Don’t you think stargazing is awesome? Do you agree that having a telescope you’ll get better views even better? Are you looking for the best telescope with a camera you can not only enjoy those views while you are out, but you can save them to review and share whenever you’d like? If your answers are “yes”, let us assure you that you’re not the only one.
For a novice or an aspiring astronomer, the plethora of telescopes and their accessories can be quite bewildering not knowing which one is the best. From the mount types, telescope types, optics quality and other features, all these need a perfect choice to advance the hobby of astrophotography.
The price of the best equipment also plays a significant role in decision-making. But, do not be manipulated by the price if you are serious about advancing your hobby because cheap telescopes are characterized by the inferior quality of optics. Luckily, we are here to help navigate this minefield.
In this article, we will review the best telescopes on the market that may be suitable for enthusiastic astronomers out there.
But, firstly, we will go through some of the key features that you need to look for in a particular scope, then delve into the products where we will emphasize the important aspects as well as elaborate on the trade-offs – the pros and the cons of each telescope.
The table below gives a glimpse of the key differences between these telescopes.
Our Top Picks
|Product Name||Weight||Mount Type||Aperture||Price|
|Levenhuk Strike 90 PLUS||21 lb||Alt-azimuth||90 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Celestron PowerSeeker 70EQ Refractor||13 lb||German equatorial||70 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Celestron NexStar 130 SLT||34 lb||German equatorial||130 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|AOMEKIE 4’’ Astrography Bundle||17 lb||Equatorial||114 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ||17 lb||Equatorial||127 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Celestron 114LCM||22 lb||Equatorial||114 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|TwinStar 6" iOptron Reflector||24.4 lb||SmartStar-G GPS||150 mm||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
Before considering a purchase of the best telescopes, ask yourself what’s important to you. What celestial objects do you want to look at? How much are you committed to spending? Are you an experienced or amateur? How much weight can you withstand? What are you going to use to transport the telescope? These questions will help you narrow your search.
Thereafter, get to know the important features of each scope as we have highlighted below. The features include the weight, aperture, magnification, types of mounts and the types of scopes. Let’s unfold them below:
This is the main important specification of any telescope as it enables you to gather more light to reveal the finer details of celestial objects. The bigger aperture is the most preferred in any telescope. So, prioritize the size of the aperture when purchasing, but obviously, the bigger ones come at a higher price.
You will have to contend with the fact, though, that a larger aperture size will also make the telescope heavier. If you are looking for travel and portability this could be a big concern. If you aren’t going to move it too much then you don’t need to be as concerned.
Magnification is also an important feature of any telescope. However, it is not necessarily everything that can limit the power of your telescope the same way aperture does. Any telescope can provide any amount of magnification depending on the eyepiece it features.
Generally, when viewing faint objects, we recommend using low magnification, and when observing bright objects such as planets and the Moon, use the medium-high magnification. Higher magnification can make the view poor and more blurry.
As you go through magnification options, beware of the hype used by some telescopes on the market.
Telescopes, mostly higher-end ones, can be bulky. Refractors are predominantly heavier than the reflectors, but not always as it may depend on the model of the telescope.
Because you will be moving around, consider the balance between portability and performance of the telescope. Unless you have companions with whom you will be moving around your telescope too large of one will be unwieldy and heavy.
The low-end telescopes are generally portable and compact. But lighter ones do not necessarily mean they are all low-end.
Types of Telescopes
The common types of the telescopes are the refractors and the reflectors. Our list includes both of these types. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is better over the other. Each has its pros and cons.
A refractor’s design is characterized by a long and gleaming tube that features large lens in the front and the eyepiece at the rear end. The objective lens gathers light to form an image at the back. Refractors are good with high-contrast and clear images at higher magnifications.
The main difference between reflectors and the refractors is the use of mirrors and the lenses. Refractors use lenses. They are fairly expensive instruments and their tube lengths can be bulky. A 5-inch refractor telescope can be 5 feet long, and usually, a tall tripod is preferable to stabilize it to prevent wobbles, especially at high powers.
Reflectors, as already mentioned, use mirrors to obtain clear images and less expensive compared to the refractors. Most reflectors are of Newtonian design. However, buying a reflector needs you to occasionally maintain it by re-aligning and cleaning its optics.
