The Celestron CPC series of telescopes aren’t what I would call a popular line of scopes, but it definitely has its place in the market.
The price tag may be intimidating as first impressions go, but the views and performance potential it has will make up for it.
Many high-end and large aperture telescopes often come as a standalone OTA buy, but the CPC 925 comes as a complete package to start observing out of the box with computerized motion.
Between the 800 and 1100 models, the 925 provides the middle-ground aperture that comes with portable specs and good, all-round optical performance for the skies.
Celestron CPC 925 XLT Telescope Review
✔️ Best Feature: 9.25” aperture
❌ Worst Feature: Price
👌 Ideal For: Celestial Viewing, Terrestrial Viewing, Stargazing, Lunar & Planetary Observation, DSO Viewing, Intermediates, Experts
- Optical Design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
- Aperture: 235 mm (9.25”)
- Focal Length: 2350 mm (93”)
- Focal Ratio: f/10
- Eyepieces Included: 40 mm
My Verdict: In my opinion the CPC 925 telescope is the upgrade you may have been looking for. It’s an SCT through-and-through, so it’s easy to setup and handle if you can work around the weight. With GoTo, you can start imaging, and with all the essential accessories included in this buy, observation can start as soon as you open the box.
Who is the Celestron CPC 925 XLT Best Suited to?
The Celestron CPC 925 is an expensive and high-functioning telescope best suited to intermediate and advanced users. Based on the price alone, I wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner.
Experienced users who want the option of observing with high-quality detail and then taking some professional pictures every now and then will appreciate the CPC 925 features. Because it’s slightly smaller and lighter than the CPC 1100, it’s a little more doable for travel. It features on our best overall telescopes page for good reason.
How Does the Celestron CPC 925 XLT Perform?
The CPC 9.25” GPS XLT is an excellent Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a large 9.25” aperture paired with a GoTo alt-azimuth mount with the NexStar+ hand controller. This setup promises to deliver excellent and smooth control for viewing with GoTo simplicity to see faint DSOs and intimate planetary features.
For the most part, it delivers. Visual use is fantastic through the SCT scope and some wide-angle eyepieces will open your eyes. For imaging, a focal reducer is likely needed for many reasons, and fortunately, Celestron makes one to fit the 9.25” model. The mount is rock-solid and dependable, so you’ll be able to start experimenting professionally with imaging. However, it doesn’t come with a wedge, so if you want the benefits of an equatorial mount, you’ll need to get it as an additional accessory.
Features & Benefits
The CPC 925 telescope has a 9.25” aperture. It provides approximately 33% more light-grasp than an 8”, but it’s slightly smaller and lighter in weight than the larger 11” model. The larger aperture allows you to see a lot more under light-polluted skies, but its best use would be under dark skies. With good seeing, thousands of star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae can be seen and imaged. You may be lucky enough to see some faint color.
Planets can be seen with greater clarity and sharpness at much higher power, although the field of view will be restrictive. However, it’s just within the right size limits to provide good seeing on local bodies. It may help to know that Celestron has released a .7x reducer lens that reduces vignetting, provides faster exposures, helps with wider fields of view, and flattens the field.
GoTo Alt-azimuth Mount
The CPC telescope comes with a computerized alt-azimuth mount with a double-tine fork mounting system. The mount itself is powered by an included car battery adapter, although, it’s highly recommended that you purchase a power bank for remote viewing or a wall adapter for when you’re at home.
The mount has 2” steel tripod legs and extends to a very tall 70” from a retracted 55”. You won’t have to extend it that high, and it’s best not to, to provide the best stability needed for observing and imaging.
The mount attaches to the tripod via a center positioning post and mounting bolts. GPS, computerized control for both axes, and polar alignment are additional features of the alt-az mount. To polar align the scope for equatorial movement, you’ll need to purchase a wedge separately.
NexStar+ Hand Control
The NexStar+ hand control is the tool you will be using to tell the telescope what to do. It has multiple features that includes access to a 40,000+ object database, up to nine slew speeds, and an internal clock.
