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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.!
      #5544275 - 11/28/12 05:40 PM

Hi all

I posted a thread in the newbie board on buying a cheap refractor. My budget was to be around $300 but after lots of good advice and help I have decided to raise the budget to a max of $500.
What I want/need is a scope that is short tube, 90-120mm, a decent mount / tripod. I am thinking maybe later doing very limited planitary AP with this Refractor.

I was thinking the Omni 102 or this one Astroview 120ST EQ
This is on the high end of my budget. I have a 6" dob for DSO's and sharper images of planets. Thing is that sometimes, especially when it's this cold, my back hurts too much. I want/need a scope that I can use most of the time standing.
So my question is this, is the Orion 120ST a good scope. I know the mount is not the greatest. This will not be my primary viewing scope.

Thanks for any help.


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magnus
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/17/04

Loc: Visby, Sweden
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5544330 - 11/28/12 06:14 PM

Good scope..everything is relative in this world. I find my S-W 120ST good for widefield observing and brighter DSO observing. I can also push it to 160X for limited binary observing and planetary if you can stand the CA. So yes I think it`s an adequate refractor condsidering the price.I use mine on a Vixen Porta mount. But keep in mind it`s not an ED or APO. Far from it!

Good Luck,
Magnus 57N.


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orlyandico
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Loc: Singapore
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: magnus]
      #5544336 - 11/28/12 06:19 PM

if you don't mind used... you can find an Orion 100ED for $400.

and there are manual EQ mounts out there for $100 - $150.

I'd rather spent $550 for an ED refractor and manual mount, than $500 for a 120mm achromat even on a motorized mount... the manual mount can be upgraded to motorized later, but the achromat can't be upgraded to ED or APO..


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5544337 - 11/28/12 06:19 PM

Quote:

I am thinking maybe later doing very limited planitary AP with this Refractor.




These scopes are primarily low power, wide field scopes, a 120mm F/5 has a lot of chromatic aberration that significantly affects the planetary views. Your 6 inch Dobsonian is going to much better on the planets.

Jon


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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5544347 - 11/28/12 06:27 PM

Like I said, I'm still very new t this and know nothing about refractors. So Ed and APO is all greek to me.I'll check the Orio site for Ed scope then.

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Locoman
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 03/09/09

Loc: Abilene, Kansas
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5544388 - 11/28/12 06:51 PM

I like my ST120 a lot. It's not a planetary scope. The nice thing about it is the short tube so on lighter mounts like the Porta ll its more stable than longer tubes. Once in a while they show up in the classifieds and they don't last long there.

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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Locoman]
      #5544400 - 11/28/12 06:59 PM

I am not too worried about using this one on planets, my 6" dob is good for that. I enjoy clusters and that is where I will most likely use this, when I do use my Dob.
Starting to get bumbed as I thought I finally boiled it down to one or two scopes.

Used scopes don't last long and on CL they are all pretty much *BLEEP* or over priced.


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Locoman
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 03/09/09

Loc: Abilene, Kansas
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5544476 - 11/28/12 08:11 PM

If standing is important then a refractor on a EQ or AZ mount and tripod would require a lot of bending over and getting on your knees if you don't want to sit in a chair.

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dlapoint
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/18/03

Loc: Moncton NB Canada
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Locoman]
      #5544645 - 11/28/12 09:58 PM

Look into an ed80 on an az3 mount to start. Fits the bill.

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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5544710 - 11/28/12 10:28 PM

This would be ideal...

http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=CT21088&ref=froogle&omid=...

...and it comes with the CG-4 mount. I just received a CG-4 mount a day or two ago, and it's better than I had expected, in conjunction with my FS-102. Plus, you'd get the Celestron 4" f/9.8 achromat with "Starbright" coatings.

It's a no-brainer, for the amount allocated, and you'd have enough left over for the dual-axis motor drive set from Amazon.com.

