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120ED Deserves the reputation it has.

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#1 Eddgie

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 11:34 PM

Picked up one of these used for white light solar with my wedge, but tonight I did try it on the moon.  The contrast and resolution on the moon was exactly what I would expect out of a high quality optic with a very high level of color correction.  The amount of detail on the moon was better than perhaps any other scope I have owned up to about 6".  The image was free of any visible chromatic error and even on the limb, I saw no fringing. 

 

Even though I have recommend them to others on their reputation I have not previously owned one.  When they first came out, I thought it was an odd size and could not understand why they did not just go to 127mm, but the more I thought about the design the more I came to see the goodness in it.  At 120mm, the FPL-53 working at f/7.5 can still work well with a doublet lens, and the doublet lens keeps the scope light enough to work acceptably well even on a moderatly good Alt-az mount (I was using an Astro-Tech Voyager and while probably at the limit for this mount, I was able to focus without inducing more than minor movement.).   

 

The 120ED has an excellent reputation and now that I have used one first hand, I can say that my own opinion is that this reputation is well deserved.  I am quite impressed.  I would put this scope very high on my short list of scopes that really impressed me and at the used price, I would say that this has dethroned the Orion 100 f/9 as being my pick for the very best value in the refractor market. I see these in the $900 range (and I paid less than that) and it is a remarkable amount of telescope for that price and even at the new price, I think it is a very fair value.  At the sub $900 price point though, it is just a crazy good value and even not considering the price, a rock solid performer in the sub-6" category with no scope I think I have owned in the sub-6" catagory impressing me more than this. 

 

Why did I wait so long to get one?????


Edited by Eddgie, 05 March 2017 - 11:50 PM.

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#2 LewisM

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 11:57 PM

I've been tempted by the 120 for a while, but never pulled the trigger. There is one locally at half retail, but it is the older gold tube, and I have heard less than perfect reports on the early ones. So...I am kind of still on the fence. Anyone care to elaborate on the old gold vs the black diamonds?

 

The 100ED I had was a superb performer - not quite FC-100 / FS-102, but it was sharp and well suited to photography. It never disappointed.



#3 Mitrovarr

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:01 AM

I feel like the price has gone up; they're more than $1500 new, now. They're a little bit above the ES 127 triplet. With those two the same price, it feels like it might be tricky to pick out which would be the better buy.


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#4 waso29

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:40 AM

look for these used variants for a notch up in mechanics: orion eon 120/ wo 120fd megrez/ ts

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#5 Cpk133

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 07:46 AM

Can you achieve focus with a binoviewer and the sw120 or the Orion variant?  The only thing that's keeping me from buying one is that I'd like to have a retracting dew shield.  Anyone know why the equinox version isn't sold in the US market?  I tried Starman81's 120 and I was impressed.  I've also been thinking about the 100ed, but I figure the tube length is the same so why not go with the 120.



#6 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 07:54 AM

look for these used variants for a notch up in mechanics: orion eon 120/ wo 120fd megrez/ ts

 

:waytogo:

 

A couple of years ago, I was looking into adding a larger apo/ED to my collection. At the time, the two affordable choices were the Skywatcher 120ED and the Explore Scientific 127EDT.  I looked the 127EDT and realized it was too big for what I wanted it for. For me, the 120ED enough smaller and lighter that it was the obvious choice.  But I was not comfortable with the mechanical build of the Skywatcher, I knew I was spoiled by scopes like the 80mm WO Megrez II and the TeleVue.   

 

That led me to a search for a used Orion Eon.. Same 120ED optics but the better mechanical build of the Long Perng scopes that WO, StellarVue, etc were selling.. A sliding dew shield, rotating two speed focuser, machined components rather than cast..  I found one..  I think I have had it for about 2 years.. 

 

It's a gorgeous scope and as Eddgie has said, very good optically.  They pulled some magic tricks in that lens... 

