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Sky Watcher 130/150/200 vs Skymax-127

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Good Morning

I've been browsing these forums with some interest and also popped down to my local Telescope shop and now I've got a few questions (I'm sure you hear this a lot).

I'm looking to buy my first telescope and I'm torn between several options. Initially, after reading the forums, I was leaning towards the Sky Watcher 200p. It seemed to have good reviews both here and in Sky at Night. I then visited my local dealer and saw one in the flesh ... it's not small. After a brief discussion with the chap in the shop he showed me the Skymax-127. This was a much more compact scope and in this case came on a goto mount.

So to the questions ...

Viewing

My viewing priority is as follows:

  • Exceptional views of the moon
  • Good views of the plants (Jupiter's red spot and moons, Saturn's Rings and some detail on Mars)
  • Good views of binary stars
  • The ability to gain increased satisfaction from ad hoc celestial events (comets, meteors, eclipses)
  • Some deep space capability

The Sky Watcher 130 has approximately the same aperture as the Skymax-127. Can I expect to get similar views from both these scopes? Or will the more expensive Skymax-127 offer the superior view and in what ways?

The Sky Watcher 200 is about the same price as the Skymax-127 (for the tube assembly). Are the view going to be significantly better with the 8" Sky Watcher? Are there any things that the Skymax-127 can do better than the Sky Watcher 200?

If I were to go for the Skymax-127 would I be better served on a manual equatorial mount or would the goto be just as good?

Astrophotography

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want to take any pictures of the things that I saw. I'd like to take some pictures of the moon and also the planets. Deep space photography and all the processing that goes with it, fascinates me. What would the potential imaging capabilities be of these scopes? If I understand correctly, many of the issues come with the support on which the scope is fixed. As we speak I am not in the position to spend £600+ on an all singing all dancing EQ mount. If I was serious about deep space photography, this is something I'd invest in later. If anyone has any photographs (or links to photographs) taken using these scopes, I'd be most interested to see. I've seen some nice deep space ones taken with the Sky Watcher 150p on a a suitable support but I've found precious little taken using the Skymax-127 (which might suggest it's of little use for imaging).

So I guess that's about it. There's the large 200p the nice and compact 127 or the possible middle ground of the the 130 or 150 (on a side note, if someone could explain clearly what the letters after the numbers mean, that would be great!)

My budget is circa £400 and I'm probably asking for the moon on a stick, but I've got to start somewhere.

Looking forward to your replies

Kind regards

James

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Hi James, welcome to the forum. I'd love to help but I'm not much more than a beginner myself, someone with a bit more knowhow will be along soon no doubt. What I can off is the letters on the end of the skywatchers are (i think) to do with the optics of the scope. I recall the P being Parabolic, for the mirror shape. I use the 150p but can offer no comparison to the skymax.

Cheers

Stevp

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Hi James and Welcome.

I have the 200p, 150p and skymax127. As you probably know there is no one-scope-for all but the 127 is essentially a cracking good scope especially suited to bright objects such as the moon, planets etc.

I use mine primarily for this work. All pics of planets and the moon on my website below were with the 127 (except a few)

Its a good scope tbh. A completely different beast to the 130p!

HTH

Jamie

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if planets and the moon are your priority then the 127 is the way to go, it provides exceptional views of bright objects, you may start to struggle with deep space observing just simply due to the fact that the scope is f11 or so meaning your field of view is much more restricted so many DSO's will be cut off at the sides whereas the 150 and 200 have a faster f5 so there is a greater field of view for deep space objects. That said, if your goal is planetary and moon observing then the mak127 is a great scope.

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Hi James.

The 127 mak really is an excellent little scope for the moon and planets and the fact it is so compact makes it a great grab and go instrument. You certainly won't be dissapointed with the views. In my view it offers slightly better contrast on these objects than the 130 reflector. Apeture is important though so I think the 200 would also give excellent views but is less portable.

As for DSO or astrophotography, neither in my opinion are well suited. The longer focal length of the mak would make it even less suited.

You'll have trouble finding a scope that ticks all the boxes on any budget I'm afraid.

I can certainly recommend the 127 mak as a starter scope for planets and lunar observing, it struggles with DSO's though due to its limited apeture. Orion nebula is still impressive through it though. I'm sure there are plenty of others on the forum who would say the same about the bigger reflectors you've mentioned as well though.

You can hook any of them up to a decent web cam though and achieve some fantastic images of the moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars with a both of practice.

