Home Comparisons Apertura AD8 Vs OrionXT8 – Which Dob gives the best bang for the buck?

Apertura AD8 Vs OrionXT8 – Which Dob gives the best bang for the buck?

by Rizka Amir

If this is your first time asking around about the best telescope for a beginner in astronomy, you just stumbled on some more information that could help you make up your mind.

Hi, my name is Amir. It’s been ten years since I laid my hands on my first telescope. I can still remember that day like it happened yesterday. Growing up, I spent a lot of my time being a nerd and watching endless videos and reading documentaries on NASA’s expeditions and life-altering discoveries. Back then, all I knew was I wanted to do what they did and see what they saw for myself. Buying a telescope was an obvious conclusion but I had to save all my allowances to buy myself one. There was no way my parents would afford to splurge on a hobby at the time.

Long story short, I finally saved up enough to afford my own telescope and a decade later, astronomy is no longer just a hobby, it has become my lifestyle. Dobsonian’s have changed the astronomy market by growing it exponentially. Their simplistic and portable builds are very attractive to many who don’t need a huge optic. A lot of newbies are drawn to the Apertura AD8 and Orion XT8 for this very reason but which of the two is the beginner’s favorite?

What are the differences between the Apertura AD8 and Orion XT8?

Apertura AD8
Type of telescope
Dobsonian Reflector
Dobsonian Reflector
Aperture 203mm, 1200mm Focal length, f/5.9 Focal ratio

Magnification on eyepiece 1: –

Magnification on eyepiece 2: –

Max. Useful magnification: –

Min useful magnification: 15X

Aperture 203mm, 1200mm Focal length, f/5.9 Focal ratio

Magnification on eyepiece: 48X

Max. Useful magnification: 300X

Min useful magnification: 29X

“Rocker Base”
Azimuth mount

Apertura AD8 vs. Orion XT8- How these telescopes compare


Apertura’s AD8 Dobsonian makes a great model with great number of accessories. It is a 1200mm long tube holding a 203mm lens and with the f/5 focal ratio, much of the universe is within our reach. In the package you will also find 30mm and 9mm Super Plossl eyepieces, a laser collimator, a Crayford focuser, moon filter and a dust cover that keeps the optics nice and shiny when they are not in use. This scope’s base is a work of art. You have the option to move it around, up and down, or left or right. It’s great for space exploration.

XT8s features do not differ at all from the aperture, focal length and focal ratio of the Apertura AD8. The major differences are in the magnification which is as a result of the eyepieces used in the XT8. This telescope comes with two 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepieces that are ideally provisions for eye-relief. These compound symmetrical eyepieces provide a 50% increased field of view. Together with the Shorty 2x Barlow lens that doubles magnification power of the other eyepieces, this telescope makes for even crispier celestial system imagery.

Apertura AD8 – Overview

Apertura AD8 – Overview and Key features

Image result for apertura ad8The build and design specifications plus the cool accessories that come with it, make the Aperture AD8 the ultimate choice for your very first telescope. The mirrors on this scope are parabolic which means they have great capabilities to draw in and project out light even in the darkest of surroundings. Coupled with the 8 inches of its lens, the AD8 is capable of delivering crystal clear images of the night sky.

The 1200mm long tube is made of steel and this assures its longevity and makes for a sleek look. It holds a parabolic mirror that ensures maximum reflectivity for picture perfect images. They provide us with 30mm and 9mm Super Plossl eyepieces which are state of the art. Apertura was not playing around with this model as they have invested handsomely in the Crayford focuser that we astronomers have grown to know and love. With it, comes a 1.25 -inch adapter that allows you to add on extra eyepieces to see more with your scope. For easier image spotting, the AD8 has a focuser fitted with an image corrector which provides great eye relief.

The icing on the cake factor for this scope is that it has a laser collimator which, any experienced hobbyist will tell you, it’s the easiest way to align your scope’s optics. This has been simplified further with the side knobs along the optical tube. All you need to do to get your telescope ready for shooting is to turn the knobs around while using the laser collimator to achieve the perfect alignment.

The base of this AD8 is a classic azimuth type and though not through computerized systems like some Dobsonians, this one allows you to move in all angles. You can make 360 degree turns, twist and turn the scope left or right and up or down allowing you to explore the vastness of the sky. The side knobs come in handy for this manual manipulation which has been made even smoother with the inclusion of ball bearings at the base allowing the scope to move smoothly with little resistance. This tension can also be reduced or increased by turning the side knobs.

We cannot forget to mention the power source of this scope which is 8 AA batteries that you will have to buy separately. To cool off this telescope and keep it at optimum temperature for performance, the scope comes fitted with a fan.

Assembly of the AD8 is really easy. Once you set the base on a flat surface, attach the optical tube to it and insert the focuser with a lens of your choice and immediately, you are ready to view the deep skies. When changing lenses and moving around the telescope, be sure that the tension knobs are screwed own securely and that the side bearing at the base is latched on well.

A set-up manual, which doesn’t come in the AD8 package, should be downloaded for free on Apertura’s site. It is advisable to have a celestial map with you to help you identify targets in the sky to point your Dobsonian towards.

