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WO Zenithstar ZS71 ED vs SW Equinox 80 Apo


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As some may Know,,,,,,,,, I've been mulling over an AP set up based around a smallish apo (hopefully to be purchased this year) and so what is the opinion of everyone regarding the Zenithstar and the Equinox?

I will be getting a compatible focal reducer for which ever one I eventually get to speed the scope up and mounting it on either a HEQ-5 or NEQ-6 (most likely the former)....

Opinions?

My passion id deep sky target wise - but will be hoping for a good all-rounder.

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I'm interested in this one too as I've been thinking of replacing the ED80 & ZS66 dual rig with possibly a pair of the ZS81's. martin_h replaced his ED80 with one & seems to be getting some nice results. That said the ED80's a hard one to beat for the money.

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You have to take into account the ED80's focuser, its the weakpoint, if you have Camera, filterwheel, reducer hanging of the end its very prone to slip, the cost of a good focuser to go on it is about the same as the scope itself.

Personally I have gone through a load of 80mm scopes and focusers, the newer 3" crayfords on a lot of badge engineered scopes are good, you just need to choose the right optics to match.

Revelation 80mm semi apo Okish single speed focuser

Revelation 100mm APO good 3" focuser (did have to replace bearings once though due to misuse though)

Meade 80mm triplet, single speed abomination of a focuser.

Stellavue 80mm good 2" Generic focuser

2 x SW ED80's both had stock focusers replaced, will be ok for a DSLR though.

Takahashi FSQ85 Divine is all aspects except mounting the thing on a dovetail. (really is a problem due to the size of the focuser and standard rings).

Revelation have started releasing some RnP focusers which could be good.

Edited by Earl
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You have to take into account the ED80's focuser, its the weakpoint, if you have Camera, filterwheel, reducer hanging of the end its very prone to slip, the cost of a good focuser to go on it is about the same as the scope itself.

Personally I have gone through a load of 80mm scopes and focusers, the newer 3" crayfords on a lot of badge engineered scopes are good, you just need to choose the right optics to match.

I know what you mean but as long as I tighten up the screw enough my equinox can easily hold my DSLR and hefty flattener. Impressively, the focuser remains unmoved despite a session of slewing (with cam attached) and zenithal imaging. Personally, i'm finding the grub screw on the 2" to be more of a concern. I have to overtighten that to stop the flattener falling out.

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The ED80's focuser holds the reducer, 2" filterwheel, and QHY9 on mine and is no problem - when adjusted correctly. When I first used the WO the focuser was totally useless and wouldn't hold a thing and couldn't be racked inwards with any weight on it, but after some tweeking is now fine.

And I didnt get rid of the ED80......I'm using it as a guide scope at the moment.........

P2060043.jpg

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I have recently bought a ZS71 2013 to complement my ED80 with a modded DSLR. The reason I bought the ZS71 was for slightly larger FOV and faster optics but also because the ZS71 comes with a RP focuser, I'm currently using it with a WO flatener VI, OAG (Lodestar Express), Atik EFW2 (RGB/narrownband) and Atik 460ex and I'm sure that the ED80 with it's standard Crawford focuser would not be able to hold the weight without slipping but the ZS71 does once the focus lock is tight. The ED80 supports the DLSR but haven't tried it with my CCD setup yet, I did consider a focuser upgrade for the ED80 but I decided a second faster scope would give me flexibility With all the attachments and dovetail bar I weighed the ZS71 setup at ~5Kg, the tube itself is some 2.7kg.

Unfortunately due to work and weather I'm still waiting for a proper first light and imaging session and now it's approaching summer plus I have to setup each night :( Martin_h is producing some fantastic pictures with his ZS71 and indeed it gives me something to aim for. It maybe best to compare costs and the FOV for each with any attached camera sensors in stellarium or dstring.

The ED80 is a fantastic scope for the cost and I do not regret buying one, FLO do an OTA version and with the matched reducer that comes in at around £509 and the ZS71 is around £439 incl the reducer. I haven't yet managed to test the start colours in the ZS71 at lot of people have commented on the blue issues with cheaper doublets but the ED80 may do a better job there.

