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Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70 AZ Refractor

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#1 madscientist

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:55 AM

How do you guys feel about this scope? A local store in my area is selling it for $45.

#2 eric_zeiner

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:14 AM

For that price, I really can't see where you would go wrong. The only bad press I have heard about them is the finder. And a 70mm at almost f/13 will make a nice little G&G Lunar and Planetary killer. Also others are selling them for around $120.00 so I think it is a no brainer.

#3 eric_zeiner

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:24 AM

I did a Google on this scope and found it as low as $60.00 so you are still ahead of the game. I also went to the sites of a few of the retailers and read some rather favorable reviews. Again I think you should go for it and I am thinking now of getting one for my 5yo daughter, Roseanna.

#4 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:47 AM

How do you guys feel about this scope? A local store in my area is selling it for $45.


I have never used one but I have carefully inspected one at a local store, if it is the same as it was last year, I think it is good deal. As I recall, the mount is a sturdy photo-tripod type mount.

Jon

#5 madscientist

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:24 PM

Thank you. I picked one up for $47 total (including tax). The local store only had 5 in stock. I picked one up at 4:30 PM then I went back to the store at 7:00 PM to buy one for my brother's kid and they were already gone.

#6 core

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 12:03 AM

Congrats, that's a really great price imo - I had one for a couple of days for 'evaluation' before sending it off to its new owner (okay, just my excuse to try out a new 'scope). Included eyepieces aren't too bad, but something in the 30mm+ range is nice for a wider field of view and easier to acquire targets (I used a 40mm). The included prism diagonal has a restricted aperture though, so you might not gain much when going lower power other than wider field of view (and vignetted). I found the finder quite difficult to operate as it was tricky to align the front and rear dot/circle in practice when trying to aim at something; they should have just put in a regular red-dot finder instead. If I had kept the scope, one modification (low cost) I might have considered was to switch out one of the 2 LED's in the finder to a different color to make alignment easier.

The included AZ mount is actually quite nice and may be well worth the price you paid for it alone; I was contemplating having it to use on my AT66ED which I tried and work out well, much better than pricier generic photo tripods - the main advantage I like is that it uses vixen/orion dovetail mounting and the long control arm with twist-lock altitude. Aiming and locking the tripod head and tracking it manually isn't anything to write home about (unfair comparison with porta mount), but better than others out there. Views of the moon and jupiter were what I expected from a 70mm Achro, just softer than my Vixen A70lf - I won't fault the plastic construction of the scope at this price point though. I switched out to a regular celestron/meade diagonal and high power views were sharper (max I went was 7mm LV eyepiece, seeing didn't support it). Could also pick a couple of M objects nicely during that one evening I had it out. (M57, 27, M2, M15, M31, Auriga trio, etc). I ended up using a 10mm Radian, 26mm Vixen Possl, and 40mm TV Possl for that evening, occasionally switching out with the included ep for comparison (and unfortunately, no comparison there, but I wasn't expecting any). I eventually passed on it (paid $75) for a grab-n-go or for use by my kids and others during a star party, opting to stick with my ED80sf and AT66ED, both on a porta mount - again not a fair comparison as they are in vastly different price categories.

imo $60 shipped from Amazon is quite a compelling case for a first scope, the only caveats being the finder, diagonal, and need for lower power ep. Still, if I ever started out with this scope I think I would have gone quite far with it.

Do report back and let us know how it turns out for you.

#7 Donnie

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 01:41 AM

I have no experience with it, but it looks like quite a good setup for $60. The tripod is probably worth the cost alone, as someone else already mentioned.

I know a youngster who received an Edu-Science Scope for Christmas last year from a well meaning relative who lives a few states away. That scope is pure garbage.

I think this would be a good gift for him. In fact I am thinking this would be a good test scope for anyone, old or young. Inexpensive enough to test the waters with Astronomy, yet solid enough to give a decent experience, especially on the Moon and brighter planets. Only thing I see of concern is the lack of any slow motion controls which you mentioned. But at least locking it and loosening it is a twist.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Peter.

#8 madscientist

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 06:45 PM

Thank you for the review on this scope. I will get a chance to try it tonight. Let's see how it performs.

#9 Jersey Star Man

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 07:44 PM

Thank you for the review on this scope. I will get a chance to try it tonight. Let's see how it performs.


And please let us know how it goes... :jump:

#10 eric_zeiner

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 03:22 AM

Thank you for the review on this scope. I will get a chance to try it tonight. Let's see how it performs.


And please let us know how it goes... :jump:

Yeah, what he said ;)

#11 KWB

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 03:44 AM

I've owned a couple of these 70mm F/13 refractors and in my useage these telescopes were optically excellent,for my purposes a small aperture ED refractor. Did well splitting double stars and was amazing when turned on the Moon. A delight on Jupiter. This 900mm refractor really needs an EQ2 Type mount to be a bundle of joy.

For the price I'd buy one and not look back.

#12 madscientist

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 09:20 AM

Guys, I took it out last night for first light for just a few minutes. It was a full moon so I only pointed at the moon and a couple of stars. Some clouds were starting to appear. For $45, the quality is simply astounding. The views of the moon were excellent. I simply can't believe that I only paid $45 for this great instrument.

#13 eric_zeiner

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 04:51 PM

Guys, I took it out last night for first light for just a few minutes. It was a full moon so I only pointed at the moon and a couple of stars. Some clouds were starting to appear. For $45, the quality is simply astounding. The views of the moon were excellent. I simply can't believe that I only paid $45 for this great instrument.


Great to hear!!! :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo:

#14 Jersey Star Man

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 07:15 PM

Glad to hear it went well first time out! That scope looks great for the price. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the tripod, and how sturdy it is.. :jump:

#15 hwhall

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 10:37 PM

Late to the party.....
I bought one on Ebay but it was a local scratch & dent sale, so I didn't pay shipping. Got it for a $5 bid. It was missing one of the EPs and some small bits. I've only used it on the moon so far, but I was very happy with the crisp images. The tripod seemed sloppy until I tightened up the bolts connecting legs to the tripod head. Acted reasonably well after that.

#16 Jersey Star Man

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:06 PM

Ok mine showed up today. Obviously it's cloudy tonight..... Bought one for myself and my daughters to replace the Sky Watcher 70mm we have as that one has a very shakey mount. This one is mounted very nice! Moves smoothly on a very sturdy tripod. Can't wait to take a look through it!






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