Celestron UpClose G2 7×35 Binoculars Review
7×35 binoculars are typically smaller and lighter, and are often a better choice for daytime activities, such as hiking or birding.
When it comes to binoculars, many people consider 10×50’s to be the standard. They have the magnification needed for most activities, and the 50mm aperture makes them a good choice for low-light conditions. However, 7×35 binoculars are typically smaller and lighter, and are often a better choice for daytime activities, such as hiking or birding.
Celestron is a well-established and well-respected manufacturer of optical equipment, with a solid reputation for producing quality binoculars and telescopes at an affordable price. Their UpClose G2 range is designed for a variety of outdoor activities, but does the 7×35 have the power you need or is the “UpClose” name a misnomer?
What’s in the Box?
Binoculars don’t usually come with a wide array of accessories, and since the G2 is on the lower end of the price range, you’ll find just the standard kit inside. Specifically:
Caps for the eyepieces and objective lenses
Straps for the binoculars and carrying case
Soft canvas carrying cases are the norm these days, so it’s no surprise to learn the G2 is no exception. This is really just a convenience more than anything else – it provides a place to store your binoculars, and it’s useful if you’re walking, but that’s about it. Don’t count on a canvas case to provide any protection!
Beyond that, you’ll find a generic instruction booklet that covers the whole G2 range (although there’s no real need to produce an individual booklet for each model) with text in five different languages. There’s also the standard cleaning cloth, plastic lens caps and straps.
Features & Specifications
One of the first things you’ll notice is the weight. These are traditional porro prism binoculars, so if you’re used to the more compact and lightweight roof prism style, you’ll find there’s quite a difference.
However, at 22 oz (1.4 pounds or 624g) these are still light enough that you can use them for an extended period of time with very little shake and no noticeable arm fatigue. These binoculars are also compatible with a standard camera tripod, which can certainly make life easier if you intend to stay put for a while.
Part of the weight is due to the exterior. It has a rubber covered aluminum body, which feels sturdy and should provide adequate protection against accidental knocks. (Drops are another matter and should always be avoided at all costs!)
One thing to note is that these are not waterproof, but are simply water-resistant instead. This means that while they’re probably fine in the rain, you’ll want to avoid using them on the ocean or lakes or near rivers or streams. If they become submerged in water, there’s a decent chance that moisture will become trapped inside, causing mold and mildew.
These binoculars feature Bk7 prisms, and while these are pretty standard, they’re not as good quality as the BaK-4 prisms you’ll find in more expensive models. Similarly, the optics are multi-coated, rather than fully multi-coated, resulting in a slightly lower quality image. Realistically, it shouldn’t have too much of a negative impact, and these binoculars are still perfectly fine for everyday use.
The exit pupil – the size of the image as it leaves the eyepieces – is 5mm, which is a little on the small size. However, it can be argued that this really isn’t an issue, for two reasons:
1. Larger exit pupils produce a brighter image under low-light conditions, but with an aperture of 35mm, these G2’s are not really meant to be used under such conditions anyway.
2. Although everyone is different, most people’s eyes will dilate to about 7mm. If your binoculars produce an exit pupil larger than that, part of the image will be lost. With an exit pupil of 5mm, you shouldn’t have that problem with this G2.
Eye relief is an important consideration if you wear glasses, as it indicates the distance you can hold the binoculars away from your eyes and still see the entire field of view. The average eye relief for binoculars is 17mm, so at 13mm, these G2’s fall a little short. This probably won’t matter too much if you don’t wear glasses, but if you do, you’ll need to take this into consideration.
Lastly, we come to the interpupillary distance, or IPD. The IPD is the distance, specified in millimeters, between the pupils of your eyes. This will vary from person to person, but the vast majority of adults have an IPD somewhere between 50mm and 75mm. This can be important to know, as the distance between the barrels of the binoculars will need to be adjusted so that the eyepieces are properly aligned with your eyes.
The 7×35 G2’s have an IPD range of between 56mm and 72mm, so most adults shouldn’t have a problem using them. Younger children, however, may find the barrels can’t be properly adjusted to suit their eyes.
Generally speaking, these binoculars are pretty solidly built. The weight, despite being a little higher than average for binoculars this size, isn’t really a hindrance, and it’s possible to hold the binoculars steady without any noticeable shaking through the eyepieces.
Beyond this, the barrel movement is a little stiff, but the central focuser moves easily and smoothly. It’s possible to hold the binoculars and adjust the focus with just one finger, and when combined with the steadiness of the view, this makes it easy to precisely adjust the focus.
The molding of the armor is also good; the notches on the focuser are significantly elevated, and there are thumb shaped indents on the underside of the binoculars. These indents are in a convenient location, helping to ensure the binoculars don’t easily slip as you hold them.
Since these binoculars have a magnification of 7x, you’ll find they have a wider field of view. In this case, this is specified as being 483 feet at 1,000 yards, or the equivalent of 9.3°. A larger field of view can be more aesthetically pleasing, and if you’re a birder, hunter or stargazer, can make it easier to locate your target.
However, the lack of magnification can make it more difficult to identify smaller and/or more distant targets. This may be especially true if you’re using the binoculars in low light conditions, as the smaller aperture (35mm) means the binoculars will gather less light, making it harder to see fainter details.
This shouldn’t be too much of a problem during the day, as the light will be sufficient for most activities. In that respect, the binoculars perform well – they may not have BaK-4 prisms or fully multi-coated lenses, but the views were bright, colorful and had a decent level of contrast. Even more distant targets, such as hills and the leaves on trees, had a strong color depth that came close to matching the view with just the naked eye.
(Some inferior quality binoculars can produce paler, washed-out views. The further the target, the more likely this will be the case.)
A common problem with Bk-7 prisms is that the view can appear clipped around the edges, but that wasn’t the case here, with the image appearing full and circular.
Something else to look for is chromatic aberration and the sharpness of the image near the edge of the field of view.
Chromatic aberration is the rainbow effect you sometimes see around a high contrast target. For example, you’ll often see this around the Moon or a hill that’s silhouetted against a bright sky. It’s difficult to eradicate this completely, but poor quality optics (ie, the lenses and prisms) and inferior coatings can make this worse.
Fortunately, again, despite only having Bk7 prisms and multi-coated optics, the G2 7×35 binoculars performed well, with minimal aberration and even less than some that purport to be of higher quality.
Another common issue with inferior optics is that the view may appear focused at the center, but will then blur near the edge of the field of view. Like chromatic aberration, this is a little difficult to eradicate completely, but unless you’re looking for it, you probably won’t notice it with the G2’s.
Lastly, there wasn’t much need to adjust the focus for nearby objects, compared to targets in the distance. For example, even when focusing on a tree an estimated 50 feet away, a hill some two miles further away remained relatively well focused.
Similarly, Celestron states the close focus is 13 feet, which proved to be fairly accurate, as a sharp focus was obtained on a target 13.5 feet away.
While Celestron’s UpClose G2 7×35 binoculars are a solid performer, the lack of aperture will have an impact on their use – for example, you’ll probably need something larger for astronomy or night-time hunting. However, they’re an excellent choice if you’re looking for something inexpensive and portable that can produce sharp, colorful views, making them a great choice for both hikers and birders alike.