In my opinion the Travel Scope 70 is an entry-level telescope for those on-the-go or for a beginner user.
It comes with all the gear necessary to start observing the night sky or to see groupings from hundreds of yards away. Most importantly, it’s not a wallet-buster.
I really like that you’ll save some cash and your back with this lightweight, better than expected, portable telescope.
Celestron Travel Scope 70 Telescope Review
✔️ Best Feature: Lightweight and portable
❌ Worst Feature: Some false coloring
👌 Ideal For: Terrestrial Viewing, Celestial Viewing, Travel, Range Use, Birdwatching
- Optical Design: Refractor
- Aperture: 70 mm/2.8”
- Focal Length: 400 mm/15.74”
- Focal Ratio: f/5.7
- Eyepieces Included: 20 mm, 10 mm
Our Verdict: I like that the Travel Scope 70 is designed specifically to be a take-and-go, portable telescope for both terrestrial and celestial viewing. It is great for the observer who wants a short-focus and wide-field telescope on a budget.
Who is the Celestron Travel Scope 70 Best Suited to?
This Celestron Scope is made with ultimate portability in mind, so essentially, it’s designed for any observer who does a lot of traveling with their scope. This could mean anything from traveling across the country and globe-trotting to hikes, camping, and other sites in which you’d need to travel to get there.
Unfortunately, I believe its optical build has limitations for the intermediate and experienced user, so professional use is out of the question. Hence, it’s a great scope for the beginner observer or for an experienced one looking for recreational use with reasonable quality while sticking to the lowest budgets.
There are several factors in which I judge the Travel Scope: portability for travel, daytime viewing, as a spotting scope, astronomical scope, and wildlife scope. It has a lot to live up to and having been priced under $100, expectations shouldn’t be set too high.
The Travel Scope 70 is one of my favorite telescopes under $100 and is an excellent daytime scope when you need it for terrestrial viewing for activities like spotting rifle and archery groupings at the range and observing wildlife activity from a distance. For birdwatching, there is some chromatic aberration that limits this observation for professional use or photography, but it suffices for the amateur birder. As a nighttime scope for casual astronomical use, expect reasonable performance for lunar, planetary, and open star clusters.
Features & Benefits
Lightweight & Portable
As a portable scope, it’s compact and lightweight. Most of this is due to its plastic components to shave off weight and cost. Yes, the objective lens is housed in a plastic cell and the focuser is mostly made of plastic, but fortunately, the scope tube and bracket are made from aluminum.
What I like is the telescope itself weighs 1.5 lbs and is 17”x 3.87” in size – extremely lightweight and compact. The included full-size tripod weighs 1.8 lbs, so everything comes in together at around 3.3 lbs. With all the accessories loaded into the included backpack for travel, you truly have a portable setup that can conveniently be taken on the go. Hiking, biking, driving, and flying – the Travel Scope is built for easy travel.
Makeshift Aperture Stop
Below, I address false coloring and its issues. Fortunately, there’s a makeshift fix to tone down bright objects, improve visibility on details, and remove most chromatic aberration. The objective lens cap is made in two parts. By removing the center part and attaching the lens cap, you essentially have an aperture mask that provides the benefits mentioned. You may find this to be incredibly helpful to improve astronomical viewing at night on those bright star and open clusters.
Two Eyepieces Included
A 20 mm 20x eyepiece and 10 mm 40x eyepiece are included in the telescope bundle which I think is great. While the 10 mm eyepiece boasts of higher magnification, it has little performance benefits through this scope other than magnifying an image, particularly to see lunar and planetary details. However, field of view is restricted, and image resolution degrades.
The 20 mm eyepiece will do well for most purposes with its wider viewing, bright and sharp image resolution, and good power. It provides up to a max useful magnification of 140x but I found pushing it to 168x magnification that the manufacturer states will result in picture degradation.
Not only are the two eyepieces included but a 45-degree image correct diagonal is also provided.
As a daytime spotting scope, it has a lot of benefits. Using the diagonal is comfortable to use for most terrestrial needs. One area in which I found it provides better than average performance is resolving bullet holes and arrow impacts at the range.
See groupings at 90 yards at the archery range and see bullet holes at several hundred yards, even 500 yards and maybe 1000 yards if mirage and weather don’t interfere first. Of course, you can use shoot ‘n see targets to improve visibility. However, the included tripod will need to be retracted for bench-top use.
Some False Coloring
This became apparent as I was looking through the scope at bright objects like the moon or at targets with high contrast such as a white poster against the setting sun. While the included 45-degree diagonal provides an upright and correct image view, it is in an all-plastic housing and combining this with a short focal length, you’ll inevitably have false coloring on the fringes of target images, also known as chromatic aberration (CA).
While the amount of CA present is acceptable for amateur users and recreational use, it is unacceptable for photography, professional astronomy, and professional wildlife and fauna observation including birdwatching.
I like that the Travel Scope 70 comes with a lot of accessories including a full-size tripod, but again, expectations shouldn’t be set too high. Although the tripod is a fully-extendable one, it’s best suited for bench and table-top use. Fully extended, it’s too flimsy to support the lightweight frame of the scope and I feel it becomes very unstable to look through.
Additionally, even though the Celestron travel scope comes with two eyepieces, I feel the 20 mm one is the only useful eyepiece. The 10 mm lens has a restrictive field of view, is dimmer, and introduces more chromatic aberration.
Other Telescopes to Consider
It is not sealed and so is not waterproof. You’ll want to pack it up if it starts to pour on you. Additionally, it’s probably best if you use a waterproof backpack for trips where it might take you longer than you expect to get back to shelter in inclement weather.
The lenses themselves are glass and are fully-coated. However, the objective lens is held within a plastic lens cell within an optical tube made of aluminum. The eyepiece bodies are also plastic, but the barrels are made of metal with a chrome finish.
Yes. You can clearly see the moon with either the 20 or 10 mm eyepieces, and this is true of seeing Venus and Jupiter and its moons. Using the 10 mm eyepiece, you can view Saturn and its rings although it may appear as a line running through it or connected to the planet. Of course, local light pollution will play a role in its visibility, but the view is better than expected.
This specific scope has been bought for children from ages 8 and up. Young users will need supervision and guidance on how to use and care for the telescope. However, this is also a beginner’s telescope for adults. It’s not marketed as a kid’s telescope but due to its ease of use, compact size, and light weight, it’s suitable for many types of observers.
No. Images are seen as you would see with your own natural sight. Since it’s designed as a both a terrestrial and celestial telescope, the included 45-degree diagonal provides right-side up images. This has been said to be extremely useful for terrestrial viewing, but not so comfortable for astronomical use as you look towards the sky.
The Celestron Travel Scope 70 has impressed me with its key benefits include 2x eyepieces, a 45-degree diagonal, and its lightweight and portable size. Since it’s a beginner and entry-level telescope, it’s geared towards amateurs, recreational users, and those who need both spotting scope and astronomical viewing in one package.
While I found it may do better at terrestrial viewing than celestial, it does give you a leg up into developing skills needed to eventually upgrade to something bigger and better. For the price, the Travel Scope is a budget model that helps you get started into the hobby without breaking the bank.