Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Travel Scope 70 Review
The Travel Scope series portable telescope is specially designed for traveling. Both the 50 and 70 are compact refractors suitable for terrestrial and astronomical observing.
The TS 70 has a 70mm aperture in a compact body (17 inches long). It comes with a full size photographic tripod, a 5x24 finderscope, two eyepieces (20mm and 10mm - nothing special) and custom backpack for traveling. It also comes with TheSky x First Light edition. The scope only weighs 3.3lbs making it very easy to carry around. Also, the optics are fully coated. The assembly was quite easy too, I didn't even use the manual (well, that could just be experience speaking).
The tripod was quite shifty though. Try touching the focusing knob while viewing a bright star and it will dance to your touch. It's more stable when collapsed to it's lowest height - more like a table-top scope like the Firstscope. Also, it seems like the tripod couldn't hold the whole weight when pointed towards the zenith. I think the tripod is the biggest let-down. Anyways, you can't expect much from the mount for the price.
I wasn't able to observe much during my first attempt due to poor observing conditions but I was able to view clearly the Double-Double in Lyra, and low-magnitude stars in the tail of Scorpius in a wide field of view. On my second attempt, I had Jupiter in sight and was amazed at the amount of detail I could see. I could make out the bands of Jupiter and saw all 4 Galilean moons. Online reviews say they can see the Trapezium with it, I have yet to test that for myself.
Oh, yeah! It isn't written down in the features but the focuser on the TS 70 has a T-thread on it for SLRs via T-rings. I wonder why this key feature is not mentioned? Just make sure to change the tripod before attempting to attach a weighty SLR.
Although the magnifications attainable (with the given eyepiece) are lesser than the Travel Scope 50 (especially since it comes with a Barlow lens), the TS 70 has a higher aperture for higher maximum useful magnification. Therefore, upgrade your eyepiece and you get better images.
Basically, you can just replace the eyepiece and the tripod with better ones and you get a great scope at a low price! ^_^