Reflector telescope provides the best value for money. It is capable of providing the crisp and good contrast of images of celestial objects. The length of its tube is usually no more than 8x the diameter of the mirror, so it is manageable.
Types of Mounts
No matter how great your refractor or reflector telescope is, it is never a perfect setup instrument without the inclusion of a telescope mount that will enable a quick navigation to any part of the universe, and a quick track of any celestial object. A good mount will eliminate the possible vibrations when using high powers of the telescope.
The common mounts are the equatorial and the altitude-azimuth. The altitude-azimuth moves the telescope up and down in altitude and left to right in azimuth. On the other side, the German equatorial has the two axes.
For stargazing or bird-watching observations, the altitude-azimuth mount can be more suitable for its slow-motion settings as it will help you uncover more details. The equatorial mount, on the other hand, is for advanced astronomical observations.
It helps you with the tracking of celestial objects as the planet earth turns around. To advance your astrophotography career, we recommend the equatorial mount as it is better than the altitude-azimuth in this instance and automatically synchronizes with the earth’s rotation to accurately track the movement of any object you are observing.
Best Products on Today’s Market
With these features, we are hoping that you will be able to choose the best telescope below. As per our promise, we have provided the important features of each scope and have elaborated on the pros and the cons of each as well as the related products. Now, we dive into some of the top products that you can find today.
Price: Approx. $300
Weight: 21 lb
Dimensions: 32 x 14 x 9 in
Specific features: Higher resolution 3.0 MP eyepiece camera, 90 mm refracting telescope,
Best use: Stargazing, viewing celestial and terrestrial objects
Description: This Levenhuk Strike 90 PLUS Telescope comprises of the 90 mm refracting telescope, eyepiece camera and the kit of accessories. It is a great starter pack for the aspiring amateur astronomers wanting to view the best images of the faint objects in the sky. The 3MP eyepiece camera will deliver crystal images with its compatibility with Win/MAC operating systems.
To stabilize the telescope, the altazimuth mount has been included. No need to be a technician to set this 3.5 inches refracting telescope up and get going. It is easy to mount, so beginners should not be overwhelmed by the large size of this telescope. The kit includes every tool you will need to advance your astrophotography.
The objective lens of 90 mm makes it possible to view nebulae, the Moon, star clusters, deep-sky objects and many more faint objects with ease. Because the eyepiece is compatible with the Mac/Win OS, you can easily connect it via the USB port so you can view real-time images directly on the computer.
In your package, the diagonal mirror, a handbook with 280 celestial objects’ descriptions, azimuth mount, 90 mm telescope, H20 & F6 mm eyepieces, 3x Barlow lens, aluminum tripod, finder scope, installation CD with image editing software, space posters set will be included, among others. With these accessories, we guarantee a pleasant and joyful observation of celestial objects.
- Advanced refractor telescope
- Higher resolution 3MP eyepiece camera
- Large aperture and objective lens to gather more light
- Includes an array of accessories to make the setup an absolute breeze
- Includes the mount to stabilize the telescope to make observation a perfect one
- Fairly expensive
- It consumes more power. Extra batteries are not included.
- Camera adapter not included
Related: To hold the tablet like the way it is in the display picture, we recommend getting the Schieber Telescope Tablet Display Kit because it is not included in the package. This will make it easy to see the live images on the tablet.
Price: Approx. $115
Weight: 13 lb
Dimensions: 10 x 13 x 39 in
Specific features: Aperture of 70 mm, focal length of 700 mm, magnification of eyepieces 35x and 175x, German equatorial mount, Barlow lens 3x
Best use: Stargazing, great for families and children
Description: With the aperture of 70 mm, Celestron PowerSeeker 70EQ Refractor Telescope brings you the joy of viewing celestial and terrestrial objects without breaking your bank. It is a portable and affordable telescope to be mounted on a German equatorial mount for stability and optimal performance.
Setting up this telescope requires no extensive technical knowledge because it basically requires no tools. So, the amateur astronomers will find it more appealing and ideal for their enthusiasm to view planets and the Moon. The observation will be simple with the 5 x 24 finder scope included because it will make it achievable to locate and center the observed objects.
