Large aperture. Computerized German equatorial mount. Low maintenance. Possible astrophotography.
Sounds like the Celestron Advanced VX 6 Refractor to a T.
After some research and hands-on experience?
✔️ Best Feature: Large aperture refractor
❌ Worst Feature: Chromatic aberration
👌 Ideal For: Celestial Viewing, Terrestrial Viewing, Stargazing, Lunar & Planetary, DSO Viewing, Astrophotography
- Optical Design: Refractor
- Aperture: 150 mm (6”)
- Focal Length: 1200 mm (47”)
- Focal Ratio: f/8
- Eyepieces Included: 20mm
Our Verdict: If you’ve been saving for a while, spending your hoard of cash all at once on an upgrade can be a weighty decision. As a viable option worth considering, the Celestron Advanced VX 6 Refractor offers a 6” objective, a GEM mount, and GoTo in one buy. It’s the type of upgrade we and the masses highly recommend.
Who is the Celestron Advanced VX6 Refractor Best Suited to?
The VX6 refracting telescope is best suited to those who are looking for an upgrade. The refractor design appeals to the beginner and to seasoned users for its user-friendliness and its exceptional contrast, resolution, and light-grasp.
The Advanced VX GoTo mount will be an adjustment for beginners who are not familiar with the NexStar+ or even equatorial mounts, but the learning curve will be learned and eventually mastered.
It’s not the cheapest upgrade in the market, but if you want a large aperture refractor without spending over $2000, this is it.
How Does the Celestron Advanced VX6 Refractor Perform?
The Advanced VX 6 Refractor is a no-regrets type of purchase. It’s one of the best amateur telescopes for its optical type, computerized mount, and performance.
You can make out much more detail with the high-quality lenses to explore the Great Red Spot, Cassini’s Division, Mars’ ice caps, Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and so much more. All Messier Catalog objects will be easy snares and you can set your sights on NGC objects and rely on GoTo to help you locate them.
If you’re familiar with the older GoTo scopes from Celestron, you’ll be happily surprised that their NexStar+ hand controller is now the standard and is an upgrade from its predecessors. After 2019, the Advanced VX saddle saw an upgrade.
The AVX6 refractor telescope is a worthy upgrade, but that’s only if you can handle its size and weight. It’s no SCT, so you do have a long 51” tube and 78 lb total assembly weight. However, since the setup can be broken down and transported separately with each piece weighing in under 20 lbs, it’s not bad to travel with at all.
Features & Benefits
Large Aperture Refractor
This VX 6 telescope is the 6” refractor version and is not a cheap buy. When you have a large aperture refractor plus GoTo, it will be a setup more expensive than 6” Newtonians with GoTo.
So, why choose a refractor? Unlike Newtonians, the refractor does not have a secondary mirror that obstructs the view and reduces the effective size of the aperture. This means, you have a true 6” aperture with maximum light-grasp for its size. Images are brighter, clearer, and objects can be resolved with improved sharpness. Think planetary details and splitting stars.
As an achromatic telescope, there are some downsides to that, but overall, it has excellent optical performance with quality views. What visible chromatic aberration is seen can possibly be reduced with the right filters.
Since you have glass lenses housed within the optical tube versus mirrors with spider vanes that can easily come out of alignment, there is no need to perform collimation to the same degree as that required of a Newtonian.
Since the mount is an equatorial mount, the eyepiece and finder on a refractor will be convenient to use at most angles. Newtonians on an EQ mount can get into some awkward positions forcing you to loosen the rings, rotate the tube, and possibly lose GoTo alignment requiring realignment.
The VX 6 refractor also has a dew shield to protect the optics and preserve your viewing or imaging session. Unlike Newtonians with exposed optics and open tubes, the refractor has a closed tube, so there will be less maintenance demands.
Putting these features together, you have an ergonomic, easy to maintain, and user-friendly telescope out of the Advanced VX 6.
Advanced VX Mount
The VX mount is an excellent CGEM (Computerized German Equatorial Mount). It features an adjustable tripod with stainless steel 2” legs that weighs 18 lbs, allows OTA mounting via a CG-5 (Vixen-style) dovetail base, and the mount head that weighs 17 lbs provides up a 30 lb payload capacity.