Cheers,

Alan


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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5544769 - 11/28/12 11:00 PM

Thanks for the link. I had seen that scope elsewhere but really didn't look into it.
I don't mind sitting, especially if the ep is eye level and I don't have to lean or twist very much. That is one of the problems at the moment with my dob, the finder scope. Once the cold weather sets in, my knees and back feel it the most.
I'll print this one out as well and add it the the rest of the ref. scopes to compare.


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5544864 - 11/29/12 12:20 AM

There's also a 16" pier offered by Orion that will fit the CG-4 between the tripod head and the mount which will raise the refractor to clear the tripod when viewing at the zenith, adding even greater stability to the mount overall in addition to raising the eyepiece to a more comfortable position...

http://www.telescope.com/Mounts-Tripods/Mount-Tripod-Accessories/Orion-SkyVie...

However, it's black to match the "SkyView Pro" equatorial, but will fit the CG-4 in addition. I've ordered one and will need to paint it white to match my CG-4. I also have the polar scope for the CG-4, too...

http://www.highpointscientific.com/product/CEL-94223/Celestron-Polar-Scope-fo...

...and for lining up the mount with Polaris for improved tracking, along with this...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000C3WBB/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00

The drive set comes with a four-D-cell battery pack for a total of 6v, but I'm going to try substituting a rechargeable 6v golf cart battery, as our auto battery charger has a 6v charging function.

I'm accessorising mine to the hilt with everything available for this model.

Cheers,

Alan


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Goodchild
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/31/08

Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5545178 - 11/29/12 09:43 AM

Rob,
I think the 120ST would fit your needs nicely. It's short and light and you wouldn't need to bend much to view from it. With a mount extension it would be even nicer.

I used to own a Celestron 102 f/5 and for the items you want to view it did a very good job. I only looked through a 120ST once but I was impressed with the added light throughput. In my opinion, I think it's a very good scope, especially for the money. It would work very well on a Voyager mount.


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5545293 - 11/29/12 10:46 AM

Quote:

Thing is that sometimes, especially when it's this cold, my back hurts too much.




What chair are you using? With a refractor or a reflector the eyepiece height changes from the horizon to the zenith so it is difficult to be comfortable while standing. A good quality, adjustable astronomy chair makes seated viewing comfortable.

Jon


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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Goodchild]
      #5545299 - 11/29/12 10:48 AM

As much as I would love to get a really good refractor, the budget just is not there. To be honest, I'm still not sure WHAT I want to do with it. Mainly to have a refractor to take breaks from the Dob and get some experience with other scopes.
Another scope that may be more in the budget is the Orion 'short tube' 80 mm EQ. It's a short tube which I like, weighs less than 16 lbs and won't take up much space. It goes for $300 on the Orion site. It's 400fl and f5.0.


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5545405 - 11/29/12 11:55 AM

Rob,

The Orion AstroView 120ST w/equatorial you're considering, in addition to the Celestron Omni XLT 102 w/equatorial, comes with a black mount that is practically identical to the white Celestron CG-4 mount previously described, with very slight cosmetic differences. However, the tripod is of aluminum and not as sturdy, albeit lighter, than the steel tripod of the CG-4, though you wouldn't have to paint the extension to match, and it can be fitted with the Celestron dual-axis motor drive set in future, if desired.

The Celestron 4.02" achromat with its moderate f/9.8 ratio would be better suited for planets, binaries, open and globular clusters and brighter DSOs. It will also exhibit minimal false colour when viewing brighter objects, and may be used for imaging.

The Orion 4.7" achromat, with its fast f/5 ratio, is better suited for wide-field viewing of star fields, DSOs and astrophotography. Though, when viewing brighter objects, such as Jupiter, Venus, and brighter stars like Rigel, Vega and Sirius, the false colour will be considerable, perhaps correctable to a bearable level with a minus-violet filter. Also, to achieve higher magnifications, you'll need a focal amplifier, such as a 2x barlow.

In other words, among the mounts, it's a toss up; among the achromats, however, it will depend on your preferred observing and recreational interests, given the above.

Regardless of choice, don't be surprised if your new refractor eclipses your reflector in preference.

