Celestron Outland X 10x50 Review
Cons: Poor clarity, heavy
Our Analysis and Test Results
Unfortunately, the Celestron Outland X 10x50 failed to impress us in any way that mattered. While these binoculars are impressively inexpensive, the image they present is blurry enough that it will likely frustrate new and experienced wildlife observers alike. The fact that Celestron, our favorite budget-conscious binocular manufacturer, can't make a good pair of bins while keeping the price tag close to the triple digit mark means it may be an impossible task.
In our tests the Outland X 10x50 provided decent clarity in a very narrow range: essentially from 13 feet away (the minimum focus distance) to about 50 feet away. In this range it was fairly easy to get things into a crisp focus, and the image looked fairly clear. However, even in this ideal range some of the details faded away. For example, in one test were were easily able to make out drops of sap on tree bark with most binoculars. However, while Outland X 10x50 made the bark look relatively crisp and clear, those drops of sap were not nearly as apparent.
Beyond that ideal range of 13-50 feet, the Outland X 10x50's clarity dropped off precipitously in our tests. When focusing in on more distant objects the image became very flat, with seemingly only a very thin layer of leaves on a distant tree in focus, while most remained blurry. At distance there also tended to be a lot of blurring around the edges of the image, again making everything look dull and somewhat distorted. For example, when looking at a Great Blue Heron at about 200 feet we were able to make out its head plumes with most of our 8x magnification binoculars, but even with the 10x magnification of the Outland X 10x50 the bird was barely recognizable.
The larger than average 50mm objective lenses of the Outland X 10x50 do their job here. Images stayed looking bright well into dusk and in poor lighting conditions in our tests. However, that extra brightness did little to compensate for the binoculars' lack of clarity. Also, though these bins produce a very bright image, the lack of quality glass did become apparent in this test, as many of the smaller 42mm models with better glass were able to produce equal or brighter images.
Ease of Adjustment
For the most part, the Outland X 10x50 is fairly easy to adjust. The eyecups have 4 different depth settings and easily click into each one. The middle hinge is a bit stiff, but not so much so that's it's hard to adjust the distance between the barrels. The diopter is also stiff, but once you get it moving it's not too hard to adjust. The focus knob is also surprisingly supple for bins of this price, but that comes with one big caveat.
The smooth action of the focus knob makes it easy to get things into focus in that idea 13-50 foot range. However, once you get beyond that range and the image starts to flatten, it is incredibly hard to get things to look focused. When looking at far away objects we found ourselves constantly tinkering with the focus knob because it just didn't seem like the image was as clear as it should have been. The root of this problem lies in the bins' lack of clarity, but it largely manifests itself as an ease of adjustment issue as well.
Close Focus Range and Field of View
The Outland X 10x50's close focus range of 13.1 feet isn't terrible, but it's right at that point where it can start to feel a bit limiting. For example, we had a butterfly land on a branch about 10 feet away in our testing, just begging to be looked at, but we couldn't get the binoculars to focus.
The field of view of 289 feet at 1000 yards is also below average. However, with the lack of clarity these bins present when viewing things at a distance, the slightly narrower field of view never even crossed our minds.
The large barrels and rubber coating of the Outland X 10x50 give ample opportunity to find a comfortable hand position, but the heavy weight of 27.1 ounces can start nagging at your arms quite quickly. The included neck strap has no padding whatsoever, so your skin is going to be very aware of the fact that these relatively heavy bins are dangling about your neck.
The Celestron Outland X 10x50 sit in the bargain basement price range when it comes to binoculars. Unfortunately, their image quality occupies a similarly low standard. If you can afford it, we think you can get a much better value by spending just a bit more.
It's quite hard to make a good pair of binoculars without reaching well into triple-digit price tag territory, so we can't really blame the Celestron Outland X 10x50 for failing to achieve this feat. While we don't think these are absolutely terrible binoculars, their shortcomings are limiting enough that we would strongly suggest spending just a bit more on what will likely be a much better pair of bins.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell
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