Orion Optics SPX Newtonian
Posted 20 October 2004 - 09:37 AM
Posted 20 October 2004 - 11:48 AM
Good looking scope too.
Posted 20 October 2004 - 11:53 AM
Posted 20 October 2004 - 12:33 PM
Posted 20 October 2004 - 10:41 PM
Posted 21 October 2004 - 03:49 PM
Posted 24 October 2004 - 03:19 AM
I have been using a 12" mirror by Orion Optics UK for 6 months (it was the mirror of an interesting dobsonian telescope that I plan to review soon - both mirror and scope are not mine). The mirror was a "standard grade", not the "research grade" of the SPX here reviewed. According to the manufacturer's claims standard grade mirrors are guaranteed to exceed 1/4 wave PTV. There are also premium and research grade mirrors that respectively (should) test to better than 1/6 wave and better than 1/8 wave PTV on the wave front (these info are what I understand from the reading of the Orion Optics UK web site). Thus the mirror I had was the least expensive entry-level class, whereas the one here reviewed was the top.
That said let me say that the views were good even with the standard correction. Indeed some residual of SA -and some halos of light around bright stars in focus- was seen on mine and I think it was really "only" a honest 1/4 wave. Nevertheless *real* 1/4 wave mirrors are still rather good. I was able to push magnification to 300-400x on Jupiter and to about 500x on the moon and Saturn. That was *useful* magnifications with crisp views. I often saw airy disks and rings on the double double (with little light in between).
I am not surprised that a 10 inches *real* 1/8 PTV was capable of providing 450x with crisp views.
Posted 28 December 2004 - 06:38 PM
The reason this telescope is expensive is mainly due to the mount. The Vixen SPX is a long way ahead of compterised offerings from Meade, Celestron etc. It is available in the USA for less than in Britain, but its not going to drop in price until it ships in larger numbers.
The telescope is available as an OTA. Orion also ship optical sets so you can construct your own Newtonian. They actually have quite a large international customer base, see their user group at
where you may also see that they have a very happy bunch of customers.
I got a 5 1/2 inch (140mm) f14 Maksutov from them a year ago. I can confirm that their customer service is first rate, they are honest and their optics are simply superb.
My Mak can take on any super expensive Apo on planetary/lunar performance for a fraction of the price. Whatever comments you may see about contrast being better in a refractor than a compound telescope will have more to do with the way the SCT was built. My other scope is a Stellarvue SV85 APO, the MAK is every bit as good.
Orion also have the Europa line of Newtonians which are more affordable and the most popular choice of amateurs in the UK.
Optical sets are available up to 1/8th wave accuracy. The 1/4 wave sets are very good amateur optics, The 1/6th wave version would satisfy demanding astro-photographers, the 1/8th wave versions are for photography in very demanding applications.
The 'HiLux' coating is an optinal purchase which Orion say is like having an extra 25% of aperture, their users who have had the upgrade after getting a standard system agree. However the 'standard'optics are streets ahead of anything from China, which means most big name mass produced Newts.
Orion Optics are a family business and everything is hand built and tested to the highest tolerences. They use a Zygo interferometer to test their optics, The same system Stellarvue use to test their high-end APOs.
All the information is available on their web site
( I have skipped the intro for you)
You can also phone Barry Pemberton on
+ 44 1270 500089
Any optics you order will be made to your specification. I and others among their loyal customers have found that the best thing is, that they give very good advice and want to get the best for your needs, rather than the best for their wallets!
Dobsonians are on the way as well!
I would certainly advise anyone to get a set of optics from Orion. However, if you live in the USA, due to higher prices in the UK, the relative weakness of the dollar to the pound and shipping costs - get your mount, eyepieces etc in the USA.
In case I sound too enthusiastic, I don't have any link with Orion Optics or their staff outside of my experience as a customer.
Posted 28 December 2004 - 06:51 PM
The reason this telescope is expensive is mainly due to the mount. The Vixen SPX is a long way ahead of compterised offerings from Meade, Celestron etc.
The SPX is a great little mount and I have one here. Mine gives better precision than is described in the article. It is a step up from the similarly light imported mounts offered by Meade and Celestron for $1500 less, but it's a big step down in stability, capacity, and precision from Celestron's CGE for about the same price in the US. For a telescope as large as the one described in the article I'd much prefer the CGE. For a more portable setup with smaller scopes, the SPX is a winner.