 

Eon in backyard.jpg
 
Jon

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#7 Crow Haven

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:44 PM

I still enjoy my EON 120ED!  When I got it I remember many were very sceptical that it was any good. grin.gif

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#8 hfjacinto

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 01:08 PM

Those EON's suck, never ever try to image with them. WORST scopes ever wink.gif

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#9 Rollo

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 01:46 PM

I love my SW ED120,  a sweet scope for sure !

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Edited by Rollo, 06 March 2017 - 05:34 PM.

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#10 Eddgie

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 03:01 PM

Well, as I mentioned, my primary use will be for solar white light but it was excellent on lunar and while it is still rather small for planetary observing for me (to dim) I could see myself using it for planets form time to time.

 

I was pretty impressed with the lunar views though.    Once again, seeing was near perfect and that helps any telescope, but it was an impressive performance any way one would choose to cut it.

 

Just out of curiosity, I plan on trying it on the sun without the Baader Solar Continuum.  This is a very hard test for "Apo-ness" but I was quite impressed by how well it did on Sirius.   I expect on the sun it will show some CA though but it will be interesting to me to see how much, and if it is enough to smear some fine detail.

 

Sun is out today!



#11 Jeff B

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 03:41 PM

Great read Eddgie.  Mine is a golden oldie too.  Lens is exceptional and the mechanics not too shabby either (except for the stock visual back..it sucks, got the Scope Stuff replacement waytogo.gif ).

 

Did someone say "bino-viewer"?

 

Jeff

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Edited by Jeff B, 06 March 2017 - 03:42 PM.

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#12 outofsight

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 03:49 PM

". . . Dethroned the Orion 100 f/9 as being my pick for the very best value in the refractor market," surely you've been watching too much TV or you've gone off your rocker. Nah, just kidding and sorry I called you "surely" (I have an Orion 100 F/9 that I got when they came out, so I'm just messing with you). Actually, the SW 120ED probably is currently the best bang for buck in a 120mm, especially used.

 

I was just in the market recently, but wanted a full 5" or so, but read a lot about that 120ED, all of it very good. The only weakness I see might be the focuser, I just don't like crayfords much on what otherwise is a super nice optic (but that's part of why you can get one cheap). The crayford on my 100ED is a weak spot, but still good enough overall. I just compared the Orion 100ED to a new 130mm Apo, the 100ED held up extremely well in this brief comparison.

 

The SW 120ED for the money or not for the money, appears to be a superb optical instrument. It's nice that in this 100mm to 120mm range, or so, there are some really top notch inexpensive optics, and have been for quite a while and it's only getting better.

 

(Oh yeah, when I first got the Orion 100ED and some Denk IIs and plugged them in and looked at the moon, instantly knew I'd gotten my money's worth.)


Edited by outofsight, 06 March 2017 - 03:58 PM.

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#13 SteveG

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 03:57 PM

Can you achieve focus with a binoviewer and the sw120 or the Orion variant?  The only thing that's keeping me from buying one is that I'd like to have a retracting dew shield.  Anyone know why the equinox version isn't sold in the US market?  I tried Starman81's 120 and I was impressed.  I've also been thinking about the 100ed, but I figure the tube length is the same so why not go with the 120.

You might send an inquiry to see if one of these TS variants is still available. This one looks to be a Long Perng tube like my William Optics variant, only with a rack and pinion focuser (and no kitchen timer).

 

http://www.teleskop-...ularauszug.html



#14 Eddgie

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 06:01 PM

Great read Eddgie.  Mine is a golden oldie too.  Lens is exceptional and the mechanics not too shabby either (except for the stock visual back..it sucks, got the Scope Stuff replacement waytogo.gif ).

 

Did someone say "bino-viewer"?

 

Jeff

 

Yes, the VB stinks.  I was thinking I would replace the focuser but even with the wedge and the Binotron it seems to be working OK so maybe for now I will just replace the visual back with a better one.  I have had my diagonal rotate to the left twice now with the binoviewer and dumped on D21 already.. No damage done that I can see, but kind of highlighted the problem for me.

