Orion Telescopes and Binoculars cater to a wide range of people. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is or how much you know about the cosmos. The company makes it easy for novice stargazers to learn more about our universe without breaking the bank. The equipment is approachable and serves as a great introduction to the world of astronomy. In the same token, the brand has a great lineup of equipment that is used regularly by professionals, too.
In this guide, you’re going to learn more about what this brand has to offer. To help you narrow down your search for that perfect telescope, we’ve also included a list of some of the brand’s best telescopes and accessories.
About Orion Telescopes
Like so many successful companies, Orion Telescopes and Binoculars had very humble beginnings. The company was founded by Tim Gieseler in a garage in Santa Cruz, California. Back then, most of the brand’s sales were made through a mail-order catalog. During the first two decades of its existence, the company produced several models catered towards both beginners and experienced buyers.
With the growing adoption of the Internet, the company eventually moved to e-commerce in 1997. Shortly thereafter in 1999, Orion was acquired by the company Imaginova, which was founded by Lou Dobbs. It was one of the first companies that the conglomerate acquired.
Under Imaginova, Orion expanded quite a bit. The company grew its product line to include a wider range of equipment. It also sold gear from other brands. These included eyepieces, telescopes, and more.
In 2017, a big corporate change happened. Orion Telescopes and Binoculars was purchased yet again. However, instead of being bought by a large conglomerate, it was purchased by its own employees. Today, the company remains employee-owned. The brand headquarters is currently located in Watsonville, California. There’s also a retail store in Cupertino that specializes in selling astronomy gear.
What Kinds of Products Does Orion Offer?
As we mentioned earlier, Orion Telescopes offers a pretty impressive lineup of products that cater to any skill level and budget. Here’s a bit of information about the types of telescopes and accessories they currently sell.
Refractor telescopes are, perhaps, one of the easiest to use. Most telescopes for beginners use a refractor lens. They take advantage of glass lenses to collect and bend light. Once the light makes its way through the optical tube, it produces a magnified image of the celestial body you’re pointed at.
The great thing about this type of telescope is that it’s incredibly versatile. They’re relatively easy to maintain and can be taken anywhere. Plus, they come in a wide variety of specs. You can easily find gear for seasoned and amateur astronomers.
If you want to take a peek at deep-space objects like nebulae and distant star clusters, reflector telescopes are the way to go. While they tend to be a bit bulkier and require more know-how to use, this type of equipment is purpose-built with star-gazing in mind. They use a series of precise mirrors to direct light and produce an image through the eyepiece.
Orion Telescopes & Binoculars offers a few different kinds of reflector telescopes. This includes Newtonian reflectors, which are designed to limit color issues.
Dobsonian telescopes are affordable and relatively easy to use. They consist of a large optical tube and a basic altazimuth base. Inside the optical tube, a large primary mirror collects as much light as possible to produce a clear picture of the cosmos.
Like the other telescopes that Orion makes, there are several models to choose from. Orion produces small classic Dobsonian telescopes that you can easily set on a patio table. Or, you can get a powerful large model to take a look at Mars, Saturn, and other distant targets.
A Cassegrain telescope is like a merging of refractor and reflector technology. This equipment uses both glass lenses and mirrors to adequately bend light. The two components work to minimize the light path significantly. This results in a compact telescope that can be taken with you on the go. They also contain a corrector lens to get a high-quality picture.
Orion offers both Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes.
Astrophotography is the art of taking photos of stars, galaxies, and other distant objects. These telescopes come in several different designs and configurations. Orion sells the equipment you would need to attach your camera onto your telescope. This includes adapters and mounts.
The company also offers astrographs, which are telescopes that are purposefully built with photography in mind.
The mounts that use to set up your telescope are equally as important as the viewing equipment itself. Most big-name telescope brands, such as Celestron and Meade, sell mounts to accompany the primary equipment. Orion is no different.
