This Telescope was purchased as a Holiday gift for my daughter. PROS: 1. Box arrived on time, undamaged (double packed) 2. Craftsmanship was good, especially given the low price. Based on other models in this price range that I looked at in department stores, this was put together much better, and with similar materials. 3. The magnification and features seem comparable or higher than competitor models. 4. The short barrel and light weight makes it easy for my 10 year old daughter to carry and position. 5. Fully adjustable tripod base & the manual controls provide granular movement for excellent focus on far away celestial objects (mostly the moon, at this magnification). CONS: 1. In order to achieve different levels of magnification you have to switch lenses (as with similar models). Because of the way this telescope was made, the lenses are not well protected during the transition, and children are likely to finger optics and the lenses are prone to scratching, or being dropped in the process (has not happened to us yet - but we're constantly reminding her to be careful). Otherwise, this is a great sturdy, child-resistant beginner telescope. 2. The tripod is small, and it must be used on a table or other raised surface which may not be readily available where you are trying to set up.
I looked at and almost bought a spotting scope by XXXX company for just over 200. A guy at the range had one and it was nice dont get me wrong. Just down from us was a little old man with THIS Barska telescope. The little telescope optics and aperature blew the more expensive spotting scope away! Wasn't even close... I don't use it as as telescope, probably never will but it works great for a 100-200 yard shooting range scope for 1/4 of the cost. Me and my son love it.
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