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  • Review: Orion xt8 classic.




    Orion does a pretty decent job of packing and protecting the bits that count, like the OTA.
    Mine arrived with boxes that looked the worse for wear although the contents were 100% safe and secured.
    No special gymnastics is required to open and unpack all the goodies, a decent pair of scissors or a sharp knife and some lifting is all that is required.
    Once you have dispensed with all the packaging styrafoam etc. you are left with the boards that will assemble into the base , the OTA and the 25mm EP , the red dot finder and also a small plastic bag with your copy of the Starry night software.
    There are also some tools for assembly and the screws,nuts and bolts required to build your base along with an instruction manual for your new XT8.
    The finish on the wood is well done and the OTA has a nice finish on the paintwork.
    Just one note is the stickers for the base, after the first dew session mine started peeling off.


    With a little common sense and the ability to follow the instructions assembling the XT8 is relatively simple and will require about a hour of your time.
    Which may seem longer due to your anxiousness to complete the job.
    My advice is go slowly and do it right the first time round.
    The boards that make up the base are all pre-drilled with small holes where the wood screws need to go, so no battles getting a start on the threads
    I found watching a video on Youtube before I assembled everything to be very helpful, there are plenty of videos, take your pick.
    As a personal preference I used the official Orion videos.
    Once you have mounted the base plate and fitted the boards it is a simple case of lifting the OTA into its place and attaching the tension springs.
    I did find that putting the little rubber stop inside the base where the scope will stop against when in an upright position to be somewhat tricky.
    You get one shot at the one sided tape stop so measure right before committing to the fitment.
    Now it is just the fitment of the red dot finder which is very easy and offers no problems. Remember to pull out the small clear tape preventing the battery from making contact.
    I did find the tools provided to be below par and resorted to my own tools, the allen keys are fine and work well, I had issues with the “spanner” and “screw driver” supplied.

    3) USE.

    I found the movement and operation of the base and mount to be very smooth from the get go, no “sticksion” from the Teflon pads.
    If you have your base nut well adjusted there is very little play and the movements are easy to perform.
    The tension springs do their job well and hold the OTA firmly in position at all angles.
    Using the cap collimation tool is easy and once you get the hang of what the mirrors do as you tighten or loosen knobs and allen key screws, it is easy.
    Again watching a video on the subject will be beneficial.
    I found the supplied manual in this regard to be a little vague”ish” and preferred the methods I found in the video I watched.
    Alignment of the RDF and OTA was simple and painless, this is a MUST DO along with collimation.
    The crayford focuser is simple and intuitive, it has a nice smooth function and has no hesitation or stickiness.
    Learning to use your scope and its parts during the day will be very useful, as at night you will be fumbling in the dark!


    The XT8 comes with the starry night software which is a basic introduction to the software.
    It does not have the full functionality of the paid for versions, rather disappointing considering the cost of the scope.
    You also have a dust cover for the OTA, a collimation cap and a dust cap for the focuser, the focuser is also a dual 1.25 and 2” focuser and has the adapter needed for the 1.25 eyepieces.
    One place Orion is lacking is extras to sweeten the deal here.
    Many other packages include two EP’s and a few extras thrown in, not here I’m afraid.
    So in summary I am delighted with the scope, it’s build and finish.
    Operation is smooth and becomes second nature after just a few uses.
    Maintenance is simple and requires no special tools, just common sense.


    Thank you for reading my review and I hope it helps you when investigating the XT8 as your scope of choice.
    If you have any other queries please feel free to send me a PM.
    A little about myself.
    I am Clinton and reside in the coastal city of Durban where I practice urban astronomy.
    I have found the XT8 to be a great scope and very capable of punching through some tough LP.
    I would easily recommend it as a very competent first scope.

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