Home Comparisons Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt VS Celestron NexStar 8SE – Which 8-inch telescope is better?

Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt VS Celestron NexStar 8SE – Which 8-inch telescope is better?

by Rizka Amir
Celestron NexStar 8SE

Browsing though all of Celestron’s telescopes is almost like looking for one piece of candy in a candy store. Because they offer a wide variety of telescopes, many users often find it difficult to choose only one option or sometimes: even distinguish among them. Here is a review and comparison of two of Celestron’s beloved and very capable 8 incher telescopes from the NexStar line. Read on for further insight on Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt VS Celestron NexStar 8SE.

Hi, my name is Amir and I have been consulting on all things telescopes for almost 7 years now. In these years, I have come across all sorts of telescopes from different manufacturers, all with different capabilities. By far, Celestron’s NexStar Line is one of my favorite lines of telescopes that feature a wide variety of instruments, all of which are designed with care and quality. Within this line, the Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt from the XLT series and the Celestron NexStar 8SE are easily two of my top and possibly most recommended NexStar Telescopes. Each of these shares the optical specifications: 8 inch aperture, with a 2032mm focal length and f/10 focal ratio in a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope optical system, however, these are fundamentally very different devices.

What are the differences between the Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt and the Celestron NexStar 8SE?

Type of telescope
8″ diffraction Schmidt-Cassegrain style telescope
Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope style
Aperture 8 inches, 2032mm Focal length, f-10 focal ratio.
Aperture 8 inches, 2032mm Focal length, f-10 focal ratio.
Computerized Alt-Az Dual Fork Arm
Altitude Azimuth mount with single fork arm mount

Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt VS Celestron NexStar 8SE – How these two compare

Telescope line

Because of their years in the telescope manufacture game, Celestron have a variety of instruments under their belt. Among these, the NexStar series is probably one of its most popular line yet. However, within this line, there are other series of telescopes, many of which bear acute differences. For example, the Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt hails from the XLT line of computerized telescopes, all of which are well equipped, advanced instruments capable of even advanced use.

The Celestron NexStar 8SE belongs to the popular SE line known for its iconic orange optical tube and capable optics.


Some users believe that the joy of a telescope is it its portability. For example users who like to go camping and carry their instruments along with them need a portable device that won’t be difficult to haul around. The CPC 800 weighs 61 lbs while the 8SE weighs significantly less, come in at 24lbs. This difference in weight makes the 8SE easier to handle and move around. Thus is not to day that you cannot do the same with the CPC 800, it simply lighter to transport compared to the CPC 800. When fully assembled, the CPC 800 weighs 74lbs while the 8SE weighs 33lbs.


If you compare the specs, both the Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt and the Celestron NexStar 8SE are 8 inch aperture Schmidt Cassegrain style telescopes. However, this doesn’t make them the same in anyway. Moreover, both the CPC 800 xlt and the 8SErely on the Alt-Az mount with different arm mounts. While the 8SE depends on the revolutionary single form arm mount to aid with, the CPC 800 uses a dual arm fork mount. With this fork, the CPC ensures you can easily focus while using higher magnifications without vibrations.


These are an important element to telescoping that would render a session incomplete if missing. A good assortment of accessories will heavily impact all the different things and various ways you can use an instrument. For instance, the Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt comes with the standards accessory tray, tripod etc, but also includes a 40mm eyepiece with 50mm finderscope with brackets. These are must have accessories that will help with tracking objects sufficiently across the sky or even locating them thanks to the 9X50 finderscope. Alternatively, the 8SE on top of the standard accessories comes with a standard 25mm eyepiece, with the functional NexStar + Hand control, finderscope (Star pointer red dot finder), accessory tray among others.


Because they are from different series, both the CPC 800 and the 8SE are bound to have different outward designs, each with its own aesthetic appeal. For instance, the CPC 800 has an all black optical tube with an elegant, compact finish. Alternatively, the 8SE hails from the orange tube series, as such comes in a classic orange optical tube with additional black accessories. While the finish doesn’t affect performance, both the CPC 800 XLT and the 8SE are well made and honestly quite beautiful to look at.

Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt VS Celestron NexStar 8SE – A comparison review

Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1935/4371/products/11073_CPC_800_GPS_1_570x380@2x.jpg?v=1529944002Among Celestron’s more powerful telescopes is the Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt which is an 8 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain style telescope. It is equipped with not only Celestron’s basic features, but also more advanced technologies ensuring its admirable functionality. Here are some of the features that make the Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt such a powerful instrument.

If you are not familiar with all the different types of Cassegrain optical systems, the Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt is a great example of the Schmidt Cassegrain system. In this optical system, a combination of mirrors and lenses and a corrector plate all work in tandem to achieve crisp images, with their actual/true color rendition and no distortion. Other benefits of using the SCT style instruments also include greater magnification potential and minimal haloing. Additionally, the SCT allows for reasonably sized telescope which maintains its form even when in use.

One of the key selling points on this model is its unbeatable optics which on top of an 8inch aperture includes a 2032mm focal length and f/10 focal ratio. These optics are contained within the aluminum optical tube that is 432mm in length. Additionally, the optical surfaces are covered using Celestron own Star Bright XLT optical coating. This is a unique blend of . The system is arranged in a way that generates 31% secondary mirror obstruction by diameter, 9.77% obstruction by area.

Even with its complex features, this model accommodates beginners by incorporating some of my personal Celestron basic features. These are some of the common features meant for beginners which make this device easier to use. Some of these tried and true features include the Star Align technology that takes the headache out of alignment. Using this tech, you can triangulate your telescopes location by centering three bright objects on the eyepiece. Additional features like the NexRemote software allows users to operate the instrument comfortably from a computer.

