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Madhatter

Jessops TA800-80 from a novice perspective

32 posts in this topic

Reading reviews here has been very interesting and helpfull for me, i am a complete novice too astronomy and only just recieved my first telescope 2 days ago. Normaly id never atempt too review something i am so new too, in fact i dont think i have ever reviewed anything before!. But due too the nature of the scope i thought mabey a complete novice review of this telescope might be helpfull to other complete newbies like myself!.

The telescope in question.

Jessops Reflector Telescope TA800-80

* 800mm Focal Length

* 80mm Objective

* Electronic Red Dot Finder Scope

* 3x Barlow Lens

* 6mm, 12.5mm & 20mm Eyepieces

* Tripod

Eyepieces

20mm eyepiece = 40x magnification or 120x magnification when used in conjunction with the 3x Barlow lens.

12.5mm eyepiece = 64x magnification or 192x magnification when used in conjunction with the 3x Barlow lens

6mm eyepiece = 133x magnification or 399 magnification when used in conjunction with the 3x Barlow lens

This Telescope retailed for £100 originaly, then dropped too £50 - and as low as 39.99 clearance price. So is an extreamly cheap scope. I have seen many people advise not touching this scope or any "department" type scope with a barge pole, however i feel if you understand thier limitations and what too exspect from them they can be of use in the right circumstances!.

First impressions strait out the box-this telescope acctualy looks pretty sturdy! the tripod is aluminium and takes seconds too assemble/dismantle, very novice friendly. It took me and my girlfriend 5 mins too unpack and assemble the complete telescope having never done so before.

The instructions included were poor, they explained how too set up the telescope but didnt give any information how too use it, nor did it mention the red dot scope needs aligning!, this may not be a problem too a more exsperianced astronomer who realizes this, but too a novice its not apparent..the red dot looks central and many new people seem too pass it of as useless strait away. The first night i used the scope i too thought the red dot sight was a useless gimick and had a hard time finding anything at all without it.

The second night i realized there was a couple of screws that could be adjusted and i then realized it needs aligning, i found the easiest way was too get the moon in view and then center the red dot too its center, once this was done the red dot sight is very effective..

You can get views of saturn and its rings with this scope very easily one the red dot finderscope is aligned.

Placing the dot over saturn with the 20mm eye peice found saturn again and again, its effective..but due too lack of instructions i feel many people may dismiss it as useless.

The selection of eye peices was pretty good, the 20mm is very easy too use,the 12.5mm also very easy, the 6mm has a poor field of view but did give the largest views of saturn seeing a gap beetwen the rings and the planet, but with slightly less clarity than the 20mm, the barlow only seems any good for lunar viewing. This telescope shows some beautiful view of the moon and saturn,the moon looked much better than i exspected it to,great detail. And saturn even tho it is very small its still an amazing sight.

This scopes main weakness seems too be the mount from the tripod too scope, it dosent stay in place great and needs tightening sometimes. The tracker bar seems very poor, i do not believe you could track objects with this scope effectivly without too much wobble, but it only needs a nudge in the right direction too get what your looking for, and another nudge too refocus after object has left the field of view, it takes about 5/10 seconds for tripod wobble too subside depending on distance of object.

Another weakness is the instructions, they only really tell you how too assemble the telescope and mention nothing about aligning the red dot finder,since this is a novice scope i would have thought they would put in some very basic help on getting started.

Overall id rate this telescope as excellent value, if you only have £30 pounds too spend (can be delivered too your door from ebay for this price on average) and you would like too see some amazing views of the moon and see saturn for the first time this scope may be for you.

Some may say that you are better putting that £30 too a better telescope, and they may be right..But this telescope is certainly enough too spark interest, provided you keep it in good condition you could get most your money back on ebay. I bought this telescope too get an idea if astronomy is for me , and then bypass the £200 price range telescopes and go strait into £400/500 price range.

I hope this novice review is helpfull too others like myself who have considered this scope but been put of by warnings of how bad they are, i feel if you understand what too exspect from them they are EXCELLENT value!,But not discounting the warnings, MANY more people have been dissapointed with these scopes than happy it seems,and being a complete novice i understand that everyone knows a lot more than i do on the subject so thats certainly worth thinking about, i have thought that myself and have just wondered if im just amazed at my first proper views, but I felt i had too mention my feelings on this scope from a complete novice perspective because for the money i think it is great.

Edited by SteveL
edited to change black on grey text to something more readable

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This is a difficult one. I agree that for a small amount of money it could be worth seeing whether there is enough to spark an interest.

We purchased a Jessops reflector for around £35 about 2.5 years ago. I think ours was a 76mm reflector. We didn't want to spend much money on a hobby we didn't know whether we would enjoy. So for us it was a good starting point. Our mount was not very stable, so we had difficulty getting a steady view, but despite this, we had some great views of the moon, M31 and M45. And that was more than enough to spark our interest. After those early views we were hooked and then felt much happier about investing in the purchase of a better quality telescope and mount.

