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The Best Beginner Astrophotography Telescopes of 2016

Capture the Wonders of the Universe
Top Ten Reviews no longer updates this category and keeps it here for archiving purposes only. It was last updated in

Why Do I Want a New Telescope?

The best equipment for astrophotography captures what the eye can see and even some things the eye cannot see. The images you can create of space with a camera will amaze you.

Selecting a telescope that can help you capture wonderful astrophotography images is no small task. Even at the entry level there is a wide range of prices and features. As we began our search for astrophotography beginner telescopes, we considered several factors.

We are assuming that the beginning astrophotographer is not a beginning astronomer. Attempting to create photographic images of celestial objects probably means you know where at least some of them are and have an idea about how to capture them. We assume you have taken a few shots of the night sky with a camera and are ready to find out what adding a telescope can do. You just need the equipment to make it happen. We can help. Check out our articles related to beginner astrophotography.

What to Look for in Astrophotography Beginner Telescopes?

A first astrophotography telescope should be a great telescope in general. It should provide excellent views of celestial objects that you want to see and photograph.

Forget about bells and whistles or accessories. Astrophotography telescope designers and marketers assume you have at least one telescope and tripod already. They assume you have seen pretty objects in the sky (with your existing equipment) that you would like to capture in a tangible format.

In astrophotography, the telescope itself is only one component of a set of equipment that will matter. Most telescopes in this category are sold as optical tubes only, allowing you to select the type of mounts and cameras that will best help you reach your specific goals.

An entry-level astrograph should be relatively conservative in price. If you have not experimented with this part of astronomy, it’s not worth spending thousands until you know you will be using the instrument enough to justify it.

When you purchase an astrophotography telescope, you are paying for the quality of the optics more than anything else. Good beginner astrophotography telescopes will offer optical elements that lead to good color correction and a flat field of view. Lenses and mirrors will be made of, and coated with, high quality materials and configured to be conducive to astrophotography.

We also considered whether the overall viewing experience is likely to justify the telescope’s price. We looked for scopes that give you a lot of features for an entry-level price.

Viewing Experience
An astrophotography telescope should start by making it easy to find great views and eventually lead to the capture of great views. A quality viewing experience includes things like the telescope’s ability to interface easily with other equipment, its usability, any unique features and its ability to help you find your desired targets.

Although not the most important element for all astrophotographers we assume the majority will want to take their scope to areas where there is dark sky. It is possible to take photographs from the back patio but we assume those who are willing to invest in a telescope designed specifically for astrophotography are going to want to enjoy the hobby at various locations. Portability is somewhat relative but we looked for equipment that would not involve a crane in transportation. The astrophotography telescopes we liked best were petite without being flimsy.

Help & Support
With any purchase, customers want a company who will stand behind their product. Astrophotography beginner telescopes represent a significant investment for most and getting them to work properly may take a little support from a company’s customer service personnel, whether it’s online or on the phone.

In short, we looked for the best astrophotography beginner telescopes. We found the 8-inch f/8 Ritchey-Chretien, the 80mm f/6 Air-spaced Triplet ED Apochromatic Refractor and the 190mm f/5.3 Mak-Newt Astrograph to offer the ideal combination of features for their price. Finding the perfect equipment for your budget will lead to years of enjoyment and exploration. Capturing the beauty of the skies will take your love of astronomy to new heights.