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Is this a good deal: Orion SkyView Pro 127mm?

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#1 Malux

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 12:24 PM

Hey all first post, be gentle :)

I'm thinking of picking up an Orion Skyview pro 127mm EQ. Scope looks to be in decent condition, but the seller is asking $350. It comes with the eq mount, but no computer or motion tracking.

Looking on ebay, i've seen the same scope selling for $500 (after shipping) but with the RA and DEC motor drives, and Intelliscope Electronic Setting Circles.

Am I right in thinking 350 is too much?

#2 Moffss

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 12:40 PM

my limited two cents is that you don't need a motor with only 127mm primary. You would want to use wide field type pieces of course. But I think you could get a better bang for your buck. I know its a Maksutov-Cassegrain but you could get almost twice the primary if you got a orion QT8. And you still wouldn't need a motor for that size with wide view lenses. If you are willing to spend 350 you should shop around more. But I don't know much and hopefully more experienced people will chime in.

#3 Tony Flanders

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 12:43 PM

I'm thinking of picking up an Orion Skyview pro 127mm EQ. Scope looks to be in decent condition, but the seller is asking $350. It comes with the eq mount, but no computer or motion tracking.


Seems like a good price. Orion sells the optical tube alone for $300, and is currently selling it for $670 with a somewhat inferior equatorial mount.

Nice optical tube, and the mount is a good match for the tube.

Whether you care about tracking and/or Go To, only you can tell. Personally, I consider both to be gravy rather than essential for a scope in this class. Tracking is an easy add-on; not so for Go To.

#4 rnc39560

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 12:54 PM

8" dob!! .lol... actually it seems like a good deal.

#5 Malux

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 12:56 PM

much appreciated on the advice. The Go To and tracking are nice to haves but not necessary. I just want to make sure i'm not paying too much. I was just comparing it to the scope I saw on ebay.

In terms of use I'm going to put a camera on the back and do some photography (probably just of the moon) but I don't think I need a motor for that. I've shot the moon handheld and the exposure times are pretty short (even at f/12) so I think i'll be ok.

I didn't think of a dobsonian. It might be too big to move around I'd think. Perhaps I'm wrong though

#6 Tony Flanders

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:07 PM

I didn't think of a dobsonian. It might be too big to move around I'd think. Perhaps I'm wrong though


It's not hugely different from the SkyView Pro 127mm. That mount is massive! Which is a good thing, by the way.

#7 AlBoning

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 04:38 PM

I'm particularly fond of my SVP. I got the dual axis drive but have never felt the need to install the DEC axis motor. Besides the fastest slew rate is still too slow. I ordered a pair of long control stalks from ScopeStuff which make it a lot easier to stay seated while manually slewing the scope. With my 102 mm f/11 onboard the SVP is a joy to use. OTOH the GoTo of my Atlas EQ-G is nice but I miss having RA and DEC knobs to turn. Go figure.

Originally this came with an Orion 8" f/4.9 newt, but modifications pushed the in the saddle weight seven pounds (27 lb) over the mount's rated capacity (20 lb), the SVP handled the load without a squawk. All in all a great mount.

#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 07:13 PM

The advantages of Maks are high magnification for lunar and planetary work, they hold collimation very well, and they are very portable. In this case, you are getting a medium duty eq mount with a light duty scope, so it ends up being kind of overkill and sort of killing the portability advantage of the Mak. But at least your mount could handle a bigger scope if you decide to upgrade later.

#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 08:13 AM

The advantages of Maks are high magnification for lunar and planetary work, they hold collimation very well, and they are very portable. In this case, you are getting a medium duty eq mount with a light duty scope, so it ends up being kind of overkill and sort of killing the portability advantage of the Mak.


On the other hand, the mount will be truly rock solid with that optical tube -- always a nice thing to have. With equatorial mounts, I'd much rather be a bit too heavy than a bit too light.

For what it's worth, although the 5-inch Mak is a fine planetary scope for its size, it's nowhere near as good as a standard 8-inch Dob.

#10 Malux

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 08:53 AM

Many thanks for all the advice everyone. I ended up picking up the SVP yesterday. It's fairly portable and should let me do lunar & planetary just fine. I think it's a more than adequate starter scope. I have my own troop of kids, so who knows, a 2nd larger DOB can come later if everyone stays with it.

