Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 binoculars review

These top quality compact binoculars are bursting with brightness and offer crisp, immersive views

5 Star Rating
Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50
(Image: © Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

These step-up binoculars are ideal for all-round and use boast an excellent build quality, superb extra low dispersion (ED) glass lenses and a compact size that makes them easy to travel with.


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    High-end optics

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    Sharp, bright and contrasty images

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    Travel-friendly size

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    Unbeatable build quality


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    High price

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    Relatively narrow field of view

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    Lens caps can get in the way

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    Not much eye relief

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If you’re after a pair of step-up binoculars designed for exquisite views while wildlife viewing and more, the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 could be for you. Armed with 12x magnification and 50mm objective lenses, the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 have a slightly higher magnification than most binoculars designed for all-round use, so they’re best considered if you want close-up views of distant subjects. 

That makes them a serious candidate for viewing wildlife from a safari vehicle, and for bird-watching. However, what makes the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 standout is their use of top-notch extra-low dispersion (ED) glass. Let’s take a closer look at the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50…

Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 Specifications

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)

Magnification: 12x
Objective diameter: 50mm
Field of view at 1000m:  129 m
Closest focusing distance:   2m/6.5 feet
Eye relief:   14.3mm/0.56"
Weight: 806g/28.4oz
Dimensions:   163 x 135 x 61mm / 6.4 x 5.3 x 2.4" 

Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 key features

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)

The importance of the quality of glass used in the optical arrangements inside binoculars can’t be overstated. It’s basically what you’re paying for, and what the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 has that others lack is extra-low dispersion (ED) glass. It’s Celestron’s name for high quality glass that eliminates chromatic aberration (which is responsible for a purplish edge around bright objects), accurate color, more brightness and extra sharpness.

It goes without saying that the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 also features fully multi-coated optics to get rid of reflections and to maximize the light that comes through its 50mm objective lenses. Ditto the use of BaK-4 glass prisms, which allows more light through than the more basic BaK-7 glass prisms.  

Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 build & handling

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)

The Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 uses a roof prism design whose primary advantage is a space-efficient, more portable design. Essentially two tubes attached by a hinge (as opposed to the L-shaped optical engine between the tubes on a pair of porro prism binoculars), the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50's tubes are nitrogen-purged to help reduce the threat of internal fogging. 

The Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 boasts an unbeatable build quality amid a highly portable design. Considering the magnification on offer the 806g/28.4oz weight is surprising. They’re not the lightest around, but we found them relatively easy to hold steady for long periods. In the box there’s a good quality neck strap and a small padded nylon bag complete with a handy pocket. There’s also a thread for attaching a L-shaped adaptor just in case you want to attach these binoculars to a tripod.  

In an all-round impressive package, what the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 lacks is eye relief; at just 14.3mm/0.56in it’s going to be tough for anyone wearing glasses to get immersive views. 

Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 performance

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)

Celestron’s ED glass comes in most useful during low-light conditions. Say, for instance, you’re getting up at 4 a.m. to go on a game drive in a safari truck hoping to view the ‘big five’ in the creeping light of dawn – that’s when ED glass comes into its own. 

What the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 can also do – which some of its equally powerful rivals cannot – is to focus on close objects. While primarily ideal for bringing distant objects closer, these binoculars can focus sharply on objects just 2m/6.5 feet from the viewer, which makes a massive difference when viewing birds and wildlife in, say, your back garden. 

The trade-off here is a slightly narrower field of view (of about  4.8°), which makes them slightly less than ideal for using at night to search star-fields and constellations in the night sky. However, in practice the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 performs really well at night, with the Andromeda galaxy looking sharp and well defined. Ditto the crescent Moon, which looked clean with no sign of purplish fringing – thanks to that ED glass. 

Something we found slightly annoying was the objective lens caps, which are attached to the tubes and hang down while you use the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50. That makes them hard to lose, which is a bonus. However, they do tend to flap around a lot, so they’re best removed if you’re using them for a long time. 

Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 verdict

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)

The ability to get a close focus on nearby objects as well as a reasonably wide field of view makes the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 useful for a range of outdoor uses, as does the tough build quality and the ED glass, which gives excellent images that are bright, colorful and sharp. If you're after a mid-range pair of large binoculars ideal for wildlife viewing, the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50 fit the bill.

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Jamie Carter

Jamie has been writing about all aspects of technology for over 14 years, producing content for sites like TechRadar, T3, Forbes, Mashable, MSN, South China Morning Post, and BBC Wildlife, BBC Focus and BBC Sky At Night magazines. 

As the editor for www.WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com, he has a wealth of enthusiasm and expertise for all things astrophotography, from capturing the Perseid Meteor Shower, lunar eclipses and ring of fire eclipses, photographing the moon and blood moon and more.

He also brings a great deal of knowledge on action cameras, 360 cameras, AI cameras, camera backpacks, telescopes, gimbals, tripods and all manner of photography equipment.