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making final call - feedback between ES 102 ED and Skywatcher 120 ED

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#26 MSWcdavis

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 08:55 AM

It doesn't seem to me that you are fighting against my logic, it seems you are embracing it.. 

 

If you have a larger scope to do the heavy lifting, go with the 4 inch, it's handier, and will provide a wider field of view.  And get something around F7.. That three foot long tube is just not conducive to terrestrial viewing.   

 

Jon

 

 

thanks for the feedback

 

i hope it came across in my post but i meant that i have irrationally been resisting while intuitively understanding the correct logic of a smaller 4" apo when I already have a 12" dob

 

not sure when I will pull the trigger on any of these scopes - just want to make the right call i don't believe in returning something that works because the buyer didn't do their homework

 

i have a lot of doubts about explore scientific's quality control (not their customer service) and they are quite expensive in comparison to the preferred skywatchers

 

the focal length is a negative in the ed100

 

but regarding terrestrial i think an 80mm is probably more appropriate anyway unless you have an np101


Edited by MSWcdavis, 15 February 2015 - 08:57 AM.


#27 coutleef

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 10:09 AM

Will you be using your refractor from the city or a dark site?

 

my twilight II mount works perfectly with a 120ed.

 

i replaced my 102ed with a 120ed, and personally would never look back, as a standalone scope and a companion to a 12 inch dob

 

the 120 is not a beast, rather a 102 scope with 5 inch aperture in terms of weight. It is longer but i prefer the wide views it provides with the increased aperture to those of the 4 inch

 

each is different. I went from 80 to 102 and to 120. My prefered refractor for wide views accompanying my dob is the 120. I do not need 5* views, 3* is enough and the increased aperture is a blessing for the city



#28 mikegro

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 11:59 AM

Some food for thought:  I returned my Orion ED100 (same Synta OTA as the SW Pro 100ED) because it was in fact not a very convenient telescope.  It's a very long tube which means you will likely not be picking up the scope and mount together and transporting it outside.  In its place I got the Orion ED80 on a VersaGo mount and it has been an absolute joy.  The SW Pro 80ED works on very lightweight mounts and is perfectly stable on them.  The color correction is excellent and there is absolutely no CA.  I'm not trying to talk you out of the 100ED, as that will be a very fine scope (in fact the slower focal ratio at f/9 may be a good thing for visual use), but if one of your requirements is "convenience" them I'm not sure if it will fit the bill much better than the 120ED.

 

I don't have firsthand experience with mounts for the 120ED versus the 100ED but I'd imagine both would need similarly sized mounts since they're about the same length.  The long tubes create a large moment arm which will yield more vibration compared to shorter tubes of exactly the same weight.  So with that in mind I wouldn't completely discount the 120ED as a "beast" when comparing it to the nearly same length and few lbs lighter 100ED.  Again, I defer to the others around here who have these scopes to weigh in.  Thankfully we have many owners of these OTAs on this forum.

 

Good hunting!  And clear skies!

 

-Mike



#29 BKBrown

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 01:12 PM

My whole rig doesn't weigh 30 pounds. Point the tube straight up and out the door you go...no big deal in my opinion. YMMV :)

 

Clear Skies,

Brian :snoopy:



#30 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 05:04 PM

Just to throw more confusion at you... There is the Lunt 102ED, basically the same scope as the SV-102ED, the Orion 102ED Premium, the Astro-Tech 102ED and a few others.  It's a 102mm F/7 ED (FPL-51 Class) doublet. It's at the $700 price point but does not include a diagonal..   This is a link to my review of the AT-102ED.. 

 

It has slight CA on the brightest objects but it's nicely made and has the sliding dew shield that the ES-102 Triplet lacks... How good is it.. It was good enough that for the 2 years I owned it, it was my most used scope and it convinced me that I was always going to own a shorter focal length 4 inch ED/apo.

 

Here's a couple of photos I took with it, just holding my Nikon Coolpix 4500 up the eyepiece,.  The first picture is an Osprey that was about 100 feet away, I cropped to photo to fit the CN file size requirements.  The second photo, it's not so perfect but for a 8 inch bird that's maybe a 1/3rd of a mile away, it's not so bad..

 

Jon

6638360-Osprey 2 Bright CN.jpg
5637647-shrike at a distance CN.jpg

 



#31 coutleef

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 05:25 PM

Not so bad??

 

i think they look great Jon!



#32 NHRob

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 05:58 PM

Jon,

  Awesome shots!

Sometimes I think I should take up bird and nature photography and viewing.  

Nightime viewing conditions are usually bad in my region.



#33 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 06:57 PM

Jon,

  Awesome shots!

Sometimes I think I should take up bird and nature photography and viewing.  

Nightime viewing conditions are usually bad in my region.

 

A 4 inch ED or apo is an excellent long distance imaging scope..  My TV Pronto got me interested in bird watching and digiscoping.. 

 

Jon



#34 NHRob

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 07:24 PM

How about a TV85?   

That would make a good companion to my SW120ED.



