Orion AstroView 90mm EQ Refractor Telescope Review


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The AstroView is a refractor telescope, and refractors are known for their image quality.

However, they’re a lot more expensive per inch in aperture if you were to compare it to a reflector telescope.

So, is the AstroView worth the price?

You could check out some 6” Dobsonians that would offer just over 2” more in “scope,” but it would mean going without impressive optical quality and the possibility of using a telescope for terrestrial viewing, too.

There’s a lot more to explore, so let’s get to it.

Zooming in…

✔️ Best Feature: Excellent optics

Worst Feature: Not for long exposure astrophotography

👌 Ideal For: Celestial Viewing, Terrestrial Viewing, Wildlife Observation, Range Use, Lunar & Planetary Observation, Beginners

  • Optical Design: Refractor
  • Aperture: 90 mm (3.5”)
  • Focal Length: 910 mm (35.8”)
  • Focal Ratio: f/10.1
  • Eyepieces Included: 25 mm, 10 mm

Our Verdict: If you’re after the benefits of a refractor telescope with good accessories, a decent mount, and great optics, the Orion AstroView 90 EQ is one of the better ones in the market. With a correct-image diagonal, you can also use this scope for terrestrial viewing. Two uses in one scope – gotta love it!

Who is the Orion AstroView 90 EQ Best Suited to?

The AstroView 90 is best suited for beginners. It’s not too pricey to justify it as a first-time buy, but the fact that it also allows for terrestrial viewing makes it a winner. That’s the benefit of a refractor telescope done right.

In that sense, those who want spotting scope performance for the range or watching wildlife will appreciate the fact that they can also examine the moon and seek out planetary features with the same instrument.

How Does the Orion AstroView 90 EQ Perform?

Optically, the AstroView 90 telescope does well for its price point of under $300. It’s a medium-speed telescope that is right within range to perform adequately for both wide-field observation and high magnification viewing. However, due to its smaller 90 mm aperture, it may not be able to pick out dim objects as your set your sights on DSO (Deep Sky Objects) targets.

If you purchase the correct-image diagonal, land viewing will also be an option. You could also try your hand at amateur astrophotography. With an EQ mount, you can manually track targets. With a smartphone adapter, you can capture lunar and planetary images. Not bad, eh?

Features & Benefits

Excellent Optics

Refractors have glass lenses that are obviously different to reflectors since they use mirrors. Refractor telescopes are known for their sharpness and contrast even though they’re not as great “light buckets” as reflectors. However, while many entry-level refractors contain only a single lens, the AstroView has an achromat doublet – two lenses. This helps to minimize aberrations such as color fringing.

What does this mean for you? Instead of seeing a colored glob for a star, you should be seeing a single color point.

Additionally, a refractor scope has a closed tube, so the optics are protected from the elements and they don’t require collimation. All this in a convenient, somewhat compact, and lightweight package – it’s a good buy.

Mostly Metal Focuser

The metal focuser is mostly made of metal – good news. The bad news is, there is some plastic – the knobs. While the knobs may need some extra TLC during use, the metal framework is a good sign that it will hold up without excessive movement. It’s a 1.25” rack-and-pinion focuser which means you will be limited to using 1.25” eyepiece accessories.

EQ2 Mount & Tripod

The Orion EQ2 mount is an equatorial mount that allows for manual tracking of objects and has slow motion controls. It is prone to some vibration and movement at high magnification, and it has a relatively low payload capacity. So, if you were thinking about adding a motor drive and plugging on a DSLR camera and other astrophotography equipment, you may be outa luck.

The tripod has extruded aluminum legs, and while it’s lightweight, it’s generally weak and may fail under heavy loads. Fortunately, the mount head is all metal, but the mount bracket is plastic. There are quite a few plastic parts on the tripod, so extra care must be considered.

Terrestrial Use

You’ll need a correct-image diagonal to see through the scope with the right orientation as you would see with your own vision. Unfortunately, this accessory must be purchased separately. With it, you can use it to observe wildlife while safely tucked away from a distance, use it to spot groupings at the range, and even enjoy some amateur birdwatching. I say amateur birdwatching because the slight chromatic aberration may be a deterrent for professional birdwatchers.

