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Skymax 127 review


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57 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

Yep, watched and read his reviews before buying my 127. Also found various pages on here interesting for this and smaller SW maks ...

http://www.waloszek.de/astro_sw_mak102_e.php

 

What's your verdict on the scope when it comes to casual DSO viewing? I know it's not very suited for that but it would be interesting to know how far you can push it on a clear night with a good wide angle eye piece.

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I've got this scope and use it for outreach and also an easy grab and go.  I really like it and the quality of the view and construction belies its low price.  In normal times these tubes are a steal second hand.  Mine has a good star test as much as I can tell, collimation was off a bit when bought it new, but tweaked after I worked out which screws do what.  You'd be surprised how good the DSO views are under a dark sky - 22mm LV Wideangle works very well on M42 and M27 is nicely framed.  Needless to say double stars work really well.   I've had a look at two other 127s Maks (bought for a National Park) and optically they were just as nice. 

Edited by Dixie
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1 minute ago, Spier24 said:

 

What's your verdict on the scope when it comes to casual DSO viewing? I know it's not very suited for that but it would be interesting to know how far you can push it on a clear night with a good wide angle eye piece.

My verdict is to use my heritage 150 dob instead, I've not had the sort of plentiful long clear nights where I'd feel I have time to waste !

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If it helps here is my log entry for a night last year.  As I said, a really decent scope which you can throw in the back of the car. I have other scopes for the big wide field view. 

 

Monday 20 January 2020  20.20 – 21.45
Sutton Bank, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire.  Skymax 127 on AZGTi  Cold and breezy. Transparency very average.  SQM about 20.8 – 20.9. Seeing quite poor. 
A tour of familiar targets and lasting impression is that this is a very capable little scope, very easy to set and up and tear down.  M42 looked really excellent, especially once the scope had cooled. Plenty of detail seen especially in the Nagler 16mm, which was a really sweet eyepiece with this scope. M78 also spotted – very clearly, and over in Andromeda NGC891 revealed itself in the 30mm Ultima, 25mm ortho and 16mm Nagler.  Whilst in the neighbourhood, spotted NGC1023, very easy indeed. A few clusters in Auriga done, including M37 and NGC1907. No joy looking for Comet Panstarrs, but Hubble’s Variable Nebula easy object in all eyepieces - 9mm ortho (Volcano topped) showed a nice fan structure.  Over to UM for a nice view of M82 and whilst slewing to M81, the third member of this triplet hoved into easy view, NGC3077.  Over in Taurus, M1 was very good and even suggested some structure. Very near bright star.

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12 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

My verdict is to use my heritage 150 dob instead, I've not had the sort of plentiful long clear nights where I'd feel I have time to waste !

The 150 heritage dob is a scope I've seen recommend quite a lot to beginners who want to focus on DSO viewing. 

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6 minutes ago, Dixie said:

If it helps here is my log entry for a night last year.  As I said, a really decent scope which you can throw in the back of the car. I have other scopes for the big wide field view. 

 

Monday 20 January 2020  20.20 – 21.45
Sutton Bank, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire.  Skymax 127 on AZGTi  Cold and breezy. Transparency very average.  SQM about 20.8 – 20.9. Seeing quite poor. 
A tour of familiar targets and lasting impression is that this is a very capable little scope, very easy to set and up and tear down.  M42 looked really excellent, especially once the scope had cooled. Plenty of detail seen especially in the Nagler 16mm, which was a really sweet eyepiece with this scope. M78 also spotted – very clearly, and over in Andromeda NGC891 revealed itself in the 30mm Ultima, 25mm ortho and 16mm Nagler.  Whilst in the neighbourhood, spotted NGC1023, very easy indeed. A few clusters in Auriga done, including M37 and NGC1907. No joy looking for Comet Panstarrs, but Hubble’s Variable Nebula easy object in all eyepieces - 9mm ortho (Volcano topped) showed a nice fan structure.  Over to UM for a nice view of M82 and whilst slewing to M81, the third member of this triplet hoved into easy view, NGC3077.  Over in Taurus, M1 was very good and even suggested some structure. Very near bright star.

 

That's actually better than I expected! It's made out by some to be a horrid thing to use for DSO viewing. I guess it depends what your expectations are and what kind of viewing you're used to.

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27 minutes ago, Dixie said:

Yep depends on expectations.   If you have widefield options in other scopes then this is a really nice one to add. 

 

Well it would be my first ever scope. So I'd probably be blown away by whatever I see.

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I think the mak-cassegrain 127 will show DSO's as well as any other 120mm-ish aperture scope will as long as they will fit into the max true field of view that the design can deliver which is a bit over 1 degree. Lots of DSO's are smaller than that.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Spier24 said:

Any difference in build quality between the original skywatcher 127 and the newer Skymax model? Or is the only difference the mount.

Well, the older Synta Maks didn't come with an SCT thread at the back.  You had to add this adapter to do that.  Now, they come with the adapter already installed.  How do I know?  I've got an older one for me and a newer one for my daughter.  That SCT thread on the newer Maks is easily removed to reveal the original threads of the older versions.  The newer version also comes with a 2” visual back, 2" 90-degree star diagonal, and a 28 mm 2” LET eyepiece.

