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Celestron Regal 65 F-ED Scope

Celestron Regal 65f-ed Scope
Review Highlights
  • Celestron’s low-priced ED glass 65-mm spotting scope
  • Vivid, sharp image quality
  • Very wide field of view

REVIEW TOPICS
Optical Properties Physical Properties Eyepieces Focusing
Digiscoping Accessories Conclusions Buying Details

Full Review

Celestron, the renowned astronomical optics manufacturer, has recently released their ED-glass, Regal spotting scope line: three angled-configuration scopes in a choice of 65-, 80- or 100-mm objective lens diameters. Of these, the Regal 65 F-ED spotting scope is easily our favorite. One of the major trends in optics market of today is to make ED glass optics affordable to even those of us without six-figure incomes. The Regal 65 F-ED is just such a product, providing a fine quality ED-glass spotting scope for just $519.95 . In the 65-mm class of scope, you can pay anywhere from about $480 on up to about $2500 for an ED glass scope. If you’re looking for an ED-glass spotting scope, the optical quality of the Celestron Regal 65 F-ED at this price is very tough to beat.

Optical Properties

Celestron describes their Regal spotting scopes as featuring an air-spaced doublet (two lenses separated by space) where one of the lenses is made from fluorite. The extra low dispersion of the fluorite lens is the “ED” portion of things, which provides excellent color correction for minimal distortion and maximum image sharpness with virtually no chromatic aberration. In fact, in tests comparing the Regal 65F-ED to other 65-mm ED scopes, we noted that it showed less chromatic aberration on high-contrast, brightly-lit objects and had notably less field curvature than several scopes costing up to three times as much. Additionally, we observed that it had a larger field of view at 20x magnification than a more costly scope that specifically advertised a wide field of view, and it was a fairly significant difference. The Regal 65 F-ED is brighter than conventional glass 65-mm spotting scopes and offers superior image sharpness.

Physical Properties

The Celestron Regal 65 F-ED spotting scope is about 16 inches long and weighs about 4 pounds (both figures are with the eyepiece in place). This makes it neither particularly compact nor notably lightweight as 65-mm spotting scopes go, but it isn’t huge and unwieldy or obscenely heavy. The Regal 65 F-ED scope is a no-frills kind of product. The pale gray rubber armor has slate-gray accents on the barrel contrasting with the lens hood, which features a fairly useful sighting device. The 65-mm Regal scope is a bit heavy on the eyepiece end. Like most angled spotting scopes, the Regal 65 F-ED scope rotates freely inside a ring attached to the tripod mounting bracket. There are no detents or click-stops – the scope can be positioned anywhere in the 360° rotation.

Eyepieces

Celestron Regal 65f-ed Eyepiece Mount The Celestron Regal 65 F-ED scope comes equipped with a 16-48x zoom eyepiece and Celestron does not market any other eyepiece specifically for use with the Regal scopes. However, the eyepiece mount is a 1.25-inch American astronomical standard mount, meaning any eyepiece of that type can be used. Thus, this spotting scope actually has a great deal of flexibility in what eyepiece brands and magnifications may be used, depending on what type of viewing the user wishes to do. The eyepieces lock into place with a clockwise ¼ twist of an aluminum collet on the outside, a mechanism that is quick and easy.

Focusing

Celestron Regal 65f-ed Focus Knob The Celestron Regal 65 F-ED scope features a dual focus knob system, where the inner (closer to the eyepiece) knob provides coarse focus and the outer knob adjusts very fine focus. We really like dual focus systems in general, but there are some quirky aspects to the Celestron version of it. First, the knobs are off-center on the right hand side of the prism housing, which may take a little getting accustomed to for left-handed users, though that’s a fairly trivial point. More significant is the fact that this focal mechanism has a rather shallow pitch, perhaps reflecting Celestron’s background in making astronomical telescopes. It takes almost 8 turns of the coarse focus knob to go from minimum close focus to infinity on this scope. In the field, we found that the course focus was enough to get us to absolute sharpness and we rarely used the fine focus. This mechanism can be a bit slow to use, but it does permit very sharp focus indeed.

Digiscoping

Celestron includes a screw-on T-adaptor with all Regal spotting scopes. The eyecup screws off exposing threads that the T-adaptor screws onto. From there, the user needs to add their own T-adaptor specific to the brand of 35-mm SLR camera that they use and they are ready to take photos. Additionally, Celestron markets a general digital camera adaptor for non-SLR type digital cameras, and the Regal will work fine with these types of adaptors from other manufacturers. One thing Celestron designed well here is the use of opposite turn directions for the eyecup adjustment and eyecup removal. Thus you aren’t forever unscrewing the eyecup when all you want to do is adjust it. You’d be amazed how often simple details like this get forgotten on really high end optics!

Accessories

This is a relatively easy subject to discuss with the Celestron Regal scopes because there aren’t very many! The objective lens cap is a double pinch-clamp design that fits snugly and is difficult to dislodge accidentally. It’s a simple design that works quite well. Celestron also includes a soft lens cloth and a protective case. The case looks as though it’s designed for view-through use in that it has an unzipping flap for an objective cover opening. But closer examination reveals that the case isn’t designed to fit over the scope when it is mounted on a tripod, and even if you do manage that, there is no opening through which to adjust the focus. Thus, we conclude that the case is only suitable to protect the scope when it is not in use. If a user wants a view-through case, they will need to purchase a custom-made one from a third-party manufacturer. That’s pretty much it for accessories.

Conclusions

So, the Celestron 65 F-ED spotting scope is a simple and straight-forward optic, without a confusing array of choices and options. This scope delivers ED-glass quality images and solid optical performance. Again, the key point here is (sing along with us!) this scope only costs $500. For the budget-conscious consumer, the Celestron Regal ED scope is a great choice. You can get more performance (and more confusing choices) from a much more expensive scope, but you won’t get near this performance for one that costs this little.

Celestron Regal 65 F-ED Scope - current price and availability