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on April 5, 2013
My name is Chris, I'm the guy who put up some of the customer images you see at the top of the page. I just wanted to write a review for this telescope because I really enjoy using it and I hope others can see the same things I have. When I was younger my parents had bought me a telescope (it was obviously a budget telescope because I was so young at the time) but since that time I've been fascinated with looking at the stars. Since purchasing this telescope I've been able to view Jupiter, Jupiter's moons (shown as little white dots next to the planet), Saturn's rings, Orion Nebula (takes a little to adjust your eyes to see it and it needs to be dark outside, also a hydrogen-beta filter helps a lot), as well as a couple double stars around the night sky. I've only owned this telescope for about two months or so, so the sky hasn't had much time to change but from what I've seen so far I really enjoy using this telescope. It works fairly well in lit areas, but obviously MUCH better when its really dark outside. Perfect for use in one's backyard, and especially amazing when used on camping trips where the night sky really shows itself. You are able to view the Andromeda galaxy fairly well as well as tons of other stuff. The software sent with this telescope (Starry Night I believe is the name) is really simple to use and really helpful when tracking objects in the sky. Long story short this telescope rocks and definitely worth the money.
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on April 12, 2016
I rarely write reviews, but felt compelled to after a few days using this telescope. Before purchasing, I had looked through a ton of reviews on different scopes and did a bunch of research on what to buy. I actually went with an 8" dob originally and found it to be a bit too cumbersome and took up too much space in my apartment and I had to return it.

This telescope on the other hand is super portable, has a fairly small footprint, and actually looks nice enough to keep in the living room. The tripod is nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. I'm still trying to master the EQ mount, but really like the controls on it, which have allowed me to track objects, planets, the moon, fairly easily at high magnification. Prior to this I had used an az camera mount which I found more difficult as the stars don't move across the sky in a linear XY axis.

Setting up the scope and tripod, balancing it, calibrating it, etc., took some time, but was fairly straight forward. I even had to collimate the mirrors for the first time and didn't find the process too difficult after watching a video Orion had put online.

I've only recently caught the astronomy bug and am really enjoying this scope so far. For the money I think it's a great entry level scope. My only suggestion is I would recommend picking up a 2x Barlow lens with this. This will allow better planetary viewing.
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on May 18, 2013
I'll start with simply saying that this is a great first reflector telescope, and if you're looking for one, look no further.

Got this in the mail Thursday after ordering Tuesday on standard shipping. Orion ships quick. The box on the outside got ruined by rain, but it's double-packed so no harm to the inner box or it's contents.

The disassembled scope is quite overwhelming at first, but I got it together in about an hour or so. Forgoing the included instructions, I instead used the Internet age to its full advantage. Orion has a very nice assembly video on Youtube as well as one for collimation of the telescope and there are some good ones by David Fuller about how to align and use the equatorial mount. The included screwdriver was very poorly deburred, so be careful of the sharp edges or use your own.

Collimation (aligning the mirrors) is very simple; however, one of the tools required is not included (a 2mm allen wrench). Fortunately, the secondary mirror which requires it was already collimated, so it just took a bit of fiddling with some knobs on the back and I was done in about a minute.

One of the first things you notice about the telescope is the sheer quality of the optics. They're absolutely stunning. The mirrors look like they've been sterilized by surgeons or something, it's almost unbelievable. The mirrors are almost sci-fi shiny, and the coated lenses included are very nice.

The telescope is reasonably portable and after complete assembly can be readily dismantled to about 5 components: the tripod, the scope, the two slow-motion knobs, and the counterweight. It's heavy, about 20 to 25 pounds, almost all located in the sturdy steel tripod mount and the counterweight. I had heard complaints of view shaking and there is some but it fades very quickly, so as long as you're not trying to stargaze in the middle of a tornado, it will not be a problem.

Now on to the view. I got my telescope with a moon filter and a sun filter and let me say... get a 2x Barlow with this too. I've only had a few breaks in the clouds in the last day or so, but the few times I did manage to get it out, I learned the magnification leaves a little to be desired. I have a 70's era 2-inch refractor telescope and it gets a bit more power than this, so you'll want to get a Barlow for it to squeeze that extra power out of it. It's enough to see Saturn's rings pretty clearly, and get some nice views of the moon, but it needs some more OOMPH. I just purchased a Celestron 1.25" 2x Barlow (which was over $20 cheaper than a similar Orion setup) and hopefully that should fix the issue.

