Celestron AstroMaster 114eq Review
- in depth Review of Features
- Inexpensive beginner scope with short tube for portability
- Easy to set up; no tools required
- Smooth, easy tracking
The multiple eyepieces offered with the Astromaster 114eq do allow for some flexibility and higher magnification, including a 20 mm eyepiece with 50x magnification and a 10 mm eyepiece with 100x magnification. Once again, the higher magnification is great, but your ability to take advantage of it with this particular telescope may be limited.
While the German equatorial mount is among the best ways to manually track, on the Astromaster 114 there is quite a bit of vibration when you're adjusting. While we haven't noticed any such problem with the 127eq, which is really good for astrophotography, the tripod on the 114eq relative to the weight of the telescope is such that the vibration is excessive and makes astrophotography inadvisable with this model. Once you remove your hand from the mount, the vibration ceases to be a problem, so merely viewing is fine with this mount and tripod combination.
Though the weight of the tripod can be problematic for astrophotography, it becomes a distinct advantage when it comes to transporting the telescope and setting up to view.
As we've seen with other models with similar tripods, this one can be set up in mere seconds, which can be really convenient for viewing out in the field. Despite its ease of set up, the tripod offers enough flexibility to allow it to adjust to the needs of the viewer and the environment.
You might notice that the price of the the 114eq is, in some packages, higher than some better-appointed telescopes. In many cases, this is the result of additional add-ons such as the "The Sky" astronomy software that can help you find stars and planets.
While these features can be entertaining, they ultimately can drive up the price of what should be an effective and inexpensive beginner telescope. If these extra features are the sort of thing that pique your interest, check them out. Otherwise, we would recommend trying to find the telescope without all the add-ons.
One of the things that we look for on lower-cost models is a warranty, and the 114eq has one covering repair and replacement of defective components.
The Bottom Line
In the final analysis, this is an introductory, low-cost telescope for beginners who are looking to make the most of a tight budget. For that purpose, it's a good place to start. If you're looking for something with better-quality optics, you might want to look elsewhere. All in all, the cost and the flexibility makes it a good option.
Because of its flexibility and ease of setup, this could be a good additional telescope for those who are looking for something to take out into the field. The difficulty of collimating the 114eq could make another model a better option, though.
How Does It Compare?
The PowerSeeker is generally lower priced than the 114eq and the 127eq, unless it's bundled with some additional accessories that bump up the price. Because it's a refractor without any internal light folding, the PowerSeeker is also a bit longer and more cumbersome to transport. It does come with a full German equatorial mount, but can also demonstrate some of the stability problems of the 114eq. The PowerSeeker is an all-around good beginner scope.
The StarMax 90mm offers greater stability because of its tabletop mount. The trade-off is that it doesn't offer some of the flexibility of the 114eq. Because of its Mak-Cass design, which "folds" light within the tube, the StarMax also offers a smaller package, which is a boon for those looking for a grab-and-go scope, or for one that they can travel with.
The GoScope, just like other the other tabletop scope on this list, offers good stability and supremely easy setup. The trade-off is the flexibility it lacks because it doesn't have a full mount and tripod. In the final analysis, it's hard for the beginner astronomer to beat the GoScope's optics at such a good price.