Celestron C90 Mak Spotting Scope Review

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The Celestron C90 Mak spotting scope puts the power of a telescope in the compact package of a spotting scope. By using a combination of mirrors and lens the optical system called “folded” optics gives you the focal length of 1250mm in a compact 12” body. The Maksutov design nearly eliminates the worry about chromatic aberration (also known as blue fringing). By using a variety of eyepieces fitted to it, you can alter the magnification capability of this scope.

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The C90 spotting scope gives you the feel of traditional telescope without the bulky size. This comes from the folded optics design from Maksutov. By using mirrors along with lens in the design Celestron shoehorned the 1250mm of focal length into a compact 12” frame. The compact size makes it very portable and lightweight as compared to a full sized telescope.

Celestron C90 Features

  • Maksutov spotting scope with 3.5″ (90 mm) Diameter
  • Multi coated optics and 32 mm eyepiece
  • Easy to attach to SLR cameras with built-in T-Adapter threads
  • 8×21 Erect Image Finderscope and 45° Erect Image Diagonal
  • Portable and compact design
  • 16 x 7 x 10 inches in length and weights 8 pounds (Free Shipping)

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The lens have multiple coatings to improve the clarity and to eliminate the fuzzy viewing you can get from other spotting scopes. The exterior of the main lens has a protective coating to prevent damage to lens. The 32 mm eyepiece (included in the package) also has a protect coating just like the main lens.

To enhance your viewing experience you can purchase additional eyepieces, which will improve the magnification of the scope. Along with 32 mm eyepiece, Celestron includes a 45 degree Erect Image Diagonal and a 8×21 Erect Image Finderscope. By changing the eyepiece you can change the magnification which will put you up close and personal with objects that are way far away, including out in space.

If you prefer to take pictures of what you are looking at through the C90 Mak spotting scope you can use the T-adapter mounted on the body, which will make it easy to attach most SLR Cameras. The whole system fits neatly into a soft backpack style carrying case.

Celestron C90 Mak Review

Our research into the c90 celestron turned up a lot of very positive reviews. After reading through several reviews posted online for the c90 mak spotting scope, it is apparent that each of them really loved this celestron scope. One of the reviewers was very impressed with it right out of the box. They also recommend you mate it with a Celestron heavy duty altazimuth tripod to enhance the experience. Another reviewer thought that it is the perfect scope for bird watching and beginner astronomers. Click here to read these reviews.

I was not able to find a single negative comment posted about this spotting scope and that is probably why it received an average of a perfect 5 star rating from the 5 reviewers from Amazon.com. For that reason I would definitely have to highly recommend the Celestron C90 Mak Spotting Scope 52268 to everyone.  We found Amazon.com offers the best prices and free shipping on almost all spotting scopes including the C90 Mak. Click here to check it out.

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Customer Reviews

Hector Martin September 13th, 2011 (#)

Thanks to the weather so far I have only tried the scope for terrestrial use and I am astonished by the image quality. Its sharpness and clarity are well beyond what I expected for such a small and inexpensive telescope.

The build quality is very solid and the included eyepiece is very good with no distortion or chromatic aberration. I also used the telescope as a lens for my EOS 20D and the resulting images were very good as well (it requires an inexpensive T ring adapter to hook the camera body to the rear of the telescope).

The included backpack is quite simple but gets the job done and it is the perfect size to carry the telescope tube, the viewfinder (unmounted), the 45 degree prism (unmounted) and several eyepieces.

The only minor complaint is that the included eyepiece included no covers so that when it is not mounted both ends are exposed and if it is mounted still one end is unprotected.

The viewfinder alignment is very simple and it takes just a few minutes to get it done and from then it does not move.

Complement this with a Celestron 8-24 mm 1.25″ zoom eyepiece and you get a wide range of power to suit your needs.

Divot Virginia, USA December 18th, 2011 (#)

The 52268 has a Vixen-style dovetail mounting plate with 1/4-20 threaded holes which allow it to be mounted on many astronomy and photography tripods. However this all-metal scope is being sold as a “spotting scope.” It comes with a 45-degree image-erecting prism; two eyepieces; a 1.25 inch / T-adapter (for a camera); a thing made almost totally of plastic one may, with foolish optimism, call a “tripod”; a tiny 8×21 finder scope; a backpack for the scope and eyepieces; and a very tight bag for the tripod.

To convert the 52268 into an astronomy scope one needs to buy a 90-degree 1.25 inch star diagonal, and I suggest adding a red dot finder, a moon filter, and some astronomy books. Additional eyepieces are not required as the included Plossls are adequate and give you 39x and 100x–two very useful powers.

