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Explore Scientific 80mm Air-Spaced Essential Series ED APO f/6 Triplet Refracting OTA Telescope

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Explore Scientific 80mm Air-Spaced Essential Series ED APO f/6 Triplet Refracting OTA Telescope

Rugged and portable, the Explore ED80 Triplet is a true three-element apochromatic telescope capable of producing research-level image quality. Dr. Mike Reynolds used this telescope to make the first-ever images of shadow bands on clouds during the total eclipse of the sun over Easter Island on July 11, 2010.

Fine optical quality, deluxe 2-speed focuser, and 99% dielectric 2" diagonal make this telescope an extreme value!

Explore Scientific 80mm f/6 Essential Series Triplet Refractor Features...
  • The Explore ED80 telescope comes with a white aluminum tube with black accents.
  • Explore Scientific Air-Spaced Apochromatic Triplets have true APO optic and are diffraction limited at .25PV or better.
  • Genuine ED glass from Hoya Japan is used on all ED APO Triplets at Explore, for superb quality and light throughput.
  • Enhanced Multi-Layer Coatings (EMD) are deposited on optical elements to boost contrast and eliminate light scatter, and contrast is further enhanced with the installation of matte black knife-edge baffles in the optical tube assembly.
  • While refractors seldom require additional collimation after initial factory adjustment, the lens cell design allows for consumer collimation. Sending your ED80 Triplet off to the factory is always an option, but is not required.
  • 80mm models come with heavy-duty 2" dual-speed focusers.
  • The included 2" diagonal has a precision-polished mirror with enhanced 99% dielectric coatings.
  • To attach your Explore Scientific Air-Spaced Triplet telescope to a variety of mounts, we have included the "Vixen-style" dovetail. The "Vixen-style" plate fits mounts made by Explore, Meade, Celestron, Vixen & others.
  • Aperture: 80mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/6
  • Focal Length: 480mm
  • Adaptable, high power, excellent clarity triplet refractor
  • Explore Scientific 80mm f/6 Essential Series Triplet Refractor
  • Vixen Style Dovetail
  • 2" Dual-Speed Focuser
  • 2" Dielectric Diagonal
  • Finderscope base


Aperture80 mm (3.25")
Dew Shield IncludedYes
Diagonal Included 2" Star Diagonal
Focal Ratiof/6
Focuser Size2"
Focuser StyleRack & Pinion
Focusing SpeedsTwo Speed
Free ShippingYes
Manual or Electronic FocusingManual
ManufacturerExplore Scientific
Optical DesignTriplet
OTA Weight7.5 lb.
Telescope SeriesExplore Triplet ED
WarrantyLifetime Warranty

Customer Reviews

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OK but with reservations

Got the ES 80mm f6 triplet apo to use with my lxd75 german equatorial mount, so I could take wide field images with my Olympus m4/3 camera. To simplify, I'll list the things I liked about the scope, then the things I didn't. Likes: Scope is light and very portable. It's a better match for my light duty GEM than the SC-8 that I was previously using it with. I got it with the carry case included, which is very recommended. It's a tough well built and well designed case which would fully protect the scope even if it was dropped. The included hard foam insert has cutouts for the scope and accessories (like a guide scope), and if needed the foam can be modified to fit. Has a built-in dew and light shield which extends out when needed (but see below). it is easily collimated (using the appropriate collimating eyepiece) Visually gives a very nice image, and works well with wide-field objectives (I used a 2" 40mm eyepiece with good results). The included 2" diagonal is lightweight and really nice quality. The focuser is a two speed rack and pinion type (not a crayford), and its very good in my experience, making it easy to focus without noticeable backlash and with very little shift. If you use a focus aid like a bahtinov mask its very easy to get exact focus, then lock the focuser with a screw underneath. Dislikes: Originally when I got the scope, it came packed in the case (which is fine). But, there was no printed instructions or detailed manual included, or even any parts list. Since I hadn't used a refractor before, I didn't know that two spacers that were supposed to be included were missing. Before I eventually contacted ES for help, I spent some wasted time trying to figure out how to assemble and focus the scope (scratching an eyepiece barrel on a hidden screw in the process). They did send me the missing parts for free - but a parts list would have been useful!! Tolerances of some parts were inaccurate: the 2" adaptor was very tight, and I had to get a replacement with a looser fit from ES before I could insert eyepieces or diagonals without a fight. First pictures with the ES80 showed bad distortion over the field: I figured out that the three screws holding the focuser affected collimation, and should not be used to adjust the angle of the focuser. I locked them down permanently, then collimated the scope, and I use the 2" adaptor to rotate the angle of the camera or diagonal. This, along with the use of a non-reducing flattener (from Orion), fixed most of the uneven coma that i saw. Optically the scope seems like a true apo (there is no obvious green fringing around bright stars) but there is violet fringing around bright stars. This may be an issue with the flattener I was using, but I doubt it. even very good apos have some violet fringing, which is usually dealt with by adding a violet fringe filter. Of course, this will cost you a minimum of a hundred bucks for the 2" variety. See the picture I attached for an example of the violet fringing. Its significantly worse that I have seen with my cassegrain telescope. You might think that you could use lightroom or some other software to correct this, but its tricky to get rid of in post without altering the color of other objects (e.g. nebulas) So, overall this a great apo scope for the price, but keep in mind for photography you will need to spend a bit more for accessories to get the best results!

Jeff McClure

Exceptional Telescope for the Price

I have owned this Explore Scientific 80 triplet now for about two years, using it for visual observing, both terrestrial and stellar, as well as astrophotography both with a mid-range mono CCD with filter wheel and with a Canon 60Da. The scope is exceptional in its quality. It is light, tough, versatile, and has good color accuracy. The resolution using the 18 mpxl Canon and my SBIG 8300STF is greater than that of the sensor but not so much as to lead to excessive oversampling. As the attached photo shows, there is some curvature evident at the edges of images as well as vignetting that must be compensated for with good flats. When I purchased the OTA, Explore Scientific did not have a flattener for the scope, but I understand they have one now, and I would strongly recommend getting it for astrophotography. You can also see from the image that star colors come through clearly with no evidence of ringing or halo effect on the brighter stars. I have also used this as a casual observing scope as well as a terrestrial photographing and observing scope. Once again, with the appropriate eyepieces and erecting prism this instrument performs flawlessly. It is light enough to use with a DSLR on a mid-range tripod. For that purpose, I recommend a standard-to-***** tripod adapter (Losmandy has one), and the scope mounted short ***** mount rail enables a reasonable balance for camera and scope with the dew/glare shield fully extended. Overall, this is a superb travel scope as well as a near-perfect instrument for photographing and observing the larger deep space objects and for terrestrial imaging and relatively narrow field, high magnification imaging of terrestrial objects.