#35 RJohn

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Posted 27 February 2015 - 01:56 PM

My TV85 remains my nost used scope even after ten years living with it. The biggest drawback was the initial cost but I would buy it again today. My other scopes were purchased to meet specific needs that I have developed over the years. The only scope in my stable that I might change today is to trade the little StarBlast 4.5, which I purchased to take to outreach events for the purpose of showing the public an example of a good $200 scope. If I was to get a scope for this use today I would get the AWB OneSky as it has a bit more light gathering at the $200 price point while still demonstrating a very good value for a capable instrument that won't be so disappointing that it ends up in the landfill.



#36 T1R2

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Posted 27 February 2015 - 07:27 PM

the extra 18mm aperture of the 120ED will make you happier when sweeping the milky way for DSO's, it does make a difference in every way on every object, the f7.5 focal length will still give wide enough views. so go for the slightly bigger scope, its still small enough to ride on most mid-sized mounts whether they are the TWI, CG4, CG5, although there might be some focusing jiggles at high power, at low power it will be acceptably stable.



#37 LewisM

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Posted 27 February 2015 - 08:21 PM

Having had a sample from both manufacturers, I would endorse Skywatcher 120ED only. 

 

I owned the NG 127ED - it's the parent company's direct export model, not rebadged by ES/Meade/ad nauseum. It holds the record for the fastest turned around/sold off scope I have yet owned - I think I owned it 2 weeks. And, that was retrofitted with a Moonlite with robofocus and it still wouldn't focus sharply worth a darn. 

 

ES might LOOK prettier than the yak-tastic Black Diamond SW's, but looking THROUGH is what counts - and the SW will be CONSIDERABLY ahead of the ES - even the SW 100ED will surpass the ES.

 

I am sure I will get ES and ES Fanboy hate mail :)



#38 Thomas A Davis

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Posted 27 February 2015 - 11:51 PM

Having had a sample from both manufacturers, I would endorse Skywatcher 120ED only. 

 

I owned the NG 127ED - it's the parent company's direct export model, not rebadged by ES/Meade/ad nauseum. It holds the record for the fastest turned around/sold off scope I have yet owned - I think I owned it 2 weeks. And, that was retrofitted with a Moonlite with robofocus and it still wouldn't focus sharply worth a darn. 

 

ES might LOOK prettier than the yak-tastic Black Diamond SW's, but looking THROUGH is what counts - and the SW will be CONSIDERABLY ahead of the ES - even the SW 100ED will surpass the ES.

 

I am sure I will get ES and ES Fanboy hate mail :)

No hate mail.  I have the SW120ED, and it is razor sharp, with a trace of expected CA for an FPL53 doublet.  I also owned an AstroTech version of the 127EDT, and it was sharp also, with a bit more CA than the 120ED.

 

Your experience may relate to how this industry works.  Explore Scientific contracts with the actual manufacturer for a specified wave front quality, in this case 1/4 wave front.  What do they do with the rejects, since they mass produce lenses, and likely just pick the ones that pass for ES, and then reject the others.  What happens to the reject lenses?  Are they trashed?  How about they resell them as the house brand, along with other, untested samples.  Could you have gotten an ES reject?  Seems possible.  When a customer requests a quality standard, something has to be done with the rejects.  Since I doubt that they hand figure their optics, they would either have to trash them or sell them. Refiguring optics is not likely.

 

For most people, a 1/4 wave optic will be sharp in-focus.  The rejects, though, will not be sharp.  Neither will untested samples that fail to meet that standard.  In the world of commercial optics, a name does mean something, even if the ultimate source of the product is the same.  Scott Roberts and I had this conversation a few years ago at WSP in Florida, and his take was to pay the supplier a few more dollars for the product to get it right out of the factory, rather than deal with the return of a product that should never have been shipped to him in the first place.  When you deal directly with the factory, you don't have the clout of the vendor selling quantities of the product under their label.

 

I agree with you that what we see through the eyepiece matters most, not the cosmetics of the OTA.  I actually like the look of my SW120ED on the outside, though.

 

Tom



#39 tonyt

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 12:29 AM

Having used a few samples of each brand, my impression is that while one can get very good optics from ES one is more likely to get good optics from the Skywatcher ED series. 

I'd rather buy a second hand ES where the scope has been asessed by the previous owner.

 

A few years ago ES dropped the minimum standard for their optics they sell.



#40 Thomas A Davis

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 01:10 AM

Having used a few samples of each brand, my impression is that while one can get very good optics from ES one is more likely to get good optics from the Skywatcher ED series. 

I'd rather buy a second hand ES where the scope has been asessed by the previous owner.

 

A few years ago ES dropped the minimum standard for their optics they sell.

The reviews I read bear this out.  The ES scopes were said to be good, but the SW120EDs a bit sharper.  I doubt they dropped the 1/4 wavefront standard, just that there are more SW120EDs that exceed that value.  Experienced observers can usually detect the difference between a 1/4 wave and a better corrected optic.  Still a 1/4 wave scope will satisfy most buyers, which is the reason I expect ES specified that level.

