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My experience with the new Explore Scientific 127 FCD100 refractor

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#1 Maz929

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 11:30 AM

As luck would have it, I happened to be at the right place at the right time. In this case it was at the Winter Star Party. I was in the market for a 127mm sized scope and visited the Explore Scientific Vendor area and inquired about their 127mm scopes. A beautiful carbon fiber caught me eye but I happened to notice an interesting 127mm with a new style focuser, that was set up all by itself. I had my trusty Takahashi 16mm eyepiece that I use to compare optics and looked through the scope. It was obvious from the first focused view that this was no ordinary refractor. It's hard to describe but the color clarity was amazing. I moved the scope to the cell tower and focused on a bright glint from the light fixture on top of the tower. ZERO color inside and outside of focus, to a level I have only witnessed a few times on VERY VERY expensive refractors . Greg Bragg was there and came over and told me that this scope is a prototype of a new line of scopes using Hoya 100 glass and that the scope would be called the 127 FCD 100. The new hexagonal focuser design would support up to 10 pounds of camera equipment and that the scope was designed with imagers in mind. Scott Roberts came over and asked if I would take some images with the scope which I answered without hesitation that I would.

Attached are the two images I took that night. Lucky for me it was a great night for imaging. I took the scope home but soon realized that I had found what I was looking for so I asked Scott if I could buy it. Normally They would not do this but since I would be taking more images they agreed. I am now one very happy owner of this scope. The scopes will be available for sale in July. If I where you, I would get your name on the list, at less than $2,000 this scope is a real bargain.

 

HST Rosetta 127 FCD Hi Res.jpg

Attached Thumbnails

  • M78 127 FCD100.jpg

Edited by Maz929, 16 May 2016 - 11:44 AM.

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#2 junomike

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 12:07 PM

Images look impressive, but where's the OTA pics?  :lol:

 

I'm curious to see how this compares to the slew of affordable 130mm offerings currently being bought (and used) by CN'ers for visual as well as AP.

 

Mike



#3 Maz929

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 12:25 PM

Mike:

The scope I have is identical to the ES127 shown on their web site. The only difference is the more robust focuser and the better quality optics.

 

John



#4 Maz929

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 12:30 PM

Mike:

Forgot to mention that visually this scope is fantastic. I was at an outreach last Saturday night and slewed to Castor A and Castor B. You could drive a truck throught the double. Perfect diffraction pattern using an ES 4.3mm eyepiece. We even were able to see the Sombrero Gal from our light poluted sky here in St. Petersburg, FL.


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#5 De Lorme

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 12:56 PM

John how could you do this to me!  Making me decide between a Lunt 152mm ed Apo, a APM 140mm ed

Apo or ES 127mm. Your just cruel{LOL}

 

Clear Skies,  De Lorme


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#6 Jon_Doh

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 01:16 PM

Just hold off De Lorme until ES comes out with a 140mm using this new glass ;)



#7 Ac2aj

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 07:48 PM

Nice report.I would like to see pics of this new focuser.It seems like the fix for the droop of my cf focuser.

#8 De Lorme

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 09:23 PM

These are really great times for astronomy. The flood gates are opening wide and what to chose is the only problem.  I lean towards the Lunt 152mm and then I lean towards the APM 140mm with fpl 53 glass.

 

Oh! What to do.

 

Clear Skies,

 

De Lorme


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#9 carlcat

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 09:45 PM

Thanks for the review, I've been looking for a 5inch refractor for about a year now and this particular scope sounds the most enticing so far, barring any unforeseen problems. When you think about it, basically a fpl-53 equivalent triplet for 2 grand, not overseas and possibly no tax, sounds like a sweet deal to me. They come out in July, can't wait to hear other reviews. I initially wanted a fpl-53 doublet but if this scope lives up to it's potential.......I'm sold. I'm thinking at 18lbs, it should do ok on my AVX mount for visual.
Almost forgot, amazing images, thanks.

Edited by carlcat, 16 May 2016 - 09:49 PM.


#10 Jon_Doh

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 09:13 AM

So many great choices in the five inch range now; it's a great time to be a refractor nut!



#11 Maz929

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 11:05 AM

I took the original focuser off the scope and replaced it with my 3" Feather Touch with Posi Drive. Attached are photos of the focuser.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_2393.jpg
  • IMG_2397.jpg


#12 starbob1

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 03:32 PM

I wonder if ES will let you upgrade to the newer 5in apo from the older version.



