Best Telescope For Deep Space Astrophotography 2021; Reviews
Here in this “Best Telescope For Deep Space Astrophotography” article we’ve rounded up 11 of the best telescopes of various types, specifications, and budget perfectly suited for dso astroimaging. Below, you’ll find in-depth reviews of each, as well as an elaborate buying guide to help you pick out the one that suits you the most.
Picking the best telescope for deep sky photography is not easy. These aren’t like lenses, where you would need three or more to cover all your bases.
Telescopes are big and expensive items that consume a lot of space. That’s why it’s crucial that you know which options you have.
Taking photos of the stars and galaxies is more complex than what most people think. This art form requires some specialized equipment and know-how to get right.
Standard camera kits alone are simply not designed to work in extremely low-light environments.
Furthermore, the optical and digital zoom functions are far too weak to pick up celestial bodies and deep-sky objects. To do that, you’re going to need a high-quality telescope.
Since there are so many options available in the market today, we did a survey among fellow astronomy enthusiasts, and consulted 3 in-house experts and came up with a list of 11 best telescopes for deep space astrophotography.
We then took a look at the entire popular telescope market, we combed through the details and customer reviews for dozens of scopes and chose the best telescopes for deep sky imaging.
Table Of Contents
- 1 COMPARISON TABLE
- 2 Best Telescope For Deep Space Astrophotography
- 3 Best For Deep Space Astrophotography
- 4 Best For Professionals
- 5 Best Portable Pick
- 6 Best 8 inch Telescope
- 7 Best Reflector For DSO Astrophotography
- 8 Best Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope For DSO
- 9 Best APO Refractor For Deep Sky Photography
- 10 Best With Wi-Fi
- 11 Best Coma-Free Telescope
- 12 Best Wide-Field Telescope
- 13 Best For iPhone Astrophotography
- 14 Best Telescope For Deep Space Astrophotography - Buying Guide
- 15 Features To Consider When Choosing A Good Telescope For DSO Photography
- 16 Conclusion
|TopTop Top Top Top Top Top||Sky-Watcher EvoStar 100 APO Doublet Refractor||Best Overall||Type: Apochromatic Refractor, Aperture: 100 mm(3.9″), Focal length: 900mm, Focal Ratio: f/9||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Celestron - NexStar 8SE||Best 8 inch||Type: Schmidt Cassegrain, Aperture: 203 mm (8″), Focal length: 2032mm, Focal Ratio: f/10||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT||Best Reflector||Type: Maksutov-Cassegrain, Aperture: 180 mm (7.08”), Focal length: 2700mm, Focal Ratio: f/15||See on Amazon|
|Top||Orion 9534 ED80T CF Triplet||Best APO Refractor||Aperture: 80mm (3.15″), Focal length: 480mm, Focal Ratio: f/6||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Celestron - NexStar Evolution||Best With Wi-Fi||Type: Schmidt-Cassegrain, Aperture: 203.2mm (8″), Focal length: 2032mm, Focal Ratio: f/10||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top||Meade Instruments 1010-60-03 LX200-ACF 10-Inch||Best Coma Free||Type: Schmidt-Cassegrain, Aperture: 10.0" / 254mm, Focal length: 2800mm, Focal Ratio: f/10||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top||Celestron - AstroMaster 130EQ||Best For iPhone Astrophotography||Type: Reflector, Aperture: 130 mm(5.1″), Focal length: 650mm, Focal Ratio: f/5||See on Amazon|
Best Telescope For Deep Space Astrophotography
Since this article is specifically for “deep space astrophotography”, which includes star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, we focussed on scopes that have a fast, short focal length for wide-field work such as large nebulae.
We also made sure that the telescopes have a large aperture and focal length since it’s a prerequisite if you want to shoot small planetary nebulae and galaxies.
Best For Deep Space Astrophotography
Sky Watcher EvoStar
The Sky-Watcher ProED 100mm f/9 Doublet APO Refractor features a doublet apochromatic lens system with Extra-low Dispersion glass and Sky-Watcher’s proprietary photon anti-rejection Metallic High-Transmission Coatings on all air-to-glass optical surfaces.
This combination of glass, lenses, and coatings virtually eliminates chromatic aberrations for clear and bright high-contrast images with true color rendition.
This is a versatile optical tube assembly that is well suited for wide-field astronomical observation of prominent nebulae, star clusters and galaxies, or can be used as an astrograph for sky photography, a terrestrial spotting scope or telephoto lens.
