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Anyone know about Astronomica's 152mm Maksutov


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At last I can give everyone an update on the Maksutov I had ordered from "Astronomica." I got a full refund from them.

As you all know I sent the scope back for repair, with a serious focuser problem. In all fairness they did repair it - there was a spring situated behind the "visual back" which had been located in the wrong hole (of three) at source. They also removed all the "Synta" type grease and replaced with Lithium. The reported that the scope was performing much, much better but it still had a tiny bit of mirror "flop" (inherent in large Maksutovs) and image shift. They had tested the scope in the "field" and assured me that it performed very well. But they said that if I did not want to accept the scope back they would give me a complete refund.

It was with some reluctance that I decided to take the refund. The reason being that if I had taken the scope back and found it not up to my own satisfaction, it would only further complicate matters. I got the impression from Astronomica that my scope was one of a small batch of problematic scopes. (Chinese Quality Control Issue). Throughout my dealings with Astronomica, both Ian and Richard were open and honest with me, so I cannot fault Astronomica in that department.

As I reported in my earlier replies, there were some aspects of the scope I was very pleased with. The 8x50 finder was very easy to align, and gave very clear, bright and sharp views. The Scope had a good fit and finish to it. Optics looked very good. Mirror was in collimation (airy rings were concentric inside and out of focus). Star Diagonal that came with scope was good. Scopes clamp fitted my Skywatcher HEQ5 precisely and easily. The Dovetail was securely fitted to the scope.

Such a shame really.

I would still consider this scope if and when Astronomica can verify that the quality control problems have been sorted.

So, where do I go from here in my search for a scope to supplement my Skywatcher 200mm Newt, and the 90mm Skywatcher Mak that I have. I'm looking for something that has a long focal length, is a bit easier to use, and will give me very sharp views of the Moon, planets and some deep sky objects. My budget is around the £300 mark.

I've been thinking of the Skywatcher 127 Mak on the "Supatrak" mount (FLO has it on 10% discount at present), or a TAL 100RS refractor (OTA only) to mount on my HEQ5. I've heard some good things about this scope, and believe the OTA can be bought for under £200.

What do you all feel about these two?

I look forward to your thoughts on the above,

Regards,

philsail1

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Hi. Phil,

Sorry to hear it didn't work out for you with the Maksutov from Astronomica. I wish I could help you with the other choices available, but I have no experience of Maksutovs whatsoever. I think KK is an expert on the Mak, the only one on SGL I am aware of who uses one, although there are bound to be others.

Regarding Astronomica, I have bought a number of items from them in the recent past, a 150mm f8 refractor, an ED80, Barlows and eyepieces, an illuminated reticle, and all have been satisfactory, so I agree with you that this problem you have experienced, is down to the manufacturers Quality inspection, or lack of it in your case.

I too hope it does not deter anyone from dealing with Astronomica, as my dealings have all been excellent, with regard to the goods, and the staff.

Hope you get sorted with a scope soon anyway.

Best Wishes.

Ron. :icon_jokercolor:

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'tis a shame Phil but at least Astronomica gave good customer service, that's good to know.

Anyhoo, moving on..

I guess the obvious thing to ask to be what's the budget and I'm guessing you want a planet killer judging by your two current choices with relatively long focal lengths. But out of the two you've got there, I'd go with the TAL, but then I would :icon_jokercolor:....I got pretty lucky and picked up an Intes MK66 (6" Russian Mak) pretty cheaply and it's gorgeous :love7:. They're not overly common secondhand but if you can find either a 5 or 6" model, give it serious consideration. I've made this as clear as mud haven't I....

Tony..

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I've been thinking of the Skywatcher 127 Mak on the "Supatrak" mount (FLO has it on 10% discount at present), or a TAL 100RS refractor (OTA only) to mount on my HEQ5. I've heard some good things about this scope, and believe the OTA can be bought for under £200

That Skywatcher127Mak on the Supatrak you mention there does look a proper bargain and while I've never used one I don't think I've ever read anything bad about the scope itself. The Tal 100RS refractor is available at about £180 at the mo. I have the older ® version and can say that the Tal 4 inch achro is a very well corrected scope. I love mine to bits - again not read anything bad about them.

