Celestron didn’t surprise us with this overpriced, average quality beginner telescope. You can get the same model from Meade (Infinity 70) for half the price and better accessories.
Celestron, please stop trying to rip-off beginners and try to make some decent beginner telescopes. If other companies are able to do it, you should too.
I don’t want to come off too harsh. This is actually a decent refractor. In fact, for beginners, it is not the worst choice. The price is what kills me. 150$? Really?
The optics are on the line between a real telescope and a cheap, department-store telescope. A 70mm aperture is just enough for some planetary and lunar detail. Most beginners yearn to see Jupiter’s stripes and its moons, Rings of Saturn, and some detail on the Moon. This optical tube is able to provide just that.
You can see some exceptionally bright star clusters, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Orion Nebula. But don’t expect much else from a 70mm aperture telescope.
The mount is a plastic altazimuth the only moves up, down, left, and right. As you might guess, it is doesn’t provide the steadiness you want. It also doesn’t have slow-mo knobs for high-magnifications, and it is really hard to balance the optical tube at some angles.
The mount is OK for a 70mm refractor.
The eyepieces are 10mm(90x), and 20mm(45x) Kellner’s and are surprisingly good for a 70mm refractor.
The amici prism is usable for terrestrial viewing. It corrects the images’ rotation.
The red dot finder is a simple device and works well.
The major drawback is the price. 150$ is ridiculous for AstroMaster 70AZ.
AstroMaster 70AZ is a competitor of Meade Infinity 70, but it is twice as expensive. It’s clear that Celestron is trying to use its brand name to gain some profit, like the other models in the AstroMaster and PowerSeeker lines. Please don’t waste your money and buy a Meade Infinity 70, or better yet consider models like Zhumell 114 and Heritage 130P, which are vastly superior with rock-solid mounts.
In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications
To be honest, I am getting tired of writing overpriced, beginner-level Celestron telescope reviews. All the AstroMaster and PowerSeeker models are sold so that Celestron can make huge profits by selling them to innocent beginners who don’t know anything about astronomy.
This is a real telescope with decent optics, but its real worth is nowhere near its price tag.
At this price range, the tiniest difference in the aperture makes a lot of difference. The light-gathering ability of an 80mm refractor is %30 higher than a 70mm refractor. But if you are insistent on getting a 70mm model, it is usable.
A 70mm refractor is barely able to get enough light to see some detail. Major Solar System details are visible such as the moons of Jupiter and Rings of Saturn. You can also get a lot of detail on the Lunar surface and get decent images of brighter deep space objects.
AstroMaster 70AZ’s optics are powerful enough to be considered a “real” telescope.
The mount is a cheap altazimuth, which is not surprising at this price range. Its motions are smooth, but it is not stable enough for a good stargazing experience. Also, the long optical tube creates balance issues at some angles, making it frustrating to use the telescope.
The handle on the side is convenient.
The tripod is fairly stable. It doesn’t bring up any complaints.
The accessories are actually pretty decent. The 10mm and 20mm Kellner eyepieces are common among beginner models and are OK quality for the beginning.
The amici prism is not usable for observing space since it lowers the quality by adding another lens to the optics. But it is OK for terrestrial viewing.
Red dot finder works fine, and it is not hard to align.
AstroMaster 70AZ is selling for twice the price it should normally be sold.
Celestron is insistent on trying to rip-off beginners. It is actually sad to see such an experienced optics company come up with smart marketing scams for making higher profits.
Celestron should try to make decent beginner telescopes and sell them for a normal price. This will attract more people into astronomy, and it will benefit Celestron in the end.
Meade, on the other hand, prices beginner telescopes much lower and actually provides better accessories. They are not miles better in quality, but models like Infinity 70, 80, or Polaris 80 are much better choices than the AstroMaster 70AZ.