Explore Scientific - 8x50 illuminated Correct Image Finder Scope with Bracket (Base Sold Separately)

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Regular Price: $199.99

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I bought this because I live in a suburban location (on the red/orange border sky) and wanted to learn the sky by manually finding objects. There aren't enough stars here to star hop with a red dot/laser 1x finder. This finder has been a real delight. The large aperture brings almost the entire Messier catalog into view.

I'm not a great reviewer of optics because I am a novice and have bad astigmatism, but to me the scope provides pleasant views. No one is going to confuse it with a premium travel APO, but it's on par with my inexpensive 10x50 binos, which I enjoy. It's fun to split the double double into two in this finder, and then four in the eyepiece. Albireo and similar colorful, easily-split doubles are very colorful and pretty in the finder--it's almost superfluous to look through the telescope. This was not something I'd really planned on, but the nice views are almost giving me finder aperture fever!

The correct image makes using charts more natural for star hopping. Even moreso, if I've spotted something in my 10x50s, the correct image makes it much easier to find a nearby asterism and star hop the same way I just did in my binos. It's an ergonomic improvement for sure, and it's easily worth the extra money.

Weight-wise, it is a bit heavy, but the 10" dob I'm using maintains balance with almost all eyepieces--using it with the optional tall rings (see below), the ES82 30mm refuses to balance. Maybe this is more of an eyepiece issue, but be prepared for this finder to possibly tip the balance if you use heavy eyepieces.

Two issues:

#1 The dovetail is Meade/Explore Scientific style, which is great if you happen to have a scope with one. For the other 90% of us, you have to get an adapter, adding to total cost of ownership.

#2. The included rings are pretty short, making it hard to get your eyeball/head in the right place. I bought the tall 4" rings from ES, which solve the problem at the cost of yet more weight and substantially more money. I really wish ES shipped it with these rings or at least offered a choice of configuration at purchase time.

All in all, this is a really unique piece of equipment that makes suburban star hopping a real thing. If it were 60 or 70mm, it would probably negate the desire for a short refractor altogether. (Posted on 9/8/2017)

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