The picture was taken by myself, and I have no
undisclosed interest in the vendor or products mentioned, which
were all purchased via normal channels
I must be one of the first to own the new Orion ED80
telescope. I ordered it on the first day it appeared on the Orion
website – I know a good deal when I see one. This new scope
sells for $429 as an OTA only, and features an 80mm objective, 24in
metallic-gray tube, f/7.5, 600 mm f.l., with a 2” Crayford-style
focuser, a 2 to 1 ¼ “ adapter, tripod mount adapter,
dew shield, weight is 5+ pounds. The tube is actually the same as
their 100mm scope (the objective is in a special cell), so you'll
need 100mm rings instead of 80mm if you use tube rings.
The big draw of this scope
is that one of the two lenses in the doublet objective is ED (Extra-low
Dispersion) glass. I've owned at least
a dozen different types and makes of scopes, so I believe I can
give this one a good overview.
The scope is wonderful for the price and function. I've had this
scope out about 6 or 7 times now in my backyard. It is a clear winner.
As a previous owner of a TeleVue 76, I can say that the TeleVue still
wins on quality of build and image definition, but the ED80 comes
close, and for a lot less money.
Image quality is excellent. I have observed no purple
fringe at all. I used to own a CR150HD, so I know what the purple
like. When viewing the full moon there was no yellow limb, no purple
fringe whatsoever. There is just a white moon with a black background.
I find on my $49 eyepieces (Orion Expanse) there is
some faint red and blue surrounding some images when not in focus.
But this appears
to be the lenses and not the scope. Also, using the Expanse lenses,
I have noticed some coma at the edge of field. I'd say about 80%
of the field is clear, however. Otherwise, the pin-point image
of stars is amazing. It's the closest to an APO that I've seen.
Given that I'm writing this in September 2003, no review
written at this time could be complete without a mention of Mars.
Mars yields some
surface structure (brown areas on a sea of yellow), plus the ice
cap of course. I'm sure I could push it further if I owned the appropriate
lenses, and if the atmosphere would hold out. I've mostly used a
No. 25 red filter, but looks good without one too, just harder to
see the darker features. None of the images of Mars look as good
as what you see in magazines. You can barely make out the dark features,
but are definitely there if you can wait for the seeing to clear.
Actually, I can see details on Mars at 100x but it's a very small
The moon is excellent, especially with a moon filter. As before,
no fringe, purple or otherwise. I've pushed it up to 250x (the max
of what I own) with no image degradation. I believe you could push
it further with no breakdown. You will note the waviness in the atmosphere,
but that's not the scope. With the 35mm Ultrascopic, the full moon
is extremely sharp and clear, with incredible detail and no false
color. I have never seen the moon look this sharp.
M4 is difficult to see as it is not very bright but
it's there and I can always find it. I've easily seen M5, M13, M57
(no donut hole),
M29, NGC 6231, splits both Epsilon Lyras at 100x and 250x (barely,
but it's there). Cleanly split Mizar at 20x. There is
no false color on Vega, Arcturus, or any of the bright stars – just
a bright star with a black background. As you would find with any
3” scope, it's not particularly a light-bucket, but does pull
in a surprising number of faint fuzzies. Doubles are especially good,
such as Albiero, as the color of the stars is right on (e.g., blue
and yellow stars).
The focuser works as advertised, and look Mom, no gears! Most of
the Synta/ Orion/ Celestron refractors have a rack and pinion focuser
which has a geared slide on the underside of the focuser. This new
focuser works like the Crayford design of friction-based pressure
against the tube. This makes for a very smooth focus, very fine in
detail, with no jerking, even when loaded up with your favorite eyepieces.
The rubber-lined “racing style” focus knobs are classy
and very easy to maneuver. It's possible to get a very fine focus
with this focuser. And fine focus is critical to getting a great
I've been using a 6x30 correct-image right angle finder, but have
been forced to get a red laser dot finder as it is difficult to get
a particular target in the finder eyepiece. This is attributable
to my Bogen 410 head, which I highly recommend, but makes it hard
to find that first star. Once you are there the 410 allows you to
simply twist the knobs. Even at 250x the Bogen 410 fine adjustment
knobs are very usable.
Bogen Tracker Tripod, Bogen 410 Geared head. I've tried the TelePod
head and mount; and the AZ3 mount, but the the 410 geared head is
the best alt-az head I've used. The Bogen setup is pure quality.
When you hear the scope click on with the rapid-attach feature, you
know it's on securely until you remove it, which is an especially
important in the dark.
The eyepieces used for this review were the Orion Expanse 20, 15,
9, and , plus a 35mm Orion Ultrascopic, 30mm Takahashi LE, TeleVue
PowerMate 2.5x. Plus, I'm using a Lumicon Lumibrite 1 ¼ “ diagonal.
But, remember, the scope is only as an OTA – no finder, eyepieces,
This scope is a great value – I highly recommend it. It is
extremely portable at about 5 lbs, takes relatively no cool-down
time, and provides wonderfully clear images, better than any achromatic
refractor I've seen. I've owned a couple SCTs and a couple of big
Newtonians, but the ED80 images are more pin-point and have higher
definition and contrast than those. The image color, contrast, and
sharpness of a good refractor like this one are hard to beat.