Science

Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 binoculars review

Large size is the virtue of telescopes – in most cases. The larger the light bucket, the more photons (“drops of light”) it can collect. But large telescopic tools are also heavier, clumsier, and require more maintenance and feeding. We chose the Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 binoculars as our top pick for large astronomy binoculars, which is why it’s in our best stargazing binoculars buying guide.

Key features of SkyMaster 25×100:

Magnification: 25x
Lens Diameter: 100mm
Angular field of view: 3 degrees
Eye relief: 15mm
Weight: 9 pounds, 12 ounces

In the case of binoculars, viewing the universe in stereo gives you more than double the pleasure of seeing the sky with one eye. But servicing two eyes more than doubles the mass of the optical system. So, as you move from small portable “binoculars” that are great for seeing, say, fast-moving racing cars, to larger apertures, suitable for resolving majestic, slowly rotating stars, the glass becomes very heavy, very fast.

  • Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 Best Price $499.95 (will open in a new tab)

Celestron SkyMaster 25×100: Design

  • Requires a tripod (and possibly a counterweight arm) to use
  • Solid in the hand, reinforced with a metal bar at the bottom of the binoculars
  • Lens caps are easy to lose

Binoculars Celestron Skymaster 25x100 in the hands of the author on a tripod

The SkyMaster 25×100 binoculars are large, large and heavy and should ideally be used with a tripod and counterweight. (Image credit: Jeremy Lips and Dave Brody)

So buying these Celestrons also means buying a tripod and possibly a counterweighted arm. But the binoculars are ready when you’re done: a hard-feeling, reinforced metal rod forms a keel, from the lens caps at the front to the bulging prismatic warts at the back. A built-in tripod adapter glides over this rod; The knurled knob tightens the adapter into the desired position. And when the night of observations is over, the rod will turn into a convenient lifting device; which you have probably set at a point of natural balance. So you can put these heavy beasts into the protective case with one hand.

Now that you’ve got everything set up, take a look at your Celestron SkyMaster 25×100, starting with the working end you’ll be looking at. The 4mm exit pupils (bright spots in the actual image) look eerily small surrounded by huge 20mm eyepieces. But they are large enough to fill the dark-adapted eyes of most adults. And an eye relief of 15mm (the distance from the eyepiece surface to the last point where the full-length image is visible) is sufficient to allow glasses wearers to get a well-focused, wide field of view. You may not even need to fold down the rubber eyepiece protectors.

Also, the flexible rubber lens caps really don’t want to stay in place. They will jump from the pipes and slip into the night at the first opportunity. Never let them attack you.

Celestron SkyMaster 25×100: Functionality

  • 450 degrees, independent eyepiece rotation
  • Binocular padded backpack not quite the right size for binoculars
  • Impressive, like looking through two telescopes

Celestron Skymaster 25x100 binocular eyepieces close-up

Each eyepiece can be adjusted independently rather than as a diopter as on less expensive models. (Image credit: Jeremy Lips and Dave Brody)

Each eyepiece independently rotates 450 degrees for crisp focus. In fact, these are not diopters, as in binoculars with a lower magnification. The best way to think of this whole setup is as a pair of 100mm refractor telescopes side by side with built-in imaging prisms and separate fixed eyepieces.

We were a bit disappointed with the way Celestron delivers these tools. For the price, we expected a rugged, lined, impact-resistant case. Instead, the 25×100 is packaged in a thin fabric-lined binocular case that fits into an even thinner nylon padded bag with a shoulder strap. There is a thin elastic strap that should hold the mass. But heavy binoculars slip too easily out of their comfort onto solid ground.

The documentation that comes with the 25×100 is also a little disappointing. It’s just a regular one-page Celestron SkyMaster. Most of the information only applies to the junior members of the SkyMaster line. These big guys don’t have a center focus knob, for example; You install the eyepieces yourself.

Celestron SkyMaster 25×100: Performance

  • Waterproof binoculars (we think)
  • Rough metal construction prevents slipping out of hand
  • Ideal for finding clusters of galaxies – within reasonable limits

Celestron Skymaster 25x100 binoculars are used, the author looks at the Moon through it

The Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 can only be used on a tripod or arm with a counterweight. Here the author is looking for the moon in daylight. (Image credit: Jeremy Lips and Dave Brody)

These SkyMasters have the word “water resistant” printed on them, though the rubble-colored metal finish won’t give you the confidence to make that claim. Celestron’s online specs for the 25×100 only claim water resistance. We expected a rubber coating. Rough metal gives a secure feel and doesn’t slip when you hold or guide your rig.

At typical night sky viewing temperatures, the surface feels quite cold to the touch. It’s really good. This suggests that these Celestrons will equilibrate (cool) to ambient temperature faster than better insulated binoculars. This is not as important as with telescopes, especially with mirrors (Newtonian and Cassegrain), but it’s good if all your optical surfaces retain their relative geometry.

In addition, there is no interpupillary distance (IPD) scale; In any case, in the dark it would be practically useless. In addition, large astronomical binoculars tend to be personal items; you’ll set your IPD – and probably focus too (to infinity) – the first time you use it. After that, you’ll rarely do more than reset them to your individual settings.

Jump to the other end of the binoculars – look back through the 100mm objective lenses – and you’ll notice that the insides of the barrels are nicely grooved. Small raised rings along the entire length of the tubes act as diffusers, shielding the prisms from retarded rays and reducing stray light that can ruin an image.

And the images that those big eyes can convey are amazing. I like to look at clusters of galaxies through big binoculars, like spring Leo triplets (they aren’t actually siblings). But just to be fair, some of the best galactic bands are too dim and distant even for big binoculars, like Stefan’s Autumn Quintet (they don’t actually play music anyway).

Should I buy Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 binoculars?

These powerful attackers are definitely not for uninitiated binocular users. Although they are labeled as such, we have already mentioned that they are more like two 100mm refractor telescopes glued together and they provide a huge range. Thus, they are not suitable for portable use, as it would be too difficult to hold them in a stable position and end up in pain in the hand.

However, despite some of the aforementioned shortcomings, these Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 binoculars are still our favorite large astronomy binoculars. With proper care, they can give you decades of joyful stereoscopic star-jumping.

If Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 binoculars are not for you

Of course, many of these binoculars may seem too bulky, so a smaller pair that retains good range would be the Celestron Nature DX 12×56 binoculars. They have fantastic rubberized grips and comfortable eyepieces that are adjustable for spectacle wearers and give a clear and bright image while still being easy to carry.

Those looking for a more affordable pair can check out the Opticron Adventurer II WP 10×50 binoculars. This is a great budget pair that is lightweight and provides excellent eye removal. This pair feels a bit cheap in the hand, but where the Opticron hasn’t skimped is in the optical design, providing a satisfyingly clear view of the night sky or any other daytime object.

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