The hand control provides access to additional features that are extremely convenient for imaging that includes periodic error correction, anti-backlash, and Precise GoTo. If you’re willing to put more money down, you can modify the CPC for WiFi/Bluetooth connection or hardwire it for controlling your telescope via a computer/laptop/tablet and forgo using the hand control all together. But, that may come later down the road if you’re serious about pursuing astrophotography.
The CPC 925 GPS XLT is a large telescope. The tube is 22” long and 10.7” wide. With the mount, it weighs a very heavy 58 lbs. The tripod weighs 19 lbs bringing the total assembly weight to 77 lbs. The tube may be awkward to mount due to the sheer weight alone, so some help may be required to get set up. I recommend taking this into consideration if you plan on observing or imaging away from home.
While it sounds like it’s a heifer to haul around, which it is, it’s still lighter in total weight than the 11” CPC and many have been known to travel with heavier rigs for the best views and images. 22” is short enough to lay across the back seat of a sedan, but it’s the weight that you must decide if it’s worth it or not. Bigger scopes come with more poundage but with better views.
The optical tube is certainly good for imaging. The 9.25” tube has a 36% secondary mirror obstruction by diameter effectively turning your 9.25” into a 5.9” aperture. Most astrophotography telescopes come in around 40% central obstruction, so we’ll take the 36%.
The GoTo provides computerized alt-az movement, so short exposures up to 30 seconds and limited tracking is to be expected. To counter for field rotation, periodic error, and to take long exposures, it’s best to polar align the scope and incorporate an equatorial wedge for imaging. The CPC 925 is Hyperstar compatible if you wish to speed up your exposures with improved flat fields and sharper imaging.
The CPC 925 is not a cheap buy. In fact, you could spend approximately $500 more and upgrade to the CPC 1100 for a larger aperture. But, you could always spend that extra cash on quality accessories to get imaging with.
Regardless of your intentions with the telescope, it’s not everyday that you spend a couple of grand in one hit. However, you are acquiring a full telescope package with a GoTo mount, tripod, hand controller, eyepiece, finder scope, and star diagonal, so think of it as a complete telescope buy to get observing or imaging right away.
Other Telescopes to Consider
The CPC 925 XLT is popular for viewing planets, but before you decide to purchase I recommend taking a look at a couple of comparable telescopes. They are the Celestron NexStar 8SE and the Explore Scientific CF ED 102 APO.
There is a significant price jump between the CPC 925 and the CPC 925 Deluxe HD models. The main difference with the HD models is the new proprietary EdgeHD optical system. It incorporates both optical and mechanical upgrades to provide chromatic aberration-free, coma-free, and flat field viewing benefits along with easy collimation, Fastar compatibility, mirror support, and tube vents are mechanical upgrades. These benefits are especially useful for imaging.
Due to the naturally restrictive field of view of the CPC, it’s recommended that you incorporate some wide-field 2” eyepieces, but this is only if you’re willing to invest in this route since you’ll need a 2” diagonal with an SCT threaded end.
As is, the Celestron CPC comes with a 1.25” visual back, 1.25” star diagonal, and 1.25” 40 mm eyepiece. The 40 mm eyepiece provides 59x magnification. You may want some shorter eyepieces for higher magnification and a Barlow lens.
The scope comes with dual clutches that can be loosened to provide manual slewing of the OTA. However, a new alignment procedure will need to be performed to align the GoTo with the scope, and don’t forget to tighten those clutches again!
The SCT telescope can be used for terrestrial viewing. You will need to use the lower power eyepiece and will have to purchase a 45-degree erect image diagonal for correct-image orientation. This accessory is not included with the telescope and must be purchased separately.
The Celestron 9.25” XLT GPS telescope offers precision and high-performing features.
In my opinion, it provides excellent visual use and has the potential to offer amazing imaging capabilities. It’s not so unwieldy that you can’t take it out for a drive to a remote location, but it’s also large enough to justify setting up a personal dome space on home ground.
Not a bad thought, eh?
As a long-lasting and quality telescope, don’t be surprised to find yourself investing more into your setup with modifications to improve your imaging skills.
Many often take this route and find it worthwhile.