Meade Infinity 80 provides decent optical power and portability for its price. But it comes with its downsides such as a plastic mount and a short optical tube.
Overall this telescope is for wide-field viewing. At low magnifications(16x-40x) it performs great. The mount doesn’t bring up any complaints and the optics handle the brightness and sharpness levels very well. But as you go higher in magnifications, it starts to struggle.
The optics are powerful enough to see Jupiter and Saturn in some detail. You will be able to see Jupiter’s 4 Galilean Moon’s and cloud bendings. Saturn’s rings look detailed and clear. Rings are distinguishable from the planet.
The Moon looks spectacular with this telescope as it does with most other telescopes. But color defects around bright objects are inevitable with short refractors. That includes the Moon.
This is not a telescope designed for Lunar and planetary detail. You should get a longer refractor for that.
Chromatic aberration is a problem with Infinity 80.
The optics are ideal for deep-space, but not for planetary detail.
Deep space performance is pretty good for a refractor at this price. The low, f/5 focal ratio enables it to provide bright, wide-field images. You can get detailed views of the brighter Messier objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and Orion Nebula.
The alt-azimuth mount is sturdy. It moves up, down, left and right which is as easy as it gets with telescope mounts. It is smooth and there are knobs at each axis for slow-motion. The only bad side is it is not very sensitive in the vertical axis, which can be frustrating with high magnifications. But this telescope is not for high magnification performance anyway, so it is not a deal-breaker.
The tripod is sturdy and doesn’t bring up any complaints.
Meade Infinity 80 comes with three Kellner eyepieces. A 26mm(15x), a 9mm(44x) ,6.3mm(63x) and a Barlow lens. They are useful and average quality. But changing them in the future with good quality ones would be a good idea.
The red dot finder is quite adequate for an 80mm aperture telescope. It is useful and simple.
The focuser is a rack-and-pinion. It is 1.25” and made of metal. Therefore you won’t have any problems with the focuser. It is smooth and solid.
Meade Infinity 80 is a decent beginner grab-and-go telescope. It has good enough optics for deep sky and planets. Its build quality is not bad as well. With good quality accessories, it has the potential to become an above-average beginner telescope.
If you decide to buy Meade Infinity 80 there is a helpful video to help you set it up.
In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications
There are a few reasons why we recommend Meade Infinity 80 for beginners. It is easy-to-use. The optics are quite good for this price range. The build quality of the optical tube is great and most importantly it is lightweight, which makes this model a convenient grab-and-go.
Optics and Eyepieces
With the 80mm aperture, this is definitely not a powerhouse. But it proves enough to see popular, major space objects which is enough for most beginners. Rings of Saturn and moons around Jupiter are clear and detailed. The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is a little hard to see but it is possible. You can also see Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Details on Mars require more powerful telescopes such as Zhumell Z8 and SkyWatcher 8”.
If you are getting this telescope to look at the Moon, you won’t be disappointed. Craters and mountain ranges look detailed, guaranteed to mesmerize any beginner.
The lenses are high-quality and well-coated.
Deep space viewing is where this telescope really shines. The wide-field view combined with relatively wide aperture provides pleasant star cluster, galaxy and nebula images.
The eyepieces that come with the telescope are Kellner’s and have 26mm(15x), 9mm(44x) and 6.3mm(63x) apertures. They are OK and useful at first, but aside from the 26mm, we recommend changing them as soon as possible. You won’t get your telescopes full potential without a good eyepiece.
An above-average eyepiece such as a Plössl will vastly improve the image quality on all areas.
The alt-azimuth mount works quite well for low magnifications. It has slow-motion knobs for each axis. It is smooth and sturdy. But for high magnifications(>100x) it won’t be that good. It is made of plastic and it simply is not that stable at that level. Adding to that if you rotate the telescope too much in the vertical axis it will create force towards its natural state. But thankfully you can always replace the mount with a better one.
The tripod is aluminum and quite stable. It doesn’t bring up any problems.
The red dot finder is quite sufficient with a telescope that has an 80mm aperture. It is quite easy-to-use. It proves to be very useful most of the time. Also since you will use Meade Infinity 80 at low powers, the telescope itself will act like a finderscope.
The included Barlow lens will double the magnification with any eyepiece. For example, if you are using the 26mm eyepiece, your magnification will double from 15x to 30x. But unfortunately, the Barlow is not very useful with Meade Infinity 80. You won’t go up to really high magnifications anyway and if you are, you are probably better off using a low aperture good quality eyepiece.
The 90-degree prism is quite useful for terrestrial viewing. It corrects images’ rotation and saves you from bending over all the time. But it dims the image and creates diffraction spikes on bright objects. Therefore it is not very useful for celestials.
The focuser is a single speed, rack-and-pinion model with 1.25 inches in size. It is made of metal. We think it is one of the best parts of the telescope. It is sturdy and provides smooth motion. You won’t have any problems with it. It is compatible with all the 1.25” eyepieces in the market.
The focuser is well-made.
Although the accessories are quite good for the price, there is a lot of room for improvement for many of them. If you want to get the full potential out of your telescope, be ready to spend a good amount.
The alt-azimuth mount is as good as it can be but it is still plastic.
Meade Infinity 80 is definitely a good choice if you are a beginner. Minor compromises are expected with a budget telescope. The question is whether this telescope provides good value for the price, and the answer is a strong yes. Therefore it is recommended.