Explore Scientific ED80 review

The Explore Scientific ED80 is great scope capable of some really impressive results.

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
Price correct at time of review
The Explore Scientific ED80 is great scope capable of some really impressive results.

The Explore Scientific ED80’s name refers to the extra-low dispersion glass used to manufacture its 80mm-diameter objective (main) lens.


The ED80 has a reversible dew-shield. During transport, this is unlocked from the main tube, flipped through 180° and re-attached.

It’s an operation that reduces the instrument’s length to just less than 37cm. When you want to do some imaging or visual work, you simply slip the dew-shield off and re-attach it the other way round.

There is a problem with this arrangement, though. The scope’s metal, screw-on dust cap can only be attached when the instrument’s ready to transport.

So if you wanted to take a dark frame, you’d need to remove the entire dew shield first. A simple and inexpensive black plastic cap that fits on the end of the dew shield would solve this design flaw.

This scope uses a single-arm mounting ring attached to an L-shaped Vixen-style dovetail plate. While it made it easier to rotate the scope to frame a shot, we had a few reservations about the design at first. Would the single mounting arm be prone to vibration?

But our fears were put to rest when we actually used the scope.

The ED80 has a focal ratio of f/6 and our test image of Orion’s Sword gave a lovely result with the Explore Scientific’s optics.

We saw no significant colour fringing and loved the clean, high-contrast reproduction of the Sword region from top to bottom of the image frame.

There was a noticeable elongation of stars in the corners of the image frame, though. This is an optical defect that can be corrected with a field flattener.

We used an Explore Scientific MPPC Field Flattener with Canon EF fit, which corrected those elongated corner stars, turning them back into points.

Our test shots and direct views of a waxing crescent Moon with earthshine showed no noticeable colour fringing at all, while the view of the entire Moon through the eyepiece was rather stunning.

The interior of this scope’s tube has three matt-black baffles to cut down on stray light, and the overall contrast is excellent as a result.

While there’s no finder in the package, this is a great scope capable of producing some fantastic results.


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This review appeared in the April 2011 issue of Sky at Night Magazine