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Zhumell Z100 Telescope Reviewed – Editor’s Choice

The Zhumell Z100 is one of the cheapest decent telescopes you can buy, and great for users of any skill level.

Zhumell’s Z100 is about the lowest price telescope we would highly recommend for an adult user. It offers nearly all the features of a larger reflector except in a much smaller package and much lower price.

The Z100 is similar to the Orion SkyScanner, which we have also reviewed, but the focuser and finder are installed in more convenient positions for the user, the Z100 has a built-in handle, and the eyepieces included with the Z100 are a little higher quality. 

How It Stacks Up
Rank 3
3.8
Rank 1
Zhumell Z100
4.5
What We Like

  • Good optics
  • Very easy to use
  • Extremely lightweight/portable
  • Inexpensive


What We Don't Like

  • Mediocre included eyepieces
  • Can’t be collimated by the user
  • Lack of collimatability + short focal length makes for mediocre planetary views


Bottom Line
TelescopicWatch Editor's Choice

The Zhumell Z100 is amazing for the money – but you get what you pay for. It’s not going to do everything a larger and more expensive scope can do – and it’s relatively limited in how much you can upgrade it.

The Zhumell Z100 Optical Tube

The Z100 is a 100mm (3.93”) f/4 Newtonian reflector. At such a fast focal ratio, you’d expect there to be coma and you’d indeed be right. It’s not noticeable with the stock 17mm and 10mm eyepieces, but with a lower magnification eyepiece like a 25mm Plossl, you’ll start to spot it at the edges of the field of view.

Additionally, at f/4 precise collimation is critical for optimal performance with any reflector. Unfortunately, the folks at Zhumell have declined to offer this crucial feature and the primary mirror sits in a static, non-collimatable cell. Thankfully the scope holds collimation pretty well over time, but the lack of adjustments is mildly concerning to say the least, and be prepared for Zhumell to not be of much assistance in replacing or fixing an out-of-collimation scope.

The Z100’s secondary mirror is collimatable, but you shouldn’t ever need to touch it. The primary losing collimation is a far bigger concern.

The Z100’s focuser is a 1.25” rack-and-pinion consisting partially of plastic. It works adequately. The scope attaches to its tabletop Dobsonian mount using a short, metal Vixen dovetail.

Accessories

The Z100 comes with two eyepieces: A 17mm Kellner (24x) and a 10mm Kellner (40x). These eyepieces are certainly decent (though they do lack rubber eyecups, which I find annoying) and are made entirely of metal and glass – no plastic to be found, unlike the eyepieces supplied with many cheaper telescopes. The 10mm is, however, rather short on eye relief and its short physical length may result in your nose bumping into the telescope while viewing.

The scope could theoretically take up to 150-200x, but the mount is a little annoying to use above 100x or so and the optics max out at around 150x from my experience. 

The most crucial additional accessory we would recommend for this scope would be a 6mm “gold-line” eyepiece or a 2x Barlow lens. The 6mm Goldline gives you 66x magnification, allowing for better planetary views than with the 40x provided by the stock 10mm Kellner. Alternatively, the 2x Barlow coupled with the stock 10mm eyepiece provides 80x. If you can only pick one we would recommend the 6mm Goldline, but if you’re able to buy both you could also Barlow the 6mm eyepiece for an astounding 133x, which is about at the practical limit of what this telescope can provide.

The Z100 also includes a standard red dot sight, which works just fine for this telescope. 

Zhumell Z100 Portable Altazimuth Reflector Telescope

Price – Price not available

The Z100’s wide field of view at low power (over 2 degrees with the stock 17mm and up to 4 degrees with optional lower power/wider field oculars) makes it extremely easy to find deep-sky objects with little in the way of practice.

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Zhumell Z100

Mount

The Z100 comes on a fairly utilitarian tabletop Dobsonian mount, which it attaches to via a plastic Vixen dovetail saddle. The mount is made mostly of particle board with some sort of laminate glued on, but the azimuth bearings are in fact real Teflon pads. The altitude bearing is not of the conventional Dobsonian design but works nonetheless. Additionally, the mount has a small cutout for use as a handle. 

If you don’t have a sturdy enough table or bar stool to set the Z100 on, the bottom of the mount has a ¼ 20 threaded hole so you can attach it to most photo tripods. You can also set the scope on the hood of your car, which is arguably a more stable option than a lot of cheap tripods or folding tables.

