Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope Review

Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope – A Beginner’s First Love

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope_160The Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope is definitely designed to be a class above the typical 60mm first refractor telescope. One of the many best selling Orion telescopes, this Equatorial refractor telescope is well received by beginners as well as experienced astronomers alike.

If you already had an idea what a refractor scope can offer in terms of view quality and convenience, the bigger 70mm aperture is not a quantifying factor to consider on a dollar to dollar value, but the intrinsic value it offers for greater view satisfaction and enjoyment is what really counts. Costing twice as much of a 60mm refractor telescope, the Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope is hardly expensive when Saturn and its rings, the Andromeda galaxy, Orion Nebulae, the Moon and other neighbouring planets manifest itself in stunning view resolution, even at 100x magnification, you won’t remember the price difference.

The light gathering capability of a bigger aperture telescope is common knowledge. The bigger the better like they say, but that is all pointless without a precisely calibrated eyepiece to match – 2 in fact, Explorer II 25.0mm, 10.0mm that give the magnification power of 28x and 70x respectively. The 70mm diameter multi-coated, achromatic glass objective lens, with a focal ratio of f/10 gathers significantly more light than the 60mm refractor scope, guaranteed to give you a much clearer and brighter view when you are observing brighter deep sky objects.

The Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope Bundle

Accompanying the 700mm (27.7 inch) optical tube are a bunch of high quality accessories which include the Orion EQ-1 equatorial mount, two Explorer II eyepieces, 90º mirror star diagonal, dust caps, Starry Night special edition software and EZ Finder II finder scope. The quick-releasing metal tube rings are complete with rubber linings to prevent scratches from marring the scope finishes.


The battery powered LED EZ Finder II red dot reflex sight can be easily aligned and attached; it comes with a dimmer for you to adjust to your preferred brightness. The LED light projects a red dot on a small wide window with a 10° field of view, is an indication of where the telescope is precisely pointing to. Fine adjustments to get the precise alignment with the 70mm refractor telescope can be achieve through the thumbwheels on the EZ Finder II, which allows for fine horizontal and vertical adjustment. Simply position the red dot onto the targeted area you want to observe and you can shift your eye immediately to the eyepiece to begin your stars exploration.

Astronomy Magazine — March 2003
“There are other red-dot finders on the market, but none incorporate all of EZ Finder II’s features.”

Equatorial Mount_160The Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope will make a great first telescope for a number of reasons. Besides having a bigger aperture and high quality eyepieces that guarantee greater space penetrating power, the stout looking Equatorial mount on an adjustable aluminium tripod, plays the most crucial part in ensuring stability to the relatively lighter optical tube (3.5 lbs) when viewing at high magnification. It comes with slow-motion control for tracking celestial objects manually by turning the control knob, which gives a much better motion control than the Alt-azimuth mount, especially when tracking objects at 100x magnification. Compare to the Alt-azimuth mount, the Equatorial mount may require a little work to align the equatorial axis before you can begin to track objects. But that is hardly any work considering the ease to get around it with the help of the well documented instruction manual, even for beginners. If automatic tracking is so desired after hours of hand controlled motion that tired hands are a bother, you can purchase additionally the EQ-2M computerized drive to eliminate the manual tracking for you.

Weighing just 15.4 lbs when fully assembled, the Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope can be easily transported and stored away. You won’t need to make more than 1 trip to carry out the 70mm refractor telescope to your backyard or to your car when you are in a rush. Other than the little adjustment on the Equatorial mount, there is not much of a setting up necessary. It is a refractor scope, so you don’t have to do any collimation (lens alignment). That’s the beauty of refractor scope that many astronomers, beginners or advanced users alike, love to own one for the convenience it offers besides the higher resolution imaging it produces.

Maintenance is also easy, since it is a closed tube design, all you need is to clean the exterior and the lens with a cotton based soft cloth when necessary. Another advantage of a refractor telescope is its high tolerance of external elements like dust, dirt, rain…etc. So that makes the Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope the perfect scope to bring along for field camping trips, barbeque parties by the beach… It is also a great instrument for daytime use, such as bird watching, mountain viewing, whale watching etc. But be careful not to point at the Sun directly, unless you have the proper filter in place for that purpose, and knows darn well what you are doing. Looking at the Sun directly or even through a telescope without the proper lens filter can result in blindness.

