There may be some of you who remember the astronomy "super store" in Toronto called Efston Science. They had an in-house brand called NewStar that were essentially rebadged Skywatcher (Synta) telescopes. A while back I managed to pick up an 8" NewStar Dob at a Goodwill for only $75 (and my son very much enjoys using it - he was imaging the Moon last night with it!).
I found a NewStar 70mm f/10 achromat on Kijiji for $45 so I picked it up. I used to have one about 15 years ago and I really liked it (sold it to a friend). I upgraded my new one with a red dot finder (binning the 5x24 finder) and some Orion aluminium focus knobs. The scope kind of reminds me of a 3/4 scale TV NP-101!
While my son was imaging the Moon, I set up the little NS beside him and checked out M42. I was so pleased to see that the optics were decent - attaining a sharp focus was very easy and immediately the four brightest stars of the Trapezium were jumping out at me. I was using my Tele Vue Plössls with the scope, but absolutely the view of the night was of the Moon through my Fujiyama 6mm Ortho. Vallis Alpes was favourably illuminated and formed a beautiful box with Aristoteles, Eudoxus and Cassini. I spent about an hour viewing the Moon through my various eyepieces (mostly through the 6mm) and was amazed at how crisp the images were.
Although chromatic aberration was visible, it was actually quite subtle. I had done a star test inside the house using an artificial star, and I saw a fair amount of it during the test (which concerned me a little). But on the Moon there was a subtle yellowish halo on the limb that was neither intrusive or obvious - as a matter of fact, depending on where I put my eye, it would disappear! This was quite a change from my ST80 which shows an obvious blueish and/or yellowish halo around anything bright. I don't recall the CA being so tame in my last example - but I'll have to do a little more observing with Jupiter and Venus to see for sure.
For such modest aperture, I was really happy with the views. The nebulosity of M42 was very apparent in my SWA 24.5mm with the shape sharply defined. I suspect that I hit a really good period of seeing when I was out, as it was really surprisingly good (the view). I thought to ask my son for a peek at it through his Dob but he was quite busy with his imaging.
So, first light looks very promising. My main scope is an 8" SCT, so this little guy will be for spur of the moment observing and as a traveller. I need to upgrade the mount (AZ2) right off - although the views were nice, the mount is too shaky for my liking. I have an EQ-5 in a closet somewhere, but that might make this scope a little less "Grab n Go"... so I might be keeping my eye out for an EQ-3 or an AZ3 mount.