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on April 18, 2006
I originally bought a Raven from Eagle Optics. But I returned it. Raven was $400. It had poor eye relief and poor image quality but very good scope construction (housing, cordura case etc). I went to Cabela's and tried the usual high-end suspects as well as Meopta, and Cabela's ED (Big Sky?). Thought I was going to have to resign myself to spend the big bucks 'someday'. But, I persisted and stopped by Ryder Hobby shop 'just to check it out'. Am glad I did. The Celestron Ultima 80 gave me the 'wow' factor I thought I was going to see in Raven and only saw in the highest end scopes. Well made, crisp images, you cannot beat it for the price. As good if not better than the Cabela's ($700) scope. I can recommend it. Bought it for $239. Also compared the C5 and other C90 scopes. Not nearly as good either. Would have been neat to check out the 80 ED, but they did not have it and it runs twice the price. I read all the same on-line reviews you probably have, and I can't figure out how this one did not figure much more prominently or how the Raven got such good reviews. Raven reminds me of my old Tasco binoc's. I'm very happy with the Celestron 80. Saw wood ducks, ring necks, Sand Hill Cranes all this evening approaching twilight with exceptional clarity. Even allows for T-ring mount for camera I read. Hope this helps.
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on July 17, 2007
This scope has impressive optics, especially for the price. At 20X the view is clear, sharp, and wide. The closer you zoom to 60x the image deteriorates in terms of clarity and color, as do all zooms. I've used this scope for birding and other wildlife and have no embarrassment letting Swarovski or Leica scope owners view through this scope. Got a great first view of an Indigo Bunting at 20X and was able to ID a surf scoter at 60X. For the money, this scope is exceptional. To attach a camera, you only need to pry off the rubber cup on the eyepiece and screw on a T ring for your make of camera. This scope is definitely waterproof. I used it in a steady rain during a birding class trip with no harm to the scope at all, while my cheap binoculars fogged completely.
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on December 10, 2009
I use this as a spotting scope for target shooting. So far everything I've looked at and worked with gets dicey at about 500 yds. It just depends on the conditions. But a rule of thumb is if the sun is out and you aren't being barraged with thermals you should be able to see at minimal 500 yds. So far I have not been disappointed in what I got for the price. When there are no thermals and good light, I can see very well at 500yds.

I also like it's field of view. I was actually watching 4 targets the last time out without moving the scope. These are 12" x 12 " targets.

I have a Schmidt and Bender 56mm scope and it's brightness and optics are actually better, but we are comparing a $2000 + set of optics to a < $500 set of optics. I also have a NightForce 56mm scope and I would compare it's brightness as a little better.

I have had quite a number of people use my scope for spotting and they are really amazed at it's performance vs cost. So I would say that if these guys would put in a MOA or mildot reticle, they could sell quite a few more to people who are in the sport of long distance shooting.

At 600 yds on a good day like the last, I think this would have been fine. But no matter what scope you get, there are going to be some days you just have to walk up.

The only reason I gave it 4 stars is that it doesn't have a hash reticle option, and the optics are really not the best. But I think price vs performance this is a keeper. So far I haven't run into anyone who could see something I couldn't.
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on July 8, 2009
For decades, Celestron has had a good reputation among amateur astronomers for producing high quality optics. Their Ultima line was made in Japan and was competitive in performance with much more expensive European optics. More recently, they've gone to China, and predictably, the quality has fallen off noticeably. But the upside is that the prices have come down considerably, too.

The Chinese-made Ultima 80 spotting scope offers very good resolution and high light transmission at a bargain price. For those who don't demand the very best there is, the Ultima 80 represents a good value. It's well constructed, the controls operate smoothly, and the optical quality is very decent for the price point. Lenses are multicoated and the tube is waterproof. There's a slight amount of chromatic aberration and edge softness, but these have to be expected in this price range. Neither is bothersome for the vast majority of applications. What is bothersome is that eye relief is insufficient for eyeglass wearers at powers above 30x.

