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Celestron Trailseeker ED 8×42 Binoculars: Our Review

Our overall top pick for image quality and comfort among binoculars under $650.

At A Glance

Celestron TrailSeeker 8x42 binoculars.
Celestron TrailSeeker 8×42 binoculars. Image by Hugh Powell.


  • Bright , colorful, crisp image
  • Captures color nuances well even in strong glare
  • Wide field of view
  • Focus wheel is precise but also easy to move


  • Slight fall-off in sharpness at the very edge of the image


  • Price: $380 MSRP at press time. Prices often fluctuate, so check with retailers
  • Close focus: 7.1 feet (216 cm)
  • Field of view: 8.1° (425 feet at 1,000 yards). More about field of view 
  • Weight: 25.9 oz (733 g)—that’s about 0.1 oz (4 g) heavier than the average for 8×42 binoculars in our review
  • Eye relief: 17.2 mm

Viewing Experience: These binoculars have a great feel to them, with a lively focus wheel, wide field of view, and bright, colorful image. During fall migration we spied a Golden-crowned Kinglet foraging among yellow cottonwood leaves—the sharp black eyeline and brilliant yellow crown, grading into fiery orange, was exactly the kind of leisurely, gorgeous view that makes everyday birdwatching so special. With a field of view north of 8°, we found it easy to follow flying warblers as they zigged and looped against a brisk wind. At a feeder, we were treated to the geometric patterns of a Red-bellied Woodpecker in sharp contrast to the soft blues and grays of a Blue Jay right behind it. When a male House Finch perched as a grayish dot in the top of a backlit tree, our Trailseeker ED did a great job of filtering out the glare and bringing out the red-pink of the breast and head.  

Feel and Build: These fairly compact 8×42 binoculars fit neatly into our male reviewer’s medium/large hands. The binoculars have a smooth rubberized surface with a couple of sculpted contours and a hint of texture that gives a bit of grip. The focus wheel is delightful with a nice sense of “float”: a light push sets the wheel moving, yet it’s responsive enough that it doesn’t zip right past the focus point. The eyecups are firm and click securely into three positions. In addition to the standard neck strap, these binoculars came with a harness style strap also in the box.

More on Binoculars

Comments From Testers: 

  • Brighter and crisper image at 100 meters looking at male Downy Woodpecker
  • Very nice! Very easy to focus. Nice colors.
  • Generally great. Feels like slightly lower build quality [than Zeiss Terra ED] but overall strong contender
  • Nice fluid action on the focus wheel
  • Nice focus adjustment
  • The ease of focus was important

This article is one in a series of mini-reviews. To see how these binoculars compare to others we’ve tested, see our full review of affordable 8×42 binoculars.  

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