Jump to content

 

1825338873_SNRPN2021banner.jpg.68bf12c7791f26559c66cf7bce79fe3d.jpg

 

ST102 (EQ1) or ST120 (AZ3)


lw24
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi guys, I'm new to the forum and am looking for some guidance on getting my first telescope.

I've narrowed it to 2 telescopes. I'll post them and list what I think are the pros and cons of them. Please add your own as mine might not be right.

1) Skywatcher Startravel -120 (AZ3)

Pros: Portable, Biggest primary lens (4.75 inch)

Cons: AZ3 Mount (i've heard they're bad), more expensive (£220), only comes with 24x and 64x eyepieces and NO barlow.

2) Skywatcher Startravel - 102 (EQ1)

Pros: Portable (however a little less portable than the 120), EQ1 Mount (better than AZ3?), Comes with Barlow lens (2x) and 20x,40x,50x and 100x eyepieces, £45 LESS than the ST120

Cons: Smaller primary lens (4 inch), lower highest practical power (x204 compared to the ST120's x240).

I've outlined a few pros and cons, please correct me if i've got some wrong.

The scope I choose must fit this criteria:

-Be able to see most, if not all of the Messier objects (I know this relies on seeing conditions)

-Be able to see a few Deep Sky Objects (Do some of these fall under the Messier Object category?)

-Be able to see the moon in high detail (Getting the cheaper one would enable me to invest in a Orion V Block filter to stop CA)

-Be nice and portable, no real setup required (Maybe splits into 2 pieces maximum for transportation)

Cheers guys, I realy need some helpful advice as I'm really scared to choose the wrong telescope and waste £200 (I'm only 14!)

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 34
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Top Posters In This Topic

Have you considered this one?

Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 130M

At 5.1" it is bigger than both of the refractors and will also include a motor to track the sky. Includes a 2x barlow and will allow you to see much more. You will also not have to worry about CA as reflectors do not suffer from this. And at only £155 is also cheaper than the other two options. This will also be MUCH better on the moon and planets and with the motor you could add a webcam for £40 from telescope house and take some moon images and all for less than your £200 budget!

The Con would be that you would need to collimate the mirror every now and then but there are plenty of tutorials on here to help with that!

Hope this helps!

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Collimation is one of the reason I do not want to get a reflector, along with portability.

I just want to be able to get it out, look through it, and put it away. Simples!

Please don't post about other telescopes unless they are in my budget £220 tops and are REFRACTORS.

Feedback on my chosen telescopes please.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome to SGL.

I used to own an ST102 on Altaz. The scope was fine for the money. But the mount required attention to improve it's performance. Even then the phrase about silk purse & sows ear comes to mind. There were 25mm & 10mm eyepieces. The 10mm gave only moderate contrast in any scope. The 25mm ep was good. This is fairly common.

You have not mentioned terrestrial viewing. So provided you can get your head around setting up, aligning, balancing, and moving around the sky, an EQ mount is the way to go. Once you locate an object, you only have to move one control to follow it all evening. With altaz, you are 'chasing' with two knobs.

The EQ1 is (in my opinion) at it's limits on the '102 scope. Ideally if you could get an EQ3 (heavier payload) that would be better. It would be more rigid for a given loading and so give you flexibility for the future. You never know, you try a different scope at some point.

Optically the '102 is good for the money. Nice and portable. CA only matters at high magnification.

Steve's comments about the 130M reflector are good. These becoming quite popular as first scopes.

As others reply, you will get different opinions from all of us. At the end of the day, the right scope is the one that suits you best.

Go into a shop and have a play with some scopes. Handle an EQ mount. Dimensions and weights are much better 'in the flesh' than on the page.

Hope this helps.

David.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the EQ1, you have more things to transport (counterweights for instance) and it takes a bit longer to set up. On the other hand, an EQ1 can get you into the world of imaging (just plonk a cheap camera on it with a wide angle lens and use a tracking motor, which is an optional extra).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But surely the ST120 gathers more light so it will give better images than the ST102.

I dont want to upgrade mounts or anything, £220 is a MAX budget.

I just want to know which out of the two would fill my criteria listed in my Original Post.

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Steve makes some good points. If you're going to consider reflectors I think it would be worth looking at some of the Dobsonians as well though.

I'm not sure I'd say the EQ1 is "better" than the AZ3. I don't have an AZ3, but the EQ1 probably complicates finding objects for viewing and isn't really suited to imaging without some work. The AZ3 may be better in terms of just getting it to work quickly.

The standard SW barlow really isn't that great either, so I'd not consider it a huge loss not to have it.

The V filter, as I understand it, doesn't stop CA. As far as I can see it's there to hide the colour-fringing you get because of the CA. You may find that you're happy enough just doing that though. I don't think you'd be able to push the magnification anywhere close to the suggested limits without doing something about the CA effects though. I've taken the magnification up to x125 on Saturn on my ST102 and it was starting to get a little blurred. Next time the sky is clear enough I'll push it a bit further to see how it goes -- I have a new set of EPs and a better Barlow now.

