Home Comparisons Celestron NexStar 127 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 4SE – Which is better featured for beginners?

Celestron NexStar 127 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 4SE – Which is better featured for beginners?

by Rizka Amir
Celestron NexStar 4SE

Looking to buy your first telescope but don’t know what to do? Take a look at Celestron NexStar 127 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 4SE, two top telescopes from Celestron designed with high quality parts and beginner friendly features. Read on to determine the better featured telescope among them.

One of the biggest challenges newer users have with telescopes is often with the first purchase. Often, many of my students approach me seeking tips on the best features for their first telescope. I often recommend. Hi I am Amir and I have been working with telescopes for 11 and a half years. Together we are going to take a look at 2 popular Celestron telescopes known for their beginner friendly features. The 127 SLT and the 4SE are part of the popular NexStar series, with some classic user friendly Celestron features. However, they have some distinctions that make a difference in how they operate and generally perform. Similarly, these distinctions influence how easily any user can utilize either telescope. Read on for more on Celestron NexStar 127 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 4SE.

What are the differences between the Celestron NexStar 127 SLT and the Celestron NexStar 4SE?

Type of telescope
Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system
Hybrid telescope with Maksutov-Cassegrain Optic system
Aperture 127mm or 5 inches, 1500mm Focal length, f/12 Focal ratio and 300X, 18X as highest and lowest useful magnification.
Aperture 102mm or 4 inches, 1325mm Focal length, f/13 Focal ratio and 241X, 15X as highest and lowest useful magnification.
Computerized AltAzimuth Mount with single fork arm
Fully Automated GoTo mount
60X, 167X

Celestron NexStar 127 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 4SE- How these telescopes compare

Optics and optical coatings

On a telescope, there are certain numbers that affect how well the device operates. These numbers include the focal ratio, aperture and focal length just to mention a few. Both he 127 SLT and 4SE have varying optics with the following specifications. The Celestron NexStar 127 SLT : a 120mm Aperture, 1500mm Focal length, and f/12.5 Focal ratio. And the Celestron NexStar 4SE SLT: a 114mm (4.48″) Aperture, with a 450mm Focal length, and f/3.95 Focal ratio. These differences will influence optical capabilities in terms of what celestial objects you can see and how clearly you can see them. For instance, the 127mm has an aperture slightly larger than the 4SE. Usually; aperture directly influences the telescopes ability to gather light and perform in general. When the area on the optics increases so will the telescope’s abilities.

These coatings are an important part of an instrument’s optics as they have the capacity to improve performance on optical surfaces In this case, the Celestron NexStar 4SE optics utilize electrons Star Bright XLT. On the other hand, Celestron does not specify the type of coating on the 127 SLT. The 127 SLT does come with optical coatings. It has fully coated optics.

Telescope line

One of the more obvious differences between these telescopes is that that they are produced from separate telescope series. As a result, they have very distinct designs with both similar and different features. For instance, the 127 SLT from the Star Locating Telescope sub series has an all black design while the 4SE from the SE sub series comes in Celestron’s classic orange tube. This distinction will come in handy for any new users looking for telescope, but are having difficulty differentiating between all the different types with similar features or some similar names.

Celestron NexStar 127 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 4SE- A comparison review

Celestron NexStar 127 SLT Overview and Key features

NexStar 127SLT Computerized TelescopeThe Celestron NexStar 127 SLT is a capable instrument designed in a Maksutov Cassegrain style. It is equipped with a variety of features that allow both easy use with advanced capabilities. Here are some of the features on the Celestron NexStar 127 SLT that make it so capable.

The optics on this telescope are designed with the following specifications; a focal length of 150mm with a 127mm aperture and f/12 focal ratio. With such optics, the Celestron NexStar 127 SLT can access various objects in the sky, even objects in deep space. The first and second eyepiece of 25 and 9mm respectively can achieve magnification of 60X and 167X. However as a whole, this telescope is designed to utilize a maximum magnification of 300X and 18X as the lowest possible magnification. The optical surfaces on this telescope are fully coated for enhanced performance.

Said optics is hosed within the classic black SLT style optical tube. The finish is clean and elegant with quality build to properly hold the mirror and lens systems among other components.

The 127 SLT is equipped with an automated Alt-Az mount. This Altitude Azimuth in addition to the single fork arm that will come in handy when it comes to tracking. The mount is placed on a pre assembled steel tripod that is adjustable: a feature many beginners not used to setting up will appreciate. Additional features such as the Sky Align feature and compatibility to the Star Sense technology by Celestron ensure you have easy alignments or even automated alignment depending on the feature you use. In order to automatically align this telescope with Sky Align tech, you will need to

Among these helpful features include access the Starry Night Astronomy software that contains over 36k celestial objects. You have the option to print out these 3D renderings of stars or even the printable maps and images of galaxies and exoplanets. Beginners can utilize this database when they don’t know where or even what to start with. Using these features in addition to other features and compatibilities like Wi-Fi and Star Sense tech compatibility ensures that beginners can set up and use this instrument hassle free.

