Celestron spotting scope

To: "'birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Celestron spotting scope
From: "Colin Driscoll" <>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 09:35:41 +1100
Hi all

Late last year I needed a spotting scope, had a moderate budget so did some
research. Finally I settled on a Celestron Ultima100ED which I bought
through and which cost about AUD860 including express air

Here's my brief review of this scope:
22-66 x 100 ED low dispersion glass optics
Closest focus 10m
Angled eyepiece
Weight 2kg
Length 48cm
The balance point is in the centre of the scope forward of the tripod mount.
A tripod balancing platform is supplied which allows the weight to be
centred on the tripod.
The eyepiece is machined to take a T-mount for digiscoping.
Comes with a front lens cover and a soft cover which unzips at each end.

General impressions
Well made and assembled- no looseness in either the zoom or focusing. 

Optical performance
In general terms I would describe the scope as being quite sharp but not
razor sharp.
My test for sharpness in scope or bins is to focus on a point source of
light such as a faint star or distant street light- if the optics are
perfect then the light will be a clean point or shape with no flare. The
Celestron shows a very small amount of flare at the lowest magnification and
slight blurring at the highest magnification.

The field of view is too large to be taken in without needing to move the
head slightly (30m at 900m at x22). Focus falls off ever so slightly at the
extremities of the full view but can be brought into focus.

Some field tests:
In good light and low atmospheric distortion I can just read a car number
plate 1.5km away at x66 magnification.
In the late evening Dollar Birds sit on powerlines about 30m from my house
and are there catching a last feed until they can't be seen by the naked eye
against the dark backdrop of trees behind. At 22x in this light the Dollar
Bird comes into clear view with the colours still plainly visible.
At 180m could see all the detail of a Striated Heron at any magnification.

Happy birding

Colin Driscoll

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