Whilst I appreciate the benefits of spotting scopes I have generally shied away from them because whilst I enjoy watching wildlife close up seeing serious birders carting around heavy and bulky scopes through the countryside just doesn’t look like much fun to me so instead I have generally relied on a decent pair of binoculars for getting “up close and personal” with nature.
However on a recent trip to Costa Rica I got chatting to a guide we hired who swears by his scope and having had the opportunity to try his out I now find myself something of a convert quite simply due to the ability to get far closer to wildlife than is possible with plain old binoculars.
Furthermore he was using a Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima zoom spotting scope which seems to me to cover all the bases in that it is excellent value for money, produces high quality images even over long distances yet is compact enough not to be cumbersome. I thought after my own experiences with this scope that a detailed Celestron 52250 review might come in useful for other wildlife fanatics considering purchasing a new scope.
Most popular spotting scopes seem to have a lens of around 60mm while the Celestron 55250 spotting scope uses an 80mm lens. While this may not sound too exciting at face value this means that the 55250 lets in more light than most competing scopes. The increased light not only means brighter images for you – making viewing wildlife through the scope more pleasant – but it also means a sharper, crisper image so you can see much more detail in the images you observe. For a nature fan like me this helps greatly in identifying birds even from some distance away where the differences between two species can be tiny.
Refracting Scope Design
The Celestron 52250 80mm Ultima zoom spotting scope is a refracting scope which means it does not use internal mirrors to reflect the image around the inside of the scope. This classic design generally means a clearer image because of the lack of reflection but also means a sturdier, more reliable construction. Typically the only downside of refracting scopes (which are generally considered the best type of scope) is the cost involved because the lenses need to be that much more accurate. Fortunately the Celestron 52250 manages to accomplish this without breaking the bank.
As the magnification of a spotting scope goes up, the light passing through the lenses typically lead to discoloration. This is due primarily to the way light is split as it passes through the lenses and so can result in you observing unnatural colors. Clearly when identifying wildlife accurate color representation is important and this is where the technology of achromatic lenses come in which are specifically designed to provide a more natural color representation for you.
The Celestron 52250 benefits from a zoom lens which will take you from 20x magnification right up to 60x. While it is a simple fact of life that the quality of the image will drop slightly at higher magnifications it is useful to have a way to quickly and easily zoom in on an animal to see additional detail or behavior. The simple, reasonably-sized control of the zoom lens means you can keep your eye on whatever you are watching whilst zooming in rather than having to take your eye away from the lens to zoom in, only to find you’ve lost sight of whatever it was you were looking at.
Ease Of Use
The Celestron 55250 spotting scope is not designed as a top-of-the-range scope which can cost several thousand dollars but rather a mid-range scope suitable for natural history fans and so on and it has therefore been designed specifically for ease of use. The zoom lens already mentioned helps with this, as does the built-in “site tube” for quickly picking up what you’re looking for before you zero in with the zoom lens.
The 55250 has a rubber eye cup so it can be used safely by spectacle-wearers like me as well as those with perfect eye-sight and it is also possible to mount a digital camera using the “t” fitting to enable you to take stunning wildlife photos from a considerable distance away.
Lightweight Construction For More Practical Use
As mentioned, I don’t want to lug around a scope that weighs as much as I do as it would simply spoil my enjoyment of a country walk but many of the other Celestron 55250 reviews I have read, as well as my own experiences, suggest that while this is a high quality scope with a good build quality it is neither too large (it measures roughly 20 inches long by 6 inches by 7 inches) to carry around over extended periods of time nor too heavy to make your shoulder ache so seems like the perfect compromise between power and practicality.
Sturdy Design Capable To Taking Knocks In The Field
Even the best spotting scopes will be of little use if they are going to break with normal use but the Celestron 55250 seems to be a sturdy piece of kit capable to taking normal use in it’s stride.
Additional benefits to keep your scope in top condition include the carry case (which comes included as standard) which will not only protect your scope from knocks but can be also left on the scope while it is being used to add further protection and also to speed up use. If you see some wildlife in the distance the last thing you want to do is spend five minutes getting your scope out of it’s case so it’s ready to use only to find that the animal has gone.
Lastly the 55250 has waterproof casing can can be safely used in the rain without risk of damage or fogging so this really is a rugged and very practical piece of kit.
To back up my comments about the build quality of the 55250 this scope also comes with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.
What Others Are Saying
The Celestron 55250 spotting scope is tremendously popular due to it’s high quality image, practical design and very reasonable cost so there are plenty of Celestron 55250 reviews online for those who care to look but here are a few comments I have gathered during my own research:
“I was able to identify and see all colors of a kestrel nearly a quarter mile away!”
“For this price range the Celestron 52250 spotting scope was the best value. After purchasing this product from Amazon.com I couldn’t be happier. I’ve found the quality of the image at all magnifications to be outstanding with no distortion even at the edge of the field of view.”
“Celestron has always made good quality/value scopes, and this one is no exception. You’ll love the extra brightness that the larger diameter objective lens gives you, and the zoom eyepiece is about as good as you’ll find. Once focused, images are tack-sharp. For the money, this scope is hard to beat for its excellent build quality and good overall optical performance.”
“It is lightweight and its construction is rugged enough to handle my birding adventures through the bush. The focus and zoom are very simple, user-friendly, and easy to do in the field.”
How Much You Should Expect To Pay
The list price of this spotting scope is currently $298.95 though there are significant differences between what different retailers are currently charging for this model. Due to it’s popularity and reasonable cost there is a reasonable amount of competition between retailers to try and offer the best price and it is possible to shop around online and find some real bargains.
It seems at the time of writing that Amazon has the best deal where they are currently offering it for roughly half the list price and offering free delivery.
Complaints About The Celestron 52250 Spotting Scope?
The 55250 has almost total approval from everyone who has used it and has numerous glowing reviews. The only slight point directed at it from time to time is that the image quality isn’t quite as high as in some of the top range scopes however even these critics seem to agree that for the average user the image quality of the 52250 is more than acceptable and for the price you won’t find anything better.
Where Can You Read More Reviews Of The Celestron 52250?
A quick search in Google will turn up a range of Celestron 52250 spotting scope reviews however possibly the best place to read reviews from people who actually use this scope is on Amazon. Click here to read more reviews.
Where Can You Buy A 52250?
The Celestron 52250 scope is available from a wide range of retailers both online and offline but at present it seems like the best deal is on Amazon thanks to their low price, excellent customer service and free delivery. Click here to visit Amazon now.