This instrument runs on 8AA batteries but it can be alternatively powered by the recommended VDC. Usually the 8 batteries are often contained in an internal compartment that is designed to help eliminate cord ward issues that often come about from external battery pack. While the 127SLT is more of a planetary and lunar scope, it still performs quite well and is very portable. This telescope however has some limitations in regards to use in deep space viewing and imagery..

What we like

  • No tool, easy assemble instrument
  • Lightweight and portable telescope
  • Made with quality optics
  • Compact design
  • Generates great moon images
  • Allows access to large database for tracking, locating and even learning purposes

What we don’t like

  • Comes with plastic viewfinder
  • Aperture size doesn’t match price

What you can see with the NexStar 127 SLT

  • Detailed lunar surface features and its phases
  • Saturn’s rings
  • Jupiter and its moons
  • phases
  • Can be used outside visual astronomy for daytime use or wildlife viewing
  • Mars’ polar caps


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Celestron NexStar 4SE

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1935/4371/products/050234110495_NexStar_4SE_11049_10_570x380@2x.jpg?v=1529944204If you know Celestron microscopes, then you are familiar with the orange tube series. This line of telescope dabbed the NexStar SE series. The 4SE is a 4 inch aperture telescope as indicated in the name. Here are some of the features that make the 4SE a beginner favorite.

This is a Maksutov Cassegrain style telescope with a 102mm or 4inch its primary mirror. If you are new to telescopes, this is a catadioptric optical system that utilizes both lenses and mirrors to function. It might seem small, but this 4inch aperture instrument has impressive light gathering capabilities. With a 1325mm focal length and f/13 focal ratio, the 4SE will allow great views of the moon and planets. This improved performance and well generated image is partially thanks to the StarBirght XLT optical coating used on the optics surfaces of the 127 SLT. Because this is a Maksutov Cassegrain style telescope, its optics doesn’t require frequent maintenance as do other systems’ optics.

It might be worth noting that this model is Celestron’s first Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope style to feature this optical coating. The aluminum optical tube housing these optical instruments is updated with the most relevant features that allow beginners and seasoned observers to utilize.

Using its computerized GoTo mount, the NexStar 4SE will point to and tack all the objects in its 40K celestial object database when conditions favor it. We are talking thousands of stars, nebular, clusters, among other celestial objects in minutes. In order to use this feature, you must center 3 bright objects in your eyepiece and the press the ALIGN button.

Breaking down and reassembling this telescope is quite the easy task. This is all thanks to their revolutionary singe arm fork mount that when coupled with their sturdy steel tripod is an unbeatable combination. Features like the Sky Sync and Star Sense Auto align are a treat to many users, including advancing ones.

The NexStar 4SE purchase like many other telescopes within this series, comes with access to the Starry night Astronomy software that is planetarium level software all users can utilize. With this software, you may learn about various celestial objects. The resources available for users with this telescope make it a great learning tool for especially many new users who haven’t yet mastered organized viewing or observation sessions.

In case you feel stuck, Celestron provides all the support you might need through their website or even via phone. This instrument is powered by 8 AA batteries which are sheltered in an internal battery compartment which effectively prevents cords wrapping during use. Using the built in wedge on the 4SE tripod allows this instrument compatibility with other devices for astroimaging purposes. An included shutter release cable and camera control allows you to take exposures with an SLT camera remotely.

What we like

  • Comes with the RS-232 cable and NexRemote software which allow you to access your telescope from the computer
  • Lightweight scope that is both compact and portable
  • Allows access to thousands of images and renderings of stars, galaxies among other celestial wonders that are well cataloged to ensure you get through them correctly, and by name
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Includes the high transmission XLT optical coating
  • Makes accommodations for astrophotography and astroimaging

What we don’t like

  • Great for beginners but you might outgrow it too quickly

What can you see with the CELESTRON NEXSTAR 4SE?

  • Saturn’s rings
  • Jupiter’s bands
  • Stars in the Hercules globular cluster
  • Lunar surface features


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Verdict: so which is better? Celestron NexStar 127 SLT or Celestron NexStar 4SE?

Based on what either telescope has to offer, the Celestron NexStar 4SE is the better option for all beginners. This device has great features that accommodate. While they share some of these features with the Celestron NexStar 127 SLT, the 4SE is a simpler instrument that many new users will appreciate.

Frequently asked questions

Is the 127 SLT a beginner friendly telescope?

Yes, the 127 SLT incorporates multiple beginner friendly features and beginner friendly capabilities on to this instrument. For instance, set up and alignment is often difficult for new users. The 127 SLT with auto align features like Sky Align or even its reliable mount and build allows new users to assemble or disassemble and even align the instrument very easily.

Which is the best Celestron for Beginner users?

Celestron engineers many of these telescopes to be extremely user and beginner friendly. However, depending on what level of beginner you are, or what your interests are with Celestron telescopes, this answer could vary The SE and SLT series of telescopes for example are well equipped to handle both beginners and seasoned users satisfactorily.

How many lines of telescopes does Celestron have?

Because of their years in the telescope engineering and manufacture business, Celestron have managed to build a great portfolio of instruments all with various capabilities. There are several lines including the NexStar, Evolution, Skyprodigy among many others. Both the 127 SLT and 4SE belong to the famous NexStar series which hosts the SLT and SE subseries telescope lines.


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