While may entry-level refractor scopes try to nail both purposes (celestial and terrestrial) in one telescope, it unfortunately results in a bad scope all way round. The AstroView does it better, and it may be reason enough to spend to a little more on this model.

Good Accessories

Fortunately, the accessories included in this package are quite decent. The eyepieces are part of Orion’s Sirius series and they are Plossl 25 mm and 10 mm eyepieces. They’re 1.25” diameter eyepieces and they provide 36x and 91x magnification. They don’t need replacing any time soon, but you could expand your collection to include a 6 mm eyepiece to take advantage of maximum magnification that nears but does not exceed 180x. I would recommend with staying between 130-150x so as not to narrow the field of view excessively and reduce image quality.

The 6×30 finderscope is acceptable – not the most comfortable, but it does the job. The 90-degree star diagonal is metal and not plastic, so it’s already earned some bonus points from the get-go. But, the purpose of this accessory is to help with comfortable viewing when looking into space, so you don’t have to learn neck contortion.

Limitations

Not for Astrophotography

While the relatively slow, more like medium-speed, focal ratio lends itself to high-power photography for point sources, like stars, unfortunately, the aperture is rather small for this intended purpose. What does this mean? Faint and very dim objects will be difficult to locate and see.

Additionally, the mount is not sturdy enough to support a motor drive, a DSLR camera, and additional astrophotography accessories. You may also want to consider upgrading the focuser to a 2” one, of course, that also means 2” eyepieces. This all adds to the cost, and sadly, the AstroView just isn’t a long exposure telescope. But, if you want to capture images with your smartphone, go right ahead!

Popular Questions

How Tall is the Tripod that comes with the EQ2 Mount?

The tripod has an adjustable range between 35-55.5”. It stands quite tall for a tripod and will provide adequate height to maintain a comfortable position between your eye and the eyepiece.

Is the Orion AstroView a Good Telescope for Viewing Planets?

Yes. You can see planets such as Jupiter and Saturn, and with a Barlow lens or extra magnification, you can see planetary features, and of course, moons. You’ll also be able to see double stars, excellent detail of the moon, star clusters, and some galaxies.

Does the Orion AstroView 90 EQ come with a Case?

A case is not included in the package, so you will have to purchase this separately. Look for one with dimensions of 48.5″x9.5″x10.5″ so adequately fit all your gear. Be sure to take extra precautions with installing caps and protecting the tube with a soft lining.

Can the Orion Telescope be left Outside?

While the telescope does have a closed tube and internal components are protected, it’s not recommended to leave it exposed to the elements. Store the telescope inside for harsh weather – both extreme heat and freezing temperatures. If weather and temperature are mild, be sure to adequately cover the telescope for further protection when not in use, even if it’s under a covered porch or the like.

Can the Optical Tube be Mounted onto a Different Mount?

The EQ2 mount has tube rings that bolt directly to the tube. To change out the mount, you may need to install a dovetail system.

If you were to experiment with the EQ2 to use it as an Alt-azimuth, you may need to carry out trial and error with the declination and right ascension settings possibly set to 0 at the equator. Additionally, the counterweight shaft may need to be removed, but that could compromise the integrity of the setup.

There are no hard and fast rules as to what you can’t do, but it will take modification, perhaps some surgery, and you should first consider if this is the right rig for you before buying.

What Accessories and Tools are Included with the AstroView 90 EQ?

The telescope comes with the EQ2 mount and tripod. 2x 1.25” Sirius Plossl eyepieces, 90-degree mirror star diagonal, and a 6×30 finderscope with its bracket and O-ring are included. Tube rings, counterweight, and counterweight shaft; tripod accessory tray, slow-motion cables, and accessory tray bracket; dust cap and Starry Night Special Edition astronomy software download insert complete the accessories.

Necessary tools included are wrenches, Phillips screwdriver, and a flat-head screwdriver key.

Conclusion

It’s clear that the AstroView 90 EQ is for you if you’re after a refractor on an EQ mount with no more ambition than amateur astrophotography.

The optics are sharp and obviously better than a single lens with its achromat doublet. The optical tube is completely made of metal, so the quality is there.

This scope is worth it if your goals can be achieved with stock parts with the exception of expanding your eyepiece kit. Making modifications can be costly and it might be better to choose a different scope from the start.

But, as-is, it’s one of the best refractors in this price range that is superior to its plastic competitors in the market.

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