Celestron NexStar Evolution 8″ EdgeHD Review: Mission Astronomy, Completed.
Celestron NexStar Evolution 8″ EdgeHD delivers; and, ascends beyond what is expected.
This telescope has flaws. There is no doubt about that.
But, the technology and the optical design is integrated with each other so well, so easily, with so much power, and in addition to all these, with portability; NexStar Evolution 8″ Evolution EdgeHD stands out as an achievement in the astronomy field.
EdgeHD’s focal ratio is ideal for deep-space and planetary detail.
But, 8″ EdgeHD is not cheap and does not apologize for it. If an 8″ Schmidt telescope is what you are going for, and you don’t have the budget for this telescope, NexStar 8SE is the one to go for. It provides more value per dollar.
If you have the budget, you can’t go wrong with Celestron Evolution 8″ EdgeHD. There is no way around it, this thing is near perfect in all areas.
8″ Schmidt Optical Tube – The Finder that comes with the telescope is different than the one in the picture.
98% Light Transmission
Let’s start off with the optics.
There are two main problems with a Schmidt optical tube, light loss, and coma. Celestron has two solutions for these, StarBright XLT Coatings, and EdgeHD lenses for coma correction.
XLT Coatings and EdgeHD lenses provide near-perfect optical performance.
Meade tried to counter these designs with UHTC Coatings and ACF Lenses. Still, they are subpar compared to Celestron’s optical engineering.
Planetary performance is what a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope is built for. The light travels the optical tube two times instead of one. As a result, the field view is exceptionally narrow. This lowers the deep space performance but makes the design perfect for gathering detail from Solar System objects.
The optical design can easily gather detail from the Solar System.
Deep Space Performance
Deep space performance is not what you would expect from a telescope at this price unless you get a focal reducer.
A focal reducer will widen the field view and solve the problem completely. It is almost necessary for Celestron NexStar Evolution 8″ EdgeHD to become a “complete” model. But don’t worry, focal reducers are cheap.
A focal reducer is almost necessary for deep space performance.
With a focal reducer, the deep space performance is significantly better. EdgeHD lenses sharpen the stars at the edges of the view, and as a result, deep space objects look detailed, crispy and bright.
Star Clusters, Nebulas, and Galaxies look impressive, even when compared to the most expensive deep space telescopes.
Overall Optical Performance
The 8″ aperture, EdgeHD lenses, and XLT Coatings are a smart combination to put in a telescope. Sharpness, brightness and accuracy levels are all at a level that is challenging to compare with any other telescope at this price range.
The optics are, in a single word, phenomenal.
Is Astrophotography possible with Celestron NexStar Evolution 8" EdgeHD?
Absolutely, but there are a few things you need to buy first, which are not cheap.
Without any extra equipment, you can get decent images of Solar System objects, but deep space photography is out of the question.
With the necessary equipment, all types of astrophotography is possible. Nothing is holding you back from taking NASA-level deep space images except your level of skill.
Orion Nebula – Bubble Nebula – Celestron NexStar Evolution 8″ EdgeHD
It goes without saying; you need a camera. A DSLR is the most common astrophotography device.
You need either Celestron’s Equatorial Wedge or Starizona’s HyperStar for deep space photography.
Celestron Equatorial Wedge, attached.
Be ready to spend a good amount if you want to get into serious astrophotography.
Celestron Equatorial Wedge will provide “equatorial” motion for long exposure photography. It is the budget choice and is completely fine for long-exposure astrophotography.
Starizona HyperStar is an expensive but awesome way of getting into astrophotography. It lowers the focal ratio to f/2 and lowers the time required for taking images by 30x. With 1-2 minute exposures, you can take excellent images of Nebulas, Galaxies, and bright deep space objects. It is a marvellous thing to use, but the price is not pleasing.
There are three main things necessary for a computerized telescope mount to be pleasing to use: stability, energy storage, and accurate tracking. All these aspects, Celestron NexStar Evolution 8″ EdgeHD nailed. Portability is cherry on top.
