Celestron AstroMaster 90AZ Review: Decent But Expensive
AstroMaster 90AZ is a decent telescope, but it is highly overpriced.
The main advantage of the AstroMaster 90AZ over other refractors is its unusually long optical tube. It reduces image defects quite a bit.
The long optical tube is a smart design choice.
The Lunar and planetary performance with AstroMaster 90AZ is great. Jupiter’s storm clouds and The Great Red Spot are easily visible, including the 4 Galilean Moon’s. Rings of Saturn are easily distinguishable from the planet, and with a high-quality eyepiece, you can get some detail on Mars.
The Moon looks spectacular with this telescope. For this price, there is no other model that can provide a better view of the Moon. The mountain ranges and craters look gorgeous, with little color defects.
You might get some idea about this telescopes’ capabilities from this video. Keep in mind the real image would look vastly better.
Lunar observations are impressive.
Deep space performance is disappointing.
You can still get good images of brighter Messier objects such as Pleiades Star Cluster and Orion Nebula. But aperture is vital for deep space, and 90AZ falls short in that area.
The mount is mostly plastic, as you might expect at this price range. It doesn’t provide optimum stability, but it works fine.
The tripod is reasonably stable. It doesn’t bring up any complaints.
AstroMaster 90AZ comes with a 10mm and 20mm eyepiece and a red dot finder. There is also an amici prism for terrestrial viewing.
The accessories need changing.
The accessories are the same as most other models at this price range. They are pretty good for the beginning. But changing the eyepieces with Plössl’s would vastly improve the image quality.
The plastic mount is the most significant weakness. It is not stable and doesn’t feel smooth.
The price tag is too high.
Deep space performance is disappointing.
The accessories are cheap.
In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications
To be honest, AstroMaster 90AZ is one of the few models that provide good value for the price in the AstroMaster line. It is easy to use, powerful enough for most of the celestials a beginner would expect and comes with decent accessories.
But, refractors at these price ranges are usually tedious, and that is the case with AstroMaster 90AZ. Using this telescope is not the most fun for the price. Reflectors provide much better value.
An f/7.3 focal ratio is ideal for a refractor. It doesn’t provide too much power, but it significantly reduces chromatic aberrations. The result is a pretty good image quality than can compete with reflectors at the same price range. This is a huge deal for a refractor since they have narrower apertures.
F/7.3 focal ratio is awesome for a refractor.
You can get pretty much all the major details in the Solar System with fair brightness and sharpness. Mars and Venus are hard to see with most telescopes, but the amount of detail you can get from Jupiter and Saturn is amazing for a telescope at this price.
The lenses are coated well.
The Lunar surface looks amazing, perhaps the best at this price range. Due to high levels of brightness, the narrow aperture loses its significance, and what you are left with is an incredible amount of detail with good enough brightness.
Deep Space performance is not the best you can get for the price, due to the narrow aperture. Although you can get decent images of exceptionally bright objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and Hercules Star Cluster, a reflector would be much better in this area. If you are going for deep space specifically, we would recommend Zhumell Z130.
The mount is a plastic altazimuth.
The upside is it is easy to use. It only moves up, down, left and right, which is great for beginners.
The mount is easy to use, but plastic.
The downside is it’s made of cheap materials. This results in instability at high magnifications. But you can’t find anything better that comes with a refractor for this price.
The tripod is pretty solid and stable.
AstroMaster 80AZ’s mount proves adequate.
The accessories are the same as most other beginner models. Celestron includes 10mm(66x) and 20mm(33x) Kellner eyepieces. They are usable and of decent quality for the beginning.
The accessories are merely there to get you started.
The red dot finder is a modest device that solely projects a red dot on a surface for aligning. It works fine and doesn’t bring up much complaint.
The amici prism diagonal is usable for terrestrial viewing but lowers the image quality quite a bit for space objects.
Using the mount is tedious.
The price tag. Why?
The accessories are cheap, but that is to be expected at this price range.
Although its performance is “not bad” with deep space, don’t buy this telescope for viewing nebulas, galaxies, and star clusters.
AstroMaster 90AZ is one of the best refractors at this price range, but that is not a huge compliment. There aren’t many great refractors at budget prices.
A TableTop would perform slightly better in all areas, but it is a little less convenient. But still, they might be worth checking out before buying.