As a gentleman mentioned, the Astro-Tech "Voyager", from which I've upgraded to an equatorial, is an altazimuth mount and unsuitable for long-term observing and serious astrophotography. I'll keep my "Voyager", but for terrestrial use only, perhaps with a Maksutov reflector someday.

Cheers,

Alan


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5545410 - 11/29/12 11:58 AM

Hear! Hear! I'm wanting one of those myself.

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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5545464 - 11/29/12 12:37 PM

Quote:

The Orion 4.7" achromat, with its fast f/5 ratio, is better suited for wide-field viewing of star fields, DSOs and astrophotography.




It think it is a stretch to suggest that a 120mm F/5 achromat is well suited for astrophotography. Cameras capture a much wider spectrum than the human eye so the inability to focus focus the red and blue ends of the spectrum results in seriously bloated stars. In general, this where apo's shine, their ability to focus a broad spectrum of colors including those that the eye cannot see.

I also think it is important to address the statement "is an altazimuth mount and unsuitable for long-term observing." The fact is that manually tracked alt-az mounts are fine for serious long-term observing, particularly with scopes in this aperture class and particularly mounts with slow-motion controls. The most important things about a mount are whether it is stable and free from vibration and whether it is comfortable for viewing.

I have both a CG-5 ASGT and a Astroview sitting on a Vixen wooden tripod. They are fine mounts but I prefer the freedom to roam the skies and comfortable viewing that a good alt-az mount provides.

Jon Isaacs


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5545579 - 11/29/12 01:47 PM

...well suited..."

I wrote, "...better suited...", and over the slower achromat, as an astrograph; regardless of chromatic abberration, in that both are achromats, thus debate.

"...this where apo's shine, their ability to focus a broad spectrum of colors including those that the eye cannot see."

The gentleman is considering a choice between two achromats, and given the funds allocated for said dilemma, it necessarily excludes the consideration of an apochromat, thus the generality.

"...manually tracked alt-az mounts...
...particularly mounts with slow-motion controls."

A manually-tracking altazimuth must always be accompanied by slow-motive controls if they are to be "fine for serious long-term observing". Redundancy noted, unless one was referring to the tiresome method of bumping the refractor itself to the left, then right, then up, then down, in the first instance, and within the same sentence even.

One would have to master the dexterity of a Ouija-board "mystic" to seriously anything with an altazimuth, when compared to the luxury of the consummate, motorised equatorial.

"...but I prefer the freedom to roam the skies and comfortable viewing that a good alt-az mount provides."

Precisely all that an altazimuth accomplishes, a roaming, as opposed to the singular, stray-free observances afforded by a motorised equatorial.

Cheers,

Alan


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waso29
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Reged: 05/12/10

Loc: Chi-Town, USA, mother earth
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5545648 - 11/29/12 02:41 PM

Unless you live under dark skies where the Milky Way is visible, I'd say skip the low-power wide-field 120ST short tube refractor.
I have owned two.
During the great recession, I was lucky to find used 120st for around $200.
They are great for scanning rich field starry skies.
Low power views are washed out in urban skies.
Basically slightly better views than a pair of binoculars.

You "run out of gas" viewing the moon and planets.
You'd get better lunar and planetary aP pics thru your 6in scope.

The EQ mount that comes with the setup is ok.
The motor is mounted awkwardly and gets in the way at certain viewing angles. With low power views of the scope, you really don't need tracking.

Overall, the 120st setup is a stepping stone.
Cheap way to learn about refractors and eq mounts.
You'll find out how much time is needed to setup the tripod, then the mount, then balancing the scope with counterweight.
Rotating the scope, viewing objects as it crosses the meridian, etc. I'd rather not during winter nights.
For me, it was not a keeper.

Have you considered raising the height of your dob?

If your budget allows, a used 80ed or 100ed on an alt-az mount like voyager/porta is better complement to your dob.
A nice cold weather grab-n-go setup.

Good luck.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5545701 - 11/29/12 03:18 PM

Quote:

The gentleman is considering a choice between two achromats, and given the funds allocated for said dilemma, it necessarily excludes the consideration of an apochromat, thus the generality.