#13 Ac2aj

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 04:56 PM

Scott Roberts is a great guy.I spoke with him at NEAF a few years back about collimating the Comet Hunter.He showed me a prototype tool they came up with and at the end of the conversation he just gave it to me.

What did you think of the focuser while you had it installed?

Edited by Ac2aj, 18 May 2016 - 04:57 PM.


#14 Maz929

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 01:45 PM

I liked it a lot. Very robust and up to the job of handling a heavy camera. The shots I took at the WSP used the focuser that comes with it. The only reason I switched is because the Feather Touch also has the Posi Dive Electronic Focusing system (can focus at the computer) that really nails the focus.


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#15 AustinAstronomer

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 01:53 PM

I liked it a lot. Very robust and up to the job of handling a heavy camera. The shots I took at the WSP used the focuser that comes with it. The only reason I switched is because the Feather Touch also has the Posi Dive Electronic Focusing system (can focus at the computer) that really nails the focus.

 

Do you have some pics of your scope?  Pics are always welcome!   :bow:



#16 starbob1

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 03:26 PM

Yea lets see some pics' Pic Pic. :flowerred:



#17 nicknacknock

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 12:00 AM

 

I liked it a lot. Very robust and up to the job of handling a heavy camera. The shots I took at the WSP used the focuser that comes with it. The only reason I switched is because the Feather Touch also has the Posi Dive Electronic Focusing system (can focus at the computer) that really nails the focus.

 

Do you have some pics of your scope?  Pics are always welcome!   :bow:

 

 

Um, pics are mandatory with a purchase of a scope that has yet to hit the market! C'mon! You OWE it to us!



#18 starbob1

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 07:37 AM

I guess he does not really have one. :lol:  He is just toying with us. If he had one he would post pic. :grin:



#19 Maz929

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 11:19 AM

Here is a pic of the scope. Same one Explore Scientific used as a graphic at NEAF. Itook a shot last new moon of the Snake Nebula.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 127 FCD 100 sm.jpg
  • Snake Neb-FCD100 small.jpg

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#20 starbob1

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 12:01 PM

Looks just like the regular 127mm. Thanks for posting and your snake is impressive.



#21 Maz929

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 12:19 PM

One more of the Jellyfish

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  • HST Jellyfish.jpg

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#22 BarrySimon615

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 11:06 AM

John,

 

Nice photos with the new scope!

 

I am curious about the color rendering of the Rosette Nebula, basically a blue in your photo.  Photos that I have taken of this object are primarily red.  Indeed, typing in "Rosette Nebula" on Google and then pulling up the Images that Google returns show primarily red Rosette Nebula images (although there are a few blue ones).  So basically -

 

1) Do your raw images return red Rosette Nebulas, and do you then shift the color in processing?

 

or, 

 

2) Is there a property of the new lens formula that renders objects like the Rosette as predominantly blue?  If so I would like to see some other object photos, perhaps the Helix.

 

Barry Simon



#23 BarrySimon615

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 01:59 PM

I see know just how tight your Rosette photo is with the outer nebulosity not captured given what field size you have to work with.  Some other photos showing a similar blue rendering to the inner portion of the nebulosity indicate that OIII filtration was used and that the OIII images were color mapped to blue.  I am assuming that you did some color mapping linking blue to your OIII frames.  

 

Once again, nice image!

 

Barry Simon



#24 gnowellsct

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 05:42 PM

Mike:

Forgot to mention that visually this scope is fantastic. I was at an outreach last Saturday night and slewed to Castor A and Castor B. You could drive a truck throught the double. Perfect diffraction pattern using an ES 4.3mm eyepiece. We even were able to see the Sombrero Gal from our light poluted sky here in St. Petersburg, FL.

 

? Glad you like the scope, but I'd point out that Castor A and B are five arc seconds apart.  One should be able to "drive a truck through it" with any scope out there.  Any scope that can't do that is seriously defective.   Not a tough test, is what I mean.  The double double in Lyra is half that separation, and it too is a de minimis test, meaning if you have a scope it should *at a minimum* be able to do that, not a proof of quality.  GN 


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#25 Illinois

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 06:30 AM

I don't have problem see double double in Lyra in my ES127ED ! Around 100 to 120 Power!


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