A word on the new saddle plate. It’s a dual-width saddle plate that accepts standard Vixen-style dovetail bars. It can be widened to fit larger CGE-style bars with a maximum width of 74.5 mm which is slightly narrower than a Losmandy D dovetail plate. So, it’s not compatible with Losmandy Ds.
The mount works via the included NexStar+ hand control, and you can automatically slew to any of the 40,000+ objects within its database. It has an LCD display, backlit buttons, and a USB port to tether PC connection to it.
The mount has two additional AUX ports for extra accessories, an autoguider port, and can slew with 9 speeds up to 4-degrees per second with periodic error correction, backlash compensation, and more.
With the mount’s 30 lb payload capacity, you will be tempted to try astrophotography with your 6” refractor on this computerized GEM mount. Why not right?
Since Celestron does not include counterweights in their payload capacity and they tend to be quite liberal with their capacity ratings, you could try loading up to 75% of the capacity and find that it will work just fine without strain on the gears.
The OTA of the refractor is heavy at 19 lbs, so you’re already at approximately 60% of the payload right there. Add the finder or a guidescope, camera, focuser, eyepiece, tube rings, dovetail, etc. and you’ll find that you’ve loaded up rather quickly.
The VX6 SCT could be worth considering because the OTA weighs only 10 lbs and they share the same mount.
Because the VX6 refractor is an achromatic optic, it is prone to showing noticeable chromatic aberration. It will be worse the higher the magnification and the brighter, high-contrast the target.
Surprisingly, the f/8 telescope doesn’t produce too much of it, and it’s not noticeable at low magnification. Unless you’re imaging, the CA shouldn’t bother you, but then again, acceptable levels of CA tolerance is subjective.
A fringe killer filter and quality eyepieces can help to minimize the effects if you’re picky about it as it does negatively affect contrast, color fidelity, and resolution especially at the edges of the field of view.
Does the Celestron Advanced VX 6 come with a Polar Scope?
A polar axis finder is not included with the Celestron Advanced VX 6 Refractor telescope. You will need to purchase one separately if you wish to polar align using the polar scope method.
What comes in the Box with the Advanced VX 6 Refractor?
Along with the refractor OTA, you will also receive the Advanced VX equatorial mount head, adjustable tripod, and accessory tray. You can expect a 20 mm eyepiece, 9×50 finder, and 1.25” star diagonal. The NexStar+ hand control, two 12 lb counterweights, DC power cable, and hand control holster will also be included.
What is the Warranty on the Celestron Advanced VX Telescope?
Celestron’s standard 2-year manufacturer warranty covers the Advanced VX Refractor telescope.
Can a DSLR comes to Focus with the Celestron VX Refractor?
If you do mount a DSLR to the Advanced VX 6 telescope and manage to acquire good performance with the VX mount, you will be able to reach focus. The all-metal focuser has back travel of 5.5” which is plenty to work with.
What Type of Astrophotography is the Advanced VX 6 Good for?
Due to the weight capacity of the mount, it’s best to stick to unguided imaging with short (up to 60 seconds max) exposures and then stack them. If you use a DSLR, opt for a lightweight model.
Long exposures will be harder and longer to acquire, and you will require an autoguider, guide scope, laptop, software, shutter release remote etc. The additional accessories that mount to the scope will tack on weight and could possibly strain the worm gears causing tracking inaccuracies even with PEC (Periodic Error Correction).
You can see how you go or try out webcam-style cameras, digital eyepiece cameras, etc.
The Advanced VX 6 Refractor is a great buy for the money. Expensive – yes, but all the good stuff is.
Both the scope and mount will exceed your expectations and will last longer than you think as your primary telescope. You’ll learn it quickly before the warranty runs out with dedication, practice, and patience.
If you’re looking for your next refractor scope with a large aperture while sticking to a budget, it’s done. You can satisfy all your demands with the Advanced VX 6 and land GoTo with a GEM mount at the same time.