The package includes two eyepieces, 20 mm and 4 mm, and Barlow lens, aluminum tripod, finderscope, telescope, and TheSkyX as the astronomy software.
To optimize the observation, the telescope features the fully-coated optics which provides clear and bright images. The images are perfectly oriented so it becomes a cinch for a novice astrophotographer to enjoy the views. The magnifying power is further enhanced by the 3x Barlow lens while the equatorial mount helps you track the celestial and terrestrial objects.
You must have an Apple or Android-powered device so you can download the SkyPortal from your app store to pair with this telescope as it will help you navigate the universe. The app will help you identify the objects by simply hovering over it.
- Feature-rich telescope to make astrophotography an absolute breeze for the enthusiastic amateur astronomers
- Fully-coated optical glass for crisp and clear images
- Include equatorial mount and aluminum tripod
- Affordable telescope that will not break your bank
- Downloadable app compatible with Android and Apple-powered smartphones
- Although it is affordable, it is not an advanced telescope for serious astronomical observations
- Camera adapter sold separately
Related: This telescope is not complete without the Celestron PowerSeeker Accessory Kit Telescope. The kit will certainly enhance the performance of your telescope. It includes the 2 full-size eyepieces, 3 eyepiece filters, cleaning cloth and a carrying case lined with foam. Combined with the telescope, the total price is under $200.
Price: Approx. $470
Weight: 34 lb
Dimensions: 8 x 12 x 28 in
Specific features: Aperture of 130 mm, focal length 650 mm, magnification of eyepieces: 26x and 72x, altazimuth mount, computerized hand control, SkyAlign, finderscope
Best Use: Observing celestial objects, experienced astronomers and beginners
Description: Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Telescope might seem as a high-priced telescope, but it is a great investment for avid astronomers. It has a large aperture and the light gathering power of 345x to maximize light transmission. The focal length is also impressively large enough.
The computerized hand control gives you the ability to observe over 4000+ objects that include over 300 star clusters, 600 galaxies and other binary stars in the sky. That’s the beauty of owning an advanced telescope to take your astrophotography to another level with this Newtonian design. The set up is effortless with the included tripod, accessory tray, and the altazimuth mount.
The telescope also features the SkyAlign as the pioneer alignment technology and the star pointer finder scope to help you with the alignment of the celestial objects. The included 5 inches mirror helps you unfold the details of the rings of Saturn, polar ice caps on Mars, lunar surface and the cloud belts on Jupiter. Furthermore, the mirror provides the fully color-corrected views.
The telescope is compatible with the Nexremote software to control it via the computer. The auxiliary port provides extra accessories such as the GPS accessory. Controlling this Newtonian reflector telescope is a cinch using the computerized hand control.
This telescope outshines the NexStar 60 SLT by delivering the images that are approximately 5 times brighter. It delivers the most powerful “Go To” technology and also the “The Sky” planetarium software. Note that the telescope consumes lots of power, but the batteries are sold separately.
Despite seemingly looking like the telescope suited for the most experienced astronomers, the amateur can get their hands around the scope because of its intuitive interface and control settings. You will have no trouble at all in optical alignment in your observations. The camera adapter is also sold separately.
- It has advanced alignment controls
- A wide field of view
- Powerful light gathering capability
- Portable telescope with all the components you in the package except the batteries
- Large focal length and the aperture to optimize the performance
- Batteries included. Even if included, the scope consumes more power
- It is sensitive vibration.
- Fairly expensive
Related: For indoor or outdoor outlets operations, you can power this computerized Newtonian reflector scope with the Celestron AC Adapter.
Price: Approx. $480
Weight: 17 lb
Dimensions: 31 x 14 x 8 in
Specific features: 3.0 MP eyepiece digital camera, equatorial mount, 4-in reflector telescope, includes a kit of accessories
Best use: Astrophotography
Description: This AOMEKIE 4’’ Astrography Bundle includes almost everything you need to advance your astrophotography hobby. The bundle comes with the 4-inch reflector telescope, 3.0 MP digital eyepiece camera, accessory kit worth about $240 and the German equatorial mount to help with navigation. When ordering them, the scope and the camera ship separately and will arrive approximately at the same time.
