I enjoy astronomy and own a large refractor, C5 spotting scope, and digital SLR camera. I bought this scope looking for something highly portable, weatherproof, and useful for nature photography and astronomy. For visual use it's a great scope, but I think I would have been better off with pair of binoculars and a larger camera lens.
I had the misfortune to drop and break a Regal 65 my first week with it, and got to test the no-fault warranty right away. Communication from Celestron was not as good as I would have liked, but sure enough a new one quietly arrived about a month later. This scope is heavy and impossible to balance, especially with a camera attached to it. To avoid another catastrophe, I primarily use it with a CG5 dovetail bar on a Vixen mount attached to my camera tripod. Camera and video heads simply aren't up to the task.
As nice as the optics may be in this scope, it can't be used at prime focus. Views are not color-free with the included eyepiece, and this is especially noticeable photographing the moon. It deserves a better eyepiece, but finding one has been frustrating. The Baader Hyperion Zoom, which can be used with Celestron's Ultima scopes, doesn't work with the Regal. Many eyepieces don't physically fit all the way into the focuser, and so won't reach infinity focus. I'll probably end up with 2 fixed length eyepieces for this scope, one for visual use and one for photography, but the search continues.
Eyepieces that do work won't fit after a filter is attached. The threads in front of the objective lens work with 72mm camera filters, though Celestron indicates this is a coincidence of the manufacturing process. Despite being rugged and weatherproof, I feel more comfortable with an easy to replace protector filter in front of the glass. The 2 speed focuser is also good when it works, but on my scope at least it seizes randomly.
The views through a 17mm wide angle eyepiece, day or night, are pure luxury, but the impossibility of using 1.25" filters make the Regal useful only for *very* casual astronomical use. Secretly I had hoped I could also use the Regal as a guidescope for astrophotography, but again, the eyepiece compatibility problems make that impossible. The weight of the scope, camera, tripod, and Vixen dovetail and mount system make my photography setup heavier than I can realistically haul around on a nature trail. I will be trying longer eyepieces for photographic use in the future, but visual use is where this scope really excels. (Posted on 7/5/12)
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