Overview of TravelScope 50 OTA
The Celestron TravelScope 70 is a 70mm f/5.7 achromatic refractor. Due to this short focal ratio, the scope displays a lot of chromatic aberration (false color) on bright objects—in fact, more than it should. Celestron cheaped out big time on the objective lens, and it seems to use rather low-quality glass and be manufactured to rather poor standards. The scope struggles to deliver sharp images at 40x. The scope’s plastic dew shield is so short that it’s practically useless, and the inside of both it and the tube are shiny, causing glare and reflection problems. The tube also seems to have little, if any, internal baffling to stop glare and reflections.
How Good Are The Accessories?
The included finder is a plastic 5×24. These 5x24s have a singlet(!) plastic objective lens, an aperture stop to control the resulting aberrations that make the image unusably dim, and an eyepiece with a drinking-straw-like field of view. It is less effective than those toy pirate telescopes made for little kids. Not only is the finder useless, but it’s also completely pointless, as the scope’s wide field at low power means it doesn’t really even need a finder. It basically acts as its own finder.
The included 45-degree erecting diagonal is not only uncomfortable to use for an astronomical telescope but also extremely low in quality. The entire body and housing is plastic, as is the barrel for inserting it into the focuser drawtube. The prism seems to be plastic too.
The Travelscope 70 comes with 20mm and 10mm Kellner eyepieces, providing 20x and 40x, respectively. The construction of both is largely metal, the field of view is decent and the images reasonably sharp, although not as good as a decent Plossl or wide-field eyepiece. However, the choices in focal lengths were poor on Celestron’s part. The 20mm Kellner provides a little too much power for the scope for low-power sweeping, while the 10mm, though decent in quality, provides too much magnification for the scope’s poor-quality optics.
The tripod for the Travelscope 70 is little more than a dinky, mostly plastic camera tripod sold for small digital cameras and the like—hardly a mount fitting for a true astronomical telescope. It suffers from balance problems depending on where the scope is pointed at altitude, but the more serious problem is just how undersized it is. With the legs fully retracted (and thus only suitable for use on a table), it’s not the steadiest. With the legs extended, the tripod has the stability of a wet noodle and vibrates noticeably to the untrained eye, producing distractingly shaky images at even the lowest magnifications.
There are a few decent telescopes available at similar prices to the TravelScope 70:
- The Zhumell Z100 and Orion SkyScanner provide significantly more aperture than the TravelScope 70, with brighter, sharper views and rock-solid, easy-to-aim mountings.
- The Orion FunScope is another option for a bit lower of a price, but without the high-quality optics of the 100mm tabletop telescopes it’s a bit harder for us to recommend.
What can you see with the Celestron Travelscope 70?
As a spotting scope, the Celestron TravelScope 70 works. It would be okay for use at a shooting range or for casual birding. The tripod is stable enough when pointed horizontally, and the optics are sharp enough with the low-power eyepiece for the views to be of some value, and aiming the telescope by sighting down the tube works well enough.
Astronomical use is a different story. The tripod refuses to stay put when the telescope is pointed above the horizon, and it constantly tips downward or upward unless the altitude axis is locked, which then prevents any sort of fine pointing. And at 40x with the 10mm eyepiece, the image is fuzzy and glare-ridden. The Moon looks nice, Jupiter’s moons are visible, you can tell Saturn has rings and Venus has a phase, and a few of the brightest deep-sky objects are recognizable – provided you can stay pointed at them and don’t break your neck trying to view them with the erecting prism diagonal. Don’t expect much else.
Pricing and Availability
When we first reviewed Celestron TravelScope 70 back in January 2019, the price was $65. There’s a good chance you’re now looking at a higher cost due to Covid related disruptions. To know the current retail price, visit High Point Scientific (*not an affiliate link).