The Orion Grab-n-Go 80 mm Triplet APO telescope is a complete package for the beginner or intermediate user.
The OTA is Orion’s ED80CF APO refractor on a VersaGo II alt-azimuth mount.
Since it’s a package, it comes with a few accessories to help you get started and observing right away.
Since it’s an APO, is it any good for astrophotography?
Is it cheaper to buy this setup separately?
There are a few things to know about the Grab-n-Go package that may make it a worthwhile buy.
Here are the details.
✔️ Best Feature: APO optics
❌ Worst Feature: Included hard carry case
👌 Ideal For: Celestial Viewing, Terrestrial Viewing, Stargazing, Lunar & Planetary Observation, Bright DSO Viewing, Limited Astrophotography, Beginners, Intermediates
- Optical Design: Refractor
- Aperture: 80 mm
- Focal Length: 480 mm
- Focal Ratio: f/6
- Eyepieces Included: 26 mm
Our Verdict: The APO telescope is an excellent buy, even if you are only using it for visual use on an AZ mount. It’s a highly portable telescope, offers wide fields of view, and provides a color-true, high-resolution, and high-contrast viewing experience. If you have an EQ mount around, experiment with some astro-imaging.
Who is the Orion Grab-n-Go 80 Triplet Best Suited to?
The Grab-n-Go package is best suited to beginners. Since you get accessories and a mount in this buy, it does save you some money on the initial investment. However, the mount that comes in this kit is not suitable for astrophotography, but it will be a stellar telescope for visual use.
Intermediates will like the portable and lightweight design of this setup, but they may feel like they’re not taking full advantage of the APO optics without the ability to take photos with an AZ mount. However, if you’re heading out to observe, a lightweight platform is much easier to transport versus larger and heavier setups. The ED80T CF tube may be the better way to go for a more experienced user who already has an EQ mount lined up with some 2” accessories.
How Does the Orion Grab-n-Go 80 Triplet Perform?
The faster optics of the Orion telescope makes it suitable for wide fields and low power viewing. However, the APO optical system provides sharp and clear images with excellent contrast and little to no chromatic aberration. While images may not be huge like that seen with longer focal length telescopes with larger apertures, you can see more detail when there’s quality behind the glass which the Orion scope has.
The ED80T telescope has a small aperture that may struggle to see the faintest and darkest DSOs, but you will be able to see the larger and brighter clusters and nebulae. You can see planets with the scope, although they will appear small, but a Barlow will allow you a closer look.
Features & Benefits
The Grab-n-Go telescope is an ED80T CF optical tube on an alt-azimuth mount. The tube has an apochromatic (APO) optical system that means the objective lens incorporates three glass elements with FPL-53 extra-low dispersion glass. This is all a fancy way of saying it has extremely good optics for a refracting telescope and corrects for chromatic aberration.
APO scopes are significantly more expensive than ED doublets or achromatic refractors. However, it gives it a professional edge for imaging. Since this scope is mounted on an AZ mount, imaging will be limited, but you will have stellar views that may make the difference between being interested in astronomy and being passionate about it.
VersaGo II Alt-Azimuth Mount
The Grab-n-Go buy is a complete telescope package, so unlike the standalone buy of the ED80T CF, the tube comes with an alt-azimuth mount, specifically, the VersaGo II mount. It has a single-arm fork design made from die-cast aluminum, so it’s strong, sturdy, and easy to use. Non-stick PTFE pads provide smooth movement, and oversize tensioning knobs make it easier to grip and adjust.
It’s not a kid’s or short tripod either. It retracts down to 41.5” and extends to a tall 63” that is ideal for standing height while viewing. It weighs in at 13 lbs, so it’s very reasonable and portable for transport.
Yes – accessories are included in this buy. You’ll get a 26 mm Q70 eyepiece for low power and wide field viewing. It has forgiving eye relief of 20 mm, provides an incredibly super-wide 70-degree field of view, and fold-down rubber eyecups. It has five glass lenses, high-index elements, and all air-to-glass surfaces are multi-coated. It’s not a cheap eyepiece and offers excellent resolution and quality when used through the ED80T.
