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  1. #1
    Glenn Holliday's Avatar
    Glenn Holliday Guest

    Default Review: Bushnell Voyager 78-9440 (was Re: Seeking review of BushnellVoyager line)

    Several people responding to my original question suggested I post
    a review of this scope. I guess case studies may be useful?
    OK, here goes:

    The Bushnell Voyager 78-9440 is a classic trash scope.
    I got it for free. I paid too much.
    Still, after some useage it is not completely without good points.

    This is a simple 60 mm refractor. The optics seem fine to
    my amateur eye. Although the user's manual says it has
    ..9" eyepieces, and tells how to use the enclosed adapter
    with 1.25" eyepieces, my scope actually came with two
    1.25" eyepieces in 8 and 12.5 mm. The diagonal is built to
    take 1.25", and the adapter is for .9" eyepieces. So all
    I had to do was discard the adapter. This is all to the good.

    These are no-name eyepieces (literally - there is nothing at all
    printed on them beyond the focal length), A flimsy plastic-housing
    diagonal is included, which the manual describes as optional.
    There is no way to mount the eyepieces without the diagonal.

    Those are all the good features. They are good enough for
    observing the Moon. I find that's all I use this for in
    practice. Although 60mm is sufficient to see other targets, the
    bad features of this scope make it usuable for finding targets
    smaller (harder to aim at) than the Moon.

    The focus rack is good enough, though not as smooth as I'd like.
    With a little effort I am able to achieve focus that is as good
    as my aging eyes can tell.

    I somehow expected a 60mm telescope to bring in dimmer objects
    than my 35 mm binoculars. I know, with both eyes my brain has
    more light to work with. But even using the binoculars with
    one eye, I believe I can make out dimmer objects than I can
    with this scope.

    Naturally, I have almost never used the higher-power eyepiece
    with this scope. It does show more detail in lunar features,
    but the difference is subtle. A simple plastic Barlow tube and
    an erector tube also come with this scope. I have never bothered
    to take either out of its bag.

    Both the box and the user's manual gush over the hardwood tripod.
    In fact, the tripod in my box is aluminum. At full extension
    it is only approximately 4.5 feet tall, which means to aim at
    anything much above the horizon I have to lie on my back on the

    The mounting is a standard camera mount with pan and tilt.
    A nice smooth camera mount is undesirable, but can be used.
    This is not a nice smooth camera mount. It has both stick
    and slop. When I find a target I have to estimate how much
    to offset my aim to account for how much the mount is going
    to move after I lock it down and let go of it. The manual
    claims the mount has fine adjustment controls that permit me
    to track targets as they move. There are no such controls.
    This mount puts the trash in this trash scope.

    The second trash feature is the finder. A flimsy plastic
    5 x 24 mm scope mounted on the main tube, the finder has
    only 1 set of 3 adjustment screws. As far as I can tell
    after months of experiment, there is absolutely no relationship
    between how I turn the adjustments and how the finder moves.
    I have been completely unsuccessful aligning this finder
    with the main scope. The finder, for all useful purposes,
    does not exist.

    The result is that I have to aim the main tube by eye.
    It is extremely difficult to find a dim target with no working
    finder. This will proabably become easier as I learn the
    minor stars and become better at star hopping.

    An unusable mount, an unusable finder, a short tripod, and
    a user's manual that has little in common with the product
    make this a mostly unusable telescope. If I had it to do over
    again, I would not accept this free scope. I won't give it
    away - I would not saddle somebody else with this lemon.
    I have not yet brought myself to take it to the landfill, so
    I'll probably continue to set it up on good Moon viewing nights.

    So I don't yet own a real telescope. Someday I will
    buy one. The Bushnell Voyager 78-9440 will definitely
    make me avoid buying anything with the Bushnell name on it.

    Glenn Holliday

  2. #2
    Trane Francks's Avatar
    Trane Francks Guest

    Default Review: Bushnell Voyager 78-9440 (was Re: Seeking review of BushnellVoyager line)

    On 11/16/03 21:24 +0900, Glenn Holliday wrote:

    [ snip ]

    Your experience with the Bushnell reminds me of my experience
    using my first telescope (a 50mm Nashica) that, if anything, is
    worse than your Bushnell.

    Just don't let the Bushnell extinguish your love for the heavens,
    okay? There are plenty of people here who, when you're ready,
    will be happy to help you select the right telescope for you at a
    price you're happy to spend. Till then, keep working those binos!

    // Trane Francks Tokyo, Japan
    // Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

  3. #3
    Stephen Tonkin's Avatar
    Stephen Tonkin Guest

    Default Review: Bushnell Voyager 78-9440 (was Re: Seeking review of Bushnell Voyager line)

    Glenn Holliday <> wrote:

    Oh, how reminiscent of a post I made on the 114mm reflector version of
    the same trash that I posted here on 2001 Jan 14:

    --- begin repost ---
    Yesterday evening I went to dinner with some friends whose children were
    given a telescope for Christmas by a cousin -- they, the parents, wanted
    me to give it a once-over. The telescope itself is a Bushnell "Voyager"
    114mm reflector, approx. f/8, on an EQ-1 type equatorial.

