Celestron Nature 8x42 Binoculars Review

Celestron 8 x 42 Nature Binoculars
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Buy & Compare Prices for the Celestron Nature 8x42 Binoculars
Price Range: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars       

Ideal Uses:

General Use Rating for General Use Binoculars
Birdwatching Rating as Birdwatching Binoculars
Outdoor Sports Rating asOutdoor Sports Binoculars
Safari & Travel Rating as Safari Binoculars
General Wildlife Rating as Wildlife Observation Binoculars
Hunting Rating as Hunting Binoculars

Not that long ago I wrote a review of the Celestron Granite 8x42 binoculars, these top of the range Celestron binoculars really impressed me and as such they scored an outstanding 82% on the BBR scale. So when I was asked if I would like to test another Celestron model, I jumped at the chance.

Aimed at the more price conscious observer, the Celestron Nature Series binoculars don't come with all of the high end features of the Granite's which is expected, but they do still have some high quality components and coatings that should in theory still result in a pretty good pair of optics and all at a great price. To see just how well they performed, take a look at my full Celestron Nature 8x42 binoculars review below:

Selected Highlights

  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • Precision BAK-4 prisms
  • Waterproof and fogproof
  • Twist-up eyecups
  • Aluminum body

The Body

These 8x42 Celestron Nature binoculars (model no. 71326) have an open-hinge design that I am see more and more often and for good reasons: This design helps to keep the weight of the binocular down and is very comfortable and more secure to hold, in both or even with one hand.

Most people won't use one hand when glassing as this is just too unsteady, but I often carry my binoculars in one hand especially when walking through thick bush, using the other to clear a path. I do this because if you carry them around your neck with the neck strap they can often get caught up in the branches of bushes. Over difficult and hilly terrain it is also sometimes very annoying to have a binocular dangling from your neck where they can easily smack against a rock as you climb over it. Simply holding them in your hand overcomes many of these and similar problems and the open-hinge design means that you can hold onto the binocular much more firmly by wrapping your hand completely around one barrel.

Unlike many binoculars, there are no thumb indents on the underside of the body that makes them even more comfortable to hold and encourages you to hold them in the right position when glassing., Having said this, I thought that once you are holding them correctly, these Celestron binoculars felt very well balanced which helps keep them as steady as possible and is more comfortable when using binoculars over long periods of time.

I also really like the fact that the objective lenses are set back a reasonable distance within the ends of the barrels (about 6mm) - this will help protect the lenses when the caps are removed.

As far as styling goes, I really do like the look of them, they look pretty rugged and give you the impression tat they cost a whole lot more than what they actually do!

Weight
At 27ozs (765g), these are not the lightest pair of 8x42 binoculars on the market, but they are also not the heaviest. To put their weight in context, take a look at some of these other good quality 8x42 pairs that I have reviewed:

It is also important to remember that the weight of a pair of optics can sometimes be a little misleading and it is not always good to go for the lightest pair. This is because some of the lightest on the market are also amongst the cheapest (and worst) as they are only this weight because they use sub-standard materials in their construction that may be lighter, but is definitely not as tough or as durable as heavier but better quality optics. And whilst these Nature Series's don't use magnesium like some of the very best do, they do still have an aluminum body that is both light and strong.

Celestron Nature Series 8x42 Binoculars

Dimensions
With their eye-cups fully retracted, they have a length of 14.4cm (5.7in), this increases to 15.3cm (6.0in) when you fully twist out the eyecups. Folded, their width is 11cm (4.3in), fully opened it is 12.8cm (5.0in) and their height is 5.4cm (2.1in), which for a full-sized binocular is good, making them once of the more compact 8x42 binocular that I have reviewed. They felt very comfortable to hold and the focussing wheel was easy to get to as well as easy to adjust without having to change grip in my fairly average sized hands. I also got my wife to try them with her much smaller hands and she to had nor problems with them.

BBR Rating for Body Stats: 8/10

Build Quality
The aluminium body on these Celestron Nature Series binoculars has a nice and somewhat comforting feeling of being both solid and robust. Most of this body has been covered with a really hard black rubber armoring, apart from the two bridges (that connect the two barrels together) which have been left exposed, but also colored black which creates a nice visual effect and I guess helps to keep the weight down a tiny amount.

Because the rubber is so hard, it is possibly not as tactile as some binoculars out there, but the pattern that is cut into it helps with grip and is still way better than an un-rubberized binocular. This armour also protects your optics from day to day knocks and bumps and has another benefit of making them less reflective. It will also dampen down any sounds, if say your watch or ring strikes against the barrel - these are important features if you want to remain unnoticed when observing timid birds and other wildlife.