Note: Stability is lowered by the 1.25″ tripod, but the tripod can be changed for a reasonable price at any time. I will talk about that in a short while.
The clutches inside the mount easily carry an 8″ optical tube. They are made of metal, but that is what you would expect from a premium telescope.
There are no significant issues with the motors, but at times you can hear weird noises and feel stickiness with the motion. This is acceptable since the auto-tracking, and GoTo features work precisely and reliably. And, Celestron Customer Service is superb, so you don’t have to worry about technical issues. This is also one of the reasons why Meade computerized models are subpar; Meade Customer Service is awful.
Built-in WiFi and Battery
The built-in WiFi is stable. It had come a long way since it was first introduced when the connection was getting lost all the time. It works reliably in the field and works great with the SkyPortal App.
The battery is large enough. It is lithium phosphate technology and lasts a solid 10 hours every night. I haven’t met a person who can drain the NexStar Evolution battery daily.
The tripod is such a small thing to worry about. It is not a complicated device, you just stick three metal sticks under a telescope so it stands up.
The 1.25″ steel tripod barely holds.
I don’t understand why Celestron sends 1.25″ steel tripods with their NexStar Evolution 8″ EdgeHD telescope, but they do. The tripod should have been a 2″ steel model, like the one that comes with Evolution 9.25.
The tripod should be changed as soon as possible. It barely carries the optical tube and the motorized mount.
Red Dot Finder
The accessories are not much to talk about. You need hundreds of dollars worth of upgrades to get to the “optimal” level of performance with Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 EdgeHD. The accessories that come with the telescope; two eyepieces and a finder; are merely there to get you started, except StarSense.
StarSense is an awesome piece of equipment. Not because it is wildly capable, but because none of the other companies came up with such an accessory.
It is mostly used for auto-alignment since the camera can see the stars the human eye cannot. There are other features built-in; such as Sky Tour, but those are either boring or don’t work well.
The auto-alignment feature, though, is worth getting a StarSense. It saves so much time and energy it is indescribable.
Auto-aligning with StarSense is a huge weight lifted.
The Diagonal Should be Upgraded
The diagonal that comes with the telescope is a 1.25″ model and is nowhere near enough to provide the potential 8″EdgeHD Optics have. It has to be changed with a 2″ star diagonal so that you can use 2″ eyepieces with wide-field views.
This is a feature that most astronomers overlook.
A telescope is something you will use for years, for decades, perhaps. NexStar Evolution telescopes have a user base that is among the largest in the industry. As a result, the market is filled with upgrades, useful equipment, and smart solutions for general problems.
Celestron NexStar Evolution 8″ EdgeHD has lot’s of room for improvement, in a good way.
Astromania 15mm UWA
Astromania 10mm UWA
Astromania 7mm UWA
As with the 8SE, the Evolution 8” could handle a 2” diagonal, but filling up your options at the medium and higher magnifications is more important first, and the included 1.25” 40mm Plossl works just fine for low magnification. The Astromania UWA eyepieces aren’t well-corrected enough to work in fast telescopes, but in the EdgeHD 8 they work wonderfully and boast a low price tag. The 15mm, 10mm, and 7mm units provide 135x, 203x, and 290x with the Evolution 8” respectively.
I’ve been praising the EdgeHD optics, the motorized mount, the integration and all that stuff for the whole review. But all that comes with a price. Celestron NexStar 8″ Evolution EdgeHD costs 2400$ at official stores, you may find it for higher or lower. The price tag is ridiculously high.
Why 1.25″ steel tripod instead of a 2″, Celestron? Why?
The telescope needs hundreds of dollars worth of upgrades. Eyepieces, finders, filters, diagonals… The spending is not over if you get the basic model and not a “bundle package”.
There are more powerful models for a lower price, such as the Evolution 9.25”.
Celestron NexStar Evolution 8″ EdgeHD is astronomy automated. It is at the highest level of astronomical technology.
The integration with StarSense, SkyPortal, and other Celestron accessories take the experience to another level.
Celestron NexStar Evolution 8″ EdgeHD delivers; and, ascends beyond what is expected.