Sometimes even a die-hard observer can be stunned by the release of a
product... Especially when this product contains the magic word APO! The William
Optics Megrez 80 II ED triplet Apochromatic surprised me and not only because
of its outstanding color-free performance... It surprised me in many ways,
so I definitely want to add my experiences to what has been written about
this extraordinary telescope.
Why does one want an apochromatic refractor? They are expensive and you'll
need at least 4 inches of aperture to capture some interesting objects, right?
No, not right at all! I'm aware of the fact that the word "apochromatic" has a magical sound to it and that's no wonder: we're all familiar with the
colors around bright objects that conventional refractors provide. In the
recent past, only expensive refractors with special low-dispersion glasses
could eliminate these annoying side-effects of refraction. But, not everyone
could afford such an instrument...
So, until recently, the magic around color-free optics couldn't be touched
by many... But, that's history now, because William Optics has brought excellent,
color-free optics down to earth for a very nice price; it's an affordable
telescope that deserves serious consideration when you are looking for a high
quality apochromatic telescope. The Megrez ED triplet APO proves that it is
possible to get the images you've dreamed of, without harming your piggy bank.
William Optics has a history of very good optics and mechanics, so it's really
no surprise that the Megrez 80 II ED triplet APO represents the company's
trademark in a similar way. The OTA is built like a Mercedes; very decent
materials, no plastic parts at all and the design is a very attractive one.
With such a design you don't have to be an experienced amateur to recognize
the high quality. For instance, let's take the focuser: it rotates, so the
user can easily change the orientation of the eyepiece or camera. You don't
have to move your body in strange positions anymore, just loosen the knob
on top of the focuser and put it in the right position...
Speaking about the focuser: it's a high quality Crayford with adjustable tension.
Focusing this scope is so easy and the focuser moves like it has been oiled!
There's another part of this scope that moves, or should I say "slides?' Like
the focuser, the retractable dewshield is a mechanical piece of art. It's
easy to use and above all, very practical.
I purchased the Megrez on a friday, and on my way to the William Opticsdealer
I was hoping and praying for a clear evening and night... Later that day the
clouds slowly, but surely rolled away and a clear sky revealed itself. The
Moon, two days after first quarter, stood low in the southern sky. I could
hardly wait to get my first view and wondered if the Megrez 80 II ED triplet
APO would surprise me…
The Megrez ED triplet APO delivers high contrast and razor-sharp images
without any trace of color. This picture was made by holding a camera (Konica
Minolta Dimage Z1) in front of the eyepiece.
And it did! Simply put, the Moon was just an awesome sight in the Megrez;
a razor sharp image without the annoying colors! With a magnification of 17,5
(TV plossl 32mm) the edge of Luna's disk was not blue, violet or yellow and
the edge showed a sharp contrast with the black background. This was the view
I wanted to see! A crystal clear, detailed and 'newtonian-like'image and no
colors at all! Thank you! The Megrez also performed very well at higher magnifications.
Again, there was not a trace of color visible and I got the happy feeling
that I had bought myself a real Apo-performer!!! I looked into the eyepiece
again and again, what a terrific addiction!
This little scope really has excellent optics! Although it's not an instrument
for use at high powers, the Megrez can and will deliver if you put it to the
The bright Moon didn't cause annoying reflections; these little ghosts, floating
in the image at places were you don't want them to be... You probably don't
want to see ghosts at all and that's why the Megrez has seven baffles. I've
placed a full Moon just outside the FOV and there was no glare or ghost visible.
The images of the short-tubes I've used in the (recent) past always had ghosts,
but this baffle system is a very sufficient one! It's made out of a special
flat black foam to catch all the uninvited photons.
The Megrez is a perfect scope for observing deepsky objects. Don't think
80mm isn't enough for serious views, because if you take your time (always
take enough time when you're observing) this scope will deliver another surprise;
on a evening in august, after some heavy rainstorms, the sky had become very
transparent. I took the Megrez out into my backyard for a deepsky tour. Finding
objects with this instrument is very easy and you don't need a finderscope;
with a 32 mm eyepiece there's a FOV of nearly 3 degrees, so in fact the scope
itself acts as a superfinder! Imagine the view I had of the Double Cluster
in Perseus Stars were sharp across the whole FOV, even at the edge, and the
cluster gave the impression of scattered diamonds on black velvet. Scanning
the Milky Way with a magnification of 17,5 x was a true delight and I found
many open clusters which I had never seen before.