I'm guessing that most will advise on the Skywatcher127mak especially for it's compact format and ease of use on that little mount.

Keep us posted Phil.

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I glanced today at the classifieds section in the latest edition of Astronomy Now on the WH Smith shelves (as you do :icon_jokercolor:) and I saw that someone was selling in Skywatcher 150 Mak OTA for £300 - they are supposed to be very nice scopes.

John

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Many thanks for your replies fellas, Yes, I don't think anyone can fault Astronomica's customer service.

Also thanks for the snippets about the two scopes I'm interested in.

I.m still considering which scope to go for (the Skywatcher 127Mak or the TAL100RS!), but I think I'm beginning to err towards the TAL100RS - reason being is that I already have the 90mm Skywatcher Mak, which is a great little scope for "digiscoping" and for taking on holiday, so I wouldn't want to buy another Mak to have two competing with eachother! (But I do like the idea of having the 127 on the "Supatrak" as a "grab and go scope." I fancy the TAL though, as I've heard its optics are good, and it doesn't suffer from a great deal of chromatic aberration. Also a good finder, and of course the price. Also, i could mount the TAL on my HEQ5 mount.

So, if anyone has any more thoughts on the advantages/disadvantages (that I may not have considered) I would be grateful for your comments.

Regards,

philsail1

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Hello "StarMan1701"

Owning both the Skywatcher 127 Mak, and the TAL100RS - sounds like a dream come true!

Could you tell me if you have any slight preferences of one scope over the other when it comes to getting the best results when viewing the planets.

Which scope gives the clearest images?

Which scope gives the steadiest views when using the highest powers? What is are the limits of magnification of each scope on a night of good "seeing?"

Which is the easiest and quickest scope to set up and use?

Which scope is easiest to look through?

Which one is the scope you use most?

I look forward to hearing from you,

Regards,

philsail1

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Owning both the Skywatcher 127 Mak, and the TAL100RS - sounds like a dream come true!

I actually own the original Tal 100R - the 100RS is the updated version with the 2" focuser. (The focuser on the 100R has very limited travel, and is probably the only thing I would have changed about the OTA). The Orion 127mm Mak was purchased to compliment my Orion 80ED in a 'portable' dual-scope setup. I originally intended to sell the Tal refractor, but couldn't bring myself to do it...

Could you tell me if you have any slight preferences of one scope over the other when it comes to getting the best results when viewing the planets.

Swings and roundabouts really. The Mak is physically smaller than the refractor and has a (slightly) larger aperture, but takes longer to cool to ambient temperature. Niether telescope is too demanding as far as eyepieces are concerned, but the Mak has a longer focal length, (1540mm compared to the refractors 1000mm), so you can use longer focal length eyepieces to obtain high magnifications. Performance on the Moon and planets is good with both of these 'scopes.

Which scope gives the clearest images?

Nothing in it really. Purists will tell you that the central obstruction in the Mak will cause a slight loss in contrast, but at these apertures it is negligable at best and I have never noticed it.

Which scope gives the steadiest views when using the highest powers? What is are the limits of magnification of each scope on a night of good "seeing?"

This is a tough one as conditions vary. I don't really use anything smaller than 7mm on the Mak, (sometimes a 7mm Orthoscopic, but more often a 7mm Lanthanum), whereas I have used a 5mm Lanthanum LVW in the refractor - but not often. When observing the planets, I more often use eyepieces of between 7mm and 12mm focal length in the refractor, and 9mm to 18mm in the Mak.

Which is the easiest and quickest scope to set up and use?

It really depends upon which mount I use. If I set up the 100R on the undriven Tal equatorial, I can be up and running in about ten minutes, whereas if I use my LXD75, then I usually take a bit longer to polar align and set up the goto.

