Celestron Granite 9x33 binocular

OUR VERDICT: This model has a solid, quality feel and is worth checking out if you are looking for a binocular which performs well but won’t break the bank.

At first sight 9x33 might appear to be an odd specification, but there’s method in the Celestron madness, materialising as the new Granite 9x33 binocular, which goes on sale in the UK this month.

Joining the two existing 42 mm models, this new 9x magnification binocular sits neatly between 8x and 10x for those who are looking for a more compact model than the standard 42 mm fare. Sharing the latter’s open bridge design, I found the small Granite instantly comfortable to use. Its diminutive size and short diameter objective do not appear to detract from its optical performance against larger models, and the overall weight of just 573 g lends lightness and is consistent with top-tier contemporaries.

The magnesium alloy body is covered in hard, contoured rubber, incorporating teardrop cutaways which I found perfectly positioned for my thumbs. Additional oval cutaways are located along the barrels, between the two hinges, to increase grip at the point where the fingertips naturally fall. Like the two larger models in the range, there are click-in tethered objective lens caps which can be removed if desired.

The mechanics appear sound, with twist-out eyecups click-locking in two positions above the base setting, although their rubber coverings seem rather thin. Other moving parts include the dioptre on the right ocular – which turns smoothly and a little more freely than I would have expected – and, of course, the central focusing wheel, which is rubber covered and broadly ribbed. Apart from a single point marker there is no incremental scale on the dioptre. The focusing wheel turns smoothly, with little more than one and a quarter clockwise rotations between close focus and infinity. I managed to focus on objects approximately 2.25 m distant – a little better than the manufacturer’s quoted figure of 2.5 m.

ED glass and fully multi-coated optics no doubt contribute to the quality of the image. It’s relatively bright even in poor light conditions, despite the low exit pupil of 3.66. Contrast is also very good, although to my eyes the general colour cast appeared overly warm. In panning from side to side I detected a slight ‘fish-eye’ effect, but this is only very minor and practically unnoticeable during general use. Both curvature of field and chromatic aberration are pleasingly low, while the otherwise very sharp image softens somewhat in the outer 15-20 per cent of the periphery of the field. The latter’s width is a very respectable 126 m at 1,000 m.

The manufacturer has gone the extra mile in terms of accessory provision. As well as a long, generously padded neck strap and a soft rubber easy-fitting articulated rainguard, there is a fully supporting comfortable shoulder harness as part of the package.

This small Celestron model has a solid, quality feel and is worth checking out if you are looking for a binocular which performs well, won’t break the bank and which you almost forget you’re wearing.

More info

Price: £399
Size: 137x124 mm
Weight: 573 g
Field of view: 126 m at 1,000 m
Close focus: 2.5 m
Gas-filled: yes
Waterproof: yes
Guarantee: limited lifetime