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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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Teal'c
Indeed
*****

Reged: 08/02/05

Skywatcher 120ed ???
      #5809457 - 04/19/13 08:08 PM

Hello all,

I've been away from this site and hobby for a bit now, as other things have been consuming my time...and although time is still an issue, I'm getting the urge again.

I sold off all of my Russian triplets/doublets and as much as I would like another high quality scope, the question lingers....Do I need to spend this much for visual only? I realize that the skywatcher mechanics are not as refined as others but if the optics are good, then I'm fine with it.

I just can't justify spending 3X for the TSA120

Has the quality of the lens sets been pretty consistent with Skywatcher ?


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beanerds
sage


Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Darwin Australia
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: Teal'c]
      #5809510 - 04/19/13 08:36 PM

Personally I have owned about 6-7 SW refractors ( achro's and ED's ) over the years and they have all been very good optically , I have not owned the 120ED but have looked thru a few and they have all been very , very good .
If I could justify another scope ( to the wife ? ) I would love one .
You wont go wrong with one for the price I think . Lovely scopes .
Brian.


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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: beanerds]
      #5809577 - 04/19/13 09:05 PM

If it's got the Schott and FPL53 lenses, it's a keeper... They had an arrangement with Schott Germany to produce the crown element and a second element out of fluorite with an FPL53 ED element...I've read many great reviews on this scope.. Actually there's one here

Clear skies


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tezster
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: Missisauga, Canada
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5809766 - 04/19/13 10:41 PM

It's also a very lightweight scope for its aperture - just a little over 11 pounds, so a lot of reasonable mounting options available.

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charen
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/28/05

Loc: New Zealand
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: tezster]
      #5809945 - 04/20/13 01:35 AM

I have 3x ED Synta scopes, the ED80, ED100 [Orion] and ED120 [S.W. Equinox]. All have performed flawlessly. Flat images, minimal CA ,sharp contrasty images. The ED120 version would be my pick - an 'almost' 5in. ED is great on planets and has enough aperture for DSO's. However, don’t go past the ED100, yes a little light loss and magnification but it still gives great images. Some of my best viewing ever of Jupiter have been with my Orion ED100 at 240x. The ED100 is good very cost effective scope, if you can afford the ED120 get that, but the ED100 makes a close runner up if you are on a budget.

Chris


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SteveSMS
super member


Reged: 03/29/08

Loc: Jersey Shore USA
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: Teal'c]
      #5810106 - 04/20/13 06:23 AM

I've had a SkywatcherUSA 120ED for quite some time and I have never been disappointed with it. Although I didn't feel it was really necessary I replaced the stock focuser with a GSO linear bearing model and it has been a pleasure to use. One very nice thing about this scope is that a CG5 class mount is more than adequate.

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t.r.
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: SteveSMS]
      #5810145 - 04/20/13 06:41 AM

Teal'c, I've heard a lot of good things about the 120ED and only one report of a return. Get one with the Schott 53 as stated above and I think you will have good success. As to settling in with it, just don't obsess over whether another scope is better. It would only be in a side-by-side that a slight difference might be noticed anyway. Even with my AP130GT, there is puportedly a better 130, the TMB F/9, but I don't obsess about it, will probably never get to look through one to compare anyway, and how much better could it really be? A small percentile at best. I'll just enjoy and use what I have. I have looked through a SW 120 F/5 achromat and was impressed! I think the ED would be great. I think targeting a 120-130 as your workhorse refractor is a very good decision over a 100.

Edited by t.r. (04/20/13 06:43 AM)


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NHRob
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Reged: 08/27/04

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: t.r.]
      #5810149 - 04/20/13 06:44 AM

How can one distinguish the version with the Scott 53 glass?

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t.r.
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Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: NHRob]
      #5810170 - 04/20/13 07:09 AM

I think they were pretty proud of the fact and I think a sticker was place on the focuser declaring "Schott" but don't quote me on it.

