Galileo 15x70mm binocular
Sold by Sportsmans Guide Stock #KX2X-62567 $69.97
www.sportsmansguide.com or call 1-800-888-3006 24/7
"Deja-vu all over again" said Yogi Berra, and that was my exact impression as I pulled these binoculars from their soft-nylon case. Attracted by the price, I immediately ordered a pair. After all, one can never have too many 70mm binoculars on-hand, right? If you read my prior reviews on the Bear, and Oberwerk 15x70mm binoculars, then you essentially know about this binocular, too. They are in fact the same binocular as the Bears and Obies. They even have the same green multi-coating on the front surface of the objectives, as the Obies. In my book, multi-coatings must be present on all air-to-glass surfaces to qualify as "fully mulit-coated", so don't be misled by the "fully multi-coated" lettering on the binocular itself. As an aside, however, I own all three of these binoculars, and I cannot tell the difference in brightness between the single-layer coated Bears, and the multi-coated front surface Oberwerk and Galileo binos.
Field of view is stated as 231 ft. at 1000 yds., which is exactly the same as the Bears and Obies. The view is identical. Eye-relief is fairly long for a 15x binocular, and with fold-down eyeguards, I would estimate that most eyeglass wearers could just barely take in the full field with their glasses on. Since my astigmatism isn't bad, I usually remove my glasses to use binoculars, and thus enjoy a little breathing room between my eyes and the eyepieces.
The rubber armor is a bit fancier than that of the Bears and the Oberwerks, and dark grey, not black as stated in the Sportsmans Guide listing. (And the on-line stock number has a different prefix than the paper catalog, but it is the same item.) The eyeguards snap-down instantly, whereas on the Bears and Oberwerks, you have to fiddle a bit. Definite improvement here.
Focusing is tight and slop-free, like my Bears (the Oberwerks display a tiny amount of machining slop); center-focus with right diopter adjustment. Like the Bears and Obies, only the prism housings are aluminum. The objective housings are high-impact plastic. The verbage in the S.G. listing state "tough aluminum die cast body...", so don't be misled into thinking that the entire binocular is aluminum. It isn't.
Just like it's clone brothers, the tripod-mounting hole is on the front of the hinge, you'll need a stout "L" bracket to adapt them to a tripod or most parallelograms.
Most of us have seen this binocular discounted in the magazines for around $110-$120, so this price is outstanding. Of course, Sportsmans Guide sells only overstocks, so there is no guarantee that they will be in-stock for long. And while the catalog photo displays them with an "L" bracket and a pinecone, mine came with neither. They do come with a soft nylon case, cleaning cloth, dust covers for objectives and eyepieces, and a neck strap that most of us will discard.
If you have been kicking yourself in the head for not buying the Bears when they were available at $99.97, and couldn't bring yourself to buy the Oberwerks at a hundred-and-a-half, this is what you've been waiting for. The Galileo is the same binocular internally as the other two, made at the same Chinese factory, with only cosmetic differences in the rubber "armor". It also has the same remarkable performance for the price. Not perfect, as there is a bit of field curvature (just like the Bears and Obies), but not as much as some high-dollar binoculars I have used. I would rate sharpness at 9.5, at least, out of a possible 10, for the unit I purchased.
Chuck's rating: five stars, a perfect score. This binocular, at this price especially, is highly recommended for astronomy.