10 Best Catadioptric Telescopes

Over the years, catadioptric telescopes have grown in popularity. These telescopes, which are more like hybrids between reflector and refractor telescopes, work wonders in dark starry night. They feature a lens and mirror combination that offer all the unique benefits you can obtain from both reflectors and refractors. They normally feature larger apertures with long focal lengths that combine to ensure image clarity. Most of them are also portable and easy to move about.

Catadioptric telescopes appeal to a wide array of users. From beginners to experienced astronomer, these types of telescopes are instruments of choice. If you are to looking to buy catadioptric telescope, here are the top ten options to consider right now.

Top 10 Best Catadioptric Telescopes

1. Celestron NexStar 5SE

Celestron - NexStar 5SE Telescope

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This is a computerized telescope from one of the industry heavyweights. It is a powerful instrument for beginners as well as advanced users. From the Celestron’s signature ‘orange tube’ to the fully automated GoTo Mount, this is a perfectly built instrument that will give users the best stargazing experience. It will let you select from a database of more than 40,000 stars, galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, and other celestial objects. The telescope locate these planetary bodies easily and track them automatically.

The Celestron – NexStar 5SE Telescope has a 5-inch aperture. The powerful primary mirror is aided by updated technology to make stargazing exceptional for different levels of users. The package also comes with a free downloadable astronomer software for an interactive sky simulation. It also comes with a 2-year warranty and unlimited access to technical support from Celestron’s experts.

2. Celestron NexStar 8SE

Celestron - NexStar 8SE Telescope

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This is another fully computerized telescope from Celestron that makes viewing the planets easier and more fun. It is one of the best instruments to grab when you want to appreciate the beauty and intrigue of the night sky without any fuss. It is the largest of the SE family and the best by all standards asides from affordability. Offering about 98% more light than the 6-inch model, this 8-aperture telescope will enable users see deep into the universe.

Celestron’s NexStar computer control technology is one of the most notable features of this instrument. The proprietary SkyAlign is another important feature that will make your experience incredible. It offers fast setup and help users locate galaxies in no time. There is equally a 40,000 object database with 200 user-definable objects and expanded information on over 200 objects, thanks to the fully-automated GoTo mount. Buyers will also enjoy unbeatable warranty and customer support from Celestron’s experts.

3. Orion 10022 StarMax

Orion 10022 StarMax

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This is the perfect option for individuals that want the best in telescopes but are limited by their budget. It is an incredible instrument from a reliable manufacturer that sells at a price many will consider as ridiculous. In spite of the cheap price, this is a quality catadioptric telescopes. It performs excellently, delivering surprisingly big views for an instrument of its modest size.

The Orion 10022 StarMax 90mm is a true grab-and-go telescope that you can use to view the moon and the planets clearly, thanks to the 90mm aperture. The tabletop base provides a stable viewing foundation to help you explore deep space comfortably. The package comes with two eyepieces, EZ Finder II reflex sight, 90 degree mirror diagonal, and more helpful accessories.

4. SkyWatcher S11520

SkyWatcher S11520 Maksutov Cassegrain

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This is an exceptional telescope from SkyWatcher that represents real value for the money. It is the perfect take-anywhere instrument you can use to view the galaxies and other deep-space objects. The most impressive thing about this 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain is the clarity of views it offers. Most buyers have confirmed that the instrument is a lot better than what they expected.

The SkyWatcher S11520 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope packs a powerful punch into its small dimensions. It features high-resolution, diffraction-limited optical systems. The lens are multi-coated to maximize contrast and image sharpness. The highly valuable package also comes with a 6×30 finderscope and 2″ 90 degree Star diagonal. It performs better than several telescopes that sell at higher prices.

5. Orion 9820 Apex

Orion 9820 Apex 90mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope

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Orion is a well-respected brand for some reasons. This compact instrument is one of the best from them in the Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope category. It is a nifty little instrument that will let all kinds of amateur astronomers scan the solar system for crisp images of the moon and the planets. Users can also view globular star clusters and some bright nebulas.

As the name indicates, this instrument has a 90mm (3.5″) aperture. The focal length is an incredible 1250mm. With such a fantastic optic system, it is not surprising that the compact telescope offer great celestial views. It can also be used for terrestrial viewing, thanks to the 45-degree correct image diagonal. This Orion telescope also comes with several accessories including a 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, 6×20 correct-image finderscope, soft carry-case, and Starry Night Astronomy software.

6. Meade Instruments LX200-ACF

Meade Instruments LX200-ACF

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This is one of the most advanced telescopes available to the general public. It is a well-built instrument and has all the important features to enhance astrophotography and observation. With the 10″ diameter f/10 ACF optics (focal length of 2500mm), this instrument is powerful and ideal for deep-space observation. It also has Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) for maximum image brightness and contrast.

The advanced LX200 AutoStar 11 computer system is another exceptional feature of this Meade telescope. It has 145,000 object library, multiple guided tours, high precision pointing capability and more. It comes with a standard field Tripod, 1.25 diagonal prism, single speed focuser and more. The only issue people will have with this instrument is the high price, which is understandable for an instrument of its quality.

7. Meade Instruments LX90-ACF

Meade Instruments LX90-ACF

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Another great instrument from Meade, this is an advanced telescope that can be used for celestial exploration. It features the patented Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optical design that guarantees coma-free pinpoint star images. It is an impressive instrument that will serve all from amateur astronomers to astrophotographers and professional astronomers.