Where the scope triumphs, however, is picture clarity. There is NO blur, at all. Though the magnification is low, the picture clarity and contrast allow you to see at least one of Saturn's moons. which are difficult to see because of Saturn's brightness and proximity. This was visible even through light atmospheric haze. The mirrors themselves are incredibly capable and should be able to handle any lens you want to throw on there. Brightness is great too, so no need to worry about dimming with additional lenses

The included setup along with an Orion solar filter is FANTASTIC for observing the Sun. The picture is so crisp that I first thought the sunspots were just dust on the lens, as though they were physically in front of me. The solar filter also compensates for the yellow tint that the Sun gets from Earth's atmosphere so you can observe the Sun in roughly true color.

I have only two gripes with the tripod. One is the slow-motion knobs. They feel very flimsy and springy; the reason for this is actually a trick used for film cameras in which a rubber band is used to move the tripod in order to reduce camera shakiness. It was a nice thought, but the springiness can be actually detrimental to image stability if you're not careful with it, and it doesn't feel very nice sometimes. The other issue is that lubrication seemed to be placed in places it didn't need to be and not in places it did. Most of the black-painted parts on the tripod are sticky as a result of this, and pretty much all the screws need some lube. Easy fix, but probably shouldn't be necessary.

I haven't messed with the Starry Night software as I use Stellarium already, but I'm sure it'll be useful for some.

All in all, despite the few issues, this is a fantastic telescope and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a quality entry-level telescope. I'd give it 4 1/2 stars out of five, but I only get whole numbers to work with, so it'll get the five for sheer picture quality. Have fun in space!
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on April 10, 2014
Firstly, I am an utter noob when it comes to telescopes.

Secondly, I have wanted a "real" telescope for a long time.

Thirdly, one of my sons (who is 10) wanted one for his birthday because he has become interested in astronomy.

So, all those things combined together to help me pull the trigger on a scope. I wanted to get him one that would allow him to see more than just the moon, but I didn't want to spend a small fortune in case his interest fades. After a ton of research and review reading, my wife and I thought that the Starblast 4.5 EQ would be a great "beginner" scope. The only accessory we bought with it was a moon filter, so this review only includes what came in the box used with that filter.

My son hasn't seen it yet, so if I remember, this review will be updated when we actually give it to him and have had a chance to run it through it's paces, but "dad" (me) has taken it out twice - once to assemble everything (it was overcast that night so I couldn't have used it even if I wanted to), and once on a clear night to "check the optics" (honest!).

All I can say is that, from my untrained eye, and utter cluelessness about how to get the most out of this scope, after a 10 minute viewing session, I was amazed.

The moon was crisp and clear. I had used a simple, small refractor a LONG time ago, and that doesn't even compare to what I saw through the Starblast. I used that moon filter I bought and the details on the moon were still easy to see.

But I really wanted to see Jupiter. So I trained the scope on it using the finder and was able to see Jupiter and 4 of its moons! But the coolest thing by far was, after my eyes adjusted, I was able to make out the cloud banding! Man, that was something to see. I've seen pictures (and I wish this scope would deliver that kind of image, but come on, I paid < $200 for it so...) but seeing that in real life, through my own scope was something to behold.

So, after 10 minutes of use, here's what I would say:

Setup:
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1) Assembling the tripod and mount was easy following the included directions.
2) Setting up the scope was a bit more involved, partly because I had never done anything like that before and I wanted to make sure I got it right, but the video instructions here were invaluable in that regard. I followed along with the video and had it set up in short order.
3) Since I was just doing a quick viewing, I didn't care about aligning it with Polaris, etc. I could see the moon and Jupiter without aid so I pointed the scope and went at it.
4) Calibrating the finder is likewise easy - without using the EZ Finder, point the scope to a bright star you know so you can see it in the eyepiece, then look throgh the EZ Finder and adjust it until the red dot is on the star.
5) I'm not sure if I need to collimate the scope, but everything I looked at seemed to be focused well - more use will give me more info here

Usage:
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1) The finder is "iffy" - sometimes it turns on, and sometimes it doesn't. I've had to turn it off and on a few times to get the red dot to show up
2) The EQ mount works for our use so far. Focusing the eyepiece does cause it to shake enough that things bounce around, which makes it sort of difficult to get a crystal clear focus without making small adjustments, but I didn't expect rock solid so this doesn't bother me.
3) I was able to get a very clear image of the moon and Jupiter without making any adjustments to the optics (i.e. no collimation)
4) The EQ mount will take some practice to get used to, but I'm a noob so that's expected. The slow motion controls are essential and useful, and allow you to mount them on either side of the axis they control depending on what's comfortable for you.
5) Both eyepieces are nice. I used the 15mm eyepiece to find things and the 6mm one to zoom in on them.
6) All of this viewing took place in my driveway in the shadow of my neighbor's house caused by a streetlight. I can't wait to get this out in the country!