The scope also comes with an EZ Finder II reflex sight for finding objects in the sky with a wide field of view. A 90-degree mirror star diagonal is also included for comfortable viewing and especially when peering near or at zenith. A retractable dew shield also comes in the box.
Buying just the ED80T CF APO refractor will cost you around $1000, and that is just for the tube. You will have to purchase a mount, finderscope, carry bag, and eyepieces for it. The Grab-n-Go is a complete package with the ED80T optical tube. It only costs a couple hundred more, but you also get a high-quality $100 eyepiece, a finderscope, AZ mount/tripod, a 90-degree star diagonal, and a hard carry case for the optical tube. That’s quite the savings considering all the individual accessories that come with the OTA tube.
The ED80T CF telescope is made to reach focus for CCD and DSLR cameras, however, you may end up finding you’ll need an extension tube depending on your specific camera. It’s excellent for capturing nebulae and nearby galaxies, and of course, lunar imaging. Planetary imaging will be difficult to achieve.
You’ll likely need a Barlow, and even then, it still won’t be too large. A field flattener will help to reduce field curvature seen through scope for excellent imaging results.
However, there’s only so much you can do. What will limit your astrophotography capabilities with the Grab-n-Go is the AZ mount. Without a way to track objects with EQ movement and keep it within the field of view, field rotation will limit what you can do.
The VersaGo mount also has a load capacity of 15 lbs, and since the tube weighs approximately 6 lbs, by the time you add the finder, eyepieces, and the diagonal, you’ll be nearing max capacity without a camera added to the mix.
Included Hard Carry Case
While it’s a bonus that Orion throws in a hard carry case for the telescope, the custom die-cut foam interior is shaped for the bare tube. You must remove the diagonal and the finderscope in order to fit it inside the case. Having to remove these accessories is inconvenient, and it does decrease its “grab-n-go” value.
Can the Grab-n-Go Telescope be used for Terrestrial Viewing?
As a refractor, you can use the ED80T CF optical tube for terrestrial viewing. You will need to purchase an erect image diagonal as the supplied diagonal will produce an upright image but reversed left-to-right.
What Size Focuser does the ED80T have?
The Grab-n-Go ED80T CF APO telescope tube has a 2” dual-speed Crayford focuser. It allows for course and fine focusing adjustments and accepts 2” accessories. With the adapter, you can use 1.25” accessories.
Additionally, the focuser can also be moved independently of the tube for moving it into the most accessible and comfortable position for viewing.
Can the Orion ED80T CF APO Telescope be Used on a Different Mount/Tripod?
It can. The Grab-n-Go scope comes with an alt-azimuth mount, but there it has a dovetail bar and ¼” 20 threading to fit any modern mount with a dovetail mounting base or a field and photography tripod with a ¼” 20 screw.
Can the Grab-n-Go 80 Triplet Telescope Track Stars?
The Orion telescope comes with a manual alt-azimuth mount, so tracking will be limited as it provides only up/down and sideways movement. To track an object, it’s best to have an EQ mount that is on a tilt and allows for counteracting field rotation allowing you to track an object.
A motorized EQ mount has power that moves to track an object at a slew speed to continuously keep it within the field of view. The supplied alt-azimuth mount is not capable of tracking objects to this precision.
The Orion Grab-n-Go is a lightweight telescope setup from its OTA down to its mount and tripod. However, the supplied case only allows convenient storage and transport for the tube.
It might not be as grab-and-go as you might think, so a couple of accessory cases may be worth buying. As an APO optic with all the fixings, you’re getting a heck of a good scope to see DSOs, planets, and explore the moon. The APO air-spaced lenses are worth the extra bucks for stellar optical performance.
Perhaps one day you’ll mount it on an EQ for astrophotography capability!