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edjbrown

100mm Maksutov vs 127mm, twice as good?

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Hello all,

firstly, thanks in advance for any help that comes my way. 

I am buying my first telescope and after a lot of research I have come to the conclusion that I am mostly interested in planetary observation. It seems to me that I might need a scope that is out of my budget/ portability preferences to see anything worth while that is more deep space. Also I simply love seeing Jupiter and Saturn (and hopefully some of their moons!)

I live in a city in Germany, I have a top floor balcony that might be a serviceable location but as you can imagine there is a good amount of light pollution so being able to easily transport my scope somewhere darker would be important. I also dont own a car here so whatever I get I would have to be able to cycle with/ maybe get a tram. With this in mind, though I think Newtonians are a bit cooler, I think a SCT or Maksutov would work well. 

However I have found that SCT's, mostly made my Celestron are a bit too expensive and honesty Im not interested in GoTo mounts or computerized versions, I think for me personally it kills the fun of the hunt. This leaves me with Maksutovs. 

I have narrowed my search down to a Bresser telescope 
It is a Bresser Maksutov Telescope MC 100/1400 EQ-3
Aperture: 100mm
Focal Length: 1400
F/Ratio: 14
€270

However I am somewhat tempted to get the next one up.
a Bresser Maksutov telescope MC 127/1900 Messier EXOS-1
Aperture: 127mm
Focal Length: 1900
F/Ratio: 15
€517

I know there are others, I have definitely considered the skywatcher 102 and 127 maks but they are a good 80-100 more Euros and come with a few less accessories and a poorer mount. 102 comes with only an EQ2. 

The extra 27mm of aperture does appeal to me, but it is twice the price, is it even close to twice as good? I would also be more reluctant to buy any extra eyepieces or Barlow lenses just yet with the pricier option, but obviously I want to get a scope that will keep me happy for a few years.

What do you folks think? 

Many thanks again,

Ed

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Welcome. Firstly in your travel portable needs I would drop looking at an EQ mount.

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I looked at a 127 Mak on an EQ3, and it was incredibly heavy with counterweights attached.  It was a deal breaker for me.  I eventually picked up a used 127 Mak and mounted it to an alt-az mount which doesn't require counterweights.  The result is much lighter and more easily transportable.  Something like the Skywatcher Maksutov telescope MC 127/1500 SkyMax-127 AZ-5 would be a lot lighter and easier to use and transport than an EQ mount.

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I don't know how the 127mm Mak compares to the 100/102mm Mak, but I can say it is quite nice for high power viewing.  I have looked through a 90mm Mak and thought the view was incredibly dim.

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Not sure on shipping costs but this is a 102mm weighing a little over 6 kilo.

an example combo

and this is the 127mm has a better f ratio than that Bresser I think.

127mm link 400.25 euro (one unit at this price as customer return)

Edited by happy-kat

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Personally i would go with the Skywatcher 127 Mak . From what I have read they seem to perform very well. And that bit of extra aperture, in percentage terms is a lot more light gathering ability in the larger unit.

And don't be put off buying used. That way you can get a Skywatcher 127 but at a great price.

I hope this helps☺

 

 

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I've got a mc-127 that the I've had for a while now. I can't say from experience how it compares portability wise with a 100mm but the 127 is a short and light ota already. I can mount it on an alt az mount indoors and when I'm ready carry the whole mount and scope outside easily. If you had the right bag and packing you could carry it a way in a rucksack or gym bag with a few accessories but carrying a mount around would be more of a problem. I agree with comments above I would recommend an alt az mount if portability and simplicity are the aim.

I'm not sure how much you would notice the extra aperture, I've not compared scopes that close in size, but if the 127 is pushing the budget I'd go for the 100 and appreciate the benefits of some spare budget for accessories, having a lighter smaller scope and having access to a wider maximum field of view

 If you get the bug and want to go bigger later you can keep the 100 as a grab and go scope, that's what I did. I was supposed to sell my 127 when I got a bigger scope but so far it is still hanging in there despite me having 2 bigger scopes and it still gets picked out of the lineup for action often.

Regarding sky watcher maksutovs note they are slightly faster focal ratio so will do slightly wider maximum fields of view and they get very good reviews but I went for the Bresser because it was a slower focal ratio which for me is what Maksutovs are all about.

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41 minutes ago, Louis D said:

I don't know how the 127mm Mak compares to the 100/102mm Mak, but I can say it is quite nice for high power viewing.  I have looked through a 90mm Mak and thought the view was incredibly dim.

I have a 90mm Mak and it is incredibly small and portable - packs an huge punch for it’s size as a grab & go scope but I feel it’s at it’s best on lunar and double stars really.  Not sure how much brighter the view in a 100mm would be.

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What is up with European pricing?  The Astroshop.eu price for the Skywatcher 127 Mak on an AZ-5 is $741 vs $496 from FLO.  VAT is 1% different between the two countries.