Waterproof & Fogproof
These 8x42 Celestron binoculars are waterproof which does not mean you can go diving with them, but does mean that they will easily handle exposure to wet weather without risk of damage". Waterproof binoculars not only prevent moisture from getting into them, but will also stop also any other small debris and dust from getting into the system which could lead to the view through them being spoilt.

They have also had all the internal air replaced with nitrogen gas ( nitrogen purged) which will protect them against internal fogging. Fogging can occur when you get rapid temperature changes or in places that have a high humidity level. A secondary benefit of this, is that it protects the inner workings from corrosion because there is no internal moisture.

The Eye Cups
The eyecups and diopter adjustment ring on the Celestron Nature 8x42 BinocularsThe twist-up eyecups on these Celestron Nature 8x42's are made from metal and have a thin soft rubber coating on top of them. The ocular lens is bigger than most in this size class and has a diameter of 22mm and the eyecup is also bigger than most others I have used with an external diameter of 41mm, which along with the rubber coating made them fairly comfortable even when pushed quite firmly against your face.

The twist-up mechanism on the eyecups is really smooth and works well, but lacks any fixed intermediate stops which is a slight shame as this means that eyeglass wearers have less flexibility when it comes to adjusting the eye-relief to suit their exact needs. However the 18mm of eye-relief is excellent and should easily be enough for most people who wear glasses to be able use these optics without having to remove them and still get the full field of view without any vignetting. Non-eyeglass wearers will just use the eyecups in the fully extended position. It also means that they easily make it onto my list of long eye relief binoculars.

The focussing wheel on the Celestron Nature 8x42 Binoculars

Focusing
The large focussing wheel on the pair that I reviewed turned really smoothly and was easily reachable when holding the bins up to your face. It looks to be made from plastic, covered with rubberized strips on it to help with grip.

The wheel takes about one and three quarter turns go from infinity to it's minimum focusing distance of 9.2 ft (2.8 m). What this means is that focusing from near to far (or vise versa) is not as quick as a binocular that takes less amount of turning (some take as little as half a turn), but it does have the advantage of making fine tuning your focus to get it exactly right much easier.

Diopter Adjustment
The diopter adjustment ring is located on the right barrel, between the eyecup and the barrel and is made from plastic with raised sections on it to help with grip. This diopter adjustment ring is used to correctly set up and focus the binoculars to your particular eyesight. This process really only needs to be done once when you first use the binoculars, or if you share them with others. On my pair, it was tight enough to prevent it from easily being moved accidentally, but not too tight as to make adjustments difficult. There is a marking the diopter ring and barrel so you can easily see where the neutral point is, but if the setting for your eyesight is not neutral, you may want to make a small mark on the barrel to help you quickly return to your correct setting should it be moved accidentally.

Best Binoculars Rating for Body Construction Quality: 7/10

The Optics

The Prisms and their coatings
These Celestron 8x42 roof prism binoculars use BaK-4 glass on the prisms, unlike the inferior BK-7 prisms found on cheaper optic and so this superior optical glass will help to produce better quality images.

Celestron don't state what or if they use any "High Reflectivity Coatings" that increase the reflectivity of the prism surfaces. Neither to they mention the use of phase correction coatings on the prism glass, which to be honest is to be expected with optics in this price bracket. Higher spec roof prism binoculars use phase correction coatings on the prisms because when light waves are reflected at the opposite faces of a roof prism, "phase shift" occurs which means that you get a small amount of deterioration in sharpness, which is countered by these coatings.

Lenses
Lens CoatingsFully multi-coated lenses are used on these Celestron Nature Series binoculars, which means all air-to-glass surfaces have received multiple layers of anti-reflective coatings which increases light transmission to produce a brighter image and therefore better low light performance.

Anti-reflective coatings can make a huge difference on the brightness of the image produced. I have often seen binoculars with smaller objective lenses, but high quality anti-reflection coatings easily outperforming binoculars with much larger objective lenses, but with fewer or no coatings. Beware of these lower quality optics that will often only add multiple anti-reflection coatings to the outer surfaces of the lenses (Multi-Coated) and cheaper still are optics that only have a single layers of anti-reflection coating added to the outer lenses (Coated). The very cheapest optics have no anti-reflective coatings at all and I highly recommend staying well clear of these.

The table below shows Transmittance by type of coating:

  Per Single Lens Surface 10 Lens & Prism Surfaces
No Coating: 96% (0.96) x Power of 10 = 0.66 66%
Single-Layer: 98.5% (0.985) x Power of 10 = 0.86 86%
Multilayer Coating: 99.5% (0.995) x Power of 10 = 0.95 95%

Best Binoculars Rating for Optical Components Quality: 6/10

Optical Stats

Field Of View

At 369 feet@1000 yards (123m @ 1000m) or 7°, the field of view through the Celestron 8x42 Granite binoculars is above average but not spectacular and does fall short of the very best. To put this in context, the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL, which is at the very high end of the market and many peoples ideal birding binocular has a field of view of 399ft at 1,000 yards. Whilst another really good binocular, the Vortex Viper 8x42 HD has a field of view of only 347ft at 1,000 yards.

