Review of Orion Telescopes
The Orion Company
Like a handful of other great companies, Orion Telescopes was founded in a garage. The year was 1975, the year the Homebrew Computer Club had its first meeting in Silicon Valley, and the year an Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft docked in orbit for the first time.
Since then, Orion Telescopes has established itself as a preeminent source of astronomy gear for beginner and amateur astronomers. Orion has developed a pretty stellar reputation for making high-quality telescopes, binoculars and telescope accessories.
They achieved this position in the marketplace by catering to beginners and first-time telescope buyers. Orion Telescopes takes the guess-work out of telescope hunting, making it fairly easy to find the best telescope for your needs and budget.
Orion Telescopes ranks all of their products as ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’ as well as ‘economical’, ‘moderate’ and ‘premium’. They offer a wide-ranging line of Dobsonian telescopes, Newtonian reflector telescopes, refractor telescopes and Schmidt-Cassegrains, either with the computerized ‘Go To’ feature that automatically locates objects or in the classic style.
Orion Telescopes Product Offerings
Orion Telescopes sells nearly a thousand varieties of telescopes on its web site from 15 manufacturers. While this may seem daunting, Orion Telescopes allows you to filter its massive telescope inventory according to price, user level, optical design type, aperture width, assembled weight, mount type, computerized type and—perhaps best of all—the types of objects the telescope is best suited for (moon and planets, bright deep sky objects or faint deep sky objects).
The folks at Orion Telescopes, whether on their web site or on the phone, do a pretty good job conveying what a particular telescope’s observing experience will be like under actual dark sky conditions. Still, nothing can rival actually star-testing the instrument yourself. If you plan to make an investment in a telescope of over $3,000, it should be looked at in-person, either in a retail store or most ideally, experienced in the dark at a star party. Ergonomics is key here, and you don't want to find yourself practicing "macho astronomy" because you purchased a telescope unseen out of a catalog.
That said, Orion Telescopes provides a generous 30-day return policy. Just remember that mirrors, lenses and eyepieces are precision pieces of equipment that can be scratched, dented or damaged very easily — especially if you’re fumbling around in the dark.
Another accolade for Orion Telescopes is that they have done a good job providing the novice observer with a healthy combination of direct light viewing experiences in the eyepiece along with the more high-tech and fashionable CDD imaging systems that allow you to take quick and easy photographs of celestial objects, guided under high exposure. Orion Telescopes balances these two worlds quite nicely. They provide large trussed Dobsonian telescopes that set up quickly for the casual observer, as well as clock-driven equatorial mounted instruments that allow time-exposures that can last for hours.
Orion Telescopes we Recommend
- A fantastic beginner telescope for kids that's lightweight, easy to set up, and has a very affordable price tag
- 76mm (3 inch) aperture reflector telescope is large enough for wonderful views of the Moon, rings of Saturn, moons orbiting Jupiter, and even some brighter nebulas
- Stable altazimuth mount and tripod provides smooth motion in both altitude (up/down) and azimuth (left/right) axes of motion
- The included EZ Finder II reflex sight makes finding celestial objects a breeze - once aligned, just place the red-dot on the object, and you're ready to view!
- Includes two 1.25 inch telescope eyepieces, EZ Finder II reflex sight, smooth rack and pinion focuser, reflector collimation cap, and Starry Night astronomy software
- This 5.1 inch aperture reflector telescope gathers an ample amount of light for great views of the planets and Moon, as well as brighter galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters
- Short 24 inch long optical tube design for easy portability and fast f/5 focal ratio for pleasing wide-field performance makes the SpaceProbe 130ST EQ a very versatile telescope the whole family can enjoy
- Sturdy EQ-2 equatorial telescope mount and adjustable tripod allows manual slow-motion tracking of celestial objects as they appear to migrate across the night sky
- Complete assembled telescope weighs just 27 lbs. for convenient transport
- Includes two 1.25 inch Sirius Plossl eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), 6x30 finder scope, 1.25inch rack and pinion focuser, tripod accessory tray, collimation cap, Starry Night astronomy software, and more
- A wide-field reflector telescope with enough aperture to get great views of the Moon, planets, and many bright deep-sky objects
- A fantastic general-purpose astronomical telescope - great for the beginner to test the waters with mirror optics large enough to keep you and your family busy viewing for years to come
- Works amazingly well with the included Expanse telescope eyepieces which yield a very wide 66 degree apparent field of view - your first look at the Andromeda galaxy will knock your socks off
- Fast f/4 optics and a short focal length provide a very wide field of view, making it easy to locate celestial objects without having to hunt around
- The EQ-1 equatorial telescope mount makes tracking night-sky objects extremely easy using the included slow-motion controls.
- A powerful, high-quality refractor telescope at a jaw-dropping low price
- 90mm (3.5") aperture and 910mm focal length for crisp views of deep-sky objects, the Moon, and planets
- Included EQ-2 adjustable tripod and equatorial mount for manual slow-motion celestial tracking
- Includes two Sirius Plossl 1.25" eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), 6x30 finder scope, smooth-adjusting 1.25" rack & pinion focuser, 90-degree mirror diagonal for comfortable nighttime performance, Starry Night astronomy software, and more
- Can also be used for pleasing daytime terrestrial viewing with a correct-image diagonal (correct-image diagonal sold separately)
- A large aperture Classic Dobsonian reflector telescope at a very affordable price
- 8" diameter reflector optics lets you view the Moon and planets in close up detail, and has enough light grasp to pull in pleasing views of faint nebulas, galaxies and star clusters
- A perfect Dobsonian telescope that can last a lifetime for the beginning astronomy enthusiast or whole family
- The ultra-stable Dobsonian base keeps the reflector optical tube perfectly balanced for point-and-view ease of use
- Includes a 2" Crayford focuser that accepts 1.25" and 2" telescope eyepieces, a 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, an EZ Finder II reflex sight, collimation cap, Starry Night software, and more