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Thread: Recommended Telescopes for Beginners by Price Range

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    Default Recommended Telescopes for Beginners by Price Range



    Recommended Telescopes for Beginners by Price Range

    Due to this question being asked quite often, I will try to write an FAQ with links to the most popular and recommended scopes for beginners by price range. There are many important considerations when getting a telescope and the are mostly limited to the following factors:

    1) build and optical quality
    2) aperture (size ie width of the optical tube = light gathering power = ability to see more objects, and dimmer objects. Also everything gets brighter with a larger telescope).
    3) Ease of Use vs Functionality (ability to easily use the telescope vs ability to easily find objects / track them ie with goto)

    Please make sure you go through and read the great FAQ here:

    What is the Best Telescopes for me as a Beginner?

    By far the most popular and most sold scope is by Celestron for beginners. The Astromaster shown below (scroll down a bit more after the children scopes) is a great priced scope if you want to start in astronomy and don't want to spend a lot of money. It also is a great value gift for special occasions including birthdays and Christmas etc.

    For Children (small children i.e less than 10 years old), these scopes are recommended as small/shorter children may have trouble seeing while the parents or their larger siblings are viewing! so a tabletop telescope would be best (especially if you have a table setup setup in the patio, balcony, or in the garden/backyard). These telescopes are also great for lounging in the garden to peek at the sky with friends and family over a meal, bbq etc. A great talking piece and stirs some amazing conversation when viewing the moon, planets and stars!

    These telescopes are great for smaller/younger children as e.g Christmas, or birthday gifts / or casual viewing by adults and only cost between less than $100 to less than $200 but are very well built optically and structurally, this means no money is put into a shaky tripod - but it mostly goes into the optics.


    Please Note We No Longer Recommend Orion Telescopes for Several Reasons


    BUDGET $79-$199


    For under $200 it pays to get a small dobsonian table top telescope. These are made from a variety of companies including SkyWatcher, KSON, Celestron, Orion and others.

    These usually have a stable mount, awesome optics, and plenty of light gathering power above 80mm for the budding astronomer. Comes with: Collimation cap, Eyepiece rack, Integrated carrying handle. We highly recommend that you buy a barlow with it as most do not come with one.

    A bit cheaper at only $99 with free Starry Night Software, but maybe not as good mount wise (in turning the scope etc as the starblast above):



    Above $149 to $270 in the USA and Canada


    This is the bigger brother of the Celestron Astromaster 114EQ, it has a larger aperture so you can see dimmer objects with this telescope. This is a decent beginners telescope however please note the equatorial tripod which can be a benefit but also an issue with vibration and usage.

    Celestron Astromaster 130EQ



    To read our users experiences of the 130EQ scope and reviews on it please go here:
    Celestron Astromaster 130EQ Reviews
    Generally any telescope should not be collimated or modified by a child or beginner without sufficient help (plenty of reading/watching a video or two) or at least someone to guide them. You can make the views much worse by bad collimation or trying to modify your telescope.

    By far better than any Celestron above with shaky tripods, and fumbling about with an equatorial mount is a 6 inch dob

    An example is Orion - XT6 however we recommend shopping around for the best dob at 6 inches visit Apertura / Opticsmart as well. Large enough to see most objects, but still portable and easy to use for kids and adults alike. Will provide years or even a lifetime of viewing of the heavens. We highly recommend that you buy a barlow with it: 2X barlow - which doubles magnifications of all eyepieces - Orion Shorty 1.25" 2x Barlow Lens | Orion Telescopes: Barlows


    $270-499


    Spending a bit more money in astronomy however goes a long way, as you can get bigger aperture (larger scopes) which have much nicer views and are generally better built than their lower priced cousins.

    For the more serious beginner, there are many Dobsonian Telescopes we recommend listed here as a dobsonian telescope provides the most aperture for the money:
    Recommended Dobs Dobsonian Telescopes


    Apertura and Meade have 8 inch GSO telescopes that are recommended by the community and myself.




    From Orion, the Orion XT8 - 8 inch quite portable and good value for the price Dob scope for $399 usd but comes with:

    • Included Orion 2x Shorty Barlow Lens doubles the magnification of virtually any 1.25" eyepiece, adding magnification options to your telescope
    • The included Beginning Stargazers Toolkit provides plentiful reference material for nighttime observing and a handy red LED light to see them with





    We recommend the following eyepieces to fit in your budget (10mm and 25mm):
    http://www.telescope.com/Accessories...?ensembleId=51

    http://www.telescope.com/Accessories...?ensembleId=51


    Before you buy a dobsonian telescope, make sure you have a read through this thread here:
    has anyone Experiences with a dobsonian Telescope?
    and the dob telescope forum here.