Quality:
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1) I have nothing to compare this to and no experience that would give me the ability to say "the optics are great!", but I will say this - the scope tube is well built, and I was able to see Jupiter and 4 of it's moons from my driveway.
2) The included eyepieces are nice - a 15mm for a larger view, and a 6 mm for a close up view. I'd like to get a 3mm eyepiece (or a Barlow) and try it out on Jupiter again.
3) The EQ mount isn't as sturdy as I'd like, but I got the EQ version because it was $50 cheaper than the Dobsonian version. Given what I can see through this scope, and the fact that I'm not planning on doing any "real" astrophotography with it, it suffices.
4) The EZ Finder II is touchy. Sometimes the red dot fails to come on, but when it's calibrated, it's pretty accurate. It will get your object in view no problem.

Overall, in the short time I've used this, I have been very impressed. It met every one of my expectations, and exceeded others. Seeing Jupiter's cloud bands and moons in person for the first time was pretty awesome, and made me appreciate everything I read in researching scopes.

The questions I'm asking myself now are:
1) Should I have gotten the Dobsonian version?
2) Should I get a motorized tracker?
3) Should I have gotten a "push to" version?
4) Should I have gotten a "goto" scope?
5) Should I have gotten a 20' long 24" Dobsonian with liquid nitrogen cooling and a 100 megapixel live imager with integrated astrophotography post processing for full WiFi PC control and automatic object centering and awesome images just short of Hubble??!?!?!?!?

I can get 1 and 2 through accesorizing, and if I want a "push to" capability, I'll get it when I get the 10" Dob. 4 could be an upgrade to 3, and 5 is a pipe dream.

But 20 years ago, this Starblast 4.5 was a pipe dream.

This scope hooked me in 10 minutes. What will it do for you?
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VINE VOICEon August 6, 2014
This is a great first scope. It exceeded my expectations.
First, setup was very easy. The instructions were helpful, but I used some of Orion's youtube videos and followed along with how they demonstrated setup of the scope. From opening the box to fully set up took about 20 minutes.

The tripod is sturdy and telescoping legs are secure and well made. The mount feels very well made, though the clutches feel a tad cheap, they still lock and unlock very easily.

The scope itself is rather simple, but has a sturdy well-made feeling to it.

Right away I was blown away by the images I was able to get of the Moon and Saturn. Seeing the rings blew me away, it was such a great quality image for the cost of the scope. It came with 2 (two) lenses, a 6mm and 15mm for differing views of celestial objects.

I did have an issue with the EZ finder finder scope. It would not light up, and contained no batteries. It was useless, and was very difficult to find objects without it. I contacted Orion and within a few days as replacement was sent to me and works well now. I was happy with their professionalism and customer service.

No collimation was needed, as the mirrors came aligned very nicely out of the box. It did include instructions on how to collimate and included a collimation cap.

