Bird Watching

Celestron Nature DX 12×56 Binoculars Review

The Celestron Nature DX 12×56 binoculars are a great buy for wildlife enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and stargazers.


Magnification: 12x

Lens diameter: 56mm

Angular field of view: 5.5 degrees

Eye Relief: 0.63inch/16mm

Lester: 36.2oz/1028g

They are completely waterproof and fully rubber shielded, protecting them from the elements. They’re also anti-fog and nitrogen purged, so you can be sure you can go from a warm house or car outside to the cold and won’t have to wait for them to defog. .

An eye relief of 16mm is possible thanks to the rotating eyecups, which means the Celestron Nature DX 12×56 binoculars are comfortable to use for eyeglass wearers.

We tested them for a few weeks to get a real feel for them in different environments and were happy with the results, especially at such a reasonable price.

Celestron Nature DX 12×56 Binoculars Review

Celestron Nature DX 12×56 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 eyecups

Twisted eyecups provide comfort for all shapes and sizes. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

The Celestron Nature DX 12×56 was designed for outdoor enthusiasts. The attractive green rubber armor covers the polycarbonate housing and protects the binoculars from water, dirt and dust. Although we haven’t tested it, they’d likely survive a hard knock or drop, although the grippy rubber should keep them from slipping out of your hands, even in wet conditions.

Nature DX 12x56

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

The binoculars are quite light, but not the lightest, so we were happy to hold them for long periods of time. Beginners, children, or people with limited mobility may feel the weight a little more and may derive additional pleasure from mounting them on a tripod, which is possible by using the built-in stand.


neck strap
Carrying case
Lens caps
Lens Cloths
instruction manual
Rain barrier

The optics of the Celestron Nature DX 12×56 rival those found in much more expensive binoculars. They have phase-coated BaK-4 prisms with multi-coated optics. This means that at least one set of major optical elements has multiple anti-reflective compound coatings. The next ‘step’ would be a pair of fully multi-coated binoculars, which means that all glass surfaces have multiple coatings, resulting in a brighter image but at a higher cost.

Celestron Nature DX 12×56 Binoculars: Performance

  • Bright images even when viewing in low light conditions
  • Good for sky gazing and stargazing
  • Useful magnification for general wildlife viewing

Photo of man using Celestron Nature DX 12x56 binoculars against green fields background

The author resets the lens caps before storing the binoculars in the carrying pouch. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

One of the best things about these binoculars is the close focusing. There’s no need to seek out a prime spot for birdwatching from afar when you can use them from the comfort of your porch or window to watch the details of the birds in your yard up close. This is not possible with all binoculars as there are limitations with the closest focusing distance. The Nature DXs here, however, can focus to just under 10 feet.

Image sharpness is good, but not as good as the slightly more expensive one Celestron Nature DX ED 12×50, possibly because they have extra-low dispersion (ED) glass. It’s a little soft, but for a casual birder or wildlife watcher, they’re more than enough considering their affordability. Professionals would probably like the results to be sharper.

Celestron Nature DX 12×56 binoculars: functionality

  • Small enough to fit in a glove box
  • Can be mounted on a tripod for comfort and long sessions
  • Focus wheel rotates smoothly

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

The eyepiece objective caps have a hoop on each side to attach them to the neck strap or binoculars to avoid losing them. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

We think the Celestron Nature DX 12×56 binoculars offer great functionality for what is essentially a mid-range binocular with an entry-level or budget price.

There’s a tripod mount for comfort during long skywatching sessions, but they’re light enough to be handheld for a reasonable amount of time without your arms getting tired.

Hinges allow excellent range of motion for close or wide-set eyes. Rotating eyecups also add a level of customization to make them more comfortable for the wearer and are particularly welcomed by eyeglass wearers.

The focus knob is smooth and easy to turn but not loose enough to lose focus during use. Weatherproofing and waterproofing mean you can take the Celestron Nature DX 12×56 anywhere, from rainforests to dusty deserts and everywhere in between. A rain shield is also provided to protect the lenses against watermarks.

Should you buy the Celestron Nature DX 12×56 binoculars?

If you want a high-quality pair of binoculars for birding or wildlife watching and can give up some level of sharpness that more expensive models can provide, these are attractive. They are also suitable for stargazing and, thanks to the rubber armor, are tough enough to take anywhere without worrying about the elements.

There’s no reason we wouldn’t recommend them to a potential buyer looking to spend around $250 on a durable pair of binoculars from a trusted optical brand. They have all the features to stand the test of time, so if you’re looking for a budget investment in binoculars, these might be the ones for you.

The Celestron Nature DX 12×56 binoculars come with all the accessories you need to observe right out of the box. You don’t need any prior knowledge or do any complicated setup.

With good build quality, waterproofing, nitrogen purging, good BaK-4 glass and multiple coatings, it’s hard to find another pair of binoculars that offers such excellent value for money as these- this.

If the Celestron Nature DX 12×56 binoculars aren’t for you

A slightly more expensive pair of binoculars, the Celestron Nature DX ED 12×50, offers higher quality extra-low dispersion glass, which eliminates chromatic aberration and helps deliver a sharper image. Like the Celestron Nature DX 12x56s here, they have grippy rubber armor, close focus distance, and are nitrogen filled and waterproof. They also weigh a lot less, so might be better suited to 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 that we ranked first of our Best Binoculars Buying Guide. They feature exceptional optical clarity and image stabilization.

Looking for something a little smaller? One of the best compact binoculars you can find are the Olympus WP II 8×25 which weighs only 9.17 oz (259 g) and is waterproof, fogproof and dirtproof. They focus tightly to around 5ft (1.5m) and have large (comparatively) 25mm lenses to keep sightings bright.