Customer Reviews: Celestron SkyMaster 20x80 Binoculars
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on April 8, 2011
When I received it the collimation was off. Rather than send it back and risk getting another pair that was off, I called Celestron. The "Life Time No Fault Warranty" only applies if you get it from an "authorized" dealer even though my pair was new. Which means you need to pay like $200+ for these to actually have a warranty. However I asked if I could collimate it myself even though the manual says it should only be done by a professional with specialized tools. They could not or would not tell me anything about how to collimate it. Luckily I did find some general instructions on the web and found the prism tilt screws to turn and got it perfect. You need to gently pry back the edge of the rubber hand grips to access the screws. The whole process wasn't even that difficult! I don't know why it has to be such a state secret with Celestron. Since then the binos have been wonderful and well worth the discount of buying from an "unauthorized dealer".
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on September 2, 2009
Great binoculars, perfect for multiple uses.

Good Points:
- Great value for the money.
- good quality, great alignment
- easy to use, much more portable than a telescope (and you get to use both eyes too).
- 20x power really brings things in close.
- work great for daytime observing as well as astronomical use.

Watch out for:
- as with any high powered binocular, these really magnify your motions making things appear jittery. You need to be steady or lean against something to get a clear view.
- you will want a tripod for most critical uses
- they are heavy, so if you hand-hold them, your arms will get tired fast.
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on June 10, 2011
I'm a collector of binoculars, mainly military, and I'm very familiar with the capabilities and limitations of various types of binoculars. I bought the Celestron SkyMaster 20x80 binoculars over a year ago and have used them many times. I prefer the 3-D effect that binoculars provide vs. spotting scopes or telescopes and I also wanted to use these for viewing objects on land and for astronomy.

The SkyMaster is great for many types of viewing. They are very good for long distance viewing. The main thing to be aware of with the SkyMaster is that they are heavy and large binoculars--not unlike some WWII navy or antiaircraft binoculars. Holding them steady to view things on land is fine for short periods of time. Once your arms start to fatigue, holding them steady is difficult resulting in unsharp images. Holding them steady for astronomy, other than the moon, is next to impossible, even for short periods of time. So, to get the best quality images from these binoculars you'll need to put them on a tripod using the tripod adapter that comes with the SkyMaster. I use sturdy tripods (Manfrotto) I have for my DSLR cameras. Once on the tripod, the SkyMaster is a joy to use. At home, I have them set on a tripod overlooking the ocean about 1/4 mile away. I can easily see whales spouting, people on boats, seals, and otters. I can clearly focus on birds that are as close as 30 yards away.

Occasionally, I take them on hikes. They fit well in a daypack along with a sturdy traveler-type tripod. I have no problems using the SkyMaster with or without glasses. They are easy to focus given that they are 20x magnification. The images are clear and bright.

The SkyMaster is well built and will hold up to minor abuse. The included fabric case will not protect the binoculars during travel. They're only good for storing the binoculars while indoors. The magnification and light gathering ability of these binoculars, along with good quality lenses, make the SkyMaster 20x80 excellent binoculars, especially for the price and if you use them knowing their limitations--use them on a tripod. You won't get the awesome views you'd get from Swarovski binoculars, but you'll be saving yourself close to $2,000.
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on February 25, 2012
Thank you, Gary, for your tip about collimating. These binoculars were terrible when I first looked through them, and nothing I could do would solve the problem. (My eyes could not focus together and I saw double images.) The barrels appeared to be misaligned, and I was going to send them back. Then I read Gary's review (Collimation Easily Done) and thought, "What the heck? I can at least try." I followed Gary's instructions and easily fixed the problem within minutes. They work really well now, but I'm giving them a four-star rating since Celestron really should tell the consumers how to fix this problem by themselves without having to pay someone else to do it. To add to Gary's tip: You'll need a tiny flat-head screwdriver (like what you use to repair eyeglasses) in order to adjust them. The hand grip (that portion on the top of each barrel of the binoculars) only needs to be pulled back a little ways until the screw is exposed, and you only need to adjust the side that's off. (It should be obvious which side is off or if both sides are off. Close your left eye and then your right while looking through the binoculars.) Check the binoculars (by looking through them) each time you make an adjustment until you have it perfect. It can be done, and it's well worth it!
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on March 12, 2009
I got these at a local optics store. They are fantastic, just a little heavy. When the moon is dark, and it is clear, I can get a really great view of the Beehive Cluster and a whole bunch of other Messier objects that are difficult to see in a telescope. I lie down and look straight up at the sky with them. Some star colors really jump out, yellows and reds.
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on November 16, 2010
I am an amateur skygazer. I was bouncing between a telescope and binoculars for quite a while. Finally binoculars made more sense to me because of its portability. Except for Saturn, I never saw any sky objects up close (closer ;)). I was stunned by the number of objects I could see with this binoculars. The sky from my backyard is not very dark. Still I was able to track down Andromeda Galaxy without any problem. You can see it like a blur of light (don't expect hubble quality image). Jupiter and its moons are a treat. If you squint a little, you can even make out the strip on Jupiter. I didn't try Saturn yet since it is too close to Sun now. I was able to see Orion Nebula very clearly. Open/globular clusters are clear too. Overall its a very good investment especially for an amateur.
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on February 25, 2013
I was swayed by the low price and many good reviews here, which caused me to ignore the advice of astronomy experts which were pointing me to better-quality options from Oberwerk, Orion, and even Zhumell.

If you are lucky, you might get a good pair of these that stays in collimation for awhile. If you are lucky, you might get a good pair of these that allow you to bring both tubes in focus at the same time. If you are lucky, you might get a pair of these that doesn't have horribly horrible chromatic aberration in one tube. I wasn't lucky. I sent mine back. I should have listened to the experts. I bought a Zhumell 25x100 instead, which is significantly better than this in *every* way, except that it cost and weighs twice as much. But it works.

Update: About nine months in with the Zhumell 25x100 referenced above, it fell victim to the same/similar miscollimation issues I had with the Celestron. I showed up at a star party with them (transported in the included foam-lined aluminum case, no less), set them up and couldn't merge the images. Very disappointing. My conclusion is that the prism assemblies on these entry-level giant binoculars are just not up to the task long-term. Either learn to adjust them yourself, or triple your budget to get something with better construction (Oberwerk Deluxe III, Ultra, or Orion Resolux). I now have the Oberwerk Deluxe III 20x80 and the Orion Resolux 15x70. Both have very good optics and a better reputation for sturdy construction. We shall see...
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on March 15, 2012
I was deciding between the Celestron SkyMaster 20x80 Binoculars and the Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars with Tripod Adapter. I am glad I got the 20X80s. I was afraid they would be too heavy and have too narrow a field of view. No problem on either count. The 15X70s would have been a good choice too, but I got a used (Like New) pair from Amazon Warehouse. They were described as like new and they were not exaggerating. They were new! The box was still sealed by Celestron. Some of the reviews commented that the collimation was off. If you are going to own a really nice set of binoculars, you need to learn to collimate them. Mine came very well collimated but in the first week my tripod leg collapsed and they hit the ground. It was in the grass, so no major damage, but they did need to be recollimated. I was getting double views of everything. I only had to tweak two of the collimation screws and they were back to perfect collimation. The views were merged and the exit pupils were perfectly round. There is a lot of information out there concerning collimation, some good and some not so good. I recommend going to a forum called cloudy nights. They have a knowledgeable bunch of people there.
As far as the binoculars themselves, I don't find them too heavy to hold by hand, but a tripod is a major help for steady views. The views are clear and crisp. They can pick up Jupiter's moons, but I haven't noticed any banding. Saturn's rings were a little harder to see, I couldn't quite make them out. I need to wait for a better night; we've had a little fog lately. I did notice some chromatic aberration while viewing the moon as it was quite bright. With stars and planets, I was very pleased with the contrast.
The build and fit is impressive although the tripod mount, on first impression, seemed a little cheap looking. It is a brushed or painted aluminum. Mechanically it seems sound enough, but a chrome finish steel would have been a better choice, but that would have added to the weight. The caps fit somewhat snug inside the barrels but they don't seem to me that they will be very secure for long, only time will tell. Of course you are buying binoculars primarily for the optics, but those optics must be protected, so good caps are important. Speaking of protection, that brings us to the carrying case. Seriously, why did Celestron even waste their time on this? The one I got is a flimsy, unpadded cloth sack. Use it to carry your lunch in or better yet, just pitch it. Get a good padded metal or plastic case. I reused the foam from the Celestron box that the binoculars were in to line a plastic case and it works great, the foam is already cut to the proper shape to securely hold the binoculars.
To sum up, I would recommend buying these for terrestrial or celestial viewing, but do get a better case and a tripod.
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on April 14, 2009
I wanted to correct some bad information said in another review. the exit pupil needed by a person is a different size based upon age. An exit pupil of 7 is more for younger people. When you age and are about 50 or older an exit pupil of 4 is exactly what you want.
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on October 3, 2009
I purchased the Celestron Skymaster 20x80 binoculars for (tri-pod mounted) wildlife viewing and amateur star gazing. These binoculars fit our needs perfectly by providing higher powered wildlife viewing than our hand held binos, and portability for stargazing.

We had purchased a Celestron product in the past, and were very pleased with it. We are equally pleased with the quality of these binoculars, for our particular needs. They are easy to focus and adjust. The optics are clear and vivid. They seem to be of sturdy construction, and are backed by Celestron's no-fault warranty.

I think these binoculars are an excellent value for the casual observer, such as ourselves.
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