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The ED80's focuser holds the reducer, 2" filterwheel, and QHY9 on mine and is no problem - when adjusted correctly. When I first used the WO the focuser was totally useless and wouldn't hold a thing and couldn't be racked inwards with any weight on it, but after some tweeking is now fine.

And I didnt get rid of the ED80......I'm using it as a guide scope at the moment.........

P2060043.jpg

when you say tweeking - What did this involve?

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Just tweeking of the adjustment screws on the focuser, 3 minute job.

Ok I can do that no problem (sometimes when someone says tweeking the tweek can involve six years experience and masters degree).

Martin - How does the WO Zenithstar stand up performance wise, to the SW fracs? My original target AP frac was the SW ED80 simply based on price but having asked a few questions I thought the SW Equinox may be a better option at a slight increase in outlay. Then I started to hear very good things about WO fracs and their new RP focuser's aimed at improving AP performance and wondered at how good they may be. they seem faster than the SW fracs (with focal reducer) and seemed competitive on price.

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Hi newbie here.

I've just started building an AP setup, and bought the ZS71, mainly for the perceived focuser advantage over the ED80,. and the cost including the FR

One thing to watch out for (as I found!) is the extras required, as it comes as an OTA only.

I bought a WO dovetail adapter, 40 quid, a WO guider ring set at 60 quid, a finder and a diagonal to get up to the accessories you get with the skywatcher.

So that adds another 200 odd!

Your mileage may vary depending on what bits you want/need or have lying around!

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How does the ZS71 hold up against the ED80 with stars? I notice a definite bloat with RGB from my ZS66 compared with my ED80.

As for the ED80 focusser. Ever since I fitted a SW motor focus its hardy ever moved focus let alone slip across sessions. I hang the DSLR & 314L+/EFW2 both with the reducer with no probs.

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How does the ZS71 hold up against the ED80 with stars? I notice a definite bloat with RGB from my ZS66 compared with my ED80.

As for the ED80 focusser. Ever since I fitted a SW motor focus its hardy ever moved focus let alone slip across sessions. I hang the DSLR & 314L+/EFW2 both with the reducer with no probs.

+1

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  • 8 months later...

The ED80 and Equinox 80 are very different 'scopes. Different optics, different construction, different focuser. The ED80 is f7.5, the Equinox f6.25. The ed80 focused is held on by 3 screws, the Equinox focused is fully threaded onto the OTA barrell. The construction of the Equinox is much much heavier than the ED80. The focuser on the Equinox, although not perfect, is a massive improvement on the ED80.....its much more solid and will carry a DSLR with no issues. I've had both, and I sold my ED80.

There's also a very good field flattened for the Equinox for £70.

That Altair Astro scope looks like a nice piece of kit.

Edited by Zakalwe
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is the 81mm version of the W.O 71mm  worth the extra cash outlay?

Neil.

Hi Neil,

The 81 is a triplet, the 71 is a doublet. the triplet will outperform the doublet for sure. I have the 71 and I also have an Ascension triplet, the triplet is optically a better scope.

A.G

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The ED80 is unbeatable for the money from all of read and heard. I was just hoping to get something a bit faster (when combined with a focal reducer)

I have an ED80, a ZS71 and a  propr Apo Triplet. the build quality of the ZS71 is in another league to ED 80 but comparing them optically the ED80 is better corrected for the Blue, however the ED 80 is a slow F7.5 and even with a 0.85 FF/FR it becomes an F6.4,  the ZS71 is F5.9 and with the matched FF/FR it becomes an F4.7 almost nearly a stop faster than the ED 80, using a DSLR it gives you a lovely super wide FOV and the CA is not an issue, it is lovely with Ha but I do have some problems with it using the  Oiii filter but I have the same problem with my Apo Triplet and Oiii and before I finish may say yet again that there is no all rounder scope, one scope soon becomes two and then three as you realise that different targets need different Fls.

Regards,

A.G

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Neither are APO's they will spread the red and blue which is more of a problem for DSLR's than an astro CCD and filters. But then personally this a fine given the outlay.

once you add the reducer/flattener the flattener will show you how bad you focuser is sligned with the tube as everyone agrees here.

dont worry to much about it there are not many cheap fixes for these problems. just enjoy.

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