Hope this helps

James

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Good Morning

I've been browsing these forums with some interest and also popped down to my local Telescope shop and now I've got a few questions (I'm sure you hear this a lot).

I'm looking to buy my first telescope and I'm torn between several options. Initially, after reading the forums, I was leaning towards the Sky Watcher 200p. It seemed to have good reviews both here and in Sky at Night. I then visited my local dealer and saw one in the flesh ... it's not small. After a brief discussion with the chap in the shop he showed me the Skymax-127. This was a much more compact scope and in this case came on a goto mount.

So to the questions ...

Viewing

My viewing priority is as follows:

  • Exceptional views of the moon
  • Good views of the plants (Jupiter's red spot and moons, Saturn's Rings and some detail on Mars)
  • Good views of binary stars
  • The ability to gain increased satisfaction from ad hoc celestial events (comets, meteors, eclipses)
  • Some deep space capability

The Sky Watcher 130 has approximately the same aperture as the Skymax-127. Can I expect to get similar views from both these scopes? Or will the more expensive Skymax-127 offer the superior view and in what ways?

The Sky Watcher 200 is about the same price as the Skymax-127 (for the tube assembly). Are the view going to be significantly better with the 8" Sky Watcher? Are there any things that the Skymax-127 can do better than the Sky Watcher 200?

If I were to go for the Skymax-127 would I be better served on a manual equatorial mount or would the goto be just as good?

Astrophotography

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want to take any pictures of the things that I saw. I'd like to take some pictures of the moon and also the planets. Deep space photography and all the processing that goes with it, fascinates me. What would the potential imaging capabilities be of these scopes? If I understand correctly, many of the issues come with the support on which the scope is fixed. As we speak I am not in the position to spend £600+ on an all singing all dancing EQ mount. If I was serious about deep space photography, this is something I'd invest in later. If anyone has any photographs (or links to photographs) taken using these scopes, I'd be most interested to see. I've seen some nice deep space ones taken with the Sky Watcher 150p on a a suitable support but I've found precious little taken using the Skymax-127 (which might suggest it's of little use for imaging).

So I guess that's about it. There's the large 200p the nice and compact 127 or the possible middle ground of the the 130 or 150 (on a side note, if someone could explain clearly what the letters after the numbers mean, that would be great!)

My budget is circa £400 and I'm probably asking for the moon on a stick, but I've got to start somewhere.

Looking forward to your replies

Kind regards

James

Hi James and welcome.

In my limited experience I will say that the SW 127 Mak is a cracking little scope for planetary viewing and webcam imaging. I owned one for quite a while and now have its big brother the 180. The only DSO I personally ever saw through it was the ring nebula (that's not to say that others are not viewable) but it was very feint.

If you are serious about DSO imaging later on down the line you should read 'Making Every Photon Count' as it is the imagers bible and available through FLO. Read this before you buy anything.

The book will give you a realistic idea of what you can and cannot acheive and what equipment you would need. Astrophotography can be an absolute money pit, but there is no reason it can't be done on a reasonable budget.

If you want great views from a planetary/lunar scope then I would definately recommend the SW127, but if you want something which will work as a reasonable all-rounder, I would go with the 200P.

As stated, there is no scope that will be great at everything.

Hope this helps a bit

Regards Tony

Edited by Arushin

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Hi James ,

I'm only a beginner but If you want to view more than the Moon and Planets and you can see yourself getting into Astrophotography then a Newtonian reflector is normally considered the best all rounder.

I'd suggest buying the SW 150PDS on an EQ3-2 or a SW 200p on an EQ5, they are both great allrounders and would enable you to try Astrophotography (even though neither is ideal for the purpose).

I you don't think you'll be that bothered about DSO's (Deep sky objects) or AP (Astrophotography) then the 127 Mak is definitely the way to go for the Moon and Planets.

I've just started AP, so if you click on my link,you'll be able to see the sort of image you will be able to get from the off.

Perry.

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Thank you all for your quick replies. I was expecting that there wouldn't be a one-scope-fits-all solution. I guess my main worry was that I'd look at the main planets, check out the moon and then be left with nothing else I could usefully look at.

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Thank you all for your quick replies. I was expecting that there wouldn't be a one-scope-fits-all solution. I guess my main worry was that I'd look at the main planets, check out the moon and then be left with nothing else I could usefully look at.

No you will never run out of things to look at! You certainly won't look just once at the planets and moon that's for sure.

