Celestron PowerSeeker 70AZ, similar to its siblings, is a good refractor that comes with useless accessories.
Other than the dreaded accessories, PowerSeeker 70AZ is a completely fine choice. Especially if you consider its unusually low price tag. But what is the point in buying a telescope if you are not going to be able to enjoy it to its full potential out of the box?
Infinity 70 is the exact same telescope as PowerSeeker 70, but it comes with usable accessories. That is a vital difference at this price range. Astronomical accessories are not cheap. Therefore you have to be sure that the ones that come with the telescope are legitimate and not marketing scams. PowerSeeker 70, unfortunately, is held down by its thrash accessories.
But still, prices may change; or maybe Celestron will decide to send real accessories with their budget telescopes. In any case, PowerSeeker 70AZ is worth a review.
The optics of PowerSeeker 70AZ is a sweet spot in terms of price-performance. At the below 100$ price range, it is really hard to find a telescope that has high-quality lenses. Thankfully, PowerSeeker 70AZ is an exception.
Optical design of PowerSeeker 70 is ideal in terms of price-performance.
The well-coated lenses sit inside a 700mm optical tube, which creates an f/10 ratio. For ultimate beginners, this may not mean much. In short, there aren’t any color defects around bright images. Color accuracy and sharpness are on point.
In terms of optical power, this is as high as it gets at this price range. Around 100$ range models like SkyScanner 100 and Zhumell Z100 gather much more light with their 100mm apertures. But naturally, they cost more.
Planetary and Lunar Detail
PowerSeeker 70, with its 70mm aperture, will gather enough light to view Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons. You may see Mars as a red dot on ideal atmospheric conditions. Ice caps on Mars and phases on Venus are hard to observe, but possible with this telescope if you use a high-quality eyepiece. With the eyepieces that come with this telescope, such details are not possible.
The Lunar surface is the strong suit of PowerSeeker 70. The amount of detail it is able to gather from the surface will mesmerize most beginners.
Brightness level is the limiting factor for PowerSeeker 70 in terms of deep space viewing.
Deep space performance is not bad, but not the best that you can get at this price. If the object you are trying to view is extremely bright, such as the Pleiades, you will get a good image. Andromeda Galaxy and Orion Nebula will look rather ghostly.
PowerSeeker 70 has above-average planetary and average deep space performance. If you consider its price tag, this is more than enough. But keep in mind the slightest increase in the optical power will make a huge difference in the budget telescope level.
The mount is just adequate. It is not more or less, and I don’t expect anything else from budget refractors. It is impossible to provide anything other than plastic mounts and thin aluminum tripods at this price range, and that is what Celestron has done. Until a company comes up and sends butter-smooth metal bases for budget refractors, the plastic one that comes with PowerSeeker 70 is acceptable.
The same is true for the tripod. It is not rock-solid, but it is not frustrating either.
The accessories are just disappointing. If the accessories were just decent, I would easily recommend this telescope. But they are not. They are complete garbage and useless.
The 4mm eyepiece is just frustrating to use. Its eye relief is too short, and the lens is too small. You won’t get any kind of decent image out of this eyepiece.
The 3x Barlow is not a “real” 3x Barlow. It is just some glass that has been fitted inside a plastic tube. It is clear that Celestron sends this just to make this telescope seem more powerful. In reality, a legitimate 3x Barlow is extremely hard to make. (The accessories are infuriatingly bad.)
I don’t know why most companies still send 5×24 finders. They are not helpful by any means. Same as the 3x Barlow, the lenses are low quality and extremely small. A simple, red dot finder without any magnification would be much better.
The diagonal is intended for terrestrial viewing, and it does its job. It lowers the image quality quite a bit for astronomy.
Overall the accessories are just dreadful. This part is the deal-breaker for PowerSeeker 70.
Although the mount is not perfect, I don’t expect anything else from a budget refractor. The accessories are the main problem. They are simply not usable.
PowerSeeker 70 could have been an easy recommendation, but as long as Celestron tries to make a profit by sending plastic eyepieces and finders, it won’t be. A good budget telescope should provide good performance out of the box. PowerSeeker 70 can’t achieve this.