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Are most of the 127mm Maks pretty much the same?

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#1 Machine Shop

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 04:43 PM

I'm currently using a 90mm F6.7 refractor el cheapo off CL while I'm saving up for something nicer. Been looking toward a 127mm Mak and starting to wonder if they're all about the same quality. Most are Synta right?

 

Strongly considering the Orion Apex 127 if nothing else because the customer service is supposedly very good.

The SW looks good as well. Should I just buy on price? The Orion is very reasonable at $369.99 for the tube. I have tripod, ep's etc to get started.

 

It will be used mostly for planetary, nebulae, galaxies. Occasional lunar, no AP

 

Is there anything that really stands out? I'd like to stay under $500

 

Thanks!

 

 



#2 rogeriomagellan

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 05:12 PM

Hi.

 

Would you mind telling us why your next choice is a Mak-Cass telescope?



#3 msl615

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 05:18 PM

If you want to go a little off the normal:

 

If you can find them, a Russian INTES M503 is excellent... hen's teeth, etc for a used one. Collimation via front secondary. 

I am currently running a Terabeam Meade Wegat 5 inch. Excellent MAK based on Meade 125 ETX core. However, a very different final configuration. Mine is set up for easy primary mirror collimation.  It is a Gregory design with the silvered mirror on the front corrector. Also, hen's teeth.

 

I don't have much help on current MAKs, but I am sure there are many here that will help.

 

Good luck with your search!!!

 

Mike


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#4 photoracer18

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 05:26 PM

If you can try and locate one of the old LOMO 133.5mm Maks (Rumak/Sigler design). That and any of the Intes/Intes Micro Maks are a different ball game entirely. Sadly Intes/Intes Micro did not make anything smaller than 152mm (Intes made 5" for a short time). Only LOMO, the place Dmitri Maksutov actually worked at, made anything under 6" in the way of a Mak design (Questar/Quantum also of course). While HOO was the dealer for LOMO I had a really good LOMO 133.5. Since it was a Rumak at F10 you can use SCT focal reducers on it (thanks to LOMO using the Celestron/Meade VB thread). Russian finders are absolutely awesome when it comes to sharpness and contrast. While slightly larger and definitely heavier than any of the Chinese Maks, it can still be carried by something like a CG-4. Currently I have a LOMO 95 Rumak. Its an F12.6 Rumak design. We sold out all we had left of the 95s to a bunch of local long range shooters when they found out they could easily see .30 caliber bullet holes in paper at 1000 yards with one of them. I had to eventually get mine off a local CL sale a few years ago. Plan on mounting it on a Nexstar 4 mount I got.


Edited by photoracer18, 23 October 2017 - 05:27 PM.

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#5 Cajundaddy

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 05:52 PM

Most of the 127 Maks are Synta optics so essentially the same view.  For a bit more scratch you could get the Celestron 127 SLT that includes a rather sophisticated tracking and GoTo mount.  This is a nice upgrade from an AZ tripod for viewing at high mag because it tracks your target.  A useful mount for observing.

 

https://www.amazon.c...e/dp/B0038LX8XE


Edited by Cajundaddy, 23 October 2017 - 05:54 PM.

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#6 Chuck Hards

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 06:50 PM

Earlier this year I picked up the Celestron 127mm OTA used on Ebay for $200, in great shape.  If you are willing to wait and keep an eye peeled for a bargain, you could save a couple of hundred bucks.



#7 rogeriomagellan

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 07:20 PM

For less than $500 bucks, as far as I know, you won't find anything different than the good mass-produced Mak-Cass telescopes currently available for sale. Photoracer18 and msl615 have both mentioned the Intes-Micro Mak-Cass telescopes which are regarded as high-end tubes by many amateur astronomers. However, you'd have to open the wallet to get one of them from TS. 

 

https://www.teleskop...fnung-f-10.html


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#8 Machine Shop

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 08:13 PM

Thank you for the replies. I would love own one of the high end products mentioned but as I said, trying to keep it around $500.

I’m considering a Mak because of portability. But I’m not 100% locked into that. I don’t want the collomation headaches of a reflector and the 102/120mm refractors are to large for my current travel schedule. But hey.. if you’ve got a better idea I’m all ears 🤘

#9 PaulEK

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 12:34 AM

I bought a used 127 Apex several years ago, and it's the only Mak of that aperture that I've looked through, but others in my club say mine has exceptionally good views compared to others in their experience -- lucky me! So, like so many other things, there are hits and misses. Quality can really vary between samples.

 

I am amazed at how high I can crank the magnification in mine and still have sharp, though dim, views.



#10 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 03:00 AM

Your purchase should be based partly on price, partly on the dealer's follow-up support. I should add that Skywatcher has a pretty good reputation in these parts for fixing stuff, while Celestron..., (how should I put it?) doesn't. Maks tend to punch above their catadioptric size class, and are built like tanks, compared to SCTs (weigh as much, too ;) ).


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#11 rogeriomagellan

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 07:34 AM

Thank you for the replies. I would love own one of the high end products mentioned but as I said, trying to keep it around $500.

