I got mine in a bundle pack that came with a power tank and 20 foot cord. If you know what you're buying this for, then you will be pleased. If you don't, you may end up frustrated and hating the thing. I bought this telescope to educate myself in the basic second steps of astrophotography and to train myself in how to set up and utilize a GOTO mount. The first basic steps of astrophotography I think are to hold your phone up to a manually-controlled telescope. Which you can do with this one (it can be used without power, make note!) but you would be overpaying if that was all you wanted to do. The next step is to hook a camera up to the eyepiece or in this telescope's optional terrestrial port. Even better would be to get the telescope to track something so you don't have to keep adjusting the field of view for your shot. This telescope does all that. I call the secondary viewport the terrestrial port because if you hook a camera up to it (which focuses well with a DSLR) the telescope can not aim higher than about 50-60 degrees before your camera strikes the mount, restricting this port to mostly terrestrial observations. If you hook the DSLR up to the 90-degree eyepiece port then you will need a barlow lens to achieve focus with it. Overall, not the best imaging scope with a DSLR, but still do-able. I'd recommend just using a smartphone or an entry-level planetary imaging camera like the ZWO ASI 120 MC. However, with the Orion Nebula at just the right altitude I was able to get a good image (after taking many and using stacking techniques) using a Canon Rebel SL2 and the terrestrial viewport. https://www.spacetimewithrobert.space/gallery (scroll down for the orion neb photo) It's also great for imaging globular clusters and the Moon using a small planetary camera in the eyepiece port. Haven't tried planets yet. It has no equatorial wedge and so you will be restricted to short exposures, but the mount does have an EQ mode programmed into it so if you can make your own wedge then this is a cool thing to experiment with. Which I have and it works! Much to every EQ-Snob's shagrin, it managed to keep good alignment with a cardboard tube holding it up at a 48 degree angle (my altitude) but I would NOT recommend this unless you don't have heart problems :) Visual Performance: For using this just as a viewing telescope, I see no deal-breaking issues. The tripod is indeed flimsy, but also very lightweight and will hold your telescope just fine. If you find the shaking too intolerable, adding some weight to the legs really solves this, which might be what the hook at the bottom of the eyepiece tray was designed for. Orion, Hercules Glob, Andromeda Galaxy, The Moon, Saturn and Jupiter all look cute. Small little versions of each one. No eye-popping details like in a 10" Dobsonian or crisp, colorless craters like an APO, but you can gaze at Tycho Crater and tease the Great Red Spot with much satisfaction. I haven't managed to see the Cassini Division, but I could make out the Rings of Saturn. The Pleiades was perhaps my favorite thing to look at with the ETX 80. It captures excellent wide field views and in dark enough conditions any 80mm will show you things a hundred times better than what you would normally see with your ***** eyes. The internal barlow requires a ton of focus adjusting once engaged because it's the tube itself that is the focuser. Indeed, the entire ota will extend and retract to achieve focus, which lends to a more compact design and ability to "shrink" before putting it away in the backpack. I use a zoom lens instead. The focuser is very fine and makes small adjustments so you will be using it a lot. After a solid year of use it has become much smoother and i've gotten used to its angle and feel, but it's still an awkward little thing compared to most focusers. Terrestrial use is awesome. We got a lot of bald eagles around here in the puget northwest and they look great even over a mile away through the ETX 80. All in all, I'd buy this scope again if all I had was $400, a phone, and a decent pair of eyes. It's motors work just fine. They are noisy but they do the job well and I can keep stars in the center of my view for up to an hour using just the "easy" alignment. There is options for high-precision tracking which helps with photography. Lastly, I've dropped this thing 4 feet onto the ground while it's clutches were engaged. I heard the gears grind as the OTA changed direction due to the sudden impact. It rolled slightly and there were accompanying noises of clicks and clacks along with the grind. That was day 2 after owning it and I took the photo of the Orion Nebula 3 months later. It's a travel GOTO scope for sure. Be sure to do your research on EVERY ASPECT of whatever telescope you plan to buy or run the risk of disappointing yourself with a mismatched purchase! It's done everything I wanted it to do and more within the budget I had. What more could I want? 5/5
I recently purchased an ETX 125 because I am not happy with this scope. The ETX 80 has ok optics for what it is, but the tripod is useless. I cannot believe that Meade would market this scope for camping and include this lightweight tripod. I can use it by hanging a gallon of water on the hook at the bottom of the tripod, but vibration during focusing makes the terrible focuser on the telescope even worse. A better tripod would have made the ETX 80 a keeper. Get an ETX 90 or ETX 125 instead if you can afford it. The ETX 80 feels more like a toy.
The telescope front metal tube had slipped below the tube bracket and the bracket appears to have been attempted to be attached with the metal tube under it resulting an important bracket screw having been stripped. The 9V battery clip was malformed. These conditions took a lot of the fun out of having the scope.