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Matthew.Blake

Celestron Travelscope 70

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I recently bought a small scope to take on a plane with me to the Canary islands to use on a parent funded family holiday. Sadly we had to cancel as my wife fell ill (she's fine now), but I thought I'd post some comments on the scope anyway.

I'll start with a summary in case you get bored:

The scope is not a brilliant scope. It's not meant to be. What it is, is a brilliant side dish of a scope that you can take pretty much anywhere. It comes with a mount in a neat little back pack that will easily do as hand luggage on a plane. It is not expensive enough that you have to worry about it when travelling with it, if it snags on a rock when you are scaling K2 in search of that ultimate dark site you've lost nothing that can't be easily replaced. For anyone that wants an easily portable scope they can take pretty much anywhere I'd recommend it highly. As an added bonus, all the qualities that make it suitable as a travelscope also make it a great first scope for a young child!

My criteria for the scope were as follows:

  • It needed to be cheap enough that I could afford to buy it for occasional use only.
  • It had to be very portable - i.e. hand luggage on a plane as there was no way I was going to let baggage handlers touch a telescope. Apologies to any baggage handlers on the forum.
  • The optics, whilst not needing to be brilliant, had to be sufficient that I was better off than with the naked eye! (OK, that one's a bit obvious - but I'm sure there are some budget scopes out there where this isn't the case).
  • It had to have a stable enough mount that I could use anything up to, oh, a massive 50x magnification.
  • It had to not be binoculars as I just can't get along with them - much to my irritation.
  • It had to be able to take any 1.25" eyepieces I threw at it rather than being some fixed/specialist eyepiece monster.

So, how did it do?

Well as for affordable and portable it hits the nail on the head. The stand, scope and eyepieces fit neatly into a small rucksack (that comes with the scope) and the whole caboodle only set me back £60. The first two criteria are filled nicely! I could quite happily take this scope just about anywhere.

What about the optics and the mount then?

Well, let's be honest: it cost £60 I'm not going to get an ED apochromatic refractor for that. What I got was a basic 70mm achromatic refractor with a couple of eyepieces that I suspect are huygens but celestron won't identify as anything other than "eyepieces". That said, the quality is still good. It is a basic, low cost design but done well. It will never replace my reflector or be as good as a WO66 but neither of those would I be happy just slinging in a backpack and climbing up the side of Snowdon with (obviously on one of the 2 non-cloudy days they get each year). Having looked through it at a few targets I am pleasantly surprised. I could make out the two main cloud bands of Jupiter. The double cluster was clear, though not as well defined as in a larger scope (did I just say the sky was blue?). I even picked out Andromeda from the middle of Coventry with it. The mount is really just a camera tripod. For low magnifications it is perfectly adequate, I've viewed at up to 40x with it and wouldn't want to go any higher with it as the mount needs a bit more bracing than I'd like at that level. Pointing it can be a little tricky as locking the scope on a target can move it off target - you get used to it and adapt but that doesn't stop it being a little irritating.

What about not being binoculars and taking my other eyepieces?

Well, it's not a pair of binoculars so that's an easy pass. It takes any of my eyepieces apart from the 2" ones! Just a rack and pinion focuser, but I have not had any trouble getting it to focus well as I'm using such low magnification with it.

Edited by Matthew.Blake
Letting you know my wife was fine!

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Matthew thanks for a good review.

Great timing too, I've been toying with the idea of getting one to leave at my mothers house for when I visit.

She could even use it for birding too.

Clear skies.

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Thanks for the review, I am looking for something similar, so the review is very welcome. Your remarks on baggage handlers reminds me of a Jasper Carrot joke:

"Baggage handlers are like the yeti: you see their footprints in your luggage, but you never see them!"

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I recently purchased one and am awaiting delivery. It is to take the place of my C80ED as a guidescope atop my LX10. I too wanted something cheap, usable and portable. The fact that it will double duty as a travel scope is a plus and triple duty when my son comes of age to use it (he's not yet three). The C80ED is going on a mount of it's own (an EQ3-2 I had lying around) and will probably mount the travel scope on that as well for some guiding.

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If it helps anyone decide on one of these (or not!), here's a couple of very rough and ready images taken at prime focus this evening using an e420 DSLR, (no barlow etc and no post-processing). For what is a £40 scope that you can take anywhere, I'm pretty happy with these. Really looking forward to my summer hols in a dark bit of Spain now!

Sun: 7pm in white light using 40mm central aperture in lens cap with solar film:

post-24888-133877614395_thumb.jpg

Moon at 8.30pm:

post-24888-133877614401_thumb.jpg

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Thanks. I used the smaller aperture in the lens cap as a quick way of getting some solar obs in - so I've got a white light solar and visible travelscope all in one then. With the film tucked behind the caps it's nicely protected for travelling. Don't want to get to Spain and find a hole in the film...:) With the supplied 20mm e/p it gives some pretty good views, considering.