 

I thought about cutting the tube, but I actually like having all three positions on the power switch.  This scope would not be used for normal observing for me.  Mostly just for Solar, maybe some doubles, and maybe some planets.  OCS will be fine for my use. 



#15 John Huntley

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 06:35 PM

I've been tempted by the 120 for a while, but never pulled the trigger. There is one locally at half retail, but it is the older gold tube, and I have heard less than perfect reports on the early ones. So...I am kind of still on the fence. Anyone care to elaborate on the old gold vs the black diamonds?

 

The 100ED I had was a superb performer - not quite FC-100 / FS-102, but it was sharp and well suited to photography. It never disappointed.

My ED120 is one of the gold tubed ones. It has a really good objective in it. Just how good I've been able to judge more critically since I've owned a Tak FC-100DL and a TMB / LZOS 130mm F/9.2 triplet. The ED120 holds it's head up very well even in the company of scopes with superb reputations.

 

The focuser on mine is now a Moonlite though. That part of the original was functional but no more than that.


Edited by John Huntley, 06 March 2017 - 06:36 PM.

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#16 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 10:57 PM

My ED120 is one of the gold tubed ones. It has a really good objective in it. Just how good I've been able to judge more critically since I've owned a Tak FC-100DL and a TMB / LZOS 130mm F/9.2 triplet. The ED120 holds it's head up very well even in the company of scopes with superb reputations.

Mine went head to head with a 130mm Astrophysics, and did just fine. These objectives are good. The focuser on my SW ProED works well, but the supplied diagonal might need replacing for higher magnifications. The only other change I made was to use a Baader Clicklock visual back. High power is a 3.2mm eyepiece. It's pretty effortless.


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#17 Starman81

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 01:06 AM

She is a good one indeed! Eddgie, I'm glad you found your way to one and you got a great deal. 

 

I've had mine for 2 years now and probably had it out 20 times (would have been a lot more but I have too many scopes in the rotation)... In that time, it has only failed to impress me only ONCE--that was a night recently where there was a 50 degree temperature delta (15* F outside vs ~65*F indoors) and poor seeing. No scope could easily overcome those conditions. 

 

I've split Sirius with it and also Antares when it was only 19* high and actually had my lifetime best Saturn views with it, seeing such impressive banding and the crepe ring. I'm not saying my larger premium mirrors couldn't beat that Saturn view, but to date they have not because what counts is what scope you have out when you get that lucky seeing. Anyhow, as you can tell I am really happy with mine and highly recommend it. 

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#18 Eddgie

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:34 AM

I have only had one night with it, but it was an impressive showing.   It really impresses me as being a great refractor value though.  It does work for my on the Voyager, though it is near the limit for that mount.  It was important for me that the weight make this feasible though because I do have to carry the mount and scope around the yard as the sun moves behind trees and such.  

 

I was pretty impressed by the view though.   I probably would not use it routinely for Jupiter or Saturn, but I am eager to see how it does.  Based on my one view of the moon, I expect an impressive performance on these targets as well.

 

When they were first introduced, I thought it was kind of a weird size, but in time I came to really get the light weight and decision go to with the FPL-53.  I have always wanted to try one because of these attribute and happy this one turned up at a good price.  It came with a padded carry bag which I quickly sold (I would never take this anywhere in the car because it would be to big) so that final price was about $800 (adjusted for the sale of the padded bag).

 

I just could not pass it up at that price. 


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#19 RAKing

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:41 AM

I happened to have a spare Feathertouch focuser sitting around when I got my SW120ED. It turned a Good scope into a Great one.  It probably raises the cost too much for most people, but what a combo!

 

Cheers,

 

Ron

 

SW-120EDb.JPG

 


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#20 Rollo

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 11:58 AM

I happened to have a spare Feathertouch focuser sitting around when I got my SW120ED. It turned a Good scope into a Great one.  It probably raises the cost too much for most people, but what a combo!

