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Hi Mark, You are definitely living up to your user name, aren't you! So you're trying to find a clear winner between MAK, SCT and Apo refractor (your other thread specifies planetary) and lo

I remember walking around the SGL star party a few years back, when many people were observing Jupiter. What surprised me wasn't the difference in views, but actually how similar they were. I know thi

Me too. First light has yet to occur - but I am really liking the build quality (as I did of the 102). It's certainly of manageable size and weight. I have added a Baader focuser in order to have

31 minutes ago, John said:

I've owned the two scopes but not at the same time so I've not directly compared them.

This review of the Orion 180 mak-cass (same scope as the Skywatcher) does do comparisons with quality 5" and 6" refractors though so might be of interest:

https://www.astromart.com/reviews/article.asp?article_id=643

 

Thank you John. I will look at this. 

Mark

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36 minutes ago, John said:

I've owned the two scopes but not at the same time so I've not directly compared them.

This review of the Orion 180 mak-cass (same scope as the Skywatcher) does do comparisons with quality 5" and 6" refractors though so might be of interest:

https://www.astromart.com/reviews/article.asp?article_id=643

 

Good review for reference John. 

Especially interesting to me was that a Celestron reducer worked with the 180.

I am surprised that a 1.25 inch 30mm ep introduced vignetting.

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19 minutes ago, Analysis Paralysis said:

Thank you John. I will look at this. 

Mark

Hi John, I realized I've already read this review, but it was useful to read again. From experience with photography (general) I know I prefer higher contrast images and sharpness and from my experience with getting new spectacles from the optician, I also know I am very fussy about sharpness. With my mentality, I think either a mak or frac would be best for visual. I imagine the 180 mm mak would outgun the 120 mm ed skywatcher on double stars based on aperture. Would you agree?

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3 hours ago, Analysis Paralysis said:

... I imagine the 180 mm mak would outgun the 120 mm ed skywatcher on double stars based on aperture. Would you agree?

I've not compared them directly. I think they would be pretty close but under excellent conditions and with an experienced eye the obstructed 180 should out-resolve the clear aperture 120 by a small margin. Quite often the seeing conditions will be the limit though, rather than the scope. "Outgun" is a rather OTT term for what may well be quite a subtle difference in real world viewing.

I've split some pretty tight doubles with my ED120 :smiley:

Here is an interesting refractor vs mak comment to think on:

 

 

 

 

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I have also owned and very much enjoyed a 120 ED. It's a great, versatile scope and worthy of consideration from anyone contemplating this sort of aperture. I did't quite love mine enough to name it and keep it, but in hindsight this had nothing to do with the views, mostly the physical tube length that was the deciding factor for me at the time.

I now find myself trying out a 150 Mak to provide for those steady Lunar and more-distant-future ideal planetary nights, while keeping in mind that it might or might not be as good as the 120ED - quite possibly not. I certainly do expect more impressive high-power views than from the TV-85, but wouldn't from a smaller Mak. First light is still pending.

It was only at the last moment that I decided to try the 150 Mak before going straight for a 180. My thinking was that it would probably take a 180 to at least equal the 120ED, but that the 180 might be a bit more than I could enjoyably use on my mount of choice. Also, life with a big Mak is a bit of an odd arrangement, keeping it in an unheated shed to manage cool-down time.

I'd have to say that a 120ED is highly likely to be worth your while. A 180 Mak might also be so, but if you don't mind operating a frac longer than 600mm, why bother?

:happy11:

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14 hours ago, Analysis Paralysis said:

Hi everyone

Anyone got experience comparing these on planets and double stars, bright DSO?

Thanks

Mark

Hi Mark,

You are definitely living up to your user name, aren't you!

So you're trying to find a clear winner between MAK, SCT and Apo refractor (your other thread specifies planetary) and lots of owners, including myself, have provided opinion on the differences and preferences between these scope types, but I thought I'd just add this....

Whilst we can share our experiences with the scopes we've looked through and claim this one was better than that one etc, our opinions are all subjective. We all see different things, even through the same scopes, so in reality it is impossible to state which scope is best. You will also note than some users are heavily biased towards one design and sometimes that bias doesn't make sense on paper.

