PROS / It features the finest optical elements, is perfectly portable and provides flat-field and color-free images.
CONS / It is very expensive for entry-level which defeats part of the purpose.
VERDICT / The Baby Q represents the best of the best but is double the price of its competitors.
Imagine an astrophotography telescope that has been designed for the express purpose of creating beautiful digital images. It features the finest optical elements in the astrophotography world and can produce flat field and color-free images. The FSQ-85ED from Takahashi is the Cadillac of astrophotography beginner telescopes. However, not everyone can afford to drive a Cadillac. Compared to other astrophotography beginner telescopes, the FSQ-85ED, or “Baby Q,” is spectacular. It is also spectacularly expensive.
- Perfectly portable
- Finest optical elements
- Flat-field and color-free images
This telescope stands out in every way. It has the double ED, 4-lens optical system of its sibling, the FSQ-106ED but in a smaller, more portable package. Baby Q’s image circle will allow medium format CCD or DSLR cameras to produce high quality images of deep sky objects. The focuser can stay steady even when using pretty big cameras. Its smooth motion and oversized knobs will make it easy to achieve a sharp focus every time, even at very high powers.
There’s no finderscope included but there is a spot for an optional finder bracket and finderscope. At this price point, including a finderscope would have been nice. A more experienced user would not likely care but as we looked at other telescopes we liked the ones that throw in some extras. They did include a dew shield, a retractable and self-storing dew shield. This will matter for impeding the formation of dew and improving visual contrast.
The Baby Q represents the best of the best. Takahashi does everything well, with correction for field curvature, spherical aberration, coma and more. You will get a great view of space and be able to capture that view for amazing astrographs. We’re just not convinced it is worth paying double the price of many other beginner astrophotgraphy telescopes to achieve it. That’s not really what astrophotography beginner telescopes are all about, unless money is not a consideration. Perhaps you don’t have to convince a spouse or put a child through college. In that case buy the Baby Q and make some beautiful photos.
The Baby Q lives up to its name with its pint-sized package. At less than 9 pounds, a small mount will support it. This telescope will be right at home in an overhead bin, or even under a seat, on an airplane. It’s only 12.68 inches long when fully collapsed. The only potential drawback is having to guard it with your life because it is so valuable.
Takahashi backs the Baby Q with any and all information you could possibly want on its website. There is a factory tour, FAQ page, downloadable manuals, complete specs and more. The contact number is also a good resource.
There is not much out there to rival the FSQ-85ED among astrophotography telescopes. You will be amazed and impressed by what you create, and you will be temporarily broke. We’re not convinced it is worth the price for most people. You can have just as much fun with other products in our lineup.