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SW refractors 80 ED

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I would ask which of these two refractors is best for visual observation, better optical quality and mechanical quality.
- Skywatcher ED80
- Sky Watcher Equinox ED80
And also ask what azimuth mount would go well for them.
One has rings and the other foot "L", this feature would affect the image in any way? Eg more vibration for the model with foot "L"? and in comfort, lightness and maneuverability?
A greeting and very grateful  for their opinions

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I have the ED80 and it is a scope that punches above its weight.

The Equinox might be slightly better on mechanical quality but the optics are the same. Sharp views of the Moon and DSO's, not so good on planetary but a good barlow would allow you to push the limits. I have seen some images on this forum where folk have gone beyond the 160x that this scope would normally only take.

I have used mine on an AZ4 and now a Vixen Porta II, I prefer the Vixen as it has slow motion controls and the AZ4 needs a nudge..and you can over nudge.

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The ED is F7.5 and the Equinox is F6.25 not sure if the optics are different or its the tube that makes it different. Both are excellent but the Equinox is nicer built, has a retractable dew shield and is shorter if portability and neatness is important to you. The L foot is very rigid and does not  move. Any stability issues will be related to the tripod. Mine lives on a UNI18 and a Sabre mount. There is no vibration on that set up to speak of.

Visually It might be impossible to see a difference between the two, my Equinox is very well behaved on bright objects and no signs of CA. The ED will be the same.

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I've got the old blue ED80 F/7.5 in the too-big tube and optically it's about as good as you can reasonably get for a doublet. It also has the benefit of a dewcap that doesn't retract so can't slide down in the dark without you noticing like a lot of modern refractors do. Because it's bigger and heavier than a lot of alternatives it's less popular so cheaper S/H... recommended. No experience with the equinox.


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I bought a Equinox 80 last week and it is a stunning performer. It is mounted on a AZ4 altazimuth mount with aluminium tripod and L bracket, as I wanted to use this scope as a light weight grab and go instrument.

Since it arrived I've had some very good nights, the seeing has been unusually steady and the views quite remarkable. The moon around midnight on the 1st of Feb was amazingly sharp and detailed. Jupiter displayed five belts and its equatorial band was visible, enhanced somewhat by a festoon from the NEB. This made the north equatorial zone appear blue/grey compared to the more brilliant SEZ.

With a 31mm Nagler it gives an amazing 5° field and comet Lovejoy was framed against a piercingly sharp starry background. For brighter DSOs it performs a treat, and that's with a near full moon in the sky. I can't wait for a clear moonless night! I also managed to observe the occultation of the binary star ALKIBASH by the moon. As it reappeared a little over an hour later, two perfect points of light kissing each other at X100, each displayed a perfect first diffraction ring.

I believe the ED80 is in a larger diameter tube than the equinox 80 which may be something to consider before you buy.

So good are these scopes on the moon that you could quite easily kid yourself into believing you're using a 100mm.

Mike :-)

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