Orion offers a wide range of options. They have altazimuth mounts, which are ideal for small telescopes and casual viewing. These mounts are pretty limited in terms of movements. The more efficient alternative would be an equatorial mount. Equatorial mounts are great for tracking objects in the sky, as they take the Earth’s rotation into account.
If simplicity is your top priority, you can also get a computerized mount from Orion. As you can probably guess, these mounts take care of all the hard work for you. With a few button presses, the mount will automatically point the telescope in the right direction. Orion offers computerized mounts from GoTo, which have information for thousands of celestial bodies.
One thing that we appreciate about Orion Telescopes and Binoculars is that the company makes it easy for any budding astronomer to get started. Within the company’s product line, there are several telescope kits. These kits include everything you need to get started. You’ll find the multiple eyepieces, mounts, and even storage bags.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the kits are of lesser quality. Orion offers kits in all price ranges. There are several affordable options for kids and quality products for seasoned astronomers looking to upgrade.
Why Buy From Orion Telescopes & Binoculars?
Now that you have a better understanding of what the company has to offer, why should you buy from them? What sets Orion apart from other premier brands like Celestron?
Well, Orion provides you with much more than just quality products. The company has been in business for several decades, and with good reasons.
First, Orion is an employee-owned company. There isn’t a parent company that’s calling the shots. The brand operates independently and it shows. The sales reps are all friendly and quite knowledgeable about the products. They’re more than happy to help you find a model that’s right for you.
After you make the purchase, the friendliness doesn’t stop. Orion offers free technical support. The team is available Monday-Friday via telephone or live chat. Of course, you can also shoot them an email to get answers to any questions you may have.
Another thing we like about Orion is the price and money-back guarantee. You can return the product within 30 days if you’re not satisfied. Orion doesn’t even charge you a restocking fee, which is a nice touch. The price guarantee covers price changes. Say, for example, that the price of the telescope you bought goes down after you’ve made the purchase. If that happens within 30 days of delivery, Orion will provide you with a credit to make up the difference.
These details, while small, are very important. Telescopes are a big investment. So, it’s nice to see that Orion backs their products and provides ongoing support to help you make the most out of your purchase.
Best Orion Telescopes
- Comes with an equatorial mount
- 5.1-inch aperture
- Weighs 27 pounds
- 650mm focal length
This is one of the best telescopes for beginners who are looking to upgrade. It uses a large parabolic mirror to produce images of deep-space objects. Thanks to the equatorial mount, you can easily track your object and keep the image centered for astrophotography.
- 8-inch reflector
- Comes with Crayford focuser and EZ finder sight
- Collimation cap
- Stable base
This Dobsonian telescope is perfect for tabletop use. The mount is simple. However, it balances the optical tube strategically to make movements a breeze. Within the tube, you’ll find a large reflector mirror. Thanks to the mirror and the wide aperture, the telescope lets in a lot of light. This lets you view clear images of objects in the night sky without any issues.
- 6-inch aperture
- Altazimuth mount
- Up to 300X magnification
- Weighs less than 24 pounds
This reflector telescope from Orion is easy to set up. The stable base comes pre-assembled, so all you have to do is attach the optical tube. This is a reflector telescope that uses powerful mirrors to give you an up-close-and-personal view of distant objects in the sky.
- Dual-speed focuser
- 8-inch reflector mirror
- Maximum focal length: 1200mm
- Comes with two eyepieces
This model takes your viewing power up a notch. It uses an 8-inch parabolic mirror. It’s capable of capturing about 78 percent more light than a standard 6-inch mirror. Thus, the image comes out clearer and more vibrant. Like other Dobsonian telescopes, this model comes with a durable altazimuth mount.
- F3.9 focal ratio
- Mirrors coated in aluminum
- Enhanced contrast
This astrograph is engineered to make your images come out beautiful. First, the mirrors are coated in aluminum to increase reflectivity. Plus, there’s a quartz coating to keep them safe. Within the tube, you’ll also find nine baffle rings to increase contrast. The fast focal ratio and large aperture ensure that you’re getting enough light to take stunning astrophotography photos.