The scope features an ED Schott glass, which is rare in many professional telescopes.
This Doublet APO Refractor Telescope comes with a 2” Crayford-style focuser which is one of the best focusers in telescopes as it is a Dual-speed one. A 1.25-inch adapter is also included along with it.
The Sky-Watcher ProED is one of the best telescopes for dso astrophotography in the market and it comes with several accessories to help you get observing faster and easier. First, are 2 long eye relief eyepieces that produce 30x and 120x magnification and a 90° star diagonal for more comfortable viewing.
A large 8×50 erect-image finderscope to make finding your celestial objects faster and easier. The finderscope is fully-multicoated to ensure maximum brightness and contrast.
Additionally, Sky-Watcher provides a foam-lined aluminum carrying case to safely store and transport the OTA.
The Sky-Watcher ED-APO design assures virtual elimination of secondary, residual false color normally present in two-element achromatic lens designs using Crown and Flint glass
With ED APO Sky-Watcher refractor telescope, you’ll experience breathtaking high contrast views that have no equal to planetary and deep-space objects against pitch black skies.
The Sky-Watcher Pro Apochromatic Telescope has enough high contrast/high resolution optical performance to let you use it on an alt-azimuth or equatorial mount.
It’s only 6.6 lbs., lightweight and doesn’t require a big and expensive mount, so it’s easy to afford and easy to take out and set up for observing on a moment’s notice.
The Sky-Watcher ED-APO features a contrast-enhancing internal light baffles in the tube and focuser drawtube and a specially darkened tube interior providing dark sky backgrounds and high terrestrial contrast.
This apochromatic telescope comes with a dew shield which slows the formation of dew on the lens in cold weather to extend your undisturbed observing time.
- Best for professionals
- Maximum magnification
- Accurate in focus
- 9×50 RA viewfinder
- Two-inch dielectric diagonal
- Focuser slips with heavy eyepieces
- Flimsy case
Best For Professionals
Celestron – Advanced VX 8”
- Type: Aplanatic Schmidt
- Aperture: 203.2mm (8″)
- Focal length: 2032mm
- Focal Ratio: f/10
- Mount: Computerized – GoTo
- Eyepiece: 40mm
- Magnification: 51x
- Weight: 59 lb (26.7 kg)
- Our Rating: 9.6/10
The Celestron Advanced Series VX 8 inch EdgeHD telescope delivers amazingly flat field views of the night sky. The new Advanced VX Mount improves overall telescope performance making it a robust astro imaging platform. You will be amazed at how fast you obtain imaging results.
This package combines the groundbreaking Advanced VX mount with Celestron’s best optics, the EdgeHD optical system. This setup offers the astrophotographer maximum versatility – allowing up to 3 different f-stop configurations.
Users can attach a camera to the rear of the telescope and shoot at f/10, or attach Celestron’s optional 8″ focal reducer (sold separately, coming soon) and shoot at f/7.
Additionally, Celestron EdgeHD telescopes are Fastar/Hyperstar compatible, giving astrophotographers the option to shoot at ultra-fast f/2. No matter which configuration you choose, EdgeHD technology gives you pinpoint stars all the way to the edge of the CCD sensor.
The Celestron’s optics and systems require an extraordinary amount of power, the equivalent of a car battery. Celestron, therefore, offers a bundle that includes a 12-volt power supply. A 12-volt equivalent and an adapter will be needed if you plan to substitute your own.
A 2-year warranty is included on the telescope in the case of any unfortunate accidents.
With an 8″ optical tube and Celestron’s portable and fully featured Advanced VX mount, the Celestron Advanced 8″ EdgeHD telescope setup can be easily transported and assembled by one person. You’ll also have plenty of load capacity to attach your camera and other accessories.
This setup is simple enough for a beginner to use, but can also provide years of enjoyment for sophisticated deep space astrophotographers.
Celestron’s Advanced VX mount was specifically designed to provide optimum imaging performance for smaller telescopes. Now your smaller telescope can take advantage of All-Star Polar Alignment and autoguider support.
You’ll be able to track through long exposures using permanently programmable periodic error correction. Capture astrophotos across the meridian without doing a meridian flip, so you can seamlessly image the best part of night sky.
Advanced VX features significantly larger base castings than Celestron’s previous design, improving stability under heavier loads. Improved motors offer more torque and can handle slight load imbalances with ease.