By the way, I paid $330 for the scope, mount and 2 lenses.

I managed to align the finder with the scope by locating a radio tower near my house. Sadly, Venus had already set, I'll try again for tonight.

I have so many questions, but I'm going to start with reading the instructions so I can ask intelligent questions.

i'm also picking the camera adapter and t-ring. so i can begin experimenting.

One question: do I need a lunar filter?

Attached Files



#11 AngryHandyman

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 09:03 AM

Looks great! As far as a moon filter goes, maybe, maybe not. Many people prefer to observe without one, but I prefer to use a filter as my eyes water whenever I view the moon naked eyed. I'm fairly sensitive to light, always squint in daylight without sunglasses. But it's totally personal, try without one and see how it goes!

#12 Malux

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 09:30 AM

thanks Jeremy, one less thing to buy! I'll give it a whirl and see how it goes.

#13 BigC

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 12:48 PM

That looks very good,and should be excellent for planetary and small DSO(of which there are many).Take great care in polar alignment and you won't miss the DEC motor or goto.

#14 Malux

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 03:02 PM

thanks BigC, will do. I'll read up on the manual.

One more question: do you all recommend a variable polarizing filter for astrophotography? Or is that only needed for visual?

#15 E_Look

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 03:07 PM

Here's one more thing going for the SVP: for someone like me, not such a big guy, it's about as much weight as I either can or happily carry for a leisure activity (for me) as stargazing. Bigger mounts are incredibly heavier and to me, that will begin to erode my pleasure by making set up much more of a hassle.

#16 Malux

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 03:19 PM

Bigger mounts are incredibly heavier and to me, that will begin to erode my pleasure by making set up much more of a hassle.


the weight isn't bad. I'm used to carrying heavy camera gear for long stretches, so a short time carrying the scope and mount isn't too bad.

Coming from a tiny meade etx-60, it's a bit more work to setup, but the tradeoff is worth it. I need to find some case for the mount and counterweights. Right now the scope is in a carry case, but the mount and weights are in a cardboard box (tell no one :)).

I'm going to see if I can see venus tonight. I have no idea what to expect, but it should be interesting.

#17 Achernar

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 07:16 PM

You can always use Polaris too to align the finder, it does not move. As for a moon filter, it can be useful when you are looking at the moon when it's at or near full. I do not use one very often, and when I do it's when I am looking at the Moon through a 10 or 15-inch Dob. It also works with Venus and Jupiter too. I would call them a nice thing to have, but not an absolute must. I think you got a good deal with the telescope, a 5-inch Mak on a decent equatorial mount is a good portable telescope for city and suburban observing. It won't be what you would want for large, sprawling objects such as the North American Nebula, but most DSO's are small and from a dark site you can see a good many of those with a 5-inch. If I am not mistaken, you might be able to get a clock drive for that mounting, and you can always later get a heavier duty German equatorial mount that tracks and has full GOTO. Those mountings can be used with a huge variety of telescopes.


Taras

#18 Malux

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 08:22 AM

thanks taras, sadly, a polar finder didn't come with the mount. I was going to pickup a lunar filter, but instead i'm going to pickup a polar finder, camera adapter and the t-ring. It'll be a little over $100 but not too bad (certainly cheaper than most camera gear)

#19 Tony Flanders

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 09:21 AM

thanks taras, sadly, a polar finder didn't come with the mount.


A polar finder is completely unnecessary unless you're planning to do long-exposure astrophotograph -- something this rig isn't very well suited for anyway.

Just set the declination to 90 degrees north, so that the scope is parallel to the polar axis. Then tune the alt and az until Polaris is centered either in the finderscope (for crude work) or the main scope (for greater precision), and you're good to go.

That will get you less than a degree from the celestial pole, which is adequate for short-exposure photography and gross overkill for visual observing.

What are you planning to photograph through the telescope? If it's deep-sky objects, you may have a tough time unless they're very bright. If it's the Moon or planets, you might do better using the afocal method -- holding a point-and-shoot camera to the eyepiece.

#20 Malux

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 09:30 AM

What are you planning to photograph through the telescope? If it's deep-sky objects, you may have a tough time unless they're very bright. If it's the Moon or planets, you might do better using the afocal method -- holding a point-and-shoot camera to the eyepiece.