I don't imagine the ST120 on top of a tripod is going to be that easy to manage, either. If you need to break it down to move it then putting it back into the rings is probably a two-person job unless you're big enough to handle the weight of the OTA easily in one hand. If you can keep it on the tripod then it's still going to be quite top-heavy to move.

For me, restricted to a choice between the two, I'd probably still go for the ST120, but what's good for me isn't necessarily good for you. If the weight is likely to be an issue I'd go for the ST102, perhaps even on an AZ3 mount.

Given your budget and a free choice, I'd probably be more likely to pick one of the Heritage 130P or Skyliner 150P dobsonians.

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you define what you mean by "portable" a little more? Are you just talking about carrying it in and out of the house into the garden, or say, taking it somewhere in a car? I can't personally see that a refractor on a tripod is any significantly more portable than, say, the 130P flextube dobsonian, but if you think it is then we probably all need to get the same idea of what you mean.

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, I'd want portable to be easily stored in 1 Foot squared of space, easily carried by 1 person, fits in a car boot. And for the last time, i'm not interested in the Skywatcher Heritage 130p (or any other reflectors for that matter!)

Please can I have some comments on how the telescopes will fulfill my CRITERIA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please stop talking about reflectors, I DONT WANT A REFLECTOR!

I am assuming you want the biggest bang for your money and will want to have to spend the least possible. We are trying to help you do that. The reflectors suggested are every bit as portable as the startravel models you have pinpointed. But they would give, in my opinion, MUCH better views. You can take the 130M up to about 250x magnification, you will not get anywhere near this with a startravel without serious CA. Do not be put off by collimation it is really quite simple.

I made a similar mistake when I was a teenager and bought a cheap 3" refractor over a 5" reflecter and regreted it as soon as I saw what could be seen in a reflector.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But why would you want to go up to x250 magnification to see Messier objects.

Regarding planets, I'm not that interested in them. I'm much more fascinated by Globular Clusters, Nebulae and Galaxies.

I just like the idea of getting the telescope out, not worrying about giving it a check over, seeing some nice things (Messier Objects), and putting it away. I dont want to be fiddling around with collimating it everytime I want to use it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Get the ST120.

I totally understand what you mean about just getting the telescope out and it's ready to go. At least this way you can see if astronomy is for you and if not you could probably sell this set up for little loss.

If you find you really are into astronomy and feel the AZ3 mount is a little flimsy you can always upgrade the mount later on. There may be a chance that the AZ3 mount will fit a stainless steel tripod which would be a fairly cheap upgrade at a later date.

Good luck with your purchase (whatever it turns out to be) and I hope you enjoy it.

Edited by Dave-Ryan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might need to go to quite high magnification for planetary nebulas and detail on the moon (one of your criteria!).

I am a little concerned at what you are expecting to be able to see. Most objects will look like just a gray smudge. You need as big an aperture as possible to start to resolve globulars and most galaxies will only be recognisable in 8-10"+.

I had an 8" F5 reflector and only had to check collimation every few months and most of the time it just needed a little tweak. As long as you are careful and don't bang it around it should be okay.

If all you want to do is look at DSO's then you need to get the biggest aperture you can get, reflector or refractor!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate the telescope choosing business!!!

One side of me says refractor due to ease of use (no collimation)

Other side says reflector due to better sights (but I still dread the thought of collimation)

Another small side (doesn't really work) says I should get a Maksutov-Cassegrain for portability.

What I REALLY want is a used 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain. Hard to come by though...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had an 8" F5 reflector and only had to check collimation every few months and most of the time it just needed a little tweak. As long as you are careful and don't bang it around it should be okay.

I read somewhere that they need to be collimated every time you use them.

This is what was putting me off reflectors

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your interest is deep sky objects, neither of the telescopes you gave as options are what I would choose. As others have said, you need a nice big lens or mirror to see these things. You should really choose a scope based on what objects you want to observe, rather than what type of scope you think you want. The scopes you have suggested will be okay to get you started and you will be able to see quite a few objects...not very well...but you will be able to say that you have seen them. The 120 on the altaz mount is probably the eaisiest to get to grips with, but as I said...not what I would choose.

You will also need to buget for more accessories to make your observing easier and more enjoyable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your interest is deep sky objects, neither of the telescopes you gave as options are what I would choose. As others have said, you need a nice big lens or mirror to see these things. You should really choose a scope based on what objects you want to observe, rather than what type of scope you think you want. The scopes you have suggested will be okay to get you started and you will be able to see quite a few objects...not very well...but you will be able to say that you have seen them. The 120 on the altaz mount is probably the eaisiest to get to grips with, but as I said...not what I would choose.

You will also need to buget for more accessories to make your observing easier and more enjoyable.

Slightly agree with this but you should by a scope that is going to be used, its no good having a 16" dob because you want to look at deep sky objects if it just sits there collecting dust because its to big to set up on the odd night its clear.

Bigger is always best when it comes to views, but if you have limited viewing time or have to travel then a compromise has to be met and thats normally the size of the equipment.

Much better to have smaller and get used more IMO.

Edited by steve_bham
spelling
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.