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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: t.r.]
      #5810194 - 04/20/13 07:59 AM

The ota has the Schott sticker as t.r. stated

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SeattleScott
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/14/11

Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5810805 - 04/20/13 12:31 PM

To me the real advantage of a 4" is the potential grab-n-go functionality. If you are going to be setting up a CG5-class eq mount, why not put something a little more substantial than a 4" refractor on it? I usually felt it was a bit of a waste getting out my CG5 to put my 100ED refractor on it, which only needed a few pounds of counterweight. There is the cost issue though.

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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: SeattleScott]
      #5810914 - 04/20/13 01:30 PM

if he wants to dabble with AP, i imagine a CG-5 with a 4" apo will do the job nicely..

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coopman
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Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5811106 - 04/20/13 02:48 PM

The SW120ED is a great scope. If you want to get one, perhaps place a wanted ad here in the classifieds or at Astromart and see what happens. Used ones are selling for approx. $400-$500 less than the new price.

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John Huntley
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 07/16/06

Loc: South West England
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: coopman]
      #5811504 - 04/20/13 06:29 PM

I thought all the ED120's used a Schott made glass element along with the Ohara FPL-53 one ?. I was told by a Skywatcher dealer here that they just started to promote the fact a bit more (hence the sticker) with more recent models.

Anyway, I own one of the original gold tube ED120's and it's an excellent scope, whatever it's mating element is made from


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Cliff C
member


Reged: 02/11/09

Loc: Long Island, NY
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: Teal'c]
      #5811515 - 04/20/13 06:38 PM

If you are able to get to NEAF by Sunday, you can see the whole family of scopes from Skwatcher. I believe they were going to be doing some raffles.

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charen
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/28/05

Loc: New Zealand
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: Cliff C]
      #5811612 - 04/20/13 07:31 PM

John is correct. Schott has have been the provided for Synta ED doublets.

This from a Schott press release.

"On March 17, 2008, Suzhou Synta Optical Technology Co., Ltd. and SCHOTT AG signed a contract for a joint branding initiative. This is a key milestone to intensify the cooperation between both companies. Synta, one of the largest Taiwanese manufacturers of Consumer Astronomical telescopes, is based in China. Well known brands,such as SkyWatcher, Celestron and ORION, are some of Synta’sproducts that are mostly sold in NAFTA and European markets. Synta has already been working together with SCHOTT. SCHOTT is the preferred material supplier, especially for its high end products and with the branding partnership with SCHOTT, Synta can emphasize its high quality standards. SCHOTT,on the other hand, will gain wider recognition among telescope users and strengthen global brand and product portfolio awareness.“We are proud that we could intensify our cooperation with Synta, a reliable and promising branding partner, through signing this contract. The agreementis a win-win situation for bothparties,” states Dr. Johannes Hain, Executive Vice President, Business Unit Advanced Materials. Currently, this agreement covers the joint branding of 4 products,which will be co-branded with the logo - “contains SCHOTT optical glass”. SCHOTT is also looking into new options to expand the scope of co-branded products and to intensify the cooperation of both companies, by offering additional value added solutions".

All the past and present Synta ED doublets have FPL-53 and Schott mating glass.

Edited by charen (04/20/13 11:43 PM)


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Wilsonman
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/30/07

Loc: S.E. PA
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: charen]
      #5811853 - 04/20/13 09:26 PM

I have the 4" ED SW and it's a great scope. The 120 appears to be a superb visual scope for the money and it's certainly on my wish list!

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B. Cook
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/18/10

Loc: No. California
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: Wilsonman]
      #5811988 - 04/20/13 10:34 PM

Wilsonman; How do you like your 100ED? Pros and Cons of it.

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Wilsonman
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/30/07

Loc: S.E. PA
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: B. Cook]
      #5812744 - 04/21/13 10:49 AM

Quote:

Wilsonman; How do you like your 100ED? Pros and Cons of it.




