Summary: The Celestron VistiPix IS 70 I purchased failed not long after warranty. Contacting customer support to get it repaired was a brick wall. I was willing to pay since I knew it was out of warranty. Repair charges were going to be equal to the $499.99 I paid for the unit. My suggestion is to stay away from Celestron products. It may work fine while it is working but getting service is difficult and expensive at best.
Summary: This scope provides the versatility of both a viewing scope and a digital camera (still shots and video); if you need both on an excursion, this might be a good alternative. The camera function provides an electronic zoom feature and an electronic focus assist scale which makes its use very easy, and the settings and controls are very intuitive. The lens quality is excellent and the digital and optical viewfinders offer tremendous versatility.
Review of Celestron IS 70 Vista Pix Imaging Spotting Scope
Pathfinder "John", Amazon
20 February 2009
Summary: I like the VistaPix imaging spotting scope, but my short experience with it does suggest some improvements are needed: (1) As with many imaging systems, the digital camera is attached to the side and does not take advantage of the large direct-view lens itself. Also, (2) the lens is a fixed focus, not a variable telescopic lens.
Summary: very disappointed in the high magnification pictures taken with this unit. it is a hit and miss on the focus... mostly out of focus.... rarely get a good in focus pic with high mag'tion. i always us a solid tripod when taking high mag pictures........ on the other side of the coin it takes good in focus pictures on the low magnification lens........but of course i purchased the celestron for the high magnification lens.....
Summary: I was hesitant to purchase the IS70 after reading other reviews, escpecially about the problems encountered with batteries and not being able to get the units to work at first. Ours came in, worked as advertised from the moment we turned it on, and has been taking great pictures every since. We've now taken about 100 pictures, and are still on the second set of batteries.
Summary: Upon receiving this hybrid camera and using it for a while I must say I am pleasantly surprised at the images shot. I have taken pictures in all different lighting conditions and it performs well even at dusk. However, if the light is very bright, White colored subjects will exhibit Purple Fringing. Avoid them at high noon. Color saturation is reasonable but my camera is a little heavy to magenta.
Summary: I just got this scope and am very pleased with some of my photos...but...the focus VERY touchy, the keypad buttons are hard to press, and it eats AA batteries like crazy. I've gotten some great shots but focusing is awkward and very hard to hold. With no focus lock, even the slightest movement causes me to lose focus. The shutter release cord is too short and the placement is goofy.