I could get the FLO version shipped to the US for $514.  That OTA alone goes for $400 here!  What a bargain.

Edited by Louis D

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FLO have one at reduced price on the link I gave for the 127mm mak at 400.25 euro. It's a customer return but the saving is pretty big.

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Firstly, thanks so much for all of your helpful replies. 

19 hours ago, Louis D said:

I looked at a 127 Mak on an EQ3, and it was incredibly heavy with counterweights attached.  It was a deal breaker for me.  I eventually picked up a used 127 Mak and mounted it to an alt-az mount which doesn't require counterweights.

Yeah I am concerned with that. I read the 127 including mount is about 13kg. So I think its doable but not ideal, especially with the mount alone making up 10kg. How do you find using an Altazimuth to track objects? I have never used one but I have read its bothersome. I imagine it a bit like using an etch-a-sketch.

18 hours ago, Timebandit said:

Don't be put off buying used. That way you can get a Skywatcher 127 but at a great price.

I hope this helps☺

Do you know of anywhere other than ebay? There is no gumtree in Germany, there is an ebay classifieds but it has a truly dismal telescope selection.

 

18 hours ago, Paz said:

...carrying a mount around would be more of a problem. I agree with comments above I would recommend an alt az mount if portability and simplicity are the aim.

I'm not sure how much you would notice the extra aperture...

 If you get the bug and want to go bigger later you can keep the 100 as a grab and go scope, that's what I did. I was supposed to sell my 127 when I got a bigger scope but so far it is still hanging in there despite me having 2 bigger scopes and it still gets picked out of the lineup for action often.

Regarding sky watcher maksutovs note they are slightly faster focal ratio so will do slightly wider maximum fields of view and they get very good reviews but I went for the Bresser because it was a slower focal ratio which for me is what Maksutovs are all about.

So you actually own the Bresser 127? I have really struggled to find any reviews, videos or anything really about it. There are few amateur clips on youtube but they didnt really help. I would love to know if you have any other thoughts on it. I understand the basics (I think) of F/ratios but I cant quite imagine the real life application of it. In what way will the Bressers F/15 be different/better/worse than the skywatchers F/11? 

 

18 hours ago, Louis D said:

What is up with European pricing? 

Tell me about it. I dont know if its a continental Europe thing or a Germany thing but I have noticed that I have less options for generally higher cost in almost all online purchases compared to the UK, where Im from. USA seems a telescope dream for pricing and options.

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I did do a bit more research.

The Skywatcher skymax 127  is a good €100 cheaper than the bresser 127. However I cant quite tell if the mount is as sturdy and Ive still not quite wrapped my head around the impact of f/ratios. Do any of you know if the Bressers f/15 would have an advantage over the Skywatchers f/11?

Taking in what you all said, and rethinking the portability issues I am revisiting the idea of getting a Newtonian (but not giving up on a Maks either) 

Both these scopes are a good deal cheaper the the 127 Maks I was looking at and come with a lot more aperture as well as having included Barlows and eyepieces. 

Skywatcher Explorer 150P

Skywatcher Explorer 150PL

Both of these are obviously less portable, but again I have a nice park only a 10 minute tram and walk away and there might be a bus that goes to one of the lakes, which are very dark. Other than portability, are both these much better options than the maks?

Again, thank you all for your kind feedback. 

Ed

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It depends what you want. The Maksutovs (probably including the Bressers) are generally instruments of excellent optical quality, compact, highly portable, and robust, and don't in general require collimation adjustments.

If you want aperture, Newtonians are cheap to manufacture, so if you want a cheap large OTA, get a Newtonian. On the downside, the eyepiece position varies a lot and on an equatorial mount can get into awkward positions unless you can rotate the whole tube.  The 150P and 150PL differ in focal length, the longer one being more suitable for use at higher magnification (on planets. etc) and less suitable for other stuff (widefield & photography). They generally require collimation by the owner.

As for mounts, a GoTo, once set up, is a great time saver, but adds to cost.  Some beginners find an equatorial mount to be a liability for visual use - too confusing.  The counterweights render them less suitable for portable use.

An altazimuth mount is simple to understand but tracking requires movement in two axes, not one.   They are good for portable use.

The mount of a Dobsonian-mounted Newtonian costs next to nothing to manufacture, so you can buy a relatively large aperture outfit for little cost. The downside is that there are no slow motions and no tracking - you just have to push it.  They are popular with people who want a large (and cheap) transportable telescope. (There are GoTo versions (at around three times the price :hmh:)

From a balcony, a maksutov on an alt-azimuth + tripod is the setup most likely to be usable. When observing planets, the light pollution will not make much difference, but heat rising from the building may. 

So that's a rough guide. You have to decide what feature is most important to you.