The Sky Watcher 100 ED is a great scope. Admittedly, I've never used a TAK, WO or Televue. For strictly visual use, I doubt any of them are meaningfully better in terms of the image quality and I can't see spending substantially more for a 4" scope. Some people have felt it necessary to switch to an 'upgrade' focuser, but again, I'm happy with the one that came with my SW. I understand why people do this with the 6" F/8 achros- the supplied focussing units with the 6" Meade and the Celestron C-6 aren't very good. I will likely never buy another 4" refractor since the SW is a "keeper."


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BKBrown
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: Northern Virginia, USA
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: B. Cook]
      #5812783 - 04/21/13 11:09 AM Attachment (68 downloads)

I just wanted to chime in here and say that the SW100ED is a terrific scope, maybe the best buy in amateur gear today. For $750 you get outstanding optics (mine have been very favorably compared to a local Tak TSA 102), hard case, and a bunch of useful accessories. It's light weight, reasonably handy size-wise, easily mounted, and equally easily modded with after market equipment. With quick cool down times, essentially zero "in focus" color, and razor sharp views, what's not to like? Here are a couple of side-by-sides of my SW100ED and TEC 140...

Clear Skies,
Brian


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BKBrown
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: Northern Virginia, USA
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5812788 - 04/21/13 11:10 AM Attachment (64 downloads)

And again from the operator's end...

Clear Skies,
Brian


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BKBrown
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: Northern Virginia, USA
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5812800 - 04/21/13 11:13 AM Attachment (36 downloads)

The only drawback might be the focuser if you are an imager or regularly use big, heavy 2" EPs. If you do either of these things (like I do ), I recommend a focuser upgrade. I went with the Moonlite CF 2" dual speed with brake...and no worries at all. Hope this helps!

Clear Skies,
Brian


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NHRob
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Reged: 08/27/04

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5812853 - 04/21/13 11:39 AM

does the 100EDs use the Schott 53 glass as well?

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Teal'c
Indeed
*****

Reged: 08/02/05

Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5812950 - 04/21/13 12:11 PM

Thanks for the replies, all. I believe that I'll be going with the SW120 pretty soon. Also, nice to read that it doesn't give up too much visually to the TSA120. I won't be doing any AP, so I can't see ( for me ) spending the extra $$$ on a marginal visual difference.

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vct123
sage
*****

Reged: 11/17/09

Loc: Staten Island, N.Y.
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: Teal'c]
      #5820133 - 04/24/13 04:08 PM

I owned an sw120ed, it was the older version before they switched to using schott glass for the crown element.
I felt the optics were ok but the color correction was below average compared to other doublet semi-apos I owned.
I recently purchased a used Explore Scientific es127 ed triplet and the optics and color correction are in a different league then the sw120.
Color correction is close or maybe equal to my tv-np101 which had no color, ZERO.
The es will sell for slightly more new or used then the sw120, but the difference is worth it, imo.


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charen
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/28/05

Loc: New Zealand
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: vct123]
      #5820319 - 04/24/13 05:35 PM

Quote:

I owned an sw120ed, it was the older version before they switched to using schott glass for the crown element.
Quote:

.
Synta have always use Schott glass as the mating element with the FPL-53 in the Synta doublet EDs. In 2008 they just added a sticker advertising the fact as part of a deal with Synta. CA correction has always been the same.

Edited by charen (04/25/13 12:12 AM)

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: Teal'c]
      #5821030 - 04/24/13 11:04 PM

Have you looked at the Telescope Service 120mm f/7.5 FPL-53 doublet? Same Synta optics in a much nicer (looking and built) Long Perng tube assembly for a not ridiculous price if you don't live in Europe.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4688_TS-120-900mm-...

Exclusive of VAT, which you don't pay unless you're on Europe, the price is around $1800 at current exchange rates.

Just another option to put into the mix. I think it's a really pretty scope and if I didn't already have an AT111EDT, this would likely be the scope I would get in its place.

