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Bushnell ARES 5in Compact Truss Tube Dobsonian Exclusive Edition Telescope, Black, New is currently on sale with fast shipping. Plus your total satisfaction is guaranteed when you purchase Bushnell ARES 5in Compact Truss Tube Dobsonian Exclusive Edition Telescope, Black, New and other Telescopes by Bushnell.

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Average Ratings
Overall rating
4.8 / 5
Easy To Set Up 5.0 / 5
Usability 4.9 / 5
Features 4.9 / 5
Value for your money 4.9 / 5
Meets expectations 4.8 / 5

It's a lot of scope for $160

Product Ratings
Overall rating
5 / 5
Easy To Set Up 5 / 5
Features 5 / 5
Meets expectations 5 / 5
Usability 5 / 5
Value for your money 5 / 5

Author: Jon Isaacs {!} , Serious Stargazer, from San Diego, CA on Jul 19, 2011
Pros:  Good optics, simple, solid mount, good eyepieces, widefield viesws
Cons:  Focuser could be better
Would recommend:  yes

Jon Isaacs wrote:

Hi: First let me say, this is a good telescope at a good price, I do recommend it as the best telescope one can buy in this price range. At $220, the 6 inch Bushnell Ares Dobsonian represents the competition, a bigger scope but more capable... and also very affordable. I purchased this scope for the purpose of reviewing it. I am a passionate amateur astronomer with a wide range of telescopes and this Bushnell 5 inch F/5 MiniDob looked to me to be the best telescope in this price range. Finding a good quality, reasonably inexpensive telescope is difficult in today's marketplace, I bought it so I could be confident in recommending it. After spending several evenings evaluating the Bushnell Ares 5 inch "MiniDob", I am confident that this is the best telescope that $160 can buy. What you get: This is a 5 inch F/5 Newtonian telescope with a parabolic mirror, all good things. When one is buying a telescope it is important to understand that telescopes are not rated by magnification but rather by the size of the primary mirror or the objective lens, this determines the amount of light gathered as well as the resolution possible. A 5 inch mirror collects enough light to show interesting Deep Space Objects (DSOs), particularly if the skies are dark. Brighter galaxies, nebulae, as well as globular clusters and open clusters are within reach of this telescope. This scope, in fact any telescope, will not provide Hubble-Like images of DSOs, but it will provide a glimpse of some light that has been traveling millions of light years... that is the magic... It will also show detailed views of the planets and the moon, though additional eyepieces are required to optimize the views. This telescope does have a 1.25 inch focuser which is standard. Some inexpensive telescopes take 0.965 inch eyepieces, those generally poor quality. Optically this telescope performs quite nicely. Using an additional eyepiece to achieve a higher magnification, I was able to separate the binary star Porrima, it is a "tight double", equal to a pair of lights separated by 2 feet at a distance of 50 miles. At some point the mirrors will need collimation, that is aligning the optics, mine arrived collimated. Focuser and upper tube: This scope collapses for portability, the focuser and secondary mirror mount is made of plastic rather than metal and the focuser is helical, not always the best but I found this one to be reasonable though I did have to lube it lightly so that it was smooth. Eyepieces: The two supplied eyepieces are good quality Plossl eyepieces with a comfortable 50 degree apparent field of view. The 25mm provides 25x magnification and allows you to see a patch of sky about 2 degrees in diameter, that's 4 times the diameter of the moon. The 10mm provides 65x magnification and about 3/4 of a degree. These are reasonable magnifications for general observing, 25x allows you to find the object and view larger objects like the Pleiades, 65x allow increased magnification to see more detail. Eventually one would want more eyepieces but it is good to realize that most astronomy is done below 200x magnification. - Finder: The finder is a simple red dot finder, you see a dot against the sky. If you want to point the telescope at the moon, place the red dot on the moon and you are done. - Mount: The mount is half of a telescope. Most inexpensive telescopes come with a shaky mount that make using them difficult. The Dobsonian mount used here is a simple mount, I like to call it a cannon mount, you adjust the elevation and rotate the scope. The advantage of simple mounts are their stability and their simplicity. They are intuitive and easy to use. But this is a manual mount, no motors, nothing to break, you have to track the rotation of the sky by hand. There are computerized mounts as well as mounts with motors that track but in this price range, they are best avoided... With this telescope you will locate objects by Starhopping, using a chart or cell phone app to pinpoint the location of the object. Scopes like the Ares MiniDob with it's 2 degree field of view are nicely suited for just sweeping the sky and "discovering" objects... A few additional thoughts: This is a compact telescope, easily transported but it does need to sit on a table to be comfortable and the table needs to be solid. Conclusion: Hopefully I have been able to provide some idea of what this telescope offers. Good optics are expensive to make, this telescope has good optics... that's the starting point of any decent telescope. This 5 inch F/5 is a good telescope. I have not had a chance to evaluate the 6 inch F/8 Bushnell Dob but it appears to be manufactured by Synta Optical in China (as does the 5 inch.) Synta is the largest manufacturer of telescopes in the world and builds them for many of the name brands. The 6 inch mirror captures more light, has greater resolution.. It is a much longer telescope and more capable. The 2 inch focuser allows one to use 2 inch eyepieces, uncommon in a 6 inch Dob.. I hope to have a chance to evaluate the 6 inch version as well. From what I see in the marketplace these two Bushnell Ares Dobsonians represent the best value, the most capability at their respective price points. The 6 inch costs somewhat more, is a more serious telescope and requires a more serious commitment. The tube is about 48 inches long... These are both telescopes capable of providing quality views at the eyepiece. A final thought: As positive as this review may seem, I have no connection with Optics Planet. In fact I was reluctant to purchase this scope because I knew nothing about them. But the experience was a good one and when I accidentally ordered two scopes, I called their toll free number and was talking to a real person in a couple of minutes... Not everyone takes to amateur astronomy, it takes patience and a willingness to put up with some hardships.. But I am confident that if you have the "heart of a stargazer" either of these telescopes will help you find it. Have a good night and as I like to say: Clear skies ahead!!! Jon Isaacs

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