This will be a great scope for years to come, my son looks forward to clear nights to look at the stars!!
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on January 21, 2016
This telescope is THE best one you will get in this price range. I bought a cheap one years ago for my kids and I, and it was nothing but junk and a disappointment. So I did a little research this time around, even asked at the planetarium in Columbia, SC. After getting their feedback, I knew what I had in mind, but didn't want to spend $500. So I did my searching online, and found this gem. It comes with two different viewing lenses and once you get it all set, calibrated, and balanced, MAN OH MAN! We can zoom on the moon and see the craters. A friend came to town from the city and we used this telescope on a nice, starry night, and he was amazed. My kids have had so much fun viewing through it, and so have I. If you really want to start off in the right direction with a moderately-priced, yet powerful scope, THIS one will keep you very impressed. I'm attempting to attach one picture I took though the lens with my cellphone.
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on December 25, 2015
Let me start with the bad. There are three bad things wrong with this of this telescope - the legs, the elevation control, and the lack of documentation included. The legs use a simple screw system to adjust the height. This makes height adjustment very difficult for one person to do alone. The elevation control is a bit is not a problem, it just that the torsion control is in the way. If I had a manual, I would know how to adjust and compensate. So since there was no manual or assembly instructions included, it was less than optimal to assemble. Fortunately, I could look at the picture that came with some operating instructions. The telescope as a whole is OUTSTANDING!!!!! I was able to see the moon and stars very clearly. The detail that this device captures is exceptional. I'm glad I purchased this. I just wish that I had purchased a PC camera attachment. But that'll be on the list of things to buy.
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on December 26, 2013
I've owned one of these telescopes, which I bought with the #08890 Premium Accessory Kit (see review for that kit), and I have to admit I'm impressed. Why? The Amazon.com package came in right on time and without a single ding in the outer box, (more to do with UPS really, but still they chose an excellent shipper), the parts were set in individual boxes and there was plenty of cushioning within one and all to keep them safe during their journey. The tripod is not one of those cheap, flimsy crap constructs that could have been made by a child, but this tripod is sturdy, easy to assemble, and fully adjustable for the perfect height anyone would need. The finder scope works great and I had no difficulty in setting it up and using it. Assembly was fast, fun, and educational - I suggest, strongly, reading everything that comes with the unit first, then assemble it and you will have a far better experience. I tried to put it up w/o reading ANY of the information - finished it and discovered the tube was on backwards! I could study the ground really close-up but the sky was nowhere to be found! The lenses that come with it gave a wonderful view of the moon and I spent hours enjoying this feather before moving on to Venus which is easy to find in my latitude, plus the eyepieces are wide so they don't hurt the eye when viewing. I kept my glasses on and found the eyepieces were plenty large enough to use with glasses and in the background light of a small town around me I was still able to focus on individual features on the moon with great success. First time out was a learning experience, as were the second thru fourth, but then I was able to use the scope in the dark and all controls became intuitive, so this would be a wonderful first users telescope and for the money I could not have done better. I paid under $230 for the unit and everything I needed to begin my astronomical observations was in the box! A great gift for anyone over 14 years of age - with but one slight caveat that I wouldn't want changed or "improved" - the telescope on the tripod is HEAVY and somewhat unwieldy, but that is due to the durable nature of the product, the counterweight is a lot to carry around by itself, but on the scope (where it belongs) it just adds that much more to the setup. No deductions for weight - sorry, I feel quality of construct is far more important than having to use the old arms to lift the unit and so forth. Color is great for both genders of user, and the paint is quality-it doesn't rub off when cleaned or anything!! (Yes this happened w/another item and it was upsetting)
For the price, the overall quality, inclusion of finder scope, tripod, written material, customer service provided by seller, packaging, shipping method, power of included lenses, and ease of assemble, mobility, and use make the Orion StarBlast 4.5 Equatorial Telescope the best one can purchase.
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on June 12, 2014
I got this as a companion to my daughter's firstscope 76mm so that I could view objects at the same time with her. First off the main tube is manageable and nice sized. It took me a few minutes to align the main mirror. I tested the 15mm and 6mm expanse eyepieces vs a celestron 15mm kellner and 6mm plossel on the Moon and Saturn. The field of view and eye relief were a big improvement on the 6mm expanse vs the plossel. The 15mm comparison was more subtle. The expanse had better contrast. The 114mm tube is great for the suburban/rural transition area I live in. I can see quite a fer more stars than I could through my daughters 76mm. Saturn was a lot more defined at 30x vs 50x on the smaller scope and I could see moons. At 75x it was really easy to see the rings. I used a barlow and hopped the power up to 150x and Saturn got bigger but not any more defined.

Don't even think about looking at the Moon without a filter through this telescope. It is way to bright. I could view the Moon without a filter with the 76mm but the 114mm blew out my vision for a few mins after a few seconds.

The mount really is junky. The slow motion controls constantly need tightening. Leveling can be achieved by using a bubble level in the tool tray. It vibrates a lot during focusing but, I was able to mitigate that with a 5 lb weight in the tool tray. The vibration makes 150x barely useable. The clutch bolts hamper movement as they bang into other parts of the mount making it impossible to keep the counter weight on the low side of the telescope. See this video for a solution that I came up with [...] . The markings on the declination read incorrectly and makes Polaris alignment hard. You can move the needle a bit to compensate for this issue. In the end you may be better off with a dobsonian mount version although you can orient the latitude to 90 degrees effectively making it into a Altitude / Azimuth mount like a dob.

Summary: The eyepieces are $140 and the tube that they sell for $150 are worth the $200. The mount is only barely functional.
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on January 21, 2017
A quick review... not a bad reflector for the money. The optics on the one I received are pretty good. The eyepieces alone are worth spending the money on the scope. They are not tele view quality but they are far from junk. I have two Orion scopes and a Skywatcher 10" dobsonian and this scope fills a niche in between the nicely. I would recommend to anyone buying this scope not to expect they are going to use the setting circles. No one really uses them anymore for the most part but they are far too small to be of any use on this model. The focuser is plastic butsturdy enough but if you did break it I think they are around 20-25.00 to replace it through Orion. Don't expect too see everything as it's a small apperature scope but overall I would recommend it, especially for someone starting out. I still have mine but I'm adding a dovetail and remounting on an altazimuth mount and doing away with the equatorial altogether.
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