The Orion AstroView 6 may cost more than a Dobsonian of the same aperture, but it has what a Dob doesn’t – an EQ mount.
The EQ mount has promising advantages that may just give you a leg up in learning how to do some basic astrophotography – but more on that later.
With a “serious” aperture (for a first-time buyer), quality accessories included, and a lightweight setup with EQ movement, the Orion telescope gets our recommendation.
✔️ Best Feature: Reflector on an EQ mount
❌ Worst Feature: Not for long exposure astrophotography
👌 Ideal For: Celestial Viewing, Lunar & Planetary Observation, Bright DSO Viewing, Limited Astrophotography, Beginners
- Optical Design: Reflector
- Aperture: 150 mm (6”)
- Focal Length: 750 mm
- Focal Ratio: f/5
- Eyepieces Included: 25 mm, 10 mm
Our Verdict: When you know what you’re getting, you won’t be disappointed. The Orion AstroView 6 is the epitome of this mantra as it passes the bar of many a buyer’s expectations. With excellent optical quality, it’s a lunar and planetary champ with a lightweight setup, and the promise of upgrading to tracking capability for basic astro imaging is why it’s worth the price.
Who is the Orion AstroView 6 Best Suited to?
The Orion AstroView 6 is an entry level reflector on an EQ mount. While EQ mounts are said to be more difficult for a beginner to learn with versus an Alt-azimuth, this model lacks the GoTo capability that drives up the price and the learning curve. So, for a beginner who is ready to get familiar with an EQ without breaking the bank on the extras, the AstroView 6 is an appropriate upgrade.
Before a buyer decides that this is the Orion telescope for them, they should be informed about its advantages and its shortcomings. It’s not a professional astrophotography telescope nor is it a stargazing champ. Even though it has a 6” aperture that is likely an increase from the 70 mm or 90 mm refractor that you started with, the faintest of DSOs will be hard to see. Its strength will be in lunar and planetary observation – designed for those in light polluted cities.
How Does the Orion AstroView 6 Perform?
This AstroView has a nice, large 6” aperture that may be considered a beginner’s first serious telescope buy. The complete setup is excellent for visual use, and you’ll be able to reach out and see more of deep space than with a smaller setup.
It comes with an EQ mount that is compatible with a motor drive as a separate purchase, but as is, it’s a manual model that works well with the OTA as a visual telescope system. The accessories included aren’t so bad either. The all-metal 1.25” rack-and-pinion focuser may be one of the only metal models of its type left seen on most mass-produced, entry-level model telescopes these days.
But, it also means you can’t use 2” accessories. The eyepieces are excellent Sirius Plossls, and you may want to add a lower power eyepiece to take full advantage of all the lunar and planetary viewing you have planned.
Features & Benefits
Reflector on an EQ Mount
Really, it’s the mount you’re after if you’re looking at a reflector that isn’t a Dobsonian. You can go bigger with a Dob for the same price, but you’ll be gaining in total weight and static movement. The base on a Dobsonian is the hefty part and it’s not designed for astrophotography. Enter here, the AstroView 6 on an EQ mount.
While the benefits are obvious: weight reduction, EQ movement, and the ability to upgrade to motorized tracking for basic astrophotography, there are some downsides of a Newtonian on an EQ mount – awkward positioning of the eyepiece and finder at times.
You’ll see what I mean when you get to it. Fortunately, you can solve this issue by loosening the tube rings to rotate the OTA, and since it doesn’t have a motor (yet), you won’t be interfering with the GoTo. Just be careful to keep the OTA balanced to avoid accidentally moving the tube out of alignment with your object in the sky.
Surprisingly, for an entry level telescope, it comes with some more than decent accessories. The only one that might raise an eyebrow is the 6×30 finder scope. You’ll be able to identify more with a larger scope like a 9×50.
As mentioned, the focuser is a decent all-metal 1.25” rack-and-pinion focuser. The metal quality is a great bonus since many today are plastic. There are two eyepieces included – a 25 mm and a 10 mm. They’re both from the Orion Sirius Plossl series and provide 30x and 75x magnification respectively.
There’s more great news! You also get a collimation cap to align the primary mirror. The Orion Starry Night Special Edition Astronomy Software digital download insert is included, and of course, all the necessary accessories like the slow-motion cables, dust cap, tube rings, and hardware arrive with the telescope.
