A class of regularization methods using unbounded regularizing operators is considered for obtaining stable approximate solutions for ill-posed operator equations. With an a posteriori as well as an priori parameter choice strategy, it is shown that the method yields optimal order. Error estimates have also been obtained under stronger assumptions on the the generalized solution. The results of the paper unify and simplify many of the results available in the literature. For example, the optimal results of the paper includes, as particular cases for Tikhonov regularization, the main result of Mair (1994) with an a priori parameter choice and a result of Nair (1999) with an a posteriori parameter choice. Thus the observations of Mair (1994) on Tikhonov regularization of ill-posed problems involving finitely and infinitely smoothing operators is applicable to various other regularization procedures as well. Subsequent results on error estimates include, as special cases, an optimal result of Vainikko (1987) and also recent results of Tautenhahn (1996) in the setting Hilbert scales.