What we like

  • Easy to use
  • Quick and simple set up
  • Compact design that is portable
  • Crayford focuser
  • Laser Collimator
  • Adjustable tension knobs

What we don’t like

  • Needs a moon map

What you can see with the Apertura AD8?

  • The polar caps on mars
  • Moon surface craters and general lunar shots
  • Phases of Venus
  • Jupiter’s moons
  • Saturn and its rings


View price here


Orion XT8 – Overview

Orion XT8 – Overview and Key features

Image result for xt8Being one of Orion’s most famous models, the XT8 is an 8-inch Dobsonian reflector telescope. It is ideally marketed as a piece for the whole family to get a kick out of. With the Starry Night software, the school-going kids will have loads of fun learning about deep space objects that they can then track and find on the XT8. There is absolutely no excuse not to go camping just so you can have some family bonding time over some stargazing sessions.

With a wonderful mix of precision optics, simple mechanisms, and sturdiness. Planetary objects of significance like Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are brightly seen in the XT8 Classic, this allows you to have a deeper look at them. The 8″ aperture gathers enough substantial amounts of light further up in far-off space making for beautiful views of shimmering star clusters, dusty nebulas, and distant galaxies. This telescope is a great buy putting into consideration the great quality views achievable across an array of objects.

The Dobsonian design has a point and shoot simplicity as compared to a telescope on an equatorial mount. It just takes some practice before you and the family are scanning the skies like expert hobbyists. It’s a great recommendation for the amateur astronomer who seeks unabated adventure, this telescope has everything!

The 203mm diameter parabolic primary mirror collects a great degree of photons and reflects them back with precision. This way, your ability to see the nebulas dust lanes, hash-out the bright clusters and the much fainter structures on galaxies is greatly increased. The XT8 mirror gives sharp and true views with low to high magnifications. That’s accurate for good nights with clear conditions.

XT8’s Dobsonian’s mirror is enhanced in reflectivity coatings boosting its reflectivity to transmit much needed light to the 30mm eyepiece guaranteeing sharp and crisp views. The XT8 Dobsonian base is sturdy enough for the aperture.

Orion XT8 has CorrecTension springs that ease the set-up process keeping the telescope’s balance. CorrecTension Friction Optimization system enables the tube to properly sit on the base which uses strong springs to attach the aperture to the mount, keeping the telescope balanced to prevent shifting while observing.

The XT8 also comes with a smooth and approximate 2-inch Crayford focuser featuring a detachable adapter accepting either 1.25″ or 2″ lens. Ensuring adjustments are seamless, approximate, and free of delays and shifts regardless of the weight of accessories installed achieving targeted focus easily.

The included 1.25 -inch Orion 25mm Plossl eyepiece gives a 48x magnification with the XT8 Dobsonian telescope. Offering a wide 52° field of view, this Plossl eyepiece provides really crisp images of great contrast. Expanding your variations of magnification can be done by buying additional wide-angle eyepieces of 1.25-inch or larger 2-inch focal lengths. These are sold separately.

After a fairly easy alignment procedure, use the Finder II view to approximately aim the XT8 Dobsonian telescope to the bright planets. How? After alignment, turn finderscope and look through the views tiny round viewing window to keep in view of the red laser signal, now keep adjusting the vertical and azimuth altitudes on what you are interested in seeing or observing more closely. Peek in the telescope’s eyepiece, there is it is!

What we absolutely love about XT8 is that it included the Starry Night app to keep informed about which constellations, planets, stars and deep-sky are visible at any day and time. Realistic simulators of the sky and useful features like virtual control of the scope, the interactive, easy to use Starry Night software helps plan your viewings and gives detailed information on what is visible. You would require PC compatible with Windows 10, or Macintosh.

Much-loved Orion XT8 telescope also comes with a collimation cap rather than a collimation laser which doesn’t do much to help the amateurs when it comes to mirror alignments. Dust caps keep the telescope aperture and focuser free from gathered dust while in storage.

Conveniently broken down to manageable pieces the XT8 Dobsonian is made for better support and storage. Unhinging the base allows you to remove the aperture. The optical tube of the XT8 weighs lightly and the base a little heavier. The total weight of the entire set-up at 41 lbs. gives the XT8 greater mobility to viewpoint.

This is an awesome Dobsonian with the capability to excite both the ardent amateurs and expert stargazers. Its sturdy design is guaranteed to remain in the family for many years to come.

What we like

  • easy to use
  • Quick and simple set up
  • Compact design that is portable
  • Access to a learning database great for beginners
  • Starry Nights astronomy software with all details

What we don’t like

  • Might need a moon filter

What you can see with the Orion XT8

  • The polar caps on mars
  • Moon surface craters and general lunar shots
  • Phases of Venus
  • Jupiter’s moons
  • Saturn and its rings
  • Eclipse prominences


View price here



While they both have great optics and performance metrics, the accessories provided could make or break a deal. Orion does give us the Starry Night software to keep updated on celestial objects and events but they fail to keep us hooked with the kind of accessories the Apertura AD8 offers us. The laser collimator and the adjustable tension knobs have us sold.

Dobsonian’s have long been the most preached upon telescopes for first timer astronomers. For a beginner looking for some cool and edgy telescope that caters to your budget, the Apertura AD8 would be my recommendation. However, if you are more concerned about the brand name and how long they have been doing this for, Orion will trump Aperture on any given day.



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