Orion telescopes are created by a company known mostly for the sale of products from other brand names. Orion Telescopes & Binoculars is a catalogue company that has been selling sports optics for several decades.
They’re a company committed to offering the perfect telescopes and binoculars for every occasion, every location, and every level of operator experience.
But they also make their line of optics, and these are nothing to sneeze at.
The company was founded in 1975, and has been dedicated to providing the high quality scopes and binocs in the industry to their customers since then. Orion believes in serving the customer above all else–they’re warranty offerings will certainly back that statement up–and it shows in both the products they sell and the ones they manufacture.
Because Orion’s first priority has always seemed to be the sale of other brand name goods, the ones they make under their own name are considered generic devices by the sporting optics community.
But there’s nothing generic about Orion telescopes. Cut from the same cloth as devices from names like Celestron and Meade, Orion telescopes are some of the best out there. Their spec and performance ratings are right up there with the best of them, but their prices are much lower.
Whether you’re a novice, intermediate, amateur, or expert astronomer, you’ll find what you need in Orion’s surprisingly expansive lineup.
Best Orion Telescopes: The Selection
For a company that focuses primarily on the sale of big name optics–like Meade, Celestron, and the like–Orion sure does have a wide and varied selection of their own goods.
These are considered generic telescope models, without the high sophistication of the aforementioned big names, but they still perform really well and are comparatively affordable. Among the many telescope varieties Orion manufactures are:
Using Dobsonian reflector telescopes, the Sky Quest series is made for a wide range of astronomers, from beginners to experts. They all feature super stable bases, portable constructions, and easy-to-use interfaces. There are also advanced models with computerized go-to technology available.
This is a classic scope series, full of highly portable units perfect for beginners. The models in the Space Probe series feature Newtonian designs and crystal clear optics.
Excellent for both deep sky and planetary viewing, these telescopes are great for families interested in learning about the nighttime sky. They’re also made compact, so you can take them on camping trips with ease.
Star Max Series
A bit more advanced than the Space Probe and Sky Quest telescopes, the models in the Star Max series are Maksutov-Cassegrain designs that offer truly crisp imagery and professional precision.
Designed for daytime and nighttime sight-seers on the go, the Go Scope series offers the most portable and lightweight models in the catalogue. They feature red dot finder scopes, two eye pieces, and light aluminum body construction.
That alone is a list long enough to compete with the variety of some of the industry’s biggest names, but there’s more. Also available are models from the Observer, Apex, and Build-a-Scope series, which teaches you how to construct your very own telescope.
Focus on the Orion Sky Quest Telescopes
One of the brand’s most accessible, affordable, and easy to use telescope is the Sky Quest.
The Sky Quest is billed as being perfect for the novice astronomer, but don’t let that fool you: these are some high-powered optics that even expert viewers may get a kick out of. Indeed, some of the high-end models in the Sky Quest series are lauded by professional astronomers for their sturdy build, precision performance, and reasonable prices.
Orion’s Sky Quest series features7 different models to choose from
- Sky Quest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
- Sky Quest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
- Sky Quest XX12 Truss Dobsonian Telescope
- Sky Quest XX12i Dobsonian Telescope
- Sky Quest XX14i Dobsonian Telescope
- Sky Quest XT8g Computerized GoTo Dobsonian Telescope
- Sky Quest XT12g GoTo Dobsonian Telescope
The Sky Quest telescopes vary widely in terms of aperture length (from 6″ to 14″) and special features (such as IntelliScope object-locating technology, Beginning Stargazers Toolkit, and motorized GoTo tracking hardware for easy access to tens of thousands of celestial bodies).
Generally speaking, most users are thrilled with the Sky Quest telescope’s performance. This is a lightweight, portable, easy to use scope with great optics, killer user-interface, and a price tag that won’t send you to the poor house. For novice and expert astronomers alike, the Sky Quest is certainly a must-have scope.
Orion Telescopes: The Details
Zooming out of the close-up view on the Sky Quest series, let’s now take a look at the technical details of the entire lineup of Orion telescopes.
The range of aperture sizes in the catalogue is reflective of the wide variety of Orion telescopes–there’ s something here for everyone. On the low end, there’s the Orion Observer 60mm Alt-Azimuth Refractor Telescope with a 60 millimeter aperture, while the high end features a 356mm aperture on the gigantic Orion SkyQuest XX14i IntelliScope Truss Dobsonian Telescope. Generally speaking, Orion scopes sit in the 90mm-150mm range which is perfectly admirable.
For most Orion telescopes, you’re given two eye pieces, usually 1.25″ in diameter. The variety gives you different magnification options when viewing the night sky. In some cases, as with the cheapest and most expensive of the bunch, you are given just one eye piece.
Orion telescopes also come with a number of other features that make them interesting buys, including: EZ Finder red dot locator scopes, havy-duty materials for long-lasting construction, and go-to computerized tracking technology.
Getting better acquainted with the business side of Orion may also help you decide which telescope to get. Here’s a rundown of their price range and warranty practices.
Orion prides itself on making telescopes available to absolutely every type of astronomer, from beginner to expert. And they have the goods to back that up. In the Orion catalogue, you can find scopes for as little as $79.99 (Orion Observer 60mm Alt-Azimuth Refractor Telescope) and as much as $2,299 (Orion SkyQuest XX12g Go To Dobsonian Telescope with Shroud and Case). The majority of Orion telescopes fall in the $100-$300 range which, for the quality you’re getting, is very decently priced indeed.
Returning items to Orion Telescopes & Binoculars is incredibly easy–they’re customer service department is one of the best in the business. And with the 30 day money back guarantee, you can be sure you really like a product before you have to fully commit to ownership.
To give you more of a nudge one way or the other, here are a few pros and cons of Orion telescopes as outlined by actual consumers.
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