Close Focusing Distance
I consider a minimum focusing distance of under 6ft to be excellent. The closest distance you can focus on an object with these 8x42 Celestron Nature binoculars is 9.2 ft. (2.8 m) which, is not bad but once again does fall a little short of the very best. So it is for this reason that I would not recommend these as the ideal choice of binocular if you plan to spend most of your time observing objects at close range (things like butterflies for example), they will perfectly hold their own for occasional close range observation.

Eye-Relief:
Their maximum eye-relief of 18 mm (0.71 in) is excellent and should be more than enough for most people who wear glasses. It also means that they make it onto my list of long eye relief binoculars.

Best Binoculars Rating for Optical Stats: 8/10

Image Quality

As with all my reviews, I compared the view through these Celestron 8x42 Nature binoculars with that of my mid range control 8x42 binoculars, this is to help me be as objective as possible.

Image Brightness
Testing was carried out on a wet and overcast afternoon and in terms of image brightness, I would say that they were about the same as my benchmark binoculars, if perhaps a tiny amount less bright and so because of this I rate them at about average in this department.

Contrast & Colour Reproduction
This is a hard parameter to judge, but I thought that the contrast of the image produced was good and once you have correctly focussed on an object the image is pin sharp. In my opinion, the depth of field for a binocular with an 8x magnification is about average as they were about the same as that of my control pair and better than my 10x control binoculars. The colors that are produced look and feel nice and natural, unlike the artificial tints that you sometimes find on other cheap binoculars.

Color Fringing
What was impressive was how little color fringing (chromatic aberration) there was. To check for this, I focus on light coloured and white objects sitting in front of a dark backgrounds as this is where it is easiest to notice if there is any on the objects edges. To my eyes there was almost no visible colour fringing on these Celestron binoculars which is very impressive, especially when you consider their price point and the fact that they don't have and ED glass.

Softening
Another strong point for these Nature Series bins was just how little softening of the image on the periphery of the view there was and you can only just notice it by really looking for it. So in this department, they perform well above average and are as good as many binoculars far more expensive than these.

Overall and to sum up, I would rate the view through these Celestron's as good to very good and is as good as or better than most others that I have tested in this price range. This is actually quite impressive when you consider that they lack some of the expensive prism coatings and ED glass that you find on higher spec optics.

Best Binoculars Rating for Image Quality: 7/10

8x42 Celestron Nature Series Comparisons

Below is a table comparing this Celestron Nature Series binocular with a selection of other full size roof prism binoculars with magnifications of around 8x including the very top of the range Swarovski 8.5x42 EL's, the mid to high value Minox 8x43 HG Binoculars, Kowa 8x42 BD, Eagle Optics Ranger ED 8x42, the Vortex Viper HD 8x42 and the Celestron 8x42 Granite.

  Celestron Nature 8x42 Celestron Granite 8x42 Eagle Optics ED Ranger 8x42 Vortex Viper 8x42 HD Swarovski 8.5x42 EL Minox 8x43 HG Kowa 8x42 BD
Price (approx): $100 (100) $345 (398) $440 $450 $2300 (£1600) $1100 (£640) $550 (£590)
Weight: 27 oz (765 g) 24oz (680g) 27.4oz (777g) 24.2oz (686g) 28.9ozs (819g) 22.9ozs (649g) 25.7ozs (729g)
Length: 5.7in (14.4cm) 5.8in (14.7cm) 6.7in (17cm) 5.8in (14.7cm) 6.5in (16.5cm) 6.0in (15.2cm) 5.7in (14.5cm)
Width: 4.3in (11cm) 4.0in (10.3cm) 5.0in (12.7cm) 5.3in (13.5cm) 4.8in (12.2cm) 5.1in (13cm) 5.0in (12.7cm)
Eye Relief: 18mm 17mm 18mm 20mm 18mm 19.5mm 18.3mm
Close Focusing Distance: 9.2 ft (2.8m) 6.5ft 6.0ft 5.1ft 8.0ft 8.2ft 6.5ft
Field of View at 1000yds: 369 ft 426ft 425ft 347ft 399ft 379ft 330ft
Prisms BaK-4 BaK-4 BaK-4 BaK-4 BaK-4 BaK-4 BaK-4
ED Glass No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Phase Correction No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lens Coatings Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated
Waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fogproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Whilst it may not seem fair comparing these 8x42 Nature's with optics that cost much, much more, it does help put some of their specifications and features into context.

Included Extras & Attention to Detail:

Neck Strap
The neck strap that comes with these Celestron Nature binoculars is pretty basic, but I would say about average for binoculars in this price range. Sure it will hold the binoculars around your neck with no problems, but it lacks any sort of padding and is very thin. I guess when you are trying to keep costs down, the accessories would be one of the best places to start as they don't add to the quality of the view.