I like to analyse things to death too and "on paper" I should have kept my C8 for planetary work. But, we astronomers are not rational and whichever scope you try you will undoubtedtly feel the need to try others. It is this process of trying out different scope designs that leads to one being preferring a particular design, for me its refractors, for the next guy it'll be CATs and the next guy Newtonian and so it goes on.

And, what you will find is that despite not being technically perfect for the task, you may find a design that you prefer for other reasons such as ergonomics, portability, mounting requirements - they are all considerations that unfortunately you will never understand until you've tried them all!

So, what I am trying to say is this - You have a shortlist of very capable scopes. 180MAK, C8 and 120mm APO, you will not be dissapointed with the planetary performance of any of these imho. They will all serve up different results and be better or worse in certain areas so go with what your gut is telling you and go with what you "think" you will prefer to own (you must also consider which scope you like to look AT the most, because you WILL look at it, a lot!).

My summary would be:

MAKS - longer to cool, very long focal length, easy on EPs, narrow FoV, no collimation, good contrast, bright image (larger exit pupil for any given EP FL), heavy, good at splitting double stars, generally not recommended for DSO.

SCT - quicker to cool, slightly shorter FL and thus wider FoV, easy on EPs, collimation critical for best results but is easy, least contrasty (but by no means bad), bright image (larger exit pupil for any given EP FL), relatively light weight, non-edge versions slightly soft on stars, OK on smaller DSOs, excellent imho on globs.

APO Refractor - Quickest to cool, shorter focal length puts more demand on EPs and requires shorter focal length EPs to reach higher mag, which results in smaller exit pupil and dimmer image. Best contrast. Medium weight unless you go for a big triplet/quad, ultra sharp on stars, excellent wider field, very good on DSO but won't go quite as deep as an SCT.

Finally, consider this: UK weather. It is incredibly variable and sometimes quick to change. Aperture wins on resolution for planets but is influenced by seeing which can limit larger scopes to the same performance as smaller ones. Temperature changes can make cooling a PITA, even on occasion my SCT was constantly chasing falling temps, a MAK suffers more. If you are to be a totally dedicated planetary observer, you will have to accept that you may not get as much time behind the scope as you like, or you will be seeing limited, which is why so many of us talk about the "grab & go" ability of a set up which enables quicker sessions.

I've tried to stay impartial but reading back, it's clear to me why I've ended up with an APO, though I can't help thinking I should recommend the SCT to you! This was probably of no help whatsoever!!!!

Edited by parallaxerr
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Hi. Personally speaking I think this will be a close call. We all have our likes and dislikes.

If you are that fussy and concerned to make the best choice for "you" then you need to see with your own eyes first hand.

Therefore I suggest you find the closest astronomy club near your location or visit a star party where lots of different scopes are being used. You will more than likely find some 120ed and 180 Mak, and have a look with your own eyes. We are a friendly bunch and a polite request to have a look through one of the scopes IMO will be meet with a more than helpful response. Go and have a look with your own eyes at the candidates on your short list. As we all have different eyes and you will be the one who ultimately has to pay the cash and view through the scope.

I hope this helps☺

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Timebandit said:

 

 

If you are that fussy and concerned to make the best choice for "you" then you need to see with your own eyes first hand.

Therefore I suggest you find the closest astronomy club near your location or visit a star party where lots of different scopes are being used. You will more than likely find some 120ed and 180 Mak, and have a look with your own eyes. We are a friendly bunch and a polite request to have a look through one of the scopes IMO will be meet with a more than helpful response. Go and have a look with your own eyes at the candidates on your short list. As we all have different eyes and you will be the one who ultimately has to pay the cash and view through the scope.

 

 

 

Absolutely! We are all trying to give objective answers to a subjective issue: best to look at a few of your chosen objects through different scopes to see which view you prefer rather than what is "best". You may find that the best compromise is to buy two scopes - I have a couple of fracs and a couple of Maks, and use them depending on what I'm looking for, and on the conditions. If I want to show neighbours or my grandchildren an easy double star or say Jupiter, I'll probably use a frac, but if I want to tease out a faint companion star or detail on Mars, then the 180 Mak is probably the tool for the job.

