This is a comprehensive Celestron Ultima Spotting Scope Review!
As a wildlife enthusiast, I have found this spotting scope a budget option to see razor-sharp images. These sightings scopes are great for birders, and wildlife observers, even in low light conditions.
This device is quite cheap and offers good value for the price. It’s entirely waterproof so you can use it in any weather conditions without a problem.
In this review, I’ll discuss the specs, features, and different sizes of this scope.
- Optical performance
- Construction and quality
- Model sizes and specs
- What’s in the box?
- User reviews
- Our verdict
Celestron Ultima Spotting Scope Overview
With its huge objective lens (80mm), you can see bright images. It can gather plenty of light from its surroundings to brighten up the images.
Digiscoping with this spotting scope will be extremely easy with the help of a T-mount adaptor. It means you can attach a camera with this spotting scope to take images with extreme details. It’s a good way for entry level wildlife photographers to take good shots without a heavy telephoto lens. But you have to buy the T-mount separately.
The HQ of Celestron Ultima spotting scope is based in California, and it’s manufactured in Taiwan. But it doesn’t mean you’re getting any cheap spotting scope because you get every feature that expensive brands like Swaro or Zeiss has to offer. You’ll get full value for money with its limited lifetime warranty.
I think the Celestron Ultima’s price tag is a good value for money because you will get to see bright and sharp images when bird watching to identify the species and pick out details being observed.
You cannot use this scope without a tripod because you will have a hard time focusing on your target if you have shaky hands at full magnification.
There are six different sizes available in this model of Celestron Ultima spotting scope. The most popular one is the Ultima 80 angled. Its 45-degree eyepiece makes it comfortable to view birds, wildlife, or even the Moon.
- Celestron Ultima 65 Straight
- Celestron Ultima 65 Angled
- Celestron Ultima 80 Straight
- Celestron Ultima 80 Angled
- Celestron Ultima 100 Straight
- Celestron Ultima 100 Angled
The following two sections of this Ultima review will discuss some of the common features of all sizes. Later on, I’ll review the specific features of each size in the Ultima line.
I’m not saying it will beat expensive Zeiss or Swaro in terms of optical performance but it’s a decent starter scope. Large optics of this spotting scope really contribute to delivering high quality, bright and sharp images at a distance with great details. It does a surprisingly good job for a twilight wildlife observer even in low light conditions.
Glass and coatings
This Ultima scope features high-quality optics to produce bright images during dawn and dusk. This is due to the phase-coated BaK4 prism that ensures better light transmission from the surroundings. The prism system works in the tendon with the lens system that features multi-coating for better clarity and sharpness in the images.
The optics also come with a waterproof coating to ensure that you continue to image with your spotting scope in moist conditions. You won’t have to deal with fogging at all because it is sealed and filled with dry nitrogen gas to prevent internal fogging of the lens.
Image quality and clarity
The Celestron Ultima spotting scope can conveniently spot distant objects and produce high-quality images at any time of the day.
Its optical system comes with full multi-coating to ensure better light transmission. You will not only see brighter images but with clarity and with true-to-life colors.
Even if the light conditions are dim, the large exit pupil and large diameter objective lens of this spotting scope will provide you with brighter results.
Although I have seen a little chromatic aberration, but nothing I would consider outrageous. It’s a thing for optics nerds but if you don’t like chromatic aberration you have to increase your budget. Therefore, this scope is an excellent option for birding and nature observation and even hunting.
Construction and quality
The Celestron Ultima spotting scope comes with a compact sealing and dry nitrogen filling to prevent the internal fogging of the lens. You can enjoy your views to the fullest even during rainy weather.
The spotting scope works with screw-on wide-angle eyepieces with fixed magnification, which is good for long-distance viewing but not the best option for stargazing or astronomy.
There are straight and angled eyepieces available and they are made for different viewing purposes. The straight eyepieces are better if you are glassing downhill terrains and you will have to go for taller tripods. Angled eyepieces are better for shorter tripods and comfortably viewing uphill terrains.
This eyepiece also comes with an integrated T-mount adapter that will allow you to attach your camera with it for Digi-scoping. It means you can conveniently use your spotting scope to take high-resolution images with great details using your camera.
Body and design
The Celestron Ultima spotting scope has a durable construction that features nitrogen purging and O-ring sealing. It means the scope is completely fog and waterproof, and you are free to use it in extreme weather conditions and on all terrains.
Celestron has used aluminum alloy to construct these scopes to make sure they can handle different conditions in the outdoors and don’t have too much additional weight on them.
The spotting scope is designed to be used with a tripod or window mount for the best results. It will not work if you try to use it in your hands while on the move.
The focus wheel on this Ultima spotting scope is pretty easy to access with one hand. It’s right there on the eyepiece and has an ergonomic design. You can easily use the focus mechanism of the Celestron Ultima scope even with your gloves on.
The focus mechanism itself is pretty smooth, and you can easily magnify your target according to your requirements. You won’t have to deal with any choppy transition when the image is zeroing in. This transition is pretty swift and fast as well.
