Jump to content


Photo

12" Skywatcher Collapsible Dobsonian

  • Please log in to reply
30 replies to this topic

#1 mloffland

mloffland

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2510
  • Joined: 03 Sep 2004
  • Loc: Norman, Oklahoma

Posted 02 September 2009 - 11:22 AM

12" Skywatcher Collapsible Dobsonian

#2 coutleef

coutleef

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4027
  • Joined: 21 Feb 2008
  • Loc: Saint-Donat, Quebec, Canada

Posted 02 September 2009 - 12:30 PM

Great article Philip, interesting to read and very intertaining.

Did you feel you needed a paracorr with long FL EPs? If so, did you have problems to insert the paracorr or some long FL EPs?

Someone of our forums has stated that these collabsible dobs 'flexed'. Was that your experience?

Thanks for the helpful review.

#3 Phillip Creed

Phillip Creed

    Idiot Seeking Village

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2094
  • Joined: 25 Jul 2006
  • Loc: Canton, OH

Posted 02 September 2009 - 04:55 PM

Francois,

I don't think the scope "flexed". I didn't notice any issues with it holding collimation through the course of a night.

I haven't tried a Paracorr yet, though to be honest, I've never owned one. At one point or another, I've tried the following EP's in it:

35mm Panoptic
30mm Meade 5000 UWA
26T5
25mm Plossl
"23mm" Axiom LX
18mm Meade 5000 UWA
17T4
13T6
10mm Plossl
9T6

Of these, the Naglers were all sharp to the edge except for the 17T4, which has a little bit of softness near the field stop, mostly from coma, but a little bit from (surprisingly) field curvature, at least to my eyes. It's still a very, very impressive view at 88X, especially of clusters like M11.

The 30mm Meade UWA had a little field curvature, but a Paracorr would probably clean it up. That is, if you're willing to put 3-1/2 lbs. on the focuser end.

Clear Skies,
Phil

#4 coutleef

coutleef

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4027
  • Joined: 21 Feb 2008
  • Loc: Saint-Donat, Quebec, Canada

Posted 03 September 2009 - 07:55 AM

Thanks again for your clear answer,

what about the 35 pan, that would be my finder EP with such a scope.

#5 Phillip Creed

Phillip Creed

    Idiot Seeking Village

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2094
  • Joined: 25 Jul 2006
  • Loc: Canton, OH

Posted 03 September 2009 - 04:25 PM

Francois,

The 35-Pan was plenty sharp! Again, some coma near the edges, but I'm not that sensitive to it. I didn't notice any off-axis astigmatism with the 35P, at least.

Clear Skies,
Phil

#6 coutleef

coutleef

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4027
  • Joined: 21 Feb 2008
  • Loc: Saint-Donat, Quebec, Canada

Posted 03 September 2009 - 04:39 PM

Thanks for your information,

the best will be to just try the EPs and see how i feel.

At some point, if i use a paracorr i will use it for all EPs to avoid balance issues. But if i do not need one, i'll keep my life simple (and my wallet healthier).

#7 starshine4

starshine4

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2009

Posted 07 September 2009 - 06:58 PM

Thank you for the article; I have been thinking of moving from a 8" dob to a 12" dob. I was thinking about a 12" Meade Lightbridge. How do the mirrors of the two compare? Would one be able to see DSO's through the Meade that could not be seen through the Skywatcher. Are there other issues of concern that would make the Meade a better investment than the Skywatcher?

#8 DDon

DDon

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 348
  • Joined: 27 Jul 2009
  • Loc: France, Montpellier

Posted 08 September 2009 - 01:12 AM

Very interesting reading, thanks!

Are there any other collapsible dobs out there or are the Skywatcher dobs the only creatures of it's kind (that does not cost an arm and a leg) ?

Cheers!
D.Don

#9 alexvh

alexvh

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 281
  • Joined: 29 Jul 2007
  • Loc: South Africa

Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:59 PM

Phillip thankyou for the review- very interesting.
I am trying to decide now between the XX12 and the skywatcher. I like the collapsable feature of the SkyW. But I think the Computer on the XX12 is useful...choices...sigh.

#10 KRS1

KRS1

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 305
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Anglesey, UK

Posted 08 September 2009 - 02:38 PM

Excellent article.

Thanks

#11 NerfMonkey

NerfMonkey

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 565
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 09 September 2009 - 08:06 PM

Good read Phil, very informative. You have a great skill for writing.