I'm mainly planning on the moon and planets. I'll experiment with DSO but won't be doing that right away (not until i pickup the true track (sp?) later on. I'm also not sure how well the scope will work for smaller DSO. Seems like it would be ok if they're small and bright based on the feedback I'm getting

For now, i'll be using the scope as a prime lens to mount my canon 5DMKII on it.

I ended up picking up the variable adapter, t-ring, finder and a variable lunar filter for about $130 from Orion. I'll admit, i'm a bit of a gear head, but compared to lenses/etc for the camera, that was pretty cheap. Also, Orion gave me a $10 coupon for chatting with them that was nice.

#21 Kevdog

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 10:52 AM

For now, i'll be using the scope as a prime lens to mount my canon 5DMKII on it.

I ended up picking up the variable adapter, t-ring, finder and a variable lunar filter for about $130 from Orion. I'll admit, i'm a bit of a gear head, but compared to lenses/etc for the camera, that was pretty cheap. Also, Orion gave me a $10 coupon for chatting with them that was nice.


AP is quite different from terrestrial photography. The 127mm is an f12.1 scope. The f rating is the same as camera lenses. So you're taking photos of very dark things with a very slow lens. You'd probably be better off just using your DSLR with your best zoom lens. Or you might try a fast refractor. The Orion ST80mm is a 400mm f5 lens for example.

And the problem is you can't just do a longer exposure. Since the earth is rotating, the stars/objects will start to streak after just a few seconds, depending on the focal length (6 secs for a 85mm lens according to this site: http://www.davidking...id-star-trails)

So you can get great shots of the moon and decent planet photos, but DSOs will be extremely difficult. I'm thinking of getting hyperstar for my C11, which basically turns the F10 2800mm SCT into an F2 560mm scope.

Here's my feeble attempts with a Meade LT8 with tracking. The vibration was just too much for the mount, so everythings a bit blurry (and these are the best ones):

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And then this was taken with my 25mm@1.4 lens (50mm equivalent) with a 1.6 sec exposure at ISO 3200.
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AP is more about the mount and it's setup and management, then lots of long exposures combined in software (think extreme HDR).

That doesn't mean you can't dabble and have fun (like I have), but to expect really good results you'll need a lot more time, effort and usually equipment than you are used to.

#22 Tony Flanders

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 11:23 AM

I'm mainly planning on the moon and planets.


You should be able to get very nice photos of the Moon through that scope at prime focus.

However, the planets will be minuscule -- incredibly small. Just a few dozen pixels wide at best. You would really do far better shooting through an eyepiece than attaching the camera at prime focus.

On the other hand, a 1540-mm lens has plenty of uses for terrestrial photography, such as photographing birds in their nests.

Obviously, you will want (at the very least) motor drive on the RA axis if you're going to do much in the way of astrophotography aside from the Moon.

#23 BigC

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 11:34 AM

keydog,
If nothing else those pics have certainly lowered my expectations regarding the LT8.

#24 Malux

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 12:13 PM

AP is quite different from terrestrial photography. The 127mm is an f12.1 scope. The f rating is the same as camera lenses. So you're taking photos of very dark things with a very slow lens. You'd probably be better off just using your DSLR with your best zoom lens. Or you might try a fast refractor. The Orion ST80mm is a 400mm f5 lens for example.

....

AP is more about the mount and it's setup and management, then lots of long exposures combined in software (think extreme HDR).


At least HDR and stacking is something I know really well (shamless plug warning: you can checkout my site for the photo side of things - especially HDR.)

Seems like the mount is the biggest weakness (not to mention an f/12 lens!). It's so easy to forget how much better our are eyes compared to a camera when looking through an eyepiece.

I'd love to see/be told about a tracking mount I can put some canon gear on. I have some pretty high end canon gear (70-200 f/2.8L) and even access to some of the canon big boys (400 2.8, 500mm f/4, 800mm 5.6) through canon's CPS.

I have a ton of reading to do and don't quite understand how mounts and tracking drives work and what is good/better/best in the market.

Any recommendations for an astrophotography for beginners book?

By the way, i did manage to peek at venus last night before the clouds took over. Not much more than little circle (half moon really).

#25 Malux

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 12:15 PM

btw, i really liked your orion shot Big C.

Tony Flanders: i'm definitely looking forward to trying it with birds. I wish there was an easy way to mount the optical tube on a regular photographic tripod






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