Kronos 20×60 Binoculars Review

Kronos 20x60 BinocularNewcomers to stargazing might think an expensive telescope is required — but all you need is a good pair of binoculars for many of the sky’s great attractions.

You can always spend more for premium quality, but there are ways to find high optical performance without emptying your wallet, too.

Some enthusiasts turn to older binoculars as an affordable alternative. After all, they have a proven design of high optical quality.

In this article, we’ll review one of these vintage binoculars, the Russian-made Kronos 20×60.

We’ll explain the pros and cons of these formerly prized high-grade instruments, and what to watch for when trying them out.

Kronos 20×60 Binoculars Review

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Kronos 20x60


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  • BAK4 Prisms with Strong
  • High Quality Glass
  • Minimum Focus Range 23m
  • Floating Eyepiece Design
  • Faithful Color Rendition
  • Durable Construction



Kronos are Soviet-era binoculars produced for military use.

They were high quality for their time — better than most optical instruments then being made by Western manufacturers.

These vintage binos even compare well with current high-quality models.

Budget-conscious enthusiasts seek out these older bins as a way to obtain high optical performance — and a piece of history for a good price.

Aficionados who collect Soviet-era military gear add to the demand, so the market for the Kronos has gradually tightened.

More than one size of Kronos is available. The lower magnifications are excellent field glasses, but stargazers tend to prefer the 20×60 for celestial power.

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  • 20x magnification
  • High optical performance
  • Faithful color rendition
  • Durable construction

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  • Yellow hue in daylight
  • Complicated collimation
  • Discontinued product


Features & Benefits

The qualities of Kronos binoculars derive from their military origins. They aren’t the most elegant of instruments, but are definitely rugged and durable.

eatures & Benefits - Kronos 20x60

When in good condition, Kronos bins provide a sharp image with accurate colors, and operate at a wider focal range than most current binoculars at equal magnification. They focus and hold a setting easily, and are comfortable over long sessions of viewing.

Magnification with Clarity

The crisp, pinpoint view of a well-preserved set of Kronos is equal to an expensive premium pair of binoculars today. With these oldies-but-goodies, you can clearly see the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.

The center area of the view is sharp with only slight distortion on the edges.

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The main issue when purchasing Kronos binoculars is the collimation, or “tuning,” of the lenses. If the collimation is out of whack you may see double images.

This is a complicated adjustment to make, so be sure you see a correct image before buying … or at least know what your getting into.

High Optical Quality

The Kronos uses BAK4 prisms with strong, high quality glass. This strength is one reason they’ve lasted so long. There is little field curvature or other distortion, and it renders colors faithfully.

The field of view (FOV) is nicely wide for this level of magnification. The binoculars show sharp detail across the entire FOV, and their precision-aligned optics show strong depth perception even at distance.

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There is a known issue of a yellow tint over the FOV that is common to all Kronos bins. The problem increases in brighter light.

For astronomy purposes this might not matter, but you might consider this issue if you’re looking for a high-powered birding bino for daytime use. Many users get used to the hue, but be aware this is a factor.

Accurate & Wide-ranging Focus

Harking to military demands, the Kronos has an exceptionally short range of focus, especially for the magnification capacity. You can focus from about 25 yards (23m), or adjust for viewing miles away.

With these bins, you can enjoy a detailed view of a small bird 100 feet away, and smoothly change focus to watch deer grazing on a hillside miles away.

The focus mechanism of Kronos 20x60

The focus mechanism is traditionally center-mounted. It’s a bit rough, in keeping with the crude exterior casing, but it adjusts to exact measurements.

Focus doesn’t slip easily, either: you can focus these binos and hand them to a comrade, who will be able to see the same image immediately.

Eye Comfort

For all their clumsy, crude looks, Kronos binoculars are surprisingly comfortable to use. You can spend hours viewing without strain or discomfort when using a mount. These binos were ergonomic before it was a thing.

Floating Eyepiece Design - Kronos 20x60

The ocular element uses a “Floating Eyepiece Design” that makes focusing easy. You can’t use them with spectacles—but you can use the focus to correct for mild myopia.


Graceful is not a military specification, so these Kronos have seldom been mistaken for opera glasses. The porro prism is housed within heavy, bolted-on construction. It looks its part as quality, clunky, retro gear.

The exterior is metal with a roughened texture, which some consider is more comfortable and secure than modern rubber coatings. It is also more bomb-proof than most.