When I want full aperture I break out the 150 Mak and matching film cell, webcam and laptop. I wont be lugging that lot through an airport any time soon, let alone paying Sleazyjet's excess baggage on any of it...:( With the TS I can stick the DSLR in at prime and off I go (just have to make sure I leave enough space on the memory cards for the "holiday" snaps, or my GLW will not be chuffed...)

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Hi all,

I wish I was experienced enough to be able to make meaningful comments on this 'scope :( Needless to say this is my first and currently, only 'scope and I'm chuffed you lot have bought one too!

As I have nothing to compare it with I can only say that I'm happy with views of the moon and open clusters using a 2x Shorty barlow. I can say with confidence that the wobblier the tripod the more frustrating the session. So you can imaging how frustrating my stargazing sessions are!

However, I'm learnig and loving this hoppy. CA? What CA? That lovely colourful tinge is stunning - just adds to my experience.

:)

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Hi all,

I wish I was experienced enough to be able to make meaningful comments on this 'scope :( Needless to say this is my first and currently, only 'scope and I'm chuffed you lot have bought one too!

As I have nothing to compare it with I can only say that I'm happy with views of the moon and open clusters using a 2x Shorty barlow. I can say with confidence that the wobblier the tripod the more frustrating the session. So you can imaging how frustrating my stargazing sessions are!

However, I'm learnig and loving this hoppy. CA? What CA? That lovely colourful tinge is stunning - just adds to my experience.

:)

CA is chromatic aberration, which is the main problem of achromatic refractors. It means light of different colours does not focus at exactly the same point.

I would not worry about it. You are enjoying your scope, that's what it is all about. Only when you feel you have reached the limits of your current scope should you consider getting a new one.

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Cheers Michael,

I can't help wondering what I am possibly missing with this little 'scope. But, the views of the moon and the brighter clusters keep me happy. The biggest problem is my tripod.

I have read that an upgrade in aperture needs to be at least 100mm diam but do not know if this crosses 'scope designs.

So many gazers here recommend the 8" Dob! Nevermind, the fracts, or maks!

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Cheers Michael,

I can't help wondering what I am possibly missing with this little 'scope. But, the views of the moon and the brighter clusters keep me happy. The biggest problem is my tripod.

I have read that an upgrade in aperture needs to be at least 100mm diam but do not know if this crosses 'scope designs.

So many gazers here recommend the 8" Dob! Nevermind, the fracts, or maks!

If you absolutely cannot get a sturdier tripod then there are ways of increasing the stability. Hang a bag of weights from the centre column. That might steady it a bit. Don't extend the legs fully. That can work as well.

Also try mounting the scope such that the centre of gravity of the scope is at the same level as the rotational axis of the head of the tripod. Take a look here to see what I mean:

Easy Alt/Az Mount Modification

As far as the next size scope. I started with an 8" SCT, then got a 90 mm mak, then an 80 mm apo and just recently a 70 mm achro...exactly the opposite of what most people do. I use the 70 more than the rest because of its small size and ease of transport. I love my LX10 but it takes 2 hours to set up for photography.

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Hi Guys,

I have one of these and recently purchased a t-ring and t-adapter from Celestron to connect my dslr(Canon XS) to it for some photos. Everything seems to mount up just fine but I cannot seem to get the scope to focus. I take off the camera and drop in an eye piece and everything is fine and clear. Is there some piece that I am missing?

Also I noticed that the scope has the correct size threads on the body of the scope were you connect the angled piece. That mounts directly to the t-ring of the camera bypassing the t-adapter. Can I mount the camera directly to that.

Sorry if this post is in the wrong thread, and thanks for any help you may be able to give me.

Michael

Edited by dragonturbo3

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Michael

Are you trying to image through the 45 deg prism or a star diagonal? If you are, there's not enough focus travel. Take it out and stick the t-adaptor/camera directly in the drawtube - should work fine.

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Brand new here having done a search for reviews on the Celestron.. I have a gadget loving partner and I am thinking of getting a telescope for him; he has mentioned he would always love one. he is incredibly picky tho and someone who reads every last review on an item before buying (if you know what I mean). I'm also on a budget and the Celestron Travelscope 70 is in it.. is there another one someone could recommend to me, as I am concerned that he will be put off by the fact it is a travel one and has been 'recommended as a child'd first telescope!"

Really appreciate if anyone could help me out, I feel bad for hijakcing this thread when I'm not a regular user!

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Brand new here having done a search for reviews on the Celestron.. I have a gadget loving partner and I am thinking of getting a telescope for him; he has mentioned he would always love one. he is incredibly picky tho and someone who reads every last review on an item before buying (if you know what I mean). I'm also on a budget and the Celestron Travelscope 70 is in it.. is there another one someone could recommend to me, as I am concerned that he will be put off by the fact it is a travel one and has been 'recommended as a child'd first telescope!"

