Dobsonian telescopes – Buying guide & Comparison
Whether you’re looking for the best Dobsonian telescope for beginners or a high-end version for advanced users, searching the market for the right product can be intimidating. Not only do you have a plethora of brands and models to choose from, but each and every telescope comes with a load of features, and comparing all of these can be extremely time-consuming. Because we know how valuable time is, we have decided to compile a list of top rated telescopes so that you get to select from the most highly-acclaimed items. Our top pick is the Orion SkyQuest XT12g. While one of the more expensive telescopes, this model comes with a large 12-inch aperture with impressive light-gathering abilities, a long 1500mm focal length as well as a GoTo computer motorized mount, quality focusers and two eyepieces. If this product is unavailable, then the Orion StarBlast 6 is also a good choice.
Finding a telescope that’s fit for your preferred celestial targets as well as budget is not that easy, especially considering the dozens of models on the market, many of them coming from reputable brands. There are things you must consider, such as light gathering abilities, usability, weight, as well as other factors that will affect performance.
The importance of a wide aperture
Telescopes come with a variety of apertures both wide and narrow, and what you choose will depend on your viewing preferences. A large aperture is a must if you want bright images with lots of details in them. The best Dobsonian reflector will have an aperture of at least 10 or 12 inches.
However, if you don’t want the highest resolution possible and are looking for something more affordable or lightweight, then a model with a smaller aperture should still suffice as long as you get the right accessories such as focusers and eyepieces.
A bit about magnification
If magnification is important to you, then you want a long focal length to obtain close-ups of distant objects, and you also want eyepieces to give you versatility on your observations and higher magnification powers.
The good thing about eyepieces is that there are many focal lengths for sale that you can choose from and add later on to make your device more versatile and your observations more interesting. Usual magnification powers are 10x, 20x and 40x, although you can get much higher than that. Just make sure you don’t exceed the maximum usable magnification as that could dramatically lower the viewing quality.
Ease of use
The more complex is the model you’re looking at, the more dials, buttons, knobs, and caps you’ll need to learn to control. While this can be great in the long term, it could curb your enthusiasm at the beginning.
If you’re just starting out, you could try a telescope that has a simpler functioning mechanism so that you don’t have to turn half a dozen dials before you can begin admiring the night sky. You can learn to align the telescope to stars you already know first, improve your focusing abilities with a simple Crayford-style focuser and practice on the most popular constellations. You could also opt for a computerized module which would make things easier in the beginning, thanks to the included data on thousands of celestial bodies.
When looking for a good Dobsonian telescope, you also need to have a budget in mind. That way you can balance all the features and properties of telescope models and choose the one which makes more sense to you. If you love traveling, then a cheaper telescope that’s also lighter might be a better choice than a high-end model that costs quite a bit and is more difficult to carry.
You can always buy accessories later on, so have that in mind before overspending. You can get away with a telescope and a couple of eyepieces in the beginning, and upgrade it after you’ve learned the basics.
Top Dobsonian telescopes reviews in 2018
Whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned stargazer, finding a suitable telescope with all the features you need while also ensuring that it fits within your budget can be a daunting task. The good news is that we’ve scoured the internet to bring you comprehensive Dobsonian telescope reviews so that you get to choose the perfect model while also saving time.
Orion SkyQuest XT12g 10136
This Dobsonian telescope features a large 12-inch aperture that can collect a large amount of light from the night sky and provide you with bright images of planets and stars.
The large focal length of 1500mm will bring you close-ups of your favorite nebulae while the focal ratio of f/4.9 will give you a wide field of view so that you can admire celestial bodies in all their splendor.
With the SkyQuest XT12g you get a computerized GoTo module which can easily locate and track objects for you, so you don’t waste time and start your astronomy observations immediately. You also get to benefit from a database containing information on 42,000 celestial objects.
This quality telescope also comes with a dual-speed 2-inch Crayford focuser, a 1.25-inch 12.5mm Plossl eyepiece and a 2-inch 28mm DeepView eyepiece, an EZ Finder II reflex sight for easy tracking, and a collimation cap.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1699.99)
Orion StarBlast 6 10016
This is a versatile telescope that comes with all the features and accessories expected from a consumer model.
The StarBlast 6 can collect a good amount of light, thanks to its 5.9-inch aperture. Finding targets and aligning the device is easy enough with the EZ Finder II red-dot sight, allowing for effortless aiming in any direction you wish to make observations.
With the 2 included Sirius Plossl eyepieces, you get flexible magnification to suit your needs, providing you with a low power magnification for a wider view as well as a 75x power with the 10mm eyepiece. The 1.25-inch eyepiece rack offers you a convenient way to quickly switch between eyepieces so that you can make adjustments on the fly, while also enabling the use of Barlow lenses.
The navigation knob is easy to handle so that you can point or re-position the telescope to view your preferred celestial objects in no time.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($299.99)
Sky-Watcher 8″ Collapsible Dobsonian S11700
With an innovative design, this telescope boasts high performance at a low price. This model features an 8-inch aperture and a 1200mm focal length for a medium field of view that can be good at observing close planets, nebulae, and galaxies.
Thanks to its collapsible construction, you can easily fold this telescope into a compact shape which makes it extremely easy to carry around, so that you get to enjoy remote deep space observations anytime.
Aiming at your target objects is easily achieved with the rocker-mount which also provides stability and smooth operation with the heavy-duty Teflon bearings.
This telescope comes with a 2-inch Crayford focuser, 10mm and 25mm Plossl eyepieces, as well as an 8×50 RA viewfinder. You don’t need any tools to set up this telescope so that you can start viewing the night sky in no time.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($505)
Celestron Cometron 21023
This telescope is ideal for amateur astronomers wishing to start admiring planets, comets, and distant galaxies.
Although small and compact, this model offers good quality thanks to its 3-inch aperture that can capture bright images with a good amount of detail. With a f/3.95 focal ratio, you get a wide angle view of the night sky and have a greater perspective of cosmic interactions.
You can further magnify objects with the 2 Kellner eyepieces and can find your favorite spots with ease thanks to the 5×24 finderscope.
Weighing only 4.3 pounds, this telescope is so light that you can put it in your backpack and carry it around anywhere without a significant burden on your shoulders. You don’t need any tools to set up this instrument so that you can go straight to observing the night sky.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($54)
Celestron FirstScope 21024-CGL
If you’re looking for an affordable telescope that’s ideal for amateur stargazers, then you can’t go wrong with the Celestron FirstScope.
Made from quality materials, the reflector tube has a 3-inch aperture to provide you with detailed views of lunar craters and plains as well as further away celestial objects such as Saturn and Jupiter.
Built with usability in mind, this device is easy to use, and the solid mount offers good stability as well as maneuverability to target the preferred stars and planets in no time. This tabletop telescope will fit anywhere and look good even when you’re not using it.
You can easily focus and obtain sharp images of your favorite planets and nebulae with the adjustment knob, while the 4mm and 20mm eyepieces will increase power, the latter providing a whopping 75x magnification. The entire telescope set is lightweight and easy to transport so you know you can take it on your outdoor adventures.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.95)