I’m considering a Mak because of portability. But I’m not 100% locked into that. I don’t want the collomation headaches of a reflector and the 102/120mm refractors are to large for my current travel schedule. But hey.. if you’ve got a better idea I’m all ears

Another major concern should be targets. You've mentioned nebulae and galaxies. The Orion Apex has a focal ratio of 12. The Celestron NexStar 4SE is f/12.9 and the NexStar 127SLT is f/12. The SkyWatcher 127mm Mak-Cass telescope is f/12. Many guys claim that these focal ratios are not the most suitable for deep-sky observing. Is it just a matter of preference? It'd be great to read what guys in this thread here think about it. 



#12 gitane71

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 08:16 AM

If you use a 6" f/10 and stop it to a 5" f/12, deep sky objects are fainter because of less aperture, not the f/ ratio.  I was pleasantly surprised by the deep sky views with a 4 1/4" (of about f/24) Herschelian.  I know, for LOW power, wide angle views, it is easier to 'get there' with a low f/ ratio, but long scopes in and of themselves don't mean faint as much as narrower field of view.  I would think the baffling is more the issue especially with the eyepiece open to the front of the tube. Used at the same power (and long scopes are just not as easy to get to Low power, are more apt to be used for high power) a given diameter will give similar views (if 'all else is equal').  I think the issue then could be the quality of the optics, the contrast delivered within a given system.   



#13 gfamily

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 09:07 AM

If you use a 6" f/10 and stop it to a 5" f/12, deep sky objects are fainter because of less aperture, not the f/ ratio.  I was pleasantly surprised by the deep sky views with a 4 1/4" (of about f/24) Herschelian. 

 ...

Used at the same power ... a given diameter will give similar views (if 'all else is equal'). .   

A Mak will have a larger secondary (~30%) than an equivalent Newtonian (~20%), so you know that 'if all else is equal' isn't applicable. 

 

I have a 127Mak (Skywatcher brand) which is a lovely scope to have with us when we're travelling, but it does have its limitations unless you can use it under very dark skies. 



#14 treadmarks

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 09:27 AM

Another major concern should be targets. You've mentioned nebulae and galaxies. The Orion Apex has a focal ratio of 12. The Celestron NexStar 4SE is f/12.9 and the NexStar 127SLT is f/12. The SkyWatcher 127mm Mak-Cass telescope is f/12. Many guys claim that these focal ratios are not the most suitable for deep-sky observing. Is it just a matter of preference? It'd be great to read what guys in this thread here think about it.

Magnification and FOV are determined by focal length, not focal ratio. The Synta 5" Mak has an FL of 1500mm, about the same as an f/5 12" Dob. Strange how I don't see anyone calling 12" Dobs bad deep sky telescopes.



#15 Penarin

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 09:53 AM

$370 for the Orion Apex 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain vs $435 for the $435 Skywatcher 127 mm Mak-Cass (OTAs only).

 

The Orion model comes with a 1.25" 45-degree correct-image diagonal, which would be nice if you are interested in viewing stuff on land during the day.  But you would need a 90 degree diagonal for astro use.  Comes with a 6x26 finder scope.

 

The Skywatcher comes with a 2" 90 degree star diagonal and a 6x30 finder.  It seems to be outfitted more like a more serious astro scope compared to the Orion.

 

I believe they are both made by Synta.


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#16 Penarin

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:06 AM

If you are interested, it looks like High Point Scientific still has the Celestron 6" SCT optical tube on sale for $399.  I've had mine for 3 years now and have always been happy with it.  


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#17 gitane71

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:08 AM

Yes, of course, all else is Not equal, (and why I used quotes) when compared to Newtonians with smaller diagonals or larger mirrors, or the refractor I used from my experience.   I was trying to refer more to the idea that the f/ ratio would be a problem with the Mak.  It is possible that strong baffling (less effective aperture) would mean less light coming in than a a 5" Newt, but it would be necessary to help preserve contrast. (how well are Newtonians baffled?)  Also, we don't know how smooth the optics are. The Mak's spherical surfaces could help with image quality as compared to aspherical surfaces, but there have been some pretty good Newtonians being produced in recent years it seems.

  The OP was just asking about Mak to Mak comparison, which I don't know enough about.  I was just saying that f/12, on its own, shouldn't be a reason against using it for deep sky objects.  ( with that design of Mak, personally, I'd want it longer, but this f/12, like the f/10 of SCTs, is a compromise, something 'reasonable'.)  


Edited by gitane71, 24 October 2017 - 10:13 AM.


#18 gfamily

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:50 AM

 

Another major concern should be targets. You've mentioned nebulae and galaxies. The Orion Apex has a focal ratio of 12. The Celestron NexStar 4SE is f/12.9 and the NexStar 127SLT is f/12. The SkyWatcher 127mm Mak-Cass telescope is f/12. Many guys claim that these focal ratios are not the most suitable for deep-sky observing. Is it just a matter of preference? It'd be great to read what guys in this thread here think about it.