Good luck and enjoy

Jamie

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Hi, welcome to SGL, i've got the Skywatcher 130m & I use a £5 xbox cam to image the moon & planets, heres a recent image I got of Jupiter with this setup-

post-26695-0-36852600-1356463171_thumb.p

It's very fiddly to do but once you've got the hang of it it's a very worthwhile AND cheap way of getting into AP. I used a free download called Sharpcap to capture the avi & proccessed it in Registaxv5 which is also free (Registaxv6 is out too but I find v5 easier to get along with).

Steve

Edited by nephilim

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@JKB Maybe I was a little flippant there :) I'm sure The Moon especially will provide me with endless enjoyment and watching the planets across the seasons will no doubt also be a pleasure. It would be really nice to be able to split some stars and maybe see some other wonders the universe has to offer also.

I think what I need to do is go and see the scopes in the flesh again. I don't want to end up buying something that never gets used because it's too cumbersome to set up regularly and can't be transported to dark sites.

The 127 really does have amazing portability on it's side, but equally I know what I'm like and I'm bound to want to look a little further out at some point.

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Thank you all for your quick replies. I was expecting that there wouldn't be a one-scope-fits-all solution. I guess my main worry was that I'd look at the main planets, check out the moon and then be left with nothing else I could usefully look at.

That wont happen :laugh: The more u look, the more u see, it just takes practise & patience, I never get bored looking at Jupiter for example, it's never the same view & if you start doing a bit of basic webcam imaging as I suggested in the above post you'll ALWAYS have something to see & do. :grin:

Steve

BTW the m in a 130m scope means it comes with a motor drive to track objects & I think it really helps when imaging (I'd actually say its a must) otherwise your constantly adjusting the scope to keep the image in the fov.

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Okay, 24 hours and a trip to Sale later and I'm getting a little closer to finding a scope that suits. The very patient gentleman in the shop spent 45 minutes going through lots of stuff with me, for which I am eternally grateful.

It would seem that my choice is between the SW150p and the SM127. From the talk I had I will get better views of the planets and moon from the 127, even though it has a smaller aperture . However the 150 would be better for deep sky due to its wider FOV. Both on inspection are of a manageable size (Although the 127 is obviously much smaller).

My headache now lies with the mounts. The kind Sky Watcher people are thoughtful enough to add a discount when you buy a scope and mount together ... but only in very specific combinations. So specific in fact that if I wanted an EQ5 mount, with the thought of dabbling in some AP at some point, it would be cheaper to buy the SW200P than either of the other two scopes on the same mount!

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Hi

This is now where it gets really tricky and you wish you had won the lottery!

OK lets see if I can help:

The MAK127 would indeed be the best scope for planets, moon and other bright objects due to aperture and the 'speed' of the scope (around f11.8) also you will achieve better magnification of these object due to the focal length of the scope. 1500mm so with a 10mm eyepiece it will give a magnification of 150x (FL/EP) or 300x with 2x barlow.

THe 150p as you said has a better FOV and therefore smaller magnification 750mm/10mm EP yields 75x mag etc. f5

The 200p is the same at f5 so faster and better for DSO's and gathers more light than the 150p

Now the problem of the mount:

The EQ5 is OK but with a 200p is at the limit and probably wont give you the best for photography. Yes I started with the 150p on an EQ3/2 which was ok but I soon upgraded to the HEQ5 which is an altogether different beast.

So your choice is to decide where you want to go in the future??? Horrible decision in know. Perhaps you could look around for a second-hand HEQ5 (like I did) and save a considerable amount of money!

Personally (this is really only my thoughts!) I would probably get the 150P on the best mount you can afford or as said look for a second hand HEQ5.

You can at least do some DSO's and planets/moon with it.

Or stick with the 127 (perhaps on the GOTO Synscan mount) and enjoy the bright objects!

Really hope this helps and I am only basing it on my own experience. Please listen to others here too!

Cheers

Jamie

PS what sort of prices are you looking at?

Edited by JKB

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Okay, 24 hours and a trip to Sale later and I'm getting a little closer to finding a scope that suits. The very patient gentleman in the shop spent 45 minutes going through lots of stuff with me, for which I am eternally grateful.

It would seem that my choice is between the SW150p and the SM127. From the talk I had I will get better views of the planets and moon from the 127, even though it has a smaller aperture . However the 150 would be better for deep sky due to its wider FOV. Both on inspection are of a manageable size (Although the 127 is obviously much smaller).

My headache now lies with the mounts. The kind Sky Watcher people are thoughtful enough to add a discount when you buy a scope and mount together ... but only in very specific combinations. So specific in fact that if I wanted an EQ5 mount, with the thought of dabbling in some AP at some point, it would be cheaper to buy the SW200P than either of the other two scopes on the same mount!