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6 minutes ago, Louis D said:

Well, the older Synta Maks didn't come with an SCT thread at the back.  You had to add this adapter to do that.  Now, they come with the adapter already installed.  How do I know?  I've got an older one for me and a newer one for my daughter.  That SCT thread on the newer Maks is easily removed to reveal the original threads of the older versions.  The newer version also comes with a 2” visual back, 2" 90-degree star diagonal, and a 28 mm 2” LET eyepiece.

I've no idea whereabouts in the world the OP is , they don't say, but in case they are in the UK, around here the 127mak comes with a 1.25" diagonal, RDF and the standard (rubbish) SW  EPs  https://www.firstlightoptics.com/maksutov/skywatcher-skymax-127-ota.html

Lower spec. accessories for us ,  but I think, (I've not converted $ to £ for years now !) cheaper .

Heather

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I do come from the UK. I also read in a review somewhere that the new Skymax scoped are of slightly better build quality than the older ones.

 

One thing I don't like is that the Skymax models come with a red dot finder instead of the finder scope that came on the older ones. I'd just buy a skywatcher finder scope to replace the red dot finder.

Edited by Spier24
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55 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

Lower spec. accessories for us ,  but I think, (I've not converted $ to £ for years now !) cheaper .

Everything Skywatcher is more expensive over here than in the UK.

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2 minutes ago, Louis D said:

Everything Skywatcher is more expensive over here than in the UK.

Interesting that they dress the OTA up with nicer accessories in the U.S. than the UK , perhaps over here we are too parsimonious to pay for them !

Heather

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40 minutes ago, Spier24 said:

I do come from the UK. I also read in a review somewhere that the new Skymax scoped are of slightly better build quality than the older ones.

 

 

Optically, the introduction of the Schott glass stickers on the tubes of the black diamond versions caused some confusion. Apparently Synta have always used Schott glass in these and their ED doublet refractors (as the mating element to the Ohara ED element) but entered a revised marketing agreement with the glass maker Schott which resulted in more overt promotion of their glass product. 

 

 

Edited by John
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The little Mak is still great value. You could do a lot worse than get one on the AZGti and pick up a widefield jobby like the Startravel 102 tube for the lovely widefield thing - also rides very well on that mount.   

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31 minutes ago, Dixie said:

The little Mak is still great value. You could do a lot worse than get one on the AZGti and pick up a widefield jobby like the Startravel 102 tube for the lovely widefield thing - also rides very well on that mount.   

I was also looking at star discovery 150p a few weeks ago. Although it seems rather cheaply made, plus living in a light polluted area like I do means that you'd probably need something pretty big to do decent DSO viewing. 

 

Hence why I'm just sticking to a cassegrain scope. The Skymax 127 seems like a very decent setup for the money. Only thing I'd do is buy a scope finder to replace the red dot finder.

Edited by Spier24
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30 minutes ago, Spier24 said:

Only thing I'd do is buy a scope finder to replace the red dot finder.

Get at least a 50mm RACI.  I mounted a 60mm RACI to my daughter's 127 Mak.  Sometimes, the view through it in dense star fields is far more engaging than through the main tube.

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1 hour ago, Louis D said:

Get at least a 50mm RACI.  I mounted a 60mm RACI to my daughter's 127 Mak.  Sometimes, the view through it in dense star fields is far more engaging than through the main tube.

 

I'll probably go for a smaller 30mm RACI. Also any eye piece recommendations? I'll be going with a standard skywatcher 2x Barlow but I'd interested to know if you think I should replace the standard eyepieces included with the telescope.

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12 hours ago, Spier24 said:

 

I'll probably go for a smaller 30mm RACI. Also any eye piece recommendations? I'll be going with a standard skywatcher 2x Barlow but I'd interested to know if you think I should replace the standard eyepieces included with the telescope.

I've got a 30mm RACI on mine, which suits me perfectly...I do wonder how much better a 50mm would be though.

The only issue I have found with a RACI over the red dot finder, is that it's quite difficult to get your first star lined up. I've actually just fitted a Rigel Quickfind as well as the RACI. I use the Rigel to get my first star, then move to the RACI to do any hoping I need. The combination works really well. 

From what I've read the 25mm that comes with skywatcher scopes is ok, but the 10 isn't great. Might be worth getting something in the 7.5-10mm range (which would sit in the 150-200x magnification range).

I have both a 25mm and 9mm x-cel that work well in the mak. Also have a 15mm vixen SLV whish I really like - quite often Barlow that and use it instead of 9mm x-cel or if I'm looking for a bit more magnification.

Santa brought me a zoom eyepiece for Christmas. I'm a massive fan as it's both fun an convenient for my style of "grab a quick view while I can" observing.

I've not really used the other eyepieces much since I got the zoom. I've also found from using it, that a 12mm would be nice. The zoom is good to be able to quickly try different focal lengths on the same target.

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13 hours ago, Spier24 said:

I'll be going with a standard skywatcher 2x Barlow

I have no idea why you'd want to double the focal length from 1500mm to 3000mm and halve the speed from f/12 to f/24.  The 127 Mak tops out with an 8mm or so eyepiece with a 8mm/12=0.67mm exit pupil anyway.

Zooms perform very well at f/12, as do the BST Starguider line.  I'd probably suggest either an 8-24mm zoom plus a 25mm BST Starguider or 8mm, 12mm, and 25mm BST Starguiders.

The US version of the Skymax comes with a 2" 28mm LET which isn't too bad from what I've read.  I don't know what type of 1.25" 10mm and 25mm eyepieces the UK version comes with, so I have no idea of their quality.

Are you looking to buy the US or UK version?

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