What else? Adding a REAL ASTRONOMY TRIPOD AND MOUNT–something like the Vixen Porta-II or the Astro-Tech Voyager or the Celestron Omni CG-4–could turn this into a very good grab-and-go scope.

I originally rated this as four stars because of the tripod, but the scope shouldn’t be penalized. Whoever set up this package could not possibly include a $250 astronomy or photo (see the Manfrotto 055XB and Bogen 410 geared head) tripod for the price.

After using this scope for astronomy for six months mounted on a Manfrotto 055XB tripod and Bogen 410 geared head, my impressions–You get what you get, which is a 3 1/2 inch aperture (somewhat reduced by the center spot mirror) telescope. I still like two included eyepieces for astronomy. I could clearly see the single band now visible on Jupiter with the 100x eyepiece this past weekend. The focuser is smooth. Very nice.

But with only 3 1/2 inches-worth of light, you don’t get bright views of dim objects. Yes, you can see the ring and dumbbell nebulas in a field of black, but an 8-inch scope breathtakingly fills the black field with stars. This scope works best for the bright stuff: lunar and planetary observing. With that limitation, for its size and price, it is excellent.

As for tripods, the Manfrotto 055XB tripod and Bogen 410 geared head are functional, sturdy, rugged and compact, however the Vixen, Astro-Tech, and Celestron tripods mentioned above are designed for astronomy, and are probably easier to use.

C. Mapua February 4th, 2012 (#)

Out of the box and its backpack, the scope’s appearance is impressive and it looks purposeful. The instructions are clear and concise, with illustrations.

To make this scope more versatile, I’ve ordered two more eyepieces, a 2X Barlow and a 8mm to 24mm zoom, for starters. The Celestron heavy duty altazimuth tripod complements this scope perfectly. I can’t imagine using this scope without the precise controls for elevation and lateral adjustments on the tripod.

It’s perfect for birding and/or the beginning astronomer, and it’s priced just right.

The optics are clear and bright, focusing is easy. Identifying far-away timid birds is possible with this scope. A high quality 12 power binocular would have difficulty at extreme ranges where this scope shines. The craters on the moon are really sharp and well-defined. I can’t wait for a clearer night to have a look at the stars!

I should have bought this scope sooner!

Flying 4905 May 6th, 2012 (#)

The only other telescope I have owned was a tiny, cheapo K-mart thing that I had when I was 13. With it I was able to make out the moons of Jupiter, however, which was utterly fascinating.

Fast forward many years, I just purchased the Celestron C90 scope, and it’s a whole ‘nother animal. Comes with all the accessories you will need except a tripod, including a handy backpack style soft case.

The dovetail mount is drilled and tapped to fit any standard tripod. Comes with 45 degree image erector, Plossl type eyepiece, lens covers, a sighting scope, lens cloth, etc.

I bought this unit to use as a terrestrial spotting scope, and for the price it is a remarkable unit. It has a quality look and heavy weight feel that is impressive for a scope in this price range. These catadioptric-style scopes have a couple of real advantages vs. traditional, refactor type spotting scopes.

First, the C90 uses common 1.25″ astronomic eyepieces, of which there are multitudes of them in the aftermarket to choose from (although the 32mm eyepiece that is included is quite good, this was a nice surprise). Secondly, the C90 is capable of providing very good images at focal lengths (i.e. high magnification) that leave regular spotting scopes in the dust.

I did a quick test of the unit mounted on a Bogen tripod and pointed it at Jupiter on a night with about a quarter moon. To my surprise, I could faintly make out the bands on the planet disk itself. With a set of filters I’m sure the color bands would have been even more evident.

Views of the moon were contrasty, very bright and quite sharp. The focusing knob, at the rear of the main scope tube, is very precise and has a nice feel/resistance to its motion. To be sure, the C90 would make a dandy backyard astronomic telescope, although a motorized astro tripod would be necessary to truly enjoy star-gazing with it.

Informal daytime terrestrial viewing with various eyepieces showed crisp, contrasty images at magnifications twice that of typical refractor spotting scopes in this price range. A bonus: the rear case of the C90 is threaded for cameras using the T-mount system, and given the right tripod and camera setup, can provide quite impressive photographic results.

Recommended accessories for this wonderful little scope – a Celestron “zoom” eyepiece, to minimize swapping out single-focal-length eyepieces; also, a sturdy, high-quality tripod of either the camera or the astronomical variety, depending on your needs.

SUMMARY: A very capable, sturdy spotting/astro scope for a very attractive price. I’m super pleased with the Celestron C90, and it is a pleasure to own and use.

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