Helios Nitrosport 12×50 binoculars review #30221

The Helios Nitrosport 12×50 are what you could call the bigger brother of the compact 26 and 34mm models. The extra light grasp and magnification give you that extra reach in many lighting conditions. Unlike the smaller versions which are multi-coated, the 12×50 are fully multi-coated and have the benefit of phase coated prisms.

Case. You get a soft nylon case with a compartment inside for small booklets and cleaning cloths. A Velcro strip keeps it shut, and comes with a belt loop. But given the size of the binoculars, you would be much better advised to use the carry / shoulder strap.





You get 2 straps with the binoculars. One nylon for the case, and an excellent padded one for the neck. Also included is a small microfibre cleaning cloth. Lens caps are stay on / drop down for the objectives, and all in one flexible for the eyepieces.

At 796g, these are about par for 50mm binoculars. Not lightweight, yet I found easy to hand hold for short periods. Optically, these do give some  blue colour fringing when looking at tree branches against a bright sky. But remember these are a fraction of the cost of many other brands with similar spec. 

But plus points, are a good bright image with acceptable levels of contrast. As with many modern binoculars, internal baffling gives a nice dark outer edge for increased contrast.

There is some fall off in sharpness towards the edge, but much better than expected, and have seen much worse in more expensive options. Field of view is quoted as 86m @ 1000m. But I found this a very comfortable view, and easy tracking moving objects such as planes was obtainable. I am guessing these will be used on a number of occasions by plane spotters.

One the subject of field of view, here is a minor gripe (and I mean a minor one). Although these are 16mm eye relief and you can easily get full view with spectacles on, I found for non spectacle wearers the twist eye cup comes out a couple of mm to far. This means you get around 90% field of view. You can twist back part way, but does not seem to stay in place. So for not wearing glasses, I found is easier to twist the eye cups fully in, and either rest them on your forehead just above your eyes, or hold then away from your eyes. But this is easily done.

Close focus is quoted as 4m, but in practice I found it near 3m (or 4 paving slabs in my garden).

But plus and minus points aside. For +/- £100 you certainly get a lot of binoculars with good spec, and can easily compliment a smaller set for looking at distant objects such as planes, ships and long distance terrestrial.

Click HERE to buy



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Hawke Frontier ED X 8×42 binoculars. Optics weekend blog March 2019

A customer visited the Northern Optics Optics weekend at the Waters` edge centre in Lincolnshire, pretty much already making up in advance the Hawke Frontier ED X 8×42 ticked all the boxes. But they did try some different options, which included the Hawke Endurance ED 10×42 and Helios Nitrosport 12×50 to see what, if any benefits extra magnification gave.

But having tried all three sets above, it was the wide field of view and extra clarity the ED X 8×42 offered. Stunning optics aside, our customer was impressed with the build quality, handling and case. As with all our customers, the chance to test optics looking over the local nature reserve lake made it the perfect place to try before you buy 

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Hawke Frontier HD X 8×32 binoculars review

Released in 2019, the Hawke Frontier HD X range fill the gap between the Endurance ED and Frontier ED X, and priced accordingly. Although not ED glass, what you do get is a premium set at an affordable price, and retains the same build quality and weather proofing as the ED X range.

Case. The hard leather case as supplied with the discontinued Sapphire range was not to everyone,s liking. So this is a very welcome change, with a semi soft case that offers stability, yet has some pliability, making it more comfortable when resting against you. The attractive design has a magnetic front fastener with zipper around the side. Internal mesh prevents the case from being opened to wide. There is no internal pouch, but the rear has an opening for note pads, cleaning cloths etc. There is also a rear belt loop. The 32mm models have enough spare room inside the case to accept the strap without having to force it in. The case has a strong nylon strap (below) , which is fully adjustable, and has metal clips.

As with all Hawke binoculars you get a excellent padded comfort neck strap as shown below. This is fully adjustable for length. Hawke do have a reputation for well padded straps, and this one is no exception. The new Hawke logo shows.

Objective lens caps are drop down and stay on. But not all users like this, so they can be removed. For the eyepieces, there is a flexible rain guard, which is tapered to snugly fit onto the twist eye cups.


Build quality. Nothing short of 10/10. Just like the ED X range, the Frontier HD X are lightweight yet solid. Everything from adjusting the IPD to twisting the eye cups feels like it is going to last. This is backed up by the life time warranty.