If it wasn't for our little Jessops scope we may never have taken the plunge into astronomy.

Edited by Sarah

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Hi Sarah, im glad too hear that you have also had some good use out of your jessops telescope:) could you comment on the durability?.

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nice review and as said, a cheap interest finding intro before splashing out more cash.

Always sell it on ebay after or give it to friends / kids.

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I have now given this to my cousin who had an interest but has only ever viewed by the naked eye, il miss the lil jessops:( but i think he will enjoy this, iv explained its limitations and so hopefully this might spark that extra interest.

Gone but never forgoten!.

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so what you moving onto?

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Me, my dad and my best friend are putting in £180 each and buying the skywatcher 250px dobsonian, cheshire and a wide FOV EP.

We have all given this much thought and talked alot about it, were pretty certain its the right one for us, as it stands we all have roughtly £125 saved each so not far of now:).

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just bought a 250px myself, hoping the warehouse delivery is early tomorrow so that i can get it here for the weekend :eek:

tbh if it arives monday it doesnt matter, im 'between' jobs so its not like i need to get up in the mornings...but i do, 8.30am ;)

ive already looked through a 250px and the difference it makes over my Galax(can't really)see 4.5" is impressive!

EDIT: i would suggest you get a telrad or failing that a red dot so you can slew the scope to a physical patch of sky then use the finder to locate the object.

Edited by banner001

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Good choice of scope:D we debated over the 8" 10" and 12" models for quite some time, the 8" was tempting because the OTA would have imaging capabilitys in the future and would be easyer too transport, but all agreed that we may eventulaly wish we went bigger.

The 12" whilst very appealing and i already have appeture feaver telling me to get it..the problem is i have heard many times that the stepup in size from 10" to 12" is quite noticable, and one of our critera is that any of us could assemble/dismantle and use on our own when needed. we live in a town, so the extra appeture would be helpfull with light polution, but i fear the size would be just that bit too big too take out too a darker place without it becoming a problem.

the 250px seems the perfect comproimise:) and the price is right that we can buy a couple of essentials, thanks for reminding me about the red dot sight, we will certainly be using one of these, iv never got on with finderscopes.

it must be so exciting when theres a really nice clear night now you have that beast to go and have a look through! quite a step up from the tasco! bet you cant wait:D

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i got the solid tube 10" as im gonna try to make it modular. at some point i will upgrade the optics, i will also stick it on an EQ mount at some point to do some AP.

when i want to get a bigger scope ill get a 16" truss and use it for backyard observing only, it will be too cumbersome to move outside for a few hours at a time every so often.

also a 12" would not fit in the car nicely, so i would need the truss, and at double the price of the 250PX...not worth it

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There is just one more thing id like too add as to why this scope really isnt a bad idea-appart from the amazing views of the moon and saturn for the price.

Collimation-This is a perfect scope to practice this without worrying if something goes wrong!! i am so glad i learnt basic collimation on this scope-had i not i would have been far more worried about collimating my new skywatcher 250px..honestly if for nothing more than that its worth it solely for that reason!! as good as bins can be you just cant learn collimation of newtonian telescopes with them.

I thought it is also worth posting a picture of the moon i took through this telescope-this is simple holding a digi camera too the eyepeice, so its blurry , imagine this image in high resolution and thats what you see at the eye peice with the 20mm eye peice. all for 30 pounds.

moon.jpg

Edited by Madhatter

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Excellent review, Madhatter and I largely agree: It may be worth purchasing something like this to see if it sparks interest.

In fact, a friend bought one of these from (of all places) Cash Converters a few months ago, but it was incomplete - The tripod accesory tray was missing, making stability impossible. He got a refund, but initially it cost him £30 - Jessops were advertising £80 at that point.

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Ahhh cash coverters - the bastion of "slightly warm" consumer electronics :D

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Hi, I am a newbie (This is my first post) I would just like to thank Madhatter for a review that has answered a lot of questions that I had but was unable to get answered elsewhere. I hot one of these (my first ever scope) for Christmas 2011. After battling with the weather (Clouds in abundance) I managed to get a peek at a couple of things (Mainly the back end of the scopes mirror). I have setup the red dot finder as best as I could and pointed the thing at Jupiter which is high in the sky for me and easiest to see as I live in a valley. (Saturn and Mars etc a bit harder as The downs tend to get in the way) My problem is, although I seem to have a white dot reasonably large in size using just the 20mm lens, when I zoom all I can actually see is a larger white round thing with the cross of the front end of the telescope and nothing else. Can you tell me what if anything I am doing wrong (After you have picked yourself up off the floor laughing, I must admit, I am laughing myself as I know how silly I can be sometimes. Many Thanks in advance.