None of the Ultima series’s scopes are suitable to hold in hand and use on the go because they all are heavy. But the good thing is that they all come with a pretty long eye relief, so you can comfortably use them with your eyeglasses on.
Celestron Ultima Spotting Scope model sizes
There are six different sizes available in the Celestron Ultima series. The Ultima 80 is the most popular size of all because it is an excellent choice for distant viewing in hunting and wildlife observation.
The following table provides you with a detailed overview of all the sizes available in the Ultima spotters.
|Ultima 65 Straight||Ultima 65 Angled||Ultima 80 Straight||Ultima 80 Angled||Celestron Ultima 100 Straight||Celestron Ultima 100 Angled|
|Magnification||18 – 55x||18 – 55x||20 – 60x||20 – 60x||22 – 66x||22 – 66x|
|Objective lens diameter||65 mm||65 mm||80 mm||80 mm||100 mm||100 mm|
|Eye relief||18 mm||18 mm||18 mm||18 mm||18 mm||18 mm|
|Exit pupil||1.1 mm – 3.6 mm||1.1 mm – 3.6 mm||1.3 mm – 4.0 mm||1.3 mm – 4.0 mm||1.5 mm – 4.5 mm||1.5 mm – 4.5 mm|
|Linear field of view||89 ft @ 18x and 38 ft @ 55x||89 ft @ 18x and 38 ft @ 55x||105 ft @ 20x and 53 ft @ 60x||105 ft @ 20x and 53 ft @ 60x||94 ft @ 22x and 52 ft @ 66x||94 ft @ 22x and 52 ft @ 66x|
|Angular field of view||0.73 – 1.7 degrees||0.73 – 1.7 degrees||1.0 – 2.0 degrees||1.0 – 2.0 degrees||1.0 – 1.8 degrees||1.0 – 1.8 degrees|
|Close focus||20 feet||20 feet||26.2 feet||26.2 feet||33 feet||33 feet|
|Length||15.7 inches||15.3 inches||19.7 inches||19.3 inches||22.4 inches||21.3 inches|
|Weight||37 oz||37 oz||57 oz||57 oz||72 oz||72 oz|
Celestron Ultima 65 Straight
The Celestron Ultima 65 Straight spotting scope is a great choice for wildlife observers and birders. But it would be better for you to use this scope with a tripod or a window mount because it comes with very powerful magnification. And if you don’t have steady hands, you will find it very difficult to focus on your target.
I mainly used this spotting scope for a rifle and occasionally to look at the wildlife in my backyard and Moon. I was impressed with the crystal-clear images. I even saw a plane landing about 10 miles away.
The Celestron Ultima features a special straight eyepiece, making it easier for you to look down on your target from an elevated spot.
Celestron Ultima 65 Angled
There is not much difference between the specs of Ultima 65mm straight and 65 Angled. The only difference between them is the 45-degree angled eyepiece.
The Ultima 65mm is well balanced and well-weighted, with good housing and decent ergonomics, making it easy to use for long sessions. I found the zoom ring slightly stiff, but I hope it will loosen up in some time. The images are really sharp at full zoom, though.
With this angled eyepiece, you can conveniently look around with a shorter tripod, especially when you are using your scope in a standing position.
Your neck will be in a more comfortable position looking on the angled eyepiece. This eyepiece is better suited for viewing from a lower point to see a target at an elevated point.
With an angled eyepiece, the Celestron Ultima 65 spotting scope’s length will become a little shorter, but that will not impact the overall performance.
Celestron Ultima 80 Straight
The Celestron Ultima 80 straight spotting scope features a much more powerful objective lens of 80 mm diameter, so it will be even better in terms of the viewing experience. It can gather more light with a bigger size, and you can see the brightest possible images during low light conditions. However, the Celestron Ultima 80 spotting scope is heavier than Ultima 65 scope.
This scope also comes with an eye relief of 18mm, so you can comfortably use it with your glasses on. It has a FoV of view of 105 feet at 20x magnification and 53 feet at 60x. Therefore, this spotting scope can still provide you with a wide view for better situational awareness.
Here’s my Celestron ultima 80 review; I like the feel of Ultima 80. The focusing is smooth and easy. I used the straight scope to look at views that are on the same level. I saw the birds within 25 yards and enjoyed the detail and light gathering more than I did with my binoculars.
Celestron Ultima 80 Angled
This Celestron Ultima 80mm angled spotting scope comes with an angled eyepiece. It means you can use this scope if you have a shorter tripod or if you are going to use your scope while standing.
This size is better suited for you for stargazing and astronomy because you can comfortably look at the targets above your head due to the angled eyepiece design.
I bought this model to view bullet holes at 200 yards, and it served the purpose perfectly. I can easily see a car moving on a bridge 12 miles away and can read a license plate at 800 yards.