Handling. Very user friendly with a silky smooth focus wheel and dioptre adjustment. On the subject of the right eye adjustment , this can be turned easily with the eye cups twisted down. With some, you need to twist out to comfortably do this. The texture of the rubber body is incredibly grippy and gives you confidence when using.


Optics. In what I call The real world many customers are not on the look out for levels of chromatic aberration. They simply want a bright image with high contrast. This is what the HD X range offer with dielectric coated prisms. Despite not being ED glass, the level of brightness and contrast is a massive step up from the Endurance ED range (like for like). Yes, there is a little colour fringing off centre. But in many situations you will not notice this, as the levels are very low. The wide 135m at 1000m is around as good as you get in 8x32s, making tracking of moving targets a breeze.

Summing up. If the ED X is just out of budget, and you want a mid sized set of binoculars that give jaw dropping levels of brightness and contrast then the Hawke Frontier HD X 8×32 will not disappoint.

Available to purchase HERE




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North Lincs Astro meeting Monday 4th March 2019

Due to the March speaker sadly feeling unwell, our in house speaker Andrew did a great job by stepping in at the last minute to give us a talk on spectroscopy. Quite a tricky subject for some. But Andrew did a fantastic job of making it clear to follow with the aid of images and video.

With more time to kill, yours truly did a 15 minute talk on astronomy from past years. By past years, I mean my books from the 1870s.  On the screen I showed images and text from what they knew about astronomy back then, with just a little humour thrown in. Book shown in the image is Astronomy 1876 by J.Norman.Lockyer F.R.S

We also discussed ideas for future meetings. Thank you as always to Malcolm and Glennys for the snacks , chocs and teas.

We did have part clear skies afterwards, but was too windy to set up telescopes.

For more details on the society visit the North Lincs astro society web site


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Hawke Endurance ED 8×25 binoculars. Blog post March 2019

A compact yet high quality set that can be folded up and put inside a coat pocket. That was the requirements from a customer who visited the Northern Optics Optics weekend in North Lincs recently.

The set they went for was the Hawke Endurance ED 8×25 binoculars. The wider field of view and slightly larger exit pupil put them slightly ahead of the 10x version in the customers opinion.

The double hinge design makes them an ideal compact fold up set for use on the move. Considering the compact size and weight they feel very solid. The customer was so impressed with the optics from the Endurance compacts, they did not ask to look through any others.



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Hawke Endurance ED 10×42 binoculars. Blog post March 2019

The Hawke Endurance ED 10×42 binoculars were the customers choice this weekend. After having some time to think, they specifically needed a set of 10×42 ED, and the Endurance nicely met their requirements.

They were impressed with the handling , optics and weight (652g). They did try some smaller 32mm binoculars with a wider field of view. But the more intimate close up view that the 10×42 offered was more to their liking.

Compared to the nature Trek 10×42, and if budget will allow, the Endurance ED range offer a brighter image with much less chromatic aberration (colour fringing).

They were also impressed by the comprehensive warranty.

Hawke binoculars can be purchased from Northern Optics

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Optics weekend in Lincolnshire

Great news for birdwatchers. Its Optics weekend most weekends at the Waters` Edge visitor centre in Barton Upon Humber, Lincolnshire. See Northern Optics for more details on stock info and any weekends where we shall not be in attendance due to other events.

The Northern Optics Optics weekends are a great chance to try before you buy your binoculars. And as many buyers will say, you really need to look through them, with so much conflicting advice on-line.

As the photo to the upper right shows, the Northern Optics weekend display is the perfect place to try out your new binoculars with a window overlooking a lake full of wildlife. I pride myself on a no hard sell approach, so rest assured , given a choice of a few binoculars, we shall not give an opinion on which suits you best unless you ask.

Also on display may be various other items such as spotting scopes, tripods, cleaning kits, magnifiers and other related accessories. For the astronomer we often have a selection of telescope eyepiece, filters and camera adapters etc.

The centre also has a gift shop, cafe and children`s play areas


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Hawke Endurance 8×56 overview and specs

The Hawke Endurance 8×56 binoculars #36220 is optimised for low light performance, with the large 56 objective lenses and 8x magnification yield a large 7mm exit pupil. This makes them tailor made for dusk and dawn wildlife watching, and even wide field astronomy if you can hold the 1005g chassis steady.