The other thing to be aware of is that some of the Synta 120ED OTAs are stopped down and do not enjoy the full 120mm of clear aperture. You can read about it here:

http://www.astro-foren.de/showthread.php?10490-One-more-Equinox

Misplaced baffles reduced aperture to between 113mm and 118mm with no consistency unit to unit.

Regards,

Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (04/24/13 11:12 PM)


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
*****

Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5821041 - 04/24/13 11:11 PM

I have the Eon and it is an excellent scope. I use it for imaging, check out my gallery. The sw and Eon use the same optics, but I think the focuser is better on the eon.

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charen
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/28/05

Loc: New Zealand
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5821138 - 04/25/13 12:22 AM

I measured my S.W ED120 Equionx [EON] at 117mm clear aperture. The 3mm loss did not concern me. It presumably cleaned up the peripheral image. Many binoculars have a greater reduced aperture. My now sold Oberwerk 100mm/45* BT's had a 91 mm clear aperture. The factory set front baffles clearly reduced the aperture. Still great optics.

Chris


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cjc
sage


Reged: 10/15/10

Loc: Derbyshire, England
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5821492 - 04/25/13 08:57 AM

I have a 120mm Equinox. It is only vignetted by the very long, 205mm, 2" draw tube. When the length of a 2" diagonal is added (112mm in my case) there is indeed vignetting for wide field eyepieces.

I estimate (misusing a diagonal calculator) that the clear field for an eyepiece with its focal plane at the eyepiece barrel shoulder, is only about 12mm in diameter. For a field of 27mm (maximum 1.25" eyepiece field) the outer rim will be vignetted by about 0.12 magnitude and for a 45mm field (maximum 2" eyepiece) by about 0.4 magnitude, or to about 70%.

I cannot verify the accuracy of the web based calculator, here, so I would welcome correction if the above is in error.


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Teal'c
Indeed
*****

Reged: 08/02/05

Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5822711 - 04/25/13 05:54 PM

Quote:

Have you looked at the Telescope Service 120mm f/7.5 FPL-53 doublet? Same Synta optics in a much nicer (looking and built) Long Perng tube assembly for a not ridiculous price if you don't live in Europe.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4688_TS-120-900mm-...

Exclusive of VAT, which you don't pay unless you're on Europe, the price is around $1800 at current exchange rates.

Just another option to put into the mix. I think it's a really pretty scope and if I didn't already have an AT111EDT, this would likely be the scope I would get in its place.

The other thing to be aware of is that some of the Synta 120ED OTAs are stopped down and do not enjoy the full 120mm of clear aperture. You can read about it here:

http://www.astro-foren.de/showthread.php?10490-One-more-Equinox

Misplaced baffles reduced aperture to between 113mm and 118mm with no consistency unit to unit.

Regards,

Jim




Much appreciated, Jim.

Didn't even know this version was available. I do like the look of it over the SW.

Should there be any concern regarding vignetting in this offering?


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BPO
sage


Reged: 02/23/10

Loc: South Island, NZ
Re: Skywatcher 120ed ??? new [Re: Teal'c]
      #5822939 - 04/25/13 07:57 PM

Don't lose any sleep over the baffle issue. That linked article is the only place I've ever seen any mention of it. Many people immediately checked their own Synta/Orion/Sky-Watcher ED120s, but, to my knowledge, nobody was able to detect any similar problems.

It may well be that the issue was confined solely to that single sample under test.

And yes, as per charen, all Synta/Orion/Sky-Watcher ED optics of at least the last decade or so use the Schott glass. A decision was made to start branding them as such long after the glass was already in use.

As others have already said, it may be necessary to upgrade the focuser if you intend imaging or using heavy accessories. The stock Sky-Watcher Equinox (later sold in the USA as the Orion EON) focuser is usually adequate, although many replace it anyway, but the non-Equinox models may not be.

The Synta/Orion/Sky-Watcher optics are superb, and definitely superb value. VERY hard to beat.


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