Kronos 20x60 Binocular

Weight would be an issue if you didn’t use a mount: but you should plan on using one. At this magnification, your arm will soon shake too much for satisfactory handheld viewing.


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1. Tento 10×50 Review

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Tento 10x50


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  • BAK4 Porro Prism
  • Angular field of view 5.4 deg
  • Linear field of view 95/1000 m/m
  • Exit pupil 5 mm / Eye relief 11 mm
  • Min. focusing dist. 0 m

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Tentos are another Russian-made bin from back in the day.

They are held in slightly higher regard than the Kronos, though the optical difference won’t be detectable by casual enthusiasts.

The Tentos have the same issues as the Kronos, including a yellow-hued cast in daylight and complex collimation.

The Tentos are great for anyone considering the Kronos, and for the same budgetary reasons. Though Tentos usually carry a higher price, the market does fluctuate.

  • Greater availability than the Kronos
  • Optical performance equal or better than Kronos
  • Both binoculars have rugged construction and fine craftsmanship.

Check them out … they are interesting historical items, too.

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2. Pentax 20×60 Review

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Pentax SP 20x60 WP Binoculars


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  • BAK4 Porro Prism
  • Anti-Reflection Fully Multicoated Optics
  • Closed Bridge Configuration
  • Right-Eye Diopter Adjustment
  • Fold-Down Rubber Eyecups
  • Nitrogen-Filled, Water and Fogproof

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Read Full review

Pentax are affordable modern binos that surpass the 5-decade old technology of the Kronos, but only slightly. It take 3rd place in out best long distance binoculars guide.

The optics are similar, and they share excellent clarity and color rendition.

They are a good alternative to consider if you’re looking for a newer but still affordable quality pair of astronomy binoculars.

The main complaint about the Pentax 20×60 is their narrow field of vision–one noticeably smaller than the Kronos. Some find the over-sized objectives on the Pentax awkward to handle.

The Pentax does have the advantage of being newly made, even though you’ll probably spend less on the Kronos.

  • Narrow FOV
  • Optical quality compares well to the Kronos
  • Construction is new but less durable

See for youself online!


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3. Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 Review

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Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25x70 Binoculars


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  • BAK4 Porro Prisms
  • Multi-Coated Optics
  • 70mm Extra-Wide Objectives
  • Right-Eye Diopter Adjustment
  • Fold-Down Rubber Eyecups
  • Weather & Impact Resistant

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This popular mass-market binocular has 25x magnification and solid if not remarkable optics.

The Celestron has launched many stargazing careers, producing high-value binoculars that aren’t as good as the best, but which don’t cost as much, either, and still do a good job.

The clarity is fairly crisp and the image is bright.

The Celestron is basically a knock-off of the performance seen in a Kronos, and uses modern shortcuts to replace the skilled and careful labor of yesteryear. Coatings have improved over time, but precision alignment has not. Some prefer the original.

  • Similar optics but reduced clarity
  • Higher price
  • Less durable construction than Kronos

Compare online!


Russian binoculars still endure because they offer excellent optics, superior handling, durability, and comfort. The FOV is sizeable for this magnification, so you can more easily find targets and take in a wider view.

Because of its high level of optical quality and bargain price, enthusiasts still hold on to these older but hardly bettered instruments.

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If you decide to try out a pair, be careful of battered merchandise.

If these bins are out of collimation, be sure you are ready to have it repaired or do it yourself. Take reasonable care and you could luck into a fantastic bargain.

Check them out for yourself … happy bargain hunting!

Kronos 20x60 Binoculars Review

3 thoughts on “Kronos 20×60 Binoculars Review”

  1. First, congrats for the review. Second, I have a pair of them and I’m planning to use them for stargazing as my telescope use too much space in my car to travel with the family. What kind of tripod adapter would be suitable? Hopefully something easily available from abroad, as I live in Chile.

  2. I’ve just bought the second pair of Kronos 20×60, made in 1995 (the first one is a Tento 20×60 made in 1991).
    There are some quality differences between them. As I noticed on every Russian binoculars, the lower the year of manufacture, the higher the overall quality.
    I don’t agree with „the complicated collimation“. It not so complicated as on every binoculars with eccentric objective lens.

  3. Hi,
    I’ve the second hand Kronos 20×60 pair, and love it’s ED type darkness of back ground sky wile observing deep sky objects like Andromeda galaxy,M3 globular cluster and Orion nebula is unmatched.
    See my Article on

    Owend Kronos 20×60 Binocular

    Clear Skies.


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