    Highly Recommended!! - ORION Intelliscope Dobsonian Telescopes




    For those of you that have any light pollution, and want to spend time viewing objects instead of frustration trying to see through the smog, and light pollution get at least an XT6i for only $399. This is a major upgrade to a regular XT6 or even XT8 as it includes the following:


    • Intelligent push-to Dobsonian telescope can lead you to more than 14,000 celestial objects with its included IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator
    • Includes two Sirius Plossl 1.25" eyepieces
    • importantly a 6x30 right-angle correct-image finder scope
    • and 1.25" rack & pinion focuser, eyepiece rack, collimation cap, Starry Night software and more!


    an XT8i is $599. The hand controller pictured below with database of 14,000+ objects allows you to quickly and easily select an object, and point to find all these objects without spending a lot of money on goto. My biggest frustration as a new telescope owner was finding objects I wished to see however with a non-Right angle finderscope, light pollution and limited time I could not see many of the dimmer or hard to find objects. With the Intelliscope, you can find even the toughest objects to see.





    For someone a bit more serious about astronomy, the occasional astrophotography, preferring tracking of objects, having some help finding objects (especially in the city where most stars are hidden by the sky-glow) with GOTO (computerized-telescope), and willing/able to spend a bit more these are awesome deals for....



    under $999


    In the USA and Canada under $999 we recommend the following telescopes by increasing cost:

    Celestron Nexstar 4SE only $449

    Comes with
    25mm Plossl telescope eyepiece, "The Sky" software

    We recommend a Orion Shorty 1.25" 2x Barlow Lens and a 10mm eyepiece


    Celestron Nexstar 5SE only $599



    In the box:
    25mm Orion Plossl telescope eyepiece (1.25"), 90º star diagonal (1.25"), Star Pointer finder scope, RS232 Cable, Camera Shutter Cable, The Sky Level 1 Astronomy Software, NexRemote telescope control software

    We highly recommend a Orion Shorty 1.25" 2x Barlow Lens and a 10mm eyepiece to give 4 useable magnifications.

    Celestron Nexstar 6SE only $699

    In the box: 25mm Orion Plossl telescope eyepiece (1.25"), 90º star diagonal (1.25"), Star Pointer finder scope, RS232 Cable, Camera Shutter Cable, The Sky Level 1 Astronomy Software, NexRemote telescope control software

    We highly recommend a Orion Shorty 1.25" 2x Barlow Lens and a 10mm eyepiece to give 4 useable magnifications.


    Celestron Nexstar 8SE only $999 on special!




    In the box: 25mm Orion Plossl telescope eyepiece (1.25"), 90º star diagonal (1.25"), Star Pointer finder scope, RS232 Cable, Camera Shutter Cable, The Sky Level 1 Astronomy Software, NexRemote telescope control software

    We highly recommend a Orion Shorty 1.25" 2x Barlow Lens and a 10mm eyepiece to give 4 useable magnifications.

    In Australia / NZ below $999:

    we don't think the high costs of the Celestron Nexstar series are worth it in OZ - one store has the 8SE on "special" for $3,199.00 regular price $4600! - compare this to only $999 in the USA!!! We say either buy iOptron or SkyWatcher and save the $3k to not only buy a ticket to LA, but buy the 8SE included in the $3k and save some money for the hotel and meals!! However, to save the effort money and trip for Goto in Australia, don't get a Celestron. Get the iOptron E-N114 only $439!!




    The best value for the money in OZ for a computerised scope is the GPS-included iOptron G-N-114 and G-R-80 telescopes which not only provide GPS, but also a great computerised setup with significant savings to put towards a barlow and other future accessories.

    iOptron GPS Computerised Telescope Newtonian 114mm aperture only $619

    iOptron GPS Computerised Telescope Refractor 80mm aperture only $589

    iOptron GPS Computerised Telescope Mak Cas 90mm Aperture only $749

    For those not wanting GPS or GOTO, the best money values under $999 are the 8" collapsible Dobs or regular 8" Saxon dobsonian telescopes
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by admin; 02-08-2014 at 11:37 PM.
    RazShadow, aman, khalid and 13 others like this.
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Default

    Updated for 2011 - Included Australia, new models and pricing with recommendations for accessories.

    Also added sub $999 recommendations including Celestron Nexstar SE models and in Australia iOptron Smartstar-E-N114 and G-R-80s.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Default

    Updated for March 2012

    the amazing $399 LE Ferrari from Orion is no longer available but can be seen below (usually a Christmas season special):



    Current pricing from Orion shows their Limited Edition XT8 which is a steal at $399


    BUY Orion Limited Edition XT8 which comes complete with barlow, eyepieces, smooth 2" Crayford focuser that accepts 1.25" and 2" telescope eyepieces, and includes a 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, EZ Finder II sight, collimation cap, Starry Night software, and more! We only recommend a 10mm eyepiece here to get higher magnifications with the LE ORION XT8:

    10mm Eyepiece
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    Last edited by admin; 02-08-2014 at 11:38 PM.
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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