Orion Observer 80 Short Tube 80mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope Review

The Orion Observer 80ST 80mm Equatorial Refractor can best be described as an introductory telescope. It is portable and easy to set up, lightweight and very affordable. The small aperture and wide field of view make it can excellent instrument for observing targets in the Solar System as well as bright galaxies, clusters and several Messier Objects. This comprehensive review of the Orion Observer 80ST explores all you need to know about the telescope’s specifications and usability.

Orion Observer 80mm Refractor: Quick Specs Chart

Telescope TypeRefractor
Aperture80mm / 3.15 inches
Focal Length400mm
Eyepieces10mm and 25mm Kellner eyepieces, 1.25″
Weight10 pounds/ 4.5 kilograms

About The Orion Observer 80ST 80mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope

The Orion Observer 80ST 80mm was made to be a portable and simple to use telescope; ideal for beginners and first time telescope owners. The telescope’s design makes it easy to setup and start your observations of the sky without any fuss. Another feature that makes the 80ST a great choice for beginners is the wide field of view. Having a greater window of the sky that you can see at once makes it far simpler to hop from one star to the next.

With a small aperture, short focal length, and wide field of view, the telescope’s true strength lies in crisp views of The Moon and the planets. The telescope will certainly reveal views of the brightest galaxies, clusters and nebulae, but is not the right choice for deep sky objects overall.

On the plus side, the low magnification of the Orion Observer 80ST means it works conveniently well in suburban areas which may be more light polluted, as powerful telescopes are much more light sensitive. The small aperture and lower resolution allows the telescope to double as a great instrument for terrestrial observations, including bird-watching and other outdoor land targets.


This entry level telescope from Orion is made with great quality optics that deliver sharp images of the Moon’s surface, and wide views of the Solar System’s planets and moons as well as bright deep sky objects. The equatorial mount and the adjustable tripod help observers track celestial bodies with accuracy and ease. The mount is great for jumping from one target to the next – performing well with its manual slow motion control – but is not the top choice if you are interested in astrophotography.

Though this telescope is an excellent choice for beginners, it does not really suit children unless they use the instrument under supervision. This is mainly due to the fact the telescope is made affordable and lightweight by using a few plastic components. Always store the telescope correctly and transport it with care.

Review of the Orion Observer 80 ST Equatorial Refractor

Is the Orion Observer 80 ST a good telescope for amateur stargazers?

The telescope is excellent for familiarizing yourself on how to use a telescope as well as learning more about the Solar System. It is ideal for a beginner amateur astronomer, especially if you have never used or owned a telescope before. The wide field of view is really useful for being able to find the objects you are hunting quite easily. Spotting objects takes almost no trouble at all after aligning the red dot finder.

The FOV is also perfect for viewing bright clusters, and the Moon is one of the best targets to view through this scope for the same reason. The Orion Observer 80ST shows beautiful views of the Andromeda Galaxy, the Perseus Double Cluster and a host of other popular deep sky objects. You may be able to see more distant objects like the Pinwheel Galaxy if you head out to darker skies.

The setup is so straightforward and quick: the telescope can be fully assembled and ready to use in 30 minutes. The instructions are simple to follow and the telescope’s controls are uncomplicated. The Orion Observer 80ST is also a great pick if you want something that is easy to move and travel with.

At the end of the day you just need to be realistic about the views this 80mm scope from Orion offers. Don’t hold your breath expecting astounding close-ups of faraway galaxies or faint nebulae. However, the telescope really delivers around the Solar System. You can see Jupiter and its moons, Saturn’s ring, and even the polar ice caps on Mars albeit only in faint detail.

Orion’s customer care unit are exceptional; providing professional and friendly service in the event that you may need any assistance from their support team. The Orion Observer 80ST certainly provides a generally satisfying viewing experience if you are honest about what to expect. An overall great scope which is also very kind on your pockets.

How Does the Orion 80ST Compare to Similar Telescopes?

The Orion Observer 80ST can hold its own weight against similar telescopes according to individual requirements.

Compared to the Celestron 21035 70mm Travel ScopeBoth telescopes are lightweight and portable devices well suited to amateur astronomers who travel for the best views. The Orion Observer 80ST has a definite edge with the extra aperture it offers. The Celestron Travel Scope is also best suited to views of bright and nearby objects, finding its forte within the Solar system. It is not suitable for deep sky views. Though the travel scope is slightly more affordable than the Observer, it does fall short in terms of magnifying power. Our suggestion is to add in the few extra bucks and opt for the Orion Observer.

Compared to the Orion SkyScanner 100mm Table Top ReflectorThe SkyScanner 100mm is another affordable entry-level telescope from Orion. It differs from the Observer 80ST in several ways. As a reflector, the SkyScanner needs to be collimated and requires extra attention to maintain the optics. The SkyScanner comes with an alt-azimuth mount which isn’t suited to astrophotography, but is sturdy and easy to use.  Both telescopes are lightweight and simple to store and transport. The upside to choosing the SkyScanner over the Observer 80ST is that it offers 20mm more aperture, making it the better pick for deep-sky observations.

Compared to the Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQThese two telescopes fair quite well against each other: they both have the same aperture and similar price range. The Observer is more portable and in some aspects is the sturdier instrument, but the PowerSeeker is a good choice for astrophotography. These are both quality telescopes for viewing within the Solar System.

You can read here for more reviews on the best telescopes for viewing planets.

Orion Observer 80ST Pros and Cons


  • At only 4.5 kg, the telescope is truly lightweight and portable.
  • Easy to store, even when travelling.
  • Affordable price and value for money.
  • Simple to assemble.
  • Equatorial mount suitable for astrophotography, mainly within the solar system.
  • A good choice for beginners.
  • Orion always provides good customer support.


  • This is not the right telescope for getting the best deep space views.
  • Detailed views under high magnifications are tricky due to the wide field of view.
  • This make of telescope uses several plastic components which require handling the telescope with care.

Should I Get the ST 80?

The Orion 80 ST is an affordable and worthwhile telescope for anyone who has recently gotten into backyard astronomy or any first time telescope buyer. While it is true that the telescope is not the most durable instrument due to its plastic parts, the right care and maintenance will ensure the telescope lasts for several years. It does have its limitations as it is not suitable for most deep sky objects. You will need a much larger instrument for faint nebulae and galaxies. However, it is ideal for the purpose it was designed for: an affordable and portable telescope that opens up beautiful views of the Solar System as well as images of the brightest and most prominent deep space objects.