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William Optics new ZS103 REVIEW (contributions welcome!)

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#26 RandallK

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 03:55 PM

You'll love it....had mine for a week now and can't wait till I get my first image with it. Jupiter looked spectacular through my 6mm Delos eyepice



#27 CHASLX200

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 05:49 PM

You'll love it....had mine for a week now and can't wait till I get my first image with it. Jupiter looked spectacular through my 6mm Delos eyepice

Bet i would also.



#28 timmbottoni

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 01:06 PM

All in all, I've found it to be a fantastic value for the money.  I wish I had  some more clear skies, but we have been getting rain and clouds weed after week here.  

 

Timm



#29 TDPerry

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 06:27 PM

Well, mine should be here Wednesday... and I say mine because originally it was being bought for my wife and I to use - but she wanted to know what she was going to be doing when I was doing photography with it... said she wanted to looking at stuff at the same time.  Mentioned binoculars to her and after dodging the TV control I agreed to get her a Celestron NexStar 8SE. So now we should be set for a decent one for planets and a nice one for the "more distant" stuff.  Now, my hip is a few grand lighter.  So much for the motorcycle upgrades I wanted.  lol.gif


Edited by TDPerry, 23 June 2018 - 06:28 PM.


#30 timmbottoni

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Posted 28 July 2018 - 10:04 AM

Got some pictures last night - Full Moon taken without the flattener.  Seeing was just OK.  Adjusted the levels a bit to give it more contrast..

 

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#31 1DegreeN

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 09:49 PM

I received my ZS103 a few days ago. I already had a ZWO 60mm f4 guidescope and was hoping it would fit in the supplied rings. It does, but only just. Now I have to wait impatiently for a clear night and it could be a long wait until this exceptionally wet rainy season comes to and end.



#32 LewisM

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 10:23 PM

Looks like there's a new contender for best handle in the business (was Explore Scientific) though I don't see them for sale separately.

https://williamoptic...ket-with-handle


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#33 RandallK

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 12:34 PM

Nice round stars with the flattener!!!

 

NGC 7380 Wizard Final CN.jpg

 

Imaged with Z103 & ASI1600MC-s (42 subs @ 5min each)

Calibrated in PixInsight and further processed in Photoshop CS6

 

 


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#34 desper0

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 05:54 PM

For current owners, how feasible is it to disassemble the Z103 so its individual parts will fit into a carry-on luggage (22 inches max length, but considering foam, ideally around 20")? I am considering getting the Z103 to take with me to Chile for next year's solar eclipse.

 

Any info will be greatly appreciated!



#35 timmbottoni

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 01:18 PM

For current owners, how feasible is it to disassemble the Z103 so its individual parts will fit into a carry-on luggage (22 inches max length, but considering foam, ideally around 20")? I am considering getting the Z103 to take with me to Chile for next year's solar eclipse.

 

Any info will be greatly appreciated!

The tube itself is the longest piece that can't be disassembled in any way, but the focuser just unscrews off easily - see post #20 above.

 

But honestly, for a solar eclipse, you could go with a much smaller telescope like an 80mm, 73mm, or 61mm WO model.

 

See my review post of the ZS61 which I bought for the Eclipse last year if you are interested.

https://www.cloudyni...utions-welcome/

 

Timm


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#36 Kiwi-bloke

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 02:59 AM

I purchased the gold one. rotolock and a 2" durabright diagonal. Guidescope on it's way but in red, my only complaint with WO is the stock he has at any given time. I got sick of waiting for a matching gold rotolock guidescope and have reluctantly ordered it in red so it won't match. But meh, who really is that bothered when it's the glass that's it's main attribute. That scope is the best 100mm scope i ever looked through in doublet design. To be honest it performes as good as a few triplets i've had the privalege to look through, though older triplets. Colour corection(fringing ) is non existant. and it seems sharp to the edges with no visable oval stars anywhere. Perhaps i just received a really good one.
 
I've also been considering the 6Aii..is it worth it? really? I image with an 1100d, i do not see  anything wrong in my shots so far.
 
UPS in New Zealand..kept asking me for same info. For customs clearance, and one asked me , it says telescope parts, what is that? Lord give me strength. after two weeks they released it. It arrived double boxed exactly same as yours in perfect condition . I was sweating as they honestly took there time and i'm rural so it went to three couriers here who all delayed and stressed me right out. Not WO fault just outside the USA, UPS seem trash.
 
zs103 dura bright 2"
zs 103-2018

 

 

First light was awestruckingly good, i saw more with that scope than ever before the jewel cluster was, i don't know how to discribe it in words. Just pinpoints and colour differences really popped out for me as never before.I see no fringing. but it only just arrived and i'm waiting on a new mount and polemaster before i really get out and serious with it. faint stars were doublets that i just didn't know of with my WO 66 petzval, i'm telling you it was like i'd never looked through a scope before, it instantly rekindled my enthusiasm and keeness to use it at any oportunity.

 

WO has really done me good with this, and i can compare it with their older scopes, they are just improving every time by leaps and bounds.

 

Faults.. Rotating the whole focuser is tight and will easily upset my mounts setup. I am considering the camera angle rotator after reading your review.