He is actually considering a number of choices and open to suggestion. A used ED-80 is within consideration. Any suggestion of using an 120mm F/5 achromat for astrophotography needs to point out that these scope are a poor choice because of the chromatic aberration and increased spectrum involved.

Quote:

One would have to master the dexterity of a Ouija-board "mystic" to seriously anything with an altazimuth, when compared to the luxury of the consummate, motorised equatorial.




Humm...

I suspect that I have average dexterity, maybe a bit better than most. I have no trouble with manually tracking for long periods at the sorts of magnifications a 4 or 5 inch refractor is capable of. To my mind it is misleading to suggest that one would have to have the "dexterity of Ouija-board "mystic"" to use an alt-az mount for "serious observation." Tracking mounts are nice in this regard, if they are sturdy and track well, but a decent alt-az mount can be used effectively with a little practice to observe for long periods...

Bottom line: Both alt-az mounts and equatorial mounts are viable options.

Jon


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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5545726 - 11/29/12 03:39 PM

As Jon has said, I am open to suggestions. I don't want to get into serious AP, just some quick images with a cheap digi camera and then an iphone., so not really AP.

This scope is just to get familiar with refractors and mounts. I mainly enjoy Clusters so that is what it will be used for, as well as maybe Jupiter. I don't want to spend a lot and end up not liking refractors, then being stuck with an expansive scope that rarely will get used. I love the Dob and will eventually go bigger with a 10". It won't hurt to have and use both types of scopes.
i am looking at somewhere between a 90 -120 scope that is in my budget and am checking for used as well. I know the EQ -1 and 2 are not the greatest mounts but it will be for learning and also not for long observing sessions, which I rarely ever have.


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Slow Astronomer
member


Reged: 05/01/10

Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5546025 - 11/29/12 07:00 PM

I have the 120ST and love it for DSO work. $320 for the OTA from Orion. I use it on a ioptron Mini Tower. I wasn't impressed with the focuser so I replaced it with a JMI EV-1r (costs as much as the OTA). Does a fantastic job on DSO's and I'm impressed with the planetary performance also. Did a mini Mess(ier) the other night and had a blast looking at a bunch of M3x's as well as M45. The detail was incredible. The views of Jupiter the other night were tremendous using my TMB Planetary EPs. I am really in love with the OTA performance for the price. Outside of the stock focuser I think the OTA glass is tremendous for DSO's. Use a TV 24 Pan and 16 Nagler and you can cover some sky. Clear skies.

Dave

Edited by Slow Astronomer (11/29/12 07:23 PM)


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coutleef
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/21/08

Loc: Saint-Donat, Quebec, Canada
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5546124 - 11/29/12 07:41 PM

Quote:

Quote:

The gentleman is considering a choice between two achromats, and given the funds allocated for said dilemma, it necessarily excludes the consideration of an apochromat, thus the generality.




He is actually considering a number of choices and open to suggestion. A used ED-80 is within consideration. Any suggestion of using an 120mm F/5 achromat for astrophotography needs to point out that these scope are a poor choice because of the chromatic aberration and increased spectrum involved.

Quote:

One would have to master the dexterity of a Ouija-board "mystic" to seriously anything with an altazimuth, when compared to the luxury of the consummate, motorised equatorial.




Humm...

I suspect that I have average dexterity, maybe a bit better than most. I have no trouble with manually tracking for long periods at the sorts of magnifications a 4 or 5 inch refractor is capable of. To my mind it is misleading to suggest that one would have to have the "dexterity of Ouija-board "mystic"" to use an alt-az mount for "serious observation." Tracking mounts are nice in this regard, if they are sturdy and track well, but a decent alt-az mount can be used effectively with a little practice to observe for long periods...

Bottom line: Both alt-az mounts and equatorial mounts are viable options.

Jon




Absolutely right,

I think my dexterity in that regard is below average but it is quite easy to track wtih a refractor and the twilight mount (without fine tracking) at 200x, as well as with a dob.


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5546466 - 11/29/12 11:46 PM

Splitting double stars is also enjoyable with a refractor.

