When it comes to the telescopes we review, our editorial board (which is comprised entirely of astronomers) make unbiased judgments. Please keep in mind that our performance rating system on this page is completely unrelated to any kind of monetary gain.
When it comes to commercial Dobsonians, the optics tend to be fairly good, and usually either identical or very similar. Each of the size classes of Dobsonians is represented well by every major telescope brand. Typically they come in 6”, 8”, and 10” varieties, each with the same focal length, as well as a 12” version which is a little longer. When choosing a Dobsonian telescope, there is no need to differentiate based upon optical quality, as for the most part they are identical and typically they are pretty good. Instead, the choice is really between the cost, weight, mount, and accessories.
It is plainly obvious from the price tag that The Apertura DT-series of Dobsonian Telescopes, in particular the DT6, prioritizes cost. The good news is that it does so without really cutting any corners, and a few things are actually superior on the DT series compared to other available dobsonians.
Apertura products, sold by High Point Scientific, are a rebrand of Guan Sheng Optical (GSO) products for the U.S. market.
9.1/10: Nearly flawless
Score Breakdown (out of 5)
Moon & Planets: 5
Rich Field: 2
Ease of use: 5
Read our scoring methodology here.
Pretty much any 6” Dobsonian will show you the same beautiful views of planets and deep sky objects. However, there are a few reasons to prefer the DT6.
If you’re on a strict budget, I think you ought to choose the telescope you buy, not necessarily based on the accessories that come with it, but the unchangeable (or difficult to change) aspects like the focuser, mount, even finderscope. If it’s the difference between a smaller telescope with better accessories and a bigger one with fewer accessories, I’d choose the bigger one. You can pick up more accessories in time, but you can’t simply add an extra inch of aperture whenever you want.
The Apertura DT6 provides an excellent basis for a serious observing experience at a very affordable cost. It’s a tough call between it, the Orion XT6, and the SkyWatcher Classic 150P. I’d say that the DT6 wins because it has the best focuser. However, if the telescope must be portable, the very lightweight base of the XT6 will come in handy, as will the handles of the Classic 150P. However I suspect the overall motions of the XT6 and the DT6 will be superior due to the simpler bearings--my experience with the SkyWatcher’s tension adjustment knobs is not great, though I’ve only used them in larger telescopes.
Other non-dobsonian telescopes in the price range have smaller apertures than the DT6, often cutting corners on finicky German Equatorial Mounts, using cheaper accessories and focusers, and generally being less capable overall.
The Apertura DT6 is very easy to use. The motions of the simplistic mount are very smooth, there is little to no wobble, and there is plenty enough aperture to find and enjoy many deep sky objects as well as the planets. A 6” Dobsonian is probably the ideal first telescope for a teenage or adult beginner (it’s a bit too big for kids), and the Apertura DT6 is arguably the best 6” Dobsonian, especially when factoring in the all-too-crucial cost.