For nature study, the rifle range, or very casual astronomy, this is a good buy.
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on January 11, 2007
For the price, this is a great spotting scope. It is lightweight and its construction is rugged enough to handle my birding adventures through the brush. The focus and zoom are very simple, user-friendly, and easy to do in the field. Color and clarity are great at 20x but do seem to reduce as you work up to 60x.
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on April 9, 2013
Very happy with this spotting scope, used mostly for digiscoping, attacched a canon elph 300 is and I get very nice and clear pictures. I love it!!
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on February 27, 2013
So, I went to the range with my new Ruger 10/22TD rifle and started plinking away at a small target 100 yards away, using a nice 3-9 Pentax riflescope. After a few shots, shooting this very small diameter ammo, I realized that I was either missing the target completely, or the holes in the target were too small to see, even with my riflescope set on 9x power. After the first session was over, I did the 100 yards walk and was pleasantly surprised to see many holes on the target, some very close to the center. I then embarked on quite a lot of research to find a suitable spotting scope. My criteria was that I wanted something to use on the range and also to use for general enjoyment, including terrestrial and star gazing. After reading many reviews, I decided that this particular scope, with its huge 100mm objective (front) lens offered the best design for multi uses.
1/ On the range, it is superb. Those small .22 round holes on the target stand out sharply at 100yds and more. Score 10/10.
2/ For terrestrial viewing, it is very average. Like all spotters, it is more comfortable to use in the lower magnification range. The 100mm lens brings in a lot of light, but could be sharper. Score 7/10.
3/ Astronomy. Pointing it at Saturn, I could see 4 of its moons. However, not very impressed by the scope's clarity when looking at the moon. Score 6/10

Overall, my wife and I were disappointed by the sharpness of the optics and also the fairly shallow depth of focus. It is excellent as a shooting range spotter, but so-so for terrestrial and astronomical uses. However, it is probably better than many other spotters out there, especially ones with 80mm or 60mm objective lenses. There is a big jump in price to the high-end Kowa's, where the overall performance is outstanding. We now only use this spotter for the range, where it is good, but less fun to use elsewhere.

The included bag offers good rain protection, but is not padded. Scope can be used while inside its bag. The scope's construction is impressive and the zoom and focus wheels turn smoothly and feel good quality. Nice looking item, nice finish and good value. You would have to pay more than double to get a better scope. I noticed that Celestron offers the same scope with a much more expensive eye-piece. Possibly greatly improves sharpness.

Get a good quality, stable tripod that rigidly supports this big spotter. Also, don't lose the front lens cover, because it falls off easily.

Finally, a very well constructed scope. Perfect for the range. However, if you are an avid bird watcher, you will need to spend much more to get much more.
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on August 6, 2010
We have used this scope so far to spy on birds, and to take looks at the moon. It feels very sturdy without being too heavy to carry on a trail to a bird blind. The images are very crisp, clear and bright especially if you are not zoomed in all the way. Once you start to zoom, it does get a little less crisp, but nonetheless, it still is a very clear image of whatever critter you are trying to watch. I would buy one of these again. I would have expected that I would have to pay a lot more money for something of this quality.
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on March 5, 2012
Humm, hit the tab key and my review in progress disappeared!

The scope has a very nice overall fit and finish with good deep coatings on all visible lens surfaces. The focus knob is silky smooth with no detectable backlash. The eyepiece eye-relief is ample (I don't require glasses when viewing--see below) and the zoom is smooth. An audible sliding sound is heard when zooming, but it isn't objectionable.

Speaking of glasses, if your glasses just correct for near or far sightedness, you don't really nead them at the scope; the focus range of the eyepiece will compensate for your correction without glasses. Those with astigmatism problems will need glasses however.

Owning a premium 80mm ED telescope, I was able to do a side-by-side test with it and this scope. Overall, the optical performance is impressive. Some chromatic abberation is present at the higher magnifications, but even then, it wasn't objectionable. At 60X the ED scope clearly edged out the 52250, with sharper fine detail and a slightly brighter image. To be fair though, the ED telescope had fewer air-to-glass surfaces and the eyepieces (10mm and 30mm) were fixed focal length so that is to be expected. I'd say the Celestron 52250 gave 95% of the performance of the high-priced ED scope. At 20X I was hard pressed to see a significant difference. At 40-60X the image didn't have the crisp detail of the ED scope, but it was quite usable. Most of my birding is done at lower magnification anyway, so I'm not loosing much.

On the moon, I was really impressed at an almost total lack of chromatic abberation! I could not see any "blue haze"--just a thin yellow edge. As a rough estimation of optical quality, I performed what is called a star test. In this test one looks at a star image inside and outside of focus. Frankly, I was very surprised by the test. I saw no optical defects and in fact, the patterns were text book perfect! It is amazing what can be done with computer generated optics these days.

This isn't a $1000 scope, but if you want 90% of the performance at a fraction of the money, this scope will work for you. I'd recommend it to a friend. At the %154 price I paid for it, this is a real value!
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on February 25, 2006
This is a great spotting scope for the money. It has a nice field of view and excellent optics. I have used it for both birding and wildlife and find that it works equally well for both. It is minimally useful for celestial viewing. The included carrying case makes it convenient for field use and the lifetime waranty cannot be beat. Highly recommend.
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