The Orion EQ-2 is amazingly and exactly identical to the Parks equatorial I once had, combined with an 80mm f/11 achromat, both made in Japan at the time, in 1992. I fitted a single motor drive to track in right ascension. With it, I observed Venus from when it was still dark, early in the morning until almost noon, the sun high in the sky, the planet's surface like fine sandpaper, and still centered in the eyepiece, with only a few adjustments in declination during the entire time to correct errors in tracking. I'll never forget it, and the most enjoyable observing session of my life.

I was 27.

Thus, an EQ-2 would be a good match for an 80mm, 90mm, or perhaps even a fast-to-moderate four-inch. I never had a need for a motor for the declination, so you'd save money there, too.

Even though I prefer equatorials, I am purely a visual observer, with no interest in imaging whatsoever, and all for a hassle-free experience.

Cheers,

Alan


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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5546767 - 11/30/12 08:08 AM

Thanks fellas for taking the time to help out with some great info.
Alan thanks for the story. I guess it is up to the individual to decide what works best. Although not the greatest mount, the EQ2 still does the job, so I shouldn't rule this one out.
I still have an eye out for used scopes and am checking out others. I would like a scope with somewhat short/low f/l, say around 700mm ...f 6 in that area. In other words not to fast, and not too slow.


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Jon Isaacs
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Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5547010 - 11/30/12 11:32 AM

Quote:

Thus, an EQ-2 would be a good match for an 80mm, 90mm, or perhaps even a fast-to-moderate four-inch. I never had a need for a motor for the declination, so you'd save money there, too.




The motors for these mounts are quite slow and unresponsive in terms of slewing so I find it works better to use only an RA drive and control the declination manually.

The EQ-2 is a bit undersized for an 80mm F/11 though more than sufficient. Back in the day when an 80mm F/11 was a serious scope, Celestron mounted their EQ version on the Vixen Polaris which made a very solid rig. Meade had several versions but the Meade 310/320 were manufactured by Mizar and of the highest quality. The 310 had a fully geared ALT-AZ mount that was very steady, the 320 used the well known Mizar GEM, in view my view, the best small EQ mount I have ever seen.

If Rob could find a good used 80mm F/11, even the FirstScope mounted on the EQ-2 with the wooden legs, that would be a fine combination. I see 80mm F/11s for around $100 on CL.. I have bought a few, all were good scopes, still own three...

Jon


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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

Loc: SE Ma.
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5547047 - 11/30/12 11:54 AM

I guess a cheap scope to start could be the power seeker 80EQ. Although not that high end it could make a good starter refractor. Maybe not. Just looking.

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Kim K
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Reged: 08/31/10

Loc: Eastern NM
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5547056 - 11/30/12 12:01 PM

One thing not mentioned is a #58 green filter will kill CA; albeit, at the expense of green images and lower light. My lowly ST80 shows a lovely burst of color when viewing Jupiter (and nothing else), but with the filter two bands are seen. This is not a solution of course, but does add to the utility of an ST scope.

Kim


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Sky Muse
sage


Reged: 10/26/12

Loc: De Soto County, MS
Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5547618 - 11/30/12 06:15 PM

Last ditch effort ...

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Refractor-Telescopes/Refractor-Telescopes...

It has a high user rating, a 90mm f/10 achromat(not fast, not slow) on an EQ-2, on sale for less than $300 with free shipping, minimal false colour and suited for observing planets, binaries and open/globular star clusters. And, the motor drive with hand controller for tracking in right ascension, and free shipping if ordered at the same time...

http://www.telescope.com/Accessories/Telescope-Drives-Controllers/Orion-EQ-2M...

...and all for your consideration.

Cheers,

Alan


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newtoskies
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/12

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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5548155 - 12/01/12 01:18 AM

LOL Alan I have been looking at that ne to, just didn't want to mention it for fear that it too would bet dogged down as a not very good scope. I open to almost anything. I wuld just like to get an idea of the refractor side of the hobby, but still have something I think I will be happy with. I keep going back to the 129ST from Orion. Will wait a few weeks to see how high the budget goes up first.

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mayidunk
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5548273 - 12/01/12 04:17 AM

With or without the drive, I still think that 90mm scope and EQ2 mount package from Orion is a solid deal for all you'd be getting!



I mean... look at all those guys jumping around up there!

Once again, good luck making your choice.

Edited by mayidunk (12/01/12 05:03 AM)


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5548313 - 12/01/12 05:30 AM

Quote:

With or without the drive, I still think that 90mm scope and EQ2 mount package from Orion is a solid deal for all you'd be getting!



I mean... look at all those guys jumping around up there!

Once again, good luck making your choice.




There are lots of good choices, each with their advantages and their liabilities. The 90mm F/10 is more of an all around, general purpose scope than the 120mm F/5, it's going to show some false color at high powers but it won't be overwhelming the way it is with the 120mm F/5. The longer focal length makes for a longer, more unwieldy tube and a narrower field of view...

One reason that people often gravitate towards apo's is that a good apo provides both widefield viewing and high power viewing without compromising either. I started like most, various old 60mm F/11 and F/15 refractors, moved on to an 8 inch SCT, discovered the virtues of Newtonians... Started back with refractors as companions to large scopes with an 80mm ended up moving up again and again, slowly working my way up.

It is hard to believe that it has been 9 years since the ED-80 revolutionized the apochromatic refractor marketplace, a true ED/apo for $500 new was literally unbelievable. Like many other amateurs on a budget, a used ED-80 bought from a friend introduced me to what very good optics meant and finally now, with an NP-101 and a William-Optics 80mm FD, I have the scopes that do what I want to do... I have come to the end of the search.

If it coulda woulda started with these two, I probably would have saved a fair chunk of change but I wouldn't know that these were the right scopes for me...

Jon


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Mark Harry
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5548366 - 12/01/12 07:34 AM

I think they call that HINDSIGHT!
*******
I have my ST120 for wide field scanning. I recognise its limitations, and it works fine for me. A 24 Pan @ 25x is a nice combination, night or day. It's relatively compact and easy to get along with. Excellent for quick looks without dragging out the bigger stuff. It's the only 'substantial' refractor I own at present.
Planetary? I have a couple good reflectors with ZERO color, that will go to any practical power setting to handle those chores.
My 2 cents.
M.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Mark Harry]
      #5548393 - 12/01/12 08:08 AM

Quote:

I think they call that HINDSIGHT!
*******
I have my ST120 for wide field scanning. I recognise its limitations, and it works fine for me. A 24 Pan @ 25x is a nice combination, night or day. It's relatively compact and easy to get along with. Excellent for quick looks without dragging out the bigger stuff. It's the only 'substantial' refractor I own at present.
Planetary? I have a couple good reflectors with ZERO color, that will go to any practical power setting to handle those chores.
My 2 cents.
M.




Mark:

But you are lucky, you know some guy who has a reputation for figuring great planetary mirrors and he gives you a deal..

Jon


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newtoskies
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5548523 - 12/01/12 10:15 AM

I guess there are pros and cons to most lower to mid end scopes. Now I know a bit more about refractors thanks to you all, and that already is fantastic. Like you all I too will start with an ok scope and then get better once I gain more knowledge and experience...and the $$ too.
It's basically a choice of three scopes right now. Knowing the mounts are not the greatest is not a problem as I can get abetter mount later, or new scope.
My 6" Dob does a great job on planets so far and I still plan on getting a 10" next year some time. The refractor won't be my main scope, but one I can take out without the long cool down, and just do some star hopping and check out the bright DSO, like clusters. The wide fov is also not an issue as this will be good for open clusters and low to mid powers.


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Sky Muse
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5548913 - 12/01/12 02:45 PM

It's noteworthy that even though it has a high user rating, the rating is primarily for the achromat. About half complained of the EQ-2 in conjunction, however half did not, with one even being totally satisfied all around. It's a shame that that particular achromat cannot be had as an OTA.

The ideal would be an f/7 or f/8 in whichever aperture and type chosen.