Lunar & Planetary Observation
So, you’re upgrading in aperture to see more the night sky? Good move. There are real benefits to catching “aperture fever.” However, even though you get more with a 6” versus smaller models, it’s still limiting. Only the brightest DSOs will be seen.
Theoretically, if you’re an experienced observer, you can identify objects down to magnitude 13-14 with ideal conditions – you may have to move to a remote location for this or remain content with objects with a maximum magnitude of 9-10. Needless to say, this scope will be an excellent visual instrument for an amateur.
The AstroView 6 is really made to shine with objects within our solar system and obviously many of the Messier objects – if you can identify them.
Portable & Lightweight
Don’t let the long OTA of 26.5” fool you – it’s actually rather short for a reflector when you consider they can come as long as 40” or more. It’s reasonably portable and lightweight for any observer that wishes to be on the move.
The tube weight is only a mere 9.1 lbs. The mount and tripod setup weighs 16.5 lbs, so you’re looking at a combined weight of 25.6 lbs. There are also two counterweights with one weighing 7.5 lbs and the other 4 lbs. Total weight is 37.1 lbs. Of course, you’ll have your extras like the eyepieces, camera equipment, maybe a chair to sit on, etc., but I’m not counting any of that.
The big pieces will comfortably fit in the back seat of your car, but make sure to carry them out in three pieces to save strain on your back and make for easier transportation – OTA, mount/tripod, and counterweights.
The mount is too lightweight to handle any serious astrophotography equipment, but you may be able to get away with piggybacking a CCD or DSLR camera on top with a short lens and short exposures. A smartphone adapter and smartphone camera may be the best option if you’re being weight conscious. Lunar and planetary shots will provide the best type of images.
For prime focus imaging, the mount may be your downfall since you’re already at max payload capacity. You’ll also need to purchase a motor drive for tracking and a Barlow lens to help lengthen the focal length for cameras. So, experienced users are going to come across these limitations while beginners become frustrated with mount strain and the inaccuracies related to this issue. Even with a motor drive, you’ll be limited to basic astro imaging.
Not for Long Exposure Astrophotography
As is, the AstroView isn’t set up as an astrophotography telescope, but since its EQ mount is compatible with a motor drive, you may wonder if it’s worth getting into with this model. While the optics are good enough for astrophotography, you’ll be hard pressed to find the reliability you need for images beyond amateur quality.
The mount is simply too light duty for an entire astro imaging setup with the dependability you need for accuracy on long exposure shots.
Do You Need a Laser to Collimate the Orion AstroView?
The AstroView 6 comes with a collimation cap that is more than adequate to get the optics aligned. The tube is short enough to use the cap and make adjustments to the primary mirror. The laser does make it easier and faster to collimate the Newtonian reflector, but of course, that is an extra purchase.
Does the AstroView Telescope have a GoTo Mount?
The Orion AstroView 6 telescope does not have computerized tracking. It has an equatorial mount that is compatible with upgrades if you wish to add a clock drive and use software for automatic tracking and long exposure astrophotography. However, the mount itself is rated at a 12 lb payload capacity, so mounting additional astro-imaging equipment will put strain on the gears and cause inaccuracies that prove detrimental to long exposure photography.
Many users have exceeded the payload capacity and learned tricks they get away with, such as waiting after focusing for image stability. You will risk the aluminum legs breaking and failing. Basic astrophotography by piggybacking with a short lens is recommended over prime focus long exposure imaging.
Does the Orion Newtonian Telescope have a Parabolic or Spherical Primary Mirror?
The AstroView 6 EQ Newtonian has a parabolic primary mirror. This is a great feature for Orion to market. Many entry-level and mass-produced telescopes feature a cheaper spherical mirror that introduces aberrations that interfere with both viewing and imaging quality. Fortunately, this model has the more expensive, aberration-free parabolic mirror.
Can 2” Accessories be Attached to the Focuser on the Orion AstroView 6?
Unfortunately, the focuser only takes 1.25” accessories. It’s a high quality 1.25” rack-and-pinon focuser that is only compatible with accessories of the same size.
If you’re looking for a Newtonian with EQ movement that won’t exceed the budget, doesn’t weigh a ton, is portable, and can handle some basic imaging, this is the telescope for you.
There are some limitations, so it’s best to do your homework before buying.
If your intentions are to use the Orion AstroView 6 as a visual scope most of the time with maybe a snapshot or two here and there, you won’t be disappointed.