Celestron Inspire 100AZ telescope review

A likable telescope with a novel astrophotography angle

 Celestron Inspire 100AZ
(Image: © Jamie Carter / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Celestron Inspire 100AZ telescope makes astrophotography easy. This 4 inch/100mm refractor telescope has a clever lens cap that doubles as a smartphone clamp with which it's possible to photograph and even video the Moon, planets and deep-sky objects in space using just a smartphone. Here's why this beginner’s telescope also makes a good entry-level instrument for first steps in astrophotography.


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    Easy set-up

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    Smartphone clamp for photos and video

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    Red light illumination

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    Lightweight construction


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    Some false color views

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    Lacks precise positioning

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    Solar filters cannot be attached

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    Deep sky targets disappoint

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Since it’s a refractor telescope it uses lenses to focus light into the eyepiece, so everything has to be viewed while standing behind its optical tube. That makes it difficult to look at objects at the zenith, so Celestron has supplied a 90º image diagonal with the Inspire 100AZ so that users can stand over the 1.25-inch eyepiece holder rather than kneel under it. A couple of eyepieces are supplied in the box – a 0.8-inch/20 mm (offering 33x magnification) and 0.4-inch/10 mm (for 66x magnification) – and there’s a decent quality StarPointer Pro finderscope to help locate targets.  

The main reason to buy this telescope over others is for its unique lens cap-smartphone mount. It's a simple, clever design that sees the lens cap fitted with elastic straps and to secure a smartphone in position so that its camera is over a small hole. You then simply place an eyepiece in a slot on the back of the lens cap and, hey presto, you have a photographic device to insert into the telescope’s eyepiece holder. 

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Jamie Carter
Astrophotography expert

Jamie has been writing about all aspects of technology for over 14 years, producing content for sites like TechRadar, T3, Forbes, Mashable, MSN, South China Morning Post, and BBC Wildlife, BBC Focus and BBC Sky At Night magazines. 

As the editor for www.WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com, he has a wealth of enthusiasm and expertise for all things astrophotography, from capturing the Perseid Meteor Shower, lunar eclipses and ring of fire eclipses, photographing the moon and blood moon and more.

He also brings a great deal of knowledge on action cameras, 360 cameras, AI cameras, camera backpacks, telescopes, gimbals, tripods and all manner of photography equipment.