Despite requiring constant maintenance, the Newtonian reflector telescope is a great and portable scope perfect for astronomical observations. Whether experienced or amateur, you will never go wrong with the reflector scope as it is easy to set up and operate. Its optics of premium quality enables it to view the faint objects such as the Jupiter moons, Saturn’s rings, Venus phases and the Mars landscapes.
Reflector telescopes use the mirror instead of the lenses as is the case with the refractor counterparts. This telescope’s optical design features the 114 mm mirror attributable to the crisp and bright images. The optics are coated with the highly-reflective aluminum coating.
For a quick navigation of the universe to follow the motion of the objects by rotating about only one axis, the German equatorial mount is used to mount this telescope. It is used in conjunction with the steel tripod which provides more stability to enhance your observations. The camera USB cable and the camera editing software are included, but the camera is sold separately.
- High-reflective aluminum coating on the optics
- The German equatorial mount included to aid in the navigation and the tracking of the motion of the celestial sphere
- Steel tripod included to stabilize this 4-inch reflector telescope
- The camera USB cable and the camera editing software included for a quick connection with compatible devices
- 114 mm mirror provides crystal, crisp, and brighter celestial images
- The bundle is fairly expensive
- The camera and the telescope kit are shipped separately. If one faces delivery issues then you will have to wait before unleashing your astrophotography hobby
Related: It can be challenging if you are an amateur with no knowledge of the universe and its surrounding objects. You may want to consider NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe as a comprehensive guide to let you use this 4-inch reflector telescope in observing the universe in its entirety.
Price: Approx. $180
Weight: 17 lb
Dimensions: 11 x 17 x 33 in
Specific features: Accessory kit, German equatorial mount, 3x Barlow lens, 1000 mm focal length, 127 mm aperture, aluminum tripod and accessory tray, focal length of eyepiece 2 mm and 4 mm
Best use: Observation of the terrestrial and celestial objects
Description: Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope is a flagship of Celestron that guarantees you a great observation of the terrestrial and celestial objects using high-quality optics. The telescope kit comes with all the accessories you will need, except the camera mount which is sold separately. Included in the package are the telescope and accessory kit.
The German equatorial mount helps you with a quick navigation by rotating about only one axis while the included aluminum tripod stabilizes the telescope for a cinch operation. The success of the telescope in gathering more light to see more details of the celestial objects lies in the size of its aperture and the focal length. This telescope is armed with 127 mm aperture and a focal length of 1000 mm.
The accessory kit holds more indispensable components for your astronomical observations. There are planetary filters that optimize the details of the planets such as Saturn rings, Jupiter, Venus and Mars using the fully-coated eyepieces with higher magnification. The Moon filter will help you unfold the details of the Moon, especially during the bright phases.
These accessory kit items are carried in a carrying case with a die-cut foam interior. The microfiber cloth is included to help you clean the optics without scratching them.
- The accessory kit embodies an array of components that are key to astrophotography
- The aperture is impressively large to view thousands of objects
- The focal length of 1000 mm
- Fully-coated eyepieces with higher magnification help you to view more details of the planets
- The German equatorial mount helps you with a quick navigation while the aluminum tripod helps with the stabilization of the telescope
- Camera adapter sold separately
- Sensitive to vibrations
- Consumes more power and extra batteries are not provided
Related: You don’t really need to purchase a lot of items since the accessory kit includes almost everything. The 50 Things To See With A Small Telescope guide can be helpful to you if you are a novice in astrophotography. It can help you maneuver this telescope in viewing the suggested 50 objects.
Price: Approx. $300
Weight: 22 lb
Dimensions: 35 x 16 x 11 in
Specific features: Lightweight computerized mount, high-quality 114 mm refractor, quick-release computerized base, accessory tray, optical tube, locates over 4000 celestial objects, The SkyX planetarium software
Best use: Observing deep space objects, astrography
Description: Celestron 114LCM Telescope brings you the privilege to observe over 4000 celestial objects. Its computerized system automatically locates these objects using quality fully coated optics. The optics can uncover more details about the depth of the earth’s solar system.
The hand control is fully computerized and easy to get used to and for convenience use, the aluminum tripod is adjustable and comes with the accessory kit tray.