#12 kiwi_canuck

kiwi_canuck

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 63
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2004
  • Loc: Port Coquitlam, BC, CANADA

Posted 09 September 2009 - 11:37 PM

Hi Philip,

I enjoyed reading your review of the Skywatcher 12" Collapsible. I bought a 10" and have had it out but a couple of times, but am looking forward to putting it through its paces at the Merritt Star Quest here in BC next week.

I appreciate your comments on the importance of a shroud (note to self....make one tomorrow)as I've had some dewing issues, also.

Thanx for a great report!!

~Phill

#13 Old Rookie

Old Rookie

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 478
  • Joined: 05 Sep 2008
  • Loc: North Central Ohio

Posted 10 September 2009 - 09:47 AM

Phil,

Thanks for the article. It's ironic that you published it on the same day that my Skywatcher 12" was shipped from California.

Mine arrived yesterday and is pretty much still dis-assembled (modifications in progress - manual setting circles). However, I tried to head off the dew issue by buying the shroud with the telescope. Your comments on dew in Ohio were relevent for me since I'm only about an hour away and can back you up on those comments. Thus, the shroud.

I appreciated your comments about the finder. My experience is mostly with a Telrad (bought one for the Skywatcher) so I'm not sure if this one will be a particular issue. At the moment though, RACI finders seem to be in short supply.

As for the focuser, I agree with your comments. While the two adapters are odd, the focuser itself seems to be robust and very smooth. Although, I don't have it completely assembled at the moment, I'm pretty well pleased with the telescope. If this holds up after a couple of months of use, I will consider it an exceptional bargain.

At any rate, thanks again for your candid and honest review.

John

#14 Phillip Creed

Phillip Creed

    Idiot Seeking Village

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2094
  • Joined: 25 Jul 2006
  • Loc: Canton, OH

Posted 10 September 2009 - 11:24 PM

To all,

Many thanks for the kind words on the review. I felt this scope is a good value, but I didn't want to get carried away in my enthusiasm for it, so I tried to do it as objectively as possible.

As far as choosing between, say, a 12" Lightbridge, XX12 or 12" SkyWatcher, I can't really make any recommendations, as I haven't looked through any of them.

I can only judge them based on what I've read, but I think if anyone bought any of these three scopes, they'd be satisfied, especially given the minimal investment involved and the quality of the optics in all three scopes. Considering the poor quality of dobsonian mirrors from the not-too-distant past, I'd say (and this is a cliche, but I think it's ever so true) the winner is the modern amateur astronomer.

Clear Skies,
Phil

#15 psetnik

psetnik

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 65
  • Joined: 23 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Beachwood, Ohio

Posted 11 September 2009 - 12:55 PM

Hi, Phil -

As a fellow NEO resident (Beachwood) I understand your comments about weather. I have also reached an informal conclusion that a full moon is responsible for clearing clouds out of the sky. That's sure been the pattern here, anyway.

I have a theory about the focuser adapters: My Zhumell 8" will not come to focus with the supplied, 2" WA unless it is raised about half an inch in the focuser. I wonder if Skywatcher simply anticipated a similar problem and included the adapter to provide some needed lift to the eyepiece.

Enjoy the scope, and I notice Orion this morning looking over my house. It's almost time to reacquaint with some of the fall and winter constellations.

Phil

#16 patrick77

patrick77

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 127
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Memphis Tn area

Posted 18 September 2009 - 01:50 AM

Thanks for the info!! Im trying to decide weather I should get a DOB or stick with my ETX 125. I noticed your eye pieces looked very expensive. Can a cheaper eye piece still work on the 12 inch DOB? Well I hope I can figure out what to do about what scope would be best for me! Im new to this hobby and I live just outside of Memphis TN, so light polution and a lack of knowledge is part of my problem!!!!

#17 starrancher

starrancher

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2960
  • Joined: 09 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Northern Arizona

Posted 18 September 2009 - 09:59 AM

Phillip thankyou for the review- very interesting.
I am trying to decide now between the XX12 and the skywatcher. I like the collapsable feature of the SkyW. But I think the Computer on the XX12 is useful...choices...sigh.


Personally , I would opt for the XX12 .