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My problem is, although I seem to have a white dot reasonably large in size using just the 20mm lens, when I zoom all I can actually see is a larger white round thing with the cross of the front end of the telescope and nothing else. Can you tell me what if anything I am doing wrong....

Hello and welcome to the forum :D

A white blob with a dark "cross" in front is what you see through a newtonian scope when it is not in focus. With Jupiter you should see a small, slightly flattened disk with 2 or more darker bands running across it and up to 4 moons strung out on either side.

I suspect you have not got the focus quite right - it needs to be quite precise - a little either side and you get the white blob / dot effect.

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Thank you very much for that reply John, I shall give it another go once the sky has cleared again. I did manage to get a very clear view of the moon yesterday and pointed my digi cam at it and managed to rattle off a couple of shots before clouds appeared again. As stated by Madhatter, the Barlow lens is pretty much useless for anything else other than observing the moon I have found. Thank you also for the welcome, I am very excited by it all but I am not going to rush out and buy another scope until I have got the hang of this one. I also use Stellarium which I think is a fantastic bit of software.

Ian,:D

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Welcome SR71 ! i am glad my review was of use to you:) have you collimated your scope? it can make a differance if its out of alignment (and it probably is if you have not done this) also its good to practice on a scope like this:)

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really good review Madhatter, this was my first scope looked through and also sparked interest - moved on to 250pds refector and 120ed refractor so far :p

Likewise when first started looking price put me off buying bigger and didnt know where to start, hence if didnt start off with above scope wouldnt have progressed.

from personal perspective found it more satisfying to upgrade/build up to 'better' views with each new scope purchase - really makes you appreciate and feel get value for hard earned money :icon_salut:

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Its cool that this very modest scope has started of quite a few members journy into the skies:)

Jessops are currently selling this scope brand new for £39.99 again it seems!.

I know a lot reccomend some cheap binoculars instead..but i just cannot agree. you wont see saturns rings and you will hardly even see crators on the moon. This scope will show you both:) the moon in particular still look amazing with this scope.

Edited by Madhatter

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Well, i have managed to get some amazing views of the moon as per your opinion (madhatter) as for collimation, i have checked and to the best of my own personal view it actually seems spot on (or as best as my eyes can tell). The frustrating thing is Jupiter, it is just a disc with 3 sometimes 4 moons either side of it but not much in the way of detail. Saturn is my next mission, just finding it hard to do the 4am thing. Will let you know when I do. Hopefully I will see rings, if not then I know my first attempt at collimation is wrong. Many Thanks once again.

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Your very welcome SR71:) i never had this scope by the time jupiter was in the sky but i can confirm that this scope will show you saturns rings:).

Edited by Madhatter

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Another newbie to all this. Stumbled across this review after a quick internet search and it's a great review, thanks MadHatter, found it very useful.

Been wanting a scope for quite a while but just not got round to getting one. Was given the Jessops for Christmas and I've been out just about every night that it has been clear.

Also got the skywalk app so I know roughly what I'm looking at other then the moon and jupiter. I live out in the country so I get quite clear views most night as long as it's not cloudy.

I'm having the same issue as SR71. Got the finder set up but even with the 6mm lens I struggle to see much more then a larger white dot when looking at Jupiter. Not been able to see Saturn yet so I'm looking forward to that.

SR71 did you manage to see much more on Jupiter? I have a small period in which I can take back for a trade in and put a bit more money towards getting a better scope and I'm wondering if this is the best course to take or whether I'm not using the scope correctly!

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Hi, sorry for late reply, I have been sitting waiting patiently everyday for the skies to clear up so as to get a look at something. In answer to your question, yes I did eventually manage to et Jupiter in focus and have been able to see upto 4 moons either side. I have also managed to rattle of some clearer pics of the moons surface with a plain digi camera not dissimilar to Madhatters. I have been getting up at silly o'clock to try and get a glimpse of Saturn. I also live in the country (South Coast) Tonight seems rather clear so up at midnight for Mars and 4am for Saturn lol, Wish me luck & good luck with yours,:icon_scratch:

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Good luck, I hope you get a good view! Certainly deserve it getting up at that time! I too have seen Jupiter and it's moons and looking forward to seeing Saturn.

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:headbang:Well, I managed to get a good look at Saturn this morning. It looked fabulous and was almost all that I expected bar one small detail, IT WAS MINUTE !, I did think it would be small but in fact it was rather tiny, Having said that I did see the rings as advised earlier in this post. I used all three lenses and to be honest the difference in light is not that much different. I also popped the Barlow lens in to see if I could magnify the image but to be fair there was not much difference once brought into focus. I did also try the very amateur thing of trying to poke a digi cam at it in order to crack off a couple of shots but alas just a blur was the result. I fully agree with Mad Hatter in that I feel this is a great starter scope. So onto nebula's next and also to lloyds bank to deposit some more pennies as I am now hooked and want that new scope. Have Fun !

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