Celestron Landscout 7x35

chris6

Well-known member
Looking for a wide angle alternative to Nikon EX 7x35 I was interested by the specs of Celestron Landscout 7x35, which is not listed on UK's distributor's website. Finding no review of this model I ordered it from Amazon uk at £67.48 including delivery, which seemed reasonable, to discover what it is like.

After more digging I did find an old thread about the Celestron Ultima DX 8x32, a predecessor of Landscout 7x35, compared to the well known Yosemite (I think it was 6x30 but might be 8x30), bearing in mind that the Yosemite is generally said to be 'ok' or 'recommended'.

To me, both Yosemite 6x30 and Kowa had seemed to give a rather washed out view so the comparison by FrankD was of interest http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=118652

In the same thread Ceasar compared DX 8x32, at less than $99, with Nikon 8 x 30 EII and especially Nikon 8 x 32 SE, and largely agreed....so on that basis the 7x35 Landscout might turn out to be ok. Will report when it arrives, but in the meanwhile would anyone else comment?
 

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chris6

Well-known member
Well I reckon they are really very good!

Appearance is not overstated with matt, thin, firm rubbery covering and embossed markings, except for the specs. being sparkly under a rather fancy clear plastic jewel on the centre shaft - to my eye still not quite plain enough but form and finish are excellent. The soft bag and straps are of decent quality.

The ribs under the barrels give a comfy grip in combination with smoother surfaces above and the shrouds for the objective lenses are of adequate depth. It's quite impressively solid and balances perfectly on the thumbs but perhaps the covering could be a bit softer and grippier.

The lens caps fit inside the objective recesses and pop off easily, and have tabs for attachment to a strap if required, as does the flexi-link rain cover. There is a well judged non-sloppy three-click adjustment for eye relief and the right eyepiece has opposed tabs on a ring for dioptre adjustment (thinner? but in similar fashion to Nikon EX 7x35's), nice again.

The focus wheel acts smoothly and precisely, has a fairly firm action, and only has widely spaced raised strips on it for rotation. This is a pity when the material is not especially grippy and the action is quite low geared - automatically I tended to use both middle fingers together, which worked better. The closest distance for good focus is as much as 20ft, which might be too far for some users. The depth of focus is such that for birdwatching I have been able to mark a bar to stay at the top for infinity with another at about 25 degrees for the rest of the middle distance.

I no longer have a pair of Nikon Action EX 7x35 which would have been better for comparison but from memory the matching EX was crisp in the centre but fuzzy beyond a relatively small but very clean area in the middle, and the colours were a bit cool. The Celestron Landscout seems miles better, with focus remaining good for almost the whole field of view. The black surrounding margins are distinct (can't recall if EX's were), with the result that the excellent 3D view was a revellation.

Celestron's brightness and sharpness is only marginally less than with Pentax ED DCF 8x32, colours are completely natural, no chromatic aberration could be seen, and the level of contrast is very good. If you look for it there is a moderate degree of pincushion distortion, which is not at all noticeable in normal use. On the whole the view is remarkably comfortable, bright and very satisfying.

Having tried them I shall not be sending them back - they complement the Pentax because of their wider angle, and although they are bulkier they are actually nicer to use. Currently only £60 from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00OJ5YL7A/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 so this was a lucky find.
 

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chris6

Well-known member
Today it was overcast and in a few minutes I watched nuthatch, buzzard, robin, blackbird, wood pigeon, crow, magpie, jay, collared dove, and hedge sparrow, although the latter was pecking around too close to be focussed. In particular the colours and markings of the birds looked natural. Even with plenty of practice, birds were easier to find quickly in the sky or on the ground with the wider view. In other ways, and in spite of the relative advantages of absolute brightness and definition of the Pentax, the Celestron did not seem lacking.

Obviously it's all swings and roundabouts but Celestron also won for its steadier 7x view. If the best sharpness were to be the primary aim the vintage Avocet, without glasses to correct astigmatism (it has no eye relief) would have been up there. It is 8x30 yet things appear 'smaller' with it, and it does not seem as 'wide angle' as claimed.

For some reason I remember that things viewed with the Nikon Action EX 7x35 also gave the impression of 'looking too small' cf. the view of the same objects with the 8x binoculars I had tried at the time, without consciously taking account of the different fields of view. Interesting that with 7x Celestron Landscout, compared to 8x Pentax DCF ED, this effect is not now noticeable and the impression is just of a wider clear field, nearly edge to edge, like the Pentax.

In retrospect for those reasons Celestron would probably have also seemed better than the Nikon EX 7x35. For the greater depth of field of a lower magnification, I believe the Porro 3D for branches and foliage around the birds also works better, as it does at a distance. It seems to be the thing and have not yet discovered other contenders....
 
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chris6

Well-known member
Further use has confirmed some good points of the Celestron but brought out some problems. More apparent in dim light indoors are curved shadows, only on the outer sides, which look like the outer limits of the view, with both eyes or with either eye - not obvious unless you look for it but appears at about 85% of the radius. More evident when wearing glasses and some of it can be made to disappear by changing the angle between the barrels, as if to adjust for IPD by making it wider for a distant view and narrower for a close view.

There seem to be two components: one may be some sort of internal reflection of the image of the margin, since it is affected by the direction from which light is coming indoors and is less apparent outside. The other is a blurring of parts or all of the margin due to insufficient eye relief, which can be reproduced (all around) by extending the eyecups while wearing glasses. It has become apparent that in my case the quoted "18mm" is not quite sufficient, although with other binoculars "16mm" has been enough.

