CE­LE­STRON TRAILSEEKER 80mm, £375

Bird Watching (UK) - - Gear - RE­VIEWED BY MATT MER­RITT

CE­LE­STRON’S TRAILSEEKER SCOPE of­fers a cheaper al­ter­na­tive to their pop­u­lar Re­gal range, so ex­actly what do they have to of­fer? In terms of de­sign, it’s per­haps a lit­tle un­ex­cep­tional look­ing, but none the worse for that. It’s sleek, and cov­ered with solid rubber armour. There’s a click-stopped ro­tat­ing col­lar, a lens hood, and on a tri­pod it felt well­bal­anced. Weight isn’t an is­sue, ei­ther – if you’re go­ing to carry an 80mm scope around, this cer­tainly isn’t any heav­ier than most. There’s a twist-lock to hold the 20x-60x eye­piece in place, and the zoom con­trol is well tex­tured for easy grip, and around two fin­gers wide. The eye­cup it­self is com­fort­able enough to use, and stayed in place well, but twists up and down a lit­tle stiffly. Fo­cus­ing is pleas­antly pre­cise, thanks to a split fo­cus wheel – both the main and fine fo­cus wheels are around a fin­ger wide and tex­tured, al­though it would be nice if they were sep­a­rated more. They’re on the right top of the scope, and the main wheel takes a lit­tle over four turns from close fo­cus to in­fin­ity, trav­el­ling smoothly and only mod­er­ately stiffly. In most con­di­tions, the 80mm ob­jec­tive lens per­formed well, gath­er­ing plenty of light and pro­duc­ing an im­age that is bright and true to life in terms of colour, with good sharp­ness right to the edges. There was some chro­matic aber­ra­tion against very bright light, mainly when track­ing a mov­ing bird, and in twi­light I did start to find things a bit murky at higher mag­ni­fi­ca­tions, but as al­ways with zooms, I did most of my bird­ing in the 25x-35x range any­way. The same goes for field of view – there is a cer­tain amount of ‘tun­nel vi­sion’ up over 45x, but you’re un­likely to use that a great deal. Most of the time, this scope does a great job when watch­ing wide vis­tas of wa­ter or mud­flat.

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