 

 

Edited by Cosmic Geoff

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I don't know about the mount that's best for you but I own a 127mm Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain and a 130mm Sky-Watcher newtonian. Their resolution is good, especially in the newtonian (simpler optics are easier to craft well) but 127-130 millimeters is not huge aperture for planets in mirror telescopes. I would ditch the idea of a 100mm mak, and consider the 127mm mak only in that kind of optical design.

The 150mm newtonian would resolve planets better but it is at the limit where turbulence will bother you more often at high power (go for the deep sky at lower power in that case). The 127mm and 130mm are a bit less sensitive to turbulence but also somewhat less powerful. Since a 150 can be stopped down to 130mm or 135mm but the opposite is not possible, I would go for the 150 if it's portable enough for you. 

Picture the scope on its mount, and see how much space you need on your balcony to move around it.

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Hi Ed and welcome to SGL. :hello2:

7 hours ago, edjbrown said:

Yeah I am concerned with that. I read the 127 including mount is about 13kg. So I think its doable but not ideal, especially with the mount alone making up 10kg. How do you find using an Altazimuth to track objects? I have never used one but I have read its bothersome. I imagine it a bit like using an etch-a-sketch.

Yes! using a Mak or an SCT on an alt-az mount is bit like using an etch-sketch. :evil62:

post-4682-0-08081900-1394160327_thumb.jpg.39874f9748f97e8f9852c808e219edfc.jpg <--- My C6 & 're-modded' ETX105 mounted on a Giro DX-ll

It is portable but sometimes a pain to track something small. The moon is OK as it is big... planets can be a chore, but the veiw is stunning if you have the patience to keep moving left / right and then up / down. It maybe easier on something like this ---> https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/skywatcher-az3-alt-az-mount.html  I did try my 'un-modded' ETX105 on one, or something similar several years ago before the 're-mod' and I was quite surprised how good it was. The only thing an alt-az rules out is astro-photography, though the Moon is acceptable and maybe the brighter planets. 

p3130001-enhanced.thumb.jpg.4d5cc4989d96b52e2bb88531e6f6e710.jpg

Above is an afocal photo of Montes Appeninus region with my ETX105 c/w 20mm Plossl eyepiece and a two mega-pixel digital compact camera. A few months later, the rear plastic cell and a cheap star diagonal was damaged after a fall from my mount. Fortunately it was on grass, so no damage was done to the main part of the OTA, mirror or meniscus cell. 

Another portable 'scope you may wish to consider is this one ---> https://www.firstlightoptics.com/heritage/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html 

Edited by Philip R

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5 hours ago, edjbrown said:

So you actually own the Bresser 127? I have really struggled to find any reviews, videos or anything really about it. There are few amateur clips on youtube but they didnt really help. I would love to know if you have any other thoughts on it. I understand the basics (I think) of F/ratios but I cant quite imagine the real life application of it. In what way will the Bressers F/15 be different/better/worse than the skywatchers F/11? 

Yes I've had it for quite a while. I struggled myself to find anything when I was researching it. I will knock up a review and post it when I get a chance (I have benefited hugely form reading other reviews so I should put something back), but just on the issue of focal ratios very briefly if you have a SW127 Mak and Bresser 127 Mak and compare them...

The Sky Watcher can provide a slightly wider maximum field of view because it is a shorter focal length (1500mm compared to 1900mm). With a typical maximum field of view eyepiece - a 32mm plossl - it will show a field of view of about 1.07 degrees. The Bresser maxes out at about 0.84 degrees with the same eyepiece.

The Bresser will show a slightly higher magnification with any given eyepiece, so with say a 10mm eyepiece the Bresser will be at 190x and the Sky Watcher will be at 150x. This gives the Bresser an advantage in terms of only needing lower power eyepieces for a given magnification which can help with eye relief and help with cost by avoiding having to have more expensive eyepieces at shorter focal lengths, however I would say these issues are marginal and remember that the Skywatcher can ultimately magnify by just as much as the Bresser with the right eyepieces.

The difference in focal ratio means that the Bresser should show slightly sharper images at any given magnification, but both scopes are known for sharp images, so this difference is also going to be very marginal.

I went for the Bresser because it was intended to be complimentary to a widefield refractor and so I wanted the more specialist/full-on f15 version, and I had read up on Maksutovs which were originally designed with very slow focal ratios in mind so I wanted to stick to that spirit - a pathetic reason but true.

The differences are marginal but if you are getting one scope and its your first scope the Sky Watcher version is probably more sensible for the wider maximum field of view and the lower cost.

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7 minutes ago, Ben the Ignorant said:

I don't know about the mount that's best for you but I own a 127mm Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain and a 130mm Sky-Watcher newtonian. Their resolution is good, especially in the newtonian (simpler optics are easier to craft well)...

...I would go for the 150 if it's portable enough for you. 

