High priced but well equipped, the Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is a sleek looking product that has a lot to offer users of all levels. Its powerful frame and lens is a great combination for buyers that want a good balance in their telescope. With a host of extras and a comfortable price point, it is one of the better deals in the industry. It could easily be sold for twice the price and retain the value, so customers are getting a big deal this time around.
Directly on the first look of the telescope you can see just how professional it is. An all-black base and tube looks great in any setting. The name of the series and the company are on it, but are small enough to not be distracting and still tastefully done. Being a Dobsonian style means it is great for putting on your desk or even in the window. It is about 30 pounds lighter than other telescopes of the same style, so the portability is slightly better if you want to take it outside. The black is somewhat shiny, so as long as there is some type of light outside it will reflect off of the black smooth surface so you don’t have to worry about losing the product.
About intermediate and up would be the preferred level, although some beginners may be able to use this telescope if they are ambitious enough. Dobsonian’s usually require a higher level of understanding than regular telescopes, but the reference material as well as the overall design makes it easier for just about anyone to get into. Even with the formidable power behind the equipment, it can be used as is without getting deep into the more advanced functions. If at a later date the user wanted to use the entire telescope for what it is, then a brand new world of opportunity will be opened up. Expect for this to be your main telescope for years, and more than a decade from now.
Built from very solid materials and with a finish that won’t chip or wear out anytime soon, this telescope is very durable and will be fine inside the house and out. It comes in a lot lighter than other telescopes of the same style and type, but the lighter weight has no effect on durability. The insides don’t give way to hard knocks, so expect everything to stay aligned if it is handled roughly. Movement of the tube on the base does not wear out over the years or develop that weird squeaking sound like others of the same type. It is rock solid with its mechanics and will operate smoothly without noise, even years after the purchase.
Buyers will get the wonderful portable size that comes standard with owning a Dobsonian telescope, and they will get it with a lot less weight. That is a major selling point for people that were a bit apprehensive about putting this on specific surfaces like antique wood or glass. The aperture is large, and with an 8 inch diameter reflector optic natural light is used to the fullest extent. Enjoy a very powerful and crisp view of the Moon, galaxies and star clusters with a telescope that is only 2/8 the size of a normal one on a tripod. The base enjoys higher stability than normal, even if the surface it is on isn’t of the highest quality. There are plenty of additional extras to upgrade the power of the telescope with, and there are plenty of useful ones already included.
Like all telescopes of this type, it will be a bit of a hassle to get set compared to the standard one on a tripod. The included extras are great, but some of the more powerful accessories were not included. This can lead to a lot of extra money being spent on extra purchases for power users who are not satisfied with the basic setup. Daytime viewing is a bit problematic even though it excels at nighttime viewing. This is a powerful scope, but not considered to be one of the powerhouses of its class. This means you can get great views of the galaxy, but planets like Saturn will not be as detailed as the closer planets until you upgrade some of the accessories. And without computer tracking being included in this model, it may be a step backwards for some of the more advanced users.
There are a lot to speak of, namely the 2 inch Crayford focuser that can accept either 1.25 or 2 inch pieces. This offers a lot of variety for buyers that want a quick power up without making an extra purchase. Also in the box is a 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece and an EZ Finder II reflex sight. These two will come in handy more than you expect, with the EZ Finder II reflex sight being one of Orion’s staple accessories. The Starry Night software will keep younger users busy for hours while the collimation cap is a welcome addition to the overall package.
When you factor in all of the extras that comes with the telescope, it is a pretty good deal overall. Even being at the high end of the price range, it delivers a one of a kind experience that will really attract a lot of different users. Dobsonian telescopes are really catching on, so expect for this to be no different, especially with the power that it wields coming straight out of the box. Professional looking and strong on the inside and out, it is a solid mechanical triumph that is one of the best in the SkyQuest line.
It has great lasting appeal for all types of users, and since this is the classic version it provides a natural upgrade path to the computerized SkyQuest version. If you start out users with this, then if they decide to upgrade it becomes that much easier to figure out what to get them. Even if you decide to stick with the Classic version, it still has over a decade of good use if you keep it fresh with power upgrades. The SkyQuest XT8 is probably the best choice for users that want a telescope for the entire family to use, of all skill levels.
If you want something more streamlined for the beginner, then look no further than the Orion 27194 XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope and Beginner Barlow Kit. It’s the exact same scope, only fit for beginners and hobbyists. There is a lot of extra material included to get a beginner started, but if they are already capable then it would be best to get them the regular Classic XT8, since you never know when you’re going to need the extra power.
Great for the whole family, the SkyQuest XT8 Classic is one of an entire series of telescopes that is absolute golden to own. You can be assured that it will be in the family for years and become one of the most used products in your home. If you want something that is ready to go out of the box then look no further than this telescope from Orion.