Celestron PowerSeeker 80AZ is a surprisingly capable, well-priced telescope.
Although the accessories pull the telescope down, PowerSeeker 80AZ is a great beginner telescope. This is due to three reasons:
The first one is the fact that PowerSeeker 80AZ’s price is delightfully low.
The second one is that this telescope has a wide-field view. If you don’t know what that means, I’ll try to explain it in the optics section.
The third one is that this telescope is maintenance-free. You don’t have to do anything to take care of the optics with this telescope.
As a result, PowerSeeker 80 is an ideal beginner scope. The only problem, and not a small one, is the accessories. They are not good at all. So if you decide to buy this telescope be ready to spend a little extra on a new eyepiece and a finder.
PowerSeeker 80AZ has an 80mm aperture combined with a 400mm optical tube. The result is an f/5 focal ratio. This kind of optical design is incredibly easy to use. Simply scanning the sky or finding the object you are trying to observe is effortless.
Another good thing about the f/5 focal ratio is that it is not a delicate design. This is especially important because most telescopes at this price range, including PowerSeeker 80AZ, come with plastic, wobbly mounts. With the optics that come with PowerSeeker 80AZ, the slight shakes and wobbles affect your viewing experience much less than the longer telescope models.
Optical power is not great, but not disappointing either. You can see Rings of Saturn and moons of Jupiter with this scope. If you buy an additional, high-quality eyepiece, you can observe some detail on Mars and Venus.
The performance leans more towards deep space.
The Moon looks gorgeous with PowerSeeker 80 as it does with most beginner telescopes. You will be able to observe countless craters and mountain ranges on the Lunar surface.
Scanning the deep space with a high-apertured eyepiece is quite fun with PowerSeeker 80. This is also the result of the wide-field view that comes with a short optical tube.
You can get pleasing views of the brighter Messier objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleiades Star Cluster.
Overall the optical design of PowerSeeker 80 is not the most ambitious for a beginner’s scope, but it is easy to use, maintenance-free, and powerful enough to spark some curiosity for astronomy.
The mount is mostly plastic, as you might expect at this price range. It is not ideal, but it is also really hard to send rock-solid mounts with budget refractors. The two attachments to the optical tube combined with a relatively sturdy connection to the thin, aluminum tripod provide adequate stability.
As I’ve mentioned before, the optical design of PowerSeeker 80 is not delicate. Therefore the plastic mount affects the viewing experience much less than other refractors.
There is a slow-motion control implemented to the mount for the vertical axis. This is absolutely appreciated since most other budget telescopes lack such a capability.
If the accessories were decent, PowerSeeker 80AZ telescope would be among the top choices for beginners. But unfortunately, they are not.
The accessories are mostly disappointing.
The 4mm eyepiece is pure garbage. The lens is too small, and the eye-relief is too short. It is not usable.
The 5×24 finder is also more of an ornament. It is not nearly as capable as a red dot finder that comes with most other budget telescopes.
The 20mm eyepiece is usable, and the diagonal is useful for terrestrial viewing.
An ultimate beginner wouldn’t have an eyepiece case or a finder collection. They are dependent on the accessories that come with the package. In the case of PowerSeeker 80AZ, this limits the observer to the 20mm eyepiece. This is just sad to see.
The focuser, on the other hand, is surprisingly good despite the fact that it is mostly plastic.
The 4mm eyepiece and the 5×24 finder are infuriatingly bad.
The base is not the sturdiest.
In the end, it comes down to the price and the amount of value you get from a purchase. In short, PowerSeeker 80 provides a ridiculous amount of value due to its unusually low price tag. As a result, it is one of our highly recommended scopes for beginners.