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William Optics Star 71 Astrograph First Impressions

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William Optics Star 71 Astrograph First Impressions

I am an experienced observer, (40 years), based in Southern California.  I have owned / built a variety of telescopes from a 60mm Sears refractor to an 18” Truss Dobsonian.  I have been involved in astrophotography for about 20 years.  From my home near LAX, lunar and planetary photography is possible.  For the last 10 years I have owned a small home in the Sierra foothills northeast of Bakersfield, CA.  I use a variety of instruments for astrophotography, but find I am drawn to wide fields that put deep sky objects in perspective.

I have been for several years using a WO 80mm F/6.9 refractor for astrophotography.  I was very pleased with the telescope, but desired a larger field. I considered a 300mm telephoto, but in the end I decided to give up the 80mm for the very fast and wide field of the Star 71.

I took delivery of the telescope in early June and have tested it from my home 3 miles south of LAX.

This is the field around M13, a one minute unguided exposure.  The field is well over 3 degrees and flat, with even illumination on the Canon XSi sensor.  The nearly full moon was used in this composite shot to     show the FOV:

The telescope looks beautiful, typical of William Optics, and built like a tank.  My only issue, (which isn’t an issue), is that I have to mount the telescope upside down to accommodate the focuser wheels on my Losmandy G11 mount.


My first impression is excellent.  The WO Star 71 has a wide, well illuminated, flat field of view, exactly what I was looking for.  The camera attaches directly to the focuser and only needs to be racked out about 15mm, no long imaging train to introduce flexure.  This comes at a cost however, normal 1.25” accessories will not attach, a specially designed diagonal is optional and necessary for use visually.  The limited focuser travel will not accommodate 2” accessories.

I will have it out under dark skies next week, one of my first targets will be the Veil  nebula.  With careful composing, I can fit the entire Veil in the FOV.

Ralph Ford

Redondo Beach, CA


Thanks for the review!  Mine is arriving on Tuesday! 

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Hi Ralph,

Greg here (I purchased your Orion 110 ED and traded my C11 for your 12.5" Lightholder mirror Dob). Congratulations!

I have come to the conclusion that the WO Star 71 also will be my next scope for AP. I ended up selling the 110 ED (to much CA for AP for my tastes), and replacing it with a Tak FS-60CB (which I won in a raffle, and has way better color correction than the 110 ED, but still a little too much for my AP tastes).


Can't wait to hear how it performs under darker skies. 

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