Helios Weathermaster III binoculars
If you like your binoculars to have a traditional feel, the Helios Weathermaster III is for you. A solid build – some would say bulky – they’re rubber coated for grip and come with a carry case.
It was pleasing to see another pair with grab tabs on the lens caps, which, along with the eyepiece caps, fitted well.
The central axis allowed for 10° of interpupillary adjustment, which met the standard set by the rest of the field. Dioptre adjustment was also extensive as well as smooth.
Where the Weathermaster III excelled was in our field of view tests. The stars Procyon and Capella were gratifying indeed: sharp across at least 80 per cent of the 6.6° field, with distortion creeping in unobtrusively towards the field edge.
Another stop with all the pairs on test was Mizar and Alcor.
The Weathermaster III gave as good a view as the rest of the field here; like the others it revealed Sidus Ludoviciana, a fainter (mag. +8.0) star believed to be a planet when named in the 18th century.
The Moon was crisp, inevitably small but offering a good amount of detail. Orion’s Sword and Belt were a pleasing picture, the Orion Nebula prominent with subtle detail at the end of the Hunter’s blade.
We went on a sparkling star cluster tour, taking in the delights of Messiers 35, 36, 37 and 38. We also spotted some brighter Messier galaxy pairs, including M81-82 and M65-66, and even ticked off the supernova remnant M1, showing that this pair of binoculars will bring you closer to a wide variety of objects.
This review originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine.