There is a vast range of telescopes on the market, each of which carries a unique set of features. Celestron is a brand that’s trusted in the world of astronomy as they’ve created a wide variety of telescopes that are suitable for many different stargazing interests.
So, when taking a look at the Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8 vs. 8SE, you’re probably wondering what makes each of them stand out. This guide will focus on their key differences and similarities and which model might be the best choice for you.
Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8 vs. 8SE: Key Differences
The key differences between each telescope are actually quite minor, but you will find differences in aspects such as focal length, magnification, weight, and cost,
Focal Length Of The Eyepiece
An important factor in determining the field of view and magnification of a telescope, each telescope boasts its own focal lengths.
For starters, the Evolution 8 comes with two eyepieces, whereas the 8SE only comes with one.
Many people enjoy the variation they get from the Evolution 8, as one eyepiece has a focal length of 40mm, and the other sits at 13mm.
With the 8SE, you get 25mm with the one eyepiece that comes included. It’s important to note that a long focal length is suitable for viewing nearby celestial objects.
When using a short focal length, you should easily be able to observe deep-space objects. This is part of what makes the Evolution 8 so intriguing, as it gives you the option of both a short and long focal length.
Although both telescopes come with the same highest useful magnification, the capabilities of their eyepieces vary.
With the Evolution 8, eyepiece one offers a magnification of 51x, and eyepiece two delivers 156x magnification.
This is more than sufficient to view all kinds of objects in the night sky.
The 8SE only has one eyepiece, and it’s built to provide a magnification of 81x, which is a great middle-ground between the two telescopes.
The Evolution 8 may offer more range overall, but the 8SE is more than capable of providing a satisfactory viewing of the night sky.
You should also keep in mind that features like this can be modified and upgraded for a more custom approach.
It’s a characteristic that plays an important role in making a purchase, but magnification shouldn’t be a deal breaker since you can customize it.
This may not be a huge concern when considering which telescope to buy, but it’s a good idea to mention it nonetheless.
The Evolution 8 telescope is nearly twice the weight of the 8SE, sitting at 40.5 lbs when fully assembled.
If you prefer to keep it light, the 8SE would be the better option as it’s only 24 lbs when assembled.
Once again, this may not be a top consideration for every shopper, but it’s something you’ll notice if you plan on being mobile with your telescope.
It may not seem like a significant difference, but 40.5 lbs will be pretty noticeable in comparison to 24 lbs.
Most people are worried about features that affect their overall view, but it’s also essential to consider minor characteristics like weight.
Likely to be one of the biggest deciding factors for any shopper, there’s a pretty big gap in price between the two telescopes.
The Nexstar 8SE currently sits at around $1500, and the Evolution 8 is a bit more expensive, with a price of around $2000
Considering this is a ~ $500 gap between the two, that’s enough to make an impact on potential buyers.
The Evolution 8 telescope has plenty of benefits for astronomy lovers, but the price alone may make shoppers take a closer look at the 8SE.
There are a number of features that add to the cost of the Evolution 8, and although the price is relatively steep, many stargazers feel it’s worth the investment.
If the niche characteristics of the Evolution 8 aren’t necessary for what you’re looking for, the 8SE’s features offer more than enough for a stellar viewing experience.
Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8 vs. 8SE: Key Similarities
Although there may be a handful of differences, the Evolution 8 and 8SE offer many similarities as well, such as a computerized mount, focal ratio, and the software they use.
Regardless of which telescope you choose, both come with computerized Altitude Azimuth mounts that feature a single fork arm.
You’ll also get the benefit of computerized hand control, which comes with 19 LED backlit buttons and even a USB 2.0 for a PC connection.
The computerized mount makes your viewing experience a little less manual and works in conjunction with Celestron’s NexStar+ database.
Users can easily track thousands of objects in the night sky with the help of the computerized controls and the information provided by the database.
The components of the mount include brass worm gears and quality motors which are a core part of its tracking accuracy while reducing gear backlash.
With either telescope, you’ll get a smooth and seamless experience when using the computerized features.
Both the Evolution 8 and 8SE come with an f/10 focal ratio.
This is quite effective for viewing celestial objects in an impressive amount of detail. It’s also great for those who are interested in astrophotography, as you’ll be able to focus on singular objects with pristine clarity.
Lower focal ratios may offer a wider field of view, but they won’t deliver as much detail compared to higher focal ratios.
There’s a little compromise between low and high focal ratios.
The f/10 that each telescope provides is excellent for viewing specific objects in outer space up close, but you won’t be able to see as much in a single shot.
Some people prefer to have a wider view of the night sky, but if you’re looking for an up-close view, the f/10 focal ratio will be more than sufficient.
With either telescope, you get to explore the software that comes include, such as the Celestron Starry Night Special Edition and the SkyPortal app.
Both help users explore the night sky with efficiency and wonder as it helps you discover thousands of celestial objects.
The app gives you the ability to locate 120,000 stars, 200 different star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, and even asteroids, comets, and the ISS.
Without this kind of technology, it can be rather challenging to find your favorite objects in outer space.
With the help of the SkyPortal and the computerized functionality, both telescopes offer a somewhat hands-off approach to stargazing.
These features are also excellent for those who are looking to take stellar photos. Overall, the Evolution 8 and the 8SE bring plenty of value to the table regarding a quality and immersive viewing experience.
Who Is The Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8 Best For?
If you’re looking for a more substantial range in magnification, the Evolution 8 is a great option. Although the 8SE comes with many of the same features, the Evolution 8 features two different eyepieces, which offer a broader range of magnification as a whole.
This allows you to see nearby and distant objects in outer space while enjoying the clarity and FOV that the f/10 focal ratio has to offer.
It also comes with Wi-Fi integrations that the 8SE doesn’t have and a higher maximum height adjustment.
There are many similarities between the two telescopes that make them both viable options, but the Evolution 8 stands out a little more in a few areas.
Most buyers seem to prefer the Evolution 8 as well, as it simply offers more capability when it comes to viewing objects in outer space.
Although the Evolution 8 is a great option for anyone, most people don’t consider it to be the best entry-level telescope. If you’re looking into your first telescope, the 8SE may be the better option regarding features and cost.
- COMPUTERIZED TELESCOPE WITH WIFI FUNCTIONALITY: Explore the Universe and control your telescope with the free Celestron SkyPortal app for iOS and Android! Select any object from the app’s database and the telescope locates and tracks it automatically.
- CELESTRON’S LEGENDARY 8” SCHMIDT-CASSEGRAIN OPTICAL TUBE: See the difference! Compact, portable 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube with StarBright XLT optical coatings provides stunning views.
- SUPERIOR TRACKING ACCURACY: This computerized GoTo mount with high-performance brass worm gears and motors tracks objects smoothly as they appear to drift across the night sky. Ideal for star parties and astroimaging.
- BUILT-IN 10-HOUR LITHIUM IRON PHOSPHATE BATTERY: Forget about buying an external power supply. Celestron’s LiFePO4 battery is built right in for the safest, most reliable power anywhere.
- EASY TO USE IN THE FIELD: Enjoy the improved industrial design with manual clutches and integrated carry handles, plus the added convenience of two accessory trays and a USB charge port for your phone.
Who Is The Celestron Nexstar 8SE Best For?
For individuals looking for an entry-level telescope that boasts the quality that Celestron is known for, the 8SE is an excellent place to start. It’s quite a bit cheaper than the Evolution 8 and comes with many of the same capabilities.
The telescope offers a nice mid-range in magnification, and it’s pretty lightweight compared to the Evolution 8.
With better portability and easier functionality, the 8SE is great for those who might be new to the world of telescopes.
You also get the benefit of a 25mm eyepiece which is more than sufficient, and the price is one of the biggest selling points for most people.
Considering it offers many of the same features as the Evolution 8 and costs around $500 less, this alone makes it a no-brainer for entry-level stargazers.
Overall, both telescopes get plenty of praise, but the 8SE is a good buy if you don’t need all of the additional features that come with the Evolution 8.
- Nexstar computerized telescope: The NexStar 8SE Computerized Telescope features Celestron’s iconic orange tube design with updated technology and the latest features for amazing stargazing for beginners and experienced observers.
- 8-Inch aperture: The 8-inch primary mirror in this Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope for adults and kids to be used together packs enough light-gathering ability to observe the best that our Solar System has to offer, while retaining a compact form factor. Compatible with starsense technology, Wifi
- Fully-automated go to mount: Featuring a database of more than 40,000 celestial objects, the go to mount built into our telescopes for astronomy beginners automatically locates and tracks objects for you.
- Easy to assemble and break down: The single fork arm design and sturdy steel tripod all assemble and break down from separate components for easy transportation. SkyAlign technology gets your telescope aligned and ready in minutes.
- Unbeatable warranty and customer support: Buy with confidence from the telescope brand, based in California since 1960. You’ll also receive a 2-year warranty and unlimited access to technical support from our team of US-based experts.
Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.