What can you see?

The Z100 will offer great views of the Moon and decent views of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Venus will show its phases, Mars its ice caps and maybe a few dark areas at opposition, and Jupiter and Saturn will show their moons and cloud belts – Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is also visible, as are Saturn’s majestic rings and the gap between them known as the Cassini Division. Uranus and Neptune are also visible as tiny bluish dots, but are a bit tricky to locate. 

A small, inexpensive refractor may do a slightly better job on the planets than the Z100, but the Z100’s larger aperture makes it superior for viewing deep-sky objects, and it’s also far more lightweight, compact, and portable than a refractor.

Outside the solar system, the Z100 can show you thousands of double stars, and hundreds of open star clusters. You’ll be able to spot globular clusters as fuzzy smudges, a few dozen of the brightest galaxies, and with luck maybe pick out hints of detail in a few such as the dust lanes in M82 or M31. Doing this will require dark skies, however. The Z100 is also capable of showing various bright nebulae like Orion, the Lagoon, the Dumbbell, and the Ring, which will look great even from light-polluted skies.

Alternative recommendations

There aren’t a whole lot of alternatives to the Z100 that are any good at or below its price. The Orion SkyScanner is basically identical to the Z100. Besides the SkyScanner, here’s what we might recommend instead:

  • Zhumell Z114  – A bit more aperture, collimatable, but more expensive.
  • Meade Infinity 70 – Less aperture, but a full-sized tripod and arguably better planetary views.
  • Meade Infinity 80 – Similar views to the Z100 but without the worries of collimation and with a full-sized tripod.

Aftermarket accessory recommendations

The f/4 focal ratio of the Z100 prevents the use of a 25mm or 32mm Plossl for wider fields of view A 6mm “gold-line”  will provide 67x. For even more magnification, you could add a 2x Barlow lens to get 80x with the included 10mm and 133x with the 6mm goldline – which are pretty decent magnifications for lunar/planetary viewing with a telescope of the Z100’s size and capabilities. But beyond an extra eyepiece and/or Barlow, we’d hesitate to recommend additional accessories for the Z100 in lieu of simply purchasing a larger telescope like the Z114 or Z130.


4 thoughts on “Zhumell Z100 Telescope Reviewed – Editor’s Choice”

  1. I also bought the 114az sr and after reading your comments and amgoing to purchase the exploascope 80az80mm refractor to compare. Is this the one you referred to in your comment that would be better? We really want to see planet details and is the refractor good for that vs the reflector because I’ve read both are better for viewing different things ? Thanks in advance

    Reply
  2. Sometime between yesterday and today the price of this telescope jumped up from 99.99 USD to between 150 USD and 250 USD, making it no longer fit into the $100 category, and making it a hard sell compared to the nearly identical Orion model.

    Reply
    • It’s just Amazon being Amazon. Sometimes, the main seller goes out of stock and a higher-priced third-party seller’s listing gets shown on Amazon. We’re keeping a close eye on these price changes and will make necessary changes if the price rate keeps being inflated for a longer time frame. Since July 2018, Zhumell Z100 has been constantly selling at a price range of $99.99 and the inflation happened for the first time only this month.

      Reply
  3. So, I got one base on this recommendation and paired it with an Orion 52587 VersaGo E-Series Altazimuth Mount Head with Tripod. I thought about purchasing the Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope but deemed the placement of the finderscope and the focuser as bizarre and ill-conceived. They engineered themselves into a hole focused on the upselling of their Orion StarBlast AutoTracker Altazimuth Mount Tripod to mount the little dob, rather than creating something with interoperability for Vixen side-mount tripods. With that said, I wanted something with slow-motion controls and to be able to walk around in a field and not lay on my stomach to use the finderscope. Collimation is spot-on, and the optics are crisp & precise, really stunning for such a diminutive scope, the only negative, a wobbly focuser! Poor material design-Arg!!! Not to fret, as this common to low-cost telescopes with plastic focusers and readily rectifiable with an application of some 100% virgin Teflon tape stripes. The eyepieces are a toss. There is no Barlow. The finder is identical to the Orion EZ Finder II Telescope Reflex Sight, which recently had a re-design. The scope works well with the Celestron 8-24 mm zoom as well as the 7 & 5 mm X-Cel LX eyepieces. Thumbs up, in this hobby, you could make a lot worse purchase.

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