Home Comparisons Celestron vs SkyWatcher – Which telescope brand is the best for a first-timer?

Celestron vs SkyWatcher – Which telescope brand is the best for a first-timer?

by Rizka Amir

The joy of seeing through your first scope is immeasurable and cannot be quantified down to one emotion. Picking your first telescope will set the mood for your entire journey as an astronomer. That’s why it’s important to do some research into what you are signing up for.

Celestron and SkyWatcher are two of the top-ranking telescope brands globally. Their designs and application of technology has continued to draw in the larger population of curious stargazers. Both share a parent company, Synta Technologies with Celestron being an acquired branch and SkyWatcher as a sub-branch for marketing and distribution of their optics.

What are the differences between Celestron and SkyWatcher?

Categorized by design
Categorized by design
High end prices
Varied prices
Top 3 distributor
Top 10 distributor
Distributors across select continents
Distributors across select continents

Celestron vs. SkyWatcher – A look at how they differ


Celestron is well known for their inception of the very first Schmidt-Cassegrains back in 1970. Other than scopes, they have stocked up on binoculars, telescopes, microscopes and a myriad of other accessories that are just as niche-targeted as the SkyWatcher brand. However, Celestron markets itself as more for the intermediary level astronomer who already has the basics down. This is evident in their product descriptions which are a bit too technical for a first-timer. Although they have products that they market as for beginners, I wouldn’t be quick to point them in Celestron’s direction.

With an exciting range of 9 to 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrains, a selection of altazimuth, equatorial, hybrid and GoTo mounts, technology and design has been continuously been maintained across all their models. Celestron telescopes have a distinct orange tube with a glossy sheen covering it. Sometimes they switch it with a matte black look.

Sky-Watcher tries to match up to most of Celestron’s vast production line and they do come close with a great production of GoTo mounted Dobsonians that have become a first-love must-have telescope for all beginners. They have a unique selling point with the introduction of a collapsible mount that keeps a very compact build. Their white glossy finishes are very attractive and eye catching. They have also stocked up on binoculars, telescopes and a myriad of other accessories but they are not into microscopes as much as the Celestron brand. Their catalogue is designed to meet all level of astronomers needs but with very limited choices in the chosen designs. You can find Maksutov-Cassegrain, Maksutov-Newtonians, Dobsonians, Astrophotigrahy reflectors and refractors.

Sky-watcher lenses promise to be multicoated for maximum reflectivity, better color correction and minimized aberration. They have produced mounts of the altazimuth and equatorial types that assist in object finding and tracking. For their computerized models, they use the SynScan software and a compatible phone or laptop to facilitate for hands free operations. Their product range is very much beginners targeted and largely for budget shoppers.


Celestron is the pioneer of the Schmidt-Cassegrain models which they did back in 1970 with the introduction of their C8. Their models stood out due to the innovative master block that would work as a corrector plate allowing for a vacuum to reflect off the curved mold. Celestron’s tubes are easy to spot with their eye-catching orange glossy finishes and their equatorial mounts which are single or double-forked.

They too have invested heavily in computerized systems and they have Sky Portal App that enables a user to connect their Apple or Android phone to have control over the telescope electronically. Celestron are well known for their NexRemote hand controller which has also greatly improved observers experience with these smart telescopes. Just like SkyWatcher which uses the SynScan software that is rich with planetary details of celestial objects and events, Celestron employs the Starry Nights software.

Sky-Watcher is largely a brand that was built by Synta to market and distribute its optics. They began in 2000 with the introduction of the Dobsonian models, following up in 2001 with the Maksutov-Cassegrain and in 2004 they created their first apochromatic refractor telescope. They improved the Dobsonians by including a collapsible tube and called them FlexTube-Dobsonians. Of course, they all run on a GoTo supported platform that’s designed to enable users to simply point or click to an object on a display screen to have the scope track and focus on said object and even giving supporting details on the target object.

Their mirrors and lens are produced by a German company and this is why they are of such high quality guaranteeing clear and crisp viewing as much as the aperture and night skies will allow. They have niche accessories like the Virtuoso Mount, a trademark, which is a strong, super balanced and cool tool for photographers to have because it gives them the power to capture spanning images of the vast field of view. The mount is compatible to both DSLR cameras and I-phones.

Celestron Vs. Sky-Watcher – Overview

Celestron – Overview

In 1955, Tim Johnson founded Valor Electronics after he successfully made a 6” reflector telescope for his sons. Later in 1964, Tim introduced Celstron Pacific which made the 4 to22-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain at high volumes and at much lower costs incentivizing the amateur astronomers. He went on to sell Celestron in 1980 which was bought by Tasco in 1997 and was almost wiped out by financial woes. Until 20015 when it was acquired by Synta Technologies, its 15-year long optics supplier, it was state-owned.

PowerSeeker 80AZ

A perfect refractor telescope for a beginner boasting a 400mm focal length and a 80mm aperture which gives a f/5 focal ratio guaranteeing us some clear imagery at a very affordable rate. The PowerSeeker 80AZ comes with 20mm eyepiece giving a 45x magnification and a 4mm eyepiece giving 225x magnification power. More to the vision department, there is a diagonal mirror guaranteeing image correctness, a focuser for clear and sharp views and a Barlow lens 3x that can multiply your lenses to three times the power.

