At a time where most new bird binoculars are roof prism, its nice to see Celestron staying with the traditional porro prism binoculars. Available in 32mm, 42mm and 50mm variants, the Ultima porro series retain an almost retro look with up to date high grade optics.
This particular set we are looking at is the 8×32. At around 520g it is an ideal option for bird watching on the go. Plus wide field hand held astronomy. 1st thing you notice out the box is how compact they are. Secondly you may wonder where the focus wheel is. Rather than the wide focus wheels you get with most porro prism binoculars, you get a narrow wheel nearer to the eyepieces. This helps make them look much less cluttered, and is a joy to use, being very smooth in operation with no slack or tight spots. The right eye dioptre adjustment is done by twisting the whole eyepiece, rather than having a separate adjuster like so many others have. No doubt this helps keep the cost down.
The rubber eye cups are fold down. These are some of the most comfortable I have used, in this design, and fold down easily. Eye relief is 15mm. One thing I did notice was a little internal reflection on the inside of the barrels. But this is easily remedied with practice, getting your eyes at the correct distance from the eyepieces.
The field of view is a very generous 142m @ 1000m or 8.1 degrees. Other than a noticeable fall off in the outer 15%, the view is very crisp and bright with good contrast. I compared to a £189 set of ED 8×32 roof prism binoculars to find the £129 (price at the time of this review) gave the brighter image. This shows that pound for pound, the porro prism binoculars can outperform similar sized roofs.
Pincushion distortion is just about evident, but hardly noticeable unless you are specifically looking for it. For a non ED glass set of binoculars, levels of chromatic aberration are extremely low, with very small levels of red , yellow and purple colour fringing only seen on high contrast subjects, such as heavily back lit tree branches.
Case included is a good quality Nylon, with plenty of room inside. You get a padded strap, drop down objective lens covers and single eyepiece eye piece caps. Though I would prefer an all in one eyepiece flexible lens cover for the eyepieces, that you can thread the neck strap through.
Optics are fully multi-coated with BaK-4 prisms. Summing up, you certainly get a bright and clear image for the low price. Very easy to handle and use if you are a beginner.
Available to purchase HERE