In Nikon's list of aberrations http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/spo...chnologies/technologies_08.htm#technologies03 I wondered whether the term 'coma' might be relevant, but that does not seem to be so. Coma is evident for 5-10%, but is not just on the outer side and does not correspond to the problem. On the other hand the list did bring out and help to define the good points: Spherical Aberration (seemingly none), Astigmatism (seemingly none), Curvature of Field (away from the margins, minimal), Distortion (pincushion is mild beyond the middle 15% and comes on gradually), Chromatic Aberration (none).

Still pretty good, sub £100? - for the clear view almost to the edges of the 9.3 deg. field, but not quite to the level of Pentax DCF ED 8x32 FOV 7.5deg., and for the natural colours of the image, which are perhaps slightly exaggerated by the light bright Pentax.
 
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chris6

Well-known member
Cheers Synaps. For me this has been a continuing exercise. Only a beginner but, maybe like some others posting here, having a bit of harmless fun by trying to determine whether to go again in the opposite direction for still more expensive binoculars.

Redwings arrived yesterday and were around again today. In the event the colours were revealed better by Pentax CF ED 8x32, which I described above as seeming relatively 'exaggerated'. This seemed to be associated with Pentax's extra brightness over Celestron and it did indeed help with recognition, in this case by differentiating these birds from e.g. fieldfare by the red patches on their flanks and by their supercere markings, as did 8x vs. 7x.

Looking into the midst of the highest brances of a beech tree at a distance of about 80 or 90 yards I found the Pentax made it a bit easier to adjust things for the very best view without squinting, where its light focussing mechanism also counted.

I had previously found the Pentax to compete well with more expensive models. Yet the wider view of the Celestrons helped with spotting my pigeons in flocks, also without CA, which had made it harder to justify the extra expense of the Pentax. After all perhaps that is nearer to a happy medium for me, while the Celestron is still more than satisfactory, especially considering that the Pentax was 6x the price, and the much greater deficiencies of the other more economical binoculars I had tried before.

It will probably be February before I might receive a replacement for the dud example I received of Orion Ultraview 8x42 porro, to see how it shapes up, but I begin to see why Swarovski swarovision etc. might have their attractions, even at £1800+, and it's only money |:D|
 
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chris6

Well-known member
...It will probably be February before I might receive a replacement for the dud example I received of Orion Ultraview 8x42 porro, to see how it shapes up...
Well the second pair of Orion Ultraview 8x42 £136 from Amazon Uk arrived and are absolutely excellent. They are bright and sharp, quite a bit better than Celestron 7x35. Orion is not waterproof, seemingly less robust, and twice the price. Came to both after reading this thread: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=137247&highlight=Orion+UltraView+8x42
(10x50 version is £162)
 
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cj.holder

Well-known member
Chris, thanks for an interesting report.

I've recently started birdwatching and I use my late father's Swift Audubon HR5 8.5x44s, which I think are excellent. However, because they have sentimental value and therefore I don't want to damage them, I am looking for a low-cost pair I can keep in the car. Your reviews are interesting and useful in my deliberations.
Chris
 

chris6

Well-known member
Hi cj, thanks. Yes and the 'low-cost' thing has been much debated. One theory is that it saves having to buy more if you pay a lot in the beginning, but for some reason that failed to work for me.

I see that Orion Ultraview's image quality has been compared with that of Nikon SE CF, which itself may be accepted as the standard (while it is also porro and non-waterproof). If you wear glasses it's harder to find something cheap and nice, but Ultraview has a wide view as well as plenty of eye relief. However it is not heavily armoured, and porros look more vulnerable with eyepieces which have to wobble about on a stalk for focussing.

Maybe you need at least two more pairs already!!... of course everyone needs an Orion, which you might just reserve for repeated testing against the Audubon :), and maybe a good small tough roof prism for the car (b.t.w. perhaps someone would like my still boxed Pentax DCF ED 8x32 7.5 degrees FOV for £300 post free, which even has 'dielectric coatings'), or two Orions - so one can happily rattle about in the glove pocket!!
 
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chris6

Well-known member
Cj, I reckon the Celestron Landscout would be ideal cheap binoculars to keep in the car. 7x35 is often recommended for general and occasional use, particularly because it makes them easy to hold steady. With this relatively low magnification, the field, and the clear depth of the view tends to be noticeably greater, which also makes for easy handling.

As above its specs. are very similar to those of the popular Nikon Action EX 7x35, and focussing action is a bit heavier for such waterproof porros. However the setting for infinity allows everything to remain in focus beyond about 100ft away (hence individual eyepiece focussing being ok for distance with nautical binoculars). For viewing a lot of things, focus can be marked for that and then left alone.

Now at £60 incl. p&P at Amazon.co.uk the Celestron would be cheaper than Nikon EX while having a much bigger clear area of the total view in focus (practically to the edge). This makes the view, as well as panning, a lot more pleasant, but is quite unusual. Perhaps it is related to depth of focus and seems a fairly basic function which is usually quite hard to find without huge expense! There is also less pincushion, and less CA than the other low, and some higher, cost binoculars which I have tried

If you can get to compare them directly it would be interesting to learn how you get on...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbFWwxiQN20 "...definitely a hidden gem..."
 
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