Sky-Watcher Explorer-130 EQ2 telescope review

A budget telescope with a high-end equatorial mount that’s perfect for exploring the deep sky

SkyWatcher Explorer 130 (EQ-2)
(Image: © Jamie Carter / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

If you’ve decided to get deep into astronomy and you’re keen to both learn the night sky and get clued-up on telescopes and even astrophotography then the SkyWatcher Explorer 130 is a good place to start. That's mainly down to its equatorial mount, something that’s relatively rare at this price point. He's everything you need to know about this entry-level telescope with expert-like ambitions.


  • +

    Equatorial mount

  • +

    Good all-round views

  • +

    Plenty of aperture

  • +

    2x Barlow lens included


  • -

    Requires patience

  • -

    Very heavy set-up

  • -

    Some false color

  • -

    Bearings lack total precision

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The SkyWatcher Explorer 130 boasts a Newtonian reflector design and at 5.1”/130 mm has enough aperture for studying both the moon and planets, but also deep sky targets such as star clusters, galaxies and nebulae. 

The reason to buy the SkyWatcher Explorer 130 is for its equatorial mount, which has a polar axis tilted to be parallel with Earth’s rotational axis. In practice that means you need to know your latitude then position the polar axis dial to that number. 

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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, 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.