Meade Infinity 70 Telescope Review: The Budget King
Meade Infinity 70 is a well-built refractor that comes at a great price.
Infinity 70 is one of the cheapest, useful telescopes in the market.
The 70mm aperture proves enough to see Jupiter and its 4 Galilean Moon’s, Rings of Saturn and Mars as a red dot. It is actually surprising how detailed and bright these images are.
The Moon also looks detailed with craters and mountain ranges. Most telescopes provide spectacular images of the Moon and Infinity 70 is no different in that area. I would even say this telescope is mostly used for viewing the Moon.
Infinity 70 offers good planetary and below-average deep space performance.
Deep space objects such as star clusters and nebulae are also visible. But don’t expect much performance in this area since the aperture is so small for dimmer deep space objects. Bright objects such as the Orion Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy are visible for example. But keep in mind that you should do your observations in ideal conditions, meaning as dark as possible. You won’t see much near a big city.
The Kellner eyepieces that come with the telescope are quite good considering the 70$ price tag. The 26mm eyepiece provides 27x magnification and the 9mm eyepiece provides 78x.
The Barlow lens will double the magnification with any eyepiece. It is made of plastic but it does the job.
The focuser is a rack-and-pinion with a knob to control the tension. It is smooth and sturdy. It will work well with any 1.25” eyepiece in the market.
The tripod is not out of this world. It is a little shaky. But nothing that will ruin your experience.
The red dot finder is quite easy to use and a standard among budget telescopes. It works well and proves to be very useful.
At it’s price range, it is one of the go-to’s.
Meade Infinity 70 draws the line between good telescopes and junk. What makes it so attractive is the price tag. If you wished to upgrade to 80mm you would have to pay almost twice the price. Therefore it offers quite a bit of value and is highly recommended by us.
If you decide to buy Meade Infinity 70 there is a helpful video to help you set it up.
Around apertures of 70-80mm telescopes become powerful enough for deep space and Solar System. To be honest, if you are buying something that has an aperture lower than that you might as well get a pair of binoculars. This is the reason why we recommend Meade Infinity 70. It is definitely not a powerhouse but it has sufficient power. It is quite fun to use and one of the best options available at this price range.
700mm Focal Length
With a 70mm aperture, you can get quite a bit of detail surprisingly. As we’ve said before the moons around Jupiter and Saturn’s rings are visible, which amazes most beginners the first time they see them. Mars is visible as a red dot. To get detail on Mars, you need a 200$ Dobsonian. The same is true for Venus.
The Lunar Surface still looks brilliant. You will be able to see the Apollo Landing site with Meade Infinity 70 with amazing detail.
The 700mm optical tube reduces chromatic aberrations significantly.
Since the aperture is so small it is not a performer with deep space. Although bright objects such as the Orion Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy are visible with detail, dim objects are not visible. But this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a few star clusters and galaxies.
The eyepieces that come with the telescope are 3-element achromats. They are modified versions of the Kellner eyepieces and they are not bad. The 26mm provides 27x which is quite nice to use. The 9mm provides 78x which is a little high but still usable. But you may find yourself yearning for better ones in the future so be ready to spend an extra 30-40$ on good eyepieces.
Slow-Mo Control for Vertical Axis
The tripod is not bad, but at high magnifications, a little shake in the tripod may ruin the experience. Usually, the tripod that comes with Meade Infinity 70 is quite stable but at times tiny movements occur. Although this is not a deal-breaker, we wish the tripod was a little better.
The mount performs adequately.
The alt-azimuth mount is not great but it does the job. It moves horizontally and vertically. The horizontal movement is nice and smooth. But for the vertical movement, you may have to push the telescope a little. If you go far down or up it will try to go back to its natural state. This is not a big deal since the optical tube is so long it makes it tolerable, but just keep it in mind.
To be honest the mount is not smooth enough for high magnifications. It is simply not sensitive enough. But the telescope is not that powerful anyway so we think this is not a deal-breaker.
2x Barlow Lens
The accessories are the best part of the package. Usually around this price range eyepieces that come with the telescope are the cheapest versions available and there isn’t even a finder included. With Meade Infinity 70 you get ordinary eyepieces and a useful red dot finder.
The focuser is a rack-and-pinion model. It is mostly plastic and has a size of 1.25 inches. It actually works great. It is smooth and easy to use. It will work well with any 1.25” eyepiece.
The Barlow lens included will double the magnification of any eyepiece. For example, if you are using the 26mm eyepiece and getting 27x magnification, if you add the Barlow the magnification will become 54x. Although the Barlow is useful in the beginning we recommend getting a good quality eyepiece for high magnifications.
The 90-degree prism allows you to do your observations without bending over. It works well without altering the image too much and is a quite useful accessory.
Poor Deep Space Performance
The biggest drawback with Meade Infinity 70 is the base. The tripod and the alt-azimuth mount do not provide the smooth-stable motion you desperately need for a pleasant observation. They are usable, but barely.
At the moment Meade Infinity 70 is 70$, which is quite amazing. If you can’t go higher with your budget this telescope at this price it is one of the best telescopes you can get. If the unstable base is a deal breaker for you Orion FunScope 76 is much better at this. But it is slightly lower powered.
Infinity 70 is hard to beat under the 100$ price range.