It's true that straight out of the box the mak will be better on planets but ultimately apparture wins you can get the same magnification out of the 150p using barlows and the same magnification will give you increased resolution using the 150p

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Just a side thought here. The SM127 is a nice portable scope but how does its cooling down period compare to say the SW150p? Some sources would suggest it needs in excess of 30 minutes to cool down and up to an hour to be at its best.

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Just a side thought here. The SM127 is a nice portable scope but how does its cooling down period compare to say the SW150p? Some sources would suggest it needs in excess of 30 minutes to cool down and up to an hour to be at its best.

Yes definitely needs longer to cool than the 150p but depends where you keep it. Keeping it somewhere cool will help

Cheers

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All the scopes you mention are good scopes and will give you some great views, however I would spend as much money as you can afford on the mount and get an HEQ5 as a minimum.. It WILL save you money in the long term.

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This a nice thread thanks guys,

I had a similar mount problem, but with skywatcher Mak 180, My compromise was to get the EQ5 mount which is cheap"ish" I am now using the scope,which is my first priority, I intend to add on some sort of computer tracking when I can afford it.

Maybe that is an option for you?

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Yes, I was looking at the EQ5 mount, but as I mentioned in an earlier post I was a little frustrated by the pricing strategy between scopes. To give a worked example ...

SkyMax-127 on EQ5 - £487

Sky Watcher 150p on EQ5 - £423

Sky Watcher 200p on EQ5 - £414

So for two OTAs that cost about the same (127 and 200p), the 127 is £73 more expensive when bought with an EQ5 mount.

Things then get more complicated because whilst from what I've read I could probably do some imaging with the 127 or 150p on an EQ5, the 200p is already pushing the EQ5 to capacity just for viewing. The only reason I'd be getting the EQ5 would be with a view to providing a degree of future proofing in regards to AP. The saving I'd make on the 200p then becomes redundant and I may as well just get the 127 on its GOTO mount as a viewing scope and save a chunk of money over a scope which is probably a little large for my situation anyway.

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Trust me, IF you are thinking about going down the AP route then the EQ5 would need to be set up perfectly to get anything like good images, Hence why I would try a stretch to an HEQ5 if you can..

I know I wish I had listened to everyone who advised that to me... And Yes I am now saving up to replace the EQ5 with an HEQ5.

The number of clear nights we get is not enough to be using over 1 hour each night trying to get the EQ5 aligned correctly to allow me to get exposures of more than 180 second ..

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So for two OTAs that cost about the same (127 and 200p), the 127 is £73 more expensive when bought with an EQ5 mount.

The saving I'd make on the 200p then becomes redundant and I may as well just get the 127 on its GOTO mount as a viewing scope and save a chunk of money over a scope which is probably a little large for my situation anyway.

I get you, And feel that pain. I ended up buying the 180 as OTA and purchasing the mount seperately as I wanted that particular scope and nothing less/more, but couldn't get it cheap enough as a full set up, having said that AP is not my thing I am a simple stargazer (for now :grin: )

As i said just an option to get you out there since you have almost cracked the real dilemma and settled on a scope...

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Well, I've done it. I've purchased a SkyMax 127 on the go to mount, it should be with me next week. I almost got in on the eq3-2 mount, then I realised that if I want an EQ mount it would be for AP and I'd rather not sink money in to upgrading an eq3-2 to tracking/ GOTO.

I justified this purchase mainly on it's extreme portability, it's high eye relief for higher magnifications and the fact that I'm a bit of a gadget [removed word].

I'll try and start a blog once I get it.

Oh, and sorry in advance for the cloudy skies over the next few weeks.

James

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To be fair to the EQ5 mount, I think it gets a hard time from a certain point of view from some people. For example the discussion here on the SW200P newt and EQ5 combo (which is as has been stated, a Sky at night winner). It does work. Yes it may not result in photography to the same quality as the HEQ5 and above, but it can do some very nice pictures all the same.

Have a look what this chap has managed and he is no pro. > http://aspinpujo.free.fr/astro/wordpress/?cat=12

He's using an EQ5/200p combo, and added the polar scope to the mount, along with the motor. Not even the EQ5 pro with goto.

I'd personally be made up with those images if it were me.

Maybe remove your finder to take off a little bit of weight once set for imaging, and then attach your camera.

Not having a dig, just thought I'd even it up somewhat as not everyone ends up going 'hardcore' AP.

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