Celestron C70 Mini Mak Spotting Scope Review
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- Great image quality
- Included tabletop tripod is good quality
- Accepts any 1.25-inch eyepiece
- Narrow field of view
- Must find a way to get the tripod off the ground
when you use it
- Not weather or fogproof
Welcome to my take on the Celestron C70 Mini Mak Maksutov Spotting Scope. This spotting scope strays a bit from the common path, since it makes use of the rare Maksutov-Cassegrain catadioptric design. If you aren’t familiar with those terms, be sure to click the links to our glossary to find out more about them.
The C-70 Mini Mak offers you the use of a large 70mm objective lens and an angled eyepiece. Unfortunately, there is no peep hole or finderscope to make image acquisition easier. This model’s eye relief is a very generous 22mm, making the scope quite easy to use with or without spectacles.
What Comes in the Box?
Of course, you’ll want to know what you get for your money. Celestron includes the following items in the box:
- The Celestron C70 Mini Mak Spotting Scope itself
- Nylon Backpack
- Lens Cloth
- Tabletop Tripod
The included accessories are quite nice, even the tripod. The only drawback is the small size of the tabletop tripod. It’s great at shooting ranges where you have a bench to rest the scope on, but if you plan on using the Mini Mak for backyard astronomy, you’ll need to find some way to get the tripod off the ground. Unless, of course, you want to lay on your stomach and check out the planets. Your call.
What’s the Magnification of the C70 Mini Mak?
This glass offers exceptional magnification with its integrated variable zoom eyepiece. Magnification can be adjusted from 25X to 75X, without even a hint of chromatic aberration in the image. More powerful magnifications are slightly dimmer, but it’s still more than enough for viewing the moon, the planets, or even wildlife during low-light conditions. Just don’t count on getting a great view of nebulae with the scope.
Unfortunately, you won’t get a very wide field of view with the C70 Mini Mak. At top magnification, you’ll only be able to see about 37 feet of terrain from 1,000 yards. With 25X magnification, you should be able to enjoy a still narrow 68 feet of land or sky.
Close focus is quite good, allowing you to get a clean, crisp image of objects as close as 16 feet.
How Easy is the Glass to Use?
This spotting scope is a breeze to use. The focus wheel is located directly on the right side of the scope, and is very simple to use. Adjusting the magnification is just a matter of twisting the eyepiece. Both wheels are knurled and large enough to use with or without gloves.
What’s the Light Gathering Capability Like on the Spotting Scope?
This all depends on which eyepiece you use, since the Mini Mak allows you to use any 1.25-inch eyepiece. The included variable zoom eyepiece is just multicoated, which minimizes the spotting scope’s transmittance a bit.
The scope’s twilight factor isn’t listed, but the spotting scope is great for backyard and amateur astronomy, so it’s quite good. I’ve been able to view the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and even the Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter.
How Are the Optics and Focus on This Model?
As previously stated, this uses a quite different design frommost spotting scopes. There are no prisms incorporated, which eliminates the concern of phase shift and means there isn’t a need for phase correction coating. The optics are very good quality, even if they aren’t fully multicoated.
The focus and magnification wheels work superbly, offering just enough friction to prevent accidental adjustments while still allowing both controls to move smoothly and easily.
What’s the Housing Like on the Spotting Scope?
This spotting scope isn’t the smallest on the market, but it’s definitely up there. The metal housing is lightweight, but there’s no shock-absorbing rubber to offer protection and a good grip when your hands are gloved or damp. Then again, Celestron probably doesn’t intend for you to use this spotting scope handheld.
How Durable is the C70 Mini Mak?
Even though it’s covered by a limited lifetime warranty, this spotting scope isn’t as rugged as I would like. The optics chamber isn’t sealed for water protection, nor is it nitrogen-purged to prevent fogging. This particular scope is not fogproof or waterproof, and it isn’t shockproof either. You’ll have to take good care of this spotting scope to get the most life out of it.
On the plus side, the included backpack offers padding to protect the C70 Mini Mak when you’re transporting it.