Carry Case
The soft carry case is better than the neck strap, but is still pretty lightly padded. It has a separate pocket on the front that can be used to store a few small personal items and would be a good place to keep your lens cleaning cloth, some money or your car keys for example. The carry case comes with it's own strap, that like the neck strap does not have any padding. On the rear of the case there is a loop that enables you to thread the case through your belt to carry your binoculars on your hip.

The binoculars fit really well within the bag and are snug enough to be nicely protected, but not too tight as to make taking them in and out difficult - This is true even when the inter-pupillary adjustment on the binoculars is set to its maximum. The main top flap opening of the case is held closed with a Velcro strip and closes very easily even when the binoculars on the inside have their twist-up eyecups fully extended and the rainguard attached to them.

Lens Covers
The eye-piece cover (rain guard) is once again pretty basic, it is made from plastic but does fit pretty well over the eye-pieces and should not easily accidentally fall off. The bridge between the two cups is flexible enough to allow for the different distances between the two eyepieces depending on your inter-pupillary adjustment. This is something that is often overlooked by manufacturers meaning that the eyepiece covers wont fit, unless you store your binoculars fully open, which can be a real pain as you have to adjust them every time you use and replace your binoculars.

The hard soft rubber objective lens caps are pretty good and fit well and should not accidentally come away. A feature that I really like is that they have a rubber loop that attaches them to the barrels of the binocular which saves you from having to put them somewhere safe, so as to not loose them when you take them off the lens. If like some people you don't like to have your lens caps hanging down from their optics when using your binoculars, you can just take them completely off the barrels and store them away.

Lens Cleaning Cloth
Also included is an average quality lens cleaning cloth as well as a basic instruction leaflet that includes information like adjusting the eyecups, the inter-pupillary adjustment, how to properly focus your binoculars, lens care and cleaning and what to do if there is a problem or if the optics need to be repaired.

These Celestron binoculars also come with a 10 year warranty (guarantee) which is also available in the UK as well as the US.

Tripod Adaptable
Unlike many open bridge binoculars, these can still be easily attached to a tripod. To do this you just unscrew the small cap on the front hinge, then you can screw on a binocular tripod adapter (not included) that uses the standard ¼-inch threading, which is then attached to your tripod.

Best Binoculars Rating for Extras & Attention to Detail: 5/10

Conclusion

Strong Points: The strongest feature of these Celestron binocular is their long eye relief. I like the feel and the styling of the open bridge body which looks great and is nice and comfortable to hold. I was also pretty impressed with the overall quality of the view through them where they easily outperform their price tag. This is even more impressive when you consider that they lack some of the expensive prism coatings and ED glass that you find on higher spec optics.

Weak points? As with many other binoculars in this price range, they have to cut costs somewhere and that area is most often in their accessories. Sure the carry case, lens covers and neck strap all work fine, but they just lack that little extra bit of quality that you get on a top end binocular.

Ideal Uses: Like most 8x42 binoculars these are a good all round pair of binoculars and will make pretty good birding binoculars. This is because they strike a pretty good balance between their field of view and magnification and have lenses that are large enough to make them nice and bright even at dawn or dusk, yet not so large that they are too big and heavy to carry about with you. I would also say that these would make pretty decent hunting binoculars and great for general wildlife observation optics.

Whilst you could take these 8x42 binoculars on a camping trip, on safari or to an outdoor sporting event, if it is going to be your main use for them, you may consider getting some compact or mid-sized binoculars that will be just that much easier to put in your bag or luggage. Something like a mid sized 8x32 or even a compact binocular may be more ideal for these uses.

To conclude, the Celestron Nature 8x42 binocular is a more than decent pair of binoculars that in most areas punches above it's price tag and would make an ideal choice for anyone looking for a low cost binocular.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Hama (UK) Ltd. the UK distributor of Celestron binoculars for sending these Nature Binoculars to review. I would also like to point out that this and all the other reviews on this site are my opinion and are not influenced in any way by manufacturers, distributors or suppliers.

Celestron Nature 8x42 Binoculars with neck strap, carry case and lens covers

Reviewed by

Best Binocular Reviews Ratings:

Body Construction Quality: 7/10 68%
Very Good
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Components Quality: 6/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 7/10
Extras & Attention to Detail: 5/10

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Main Specifications & Features:

Celestron 8x42 Nature Binoculars Video Review

 

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Binocular Price Comparison
Where to buy the Celestron 8x42 Nature Binoculars

General Price Range: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars

Below is a link that will take you to a page with online retailers in both the US and UK that sell Celestron 8x42 Nature Binoculars this page makes it easy to compare prices and then to buy from your preferred option: