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paulastro

SW EVOSTAR 72ED DS PRO - An ideal grab-and-go ?

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After much deliberation, I decided to go ahead pressed 'enter'  - my 72ED was on it's way.  I wanted a scope that I could literally get outside at a moments notice - that it is had to be able to be carried with its' mount in one hand, and be able to travel with me anywhere I wanted to take it.  The  72ED was selected from a list of several similar apertures up to 80mm. 

I ordered the scope to be delivered on Saturday last.  As it turned out, unusually for me I was still asleep at 8.05am when the  FedEx man came calling and didn't hear him knock.  Even more unusually, my wife was up before me and able to take delivery!  Poured with rain all day Saturday and I couldn't even take the scope outside.  Rained all Sunday morning until just before lunch when I was able to get outside for a short time under a hazy sun to try it out.  Some superbly lit House Sparrows sitting on a hedge about 30 feet away gave some jaw-droopingly sharp views of every feather and plumage detail, fabulous contrast and wonderfully saturated colours.  I was on the way to being hooked. Then it started to rain again.

Monday brightened by lunchtime, just as I was getting ready for work, and it was forecast to be a frosty night - and I wouldn't finish work until after 10pm.  Left work and rushed to the car at 10.30pm to discover a hard frost had descended and my key wouldn't open any of the frozen doors.  Eventually I managed to get the tail gate open, push down one of the rear seats, crawl over it and force the drivers door open - phew.  First light beckoned.

Twelve miles later as I drove into the village I thought it was rather dark, and just round the corner from my house there were lots of flashing orange lights, a noisy generator, some noisy workmen and a big trench!  Entering the house I found out why, there had been a power cut - how lucky.  Never had I changed my clothes and got a scope set. up outside so quickly - especially by torch-light.  The frosty weather hadn't got to Oakworth yet, but there were some breaks, with superb transparency and 6th mag or better skies to boot, it reminded me of Kelling.  By chasing the gaps I had wonderful views of the Orion Neb, double-cluster, the Auriga open clusters and any available star field, most memorable was the area around the dble cluster, Perseus and Cass.  All the views surpassed anything I expected in a scope a tad short of three inches, all be it in unusually good conditions.  I did a star test and was satisfied to see perfectly circular out-of-focus star image, and lovely tiny airy disks and diffraction rings in-focus.  This session was about an hour old when cloud closed in - and then the power came back on, bye bye Kelling. 

After three hours sleep I woke up at 6.15am Tuesday morning, and through the frosted bathroom window I could make out the waning crescent Moon and Venus to its right.  Out again and set up by 6.30am  Now a chilly frost in Oakworth, and  the wonderful vista of the Moon, Venus and Spica in a row low in the E sky.  A superb sight.   I used a Baader Mk111 zoom with the dedicated x2.25  barlow to give me a maximum of x120 at the 8mm zoom setting.  Excellent transparency to start with and seeing on the poor side.   Nevertheless, the Moon and Venus were beyond what I was expecting, particularly Venus.   At twenty degrees altitude and x120, Venus showed a wonderful sharp crescent, very much resembling the Moon's phase.  This was what I was hoping to see, a view very reminiscent of the excellent views of Venus I have seen many times over the years using the range of SW ED doublets using FPL53 glass.  In focus there was little to no colour other than that most likely accounted for by the low altitude of the planet (20 degrees) and atmospheric turbulence.  Outside focus there was also surprisingly little colour.  I was enjoying the view so much I forgot about the telescope for a few minutes.  I also did some more star tests with stars at higher altitude than a few hours earlier, with the same results.   At 7am I had to drag myself, and the telescope reluctantly indoors to take my wife to work.  What an eventful first light I had had.

The boring bits.  Not checked by myself.

Aperture 72mm, f5.8, fl 420mm

total length 420mm

without dew shield 335mm (pulls off)

Weight 2180g

 

Some Details

The Crayford focuser, on my scope at least. is excellent - it isn't the same as the one used on the other SW ED doublets.  Out of the box it was adjusted perfectly for my needs.  I did my usual 'gentle pull' test, and it didn't budge - no slippage at all.  I pulled a little harder than usual and still no slippage.  Extremely smooth movement, in be both coarse and fine focus.  The focus knobs are large and easily used by gloved hands.  This focuser is better than I have used on any other of their ED doublets.

The dew shield is gloss white, I like it.  It is threaded to accept the metal screw on lens cap.  An improvement on plastic ones that slip off easily, though I would like it to be a less fine threaded, but that might be my less than nimble fingers.  Still an improvement though.  The dew cap can be  pulled off if you need the scope to be even shorter.

The two inch fitting is not a compression type, but uses two screws.  It didn't bother me, but then I'm not an imager and likely to hang heavy things off the end of the tube, and I have added a 35mm extension to accommodate my focus needs which has a compression fitting anyway.  I guess many people will want to change the original fitting.

You may need to use an extension tube of some length to focus some of your eyepieces.  I  haven't got a two inch diagonal, and I suspect if you have one then you may not have need of anything else. When doing some tests on the day the scope I arrived, through an upstairs bedroom window, I first put in my Baader prism diagonal and I couldn't get focus any further away than around 50 feet!  Not enough in-focus.  I then put on a 2 inch long extension tube  in front of the Baader prism, and I then couldn't  get a focus anywhere!  Luckily I remembered I had a 35mm extension tube in my Mak-Newt and I tried that.  That fixed any focusing issues, though for some eyepieces I have only 2/3mm in-focus to spare.  All this is no real issue, just be aware you may have to try a couple of things.  Perhaps not if you use a 2inch diagonal anyway.

Because of the light weight and short tube, the 72ED could be mounted on just about anything.  Even on a photo tripod with a  photographic  pan and tilt head if you only want to use it as a spotting scope.  It works very well on my Manfrotto 393 gimbal (fork) head and sturdy photographic tripod, as shown in the images of the scope.  I used this rig for my first light adventures.  I will also use it on my AZ4.

Remember, it doesn't come with a finder, diagonal or any eyepieces, so allow for the cost of these if you need them.  (can be picked up easily on the used market much cheaper)

 

Summary.

I admit it, I am smitten by this little scope.  Sharp contrasty images, nicely saturated colours, no objectionable CA (to my eyes at least), lightweight, compact, take it anywhere, good for imaging (using field flattener if you do this sort of thing), usable as a telephoto lens and spotting scope for daytime use.  Yes.  it's not that big, buy it's only a few mm smaller than a three inch refractor which in my younger years any astronomer would be pleased to own.  Bigger isn't always better - especially if you can't take it with you!

All this for £265 which includes a well made sturdy aluminium case with room for some accessories - what's not to like?!  Little more than 1/3 of the price of some expensive eyepieces. 

Yes, in my view, taking into account it's quality, price and flexibility of use, this little scope is in a class of its own.

 

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Edited by paulastro
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Stunning review - you should be on commission as I now REALLY need one of these little refractors! A captivating read and I hope the telescope continues to inspire.

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Many thanks for your kind words Steve.  I'm sure you won't be disappointed if you do get one, it would be very hard not to like it.

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9 minutes ago, JeremyS said:

Can you organise one of those power cuts for me, Paul?

🙂

 

I wish 😁

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Nice write up Paul, sounds great.

As JeremyS said, can you arrange a UK wide power cut on the next clear moonless night please 😃

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What a pleasure to read & start my day. Man thanks and enjoy the scope. I've become such a fan of these small ED scopes.

Best Rob

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Hi Paul, that's a cracking review and a great read, well done. I came sooo... close to getting an ED72 but I hovered for a while, mainly in consideration of that short travel focuser. I really didn't want to be messing about with  extensions to get various EPs/zoom to come to focus. However it doesn't look as if thats an issue with a 2" diagonal or with a 1.25" where an extension can be left in situ. Arguably swapping from a 1.25" diagonal to a 2" is a bit of a faff but given the short focal length of the scope a  25mm EP still  gives good wide views.  I ended up doing something different but I wouldn't be at all surprised if I didn't succumb at some point.

 

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7 hours ago, Rob said:

What a pleasure to read & start my day. Man thanks and enjoy the scope. I've become such a fan of these small ED scopes.

Best Rob

Many thanks Rob, we sound like kindred spirits :smile:

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6 hours ago, Alfian said:

Hi Paul, that's a cracking review and a great read, well done. I came sooo... close to getting an ED72 but I hovered for a while, mainly in consideration of that short travel focuser. I really didn't want to be messing about with  extensions to get various EPs/zoom to come to focus. However it doesn't look as if thats an issue with a 2" diagonal or with a 1.25" where an extension can be left in situ. Arguably swapping from a 1.25" diagonal to a 2" is a bit of a faff but given the short focal length of the scope a  25mm EP still  gives good wide views.  I ended up doing something different but I wouldn't be at all surprised if I didn't succumb at some point.

 

Many thanks Ian.  The reason I think a 2 inch diagonal would be ok is that while I don't have one myself, I do have a 2inch 90 degree erecting prism and that gave me plenty of focus for all my eyepieces.  Most people with a refractor do seem to have a 2 inch diagonal.  At any rate, as I said it's not really an issue if you need an extension tube, just a matter of finding out what size you need - preferably before taking delivery.  It would be a bit annoying for someone to take delivery and for the night to be clear only to find you couldn't get the scope to come to focus!  😩.

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