Home Comparisons Meade ETX 90 vs Celestron NexStar 4SE – Which telescope delivers better views?

Meade ETX 90 vs Celestron NexStar 4SE – Which telescope delivers better views?

by Rizka Amir

Technology presents innovations that are continually improving and enriching the user experience. In this case, telescopes have also been reengineered to minimize challenges in previous models.

Over five years ago, my sister talked me into going for this EXPO that was happening at our campus and I immediately dreaded it. All I knew was that it was about NASA stuff and that I hated it. Turns out, nothing could be further from the truth because by the time I was leaving the event, I had been turned into a telescope enthusiast. I recently had the opportunity to look through a neighbors Maksutov-Cassegrain and this sent me on a mission to try and identify the differences that made these two Maksutovs stand out.

What are the differences between the Meade ETX 90 and NexStar 4SE?

ETX 90
Type of telescope
Aperture 90mm, 1250mm Focal length, f/13.9 Focal ratio

Magnification on eyepiece 26mm: 48x

Magnification on eyepiece 9.7mm: 129x

Min. Useful magnification: –

Aperture 102mm, 1325mm Focal length, f/13 Focal ratio

Magnification on eyepiece 25mm: 53X

Max. Useful magnification: 241X

Min useful magnification: 15x

Motorized Alt-Azimuth Mount – dual fork
Motorized Alt-Azimuth Mount- single fork
Assembled Weight
15 lbs.
18 lbs.

Meade ETX 90 vs NexStar 4SE- How they compare


ETX 90 is a Schmidt-Cassegrain with a 127mm aperture held by a 1900mm focal length and this results in a focal ratio of f/15 which is good for slow planetary observation and a narrow field of view and medium to high magnification. The aperture size is large enough to gather adequate light and with the convex meniscus lens designed into it, this telescope guarantees crystal clear coma-free images with no false color. This lens has a right-angle image corrector as well for great eye relief. The secondary lens limits any obstruction of light and removes the need for repetitive collimation.

NexStar 4SE, with an aperture 150mm long and a focal length of 1500mm, f/10 is the achievable focal ratio with this scope. This translates to mean that you will have a narrower field of view but with a magnification power that’s perfect for everything from basic observations to astrophotography. This is a Schmidt-Cassegrain that also uses a computerized GoTo mount which makes it a perfect telescope for young and amateur astronomers. It’s compact design and Orange tube makes for a great item of display that’s also easily portable. Optics are heavily coated and this makes for really great degree of reflectivity off the mirrors and lenses.

Motorized Mounts

ETX 125 has a computerized mount for this assembly and it enriches the process of object tracking as this GoTo enabled mount can be controlled via the AudioStar Hand controller which also allows the user to project images on phone or laptop. The complete OTA sits on an alt-azimuth tripod stan made with steel legs that are adjustable. The stand is strong and sturdy, comes with an accessories tray in the middle and has hooks in the inner rails for added weight which increases stability and minimizes vibrations during tracking. The stand has altitude and azimuth bearings that work to enrich the slewing speed and tracking accuracy of the telescope.

NexStar 4SE sports the alt-azimuth tripod mount is powered by 8 AA batteries that you have to buy separately and has dual-servo axis motors for smooth slewing in high magnification with close to zero vibrations. There are also optimal encoders that are used to track the GoTo functions and to help keep the scope in alignment when in manual mode. The tripod stands are adjustable and the accessory tray can hold accessories and additional weight for added balance and vibration reduction.

Meade ETX 90 vs NexStar 4SE – Overview

Meade ETX 90 – Overview and Key Features

Image result for mede ext 90For those who like to have the best of everything in one compact design, ETX 90 is the most ideal choice to make in telescope shopping. There is literally nothing this telescope is not prepared and able to do. Let’s start off with its beautiful glossy blue optical tube which immediately gives you an out-of-space mood with the shimmery sheen that covers it. It is a truly a well-built Maksutov-Cassegrain featuring a primary convex meniscus mirror whose primary task is to handle any form of chromatic aberration and eliminate the comas in any given field of view. Distinctly different from a Schmidt-Cassegrain, this scope uses a smaller secondary mirror which is mostly for ensuring minimal light obstruction and to increase the image contrast making the view even more crisp.

Meade ETX 90 boasts a 127mm aperture with a 1900mm focal length and the f/15 focal ratio, though a bit slow, provides the best performance for object tracking given the apparent field of view. These optics also allow for more light gathering in the focal tube even in super dark ambiences which makes for image visibility even further up the distant skies. The optical tube sits on the alt-azimuth GoTo mount with the help of a Vixen style dovetail plate. This together with an internally built focuser and an internal flip mirror, users can use the scope to focus on a target and at the same time capture the image on a connected DSLR camera with no need to replace or add any equipment.

Accessories in this telescope are such as an internally built focuser which helps the scope come into focus much faster than most other scopes. There is a red dot finder that is perfect for accuracy and does not block out the view of other objects. There are knobs that help in the adjustment of intensity of focus or magnification. The eyepieces provided for this scope are top-notch Super Plossl which means they have been full multi-coated resulting in brighter and more defined images. The 26mm produces 48x power and the 9.7mm allows us to see 129x further than our natural eye vision.