Mine, at f/8, is the sweet spot for me.

Cheers,

Alan


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junomike
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5548983 - 12/01/12 03:33 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

If one knows the limitations of this scope (or any scope for that matter), then they won't be disappointed. Mine rides on top of my SCT for WF views (4.5°).

Mike


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Mark Harry
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5549177 - 12/01/12 06:11 PM

Yeah, I have had a deal or 2 in the past!
M.


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Goodchild
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5549635 - 12/02/12 12:11 AM

Quote:

It's a shame that that particular achromat cannot be had as an OTA.





Orion sells this scope as an OTA. I believe it goes for $329. It's sold as a gray tube and not the black tube.


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Mark Harry
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Goodchild]
      #5549868 - 12/02/12 07:06 AM

Mine was an OTA, and was -BLACK-.
One complaint with mine- I wish the dustcap for the end of the glareshield came with an apertured cap that was around 3" diameter, instead of the stock one just under 2". That's mighty small, imo.
M.


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newtoskies
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Mark Harry]
      #5550107 - 12/02/12 10:34 AM

From all the info gathered here from you all I now know the limits of this scope adn would it's good for. This one, the 120ST, is my first choice. I figure that later on I can get a porta mount for it, after I've learned to use an EQ.

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richsvt
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5550230 - 12/02/12 12:03 PM

Sent you a pm
I Have a ST120 that you may be interested in seeing...


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newtoskies
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: richsvt]
      #5550247 - 12/02/12 12:17 PM

Rich, pm back at you.

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Sky Muse
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Goodchild]
      #5551246 - 12/02/12 11:10 PM

That's the 120mm f/5 achromat for $329. It's the 90mm f/10 achromat that's not available as an OTA. I guess they make a better profit selling it in a package deal.

Edited by Sky Muse (12/03/12 01:39 PM)


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Goodchild
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Sky Muse]
      #5551566 - 12/03/12 06:39 AM

Quote:

That's the 120mm f/7 achromat for $329. It's the 90mm f/10 achromat that's not available as an OTA. I guess they make a better profit selling it in a package deal.





Alan,
Don't know if your above reference is a typo but I'm referring to the 120mm f/5 scope for $329.


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Sky Muse
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Goodchild]
      #5552073 - 12/03/12 01:41 PM

...corrected. I suppose it was wishful thinking on my part.

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RussL
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: waso29]
      #5552712 - 12/03/12 07:57 PM

Forgive me for not having read all the replies, but thought I'd add a comment or two. I love my 120ST. But, it all depends on what you're after. Then, you must understand what the scope does best. It is a richfield scope, intended for low power, widefield views. It serves best when looking at clusters, some doubles, and brighter galaxies, nebulae, and globular clusters. Planetary views of, say, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus are not as good as what would be seen through a scope designed for that purpose, that is just the facts. But, it can do ok for casual glimpses. I have done pretty well on Jupiter, but of course I am limited to under 200x.

Chromatic aberration can be quelled fairly well by using an aperture mask, including the one supplied in the end cap. But, also remember that beyond mag 5 or so chromatic aberration is not a problem. Most stellar views are fine except where a bright star might be in view. But, most views are not concentrated on bright stars anyway.

I bought mine as tube only, and put it on an eq2. Yes, an eq2! It works. It's a bit spindly, but it's stable. Hey, I'm 62 and hurt a lot, so while I want the aperture I can't handle much weight.

Hope that helps. Cheers.


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Sky Muse
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: RussL]
      #5552740 - 12/03/12 08:15 PM

The Orion EQ-2 appears exactly identical to the Parks PRT-813 equatorial mount I once had. I wouldn't be surprised if the EQ-2 is either made in Japan as well, or made from the original molds. I remember it well...seemingly of cast iron, and sturdier than it looks.

