Types of Telescopes Compared

What Are the Main Differences Between Different Telescopes?

Have a look at this simple comparison of each type of telescope.

It will be easier and useful for you to have a simple pros and cons analysis of each configuration, and I hope it will help you choosing the most convenient way to look at the universe.

Reflecting Family


A reflector telescope uses a concave mirror to reflect light to a prism that directs it to an eyepiece.

Given the same diameter and focal length, it will be a little shorter than a classic refracting telescope. Basic scopes will be inexpensive, due to their simplicity of construction, and easy to use.

The other side of the coin it’s that resolution might be penalized by the presence of a secondary mirror, which need periodical calibration.

The more you go up in aperture size the more likely you might notice that telescope is more sensible to air movements.

Moreover the position of the eyepiece could make it uncomfortable to use, depending on user’s position.




The Catadioptric telescope (also knows as a Cassegrain) is essentially an hybrid of a reflector and refractor.

Its focal length and optics allows you to have a smaller telescope, compact and easily portable.

It requires periodical check-up of collimated optics and is more expensive than a Newtonian telescope with the same diameter size.

Many people prefer a Cassegrain style scope for astrophotography, due to its compact size.

Orion 10022 StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope



Without any doubt the pro of using a refracting telescope is in a brighter and higher quality image. But you should consider that this telescope might need some extra lenses to reduct chromatic aberrations. The tube size is roughly equal to the focal length, which will results in a higher buying price.

Celestron 21037 PowerSeeker 70EQ Telescope


Even though the market is split into several categories, you have now a different point of view about several types of telescopes compared.

You should always choose the telescope that you like, depending on your own tastes and especially on your observing needs.

If you focus on Moon and planets you’re going to need good quality lenses and better resolution. Otherwise you are oriented in stellar fields and nebulas, then you should opt for a good diameter size.

A good telescope is usually defined when five parameters are satisfied:

  • resolution;
  • aperture size;
  • structural quality;
  • magnification;
  • the ability to collect light.

If you’re an active skywatcher and you always want to carry your telescope with you, then go for a catadioptric.