on December 4, 2014
Amazing telescope. I have used a number of telescopes and this is one of the best based on flexibility, ease of use and performance. When mounted on a simple Eq. tracking mount I am getting better pictures than with my C925 that has been a significant source of disappointment. For this price there is no better telescope in the market.
Just edited my original review to add a few photos I took last winter, including lovely comet Lovejoy. These photos are from a really dark place and were processed with Photoshop. However, I just needed a 1-minute exposure at 6400 ISO with my Canon DSLR connected directly to the rear of the telescope (no diagonal). Then I mounted the telescope on a regular Eq. Mount (an additional advantage of this telescope is that it is very light so no heavy duty mount is required... however it needs to be properly aligned and you need to be careful not to touch the camera, telescope or mount when taking a photo to avoid vibration). When I bought this telescope I was needing the equivalent of a 400mm to 600mm lens for my Canon DSLR. These lenses cost several thousand dollars so I bought instead this telescope as it was a very low risk investment compared to the potential benefits. As you can see it really paid off....
on March 6, 2010
I bought this telescope so that I would have something to look at the sky with when I travel to observatories in the northern and southern hemispheres. For the price this telescope is a pretty good value; it's portable (nicely fits into my suitcase) and reasonably powerful. It's great for looking at star clusters which need a wide field of view to fit the whole thing into view. This was the first telescope I've had where I could fit the entire Pleiades cluster into the field of view. At home, it's a great telescope since it's fast to set up and take outside for a few minutes. You may not think about it, but the amount of work to set up a telescope will translate directly into how much you use it.
The only con that I see with the telescope is that the tripod it comes with is fairly unstable; it's a regular camera tripod. It may be a bit frustrating trying to center on objects since it's a bit wobbly and hard to precisely center on something since it flexes a bit as well. Centering with the higher magnification eyepiece is even more tricky. I found that a different tripod I had for my camera works a bit better. Someone buying this for casual use may not notice, but the image quality does degrade toward the edges of the field of view; that's to be expected since it has such fast optics and wide field of view.
on March 17, 2013
This 70mm refractor has been great fun to use. First, the negative. I give it 4 stars because, as stated in other reviews, the finder scope and the included tripod leave a lot to be desired. I replaced the tripod immediately with a much larger, sturdier tripod with a quick-release. The spotting scope needs to be adjusted constantly; I find it difficult to focus and honestly not much use around any amount of light pollution.
Now, the positive: I don't have much trouble finding bright stars by dead reckoning and then hopping from there. I've found the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn with no trouble at all, and what we see there is fantastic! Jupiter's moons and Saturn's rings are beautifully distinct. Mizar A & B and Alcor are easily distinguishable, along with stars down to 10th or 11th magnitude.
I also love bird-watching, and the upright image diagonal gives great views of the local avians with a pretty decent near-focus (5.8m) for that purpose.
The scope is very light (1.5kg) but seems quite well put together, and assembling it for use is easy and quick. In fact, we realized that it's light and compact enough to fit into a camping backpack, which hopefully means we'll get a LOT of mileage out of it in exotic places.
The eyepieces, as someone else mentioned, are standard 1.25" size also used by the much larger scopes I've had my eye on, meaning I'm not afraid to invest in high-quality upgrades.
They say the best scope is the one you use most. This scope puts up absolutely no barriers to taking it out to starwatch as much as possible. I was a little hesitant to buy it, but now I really wish I'd bought it a much sooner. Great value for a great price.
on December 25, 2010
I have to say, I am very impressed. The packaging was perfect, and the delivery was very fast with this product. This made the perfect gift for my 11 yr old son, and he loves the fact that it came with its own travel bag, so that he can take it with him every where he goes. Oh, and I looked at the sky from it as well, and the stars and the moon could not look any more beautiful. I am very happy with this item.
on December 26, 2014
Boyfriend surprised me with this for Christmas. So far I love it. I'm new to star-gazing and astronomy, but I feel very comfortable using this telescope and am blown away by the clarity.
on July 25, 2013
Ok, I didn't buy this scope for stargazing or bird watching... I do astrophotography and was looking for a lightweight, low price guide scope. This fits the bill perfectly. The optics are not the greatest, but I didn't expect that (this is partly why I gave it 3 stars btw). But it's very lightweight, and cheaper than the most popular of guidescopes, the ST80. Plus, you get a free case, very handy! One other reason I gave it 3 stars is the tripod. I don't use it, so it's no bother to me. But it's pretty wobbly, and the tripod head is not very smooth at all (and has lots of play in it). I recommend tossing it out and getting a decent photo tripod.
