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Gas_mantle

Are SW Evostar 120mm and 150mm refractors any good to someone on a budget ?

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Hi all,

I've recently bought a SW NE6pro goto mount and later next year intend to buy an ED80 with a view to trying simple astrophotography, at the moment I use the mount for visual observations using my ancient 250mm Newtonian. Unfortunately my scope is getting a bit tired and really is well past its best so I'd like a modest refractor to replace it as a visual instrument and have considered the Evostar 120mm or 150mm refractors.

I realise they are budget instruments and will suffer some CA but I have already spent £1000 on the mount an funds are a bit tight at the moment so I cant really be paying out for an ED of that aperture.

What do others think of the SW Evostars ? are they work the money for an amateur on a budget ?

I realise no one scope is suited to observing everything but I'd like something that will perform as a reasonable all rounder, a bit of deep sky, a bit of lunar / planetary etc. What sort of results can I expect from a budget refractor of 120 - 150mm aperture ?

Is there much difference in performance between the 120mm and 150mm ? (there is about £250 difference in price).

Please don't try to talk me into a reflector, I've made up my mind I want a refractor this time :-)

Many thanks

Peter.

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You already have a Reflector, just stick a camera on it and see how it goes, while saving for the EDXX.....

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The 120 evo is very good value and will work well on your mount, a Tal100rs would be a better bet but you are not likely to find one now. l would go for the evo 120

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Hi peter is there a reason why you dont want a reflector? you can get the 130PDS for a fraction of the price of the ED80 and its just as small and compact with pretty much the same FOV. dont forget you will want a field flattner with the ed80 aswell or you will have to crop your images when using a dslr. 

ive looked through a 120mm evostar a number of times they are ok but i prefer a good old newt :D

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Hi all,

Thanks for the replies :laugh:

The reason I won't consider a reflector is just one of personal preference, I used to be very interested in astronomy 30 or 40 yrs ago and have a number of refractors then one day I bought the 250mm Newtonian that I still have. I've never been happy with it, maybe I just got a bad one but nevertheless it's put me off them. I know it doesn't make any sense but if I bought another reflector I'll be forever wishing I'd bought a refractor.

I really rather forego the extra aperture that a reflector would give me for the same money just so I can have the peace of mind of having a refractor.

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The OP doesn't want a reflector. Any advice given needs to respect that. No more reflector comments please.

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The OP doesn't want a reflector. Any advice given needs to respect that. No more reflector comments please.

i was simply asking why?

theres not much in performance between the 120-150 but theres a big jump in size the 150 is a monster. but the eq6 will handle it. but if your thinking about buying the 150 you might aswell just buy the ed80 its nearly the same price. and then you can start the slippery slope into AP :)

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I have an Evostar 120 Achromat and it is a very nice scope to use.  The only time I have noticed ca is when observing very bright planets like Jupiter and Venus.  A bit of magnification soon makes it bareable as it dims the object so the ca is far less conspicuous.  For the Moon it is fine. I also use it for Solar imaging with a DSLR camera.

The 150 would be much bigger and heavier - I'm not so sure if it would actually be better, OK a little more light but overall much more awkward to use.

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I have the 120 mainly for white light solar at which it excels. For low power wide field it is great. For higher power on the moon and planets not so good but ok. My 80mm f11 vixen is better on the latter

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Thanks everyone, the replies have been very helpful :laugh:

Having heard what people here have said and looking at reviews online it seems like the 120 Evostar offers good value for money and can give decent results on a budget. I think I'll buy one of them after Christmas, it will give me something to replace my old Newt as a visual scope then I can look at getting an ED80 to try imaging in 3 - 4 months time.

I know the Evostar isn't ideal for imaging but I'm sure I can at least experiment a bit till funds get me an ED80, if I can get a few half decent images of Jupiter or the moon I'd be happy for now :laugh:

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To be honest i used to use my evo 120 for Luna imaging and it did the job just fine, you will be happy with the results, but like i say if you can find a TAL100rs it would be the one to get, worth emailing a few shops, near the same price and better optics

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To be honest i used to use my evo 120 for Luna imaging and it did the job just fine, you will be happy with the results, but like i say if you can find a TAL100rs it would be the one to get, worth emailing a few shops, near the same price and better optics

Thanks for that :smiley:

I've just done a search. there's a UK supplier who has a Tal100rs in stock for £249 that's is the same price as the Evostar 120mm.

How does the better optics of one compare against the bigger aperture of the other ?

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The tal is a far better scope for general use than the sw 120 at the same price I would get the tal. You lose a little aperture and a little widest field but gain in every other dept.

