Orion GoScope 80mm TableTop Refractor Review: Great Build, So So Optics
Orion GoScope 80 is one of the best refractors at its price range, but the short optical tube is a problem.
Although GoScope 80 has some optical defects, the build quality is outstanding. So, getting this telescope is a question of whether you value build quality over optical quality.
The optics are certainly not bad. It is an 80mm refractor with a 350mm optical tube. It provides pretty good detail with planets. You can easily get images of Rings of Saturn, Clouds of Jupiter and its 4 Moons, and with a good eyepiece polar ice caps on Mars.
The problem is the halo around the planets. This is inevitable with a short refractor. You will get color defects such as this with all the planets, the Moon, and pretty much all bright objects.
There are color inaccuracies around bright objects.
The Moon, Orion GoScope 80
Deep space performance is pretty good. Pleiades Star Cluster looks mesmerizing. The Andromeda Galaxy and Orion Nebula is visible in pretty good detail.
There are models that easily outperform GoScope 80 in optics.
The mount is smooth, compact, and sturdy. It is a delight to use. The only slight problem is it doesn’t rotate 90-degrees up, which might be a problem for deep-sky viewing.
The eyepieces are average, but certainly suitable for this price range. They will prove enough for the beginning.
The red dot finder is common at this price range. It simply projects a red dot in the sky. It doesn’t bring up any complaints.
The focuser is where this telescope shines. It is not a rack-and-pinion like most models. It moves the primary mirror instead of the eyepiece, which is a genius design choice. It makes the viewing experience much better.
The build quality of the focuser is impressive.
There are telescopes with much better optics at this price range.
It needs an additional eyepiece for high-magnification viewing, which increases the price of the telescope even higher.
Orion GoScope is a heartbreaker. It has a great mount, amazing focuser, and a solid build. The only problem, which is a major one, is the price. With 150$, you can get a reflector that can provide sharper and brighter images of planets, the Moon, and deep-sky.
Get this scope if portability is a huge concern and you don’t want to deal with collimation.
You can pretty much understand the purpose of Orion GoScope from its name. It is designed to be as portable as possible. The problem is it sacrifices optical quality while doing that, and in our opinion, it is not worth the portability that comes with it.
A 150$ telescope would be easily portable in almost all cases. And an object you will use for long years should serve its primary purpose well: viewing space objects.
It is hard to overlook the lack of optical power.
350mm Focal Length
Deep Space Performer
The optics are well-built, but simply too low powered. Chromatic aberration is also a major problem.
An 80mm aperture with a 350mm focal length gives a pretty wide-field view, meaning the scope will perform well in low magnifications. Deep space viewing is pretty good, thanks to the low focal ratio. You will get sharp images of brighter Messier Objects, Star Clusters, and Galaxies.
Solar System performance suffers from Chromatic Aberrations.
Planetary viewing is not that great. It definitely gives detailed images, but color accuracy becomes a problem as you increase the magnification. The reason is that it is a refractor with a short focal length. This is not a good combination in the telescope realm.
The light that is coming inside the lens should be at a low angle in refractors. This is the case with high focal ratio refractors, around f/7-8. Their optics are considered excellent because of the high focal ratio.
f/4.3 is too low for a refractor. The result is color inaccuracies around the image. This lowers the image quality quite a bit.
The mount is pretty good. It has incredibly smooth motion in all axis. It is sturdy, which is vital for any telescope.
The telescope overall is a delight to carry around. It weighs lower than some laptops and is quite small.
The build quality of the mount is one of the bests at its price range.
10mm and 20mm Eyepieces
Red Dot Finder
The eyepieces that come with the telescopes have 10mm(35x) and 20mm(17.5x) apertures. They provide wide-field, low magnification images. They are as cheap as it gets.
The red dot finder is a simple accessory. It just projects a red dot in the night sky. It serves its purpose well and is useful at lower magnifications.
The diagonal prism corrects the images’ rotation. It slightly lowers the image quality.
Needs additional, high-quality eyepiece for higher magnifications.
The optics are not powerful enough for the price.
There is severe chromatic aberration with bright objects.
Orion GoScope is slightly overpriced. An 80mm refractor with a short focal length that comes with 2 eyepieces shouldn’t cost 150$. If it was around 100$, we would strongly recommend it. But we think a reflector would be a better choice at this price.