 

In an earlier discussion about ES interferometer tests, I believe no one had a test worse that 1/4 wave, and a few better than that.  I believe the point was that ES did not want to give the report with the sale of the scope, not that they dropped the requirement with the manufacturer.  It just makes life easier for the vendor not to have to deal with the results of providing reports that show different levels of quality to customers. 

 

Tom



#41 bandazar

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 06:37 AM

Yep, I can attest to the optical quality of the skywatcher series.  Both the apo's and the achros.  I was looking at Jupiter last night with both the 120ed and the 150mm omni f/5 stopped down to 120mm with the built in aperture mask.  Both images were very good and roughly comparable to each other, although the achro started getting more "soft" the higher power I went.  I could not go very high power, of course, since I was viewing through a window and the seeing was still so so.



#42 russell23

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 06:59 AM

The SW120ED I  purchased in December has excellent optics. 

 

Dave



#43 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 01:30 PM

I am sure I will get ES and ES Fanboy hate mail :)

 

As the satisfied owner of a Skywatcher 120ED, I'll want to quibble a bit. It sounds like you got a bad sample. It's hard to generalize with a sample of one. I have only looked through the ES AR series scopes, so I can't give my impressions of the triplets. The AR series achieve focus, and are fairly sharp at lower magnifications. The owner of that particular scope had no desire to push higher, as he had it mounted on his C11.



#44 MSWcdavis

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 02:23 PM

i'm certainly glad how we feel this way about the 120ed

 

i believe the point has been made.



#45 gfeulner

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 03:59 PM

The SW120ED I  purchased in December has excellent optics. 

 

Dave

Mine too. The contrast and sharpness is amazing. Gerry



#46 MSWcdavis

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 04:31 PM

hehe

 

it is official that the skywatcher 120ed is the official telescope of cloudy nights



#47 russell23

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 05:03 PM

hehe

 

it is official that the skywatcher 120ed is the official telescope of cloudy nights

:lol:

 

I'm not going to say that the ES 127 ED triplet is a good scope or a bad scope.  I've never used one.  For the same reason I would never say the ES 127  ED APO is better or worse optically than the SW120ED.

 

But I think if the SW 120ED can be thought of as the official refractor of CN forums it is for these reasons:

 

1.  Excellent color correction reported repeatedly.

2.  Excellent optical quality from numerous reports.

3.  Lighter and therefore easier to mount than the ES 127ED APO.

4.  SW120 ED is a doublet so cool down time will be faster.

 

I might have considered the ES 127ED but I knew it would put more strain on my mount than the SW120ED.  And I also knew the color correction of the SW120ED would meet my needs.  For my needs there was no reason to add cool down time by going with a triplet.

 

Dave


Edited by russell23, 28 February 2015 - 05:05 PM.


#48 ensign

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 01:55 PM

 

hehe

 

it is official that the skywatcher 120ed is the official telescope of cloudy nights

:lol:

 

I'm not going to say that the ES 127 ED triplet is a good scope or a bad scope.  I've never used one.  For the same reason I would never say the ES 127  ED APO is better or worse optically than the SW120ED.

 

But I think if the SW 120ED can be thought of as the official refractor of CN forums it is for these reasons:

 

1.  Excellent color correction reported repeatedly.

2.  Excellent optical quality from numerous reports.

3.  Lighter and therefore easier to mount than the ES 127ED APO.

4.  SW120 ED is a doublet so cool down time will be faster.

 

I might have considered the ES 127ED but I knew it would put more strain on my mount than the SW120ED.  And I also knew the color correction of the SW120ED would meet my needs.  For my needs there was no reason to add cool down time by going with a triplet.

 

Dave

 

Can my Equinox 120 be a member of the Official Refractor of CN Forums club too?



#49 Starman81

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Posted 02 March 2015 - 06:53 PM

 

 

hehe

 

it is official that the skywatcher 120ed is the official telescope of cloudy nights

:lol:

 

I'm not going to say that the ES 127 ED triplet is a good scope or a bad scope.  I've never used one.  For the same reason I would never say the ES 127  ED APO is better or worse optically than the SW120ED.

 

But I think if the SW 120ED can be thought of as the official refractor of CN forums it is for these reasons:

 

1.  Excellent color correction reported repeatedly.

2.  Excellent optical quality from numerous reports.

3.  Lighter and therefore easier to mount than the ES 127ED APO.

4.  SW120 ED is a doublet so cool down time will be faster.

 

I might have considered the ES 127ED but I knew it would put more strain on my mount than the SW120ED.  And I also knew the color correction of the SW120ED would meet my needs.  For my needs there was no reason to add cool down time by going with a triplet.

 

Dave

 

Can my Equinox 120 be a member of the Official Refractor of CN Forums club too?

 

 

In the interest of diversity and inclusion, I think all builds of the 120mm f/7.5 ED doublets with FPL-53 glass should be included!   :choochoo:



#50 SteveG

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 08:10 PM

Whew!   Had me worried there.....




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