#18 therocksal

therocksal

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 517
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Everett, WA

Posted 18 September 2009 - 06:09 PM

I got the 10" SW Truss and ordered an Argo Navis and the encoder kit. If I had bought the 12" it would have cost $799 plus around $800 for the Argo and encoders...so $1,600...BUT, for me, I can now get encoders for any of my mounts and use the Argo unit with them...and, If I want to get a bigger dob, like the new 14" truss, I can xfer the Argo and the encoders to that...so, in the long run, for me, it's a great deal...I would buy the 12" SW.

#19 coutleef

coutleef

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4027
  • Joined: 21 Feb 2008
  • Loc: Saint-Donat, Quebec, Canada

Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:08 AM

I got the 10" SW Truss and ordered an Argo Navis and the encoder kit. If I had bought the 12" it would have cost $799 plus around $800 for the Argo and encoders...so $1,600...BUT, for me, I can now get encoders for any of my mounts and use the Argo unit with them...and, If I want to get a bigger dob, like the new 14" truss, I can xfer the Argo and the encoders to that...so, in the long run, for me, it's a great deal...I would buy the 12" SW.


How difficult was it to install the encoders on the SW ??

#20 therocksal

therocksal

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 517
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Everett, WA

Posted 21 September 2009 - 11:24 AM

I haven't received the encoder kit yet...but one of the posts here showed the install with pics and it looked fairly easy

#21 danielchai

danielchai

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 31 Jan 2010

Posted 01 February 2010 - 12:50 AM

Dear Phil,

I also thank your for your review on the 12 inch Lighbridge.

I have a 13.1 Dobsonian Coulter Odssey. A good telescope for $300.00. The coma (or what I think is coma) is an issue. Could this telescope be in the category that you referred to of ‘dobsonian mirrors from the not to distant past’?

Once again, I want to purchase a large aperture telescope for a wonderful price..

The 12” Skywatcher Collapsible Dobsonian is tempting. This telescope is cheaper than the other named brands. Is there a compromise with the optics? In the last few months, did you get to view similar ones?

Does f/4.9 mean greater coma issue than an f/6 plus? Or does this newer primary mirror makes it less of a problem? I believe, in so many words, you stated that the secondary mirror seems small. Could this cloudy issue have a silver lining, meaning that there is less obstruction?

There are two groups of people in this world. The first group methodically folds a roadmap along the crease. Since I belong to the other group, it impresses me to know that the Skywatcher does not need to be disassembled each time. With this advantage, is the sturdiness issue little or none?

I look forward to the feedback from you and others,

Daniel

#22 acey

acey

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 147
  • Joined: 09 Jan 2009
  • Loc: UK

Posted 20 March 2010 - 05:13 AM

Great review - very well thought out.

I have the same scope though mine came with a straight-through 9x50 finder. First thing I did was replace the secondary screws with Bob's Knobs (the ones for Orion XT) which work fine. Second thing was to insert a piece of plastic cut from a milk jug at the top of the secondary holder (where the screws meet it) to aid secondary adjustment - it really helps. Third thing was to apply some Protostar flocking opposite the focusser, a focusser baffle, and blacken the exposed top edge of the secondary mirror with a Sharpie - these greatly reduce scattered light. I use an Astrozap shroud and a dewshield made from a camping mat - this pretty much eliminates secondary dewing, though it still sometimes happens if I've spent a night pointing near the zenith. Making the back of the secondary reflective might solve that but it's no biggie.

Great scope - I love it. Glad you're enjoying it too.

#23 MikeM6

MikeM6

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 104
  • Joined: 03 May 2009
  • Loc: NW Illinois

Posted 04 October 2010 - 05:25 PM

Hi Philip,

Now that you've used the 12" Skywatcher dob for a year, are you still happy with it and did you ever buy a shroud?

#24 AcTrust

AcTrust

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 354
  • Joined: 11 Aug 2013

Posted 01 September 2013 - 11:20 AM

This is a Telescope I am considering also but pondering the 10" version for portability reasons.

I feel the light shroud is a must have accessory for this design. Not sure where you can buy one for the 12" SW though.

Also seems like right off the bat a guy needs to get a better finder along with collimation thumb-screws for the secondary and possibly a focuser too.

That is the fun tho, upgrading items over time to customize and make the "perfect" Telescope for your needs.

After the Focuser, light shroud, collimation thumb-screws for the secondary and better finder have been installed I would say this would be quite the unit!

#25 munchmeister

munchmeister

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 318
  • Joined: 04 Apr 2012
  • Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:42 PM

Great review. Still very useful info in 2013. Any recommendations for replacement focuser? Where can one get a shroud? Thanks!






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics