Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binocular review

The Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binocular is affordable with excellent build quality and offers good magnification coupled with bright, clear views.

Jason Parnell-Brookes looking into the distance using the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars
(Image: © Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Space Verdict

The Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars offer bright and clear views, with a wide aperture for gathering light and magnification that is excellent for stargazing and wildlife spotting. They are a good quality, inexpensive pair of binoculars that we wouldn't hesitate to recommend.


  • +

    Eye relief suitable for glasses wearers

  • +

    Close focusing

  • +

    Excellent build quality


  • -

    Could be a little sharper

  • -

    Quite heavy for prolonged handheld use

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The Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars are an excellent buy for wildlife enthusiasts, birders and stargazers.


Magnification: 12x

Objective lens diameter: 56mm

Angular field of view: 5.5 degrees

Eye relief: 0.63-inch/16mm

Weight: 36.2oz/1028g

They are completely waterproof and fully rubber armored, protecting them from the elements. They are also fog-proof and nitrogen purged, so you can be safe in the knowledge you can transition from a warm home or car outside into the cold and won't have to wait for them to de-fog.

16mm eye relief is possible thanks to the twist-up eyecups, which means the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars are comfortable for spectacle wearers to use.

We tested them out over a couple of weeks to get a real feel for them in different environments and were pleased with the results, especially when sitting at such a reasonable price point.

Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars review

Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars: Design

  • 16mm eye relief suitable for spectacle wearers
  • BaK-4 glass gives good clarity
  • Waterproof and Nitrogen-purged to prevent fogging

A close up of the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 twist up eyecups

The twist up eyecups provide comfort to suit all shapes and sizes. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

The Celestron Nature DX 12x56 has been designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind. The attractive green rubber armor covers the polycarbonate housing and protects the binoculars from water, dirt and dust ingress. Although we didn't test it, they would likely survive a hard knock or drop, although the grippy rubber should prevent them from slipping out of your hands, even in wet conditions.

Nature DX 12x56

The 12-inch objective lens with BaK-4 prisms allows lots of light to pass through. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

The binoculars are quite light, but not the lightest, so we were happy holding them up for extended periods. Beginners, children, or those with compromised mobility might feel the weight a little more and may get extra enjoyment from mounting them on a tripod, which is possible using the in-built mount.


Neck Strap
Carry case
Lens caps
Lens cloths
Instruction manual

The optics in the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 rival those which can be found in much more expensive binoculars. They have phase-coated BaK-4 prisms with multi-coated optics. This means at least one set of the major optical elements has multiple coatings of anti-reflective compounds. The next 'step up' would be a pair of fully multi-coated binoculars which means all glass surfaces have multiple coatings which results in a brighter image but comes at a higher cost.

Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars: Performance

  • Bright images even when observing in low light
  • Good for sky watching and stargazing
  • Useful magnification for general wildlife watching

Photo of a man using the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars against a backdrop of green fields

The author resetting object lens caps before stowing the binoculars away in the carry pouch. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

One of the best things about these binoculars is the close focus. There's no need to go and seek out a prime bird-watching location to observe from a long distance when you can use these from the comfort of your conservatory or window to look closely at the detail of the birds in your back garden. This isn't possible with all binoculars because there are limitations with the closest focusing distance. The Nature DX's here, however, can focus to just under 10 feet.

The sharpness of the image is good, but not as good as the slightly more expensive Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50, possibly because they have Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass. It's a little soft, but for a casual bird watcher or wildlife spotter, they are more than good enough considering their affordability. Professionals would likely want the results to be sharper.

Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars: Functionality

  • Small enough to pop in a glove compartment
  • Can be mounted on a tripod for comfort and long sessions
  • Focus wheel turns smoothly

Close up of the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 eyepiece lens cap

The eyepiece lens caps have a hoop on either side to loop them onto the neck strap or the binoculars to avoid losing them. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

We think the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars provide great functionality for what are essentially mid-range binoculars with a beginner or budget price tag.

There's a tripod mount for added comfort during long skywatching sessions, but they are light enough to be handheld for a reasonable time without your arms getting tired.

The hinges allow an excellent range of movement for close or wide-set eyes. The twist-up eyecups also add a level of customization to make them more comfortable for the individual wearing them and are especially welcomed by spectacle wearers.

The focus knob is smooth and easy to turn but not loose enough to lose focus during use. The weather and waterproof sealing mean you can take the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 out and about anywhere, from damp rainforests to dusty deserts and everywhere in between. A rain guard is also provided to protect the lenses from getting watermarked.

Should you buy the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars?

If you want a high-quality pair of binoculars for bird watching or wildlife watching and can forgo some level of sharpness that more expensive models can provide, these are attractive. They are also suitable for sky watching and, thanks to the rubber armoring, are hardy enough to be taken anywhere without worrying about the elements.

There isn't a reason we wouldn't recommend them to a prospective buyer who is looking to spend around $250 for a durable pair of binoculars from a trusted optics brand. They have all the hallmarks of standing the test of time so if you're looking for a low budget investment in binoculars, these might be the ones for you.

The Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars come with all the accessories you need to observe straight out of the box. You don't need any prior knowledge or to perform a complicated setup.

With good build quality, waterproofness, nitrogen-purging, good BaK-4 glass and multi-coatings, it is a challenge to find another pair of binoculars that are as excellent value for money as these.

If the Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars aren't for you

A slightly more expensive pair of binoculars, the Celestron Nature DX ED 12x50, offers better quality extra-low dispersion glass, which eliminates chromatic aberration and helps give a sharper image. Like the Celestron Nature DX 12x56s here, they have grippy rubber armor, close focusing distance and are nitrogen filled and waterproof. They also weigh considerably less, so they might be more suitable for those who want something a little easier to handle.

For one of the best binoculars you can buy it's worth taking a look at the Canon 10x42L IS WP binoculars which we've ranked top of our best binoculars buying guide. They come with outstanding optical clarity and image stabilization.

Looking for something a bit smaller? One of the best compact binoculars you can find are the Olympus WP II 8x25 which weigh only 9.17oz (259g) and are waterproof, fogproof and dirtproof. They focus closely to around 5 feet (1.5m) and have large (comparatively) 25mm objective lenses to keep observations bright.

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Jase Parnell-Brookes
Channel Editor

Jase Parnell-Brookes is an award-winning photographer, educator and writer based in the UK. They won the Gold Prize award in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. After completing their Masters Jase has spent a good chunk of two decades studying and working in photography and optics shooting and writing all over the world for big-name brands and media outlets. Now the Channel Editor for Cameras and Skywatching at Space.com their speciality is in low light optics and camera systems.