As with many modern 56mm binoculars, eye relief is very good. Meaning they can be used with spectacles on.  These are not ED glass like some of the 25-50mm Hawke Endurance range. But high quality fully multi-coated optics (FMC) and phase corrected BaK-4 prisms ensure a bright image with excellent contrast.

Nitrogen waterproof for use in all conditions. Comes complete with case, strap for case and binoculars, lens covers, cleaning cloth and booklet.

Available to purchase from Northern Optics


Power: 8×
Objective: 56mm
Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated (FMC)
Field of View: m @1000m / ft @1000yds 117m / 351ft
Close Focus: 2.5m / 8.2ft
Eye relief: 15mm / 0.6″
Height: 163mm / 6.4″
Weight: 1005g / 35.4oz
Exit Pupil: 7mm / 0.28″
Prism Type: Roof Hi-Res Phase Corrected (PC) BAK-4
Interpupillary Distance: 60-76mm / 2.4-3″
Dioptre System: Right Eye
Eyecups: Twist-Up
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Hawke Nite-Eye 2000 monocular #47100

The Hawke nite-eye 2000 is a true 3 in 1 solution night vision monocular. Not only is it a great night vision monocular with a built-in infrared illuminator with 9 levels of brightness, but is also able to take 5MP photos and 640×480 VGA video.

So not only can you see objects at night, you can also image or video your findings. At only 320 , it is as light as many compact binoculars

Nite-Eye 2000


  • 5x fixed magnification with additional digital zoom
  • Observe over 200m in low light or total darkness
  • Capture 5 MP photos and record 10 minute videos
  • Built-in infrared illuminator with 9 levels of brightness
  • Weaver/Picatinny rail and threaded tripod mount
  • View media on computer, TV, or on the monocular
  • Supplied with 8GB micro SD card (32GB max.)
  • Hawke two year warranty


  • Carry Case
  • USB Lead
  • Mains Charger
  • Lens Cover
  • 1x 18650 Battery
  • 8GB Micro SD
  • Lens Cloth
  • TV out Lead

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Celestron Nexstar 5 SLT #22084

The Celestron Nexstar 5 SLT uses the same high class optics, but uses the popular SLT mount, to make it accessible to more budgets. The SCT design is seen by many as a perfect all round choice for both visual and imaging use.

Celestron’s innovative NexStar Star Location Telescope (SLT) has been a customer favorite for years thanks to its unique combination of high quality optics, user-friendly computerized interface and a sturdy single fork arm mount.

This telescope comes with a preassembled, adjustable stainless steel tripod, quick release fork arm, NexStar+ computerized hand control, 5” Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube, and lots of bonus accessories.

The entire telescope kit weighs in at just 16 pounds. The simple, no-tool assembly and fast SkyAlign alignment procedure will have you ready to observe in minutes. This makes NexStar 5SLT  your perfect companion for impromptu observing sessions and all-night stargazing marathons alike.

Your NexStar 5SLT will reveal details of the lunar surface, Venus and its phases, the polar caps on Mars, Jupiter and its four moons, and Saturn with its rings plainly visible. It can also be used as a land-based spotting telescope for daytime and wildlife observations.

Schmidt-Cassegrain Optical Tube

The NexStar 5SLT comes with a 5” Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube, a great multi-use telescope with 1250 mm of focal length (f/10).  The Celestron C5 is equipped with patented StarBright XLT coatings, which visibly increase contrast and bring out subtle detail on the Moon, planets, and faint nebulae. These coatings also increase light transmission for brighter deep space images.

The Celestron C5 strikes an excellent balance between portability, ease of use, light gathering ability and price.

The Mount & Technologies

Computerized Alt-Azimuth telescope – The NexStar SLT telescope features a single fork arm alt-azimuth mount, which allows the telescope to track the desired objects as they appear to move across the night sky. The mount sits on a pre-assembled, adjustable steel tripod.

NexStar+ Hand Control – This computerized hand control enables you to automatically slew to any of 4,000+ celestial objects with the push of a button. The NexStar+ database includes more than 600 galaxies, 300 clusters and dozens of beautiful binary stars. Not sure what to observe? Choose the Sky Tour feature and the NexStar+ hand control will automatically generate a list of all the best celestial objects currently visible based on your exact time and location.

SkyAlign Technology – Our proprietary SkyAlign alignment procedure makes setting up and using a computerized telescope faster and easier than ever before. Point the telescope at three bright objects in the sky, and the telescope can triangulate its position and locate any other object in the sky automatically. You don’t need to know the names of the stars—you can even pick the Moon or bright planets! For more information about our SkyAlign technology, visit here.

Power –  Go anywhere! Feel free to enjoy your NexStar SLT in remote dark sky locations—it’s powered by 8 AA batteries (not included) or a PowerTank portable battery. The internal battery compartment provides power to the high precision servo motors for rigid low-vibration performance while eliminating cord wrap issues associated with external battery packs.  You may also charge your telescope with a 12V AC adapter (sold separately).

Accessories Included

Your telescope includes a StarPointer red dot finderscope, a star diagonal, and two eyepieces (20mm and 9mm). The two eyepieces offer different magnifications for low or high powered observing. The star diagonal provides a right-side-up view and a more comfortable viewing angle when looking up at the sky. The StarPointer finderscope will help you quickly center an object in your eyepiece for easier observing.

NexStar 5SLT is ready to grow with you as you become a more experienced amateur astronomer. It’s compatible with all Celestron’s latest accessories, including StarSense AutoAlign, SkyPortal WiFi module, and PowerTank Lithium Pro.


  • High quality 5” (125mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube
  • Fully computerized Altazimuth mount
  • Sturdy stainless steel tripod and accessory tray included
  • Includes a 20mm and 9mm eyepiece, a finderscope, a star diagonal, and a free download Starry



Optical Tube Info: 
Optical Design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
Aperture: 125mm (5″)
Focal Length: 1250mm (49″)
Focal Ratio: f/10
Focal Length of Eyepiece 1: 20mm (.78″)
Magnification of Eyepiece 1: 63x
Focal Length of Eyepiece 2: 9mm (.35″)
Magnification of Eyepiece 2: 139x
Finderscope: StarPointer Finderscope
Star Diagonal: 1.25″ Star Diagonal
Optical Tube: Aluminum
Highest Useful Magnification: 295x
Lowest Useful Magnification: 18x
Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 13
Resolution (Rayleigh): 1.11 arc seconds
Resolution (Dawes): 0.93 arc seconds
Light Gathering Power (Compared to human eye): 329x
Secondary Mirror Obstruction: 51mm (2″)
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Diameter: 16.6%
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Area: 40%
Optical Coatings: StarBright XLT
Optical Tube Length: 330mm (13″)
Optical Tube Diameter: 152mm (6″)
Optical Tube Weight: 6 lbs (2.7kg)
Dovetail: Vixen/CG-5 Dovetail bar
Mount Info: 
Mount Type: Computerized Altitude-Azimuth Single Fork Arm
Instrument load capacity: 8 lbs (3.6 kg)
Height adjustment range (includes mount and tripod): 762mm – 1270mm (30″ – 50″)
Tripod Leg Diameter: 31.75mm (1.25″) Stainless steel
Mount Head Weight: 5 lbs (2.3kg)
Accessory Tray: Yes
Tripod Weight: 5 lbs (2.3kg)
Slew Speeds: 9 slew speeds – max speed 3°/second
Tracking Rates: Sidereal, Solar and Lunar
Tracking Modes: Alt-Az, EQ North and EQ South
Dovetail Compatibility: Vixen/CG-5 saddle plate
Number of Auxiliary ports: 1x Aux port | 1x hand control port (hand control can use either port)
Autoguide port: No
USB Port: Yes, Input on hand control
Power Requirements: 12 VDC – 8xAA Batteries (not included)
Motor Drive: DC Servo Motor
Alignment Procedures: SkyAlign, Auto 2-Star Align, 1-Star Align, 2-Star Align, Solar System Align
Periodic Error Correction: No
Computerized Hand Control: 1 Hand Control Port and 1 Aux Port
NexStar+ Database: Over 120,000 including 220 of the best deep sky and solar system objects
Software: Celestron’s Starry Night Special Edition Software, SkyPortal App
Total Kit Weight: 16 lbs (7.3 kg)
Included Items: Optical Tube / Single Fork Arm Mount & Tripod / Accessory Tray / NexStar+ Hand Control / 20 mm & 9 mm eyepiece / StarPointer finderscope / Star Diagonal


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