Magnification and FOV are determined by focal length, not focal ratio. The Synta 5" Mak has an FL of 1500mm, about the same as an f/5 12" Dob. Strange how I don't see anyone calling 12" Dobs bad deep sky telescopes.

 

It's not just about magnification and FOV though - it's also aperture. A 5" f/12 may magnify as much as a 12" f/5 , but it won't be as good for fainter deep sky.


Edited by gfamily, 24 October 2017 - 10:51 AM.


#19 treadmarks

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 01:54 PM

It's not just about magnification and FOV though - it's also aperture. A 5" f/12 may magnify as much as a 12" f/5 , but it won't be as good for fainter deep sky.

Sure, but that's a separate issue. My point is that it's silly to rule out a telescope based on focal ratio, and even going by focal length it's hard to be crippled in effectiveness. The Hubble telescope's focal length is about 57,000 mm but it seems to be doing OK.

 

Anyway, to the OP: I'd buy based on included accessories and price. The only one in the pack that seems appreciably worse, optically, is the ETX-125. It has a longer FL for no gain in effective CO.

 

Personally, I opted for the 4" Orion just to be sure it would work well on a photo tripod. The 127 Orion is 3.6 lbs. heavier than the 102, which may not sound like much, but in this arena that's a 72% increase!



#20 fcathell

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 07:17 PM

I don't think you would disappointed with the 127mm Mak, nor with a C5 or C6.  The larger aperture of the latter two scopes will give them an edge on deep sky objects, but the 127 Mak is superb for lunar and planetary. I've tried all of the Orion/Sky Watcher Maks from 90mm to the 150mm. The 127 was my favorite.

 

Frank 



#21 rogeriomagellan

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 10:06 AM

Machine Shop,

 

I believe that the following CN forum threads can be of some help:

 

https://www.cloudyni...f-127-mak-cass/

 

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/157818-thoughts-on-a-127mm-mak/

 

https://www.cloudyni...cassegrain-r690


Edited by rogeriomagellan, 25 October 2017 - 10:09 AM.

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#22 Planethunter80

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 06:42 PM

This is a truly wonderful thread to follow.

I have wondered myself if most of these scopes are the same and the main difference was in the mount(if there is one)as well as the accessories. If they are very similar optically then I would take a serious look at the Celestron SLT127(as stated by another member earlier in this thread).

 

However perhaps consider something along the lines of a 127mm Mak on a mount like an Orion Sky View Pro. A well built and highly upgradeable mount that you can grow with(even if you outgrow scopes).



#23 fcathell

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 03:52 PM

Most of the 127 Maks are made by Synta in China but will have different paint jobs and finishes. The Sky Watcher, Orion, Celestron SLT, Levenhuk, and I even think Meade has a Mak from this same "vat". I have tried the 90mm, 102mm, 127mm and 150mm in one brand or the other and they all typically exhibit excellent optics and mechanical build quality. I tend to prefer the 102 and 127mm versions due to weight and general handling. A couple of cons: 1) Occasionally the focus has a slight amount of backlash and it is very tricky to fix.  Overall, I did not find it overly objectionable since none of the tested scopes had image shift with focusing. 2) Although the primary baffle tube is laterally ribbed to reduce grazing angle reflections, it still has some and the contrast can be significantly improved by inserting a pre-cut piece of thin felt (shaped into a tube) into the rear of the scope. I found it will hold its shape without application of adhesive (yuk!). It can be pushed outward to a snug fit to the inner wall of the baffle tube with a small dowel. Some of my best views of Jupiter have been with the 102 and/or 127mm Maks.

 

Frank


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#24 Machine Shop

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 07:09 PM

Thank you so much for all the replies... I am sponging it all up. Learning so much

#25 rogeriomagellan

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 07:48 PM

Most of the 127 Maks are made by Synta in China but will have different paint jobs and finishes. The Sky Watcher, Orion, Celestron SLT, Levenhuk, and I even think Meade has a Mak from this same "vat". I have tried the 90mm, 102mm, 127mm and 150mm in one brand or the other and they all typically exhibit excellent optics and mechanical build quality. I tend to prefer the 102 and 127mm versions due to weight and general handling. A couple of cons: 1) Occasionally the focus has a slight amount of backlash and it is very tricky to fix.  Overall, I did not find it overly objectionable since none of the tested scopes had image shift with focusing. 2) Although the primary baffle tube is laterally ribbed to reduce grazing angle reflections, it still has some and the contrast can be significantly improved by inserting a pre-cut piece of thin felt (shaped into a tube) into the rear of the scope. I found it will hold its shape without application of adhesive (yuk!). It can be pushed outward to a snug fit to the inner wall of the baffle tube with a small dowel. Some of my best views of Jupiter have been with the 102 and/or 127mm Maks.

 

Frank

Hi, Frank. Thanks for your contribution.

 

Most guys claim that these mass-produced Mak-Cass telescopes all seem to have the same quality optics. However, if my memory serves me well, SkyWatcher states that their Mak-Cass comes with Schott glass. Did that mean anything to you?


Edited by rogeriomagellan, 30 October 2017 - 07:49 PM.



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