It stands majestically on an altazimuth mount that helps you find and track targeted celestial objects simultaneously turning by altitude and azimuth keeping the object within the field of view for longer observation. It has a rod that you can use to manually point and direct the scope in objects direction and a knob with which to screw the scope in place once the focus is achieved.

You can download a Starry Nights Software for celestial details and updates on astronomical events.

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NexStar 4SE

The NexStar 4SE has a 102mm aperture and 1325mm focal length giving it a focal ratio of f/13. It is a GoTo technology enabled telescope which means it can be controlled by a computer connected to the provided NexRemote or hand control. Among Celestron’s NexStar series, it is the smallest and this makes for easy storage and transportation. With a computerized database filled with over 40,000 astral objects, searching and tracking is a breeze and add to the ease of the set-up which requires no extra tools. Celestron provides the user with a 25mm eyepiece with a magnification of x53, a Star Pointer Finderscope, fork arm mount, a flip mirror, a photographic port and an altazimuth base all resting on aluminum tripod stands with rubber grips for maximum stability.

AstroMaster 114 EQ

With a 114-inch lens and a 1000mm focal length, this telescope provides a focal ratio of f/8.8 mounted on an equatorial German mount fitted with settings balls for fine tuning your focus on a target object. At 4.49 inches, the aperture gives enough light to allow for moon craters clear and detailed views. Setting up is easy to do with no need for use of any extra tools. 10mm and 20mm eyepieces are provide and come fully coated to reduce and eliminate chromatic aberrations in viewing. The mount rests on sturdy and adjustable tripod stands that work great on both flat and uneven surfaces guaranteeing great balance in high magnification tracking. It is important to note that you could increase the stands strength and stability by adding rubber bases at its feet. Also, collimation of the 114EQ is done by caps and this could be frustrating for first-timers. It’s a great telescope for intermediary astronomers.

Sky-Watcher – Overview

Sky-Watcher is a brand name that was established in 1999 by the Taiwanese company Synta Technology Corporation to sell and market their optics. Synta Technology Corporation is a factory founded by David Shen in 1990 focused on creation of optics. Sky Watcher products are made in China to cater to the astronomers and are distributed in China, Canada, Europe and much more recently, the USA.

Some of Sky-Watcher’s best inventions.

ProED 80mm Doublet APO Refractor Telescope

A Schott glass lies in the tube of this apochromatic doublet. This scope is great for showing low chromatic aberration that can be spotted only in the brightest of stars. Its focal ratio of f/7.5 has great magnification value in a mid-range scope view and manages chromatic aberration with no additional eye pieces needed.

With a focal length of 600mm, the ProEd80 helps you focus on more than just the starry night sky. It has a correct image viewfinder of 50mm 8x50RA, a 2-inch dielectric diagonal focuser and 5mm and 20mm eyepieces for long eye relief.

To capture astrophotography data with this telescope, you will need to buy a reducer of about 0.85x that will reduce the 600mm focal length to about 510mm. You can then some good shots of the wider galaxy and some star clusters.

The ProEd80 comes with aluminum carry case and tube-ring attachment hardware.

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8″ Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope

Has a focal length of 1200mm and 8-inches (200mm) in aperture size which gives it a focal ratio of f/6. Using Dobsonian simple and large design and a use of three steel struts that are retractable to ease in transportation and storage. Users need not be concerned about reconfiguring the device every time they adjust the tube as it is set to keep the customized settings as inputted by user.

Sky-Watcher’s Dobsonian promises 94% reflectivity with little blurriness. It has a 2-inch focuser and 1.25-inch adapter to provide for use of the two 25mm and 10mm eyepieces that are included. An 8×50 finderscope and an accessories tray are also packaged.

Astrolux 76mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope

This Newtonian has 76mm of aperture and 700 focal length giving a focal ratio of f/9.2. This is an easy reflector telescope that can be used by beginners and kids and is as well suitable for observation of star clusters and nebula in the far-off galaxies. Has a 1.25” eyepiece with option of two extras, mount, scope of view of 6×24 and Barlow lens.

An azimuth mount, aluminum tripod and an accessories’ tray are also included.

With a f/9.2, this is not a good telescope for astrophotography and so it is only best used for observation purposes. Magnification power is not so good either and this could result to false colors.

To make this telescope better, one would have to buy and apply several extra accessories like a focal length reducer.

On this Sky-Watcher, you will enjoy seeing the ice caps on Mars, the Saturn Rings and the craters on the moon.

Now let’s compare these two Celestron and SkyWatcher brand models.

ProSeeker 80AZ
ProED 80mm Doublet
Focal length
Focal ratio
Low Magnification
Max. Magnification
German Equitorial
User Level
Starry Night, Sky Portal App
Starry Night Software


For the two companies sharing a parent company, there are more similarities than we expected to find. The design, build and overall appearance and performance of the scopes in either brand’s catalogue is distinctly different. While Celestron keeps their orange branded tube, SkyWatcher gives us a Marble White finish that is very luxurious. Celestron being more focused on targeted astronomy professionals, SkyWatcher gives us variety to experiment with. This is great as it gives us a chance to find out which part of astronomy we are drawn to and in that way, helps us zero in on our niche in astronomy. For a beginner, a Skywatcher Dobsodian gives the most bang-for-the-buck and starts of the young astronomer’s journey on a high note.



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