Celestron AstroMaster 70EQ is one of the worst choices at this price range. It has a terrible mount, and the optics are not good. It is just frustrating to use.
It is a refractor with a 70mm aperture and 900mm focal length.
For telescopes, aperture is king. The most important thing for getting a proper image is the amount of light gathered from space to inside the optical tube
A 70mm aperture is acceptable if the telescope is around 60-70$. Meade Infinity 70, for example, has a 70$ price tag and is has almost the same optical design as this telescope. But AstroMaster 70EQ costs almost twice as much and comes with worse accessories. Celestron is famous for pricing beginner telescopes higher so they can make a good profit.
This is one of those models. AstroMaster 70EQ is enough for viewing Rings of Saturn, Jupiter, and its 4 Galilean Moons and our Moon. But the images you get will be much worse than the images you get with great beginner models such as Zhumell Z114 or Meade Infinity 80.
You might as well throw the mount to thrash out of the box. A proper telescope mount should be smooth and solid. Celestron AstroMaster 70’s equatorial mount is none of those.
I am not going to get into technical details here. You can find those in the technical review. All I can say here is Celestron just didn’t bother with the mount.
A good equatorial mount is really hard to provide at this price range. Meade’s Polaris line barely provides it. Celestron, on the other hand, just doesn’t deliver anything usable.
The accessories that come with AstroMaster 70EQ are not usable. While the 10mm Kellner eyepiece is acceptable, the 20mm eyepiece is incapable of delivering a quality image.
The red dot finder is the best part of the whole telescope.
There is not a single point in this telescope that is worth praise. The optical tube, accessories, the mount are all terrible. Something that you will own for years should be much, much better in quality.
In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications
It seems like Celestron tried to make the most frustrating telescope model possible and sell it to people so that they can discourage them from becoming astronomers.
A wobbly mount and an f/13 focal ratio is not a combination you should deal with. Sure, a longer focal length decreases chromatic aberrations and color defects quite a bit while providing a good amount of detail. But the same thing is true for f/10 or f/8 refractors. Such a long optical tube is, in our opinion, unnecessary.
AstroMaster 70EQ is able to provide major details such as Rings of Saturn and the moon’s of Jupiter, but you can get these images with almost all telescopes at this price range. The optical design doesn’t bring any advantage over other models, it just introduces instability while observing.
The optical tube is almost 1m long, which is around 35 inches. Such a long optical design would need a particularly solid mount.
The CG-3 mount is mostly plastic, and the connections that need to provide smooth-motion are mostly plastic on plastic. Celestron did use some metal parts, but these parts are somehow not smooth at all. Perhaps they didn’t use the proper grease or didn’t flatten these surfaces enough. All I can say is as long as metals are not supported with some kind of high-quality lubricating layer, they can’t serve their purposes.
The 10mm eyepiece is a Kellner and is acceptable at this price range. There is no other company that provides a better model
The 20mm eyepiece is complete garbage. It is a correct image eyepiece, which means it corrects the images’ rotation. But there are no directions in space. Such an eyepiece only lowers the quality of the image. Celestron should have provided a 20mm Kellner without an image corrector.
The red dot finder is usable. It is a standard among budget telescopes.
The focuser does its job. It provides smooth motion with enough sturdiness. But this is not a hard thing to achieve.
The 10mm Kellner and the red dot finder are the only acceptable parts of this telescope. Other than that, AstroMaster 70EQ has a terrible mount, an unnecessarily long optical tube, and a useless 20mm eyepiece.