Really appreciate if anyone could help me out, I feel bad for hijakcing this thread when I'm not a regular user!

I own the Travelscope 70. I am an astronomy newbie, but I really can't recommend it as such. The tripod is extremely bad. It is shaky so even small wind gusts makes the telescope vibrate. It uses plastic bushings/bearings so it moves in jerks. The controls are difficult to use, since you have to overshoot the target before locking the scope, since it dips down after locking. All in all the stand is frustrating and difficult to use.

The eyepieces are not very good, especially the 10 mm EP is quite dim.

The supplied prism is 45 deg. instead of 90 deg. 45 deg. works well when observing the moon, but makes watching the zenith of the sky very awkward.

The redeeming feature of this scope is its exceptional low weight and compactness. So it works very well as a travel telescope, or for people who have to walk/bike long distances to set up their telescope (like I do). Because it is so easy to move and set up, I get to use it much more than if it was a better, but less portable telescope.

IMHO, unless your partner really needs a travel scope, you probably will be better off in choosing another telescope from Celestron or Skywatcher in a similar price range.

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A wobbly tripod would drive him insane.

Anyone in particular you could recommend? Similar price range and a little bit more...

Thanks for taking time.

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Hi

I found that using my

Web cam I could not get focus connected direct to the scope - I would not recommend using the diagonal as it is not of very good optical quality. Get a T extension - Astroboot have a variable length one for £12 - retails at about £50!! I think it's 45-60mm or there abouts.

Should allow you to focus with the camera mounted direct on the scope.

Don't expect too much from the 70 photographically it's a cheap fast achromatic reflector after all :smiley:

Have fun then get the bug and start the real spending.

Clear skies

Paul

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Hi,

Another semi-newbie here with a TravelScope question :) I'm reasonably familiar with the sky, but haven't had a scope since I got a 50mm Tasco (!) refractor as a ten year old. I'm not thinking of buying immediately, but probabaly in the next few months, and am weighing up the choices.

I'm tossing up between the TravelScope 70, and the SkyScout 90, and really would like any views on what might be my best bet for my specific needs.

* I don't drive, so the top priority is a scope that is VERY portable, as it will be carried a lot on foot or buses/trains etc.

* I'm mostly interested in planetary observation, and observing bright DSOs such as Sirius.

* I'm mostly looking at doing visual observations to start with, but I am also a photographer, and I'd love to be able to do some modest astrophotography with the scope.

One thing I'm thinking specifically is that as the SkyScout costs about £100 and the TravelScope is about £50, and since neither have fantastic eyepieces, would going for the more portable TravelScope and having the rest to spend on decent eyepieces or a barlow be a better move than the (too cumbersome?) SkyScout and being stuck for a while with the stock eyepieces...?

All opinions much appreciated! :(

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of these two, the 70 is a nice little scope but the tripod is poor.

the 90 looks like a much more robust scope and has more aperture so despite the higher cost I feel this would be a better investment. you can buy decent eyepieces for maybe £15 each so these can be bought in time if needs be. the stars will still be there.

I have just bought a 90mm f500 scope and it gave really nice views. I have seen the 70 first hand but not the 90. the pics of the 90 though look really good.

given your tight budget, just observe for a while and forget pics for now.

Edited by Moonshane

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Hi Krys,

I'm currently using the Travelscope 70 as my first 'scope. The first thing I noticed was the almost useless tripod, although it may work on a table in its compacted form.

The next thing I discovered was the useful 20mm EP and the rubbish 10mm EP. I soon bought a Barlow.

This 'scope gives me lovely views of the moon, small images of the planets and nice widefield views of stars and bright nebulae. There is some CA on the moon but with my little experience and nothing else to compare it with, I think this was a good little 'scope for me to begin stargazing with; despite its obvious limitations.

FWIW, I'm now looking for a 2nd hand tripod to improve my viewing as the camera tripod I used later was also unstable.

Tim

Edited by Timbo

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Thanks for the heads up, everyone. Point taken about the mount. Though I know absolutely nothing about scopes, by looking at the photos of various models I did think the mount on the TravelScope didn't seem up to much, but portability wise it does seem to be amongst the best bets - unless anyone out there has any other ideas for ultra-portables?

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The difference between 70 and 90 mm aperture is significant. Portability-wise, I know that I can transport my much heftier 80mm APM triplet easily in a compact camera bag or small backpack, together with my EPs. I carry a sturdy but light tripod strapped to the side of the backpack.

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Krys,

It's a minefield choosing a 'scope, I'm still considering my bigger 'scope and hoping that I'll still want to use my 70mm. Well that bigger 'scope is yet to come so I'll continue to love my little'un.

Michael, would you tell me which tripod you are using please? I need one for the Travelscope.

Tim

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