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Welcome to my Meade Lightbridge Mini 114 review!
If you’re in the market for an entry level telescope, the Meade Lightbridge Mini 114 is probably one that’s popped up on your radar, which is probably the main reason why you’ve found yourself on the review.
This review on the Meade Lightbridge Mini 114 will cover all the core features of the device, the pros and cons and ultimately will help you to make a decision on whether the device is worth the money or one you should skip.
- Full Name: Meade Lightbridge Mini 114
- Type: Reflector
- Aperture: 4.5″(114mm)
- Focal length: 450mm
- Focal ratio: f/3.95
- Dimensions & Weight:
- Included eyepieces: 1.25″ 26mm and 9mm
- Rating: 4/5
- Lightweight and compact
- Good specs for the price
- An easy to use beginner level system
- Decent accessories in the box
- Requires regular collimation and maintenance as it’s a reflector device
How Do The Meade Lightbridge Mini 114’s Optics Work?
The Meade Lightbridge Mini 114 uses reflector based optics inside the tube. The reflector optics, if you didn’t know, is one of three different lens types, the other 2 being a refractor and compound.
I won’t be goin into detail regarding the other 2 variations (if you want to check the more in depth analysis click here) but, I will cover the main positives and negatives on the reflector optics found within the Lightbridge Mini 114.
The pros of the device’s optics include the following :
- Great for viewings faint objects in the sky as all types of light can pass through the lenses (this isn’t the case for a refractor)
- These are generally cheaper to manufacture, resulting in cheaper telescopes.
- These optics don’t suffer from chromatic aberration
As for the cons, they include
- The optics are exposed meaning you’d need to clean them up regularly
- You’ll regularly need to collimate the device too as they’re easy to knock out of alignment
- Low focal ratio reflectors tend to suffer a lot more from comatic abbeartion
In fact, due to the device using a paraboloid primary mirror of decent quality over the smaller Mini 82’s spherical mirror, it means the Mini 114 should be a fairly easy to collimate device, which is definitely a very important plus.
Nevertheless, even with the cons mentioned above, which are more so minor annoyances over anything serious, reflector based systems do produce very solid images through their lenses, which of course will generally get better with much higher powered devices than the Mini 114.
What Do The Meade Lightbridge Mini 114’s Specifications Mean?
Even though the Meade Lightbridge Mini 114’s specifications of a 114mm aperture, 450mm focal length and focal ratio of f/3.95 isn’t amazing, the device is far from being underpowered for its price of roughly $150.
With those specs the Mini 114 will be able to magnify in the region of 200x, which is decently powerful an will allow you to see most of the planets within our solar system. The wider and faster focal ratio of f/3.95 also means you’ll also be able to view star clusters, galaxies, nebulaes and other celestial objects through the lens pretty decently too!
Of course the details will be limited if you’re trying to viewing Saturn, jupiter, Mars, venus, Mercury or uranus whilst Neptune will really only be truly visible at the very top end of the Mini 114’s power but, for the most part all of the major planets can be seen with this smaller device.
As for the Mini 114’s weight and dimensions, as the name suggests, it is genuinely very much a “Mini’ system. With its dimensions and weight coming in at 31.1 x 31.1 x 61 cm by 4.9 kg respectively it is very compact and portable.
Therefore, if portability is one of the top features on the list of things you want your telescope to have, the Lightbridge Mini 114 is a device worth considering.
Accessories Included In The Box?
The accessories in the box include two 1.25″ eyepieces at 26mm (17x) and 9mm (50x), a red dot finder, a software DVD and a few other miscellaneous accessories and paperwork.
The accessories are going to be pretty average so you’ll definitely want to upgrade them to get max magnification out of the telescope but, the eyepieces will allow you to see a few planets within the solar system, alhough not in too much detail.
You should also take note that if you do get a eyepiece that’s more towards the upper end of the systems power, it will be a fair bit harder to accurately focus so purchasing a better focuser alongside would be a good idea too.
The Meade Lightbridge Mini 114’s Mount
The Mount used by the Lightbridge Mini 114 is a tabletop Dobsonian that’s able to swivel in a 360 degree motion, pretty smoothly, much like it’s direct counterparts in the Zhumell Z114 and Orion Starblast 4.5 Astro.
As it is a tabletop design you will need to prop it up on other, preferably stable, objects to view comfortably however, the viewfinder being in the side of the scope does mean you’ll probably need a fair bit of space to observe through the eyepieces, which may or may not make the Mini 114 a bit of a pain to use
You can also easily switch out the mount for a standing one or a tripod because the vixen-style dovetail design will allow you to do so, the dovetail design does also mean the Mini 114 will be relatively stable although not to the extent of heavier devices but, I guess that’s just the price you pay for portability.
Other Alternatives Worth Checking Out
If you’re in the market for other portable devices, that are also more powerful at the same time, I’ve created this list to help you to find other compact devices worth looking into.
If instead you want a device better suited for planetary observation, this best of list will offer a few solid options to look into.
The Meade Lightbridge Mini 114 is a very solid device at its price bracket, the performance is solid, it’s very compact and portable whilst its accessories are pretty solid for their price range too.
Overall, at the roughly $150 price, the Lightbridge Mini 114 is very solid value for money and one that’s worth investing in if you aren’t able to stretch the bank balance.
Of course if you can stretch the balance a little, I would definitely recommend investing in the bigger brother, the Meade Lightbridge Mini 130 or even the Zhumell Z130.
Nevertheless, if the balance doesn’t stretch, I can’t say that the Mini 114 is a bad device at all
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