This powerful meade instrument has an 8″ diameter f/10 ACF optical system (focal length of 2000mm). It also has Ultra-High Transmission Coatings for maximum image brightness and contrast. It also features the advanced Meade AudioStar computer system with over 30,000 object library, multiple guided tours, high precision pointing capability and more. It also features a solid and stable LX90 aluminum double fork mount with fast slew speed adjustable from 1 to 7 degrees per second. It has several included accessories in the value package.

8. Celestron CPC 1100

Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT GPS

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This is one of the favorite computerized telescope among experienced visual observers. From the way it is designed to the way it works, this is an excellent telescope for ardent explorers. A rock-solid dual Fork arm mount is one of the reasons it is so popular among experienced amateur astronomers. Though the design is obviously sturdy, it is thoughtfully ergonomic, letting users lift and move it with ease. Setting it up and using it is quite easy.

The Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope has the largest aperture in the CPS line. The 11″ telescope features Celestron’s Premium Star Bright XLT optical coatings. It also features fully computerized dual Fork arm altazimuth mount with internal GPS and database of more than 40,000 celestial objects. There is also a convenient hand control holder and several other helpful accessories to make using the instrument simple and straightforward.

9. Orion StarSeeker IV

Orion StarSeeker IV 127mm GoTo Mak-Cass Telescope Kit

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This is a complete GoTo telescope kit that has everything you need for an amazing stargazing experience. The Orion telescope inside is a 5″ diameter instrument that boasts of a super-long 1540mm focal length and f/12.1 focal ratio. It will deliver powerful view of the moon, planets, and deep-sky objects. It also features a huge GoTo database of over 42,000 objects and built-in tour mode that will help users enjoy every viewing experience.

As mentioned earlier, the Orion StarSeeker IV 127MM Telescope kit has everything you need to start exploring space objects. It comes with GoTo hand controller, 23mm (67x) and 10mm (154x) wide-field 60-degree eyepieces, 90-degree star diagonal, EZ Finder II sight, DeepMap 600, MoonMap 260, and more. Also included in the package are view-enhancing moon filter, detailed MoonMap 260, and a handy AC-to-DC adapter.

10. Celestron ExploraScope 60AZ

Celestron ExploraScope 60AZ

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This is another wonderful celestron telescope for amateur astronomer. It can be the perfect instrument for a first time user as well as individuals who take stargazing seriously. It is well-designed and has all the feature for an amazing experience. It comes partially pre-assembled, making it easy to use anywhere.

Celestron ExploraScope 60AZ has a 60mm aperture. One of the most impressive features is the LED electronic red dot finderscope that will let the user quickly find any celestial object. It also comes with three eyepieces including 25mm (28x), 10mm (70x), and 4mm (175 x). Also included in the package is an adjustable aluminum tripod that will help stabilize the instrument and improve viewing experience.

Buying Guide

Though catadioptric telescopes are not the most popular type among amateur astronomers, they are great for so many reasons. They offer a number of advantages over reflector and refractor telescopes. They combine mirrors and lenses to amplify, clarify, or otherwise improve the light signals from celestial bodies and other objects of interest. There are also many manufacturers of the product and you will find several models on the market. Picking one from the lot can be difficult which is why it is important to read this section carefully.

Factors to consider when buying Catadioptric telescopes

While they are generally grouped under the same category, there are different varieties of catadioptric telescopes. It is important you understand the different types and consider other important factors before deciding to buy any particular model. There are other important considerations to make and we will briefly discuss all here:

Types of catadiptric telescope

The Cassegrain design is one of the earliest and most recognized catadioptric telescope designs. Telescopes in this group utilize both convex and concave mirror to achieve its reflected effect. Different types of cassegrain telescopes include the Schmidt-, Muskatov-, Argunov-, and Klevstov-Cassegrain telescope. The major difference between these different types is in the way the internal mirrors bend and distort the light they collect. No variety is inferior, by any means.

Included Accessories

A strong stable tripod is one of the most important things when it comes to viewing celestial objects with catadioptric telescopes. It is important to buy a package that includes a sturdy tripod made specifically for your instrument.

Ability to track celestial objects

One of the most important features you have to look out for in a catadioptric telescope is the ability to track celestial objects. Most top models on the market come with control units that let you track automatically as they move across the sky.


The ability to pack up, transport, and set up your telescope in a new place is highly desirable. Portability, therefore, is one of the major factors to consider.

Frequently asked questions about catadioptric telescopes

What is special about catadioptric telescopes?

The special thing about catadioptric telescopes is the fact that they combine specifically shaped mirrors and lenses to form an image.

Are catadioptric telescopes better than the other types of telescopes?

It depends on what you need in a telescope. Generally, catadioptric telescopes marry both reflectors and refractors, eliminating their major downsides and offering unique advantages the others don’t offer.

Are catadioptric telescopes really the best for astrophotography?

To a large extent, yes. This types of telescopes have the major features to enhance astrophotography experience and results.

Can catadioptric telescopes track deep-space objects?

Yes, most catadioptric telescopes have special features that help users to track specific deep-space objects automatically and obtain clear images of them.

Are catadioptric telescopes expensive?

The best telescopes, irrespective of category, are expensive. There are top quality catadioptric telescopes that are expensive and there are affordable ones too. Users can always find products that will fit their budget and meet their needs.

Final Thoughts

Buying telescopes is never easy when you have no concrete experience on how they work. The catadioptric telescope is the type that marries the best of the reflectors and refractors design. By utilizing lenses and mirrors, this type of telescope delivers excellent results without becoming unnecessarily expensive. We have reviewed the top ten products in this category and discussed other information that will help you pick the right one. We hope this piece helps you find the best option for you.