on April 24, 2012
I purchased this telescope for my daughter (6 years old) to use for star gazing and general observation. The written setup instructions aren't that clear so utilize the DVD they provide. It's very suitable for the price I paid!
on September 13, 2015
The thing to remember - especially when reading the comments about the tripod - is this is a travel telescope, not a permanent setup. I say that because the tripod works perfectly for what it is designed for: to pack it into the nifty little backpack and take it to a remote location to be set up. Are there better tripods out there? Yes. But this one does just fine as a travel tripod. I had an issue setting the viewing angle once I had set the tripod up - specifically, whenever I would get an object into the viewfinder, tightening the screws to hold the telescope in that place would cause the tripod to subtly move just enough to move the object out of the frame. But I quickly discovered a workaround: I could adjust the LEGS of the tripod instead of the screws, and the objects I was looking at would stay right where they were supposed to.
The telescope itself is high quality, and the optics really are nice. It comes with a 10mm lens and a 20mm lens, and though the temptation is to jump right into the 20mm lens, the 10 actually offers better views of some celestial objects, because higher power makes getting a good eyeful more difficult. That said, in the picture below, I was focusing just east of Polaris, and I was using the 20mm lens. The shocking thing is that photo was snapped with AN IPHONE, not a special camera with one-minute exposure and special lenses, but a vanilla iPhone 6 held up to the eyepiece of the telescope. It's not an earth-shattering image, but the fact that this telescope - even using the higher-powered 20mm lens - can focus enough that a crappy old iPhone camera can capture such detail is kind of amazing.
The setup of the telescope is a snap. Everything fits in one place only, and if even that is confusing, the instructions are clear. Not only that, but there are tips in the instruction manual for getting the most out of the telescope, which I found quite helpful. The viewfinder lens is particularly helpful, because it just fits right onto the side of the telescope, and when you can see something in the viewfinder, it is also in the telescope's main optics, of course much magnified.
Focusing is a simple matter of turning a dial right above the lens, and the telescope will bring whatever you're looking at into focus.
When I was done, everything fit nicely into the backpack. I'm looking forward to going next weekend to a more remote location (I only THOUGHT I lived in the boonies until I realized just how much light pollution was everywhere. I wanted to view Jupiter and Saturn, but there were neighbors' security lights in the way, so I have to go out even further into the boonies to get that kind of view. When I do, I'll post the iPhone pictures of it here.
* Solid construction of the telescope itself
* Easy assembly
* Very shallow learning curve
* High-quality optics
* Extreme portability
* The tripod is clearly designed as much for portability as for stability
Overall, this telescope more than earned its five stars, and I don't believe you'll find one of equal quality for a similar low price. I received this telescope at a discount in exchange for a review. I did not promise a positive review, but I'm truly impressed with the value of this telescope. It earned every star I gave it.
on November 4, 2011
I'm in Afghanistan, we decided to get a telescope for looking at the stars and planets out here since there's much less light pollution in western Afghanistan than there is anywhere in the US. At $60 with free shipping the price was right, and it only took a week and a half to get out here. Setup was easy, and right away I was able to look at Jupiter and see four of its moons. Then I looked at our moon and saw crisply defined craters. Haven't looked at much else yet. The tripod, as noted by others, is a little buggy. But the price is right, and you can get a better tripod pretty cheaply. I probably won't bother, we have enough stuff out here that I can put the tripod on top of that I don't really need to extend the tripod legs fully.
on January 7, 2016
I love astronomy, and this was my first telescope. I know there's pictures that were posted by another rater on here, BUT believe me, I have yet to see images of that magnitude; and quite frankly I don't think this telescope has the capability. Now, that being said for $70, in my opinion, its a good deal; considering decent telescopes are 500-1000 dollars. You can expect to see:
-Craters on the moon beautifully
-Jupiter and its four Galilean moons (however be warned you cannot see it in detail, you cannot see the giant red spot, and the moons look like tiny stars)
-Venus, and if it's in a crescent period you can see what appears to be a tiny crescent moon, faintly however!
-Mars (faintly as well, none of these planets cover your view by any means)
Things that I don't like about the telescope:
-It can be very hard to find the planets, the fine adjustments just aren't as fine as you'd need them to be.
-The spotting scope (the one used to get your main scope in aiming range) is very hard to zero in, it comes with three screws holding it in place which prove to be very difficult to adjust with.
-Flimsy tripod, but I mean for the price it can hardly be a complaint at all.
All in all- its a great beginners telescope, and it can be used to spot things at a distance as well; definitely would recommend this to amateur astronomers like myself!