    I didn't bother with the instruction sheet, but a glance at the tripod
    and mount was evidence that my friends (both of whom are extremely
    intelligent and practical people), had not understood the instructions.
    We sorted that out, then I had a look at the telescope itself.

    I was appalled at the build quality. The focuser, for example, is
    entirely made of plastic and has a 0.965" insert into the 1.25"
    drawtube. There was an enormous amount of slop and backlash, which was
    impossible to eliminate. The finder is approx. 20mm (more about that
    later). The supplied eyepieces are 20mm and 12mm Huyghenians and a 4mm
    SR. There is also a x3 non-achromatic Barlow.

    I suspected that it would not be collimated, so I peered down the
    drawtube. It wasn't obviously out, so I removed the 0.965" insert,
    perforated both ends of a 35mm film can to make a sighting tube, and
    checked again. It was immediately obvious that the focuser wasn't
    properly squared on -- but there was no facility for adjusting this. I
    tweaked the collimation as best I could, took the scope into the garden
    and set it up, then went indoors for dinner.

    An hour or so later, I went outside again and tried to point it at
    Jupiter. Objects are significantly dimmer in the finder than they are to
    the naked eye -- the derisory aperture is obviously stopped down even
    more -- I should have checked! There is a small hole/tube in the stalk
    that holds the finder -- I found it to be more useful than the finder

    Jupiter was disappointing in the 20mm, so I found M42 -- at least you
    could see some structure. Next stop Saturn. Well, at least you could see
    space between the rings and the planet, but the vibration was appalling
    when I was focusing, even with the 20mm e/p. The 12mm showed no more
    detail, but did introduce some false colour. This, I am happy to say,
    did not prevent the exclamations of "Wow!" when people had their first
    ever views of the ringed planet. The 4mm is essentially useless. I
    didn't even bother trying the Barlow.

    I did a quick star-test and was not surprised to find spherical

    No-one else fancied braving the cold, so we packed up and went indoors.

    Throughout all this, I was trying to be extremely tactful -- I don't
    think that there is much to be gained by telling youngsters that their
    cherished Christmas present is a crock of excrement. I shall offer to
    improve it and make it easier to use, but I am appalled! I have used
    many telescopes in my life, including some that included misconceived
    ideas of my own that have not exactly been a pleasure once put into
    practice, but this telescope has to be one of the (if not *the*) most
    difficult to use that I have ever come across. If I find it difficult,
    how the heck are people with no experience going to manage? And these
    are precisely the people at whom this telescope is targeted!

    Nuff said!

    Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

    --- end repost ---


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  4. #4
    Jon Isaacs's Avatar
    Jon Isaacs Guest

    Default Review: Bushnell Voyager 78-9440 (was Re: Seeking review of Bushnell Voyager line)

    >Oh, how reminiscent of a post I made on the 114mm reflector version of

    There is no doubt in my mind that such scopes are poor choices and parts of
    them are very poorly made.

    I strongly encourage anyone reading to avoid these scopes. So before I get to
    the heart of what I have to say, let me say this so that anyone doing a google
    search may find it.

    Begin: INTERNET Search Engine WARNING:

    Parents, Friends, Loved Ones, Bosses giving bonuses, whomever might be wanting
    to give a CHRISTMAS TELESCOPE, Please do not buy scopes at a department store
    or even some Camera stores. Typically these will be made by Bushnell, Simmons,
    CStar, Jason and others including some Meade and Celestron Scopes.

    There are many nice telescopes available. One possibility is Orion (USA) has
    made some wise choices with their inexpensive scopes so that they provide good

    Please feel free to post your questions to this newgroups or Email me
    privately if you have any questons.


    Now on to the heart of my thinking:

    However I also think that given the choice between one of the Bushnell scopes
    and nothing, there is quite a bit one can do to improve them. For some this
    might be the only option, this is the scope they have and I believe that with
    some attention and a small amount of cash they can be improved to the point
    where they are worthwhile.

    There are webpages on this and I will not attempt to cover the subject, I will
    point out that often the basic optics are not so bad, the mounts need
    stiffening, the eyepieces need replacing and the finder needs to be replaced as
    well. Those "5x24" finders have washers in them because I think they have what
    might be termed a "Chromat" for an objective.

    So, my real point, if you have one of these scopes and cannot return it, then
    don't dispair at Stephen comments, take charge and make the best of it.


    PS: It occurs to me that a Christmas Telescope FAQ might be in order, anybody
    else agree?

  5. #5
    Stephen Tonkin's Avatar
    Stephen Tonkin Guest

    Default Review: Bushnell Voyager 78-9440 (was Re: Seeking review of Bushnell Voyager line)

    Jon Isaacs <> wrote:

    Agreed. See:


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  6. #6
    Jeff's Avatar
    Jeff Guest

    Default Review: Bushnell Voyager 78-9440 (was Re: Seeking review of Bushnell Voyager line)

    "Glenn Holliday" <> wrote in message
    Some people in this group have pointed out that it might be of some use to
    remove all the glass in the finder and just use it as a crude pointing
    device. Advantage: everything is now much clearer through the finder and the
    image is now upright and not reversed . :-)



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