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Meade Instruments has cemented itself as one of the best manufacturers for astrophotography. They build and design their telescopes with astrophotographers in mind and the Meade Instruments 205005 ETX125 Observer Telescope is no different. If you are in the market for a highly focused, detailed telescope with the ability to take some great photos of the stars then look no further.

This is the largest and most focused of the ETX Observer line by Meade. Like the rest of the ETX telescopes, this one includes a dual view option so you and your camera can both look through the telescope at once making astrophotography easier to do than on single view telescopes. It is fully computerized with a 30,000 object database which opens the sky up to regular viewing and astrophotography.


  • Maksutov-Cassegrain
  • 125mm primary aperture
  • f/15 focal ratio
  • 254x highest theoretical magnification
  • 26lbs assembled weight

The Meade Instruments 205005 ETX125 Observer Telescope offers high-quality images and an array of options that can suit those looking for a solid computerized telescope as well as the budding astrophotographer who wants to try their hand at photographing the cosmos. 

Meade ETX125 Observer Telescope Review
  • Dual viewing option for you and your camera
  • Fully computerized mount with large database
  • Good array of options and accessories
  • Very high focal ratio eliminates wide-angle viewing
  • Reported software issues
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Crisp and Focused

The 125mm aperture combined with the small stature of this scope gives it an extremely high focal ratio. This is perfect for anyone who really wants to get clear, focused views of specific singular deep space objects.

This makes it an amazing telescope for getting glimpses of Jupiter and Saturn along with bright star clusters or distant galaxies. Singular, bright objects that will look great in a narrow field of view by themselves in the frame.

This is not a light bucket telescope and will not offer expansive views of the sky but it will focus on specific objects that catch your interest extremely well. It also includes the internal flip mirror system which allows for the unique dual viewer that most telescopes do not have.

This high focal ratio is perfect for anyone who wants to get into a certain type of astrophotography. There are two main focuses of astrophotography in the community. The first is a NASA style wide view of hundreds of stars lighting up the viewport. The second is high-quality images of single stars, planets, and galaxies.

This telescope is going to be perfect for the second kind of astrophotography. If you want to get amazing shots of the moon or the rings of Saturn or the Andromeda galaxy this telescope is going to exceed at that.

In addition to giving crips views of the night sky this telescope also looks crisp. The classic Meade blue tube and fork mount strike a unique look among the variety of Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes available on the market. If you care about how your telescope looks at your home then this one could offer a fresh take.

Computerized and Motorized

The Meade Instruments 205005 ETX125 Observer Telescope has added some modern features to this model which brings this telescope into the 21st century. This includes a fork style mount, a large database of celestial objects, and a motorized go-to automatic mount. This allows for the telescope to find and track objects for you.

Meade’s database includes 30,000+ objects that come preloaded and ready to go. You still have to align this telescope manually but it comes with an EQ tilt plate that allows for easy polar alignment. Once the telescope is aligned, it will be able to find and track objects easily for you.

The handheld controller makes searching for and selecting an object easy. Once the telescope is set up, just select and object and wait for it to find and focus on the desired object. The over 30,000 available objects for the telescope to find and track will give you a nearly unlimited pool of objects to choose from and can keep you entertained for years to come.

Can you do astrophotography?

These automatic features also make starting in astrophotography extremely easy. If you get a proper camera, some good ideas and familiarize yourself with the dual viewing option on this telescope astrophotography becomes very doable. If you want to try and snap a good picture of Andromeda, simply set the telescope up, attach your camera, select the object on the controller, wait for the scope to adjust itself and then peak into the second viewport to see what your camera sees before snapping a potentially awesome picture.

With a little practice and a little bit of persistence taking amazing photos of the night sky is going to be achievable by anyone who wants to put in the time. This cannot be said of every telescope on the market.

The database, unique fork mount and motorized features make this telescope a neat addition for any astronomer.

Good Selection of Accessories

The Meade Instruments 205005 ETX125 Observer Telescope has the standard selection of accessories included along with a few unique upgraded features that stand out. It comes with two eyepieces for different zoom levels as well as a red dot finderscope.

The eyepiece selections and finderscope are standard fares for telescopes in this price range. However, it also includes an audio tour of the sky, high transmission coatings for the lenses as well as a removable tube assembly and periodic error correction.

The audio tour of the sky is a neat addition. The Meade Instruments 205005 ETX125 Observer Telescope includes over four hours of a guided tour of the night sky for your enjoyment. This is perfect for anyone who wants to relax out under the stars or anyone with students or kids that they want to wow and entertain. This is a unique touch that most telescopes do not have.

The high-quality coatings are also a nice touch. This reduces chromatic aberrations which are needed with a telescope with such a high focal ratio. Meade knows this telescope is going to succeed at viewing bright single objects, and these are the kinds of objects that cause the most distortion for viewers. The inclusion of high transmission coatings will cut down on these distortions caused by bright objects.

Meade’s ETX Observer Computerized Telescopes Overview
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The removable tube assembly allows for the tube to be removed from the fork mount for adjustment, cleaning or if you want to mount it on something completely different. Some telescopes with fork mounts are fused together so there is no way to separate them. This adds a level of customization and adjustment that is a bonus.

Meade checks all of the boxes with their software, eyepieces, and finderscope but then goes the extra mile with some unique and different features not often seen in standard telescope kits. This adds a level of freshness and entertainment that gives the Meade Instruments 205005 ETX125 Observer Telescope a boost in terms of accessories and extra features.

The Not so Good

There are a few niggles with this model that might turn some people off from getting it. The first being the high focal ratio.

Most focal ratios that are considered high run between f/11 and f/13.5 but this telescope has a focal ratio of f/15 meaning that its field of view is going to be extremely specialized. While this can be great for getting full view shots of the moon, it can be a turn off for someone trying to see the whole galactic arm of the Milky Way.

Anyone looking to do some wide-angle deep space viewing or anyone who wants an experience similar to that of a large reflector is going to be turned off by this model. Meade also has an ETX 80 with an extremely low focal ratio of f/5 with all of the same features if you want to try the other end of the focal ratio extreme.

The other issue that seems to crop up a lot is a problem with Meade’s software out of the box. Quite a few people seemed to have some kind of firmware or software issue that prevented all of the parts of this telescope from synching up with each other out of the box. Most of them seemed to say that they got the problem resolved but software issues can be extremely frustrating for some people.


For anyone looking for a solid computerized telescope with all of the modern features at a decent price, the Meade Instruments 205005 ETX125 Observer Telescope is a good option. It is a great option for anyone looking to try their hand at astrophotography and with the right mindset, this could be turned into a phenomenal photography telescope.

For everyone else, this telescope has a few things holding it back from being a great all-around telescope and they could probably find a more generalized scope with similar features on the market unless you are sold on Meade’s unique array of accessories and addons offered with this telescope kit.