- 6-inch aperture
- 750mm focal length
- Equatorial mount and aluminum tripod
- Rack and pinion focuser
Take this telescope out with you on the go. It includes an adjustable aluminum tripod with a built-in equatorial mount. These two components make it easy to set the telescope up at your favorite viewing spot to get a nice view of the cosmos. The kit comes with everything you need to get started, including educational software, two scopes, and a focuser.
- Compact size
- 4-inch aperture
- 1300mm focal length
- Does not include mount
Want a telescope that’s not going to take up a ton of space? Try this Maksutov-Cassegrain from Orion. It uses a series of smaller mirrors and a large corrector plate to manipulate the light accordingly. This produces the same high-quality image as a telescope that’s much longer. This particular model has a smaller aperture of 4 inches and a long focal length of 1300mm.
- 8-inch aperture
- Computerized mount
- Large database
- Crayford focuser
With this Dobsonian telescope, you don’t even have to worry about finding your target. It comes with a computerized mount and a database of over 14,000 celestial objects. Just choose your desired target and the telescope will point to it automatically. Thanks to the large 8-inch aperture, the device does a great job of picking up even deep-space objects.
- 8-inch aperture
- Comes with two dovetail finder scopes
- Hyperbolic mirrors
- Lense-free design
This telescope may seem simple at first glance. However, it’s built with some great components to give you stunning images. First, the primary and secondary mirrors are all hyperbolic. They’re also made out of quartz glass and use an aluminum coating for optimal reflectivity. These mirrors help to create a flat-field image that has very little chromatic aberration, making it great for astrophotography.
Best Accessories For Orion Telescopes
- Includes 5 eyepieces
- Includes 6 color filters
- Comes with a Barlow lens
- Comes in a protective case
The accessory kit from Orion allows you to change up the viewing experience. It works with telescopes that accept 1.25-inch eyepieces. There are 5 separate eyepieces included. They range in size from 40mm down to 6.3mm. You’re also getting several color filters that can help you get a clearer view of certain objects. Finally, there’s a Barlow lens. It will instantly double the magnification of any eyepiece.
- USB connectivity
- Works with any 1.25-inch eyepiece
- Includes image capture software
- Records up to 24 FPS at 640 x 480 pixels
With this eyepiece camera, you can record your experience or increase your field of view by splashing the image onto a computer. It works with all Orion products that use a 1.25-inch eyepiece. Simple stick the camera onto the eyepiece and plug the other end to a USB port. You can record video, take still images, and more through the included software.
- Measures 48 inches long, 13.5 inches wide, and 18.5 inches deep
- Fits many Orion telescopes
- Made of water-resistant nylon
Keep your telescope protected with the official Orion case. It fits the optical tubes of many telescopes. These include the XT8i IntelliScope, SkyQuest XT8, and more. The inside is lined with plush fabric to prevent scratches and thick padding to stop small dings. Reinforced straps make it easy to lug around hands-free.
- Threads directly onto 1.25-inch eyepieces
- Reduces lunar glare
- Doesn’t change the color of the image
When you’re looking at the moon, glare from the sun can prevent you from seeing finer details. This filter only allows 13 percent of incoming light to go through. This helps to increase contrast significantly. Despite how much light the filter blocks, it doesn’t change the color of the image at all. It’s easy to install and can be removed in seconds when you change your target.
- 66-degree field of view
- Improves color and contrast
- Made of aluminum
This simple attachment creates a wide field of view when you’re looking at planetary bodies. Just thread it onto a telescope that accepts 1.25-inch eyepieces and you’re good to go. Another great perk is that it has a long eye relief to length, making it a suitable eyepiece for those who wear glasses.
- Includes 20 filters
- Works with 1.25-inch eyepieces
- Comes in a durable metal case
- Built-in viewing guide
The premium filter set is a must-have accessory for any Orion telescope. The 20 separate filters can be attached to the eyepiece to filter out certain colors in the light. This helps to make subtle details even more visible. Orion includes a handy guide on the lid of the protective case, detailing what colors work best for each planet.