- Corrector optic component in the focuser tube enables a very flat field that is superior to the performance of other “Coma Free” telescopes
- The HyperStar attachment provides a wide-aperture f-2, wide-field scope while also enabling expremem narrow field (f-10), ideal for deep space photography
- The secondary mirror holds its settings perfectly even with multiple removals and replacements
- Great for general viewing, it being a Schmidtt-Cassegrain you will get images that are both inverted and reversed.
- The rail on which the scope is mounted will only consistently work with Celestron branded mounts.
Best Portable Pick
Orion 10031 EON
- Type: Refractor
- Aperture: 108mm (4.25″)
- Focal length: 660mm
- Focal Ratio: f/6
- Mount: Only OTA
- Weight: 11.5 lbs.(5.21 kg)
- Our Rating: 9/10
For astronomers interested in deep-sky astrophotography or wide-field observing, this sleek telescope hits the spot.
With an abundant 110 mm (4.3″) of aperture, the Orion EON collects photons emitted by faint deep-sky objects, while an air-spaced doublet objective lens consisting of FPL-51 extra-low dispersion (ED) optical glass delivers ultra-sharp images as well as superior color correction.
The 110 mm EON refractor’s 660 mm focal length enables fast f/6 performance for effective use both visually and for deep-sky imaging.
Not only is the EON 110mm ED Refractor a great wide-field performer, it’s also delightfully compact and measures just under 22″ with its sliding dew shield retracted for easy transport.
Unlike heavier, bulkier astrophotography telescopes, the EON 110mm ED needs only a medium-sized mount to support It, such as the Orion Sirius EQ-G.
The EON 110mm ED boasts all these performance-packed features, yet is priced to please at thousands less than multi-element apochromatic refractors of comparable aperture.
The refractor’s optics are fully multi-coated for maximum light throughput so you’ll get the most out of each and every photon collected by the telescope.
Three optimally placed knife-edge baffles inside the optical tube ensure rich contrast by eliminating off-axis reflections and glare that can be detrimental to both visual and astrophotography pursuits.
The EON 110mm features a robust, 2.7″ hybrid-drive rack-and-pinion focuser which outperforms most Crayfords used.
The focuser’s integral 8-ball-bearing system, helical gear drive and dual-speed (11:1) motion control gives both silky smoothness and unflinching rigidity.
The focuser features a patented focus lock mechanism that locks the drawtube in two directions, providing a much more rigid lock than most focusers.
In fact the focuser of the EON 110mm ED Refractor is solid enough to easily support astrophotography equipment trains weighing up to a whopping 17 lbs., without slipping.
The EON 110mm ED’s focuser can be rotated in two places, allowing camera framing to be set independently from your preferred positioning of the apochromatic refractor telescope’s focus knobs.
The rugged focuser’s drawtube sports an engraved millimeter scale to aid in focus point repeatability – a great time-saver during astrophotography sessions.
For wide-field visual use during the day or night, 1.25″ and 2″ diagonals and eyepieces can be used with the EON 110mm ED refractor.
An optional Orion Field Flattener for Short Refractors (sold separately) is available and recommended for astrophotography use.
- Amazing fast optics
- Wide field
- Great for grab and go astrophotography
- Comes with tube rings, dew shield & a carry case
Best 8 inch Telescope
Celestron – NexStar 8SE
The NexStar 8SE is an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain with a focal length of 2,032mm, giving a focal ratio of f/10. All of this fits into a compact orange tube that is just 432mm long.
A StarPointer red-dot finder, E-Lux 25mm, 1.25-inch fit Plössl eyepiece and a star diagonal complete the optical tube assembly.
It is ideal for beginners and upgraders who want a huge aperture, easy goto set-up, a 40,000 object database and motorised tracking all for a relatively low price.
The NexStar 8SE has a long Vixen dovetail bar on the side of the optical tube, but it is largely decorative in purpose as the scope will only really balance with the dovetail slid all the way or nearly all the way forward in the saddle.
On average it takes a new telescope user approximately 5 minutes to do a full sky alignment with this telescope.
Once aligned the Celestron 8 SE computerized telescope is incredibly easy to operate. Optically the Celestron NexStar 8 SE telescope is nearly flawless with Celestron’s famous C8 Optical Tube Assembly.
The 8SE is one of the best computerized telescope for deep space astrophotography as it helps you easily view those faint deep sky objects such as nebulae, star clusters and galaxies.
