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Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ Review

Celestron’s PowerSeeker 80EQ is probably the best product in the entire PowerSeeker line. However, it still suffers from a number of weaknesses and shortcomings, mostly due to the fact that Celestron seems to insist on marketing it as capable of absurd 675x power and terrestrial observing.

Overview of Powerseeker 80EQ

  • The Optical Tube

The PowerSeeker 80EQ is an 80mm f/11 achromatic doublet. At this focal ratio and aperture, there is some slight Celestron Powerseeker 80EQchromatic aberration but it is not very detrimental to the view. It is quite good optically and performs quite well on the Moon, planets, and double stars.

The finderscope included with the PowerSeeker 80EQ is a terrible 5×24 unit with a singlet plastic objective with an aperture stop. It is almost entirely useless, as the view is terrible and the cheap design of the bracket makes it all but impossible to align.

The scope’s focuser is a 1.25”, metal rack-and-pinion. It is quite well-made and sturdy. Conveniently, the focuser has a slot to attach a real, quality finderscope or red dot sight with a standard Vixen/Synta-style foot.

The PowerSeeker 80EQ comes with 2 adjustable tube rings, one of which has the standard ¼ 20 piggyback screws. Unlike most other telescopes, these rings do not use a Vixen dovetail bar and saddle to attach to the mount – they instead bolt directly onto it. This is mildly inconvenient as you’ll have to transport the mount with the rings attached and remember the balance point of the OTA, but this was true of most telescopes before the late 1980s anyway, and people got by with this system just fine back then.

  • Accessories

The PowerSeeker 80EQ comes with two eyepieces: A 20mm Kellner (45x) and a 4mm Ramsden (225x). The 20mm Kellner is functional, though 45x is a bit much for “low” power with an 80mm telescope. The 4mm Ramsden not only provides too much magnification to be useful with the telescope, but it has a tiny eye lens that you have to press your eyeball right up against to see anything at all, and the field of view is narrow and fuzzy.

Like all PowerSeekers the 80EQ comes with the standard all-plastic 3x “Powerseeker Barlow”, designed to allow it to achieve the “675x” Celestron advertises when coupled with the 4mm Ramsden eyepiece. This is too much magnification for any 80mm telescope, let alone even a 500mm (20”) telescope on most nights due to atmospheric seeing. And of course, the Barlow and 4mm Ramsden have the optical quality of cheap toys, so they’d be useless even if the absurd magnification weren’t an issue.

The diagonal supplied with the Powerseeker 80EQ is a cheap Amici unit designed to provide erect, non-reversed images (i.e. you can read a newspaper without it being flipped left-right). It has an ergonomically-friendly shape meant to facilitate it being grabbed and used as a handle. However, the Amici design produces an annoying spike on bright objects (planets, bright stars) which is detrimental to the view.

For a small additional price, Celestron now sells the Powerseeker telescopes bundled with a smartphone adapter. This adapter is quite nice, but it will obviously only work with the 20mm eyepiece (additional aftermarket 1.25” eyepieces will work too, though). It is pretty much only good for lunar photography or maybe shooting the planets if you have a good phone camera and minimize the tilt of the phone relative to the eye lens. This being said, I still recommend it if you have any desire to take even a basic Moon photo with your telescope – holding your cell phone camera directly up to the eyepiece is challenging, to say the least.

  • Mount

The PowerSeeker 80EQ comes with the same EQ-1 German equatorial mount supplied with all of the Powerseeker EQ telescopes. While not the Rock of Gibraltar, it is quite adequate for an 80mm f/11 telescope and has smooth motions. You can attach Celestron’s “Logic Drive” to it for hands-free motorized tracking if you wish, and the mount comes with nice manual slow-motion control knobs.

You may be wondering why I’ve given this mount a bad rap in my other Powerseeker telescope reviews. It’s because Celestron has a habit of putting telescopes way too large for the poor little EQ-1 on it, straining the mount and causing the motions to be jerky and wobbly, as well as the whole telescope to be unstable, which overshadows the surprisingly nice features of the mount.

Conclusion

While not my absolute favorite due to the crummy accessories, the Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ is actually a surprisingly good telescope. For only a little more you could certainly upgrade to a slightly higher-quality 80mm refractor, or you could get a larger-aperture tabletop Dobsonian, but the Powerseeker 80EQ is certainly a good telescope for its price, if not a great one.

Recommended, though I’d consider spending a little more on something better – you won’t regret it.

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