A Quick Glance at What is in the Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope Package

- Orion Refractor optical tube assembly
- Explorer II telescope eyepiece 25mm
- Explorer II telescope eyepiece 10mm
- 90º mirror star diagonal
- Tripod legs
- EQ-1 equatorial mount
- EZ Finder II finder scope
- Finder scope bracket
- Quick-release tube rings
- Counterweight
- Counterweight shaft
- Tripod accessory tray
- Dust cap
- Slow-motion control knobs
- Tripod attachment screws
- Wing nuts
- Washers
- Accessory tray attachment wing screws
- Leg lock knobs
- Latitude adjustment T-bolt
- Starry Night special edition software

A Little Imperfection that Hardly Bothers

  • Though the weight is considered light to an adult, it may not be so to a 12 year old kid. So never let your young kids move or operate the scope alone. It is not intended for use by a 12 year old child or younger.
  • The F/10 focal ratio has its limit to narrow fields of views and it is not possible to see the entire Andromeda Galaxy and Pleiades in one view. Well, you can’t possibly have a large aperture with a corresponding shorter focal length with a refractor telescope, otherwise you should be looking at the Cassegrain range or the Newtonian Reflector.
  • The 70mm is still not a big enough aperture to gather enough light to view more than just the Moon, planets and other bright deep sky objects. Again, we have to consider the other aspects like portability, grab-and-view convenience, easy maintenance and an Equatorial mount to go at less than $200, it just balance things up quite a bit.
  • The EZ Finder II red dot finder scope dovetail mounting provision by the Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope eliminates the possibility of using other or higher end finderscope. But considering its view limitation to the planetary and brighter deep sky objects, is there a need for a higher end finderscope which is largely catered for the bigger scopes. Will it be a little over ambitious with a 70mm refractor to find or view or even photograph deeper sky objects such as the distinct nebulae and star clouds within M33?


While the emphasis is still what is the best first-telescope to go for with a less than $200 budget, we have found the Orion 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope is a great buy for the following reasons;

  • Higher image resolution. Top of the list is its crisp and contrasty images it is capable of producing, which is a great feature typical of all refractor telescopes with respect to its aperture size and fine optics. In our opinion, this feature alone is worth all the money you have invested on this Orion 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope.
  • Grab, go and view anytime and anywhere. The convenience of not having to collimate the lens is another good reason why a refractor telescope is the lure to greater things later. Meddling with the optics can sometime be a pain, especially for beginners, and as the saying goes, “What is hard to use, will seldom get used”. You are not buying a great telescope only to sit in your garage collecting dust after several observation sessions, because it’s becoming a drag to set up. You will never miss an opportunity to observe on a clear night sky when you have limited time to spend, just grab, go and view. Besides, the Orion 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope is not limited to night time viewing, it’s closed tube design lets you have the freedom of carrying it to almost anywhere with open skies, even by the sea with high salt level in the air.
  • Maintenance free. The occasional wiping of the optical tube surface and cleaning of the lens which hardly takes more than 5 minutes to accomplish, is encouraged to keep your 70mm Equatorial Refractor telescope in stellar condition always. Of course, you can also choose to live with a dirty telescope if you wish.

It is common place for all ardent astronomy enthusiast to own more than 3 telescopes in their lifetime. If you are passionate about this hobby and are confident that it will take you further into the fascinating world of astronomy, this will never be your last telescope. Make the first a good one and the best will follow later.

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Thanks for reading our Orion 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope review.

Read What Users Say About the Orion 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope Rating: ★★★★☆

“This telescope shows amazing detail. The two lens that come with this are good too. I would recommend buying a kit from Orion as well. Even on low magnification on this scope shows amazing detail on Saturn and the Moon. The equatorial mount works great for compensating for the Earth’s rotation, which at high magnifications is fast. The finder scope is….”

“The power is excellent, but stronger powers modules can be purchased. It is better than the one on National Geographic & less expensive too….”

“Telescope arrived promptly in great condition. Packing was almost excessive. Each individual piece of telescope was boxed seperatly. Then all pieces were packed into a single box and that box encased into another box then shipped. Needless to say….”

Read all the 5 stars reviews on Orion Observer 70mm… Rating: ★★★★☆

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