This Celestron telescope yields super crisp images of the night sky and, once aligned, finds objects with complete accuracy.
It’s mount is a single-arm, altazimuth mount, all-in-one unit with the neatly integrated NexStar hand controller, which can be pulled out when in use.
The NexStar computerised hand controller has been designed to slot into the single arm and provides a database of 40,000 objects to choose from.
The NexStar 8SE has a long Vixen dovetail bar on the side of the optical tube, but it is largely decorative in purpose as the scope will only really balance with the dovetail slid all the way or nearly all the way forward in the saddle.
Its build quality is robust and it can take the general knocking around that comes with usage of a telescope.
Setting it up is quite easy too, just follow the manual. Takedown is just as quick and the whole scope packs away into rather small dimensions – certainly small enough for the average trunk.
The 8SE mount takes eight AA batteries, but we recommend only using these as backup – get a portable 12-volt DC power supply and cord or Celestron even sells some as the PowerTank meant specifically for astronomical use.
- Excellent optics
- Easy computerized GoTo tracking
- Light, portable and affordable
- Easy setup and takedown
- Good value for money
- Plastic accessories
- Short battery life
Best Reflector For DSO Astrophotography
SkyWatcher S11540 Maksutov-Cassegrain
- Type: Maksutov-Cassegrain
- Aperture: 180 mm (7.08”)
- Focal length: 2700mm
- Focal Ratio: f/15
- Eyepiece: 28mm
- Magnification: 96.4x
- Weight: 19 lbs.(8.61 kg)
- Our Rating: 9.6/10
SkyWatcher S11540 Maksutov-Cassegrain 180mm is an ultimate go-to ultra portable telescope.
The Sky-Watcher 180 mm Maksutov-Cassegrain uses a large 7.1” lens system to do the job of gathering light so you can see faint objects millions of light years away. The classic long focal length of f/15 will give you dark background skies so that celestial targets stand out beautifully.
Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes employ mirrors and a front corrector lens to produce a compact and highly portable optical tube.
The Maksutov design exchanges the conventional front corrector plate of a Schmidt with a convex meniscus lens, resulting in a smaller secondary mirror that limits obstruction and increases contrast, while eliminating the need for periodic collimation.
This modified optical path results in a slower focal ratio and narrower field of view versus a similar Schmidt, but the optical benefits, when coupled with the larger aperture and fully multi-coated optics, make this one of the best telescope for deep space objects astrophotography.
Its high-resolution, multi-coated, diffraction-limiting optical systems make it an ideal telescope for solar, lunar, and planetary observations, while being able to view deep space objects like stars, clusters, galaxies, and nebulae.
This 7″ aperture Sky-Watcher uses quality Schott optical glass, from the premier German optical glass manufacturer, for exceptional high contrast/high resolution images.
Its right-angled finderscope gives a 9x magnified view of the sky and many of the brighter deep space objects are visible in it, making locating them and finding alignment stars much easier.
You can even attach your own DSLR and capture views of the Moon and take long, tracked exposures of a number of deep space objects, as this instrument is not just good for visual observing, but also capable of deep space astrophotography.
The Skywatcher comes with a variety of accessories, including a 2” 90-degree star diagonal, a 28 mm 2” LET eyepiece, an 8×50 straight-through finder for the location and centering of objects, and a Vixen-style dovetail plate, which allows you to mount your telescope on an alt-azimuth or equatorial mount.
- Excellent optics
- Great for astrophotography
- Ultra portable telescope
- Easy collimation process
- Easy to set up
- Mount not included
Best Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope For DSO
Celestron CPC 1100
Deep-sky objects are typically faint, so ‘light-bucket’ scopes with a low-power eyepiece tend to give the best views.
The brighter planets and the Moon offer plenty of light, so the emphasis here tends to be about getting sufficient magnification to be able to see intricate surface detail.
The new CPC 1100 from Celestron is a good scope for both.
Its generous 11 inches of aperture gathers plenty of light from nebulae and galaxies, while its focal length is long enough to get really detailed views of bright Solar System objects with a modest set of eyepieces.
The CPC 1100 with its wide aperture is one of the best telescope for deep space astrophotography.
The CPC 1100 takes full advantage of its vast database of thousands of NGC and Abell galaxies as well as delivering a new level of detail to all your favorite deep sky objects.