Meade’s AudioStar hand controller has a LED display that will show details about the scope’s direction and objects visible in the sky. It has a numerical keypad that you will use to input positions in the sky that you would want the scope to show you. Alternatively, you could use the scroll buttons to find the listed objects and click on any that interests you and the scope will slew to that degree. It has a built-in red LED backlight which is easy to work with night adapted vision.

This scope has nine different degrees of slew speeds and this means that tracking is very smooth regardless of magnification levels. Alignment and collimation processes are a breeze with this model. There are many align options to choose from One-Star, Two-Star and Three-Star and no matter which one you go with, the scope will take care of it.

The super friendly user interface in Meade’s system of navigation comes with an impressive database of over 40,000 celestial objects. The built-in speaker will give you information to the last detail about scientific data an history in relation to a select 500 celestial targets. By use of a cord connecting to an internet enabled computer, this database can be regularly updated. Based on its educative benefits, this scope would be ideal for home use or classroom sessions on the magic of astrology.

This system will also help you make plans for astral viewing based on the projections on amazing events to be looked forward to. From anything like sunsets, sunrises, eclipses, planetary events, meteors and equinoxes, Meade will keep you up to date. The database has tons of information on major constellations, galaxies, nebulas, stars and satellites. What’s even cooler is that we can use the scope for both celestial and terrestrial views.

It runs on 6AA batteries that need to bought separately and provide up to 20 hours of continued use of the GoTo system. It’s advisable to buy an external adapter for longer observation times and optimal performance.

What we like

  • Easy to use and computerized system
  • Quick and simple set up
  • Compact design that is portable
  • Access to a learning database great for beginners
  • AudioStar software with all details

What we don’t like

  • Might need a moon and solar filter
  • Needs an external power source

What you can see with the ETX 90

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


View price on Amazon


NexStar 4SE – Overview and Key Features

Image result for nexstar 4seTo minimize light transmissions ad color aberration, Celestron have used their trademark multi-coating system to produce highly anti-reflective lenses ideal for space imaging. The NexStar 4SE is one of these sturdy, light-weight and beginner-friendly telescope of the Schmidt-Cassegrain models. It is ideal for all types of observations in the dark night skies. Brighter deep-sky objects like nebulae and the planets as well as the moon and its amazing terrain will be visible with this telescope.

The NexStar 4SE has an aperture 150mm wide and rests in a tube with a focal length of 1500mm and the resulting f/10 ratio is great for moon and planet imaging. The tube gathers great light and the heavily coated anti-reflective mirrors and lenses.

There is also a 90-degree angle diagonal mirror which enables comfortable viewing and can be used to horizontally correct the view of the skies which will vertically still be warped. The use of the red dot finder assists in object finding and without magnification, will allow you to star-hop while you navigate the skies.

The smaller size of the secondary mirror minimizes light obstruction and plays a huge part in creating color correct images. For astrophotography, this secondary mirror could be removed and a DSLR camera attached in its place giving a wider field of view with a f/2 focal ratio for quick astrology snaps. They provide us with a 25mm eyepiece which gives us a magnification power of 60x. the eyepiece has an adapter 1.25 inches wide and can accept these length eyepieces if you would like to experiment with others to vary magnification view. Meade added a foldable rubber rim on the eyepiece barrel in consideration of those who wear glasses.

It also has a hand controller that works with compatible devices to help with hands-free control of the telescope. The NexRemote control has LCD screen displaying 16 characters of data at a time. The buttons are backlit as well for optimal use in dark ambience. It has a database filed with over 30,000 celestial objects and detailed information about their history and form of existence. As you use your scope and make discoveries of new objects, the system can add these user-generated new locations up to 100 of them.

When you first set it up successfully, you might be unsure of what is possible and this system will give you a tour showing you views within your scope from which you can select what to focus on. The scope also features the SkyAlign software for easy and quick collimation of lenses and mirrors for optimal views and images. You have the option to align by two-star, one-star or three-star and with a simple pointing towards thee bright stars, allows your scope to self-align and this is a one-time process. The mount being alt-azimuth can slew left, right, up and down for celestial observation but the tracking is off for terrestrial views. With the Dovetail plate, a DSLR camera can be added to the assembly and the NexRemote can be used to automatically trigger the shutter to capture breathtaking imagery.

What we like

  • Computerized and Easy to use
  • Quick and simple set up
  • Compact design that is portable
  • Access to a learning database great for beginners
  • SkyAlign software with all details

What we don’t like

  • Might need a moon and solar filter
  • Needs external power source

What you can see with the NexStar 4SE

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


View price on Amazon



These two telescopes have similar optic measures and can give us astrophotography options with a few tweaks. They are also capable of computerized motions which is great for all levels of astronomy enthusiasts. Any of these two telescopes will warm the heart of an avid astronomer.

That being said, NexStar’s option to attach a DSLR camera onto the mount without needing to take apart the whole set up is what we cannot pass on. That just does it for any astrophotography enthusiast.


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