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The Tal is a really crisp scope and has less chromatic aberration being F/10. The focuser is really good build too.

Check out this thread

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/171218-tal-100rs-or-evostar-120-that-age-old-discussion/

I'm really pleased with mine, solidly built and they look the business :)

Ben

Edited by Jim Steele

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The TAL has way better optics, the objective glass is made by LZOS, and it has a crayford focuser that is very nice indeed, i traded down from the 120 evo to the 100 TAL and i can say hand on heart the TAL is superior

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They are very well made and ,although I haven't used mine yet, I understand that they are very slightly better optically than the Tal and have a better quality finish, that one for sale is only a few months old I believe and quite a bit cheaper than a new one

Edited by Seafury
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I'm just wondering if the Crayford on a tal would handle the imaging side , in respect to weight of equipment,a bit better than the evo too...

The kumning F11 scopes, like the lyra option are very good too... I have an Altair starwave version and just love it to bits..

I know Jules rates the optics on the tal to be just as good as the lyra.. You pay extra for rotatable focuser with duel speed and a better spec finish on things like the dew shield with the Lyra...

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They are very well made and ,although I haven't used mine yet, I understand that they are very slightly better optically than the Tal and have a better quality finish, that one for sale is only a few months old I believe and quite a bit cheaper than a new one

Yes but also don't forget you'll also need a finder.. I can't comment on the lyra but for the money, the Tal is excellent.

Since the op was on a budget, I would wholeheartedly recommend the Tal.

Edited by Jim Steele

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I've owned all the scopes discussed here, so here is a short summary of each as I found them, good and bad.

SW 120 F8.3. A good, cheap achromat with so so build quality and a reasonable objective. On mine I noticed quite a bit of CA and it didn't like higher magnification (over x150).

SW 150 F8. Same build quality, MUCH bigger in size, but in my opinion in a different league optically to the 120. It pulls in so much more light and on the several I have owned, the CA was much less. For some reason, I found 2" eyepieces showed less CA than 1.25". Very decent on deep sky as well as Luna, Planets etc. Sharp up to about x200 then gets softer.

Tal 100RS. I've owned half a dozen of these and an 125R (the bigger 5" version). The optics are top class and uber sharp. CA is not distracting. Build is generally good, if a bit "industrial" (some would say quirky) :-). Comes new (if you can find one) with excellent accessories: one of the best 30mm finders on the market, ditto for the diagonal, excellent 25mm plossl eyepiece and so so 6.3mm plossl. A complete bargain and best bang for buck, period. Highly recommended.

Vixen SP102m. This Japan built scope was the benchmark for many years in high quality achromats. They come up occasionally in good used condition (probably over 25 years old now) but with super optics and a nice, smooth R&P focuser and very good 6x30 finder. Highly recommended if you can find one. 

Lyra F11 102mm. This was my favourite of the bunch: the Tal offers better value with the accessories pack, but the Lyra has William Optics build of the tube, and the lens is superb - shading the Tal in my opinion, not by much, but definitely noticeable. CA is slightly less too, but this is probably due to the slightly longer (10% longer) focal length, meaning approx 10% better colour correction. If you can find one of these in good used condition -grab it! Available new from Lyra Optic in the UK, from a trusted dealer who will check it all before shipping it. This one gets my vote.

All of the above scopes will give nice views: but if you really want the best views you can get from a refractor without having to invest in Televue, Takahashi etc, then the Lyra, Vixen and Tal are the best, no doubt in my mind.

Good luck with your choice.

Dave

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Sorry, in the Lyra F11 should have said "has William Optics build QUALITY of the tube".. :Envy:

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To be honest, and I'm well and truly sat in the F11 camp here, the tal with accessories is the best value of the bunch..

If you take a new lyra at £425 and have to add a diagonal and a finder scope too then your pushing over £500, probably even if you get them second hand...

You could get a starwave variant for £360 but again diagonal and finder are required... It will take a standard synta finder, but it's not a perfect match and the scope which looks this good neeeeeds a perfect match!! So again your over £400..

The tal comes with all of this included for the price.. its a huge bang for buck option, you don't often get maximum returns for your cash like that..

Those f11's do just look special though... oh and you'll probably need a pier extension for which ever you chose... damp knees.. spoils many a night looking up..

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I see ENS on the bay have a lyra in at just over £300....

All though it did occur to me that the EVO 150 is a similar price to an ed80 if your considering that for imaging then errrrrr why wait? (Just a thought!)

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