Thanks Ben, thats interesting. So you think you get a better image generally with your 130 Newtonian than your SCT? How does your SCT deal with deep sky objects?

I am just trying to figure out how portable the 150 is! One site says its 30kg in total, that must be a typo, right?

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Thanks Paz for your detailed reply. I really appreciate it. The extra 100 or so euros does put me off the Bresser 127 as opposed to the SW, especially if you think the differences will not be mega. I found a cracking video someone made with their skywatcher which did reassure me that a 127 might be the way to go as opposed to my original idea of a 100. Your Bresser looks full on by the way. Is it on an AltAzimuth with one of those rotating eyepiece things? How necessary is the dew guard?

Im from the Midlands myself, my parents are still in Nuneaton and I remember some pretty great skies from time to time.

 

Thanks very much for the welcome Philip R an for your photos, do you dual wield those Makz? One for each eye? How do you compare your 100 to the larger SCT?

 

Ed

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9 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

An altazimuth mount is simple to understand but tracking requires movement in two axes, not one.   They are good for portable use.

But a well set up and balanced alt-az tracks with a single, diagonal, two axis motion once you get used to it.  I have slow motion controls on my DSV-2B mount but rarely use them.  I prefer to hold the tip of the handle with the tip of my fingers and gently glide the whole rig to track.  Slow motion controls seem a bit herky-jerky by comparison.  Maybe I'm just not used to them.

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9 hours ago, edjbrown said:

Thanks Paz for your detailed reply. I really appreciate it. The extra 100 or so euros does put me off the Bresser 127 as opposed to the SW, especially if you think the differences will not be mega. I found a cracking video someone made with their skywatcher which did reassure me that a 127 might be the way to go as opposed to my original idea of a 100. Your Bresser looks full on by the way. Is it on an AltAzimuth with one of those rotating eyepiece things? How necessary is the dew guard?

Im from the Midlands myself, my parents are still in Nuneaton and I remember some pretty great skies from time to time.

When going for alt az sessions I use it on a Porta2 mount. Because I only do visual observing and find things manually I have mine fitted with better finders and  better focuser. The dew shield is useful when conditions are bad for dew, originally I made one from a cut out camping mat that cost nothing and did the job but then in a moment of weakness I bought a proper one.

Below is a photo in original set up and another after changing things. It's a perfectly fine scope in original form, it's just that I like modifying things. Often upgrades are mixed blessings, for example  the focuser allows finer focus but adds a lot of weight.

20171209_115929_HDR.thumb.jpg.3c3572f85687a6040b34cf3e01e23d98.jpg

20171224_133531_HDR.thumb.jpg.6c46d93cf85ac0b2246db3f963390e9d.jpg

 

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The inner circle is the Bresser 127mm the next is the Skywatcher 127mm the outer is the heritage 130p all using a 30mm 60 degree eyepiece. Target is m45

IMG_20180204_093359.thumb.JPG.96a49a5e1711a627fb443adefc2012c1.JPG

 

Edited by happy-kat
Changed the eyepiece given Paz reply about we less than 1 degree in the Bresser
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Paz: I have to say on a purely cosmetic level the bresser just looks great doesnt it. Great advice about the camping mat, I definitely have a few of those around. 

happy-kat: Thanks for that! Thats cool, what program is that? 

I'll give a few more days of mulling over but at the moment I'm leaning towards this returned SW 127 on altaz or maybe for the same price this SW 127 with Supa Trak which might take some bother out the altaz fiddlyness a bit? They claim it can keep track of say Saturn for 10-20 minutes and larger DSO for an hour or so.

If my terrace balcony was not opposite a bus depot with 10 floodlights all night I would get the Skywatcher Explorer 150P but seeing as I think to get some good skies around here I would have to travel a bit perhaps portability trumps it.

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Just a note about portability- if you can see the planets from your balcony, then you won't need to go to a dark site to see them. They are bright enough. I do half my observing from my south-facing balcony (mainly winter or Lunar). It means I had to rule out a Newtonian because of the eyepiece position as well as portability. 

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I'm a big fan of the Skymax 127mm Mak. The whole kit, including a backpack, tripod, a couple of eyepieces, and a couple of sets of batteries, weighs under 11kg.

5a79e102679f3_SkymaxBackpack-Annotated(R).thumb.jpg.0e9f59fc922bdaa8aaba13e9337fb397.jpg

And a second one at my holiday home in France (red wine optional).

5a79e11390255_Skymax127MCTinFrance(R).jpg.dd6c27900ff9304e1fb2868397d8bb1a.jpg

Under the right sky conditions, the 127mm Mak gives reasonable views of some of the dimmer "fuzzies", and with a modified, cheap, webcam, gives good videos of Jupiter & Saturn. The Mak is very robust, and holds collimation very well in transit.

Geoff

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