This CPC 1100 features Celestron’s premium StarBright XLT coatings and has a built-in 16-channel GPS.
With sophisticated software features like Hibernate function, the CPC can maintain its star alignment night after night without needing to be realigned, making it an ideal instrument for a permanent observatory facility.
The CPC 11 XLT is surprisingly portable for an 11″ scope. Taking it to the dark sky observing site it needs to get the most out of its large aperture optics is easy, even for a single individual.
With high transmission XLT multi coatings and a light grasp almost 1600 times that of even the sharpest dark-adapted eye, the CPC 11 XLT can reveal to you faint star clusters, nebulas, planets, and galaxies in amazing detail.
The CPC 11 XLT is perhaps the ultimate large aperture fork mounted portable personal telescope, ideal not only for lunar, planetary, and deep space visual observing, but for DSLR astrophotography and CCD imaging as well.
- Great optics that give superb viewing and photographing performance.
- Hassle-free GPS alignment and Auto-Guider.
- Telescope looks premium because of the Starbright XLT coatings
- Contains a heavy duty tripod which makes longer periods more comfortable
- The telescope sports an ergonomic design that is easy to transport from one location to another
- Finder scope is average but not so much helpful
- Focus knob does not rotate easily and needs force
Best APO Refractor For Deep Sky Photography
Orion 9534 ED80T
The Orion 9534 ED80T CF is a versatile triplet apochromatic refractor telescope with ED (extra-low dispersion) glass to ensure remarkable aberration-free resolution. This 80mm aperture triplet objective features FPL-53 extra-low dispersion glass that provides tack-sharp resolution as the views and captured images come through true to color.
The carbon fiber Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) is lightweight yet strong to give you an incredible device for years of use. Its reduced weight and size combined with its wide-field apochromatic optics makes this telescope suitable for sky photography.
The Orion 9534 is one of the best telescopes for deep space objects astrophotography as it significantly reduces chromatic aberration or false color, due to the use of the ED (Extra-low Dispersion) optical glass and the use of the three optical elements.
The 9534 apo refractor is a versatile power performer telescope well-suited for multiple applications.
With a focal length of 480mm (f/6.0), its stunning optics yield rich visual views of the solar system and wide-field deep-sky objects alike.
The triplet objective makes it an excellent choice for astrophotography use when used with an imaging-capable equatorial mount and CCD or DSLR camera.
The small size and light weight of the refractor telescope makes it perfectly portable for carrying it along with you to dark-sky locations for either visual or photographic quests.
The telescope features a retractable dew shield which makes it even more compact for convenient storage and transport. The refractor telescope measures 18.25″ long when the dew shield is fully extended and 14.3” when the shield is completely retracted.
The Orion 9534 has a dovetail mounting base that attaches directly to any Orion EQ mount equipped with a narrow (Vixen-style) dovetail saddle without the need for additional mounting accessories.
Although we highly recommend a stable motorized equatorial (EQ) mount for astrophotography, the telescope can be easily mounted on a variety of lightweight, sturdy tripods.
The Orion 80mm ED F/6 CF Triplet APO Refractor Telescope comes with remarkable features and top-notch accessories.
The 2” Crayford-style telescope focuser enables dual-speed focus adjustment which is perfect for dialing in minute details of the chosen subjects, terrestrial or celestial.
The smaller fine focus knob adjusts focus at a rate of 11:1 compared to the coarse focus knob, giving you the ability to home-in on just the right focal point for sharp performance and crystal-clear observations and astrophotos. The included 2″ to 1.25″ eyepiece adapter enables hassle-free use of higher magnification 1.25″ telescope eyepieces or 1.25″ imaging cameras and other accessories.
- Compact and well built telescope
- Perfect for astrophotography
- Amazing optics
- Lightweight carbon fibre OTA
- Included finderscope is not so good for a professional
Best With Wi-Fi
Celestron NexStar Evolution 8
The Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 Computerised Cassegrain telescope is a large Schmidt Cassegrain.
It has a large 203.2mm (8″ aperture) and 2032mm focal length.
With these specifications, this telescope is capable of reaching high magnifications (480x) suitable for viewing planets and deep sky objects.
The Nexstar Evolution 8 EdgeHD Telescope from Celestron features integral Starsense auto alignment, WiFi and internal Lithium ion battery.
