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William Optics Star 71 Astrograph First Impressions

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William Optics Star 71 Astrograph First Impressions

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Ralph Ford

Redondo Beach, CA


Thanks for the review!  Mine is arriving on Tuesday! 

Hi Ralph,

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

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


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

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