An apochromatic refractor is generally a wonderful tool for astrophotography. The Meade 80mm APO OTA F/6 is no exception. The triple-element design means color fringing will be beaten into utter submission. We liked other instruments better in this price range. However, compared to other astrophotography beginner telescopes, this instrument should perform well, especially for its price.
This telescope offers a fast focal ratio and a ton of flexibility. It should work well for viewing, coupled with a camera for astrophotography or piggybacked to a larger scope as a guide scope. The lenses are crafted of extremely low dispersion glass to fight chromatic aberration, and they are multicoated to allow for maximum light transmission. A 2-speed Crayford focuser will provide extra-fine control and minimal image shift. There is also a lock on the focuser so you can freeze it in place once you find the ideal image. Meade includes a removable dew shield, which should help keep dew formation at bay during longer sessions.
The strength of a true apochromatic triplet means practically perfect color correction. One of the strengths of a refractor is almost no need to collimate. Together they make a pretty great team for a telescope used in astrophotography. A true apochromatic refractor is not to be confused with similar scopes that feature two lenses instead of three and cannot bring all the colors into focus. So forget the fringe. That will put the viewing experiences you find with Meade’s 80mm APO OTA F/6 ahead of many more expensive instruments.
Several details on this telescope will make your viewing experience more pleasant. The dew shield is designed to slide into place with smooth motion. The focuser knob is crafted of metal instead of the rubber grips found on many scopes. The focuser in general is known for holding its focus under a heavy load. You will be able to use this telescope with a variety of Meade and non-Meade German equatorial mounts and most photo tripods as well.
The 80mm APO OTA F/6 would be pretty tough to beat in this category. At only 6.2 pounds it is one of the lightest astrophotography beginner telescopes we considered. It includes a standard aluminum hard carry case so this telescope is just made for the airplane overhead compartment.
The 80mm APO OTA F/6 includes a one-year warranty, and coming from a respected manufacturer like Meade that really means something. Meade also stands behind its products with a place on its website for e-mailed questions and other customer service contacts. Mead telephone support is good. Friendly and knowledgeable people answer the phone quickly. The entire product manual is difficult to find online but once you find it you will have the answers to most any question you could think of.
The 80mm APO OTA F/6 is a solid choice among astrophotography beginner telescopes. It’s not our favorite among the scopes in our lineup but it is great in many ways.