This high end telescope has a variety of premium features:
8” EdgeHD optics that provide a flat field with pinpoint start all the way to the edge of field, resulting in superb visual and astro-imaging performance
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery for a power source that can provide up to 10 hours of continuous observing
Built-in WiFi that connects directly to your smartphone or tablet — no handset required
StarSense auto align technology provides a hands-free automatic experience, aligning your telescope within two minutes of startup
The telescope features a NexStar evolution mount with a variety of features, including manual release clutches, precision worm gears, eyepiece tray lighting, a USB charge port and more
The NexStar Evolution 8-inch EdgeHD with StarSense is the best goto telescope for deep sky astrophotography during cloudy nights and it also produces high quality images even when confronted with light pollution.
It gives you the best of two worlds with the coming together of EdgeHD optics and StarSense AutoAlign.
This innovative telescope allows you to control your telescope wirelessly via Celestron’s SkyPortal app to your smartphone or tablet.
It is the only fork-mounted telescope in its price range that offers brass worm gears, along with improved motors.
You can capture images of deep-sky objects like the Orion Nebula by simply attaching your DSLR camera.
The EdgeHD optical system is designed to virtually eliminate spherical and chromatic aberrations so views through it are flat and distortion-free across the entire field of view, with accurate color rendition.
Using Celestron’s proprietary StarBright XLT multi-coating system, light transmission is increased throughout the entire optical path with anti-reflection multi-coated lenses, highly reflective multi-coated mirrors, and four-element rare-earth glass.
- Easy to set up, use and super accurate
- For its size the scope and mount are light and portable
- Easy alignment process with clear instruction manual
- Produces amazing images even in cloudy nights and light pollution
- On rare occasion the telescope loses wireless connection with your device
Best Coma-Free Telescope
Meade Instruments 8-Inch LX200-ACF
The Meade LX200-ACF is a godsend for those astronomers who are looking for affordable Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optics.
Traditionally, Ritchey-Chretien (RC) optics were required to deliver a coma-free, flat field of view in astronomical telescopes. Because the mirrors in these telescopes have always been very expensive to make, few amateur astronomers could enjoy them.
The Meade LX200-ACF delivers coma-free experience by combining a hyperbolic secondary mirror with a corrector-lens and spherical-primary-mirror combination that performs as one hyperbolic element.
A low-expansion borosilicate primary mirror further reduces distortion due to temperature fluctuation, and the ‘Schott Borofloat’ glass corrector plate aligns the light waves to correct spherical and chromatic aberrations.
This ACF design produces a coma-free, flat field of view that rivals traditional RC telescopes, at a fraction of the cost.
The LX200 design places the telescope’s tube between two robust forks fixed to a base that houses the telescope’s brain – a sophisticated AutoStar II computer.
Using various positional sensors the scope is able to work out when and where it is in the world using an auto-alignment procedure.
The Meade LX200 is outfitted with a built-in 16-channel GPS receiver and a time chip, so the mount can automatically determine the current date and time and its location within minutes of being turned on.
The information is sent to the AutoStar II controller, which uses an electromagnetic sensor to determine True North and can automatically align the scope with minimal user interface.
During long observation or exposure imaging sessions, the controller continuously checks its orientation and tracking and adjusts it as needed, sending the data to the Smart Mount and Smart Drive systems, which learn the tracking errors and adjust for the future.
The telescope features Zero Image-Shift Microfocuser that allows precise, vibration-free image focus during visual, CCD, and astrophotography applications.
It also allows you to achieve focus without causing a viewed object to move out of position in the eyepiece.
The microfocuser comes equipped with a handbox which requires 8 AAA batteries (user-supplied).
To help you effortlessly rotate your scope and support it for your gazing pleasure, the Meade 8″ LX-200-ACF comes with a heavyweight class mount with double forks.
With its built in world class functionality, this mount allows your coma free telescope to swerve at user selected speeds as fast as 1 to 8 degrees per second at increments of 0.1 degrees per second, or as finely as .01x to 1x sidereal in 1 1/100th increments.
- Excellent advanced coma-free optics
- Excellent image focused to the edge of field
- Very sturdy
- Easy to use
- Can be a bit heavy for some users
Best Wide-Field Telescope
- Type: Newtonian Reflector
- Aperture: 203mm (8″)
- Focal length: 800mm
- Focal Ratio: f/3.9
- Weight: 17.5 lbs.(7.93 kg)
- Our Rating: 9.4/10
The Orion 8 Inch f/3.9 Imaging Newtonian is, as its name suggests, an 8 inch (203mm) Newtonian telescope that has been optimized for deep space astrophotography.
