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Celestron 70mm Travel Scope Review – Not Recommended

The TravelScope 70 is a barely-functional astronomical telescope, a moderately useful spotting scope at best, and overall poor value for the money.

Celestron’s Travelscope 70 is yet another example of Celestron using their brand name, reputation, and clever marketing to unload a glorified toy telescope onto buyers. The TravelScope, however, is a unique twist on those, as it is sold as both an astronomical telescope and a terrestrial/spotting scope. It is more or less a failure at both.

The Travelscope 70 promises that for under £100, you’ll get a good refracting telescope on a good mount – with the bonus of fitting in a backpack. But the telescope is an utter junk and we don’t recommend it.

How It Stacks Up

Ranks #20 of 21 (Under £100 Range)

Rank 20
Celestron Travel Scope 70
What We Like

  • Decent eyepieces
  • Fits in a backpack
  • Works

What We Don't Like

  • Some of the worst optics I’ve seen in a refractor, ever
  • Plastic everywhere
  • Useless mount
  • Useless finder

Bottom Line

With bad optics, glare problems, plastic abound, and a tripod that holds itself up about as well as a wet noodle, we simply cannot recommend the Travelscope 70 for any purpose other than terrestrial spotting – which there are much better telescopes for both around and above its price range.

Further in this review:

Overview of TravelScope 50 OTA

The Celestron TravelScope 70 is a 70mm f/5.7 achromatic refractor. Due to this short focal ratio, the scope displays a lot of chromatic aberration (false colour) on bright objects—in fact, more than it should. Celestron cheaped out big time on the objective lens, and it seems to use rather low-quality glass and be manufactured to rather poor standards. The scope struggles to deliver sharp images at 40x. The scope’s plastic dew shield is so short that it’s practically useless, and the inside of both it and the tube are shiny, causing glare and reflection problems. The tube also seems to have little, if any, internal baffling to stop glare and reflections.

How Good Are The Accessories?

The included finder is a plastic 5×24. These 5x24s have a singlet(!) plastic objective lens, an aperture stop to control the resulting aberrations that make the image unusably dim, and an eyepiece with a drinking-straw-like field of view. It is less effective than those toy pirate telescopes made for little kids. Not only is the finder useless, but it’s also completely pointless, as the scope’s wide field at low power means it doesn’t really even need a finder. It basically acts as its own finder.

The included 45-degree erecting diagonal is not only uncomfortable to use for an astronomical telescope but also extremely low in quality. The entire body and housing is plastic, as is the barrel for inserting it into the focuser drawtube. The prism seems to be plastic too.

The Travelscope 70 comes with 20mm and 10mm Kellner eyepieces, providing 20x and 40x, respectively. The construction of both is largely metal, the field of view is decent and the images reasonably sharp, although not as good as a decent Plossl or wide-field eyepiece. However, the choices in focal lengths were poor on Celestron’s part. The 20mm Kellner provides a little too much power for the scope for low-power sweeping, while the 10mm, though decent in quality, provides too much magnification for the scope’s poor-quality optics.

The Tripod

The tripod for the Travelscope 70 is little more than a dinky, mostly plastic camera tripod sold for small digital cameras and the like—hardly a mount fitting for a true astronomical telescope. It suffers from balance problems depending on where the scope is pointed at altitude, but the more serious problem is just how undersized it is. With the legs fully retracted (and thus only suitable for use on a table), it’s not the steadiest. With the legs extended, the tripod has the stability of a wet noodle and vibrates noticeably to the untrained eye, producing distractingly shaky images at even the lowest magnifications.

What can you see with the Celestron Travelscope 70?

As a spotting scope, the Celestron TravelScope 70 works. It would be okay for use at a shooting range or for casual birding. The tripod is stable enough when pointed horizontally, and the optics are sharp enough with the low-power eyepiece for the views to be of some value, and aiming the telescope by sighting down the tube works well enough.

Astronomical use is a different story. The tripod refuses to stay put when the telescope is pointed above the horizon, and it constantly tips downward or upward unless the altitude axis is locked, which then prevents any sort of fine pointing. And at 40x with the 10mm eyepiece, the image is fuzzy and glare-ridden. The Moon looks nice, Jupiter’s moons are visible, you can tell Saturn has rings and Venus has a phase, and a few of the brightest deep-sky objects are recognizable – provided you can stay pointed at them and don’t break your neck trying to view them with the erecting prism diagonal. Don’t expect much else.

An amateur astronomer and telescope maker from Connecticut who has been featured on TIME Magazine, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, La Vanguardia, and The Guardian.

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