This model is equipped with an internal GPS receiver. The receiver will download data from compatible satellites nearby and proceed to inform you of the best places to aim for a particular night. With this feature, you can rely on this instrument to guide your observation sessions while you are still on the learning curve of astronomy and sky gazing in general. Lastly, it allows access to the well reviewed Starry night Special edition Astronomy software in addition to accessing the Sky Portal App and the NexStar+ database. This database contains over 40K celestial objects that is easy to navigate and great for use by all user, beginner or advanced.

The base is Celestron’s sturdy stainless steel tripod many of Celestron’s models rely on. However, there are different stainless steel tripod models used for different telescopes. The one on the Celestron NexStar CPC 800 xlt is the 50.8mm (2″) Stainless Steel version. This instrument runs smoothly with a 12 VDC-1.5A (Tip positive) as its sole power requirement. Mounting wise, the CPC 800 relies on the dependable Alt-Az mount with A DUAL FORK ARM. This is quite different from other telescopes that utilize the single fork arm design, both of which are patented Celestron designs.

When assembled, this instrument weighs in at 61 lbs. This is considerably light given all the capabilities this instrument posses. It is still quite a portable instrument.

What we like

  • Ergonomic design
  • Advanced telescope that accommodates even beginners
  • Aux port to connect all sorts of accessories
  • Comes with redesigned mechanics for a more quiet operation with larger drive gears and a quick release clutch
  • Can be accessed from computer with the RS-232 cable using the NexRemote software
  • Powerful telescope that isn’t too difficult to move around

What we don’t like

  • Often, the GPS feature that allows you to download data from compatible satellites might be turned off during telescope delivery. This will not influence performance in any way, but turning the feature back on is quite the difficult task.
  • Pricey telescope: with killer features


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NexStar 8SE Computerized TelescopeIt might be difficult to objectively look at this telescope due to all the praise and its long standing history as a beloved instrument, but the 8SE is not perfect. Where are some of the features that make this telescope so great and some of them, not so much.

While the classic orange tube series is famous for all the capable models, the 8SE still stands out as one of Celestron’s most popular telescopes. So much so that Celestron has dubbed it the world’s most beloved telescope.

First off, the 8SE is a serious instrument equipped with excellent optics. Specifically, the 8SE is modeled with an 8 inch aperture, hence the 8 in the name, with a 2032mm focal length and f/10 focal ratio, you can rely on this device to effectively gather light to help you see even faint objects. With these specs, you can achieve magnification of up to 81X on the eyepiece. Theoretically speaking, the 8SE has the power to reach 480X magnification which is its highest useful magnification power and 29X as its lowest useful magnification. Additionally, this system experiences a 9.77% by area, secondary mirror obstruction. Its optical surfaces are coated using Celestron’s unique and highly effective optical coating. With this Star Bright XLT coat,

All this is contained in its classic 17 inch orange optical tube and mounted using Celestron’s reliable mounting system. The basic Alt-Az basic mount design with the GoTo tracking which is motorized, results in reliable tracking and location on your telescope. Because the 8SE comes with access to a database with 40k celestial objects, there is no way you will get bored with this telescope. Beginners and Advanced users will enjoy using this telescope because it makes accommodations for all its types of users. Thanks to Celestron’s unique single arm fork design, this telescope is both portable and quite easy to set up. You can breakdown this instrument to even more compact pieces if you wish: do not worry; reassembling it is just as easy.

Anyone can align the 8SE quite easily as the process is considerably painless and is over within a matter of minutes. Utilizing the Sky Align technology, the scope can quickly align itself. To achieve this, you will have to center 3 bright objects in your piece or use the Star Sense Auto Align features which doesn’t require you to do anything as the alignment is automatic. If you like, you may take advantage of the advanced features that make this device so high-tech. For instance, you can use SkyQ to control the telescope using or even incorporate GPS functionality using the Sky Sync tech.

What we like

  • Sturdy build with durable and high quality components
  • Grows with you
  • Compatible with a variety of accessories which is great for any adventurous telescope users
  • Allows for wide field imaging, which is not only ultra fast but also accommodates planetary imaging.
  • Easy to set up or even take down

What we don’t like

  • Battery life isn’t all that great

What you can see with the NexStar 8SE

  • Spectacular lunar and planetary views
  • Cassini divisions which is on Saturn’s rings
  • Jupiter’s bands and clouds, along with the great red spot
  • Stars within the Hercules Globular cluster
  • Whirlpool galaxy spiraling arms
  • Lunar phases and its surface features


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Verdict: so which is better? Celestron NexStar CPC 800 XLT or Celestron NexStar 8SE?

All things considered, the CPC 800 XLT is the better 8 incher when compared to the 8E. While they are identical, at least optics wise, the CPC 800 takes things to a whole other level with all the changes not only to the design but also the capabilities; making it the more superior 8 inch SCT telescope.

Frequently asked Questioned

What is a computerized telescope?

These are telescopes that incorporate computerized functions into the telescope design for convenient and easy use. For instance, the 8SE is known as the Celestron NexStar 8SE COMPUTERISED TELESCOPE. It comes with a bunch of automated features that make astronomy related telescope activities very straightforward.

Is an 8 inch aperture enough for astroimaging?

8 inches is enough aperture for many astrophotography sessions. Usually pros, or seasoned astrophotographers recommend that you find a telescope with a 5-6 inch aperture. With this, you can capture all sorts of images, access wide fields and take nice long exposures.

What can you see with Celestron NexStar 8se?

Thanks to the superior optics on the NexStar SE telescopes, you will not only view lunar features in crisp detail, but you may view various planners and their specifics. For Instance, you may use the 8SE to view Jupiter and her moons, Saturn, her rings and some surface features like the surface bands: among other deep space objects.


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