. The next day I saw all 4 moons. Don't get your hopes up thinking you're going to be able to see Jupiter in 100% clarity with a pair of binoculars and don't forget that Jupiter is the closest its been for 12 years, but still - this is a pair of (relatively) cheap binoculars! The pleiades are fantastic, too. Even when they're not visible with the naked eye.

They are good in the day, too. I've bought them for astronomy but tested them out during the day and you can clearly see birds in trees, 100m or so away - probably further with a tripod etc.

Like I've said, I've only had them for a week or so, but they are great. Great a tripod with them and you'll get the best out of them. Download some apps / use a planisphere and explore the night sky!
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Celestron Skymaster 15x70, 14 Nov 2010
This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
First of all I would to inform you that I'm a beginner in astronomy.Friends advised me I should start stargazing with a pair of binoculars.They said it's the easiest and cheapest way.I was very confused and I didn't know what to choose.I didn't have any idea about binoculars.I searched a little bit and I found the "Celestron Skymaster 15x70".I wanted to buy something cheaper,but I was advised to buy that pair.Lucky me!I had my doubts,but in the end I made my decision and I bought the Celestron Skymaster 15x70.I believe that this pair of binoculars is great.Although it would be better to have a tripod if someone wants to stargaze,you can watch the moon clear without any problem.As for terrestrial targets,I found the Celestron Skymaster 15x70 very reliable.

Celestron Skymaster 15x70 is a very good choice for a beginner or not and it's worth its money.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Binoculars, 15 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. M. J. Kew (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
Excellent binoculars, BUT, very delicate, don't drop them or even knock them as the lenses will go out of line and they are broken for good! I knocked mine on a table just after I got them and they were useless with a double image. I sent them away to be re-aligned but they still aren't right.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars decent bins, limited ability on tripod, 1 Jan 2011
By 
P. K. Preston (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
OK, so I've had these a few days and have only managed to use them during the day a couple of times to see the other side of town, and once tonight to see Jupiter but scuppered by more cloud cover. The image seems fine but it's seriously hindered by the tripod bracket. It has to be the most inappropriate peice of kit they could've included. I'm wondering if it might have been better to leave it out rather than be criticised for such rubbish.

I am a serious photographer, so I know my tripod is more than up to the job, and I had a closer look at the bracket while doing it's job - or trying to. The flex that is clearly visible means that the bins will wobble with the slightest of nudges, which is any touch when trying to find an object or focus - or if you touch the eyepiece with your glasses for that matter.

I don't have a problem with the binoculars themselves, although I haven't really given them a proper testing. What I would say to anybody thinking of buying them is: get a decent tripod mount or be frustrated by the limitation.

Feel reasonably sturdy and well protected for the price. Probably a useable introduction to astronomy.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I can see clearly now..., 29 Jan 2011
By 
N. Carley "Neil" (Wiltshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
These are possibly the best value for money bins on the market.
The field is wider than stated, they are light but solidly constructed and the optics are fine.
The only downside is the plastic mount adapter, this is completely useless and brings the overall quality of the product down, it would have been better to have not included it at all. But as the bins are so cheap and a new metal mount is just a few quid it's not a real problem.
So these would make a great first instrument for a newbie astronomer, although a decent tripod and mount adapter are a must.
For the experienced with existing optics, these are not the best bins available, but pound for pound (that's money not weight) they are exceptional value.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the price, needs a better tripod mount, 28 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. J. Mortimer (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
With this pair of binoculars you should get some great views of the moon and should be able to see plenty of stars, though when I tried them I couldn't see many for the full moon and clouds, it's been cloudy every night since! For the price you get a remarkably sharp image, focusing is easy and attaching the mount is a doddle (the front cap of the central pivot unscrews), but that flimsy plastic mount is the only let-down really; it needs to be made of sturdy metal to be of any use, otherwise it just gets the wobbles. The mount can be re-enforced by glueing metal rods into the grooves on either side; I can't help thinking that if these grooves were full of plastic then the wobble wouldn't be nearly so bad, if there at all, so filling them with some kind of resin is also an option.

The construction seems very solid, rubber armour all over with plenty of grippy surfaces to get hold of. The fabric bag they come with isn't up to much, would have preferred a hard case, but I suppose it would be serviceable for carrying them and protecting them from some light rain. Probably better off attaching a proper wide camera strap than the thin one that comes with these.

I repeat what others have said - these are too heavy to hold up by hand without some sort of support, either rest your elbows on something or (preferably) use a tripod or pole.

One word of caution for anyone buying binoculars for the first time - get some expert advice in a camera shop that has a good selection of binoculars, or try a friend's pair. Make sure that you have the eyes for binoculars, as some people (myself included) simply cannot look through them without seeing two images due to irregular eye sight; I wear glasses, and although they are weak it is enough to make binocular viewing impossible for me.

I will be returning my pair for this reason only, using the excellent Amazon returns facility, and purchasing a monocular instead.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First proper binoculars, 20 May 2010
By 
Dominic Finn (Scottish Borders) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Celestron 71009 15 x 70 Skymaster Porro Prism Binoculars (Electronics)
I got these so me and my kids could look at the stars and the moon and see all the wonderful things in the galaxy.
They are big, so getting them on a tripod will help, but I managed to use them to watch some crows dive bombing an osprey.
The kids haven't gpt much of a look in yet, but my wife and I spent a good ten minutes just looking at the moon.
I did a bit of research on binoculars for star gazing, and I haven't been disappointed.
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