With a focal length of only 800mm, it allows the camera to capture a lot of photons fast. It is equipped with a 2-inch dual-speed focuser, an enlarged secondary mirror, nine internal baffles, and comes with a cooling fan and battery pack as well as extension adapters and a 50mm straight-through finder scope.
Layout of the product is perfect, and it is easy to find all settings without getting lost, even if you don’t use the manual.
And there are a lot more features to use with this model than others, so that’s a big compliment.
It is one of the best telescope for deep space observation and imaging, but what makes this model different is how easy it is to stay on point, even on nights that aren’t that clear.
You’ll get true astrophotography performance form this model rather than having it as a tacked on feature of a lesser scope.
The internals are just as impressive, featuring 9 baffle rings, an extended tube length for the front of the focuser, and a combination of a flat black interior so that your image contrast is always at maximum levels.
With the amount of light that this telescope gathers on its own, you can expect to get some of the best imaging features ever for a product of this size.
Both its primary and secondary mirrors have enhanced reflectivity (94%) aluminum coatings with a protective silicon dioxide (quartz) overcoat.
Three easy-grip, push collimation hand knobs on the primary cell make collimation adjustments easy. Once aligned, three locking thumb screws secure the 8″ parabolic mirror.
The reflector telescope’s low-profile Crayford-style focuser has a full 69mm of backfocus, making it ideal for use with multiple imaging accessories.
The smooth-adjusting focuser is held rigidly in place without any possibility of flexure thanks to a sturdy internal steel reinforcing plate.
For imaging use, you’ll need a solid mount. Something with a payload capacity of 40 lbs. or better is recommended.
While this is well within the weight range for the mount, any experienced astrophotographer will recommend you keep the payload at or less than half of the mount’s rated weight. Unless you have a mount with a higher limit, you will most likely be over the recommended imaging weight.
Also, as with any fast Newtonian reflector telescope, an optional coma corrector is recommended to eliminate inherent coma for optimized imaging performance. The 8″ Newtonian Astrograph will astound you when used with a coma-corrector.
It will produce a significant amount of depth and resolution seen in astrophotos with round stars all the way out of the edges of the substantial field of view.
- Excellent at deep space astrophotography
- Great price,amazing results
- Extended tube length and the multiple internal baffle rings gives you the best image contrast without any distortion
- Primary and secondary mirrors provide you with up to 94% reflectivity
- Does not come with a mount
Best For iPhone Astrophotography
Celestron – AstroMaster 130EQ
The telescope is fitted with a 1.25 rack-and-pinion focuser and two eyepieces to get new users started – a 10mm that yields 65x power and a 20mm for a 32.5x magnification.
The 20mm eyepiece integrates an erecting system to correct images horizontally and vertically to allow easy terrestrial use.
The AstroMaster 130EQ also features an unmagnified red-dot finder to help set-up, align and navigate easier.
Celestron’s AstroMaster 130EQ 130mm f/5 Reflector Telescope features a 650mm focal length and an oversized parabolic mirror that produce detailed images of the Moon, clear views of the planets, and the ability to resolve distant objects such as nebulae and galaxies.
The 130EQ comes on a lightweight German equatorial mount that works well enough for the 130 mm f/5 OTA, and it should work okay with a DSLR camera piggybacked on top.
Since it can get quite hard to keep the object in the view because of the Earth’s rotation, there is an upgrade for this mount to help you with that.
It is a simple clock motor which you turn on after you get the object in the view and it will track the object keeping it in the middle of the eyepiece. It’s much easier to stargaze like this rather than twisting the knobs while looking through the eyepiece. The motor is not included but it can be bought separately.
The Celestron’s AstroMaster 130EQ is one of the best telescopes for smartphone astrophotography as not only is it great for planetary viewing, with the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn being star attractions, but being a reflector telescope with a wide aperture, it could be one of the cheapest telescopes on offer that can decently display and photograph deep space objects.
At just 17 lbs total weight and thanks to its compact design, the Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ is very portable. You can take it literally everywhere with you, unlike heavier and bulkier telescopes for professional use.
- Very good optics
- Decently priced telescope
- Suitable for beginners as well as advanced users
- Clear crisp mirrors
- Focuser is of limited usability
- No filters included
Best Telescope For Deep Space Astrophotography - Buying Guide
Remember that you can’t buy a telescope with a camera already built-in for astrophotography.