Chris

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I remember walking around the SGL star party a few years back, when many people were observing Jupiter. What surprised me wasn't the difference in views, but actually how similar they were. I know this was based upon relatively brief looks, but there were a number of different scope types, each of which put up a very respectable view that I would have been happy looking at.

I tend to be biased towards the refractor side, as much as anything for aesthetic and convenience reasons; very little cool down, no collimation and lovely star shapes which you just don't get in compound scopes unless in perfect conditions ( I never achieved them with any SCT or Mak I had despite quite intensive efforts to cool and collimate them correctly). I think I tend to prefer SCTs to Maks now, just because they are a little less extreme on the focal length and cooling is a little easier. I do fancy a Mak-Newt at some point, when I have a mount that could take one and when it could be housed outside permanently.

I look forward to Mike's opinion on the Mak 150, perhaps get his feedback first before committing?

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Slight left field suggestion. Go for a refractor with a very good reputation. SW Esprit triplet or ED, or a Takahashi 100. All are investments (especially the Tak). They will amaze you with their capabilities.

Later if you want more aperture, consider a 180 Mak-cass or 8 inch SCT, or long FL Newtonian.

But start with a quality 100 frac alone and go from there.

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1 hour ago, Lockie said:

Looking forward to your thoughts :) 

 

14 minutes ago, chiltonstar said:

I am as well!

Me too. :happy11:

First light has yet to occur - but I am really liking the build quality (as I did of the 102). It's certainly of manageable size and weight. I have added a Baader focuser in order to have one less reason not to love it - but this is admittedly a luxury given the current quality of the primary focuser on the Skymax.

At present, it's hiding *cough* no, staying cool in the unheated shed awaiting first session.

Will report in due course.

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Just now, Analysis Paralysis said:

I think mine would have to, too, if I decided to get one.?

Thank you for your comments. Did I mention that I recently bought a secondhand 80 mm ed skywatcher for trying out astrophotography. I would like to get a second scope to compliment it. Hence my questions. But, and it is a big BUT, I don't have a mount yet! And I have virtually decided (yes, I know that is a surprise ☺️), that the heq5 synscan mount with WiFi control is what I need to really get a good versatility for imaging, but which can be used for a second scope eventually. Common sense tells me that my finances have obviously to be directed to a mount, without which I can't do anything! Once I have the astrophotography kit and have used the frac for visual as well, perhaps I will know if I'd like a 120 mm ed or the 180 mm Mak, which I think I have narrowed the choice to.

Thank you 

Mark

 

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2 hours ago, 25585 said:

Get a Vixen mount if you want equatorial. They are more expensive but more refined. I am considering one in preference to any SW.

Hi. When you say more refined, could you specify why? I know the heq5 has many good reviews. Also I have already bought a WiFi dongle for £50 for anticipated use in the heq5. So, the vixen would have to be much better. Also, I have seen wonderful images taken with the 80 mm ed / heq5 combo.

Cheers

Mark

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3 hours ago, alanjgreen said:

Yes, and 525 pretty good. Although, I can get it brand new for 250 more. Plus the older versions were 170 mm aperture, but don't know in this case. Thanks for this anyway. ?

Mark

3 hours ago, alanjgreen said:
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On 10/01/2018 at 23:38, Analysis Paralysis said:

Hi. When you say more refined, could you specify why? I know the heq5 has many good reviews. Also I have already bought a WiFi dongle for £50 for anticipated use in the heq5. So, the vixen would have to be much better. Also, I have seen wonderful images taken with the 80 mm ed / heq5 combo.

Cheers

Mark

My confidence in SW mounts results from a faulty Skytee 2, a simple alt az mount which should have been  better than the agricultural thing it is. More sophisticated hardware from the same company is now not what I would choose. 

Vixen being more up-market and with more of a reputation, are a safer bet to me. 

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