Few are the brands out there which are so easily recognizable just based upon their names. Celestron is definitely one of them. They are specialized in making telescopes and are the best friends of stargazers around the world. Based on that you can rest assured that their spotting scopes are nothing short of extraordinary in their build quality and optics. The Ultima Zoom line of scopes has a broad variety of models to choose from but today we will review the Ultima 65 which is an angled spotting scope with a 65mm objective lens.
With its magnification and broad front lens, the Celestron Ultima 65 is a good investment for any birdwatcher out there. It has a narrow field of view that will guarantee a concentrated image on your favorite bird but would render the scope a bit harder to use for in-flight observations. The body of this model is extremely durable and everything you touch feels premium. Unfortunately, the price tag is a bit higher than usual which can feel a bit unnecessary especially when we’ve already seen similar characteristics from scopes twice as cheap. Still, have the brand name and their quality behind your product is a good enough assurance that it will last you a good while.
Now let’s see which features make this scope a good choice and where it excels compared to its competition.
Product Overview And Features
The Ultima 65 is the smallest spotting scope from the Ultima scope series. It is also the most affordable one, hence our review of it. For birdwatching, you won’t need anything more than it, even though the larger models will present an even brighter and more contrast-rich image at badly lit days.
It is a refractor scope and the objective and eyepiece lenses are multi-coated. It is also ideal for people that wear glasses thanks to its generous eye relief and rubber eye cup.
From all the features we’d like to start with the magnification and then move on to the rest of the scope…
The Ultima 65 has a magnification range of 18-55x. That is more than enough for people who are going to be birdwatching in the 100-1000 yard range but would rather have a limiting performance anywhere above 1000-1500 yards depending on the conditions. The lenses don’t perform that well on bigger magnifications as well, but we will get into that later.
Paired with that magnification range is a 0.7-1.7 degrees field of view which equals to 38-89 ft at 1000 yards field of view. It isn’t the widest field of view we’ve seen but it is good enough. Birdwatchers that primarily observe birds in flight will have a slight issue with it when zooming in around the maximum range, as it will be harder to follow the bird without a good tripod.
There is an 18 inch eye relief distance meaning it will be fairly easy for people with glasses to view through the spotting scope without having to take them off. There are rubber eye cups to help with accidental glaring when you are viewing from a small distance due to the glasses.
Lastly, the closes your Celestron will be able to focus upon is 20ft which is great since you will be also using it in your backyard if there are any trees and interesting birds there.
If you want a scope that has a bigger objective lens and produces a slightly brighter image, we suggest checking out our Gosky Porro Prism Spotting Scope review.
The lenses aren’t fully multi-coated, or at least not all of them. The eyepiece lenses and the objective lens have multiple layers of anti-reflection coating but the rest are just regularly coated. This is what gives a slight disadvantage towards other fully multi-coated scopes as it doesn’t give you an accurate picture of the observed colors, especially at high magnification. It also doesn’t transfer light perfectly from the crown and flint achromatic 65mm lens. That is also known as chromatic aberration (or blue fringing). It is controlled in the lower ranges but gets obvious upon zooming in to the 40-55x range.
Other than that the image is sharp from end to end and there is no distortion around the edges at any field of view setting. There are more expensive options of this scope, such as the Ultima 80 which have a better image quality both in terms of brightness and colors. The Ultima 80 also has a wider FOV.
As a whole, this cannot be described as fully multi-coated scope but rather as just a multi-coated one, which is slightly disappointing to see in this price range. Still, there are plenty of other features that more than make up for that.
The construction quality and the materials is where this scope really shines and is separated from the competition. It features a sturdy, rigid construction made out of a magnesium alloy packed in a rubberized armour coating. That coating will allow you to have a better grip over your scope and make it very durable in the same time.
The scope is also sealed shut making it entirely waterproof (up to 30 minutes at 3ft) and dustproof, so you can take it anywhere you want without having to worry.
An interesting feature of the construction and design is that the eyepiece is removable and the eyecup is foldable. Those two features are rather rare, as most budget scopes come with non-removable zoom eyepieces. This option here allows you to swap you zoom eyepiece for a fixed and easily locate targets that are of interest to you, and then swap back to the zoom eyepiece to see them up close.
At the bottom of the scope’s body there is a tripod mount which can be used
In terms of accessories, the Ultima 65 comes with:
- A T-adapter for phones
- Carrying case
- Eyepiece lens cap, port cover, carrying case, and pouch
- Lens cloth
- User manual
As we mentioned, the eyepieces here are interchangeable and the zoom eyepiece comes with a T-adapter to which you can attach a mobile phone in case you want to take a picture of whatever you are viewing.
There is no tripod included, which isn’t a deal breaker but would’ve been a nice touch.
The price is what we consider a slight downside of this scope, as it isn’t competitively priced at all. It is more expensive than scopes with bigger objective lenses, fully multi-coated optics, and more magnification. Yes, you are getting a Celestron with a lifetime warranty, but apart from that there are better deals out there purely metrics-wise. Still, this is the cheapest Ultima Zoom scope so it is kind of a budget version of the others in the series.
Part of the price tag here is the brand name behind your product and the assurance that you are getting your hands on a quality spotting scope that is bound to last you quite some time.
To learn more about spotting scopes and check out other budget models, head over to our full Buyer’s Guide by clicking here! Now, let’s go over some of the top pros and cons of the Celestron Ultima 65.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Removable zoom eyepiece
- Comes with extra accessories
- Lifetime warranty
- Durable waterproof construction
- Good image clarity at smaller magnifications
- Image color science and brightness get a bit washed in the higher magnifications
- The field of view is rather narrow
- Has some blue fringing at higher magnifications
Conclusion and Rating
Birding Rocks Rating:
The Ultima 65 is the smallest spotting scope out of all the Ultima series scopes. It features a good magnification range, wide objective lens and a removable zoom eyepiece. All those features are packed into a rubberized body that is very durable and has the classic Celestron quality to it. If you opt for this particular scope, you will have a bunch of accessories to your package and most importantly – a lifetime warranty. No matter how good a product is, a lifetime assurance that all damages are covered is always a good addition. As a whole, this particular spotting scope is ideal for birdwatchers that can spend a little extra on it and some accessories like a tripod and a neck strap. We gave it a score of four and a half out of five stars.