Which scope is easiest to look through?

Again, nothing in it. I don't have a problem with either.

Which one is the scope you use most?

I use them both pretty much equally.

Regards,

philsail1

Hope this helps.

Lee.

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Lee,

Thank you very much for your quick and informative reply to my questions. It does seem you are enjoying similar benefits from both scopes, perhaps with the TAL taking slightly higher magnifications that the Mak.

Could I ask you a couple of additional questions?

Does the TAL display much in the way of "chromatic aberration" or "fringing?"

Does the 127 Mak display any occasional light scatter inside the tube?

I'm still leaning towards the TAL100RS - mainly because I've never owned a TAL refractor. The positive things you say about the scope has further enhanced my impression of it.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Regards,

philsail1

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Hi Phil,

Both telescopes handle high magnifications well, (easier to achieve on the Mak due to its longer focal length) but, as always, much depends upon the sky conditions at the time.

Being an achromat, the Tal will inevitably show some false colour on the brightest objects, however, it is the best achromat I have seen - certainly good enough that I've never bothered with anything like a minus-violet filter. (In truth, this is probably part of the reason I didn't sell it).

As for light scatter in the Mak - to be honest I've not noticed any because I have never looked for it... I set up a new business back in January and this, coupled with the very poor weather we've had, means that I've had very few opportunities to get out this year. However, next time I do, I will have a look for it.

Again, I hope this helps.

Lee.

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Thanks for your replies Lee.

Very useful, and has helped me make up my mind.

I think I will go for the TAL100RS. This scope seems to be the best value for money at under £200, has good build quality, optics, finder scope, focusing range, and will give crisp (relatviley Chroma free) views of the planets. Also, it does not require a long cool down period before use.

(I will leave ordering until after the Christmas rush though - wouldn't want it to be lost or damaged in the post!).

Many thanks again,

Regards,

philsail1

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  • 7 months later...

Hello "Barkis" and "applecountry,"

Yes, I've just bought August's "Sky at Night" mag and seen the review of "Astronomica's" 152 maksutov.

Perhaps they have resolved the focuser/mirror shift problems that I sadly experienced with mine last year.

I think I would give them another go if I was after a Maksutov - but on condition that they give full refund if not satisfied.

As stated earlier, I found the construction, feel and looks of the scope excellent - and for the brief times it managed to hold focus, the images were pin sharp. It certainly would have been a "keeper" had it worked OK. (The finderscope was excellent too).

If they have it sorted now, - for the size and quality of its mirror - the scope does seem excellent value for the money.

Regards,

philsail1

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Philsail1, Do you know what the problem was regarding the scopes inability to maintain focus.

Was it down to the focuser itself, or one of the other components in the train?.

Ron. :D

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Barkis,

As far as I have heard from "Astronomica" themselves, it was a focusing tensioning spring (located under and around the central focusing tube of the main mirror,) which had unhooked itself from the scopes fixed back plate, thus allowing the mirror to float loose under no tension. (This is what made the focusing knob feel very slack, and caused the mirror to "sink" down and gradually drop out of focus).

Perhaps they have contacted the manufacturers, who have now made the locating "hook" on the end of the spring (where it locates in the baseplate) a bit more substancial.

I didn't take my scope apart so I cannot give you any further detail. Sounded a relatively simple problem though.

Regards,

philsail1

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Well,

If anyone is going to try the scope, just ensure that you have a guarantee that it can be exchanged for a full refund if not happy. The scope's past problems may have been fully corrected now - at the manufacturing end, so it may be an excellent scope for the price.

Regards,

philsail1

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I'd really be interested to see a comparison between the Astronomica and the Skymax Pro 150 Maksutovs. I presume they're the only two mainstream contendors for a reasonably priced 6" aperture Maksutov Cassegrain at the moment, or have I missed some out? When I first got into the hobby I remember reading about (and drooling over) the Intes MK67, but at that time it was about £1000 or so, if I remember correctly...

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