Alan


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newtoskies
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: RussL]
      #5552759 - 12/03/12 08:25 PM

Quote:

Forgive me for not having read all the replies, but thought I'd add a comment or two. I love my 120ST. But, it all depends on what you're after. Then, you must understand what the scope does best. It is a richfield scope, intended for low power, widefield views. It serves best when looking at clusters, some doubles, and brighter galaxies, nebulae, and globular clusters. Planetary views of, say, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus are not as good as what would be seen through a scope designed for that purpose, that is just the facts. But, it can do ok for casual glimpses. I have done pretty well on Jupiter, but of course I am limited to under 200x.




This is exactly what it would be used for. If I want to just view the moon and planets, then I have my 6" Dob for that. I still have lots of time to get a refractor and don't want to rush into it. I would hate to spend lots of money on one for it to just sit somewhere because I end up not caring for refractors.

Now will some one get rid of the darn clouds.... I can barely make out Jupiter.

As always, thank you all for the help and support, CN is the best.


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newtoskies
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5552763 - 12/03/12 08:27 PM

All great info. There is always a good and bad to most things, so I will not rule out the EQ2, after all, it's to start with.

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Crow Haven
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5552915 - 12/03/12 09:43 PM Attachment (23 downloads)

I'm late in posting but I think the ST120 will do what you want. I still have fun with mine -- not only for the wide views but also with a Baader solar film filter it was fun for the portions of the Venus transit I was able to view and sunspots. It's light enough to take nearly anywhere and sets up in no time. I've been using it on an Astro Tech Voyager alt/az mt.
---Maya


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newtoskies
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Crow Haven]
      #5553676 - 12/04/12 10:11 AM

Thanks for the support on this scope scope Maya. Love the image btw. If I get this scope I will get a Porta mount for it and invest a bit more than planned. I may just get a cheap 80 or 90 mm refractor first, just to test the waters and gain experience with refractors.

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terraclarke
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: waso29]
      #5554275 - 12/04/12 04:57 PM

I love to use my long focus refractors on eq mounts at home when I have time to set them up and take them down under adequate light. When I go out to our clubs dark site however, I like faster scopes (f/stop wise) and alt az mounts. My favorite dark sky grab and go set up is my ST120 (I've upgraded the focuser to a duel speed GSO) with a 2 inch dielectric diagonal and a suite of 2 inch ep from 40 to 10 mm on a vintage wooden Professional Jr tripod and pan head. I can spend many happy hours cruising the skies and star hopping to whatever I want to find. All of this and I leave the Ouija board at home.

Get the ST120. You'll love it. (And remember, the dust cap comes with an aperture stop that takes it down to around 100mm if the CA is getting the best of you- a polarizing filter will also help here.)

A much bigger question is getting a mount you will be happy with. There are lots of alt-az mounts out there. I have the Porta MountII and I have to admit, it is not my favorite. My televue panoramic can run circles around it even without slo-mos as long as its well balanced. I also like my Universal Astronomics Unistar. Eqs are the best if you have the time to mess with them but they are not my first choice of weapon in a duel.

Clear skies.


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Locoman
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Mark Harry]
      #5554309 - 12/04/12 05:17 PM Attachment (15 downloads)

Get It!

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newtoskies
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: Locoman]
      #5554370 - 12/04/12 06:02 PM

Well that's two more for the ST120....LOL. Love the moral support, thanks. I am checking around for a new or used diagonal for that scope, and on craigslist for a cheap mount, EQ2 or so for now. I don't have a ton of cash to spend on this scope....X-mas and all...so I won't rush into getting it just yet.....but man I really love that scope..lol

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DoctorNoodle
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5554553 - 12/04/12 08:03 PM Attachment (17 downloads)

I love mine, also. Put a 90mm aperture mask on it and it's pretty good on planets.

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chapleau
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Re: AstroView 120ST EQ....good or bad.! new [Re: waso29]
      #5562006 - 12/09/12 08:42 AM

I have owned my 120ST for six or seven years and love it. It mainly goes on a Vixen PortaMount and then defines "grab and go." The stars are sharp as tacks to my eyes. Yes, CA is sure noticeable on bright objects. My 8" dob beats it on grabbing DSO'sm but the 120 beats the dob on splitting doubles.

I also use it for my limited AP work. Then, it goes an Atlas.


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