 

Cheers,

 

Ron

 

attachicon.gifSW-120EDb.JPG

What a beautiful thing, very nice indeed.  Thanks for sharing this with us.

 

Rollo



#21 Element79

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 01:00 PM

Yep, the only thing that differentiates one of these 120EDs between a good telescope and a great telescope is the mechanical aspects.  The lenses are outstanding!  The Orion Eon had very nice mechanical detail but the Skywatcher offerings need some attention in my opinion...



#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 02:25 PM

Yep, the only thing that differentiates one of these 120EDs between a good telescope and a great telescope is the mechanical aspects.  The lenses are outstanding!  The Orion Eon had very nice mechanical detail but the Skywatcher offerings need some attention in my opinion...

 

I has Skywatcher Pro focuser for about a year.  I made some minor adjustments and after that, it was an excellent focuser.  I think it all works, it's mostly a question of appearance, cast versus machined, sliding dew shields that sort of thing..

 

Jon


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#23 jrbarnett

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 04:45 PM

I feel like the price has gone up; they're more than $1500 new, now. They're a little bit above the ES 127 triplet. With those two the same price, it feels like it might be tricky to pick out which would be the better buy.

I tend to agree.  I don't like the fixed dew shade builds of the 120EDs.  They feel pretty cheap to me.  The fancier builds from Sky-Watcher (Equinox) and Long Perng available from Europe are a lot nicer to handle and interact with, but similarly they are more expensive.  

 

And once you enter the realm of small aperture (6" and under) the extra millimeters of aperture make a proportionately larger difference than they do with larger instruments.  For example a 127mm has 12% more light grasp than a 120mm.  Anything from 10% up in light gain is detectable.  Material?  Probably depends on how often you plumb the deep depths with your refractor, but to me 12% gain in a sub 6" class instrument is meaningful since I would push a 5" (and in fact do push) refractor on DSOs routinely.

 

The quality of both the Synta scopes and JOC scopes ranges a bit.  Perhaps Synta is a bit ahead in average quality level, but if so, not by much based on the units of each I've owned and used.  For me it's be a toss-up between the two models were I in the market for a 5" "visual APO".

 

Here are the 120ED builds I like best:

 

http://www.teleskop-...on-Focuser.html

 

http://www.teleskop-...inium-case.html

 

I'd be a lot less excited to own one of the fixed dew shade versions (been there, done that, multiple times with Synta ED doublets).

 

http://www.teleskop-...tical-Tube.html

 

I'd definitely pay a few hundred extra Euros to get one of the retractable dew shade versions I think.

 

On the ES side, unless I was imaging I'd probably not spring for the extra to get the FCD100 build.  The original FCD1 build does a fine job visually and the $500 (25%) difference isn't chicken scratch.

 

But taking a step back, yeah we're awfully spoiled to have many good options in the 120mm to 130mm range these days. 

 

- Jim


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#24 SteveG

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 08:11 PM

 

I feel like the price has gone up; they're more than $1500 new, now. They're a little bit above the ES 127 triplet. With those two the same price, it feels like it might be tricky to pick out which would be the better buy.

I tend to agree.  I don't like the fixed dew shade builds of the 120EDs.  They feel pretty cheap to me.  The fancier builds from Sky-Watcher (Equinox) and Long Perng available from Europe are a lot nicer to handle and interact with, but similarly they are more expensive.  

 

 

Here are the 120ED builds I like best:

 

http://www.teleskop-...on-Focuser.html

 

 

Yes, that TS is the one I linked above. Very nice build quality, and the only thing it's missing is a kitchen timer!

 

120 Reduced.jpg


Edited by SteveG, 07 March 2017 - 08:13 PM.

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#25 hfjacinto

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:01 PM

Here is mine with a motorized moonlite. I haven't used it for visual in a while.

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