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Skywatcher vs. Ioptron 150 f/12 MCT

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#1 Bill Barlow

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 08:54 PM

I am looking at these two 6" f/12 MCT's and wanted to know if they are one in the same optics minus the cosmetic differences. The Ioptron specs say that it is a Rumak design MCT, but a picture of the front meniscus shows it to likely be a Gregory design like the Skywatcher. The Ioptron has a duel speed focuser and a short dew shield that are also included.

If anyone has observed through one or both of these scopes, let me know your impressions. Thanks..

Bill

#2 SeattleScott

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:09 AM

I got the ioptron based on the features and reputation for consistently good optical quality in this particular scope. It is indeed a rumak. Mine had a great star test and I have been impressed with the views. I got a flexible dew shield for airline travel but have found I prefer the one that comes with it, when I am not packing it on a plane anyway. Works great on my cg5 and does pretty good on my az4 for airline travel. The one negative is the finder scope. It doesn't focus so things are always blurry to me. Barely usable. But I had heard that in reviews so it was not a surprise. Easily fixed too. And my other 10x50 finder fits the shoe. Note that the base on the finder is slightly wider than the standard finder shoe, preventing me from using this lousy finderscope on my other telescopes. Other finders fit the shoe fine. You just have to tighten the screw more than normal to offset the extra width.

#3 Bill Barlow

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 09:14 AM

Can this Ioptron MCT take higher magnifications (~250X) when viewing the planets and the moon? I guess since it is a Rumak design, you can collimated it using the screws on the secondary mirror? The photo of the front end of this scope sure looks like a silverized spot secondary mirror that would be a Gregory design. Are you happy with the way this MCT performs?

Bill

#4 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 09:42 AM

Just browse reviews to see what you think:

Review search results

I love my iOptron. Really read into it before buying. Not the same at all as a Skywatcher. It is a Rumak, quite heavy, equipped for 2" accessories with large rear baffle tube opening.

You'll probably read all kinds of citing of specs on it as stated specs will be misleading. Not really 150mm usable, large CO of 38% is really more like 40% with aperture reduction in design.

I wouldn't let that scare you away. Have done 350x-450x on planetary in Southern California coastline superb seeing. I use a 2" 42mm Superview as lowest power. It really can take in close to 1.5 degree. Nearly get the Pleiades in, but not quite the whole thing.

Don't plan on getting rid of mine unless I upgrade to an Intes Micro Altair 6 or 7" deluxe.

:cool:

#5 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 09:50 AM

I think the performance of the skywatcher is probably just as good. I have not looked through one myself, but read enough reviews that I would feel safe buying Orion, Skywatcher, or iOptron MCT.

I picked iOptron because of 2" visual back, dual speed focuser, and dew shield.

Be warned that the iOptron with dew shield and a 30mm 82 degree eyepiece is getting close on 20 lbs. I added a handle directly on OTA for ease of mounting and moving on my alt az mount. The OTA is thick aluminum. Cool down times are substantial on these scopes.

#6 Bill Barlow

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:43 PM

Thanks for the information on the Ioptron. I am leaning to the Skywatcher as it is lighter and I plan to use 1.25" eyepieces in it. It also has a smaller CO of 30%. I was going to get a new Intes-Micro M615 with the deluxe 1/8 P-Voptics, but it would cost about $2550 including shipping. The Skywatcher with shipping would be around $750. Granted it probably won't have 1/8 optics, but they will be good enough with samples test on Astro-foren showing 1/6 and a Strehl around .95, so quite good for the price.

Bill

#7 SeattleScott

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:43 PM

The ioptron is a rumak, but the secondary is not collimateable. Just the primary. Skywatcher probably has smaller CO because it isn't designed for 2" eyepieces. If you don't plan to use those then skywatcher makes sense.

#8 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 12:57 AM

I found an old thread I did a Mars sketch from my iOptron at 336x

Scope really performs. The thread can be found here

#9 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 01:21 AM

Also - my very modest mods I made here

#10 Asbytec

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 03:45 AM

Von, that's quite a stunning sketch. I agree you above, either will rock your world, IME, too. I'm not selling mine, either, for the same performance reasons. Maybe for an Intes or larger aperture MCT someday. But, right now, either of these little Maks are a poor man's Questar, IMO.

#11 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 06:25 AM

Thanks Norme. I'm sure Bill will love the Skywatcher. These scopes are definitely a pleasant surprise on performance.

#12 Eric63

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 08:23 AM

The only regret with my Skywatcher is that I didn't buy a 6" instead of a 5" :grin:

#13 Bill Barlow

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 01:11 PM

Very nice sketch of Mars using your iOptron 150 MCT. I have seen in some other user reviews of this iOptron MCT that the CO is only 30%, not 38%., which would make sense given it is an f/12 system.

Thanks for all the helpful feedback on these two scopes.