Celestron Ultima 100 Straight
The Celestron Ultima 100 Straight spotting scope is the heaviest of them all. It comes with a 100 mm objective lens, so you can use it as a telephoto lens. You can only adjust shutter speed and iso so you have to compromise on clarity of far objects like the moon.
The Celestron Ultima 100 spotting scope is designed to perform in low light conditions and can gather light from the surroundings. Therefore, this size is best suited for long-range shooters and astronomers because it can see distant targets pretty clearly.
It not only comes with a high magnification of up to 66x, but it also provides you with a wide field of view of 94 feet at 22x and 52 feet at 66x.
Celestron Ultima 100 Angled
The Celestron Ultima 100mm angled size allows it to be used for various purposes, such as
Stargazing, target shooting, looking around the valley, looking at the Moon, and birding.
The 45-degree angled eyepiece will allow you to comfortably look at the stars without stressing your neck. You can use the scope with a shorter tripod as well if you want. Therefore, as it’s a pretty heavy scope, you need to have a tripod or a window mount to use it.
With an objective lens this big, it is going to work very well in low light conditions. It’s a great value for money for me considering it’s not an expensive Vortex or Swarovski.
The Celestron Ultima spotting scope comes with a warranty of 2 years on all its products, including the Ultima spotting scopes. The warranty includes and defects associated with the quality of the materials and the workmanship.
These products’ exteriors like rubber and other materials are covered under a 5-year warranty for any blemishes or defects. This warranty also includes accessories like eyecups, caps, covers, pouches, and straps.
These warranties don’t include any loss or theft of the products or any cosmetic alteration or change either intentionally or unintentionally that is affecting the product’s performance.
It might not be that great of a warranty, especially if you compare it with the likes of unlimited warranties offered by Vortex or Leupold, but at this price, it is pretty much acceptable.
The Celestron Ultima spotting scope’s image quality is so-so but good as a starter scope. You will have to use it with a tripod or a window mount no matter what. These Celestron scopes are not designed to be used as handhelds.
You might face some poor resolution at full zoom. You need to spend some extra bucks to get a stable view by purchasing a tripod for sure. Otherwise, the sheer size and weight of these scopes cause hand fatigue. Target acquisition becomes pretty difficult if you have shaky hands at full magnification, so you will have to work with steady hands.
What’s in the box?
- Celestron Ultima spotting scope
- Eyepiece cover
- Objective lens cover
- Zoom eyepiece case
- Zoom eyepiece
- View-through carrying case
- 2-year warranty
You have to use this spotting scope either with a window mount or a tripod. So Celestron should have included a tripod in the package.
You will have to purchase it separately no matter what because you can’t use the scope effectively with a tripod unless you have a very steady pair of hands. And that is doubtful because steady hands with a heavy scope for longer sessions cannot coexist.
Celestron Ultima Spotting Scope user reviews
The average user rating of Celestron Ultima spotting scope is 4.2 stars, which is not that bad at all.
Most people seem to love the fact that this spotting scope can work well in low-light conditions. They also loved the fact that this spotting scope can produce very clear images in different terrains.
But some people also complained that the scope is a little fuzzy at high magnifications, especially in the dark, with the Ultima 100 being the only exception. Moreover, they mentioned that the scope should have come with a tripod included in the purchase.
I was able to see .22 cal bullet holes at 200 yds. I was a little disappointed in the lack of sharpness above 40X and lack of contrast overall though. From 20-30X it is sharp & is usable up to 40x if heat is not a problem. I would still rate it good for the price.
If you think that the Celestron Ultima spotting scope isn’t the right option for you either because of its warranty or something else then here are some alternatives.
Celestron TrailSeeker 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope
The TrailSeeker Celestron comes with a tripod and smartphone adapter. It means that you can conveniently connect your smartphone with it using the T mount for Digi-scoping. But you will have to compromise on eye relief a little bit.
Vortex Diamondback HD 20-60x85mm Spotting scope
The Vortex Diamondback HD spotting scope is built for the outdoors, and you can conveniently use it for a variety of your outdoor excursions. This one does come with longer eye relief and is designed to take care of any weather conditions and terrains. And not to forget about the unlimited Vortex VIP warranty.
Vanguard Endeavor XF 80A Spotting Scope
The Vanguard Endeavor XF spotting scope is another top voice for you to consider if you are looking for a spotting scope that comes with robust construction. This spotting scope can produce high-quality images and does come with decent eye relief as well.
I have found that the Celestron Ultima spotting scope is an excellent budget option. With a large objective lens, it can handle low light conditions pretty well.
According to the Celestron Ultima 80 spotting scope review, the most popular size in all the Celestron Ultima spotting scopes is the Ultima 80. It comes with a wide field of view and offers a pretty decent magnification. Hunters, long-range shooters, birders, wildlife observers, stargazers, and astronomers all find this size pretty useful in various ways.
You can purchase the Celestron Ultima spotting scope directly from the manufacturer, either in-store or online. Moreover, you can buy it from their authorized dealers and designated distributors located all across the country.