The telescope is renowned with the advanced “Go To” technology in a Newtonian reflector design. Everything indispensable for your astronomical observations is included in the accessory kit with the exception of the batteries that are to be purchased separately. Among others, the package includes the adjustable tripod, power eyepieces, “The SkyX” planetarium software, and the computer controller.
With this reflector telescope, you will reveal the details of Saturn rings, cloud belts of Jupiter, shadows of Jupiter, Moon and more celestial objects.
Configuring this telescope is an absolute breeze task, especially when aligning it. It features the “solar system align” on the hand control which you can select and then configure the date and the time. And to observe the moon, you simply point it towards the Moon and then hit the “enter” button and thereafter align it.
Once you advance in astrophotography, you can consider the “SkyAlign” and the “Two Star Align” features to be able to observe over 4000 celestial objects.
- High quality and Bright Newtonian optics
- Advanced reflector telescope that is convenient for both amateur and experienced astronomers
- Convenient and advanced computerized tracking system
- Tripod and the mount are included
- Computerized hand control to maneuver the telescope at your fingertips
- Terrible battery consumption.
- The aluminum tripod provided is lightweight. It can be a challenge to firmly stabilize the telescope.
Related: The use of this telescope is incomplete with the absence of the Celestron Accessory Kit. You are advised to add the kit to have more accessories that will enhance the performance of the telescope.
Price: Approx. $550
Weight: 24.4 lb
Dimensions: 27.8 x 18.3 x 8.5 in
Specific features: Computerized GPS reflector telescope, iOptron SmartStar-G computer controlled GPS mount, GoToNova controller, 1400 mm focal length, 150 mm objective mirror, 25 mm and 10 mm eyepieces
Best use: Astronomical observations
Description: TwinStar 6″ iOptron Reflector Telescope is an advanced Newtonian reflector telescope that brings you advanced features to enhance your astronomical observations. Its GoToNova controller features a database of 50,000 celestial objects. For a quick navigation on such celestial objects, the telescope comes with the computer controlled SmartStar-G GPS mount.
Operating this telescope is an easy task for amateur enthusiasts and even older children. The handheld controller and the GPS mount make navigation an absolute breeze in your observations. The telescope features a large focal length of 1400mm and the objective mirror of 150mm with a higher magnification to reveal the details of many celestial objects such as the Saturn rings and Jupiter’s Moons.
The telescope is your ticket to observe an array of terrestrial and celestial objects. You may choose to observe the galaxies, clustered stars, binary stars, nebulae and more faint objects.
All the indispensable components but the batteries that you would need for your astronomical observations are not included. Meanwhile, the mount comes with a standard AC connection.
Unlike other reflector telescopes where you have to align the telescope, this one is more convenient with the GPS system that automatically aligns it. The larger LCD display screen enables you to view the parameters and the details of whichever celestial object you are observing.
- An intuitive handheld controller and computerized GPS mount that negates the need for manual alignment of the telescope
- GoToNova Controller has a database of over 50000 celestial objects
- Larger focal length of 1400 mm and an objective mirror of 150 mm
- A higher magnification of 400x
- Includes 2 eyepieces with diameters 25 mm and 10 mm
- The batteries are sold separately
- Consumes more power
Related: Because the batteries are sold separately and the telescope accepts 8 AA batteries, we recommend the Storacell by Powerpax AA Battery Caddy. These are powerful batteries that will last you long in your astronomical observations. You may purchase extra ones because the telescope is power hungry.
We have reached the end of our reviews of the telescopes for astrophotography. With these telescopes, we are hopeful that you will be able to take your astrophotography hobby to the next level. One note is to remember that not all of these kits include the camera mount you might require.
A telescope is a great investment for any enthusiast in astronomy. The universe will forever be there with its incredibly faint objects. To discern them you need a highly sophisticated telescope. The starting point is to budget at the start of your search to avoid resorting to inferior telescopes.
To master the scope, you may want to start with a set of binoculars to familiarize yourself with the star charts so that you can nurture your knowledge of the universe.
Have we left any telescope of high quality that you know? Please share your views with us and our readers below. Also important, please consider sharing the article on social media to let others know about these incredible telescopes.