Bill

#14 Eric63

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 01:18 PM

The quoted CO and the actual CO may be different once you factor in the reduced apperture. I don't know about the 150Maks, but my 127 only has a clear aperture of 118mm, therefore the CO is more like 36% and not 33%; and in fact it is closer to 38% when you factor in the secondary baffle obstruction.

Eric

P.S. Happy Birthday Bill

#15 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 02:11 PM

The advertised CO (from iOptron's specs) on the 150 is 38%. The measured CO on the iOptron according to Sky and Telescope (with reduced aperture of not really being 150mm fully) was closer to 40-41% It was Dennis di Cicco doing all testing I believe.

does it seem to affect contrast as bad as people say? You tell me from the sketch if my contrast is affected badly...

#16 Eric63

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 03:00 PM

Nice sketch Eric.

Personally, I think the effect of CO is a bit overstated.

Eric

#17 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 03:39 PM

Personally, I think the effect of CO is a bit overstated.


Personally I would readily agree. Thanks about the sketch too.

:)

#18 Bill Barlow

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:03 PM

Thank you for the birthday wish.

Does anyone have the link to Dennis di Cicco's 2011 Sky and Telescope review on the iOptron 150 MCT?

By the way, Eric, how do ou like your Skywatcher 127 MCT?

Bill

#19 Eric63

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 12:29 AM

Hi Bill

I really love that little Mak. The views are very sharp and I can get just over one degree FOV with a 32mm 2" EP. I have pushed it to over 300X on the moon during a period of great seeing and my jaw dropped. It has shown me wonderful views of Jupiter last year (not this year unfortunately) with beautiful belt colours, white ovals next to the GRS and some details in the belts. Saturn last May was simply amazing in this scope. The Cassini division was very sharp and banding on he planet quite visible. I find the cool down time reasonable and I just plan ahead. The scope fits in a small plastic toolbox so it's very easy to travel with. I use it on an AZ4 and since the scope is not long there are no vibration issues at high magnification. It's also easy on eyepieces. I keep toying with the idea of getting a larger Mak, but my typical seeing conditions would negate the extra aperture most of the time.

Eric

#20 Asbytec

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 02:29 AM

Eric, man, it sounds like we're getting similar views. I often forget my jaw laying on the lawn, have to go back and grab it before feral cat's drag it off. Sure, in many cases, cool down is easy with some prep. Absolutely. I toy with a larger Mak, too, but the 150 keeps aperture fever satiated for now, especially in good tropical seeing.

By the way, hey, I cooled my scope a bit too early one night. The ice pack wore off and the scope warmed a bit before midnight. Heat plumes. Yuk. So, grabbed a bag of ice cubes and held it against the mirror end for about 15 minutes. The scope picked up a slight chill and that heat plume dissipated in short order. Have you ever seen cold plumes? :)

#21 Eric63

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 09:47 AM

Hi Norme

No, never had cold plumes but I did overdo the pre-cooling once in the summer, and when I took my Mak out the corrector plate fogged up. It took me 30 minutes with a blow dryer to get everything back to Normal :lol: So now on only pre-cool in the fall and winter (and it makes a big difference). In the summer I actually don't do anything. The air conditioned house is at the same temp as outside most evenings so I just take it out. In the winter...well that's a lost cause. I simply leave outside for a few hours before observing.

I also have a 6" Newtonian and interestingly enough the views side by side with my 5" Mak are very similar on the planets and moon. The extra aperture helps with brightness and I can see a bit more detail with the larger aperture, but I really have to be looking for it. I'm a bit of a minimalist so I often think of replacing both scopes with a 6" Mak. My BT70 will keep me happy for wide field. There is just something about the view in a Mak.

Eric

#22 Asbytec

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 01:12 PM

Eric, there is something intangible about the Mak. I've spent years trying to understand what that is. I dunno, surely both our scopes are mid 90's Strehl. But so are other designs, or even better. They have some SA, so they should really 'suck egg' but they don't. They are well corrected, but not perfect. So, I doubt that's it, entirely. It may either be very smooth optics or the form of balanced high/low order correction placed on the optic. Or both. That's the best I can come up with.

Oh, be sure not to over cool your scope. LOL

I'm a minimalist, too. One scope, simple set up. Was just thinking about your pre cooling method when I cooled mine too early. Saw those cool plumes, like a letter 'Y' rolling around all over the place. Thought that was, well, cool. :grin:

Happy New Year, Eric.

#23 Eric63

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 01:56 PM

Happy New Year to you too Norme.

Eric

#24 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 06:04 PM

Hey just wanted to remind the old mak and potential new mak users that if long cool down times is making things less than ideal for time limited lives or scaring you away from a purchase, call or email Lymax about cat coolers. They might have to get some measurements from you that are easily done with a wooden dowel marked for measuring, but it might be possible to get a cooler for your mak.

I have one. 20-30 minutes until some good views, although if the forecast is good for a few days, I'll leave my scope in the shed so it's all ready to go whenever I feel like viewing, but if in a hurry and coming from warm house to outside, the lymax works well.

Just in case....

:)


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