Posted By Mark Mittlesteadt
I could easily make out Cassini’s division in Saturn and at least 4 cloud bands on Jupiter as well as gorgeous details on the moon. I’ve read other’s comments about this scope’s inability to resolve much detail and that the views “mush out” at anything above 60-80X magnification (which one would expect from an achromatic refractor of this length), yet I pushed it to 120X with a 10mm EP and a Barlow and it still maintained very sharp images.
The field of view is very wide indeed. With the supplied 25mm EP, this scope engulfs all three stars of Orion’s belt in the same FOV. Even the Great Orion Nebula was still quite sharp at 120X and very bright and clean, with the 4 stars of the trapezium clearly defined. Chromatic aberration is minimal. It is vaguely noticeable on very bright objects such as the moon and planets…with a hint of either purple or yellow (only at the very fringe on one side of the object, or the other, depending on how you move about the EP). There is no other discernable coloration of objects…no purple or blue tones with anything. Aside from the fringe color, I get the same colors as my SCT.
In comparison to my Meade 8” LX50 SCT…the Astroview has sharper optics and more contrast. My SCT has perfect collimation and beautiful views…and of course a larger aperture so it should resolve more detail, but in side by side comparisons the Astroview’s optics reveal crisper and more defined views at about the same magnification.
The Astroview (EQ3?) mount is very solid and moves smoothly, but some parts of it are cheesy and I wouldn’t use it for astrophotography…but it is very solid, though stiff. The aluminum tripod legs are not very stable when full extended (as one would expect), but really very solid when fully retracted (and this does work if you sit while observing) and overhead views are not really hindered as this is a short tube…not the monolithic 4 foot long focal length refractor. I found a happy medium in height versus stability with the tripod and still comfortably view while standing.
Overall this entire scope setup is a steal at $399, on sale at Orion. There are some things I don’t like about the scope and mount and I will have a complete review of the entire setup identifying the pros and cons…and yes there are a few cons, but not anywhere near enough to not recommend this scope.