Orion FunScope 76 is one of the best telescopes you can get that is under 100$. It has good build quality, great accessories and enough optical power to view popular space objects.
76mm is the smallest, “acceptable” aperture for a reflector.
It is definitely not a “powerhouse” with its 76mm aperture. In fact, 76mm aperture is among the smallest ones I have seen with reflectors. But it gathers enough light to see some detail. Jupiter’s 4 Galilean Moon’s are visible and Rings of Saturn appear as extensions of the planet. The Lunar Surface shows great detail such as craters and mountain ranges.
Deep space objects are also visible. The Orion Nebula and some star clusters are bright and detailed, which is surprising considering how small the telescope is..
What sets Orion FunScope apart from its competitors are its accessories. It comes with a 20mm and a 6mm Kellner, which are decent quality eyepieces. It also has a red dot finder which is a nice touch. Many telescopes at this price range don’t even have finders.
The accessories are surprisingly good.
The focuser is a rack-and-pinion, which works well with any 1.25” eyepiece. It is smooth and feels sturdy.
The mount is solid and the turning motion feels smooth. It moves up, down, left and right which is as simple as it gets with telescope mounts. You can use the telescope with a tripod if you wish, which is an absolute lifesaver for campers.
Overall Orion FunScope 76 is a cheap and fun way to start out with astronomy. Of course, you shouldn’t expect something that you will use for 50 years. But it is a nice beginning to an astronomy journey, especially for kids.
Before you get into the in-depth-review you might want to check out Orion’s overview video of the FunScope. It is an honest video and might help you understand what this telescope can do.
In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications
The reason we call Orion FunScope the best in its category is because of the accessories that come with it. The build quality is good but there are other 76mm telescopes that are well-made, and their optics are exactly the same. Orion FunScope sets itself apart by including good quality eyepieces and a useful laser dot finder.
Optics and Eyepieces
It has the smallest aperture possible for some serious astronomy. As we’ve said before it is able to show some detail, such as 4 Galilean Moon’s of Jupiter and Rings of Saturn as a disk attached to the surface. The Lunar Surface looks detailed as well, enough to amaze beginners. Deep space objects such as the Orion Nebula and star clusters are visible with some brightness and detail.
The major drawback with the optical design is its primary mirror. It is not adjustable, so in case of any optical misalignment, you will need to reach out to customer service. Adding to that it is spherical instead of parabolic, therefore there will be defects. Stars look like they are stretched out on the edges.
The primary mirror has a cheap, spherical design. It is also not adjustable.
The eyepieces that come with the telescope are really good for a telescope in this price range. The 20mm Kellner eyepiece provides 15x magnification and the 6mm Kellner provides 50x magnification. There is also a 2x Barlow Lens included that will double your magnification power with any eyepiece. To be honest the fact that these accessories come with a 76mm telescope is really incredible.
The base is rock-solid and smooth.
The mount is a tabletop Dobsonian, which means it is easy to use and sturdy. It moves up, down, left and right. It is lightweight which is especially good for kids. The turning motion feels smooth and doesn’t create any problems with viewing.
Another great thing about the mount is it is compatible with most tripods. This is especially good for people who take their telescopes to camping or just doesn’t want to use a table with their observations.
The red dot finder included is another treat. It is a very easy-to-use device to help you focus on the celestial in the night sky. It is almost a standard among budget telescopes but some companies don’t include them with their smallest models. Therefore the red dot finder is appreciated.
The focuser is a rack-and-pinion model. It feels smooth and works nicely with any 1.25” eyepiece. You won’t have any problems if you buy additional eyepieces in the future.
The included Moon Map is a fun addition. Of course, you can get the same information off the web but it is always better to use something that you can hold with your hands and write on. We think this is a nice touch for kids.
As said before the primary mirror is spherical so it creates aberrations. It is also not adjustable.
Orion FunScope 76 is a great way to start out with astronomy. It is definitely not a powerful model. In fact, its power is almost equal to a good pair of binoculars.
But this telescope is able to show you what owning a nice telescope feels like, and what kind of an experience observing the Universe is.