Celestron Trailseeker Review: High Quality Binoculars Without a High Price

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I started watching birds about 0 years old. This is what happens when your parents love birds. I started using binoculars when I was 5 years old, two old ones Bushnell 10x50s I used to catch it when my father wasn’t looking. They were big—too heavy for me to carry—but the world they opened up was worth the trouble. Forty-five years later, I don’t run much with neck strain.

When I leave the house these days, my main choice is the 8×32. (I explain what these numbers mean in my The best guide to Binoculars.) Celestron’s TrailSeeker 8×32 ED binoculars offer the best imaging, quality, durability, and price I’ve found. Many times I’ve brought this up in my eyes and thought, I can’t believe this is only $324. They perform better than their price, matching the performance of models that cost twice as much.

Visual Performance

Photo: Scott Gilbertson

Celestron’s TrailSeeker 8×32 ED binoculars feature dielectric BaK-4 prisms, which are rare for binoculars of this size at this price. You may also see them labeled as “ceiling binoculars with tinted optics.” What this means is that air and glass lenses have several layers of protective coating, ensuring that less light is lost inside the prism. More light is reflected from the prism and reaches your eye creating a brighter, sharper, and more contrasted image.

In fact, the TrailSeeker binoculars provide an excellent image with a sweet spot – where the image is sharpest and most contrasty – that is sharp and takes up about 60 percent of the image, extending from the center. Those are great binoculars for $320. The image softens towards the end, but not to the extent that I notice, unless I go looking for it.

The edges are so sharp that I can move, while I can move the binoculars to center the bird, or whatever the subject is, in the center of the sharpness. In addition, based on my testing, a small amount of distortion near the edges can be corrected by checking the edges. I’ve never felt the need to do this in real-world applications, but from testing I found it to be possible (with the same loss of centering, since you’re changing the edge-to-edge distortion).

Side view of black binoculars with lens caps sitting on wooden surface with dry leaves in background

Photo: Scott Gilbertson

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