Orion Observer 70 II AZ Refractor Review: Good Value
- •EASY TO USE
- •GREAT PLANETARY PERFORMANCE
- •LOW PRICE
- •SHAKY BASE
- •POOR DEEP SPACE PERFORMANCE
Observer 70 provides high value with its low price.
Orion Observer 70mm is sitting on the line that divides decent telescopes and junk. It is not a powerhouse, or a good performer even. But it provides good value for the price, and that is what’s important.
The 70mm aperture lets in enough light for bright deep space objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and Orion Nebula. Dimmer deep space objects are not clearly visible.
Observer 70 II is a price/performance telescope.
The aperture is enough for large planets and the Moon. Jupiter is visible with its 4 Galilean Moon’s, Saturn and its rings are visible with a decent eyepiece. You shouldn’t expect much performance out of other planets.
The Moon looks great with most pairs of binoculars and telescopes since it is so close to Earth. The most important thing when looking at the Moon is color accuracy and lack of optical defects. That is not a problem with Orion Observer 70mm II since it is a refractor. The long optical tube provides great color accuracy and aberrations are not noticeable.
The mount is weak.
The mount is unfortunately shaky and unstable. It is an altazimuth which is an easy-to-use design. But it will require some patience to get used to the tiny movements.
The Kellner eyepieces are low-medium level accessories. They come with most budget telescopes. They are definitely not high-quality but they get the job done.
Similar to the eyepieces the red dot finder is a budget accessory. Since finders don’t require anything other than pointing in the right direction, we don’t have any complaints about the finder.
The focuser is quite sturdy and smooth.
As we’ve said before Orion Observer 70mm II Refractor is one of the cheapest, decent telescope models you can get. Of course, any 100$ model would outperform it by a huge margin, but if you are on a tight budget this is not a bad choice. It will help you understand what a telescope is, what is most interesting to observe and what model you should get when you become a more serious astronomer.
700mm Focal Length
70mm aperture is quite small for a telescope. That is why it definitely is not a deep space performer. Although exceptionally bright deep space objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and Orion Nebula are easily visible, dimmer objects are not within reach.
The major planets such as Saturn and Jupiter are another story. They are large, bright objects. They are also quite close to Earth. So you will be able to see details such as 4 Galilean Moon’s of Jupiter and Rings of Saturn. Don’t expect the rings to be easily distinguishable though, you may get disappointed.
70mm aperture is below modest.
Chromatic Aberration is near non-existent, but it is still there.
The details on the Moon are quite easy to see with any kind of optical device. Orion Observer 70 will provide detailed and sharp images of craters and mountain ranges. Since there are no optical defects such as chromatic aberrations, Lunar observations are pretty good.
Slow-Mo Control for Vertical Axis
The mount is an altazimuth, which is one of the simplest mount designs. It only moves up, down, left and right. It doesn’t have any kind of learning curve which is quite important for a beginner.
What disappointed us the most about the telescope was the sturdiness of the mount. Although the tripod is made out of aluminum, it is not stable.
The base is unstable.
Any kind of tiny movement will affect your image greatly while observing, especially at high magnifications. Therefore a good mount is an essential part of a telescope. Unfortunately, this is the weakest part of Orion Observer 70mm II.
10mm Kellner Eyepiece
25mm Kellner Eyepiece
Red Dot Finder
The Kellner eyepieces that come with the telescope have 10mm(70x) and 25mm(28x) apertures. They are below average eyepieces but for this price range, they are acceptable. Any kind of better quality eyepiece would cost at least 30-40$.
The accessories are budget choices.
The red dot finder is a standard among budget telescopes. It is a simple device. It just projects a red dot on the night sky so you can align your telescope easily. It works well and doesn’t bring up any complaints.
The 90-degree diagonal saves you from bending over too much. Thankfully it doesn’t mess up the image. It comes in handy.
Poor Deep Space Performance
The biggest drawback is the shaky mount. We cannot stress enough the importance of a stable base. It is sad to see such decent optics getting such a bad mount.
Orion Observer 70mm II is a decent entry-level telescope. If you think you can be patient with a shaky base, it provides good value in the optics area. It will definitely prepare you for a pricier telescope, which is a very important step any astronomer should take seriously.
The price tag saves the day.