You’ll need special tools to let you attach your DSLR or mirrorless camera to your telescope.
You may be tempted to run out and get a telephoto lens for astrophotography. But from a little research, you’ll find that compared to the lenses, telescopes are affordable and reasonable.
Astrophotography requires a great deal of patience and trial and error. There is a steep learning curve, so you need all the help you can get.
Features To Consider When Choosing A Good Telescope For DSO Photography
Types of Telescope
An apochromatic refractor uses an objective lens of extra-low dispersion glass, as it reduces crisp images without chromatic aberration. Many consider an “apo” to be the ultimate telescope for photography and planetary observing.
These telescopes are also compact, lightweight, and portable. They have excellent color correction, adjust to temperatures fast, and are easy to focus.
We recommend this type of telescope if you are an entry-level astrophotographer.
A reflecting telescope (also called a reflector) is a telescope that uses a single or a combination of curved mirrors. These reflect light and form an image.
Reflecting telescopes produce other types of optical aberrations. But it is a design that allows for large diameter objectives. In other words, it’s perfect for doing “close-ups” of planets as opposed to deep-sky astrophotography.
Wide Field Telescope
As the name implies, a Wide Field or Rich Field Telescope is one that will show the observer the maximum possible number of stars within the field of view when looking, say, towards the Milky Way.
Using such a telescope to sweep along the Milky Way on a dark moonless night, is one of the most beautiful sights that can be seen in the heavens.
However it should be pointed out that the main use of rich field telescopes is not really to observe the maximum number of stars in a region of the Milky Way but to observe large angular objects such as the Pleiades Cluster and other deep space objects.
Many budding photographers looking to take pictures of our solar system focus so much on the internal capabilities of a telescope that they completely forget to consider the mount. Your mount is going to be holding up the optical tube and your camera.
A flimsy mount will make long exposure shots virtually impossible and put your investments at risk.
There are two types of mounts available. Altazimuth mounts are the most basic. They can be manually adjusted, allowing you to point the telescope at any part of the night sky. Equatorial mounts offer a bit more precision and control.
They coordinate with the Earth’s rotation, ensuring that your target object doesn’t get out of frame during your photo session.
Computerized equatorial mounts are a good investment and take care of most of the hard work for you.
The aperture is the size of opening in the telescope through which the lens or mirror gathers light. It is the most important attribute of a telescope because light gathering is what telescopes are all about.
In deep space astrophotography, the larger the aperture, the more photons can be collected. Aperture, however, is not the only criteria for judging a telescope. Optical quality is just as important.
You can have a gigantic aperture and if the optical quality of the telescope is not good, the light won’t be very well focused, and the images produced won’t be very good. Aperture is the main determinant in how faint of a star you can see with a telescope.
The focal ratio is the relationship between the aperture and focal length. The focal ratio is defined as the focal length divided by the aperture. For example, a refractor with a focal length of 800mm and an aperture of 100mm has a focal ratio of 800/100 = 8 or f/8.
The focal length of a telescope is the distance from the objective lens or mirror at which the light comes to focus. The longer the focal length, the larger the image is that forms at the focal plane, and the higher the magnification of the telescope.
Increased magnification with longer focal lengths is a good thing for small objects like planets and double stars, but undesirable things also get magnified, like poor atmospheric seeing, and imperfections in the telescopes drive and wobble in the mounting.
Our top pick for the best telescope for deep space astrophotography is the Sky Watcher EvoStar 100 APO. The EvoStar 100mm f/9 Doublet APO Refractor from Sky-Watcher features a doublet apochromatic lens system with Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass and Sky-Watcher’s proprietary photon anti-rejection Metallic High-Transmission Coatings (MHC) on all air-to-glass optical surfaces.
Our next pick for deep sky imaging is the Celestron – Advanced VX 8” EdgeHD. The Celestron Advanced Series VX 8 inch EdgeHD telescope delivers amazingly flat field views of the night sky. The new Advanced VX Mount improves overall telescope performance making it a robust astro imaging platform. You will be amazed at how fast you obtain imaging results.
Our third choice for telescope for dso photography is the Orion 10031 EON 110mm. It’s a beautifully crafted refractor with a 110mm (4.3″) air-spaced doublet lens made with FPL-51 ED glass with a fast, f/6 refractor with outstanding color correction for great wide-field astrophotography or visual performance.