Celestron C5 Review: Spotting Scope Which Chosen by NASA!

In today’s Spotting scope market, this Celestron c5 would be overlooked by birders due to its large proportions, heavy weight and not being waterproof. The fact that its optical excellence is the reason it was chosen by NASA for many space shuttle missions clearly says something about it. 

Game over, then? Not so fast! So, without further ado let’s start the Celestron c5 review-

Celestron C5 Review: Outlooks

Celestron C5

Specifications | Magnification: 50x; Objective Lens: 127 mm; Eye Relief: 22 mm; Focus Distance: 20 ft; Linear FOV @1000 yds: 53 ft; Length: 11 Inches; Weight: 96 Oz.

Build Quality

Even though the C5 is bulkier it is much shorter than many 65 mm spotting scopes out there. The body is made out of water-resistant aluminum and metal. The scope is bulky and heavyweights nearly 2.8kg after being assembled. 

But the overall scope build quality is really good, otherwise, the scope wouldn’t have been able to maintain its weight. The weight distribution between the whole scope is balanced.

Optics Quality

The C5 is a Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (SCT), a type that belongs to a class of telescopes that uses both refractive and reflective elements in combination – a catadioptric.

In this case, the main mirror focuses on a secondary which in turn reflects the light through a hole in the primary, so it is indeed a variant on the Cassegrain; a corrector plate at the front supports the secondary mirror and corrects aberrations in the primary optics.

  • The C5 uses a premium multi-coating technology and Celestron calls this premium coating technology ‘StarBright XLT’, as distinguished from the earlier ‘StarBright’ coatings.
  • StarBright XLT employs multi-layer mirror coatings and multiple layers of magnesium and hafnium fluoride on the corrector plate.
  • Celestron also uses a better, more transmissive glass for the corrector than in previous models.
  • Celestron claims that 83.5% transmission for the system, up from 72% for the original StarBright coatings.

In short, you will get jaw-dropping excellent-quality pictures.


Like most of the Cassegrains C5 focuses internally by moving the main mirror. This has advantages over any exterior focus. 

  • For example, it keeps the tube sealed, the eyepiece stays in one place, and provides lots of focus. 

While this does come with its fair share of disadvantages also. 

  • For example, it tends to move the image while changing the focus direction.

This is called image-shift due to this the mirror-tilt can move the sweet spot and degrades the image when you back out. But let me assure you that Celestron C5 the current model has none of these mentioned issues. The focus transition is buttery smooth. 

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Usage Of The Scope

You might ask why this part. Well, the answer is you can do astrophotography with Celestron C5 as well. That means you can use the scope in both day and night.

  • In the daytime, you can get as much as 100x zoom without any chromatic aberration. The images are sharp and crisp. 
  • Generally, at night time cool-down is slower than a typical doublet refractor but not as long as a Maksutov which has a much thicker corrector plate. 

Still, slow cool-down limits the C5’s use as a quick-look telescope.

I noticed that the C5 view through a lowish power (32mm Plossl) was unpleasant due to the secondary mirror shadow, especially on the Moon.

  • The C5 is an excellent telephoto spotting scope for the budget.
  • For astrophotography, you might face these issues.
  • Off-axis aberrations and arcing reflection from bright stars.


  • Price.
  • Great lens and optics.
  • Excellent focus.
  • It can be used at night.


  • Bulky.
  • Heavy.

Celestron c5 Review Summary

In our honest opinion, the Celestron C5 holds high regard. They have been here for quite a while. C5 was used in NASA’s space shuttles. It showed time and time that the C5 is still relevant.

If you are in this budget range and don’t mind the weight or bulk without thinking for a second pull the trigger and buy the C5. You will regret nothing. Be sure to tune in for more spotting scope reviews.