The Veil nebula in Cygnus is a real gem, especially with low power and
an OIII or UHC filter. With a magnification of 17,5 I could see the east
and western part of the Veil in the same field of view. Pickering'sWedge,
a triangular-shaped nebulosity in the centre, was also visible.
(Drawing made by the author)
M31 in Andromeda was visible across the whole field of view and also the faint
M33 in Triangulum was quite impressive under the dark sky. The Dumbell nebula
in Vulpecula was just an awesome sight! With a Nagler 7 (80 x) this planetary
was floating between the stars and it almost looked like a 3D image. I found
the Sky Atlas 2000 to be a very useful companion. It's fairly easy to make
a star-hop with the aid of the charts and you don't need a detailed sky map.
There's a common belief that nebula filters are not useful on small telecopes...
Well, sometimes you must ignore common thoughts and try the opposite. Although
I agree that a larger scope will increase the number of objects, 80mm of aperture
also works fine on many objects. I've used an OIII filter on a number of deepsky
objects and even a H-Beta, but the latter only works on a few nebulae. Some
examples: the Veil nebula in Cygnus is a real gem, especially with low power
and the OIII. With a magnification of 17,5 I could see the east and western
part of the Veil in the same field of view. Pickerings`Wedge, a triangular-shaped
nebulosity in the centre, was also visible.
The North America-nebula is another fine target for the Megrez, together with
the Pelican-nebula, both situated in Cygnus. NGC 6888, the Crescent nebula,
was a real challenge and it took a lot of effort to spot this one. Nothing
was seen without the OIII, but besides the need of a nebula filter, averted
vision was also necessary.
Blinking planetaries is also fun; objects like NGC 6826 (Cygnus) NGC 7626
(Andromeda) and NGC 6543 (Draco) are perfect examples. But, there are more
small planetaries suitable for this technique.
The extender is necessary to achieve proper focus and is included. William
Optics has used the same tube for the Megrez SD and the Megrez ED triplet
apo, but the latter has a longer focal length. The extender doesn't add much
weight to the OTA-diagonal-eyepiece assembly.
(Photo made by the author)
Although the applicability is limited for small scopes, there are some nice
targets for a H-Beta filter. NGC 1499, the California nebula in Perseus was
visible with direct vision and I saw some light and dark areas. Its definitely
an object for low powers, because it nearly vanished at higher magnifications.
Another nice surprise was the visibility of the nebulosity around Gamma Cygni.
With a low magnification I could see several patches, one on the west side,
which was visible with direct vision, but the others needed averted vision
to recognize. So, nebula filters also work very well on small telescopes,
but you'll never know if you don't try…
Grab and go
The usable power of the Megrez ED triplet apo lies in the low to medium range,
although the outstanding optics will give you very good images at high magnifications.
If you want to enhance the high degree of portability, you can put the Megrez
on a camera tripod. Don't use a light tripod, because the OTA has a weight
of 2.5 lbs.(2.5 kg) and if you add the weight of the diagonal and the extender
tube, you'll need a sufficient support. By the way, the extender is necessary
to achieve proper focus and is included. William Optics has used the same
tube for the Megrez SD and the Megrez ED triplet apo, but the latter has a
longer focal length. I prefer a camera tripod over a regular mount, but this
kind of support works best with low and medium magnifications. I recommend
a tripod with a "fluid head', so the movements in azimuth and altitude
will be very smooth ones. If you want to use high magnifications, it's better
to use a mount with slow-motion controls.
Back to basics
The Megrez ED triplet APO brings even an experienced observer back to the
basics, because this little big one has some very nice advantages over a bigger
telescope. There's a thin layer of dust on my 10” newtonian since I bought
this little white scope and frankly I don't care; you're probably familiar
with the old saying "the telescope you use the most is the best one', and
I couldn't agree more!
This sign stands for color-free optics and high contrast images. Maybe
this transfer shouldn't be made out of paper, because it's not in balance
with the outstanding quality it represents... (Photo made by
So, should you buy an apochromatic refractor? Well, as I mentioned in the
beginning, the Megrez ED triplet APO deserves serious consideration when you're
looking for a high quality APO. Besides the outstanding optics you'll get
superb mechanics, all put together in a nice and handy backpack. But, there's
another reason why this telescope should be taken into account: it is made
by a reliable company that prefers direct communication with the customers;
e-mails with suggestions or questions are welcome and the William Optics Yahoo
group is a perfect example of an interactive and innovative way to keep in
touch with the end-users. So, purchasing the Megrez means that you're also
buying a decent back-up.
I'm now enjoying all the benefits of a small and portable refractor. I've
seen so many short-tubes in the past 28 years, but this one is an absolute