 

That's it for me, just the focuser rotation seems over tight, but if i want the image not to shift i suppose it has to be like that.

 

Question. Is the flattener really required for astro imaging? Because i see no distortion in my images using an 1100d's feild of view? Isn't it really for full sized camera sensors? If you have one? Pointless on my ones feild of view?

 

This really was a huge step up in size and quality over my old 66.


Edited by Kiwi-bloke, 10 November 2018 - 03:04 AM.

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#37 Kiwi-bloke

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 03:52 AM

I just received the Flat6A ii. I also thought how difficult it will be to make sub-millimeter adjustments as stated on the product page. However, I think if its close, it should work ok. I'm not sure what the tolerances are on adjusting this kind of reducer though. Looking forward to the rest of your review! Very interested in this model, especially for the price.

I worked in engineering and have two verniers here, looking at it, i'd say you could measure the gap with verniers to get micron range acuracy?. You can pick em up fairly cheap and there are some with digital displays. Just a thought.


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#38 rustynpp

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 07:50 AM

Congrats on the new scope, and I'm glad you're enjoying it!

 

Faults.. Rotating the whole focuser is tight and will easily upset my mounts setup. I am considering the camera angle rotator after reading your review.

 

That shouldn't be the case. The focuser on mine rotates very smoothly with just the right amount of resistance. I'm sure there's a way to loosen the tension a bit. Unfortunately my scope is inaccessible right now or I'd take a look myself, but I suggest you poke around and see what you find. Barring that I'm sure William would be happy to help if you emailed him. He's been very helpful, in my experience.



#39 timmbottoni

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 10:48 AM

Hi all,

 

Glad to hear others are having the same positive experiences I have had with this ZS103.  Here are few answers to the posted questions.

 

Focuser rotation:  The focuser rotation uses the same method as prior WO focusers.  To improve the smoothness, loosen the three small brass slotted inset screws in the colored part of the focuser assembly.  These brass screws have a nylon tip on them, which rides in the groove of the white part that rotates, and the nylon is there to allow it to rotate smoothly so adjusting the tension of these is the first thing to try. 

 

Removing the 3 screws along with the silver thumbscrew will allow the entire white part of the focuser to fall right out, so be careful.  The groove will be visible, and you can put a very thin layer of high quality grease in that groove if you want to.  This allows you to more tightly adjust each of the three brass srews.  It honestly takes less time to do than it did to type this up.

 

M63 Camera Angel Rotator:  I will admit that the extra rotation piece is very nice for astrophotography because it is marked in degrees so if you use a tool like SkySafari, and want to frame an object relative to the standard position, you can match the degrees in rotation to what you set in Sky Safari and be perfectly rotated to match the displayed rectangle in Sky Safari. Sorry it that is confusing, I can elaborate more if needed.   The only drawback to adding this (which is easily threaded on or off) is that it adds a bit of length to the focuser and I found that some of my eyepieces when used with a 2" WO Dielectric diagonal worked with the focuser racked all the way in.  My WO zoom eyepiece wouldn't work at all.  Of course its a simple matter to remove it, and use the scope without it for observing, so you can decide if you think its worth the extra cost.

 

Flat 6AII:  I will create a composite image and post it when I can, showing the difference in corners vs center, of stars both with and without it, because is does make a huge difference the further out you get from the center.  I shot the image already, but I have been too lazy to create the image like I did for my ZS61 review.  For some objects however, like the moon. planets, or a globular cluster that you are going to center, you might not need it or even want it since it reduces focal length (.8X), and you probably want the extra magnification instead.  It's a nice option when you start looking at wider fielder fields of view to image, and well worth the $198 USD if you are going to do astrophotography.  The exact distance isn't as critical as you might think. I posted earlier that I experimented and found that being "close" to 4.6mm is good enough.  Being off by .5mm wasn't noticeable from my images,and even 1mm off was barely distinguishable which surprised me, but I'm shooting with a Canon 60D which isn't full frame DSLR (its APS-C) so it might be more critical with full frame sensors.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Boy, I sure wish we would get some clear skies here, I haven't been out in over a month and now is a really good time for certain objects, and I really want to try to see and image Comet 46P/Wirtanen in December.   This scope should provide for some amazing views and imaging possibilities.

 

Timm


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#40 1DegreeN

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 08:35 PM

I've had my ZS103 for a couple of months and I am very pleased with the results I'm getting. I'm using the Flat6Aii on an APC-C size sensor (the QHY168C). I haven't tried imaging without the flattener but I suspect you would see some coma in the corners on an APC-C or full frame sensor.

 

I was lucky to have some clear nights last week and targeted M33. The FWHM and Eccentricity maps (using PixInsight's tools) show how effective the Flat6Aii is:

M33 FWHM

 

I also have the M63 camera rotator but haven't used it in action yet. It is well made and I'm sure it is the safest and most accurate way to adjust the camera angle and will come into its own for mosaics.

 

I have another setup - a WO FLT110 with FlatIV - but so far the ZS103/Flat6Aii combo is beating it.

 

45711183912_cbf78fd307_n.jpgM33 by John Sim, on Flickr

 

Clear skies!

John

 


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#41 Kiwi-bloke

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 03:05 AM

Hi all,

 

Glad to hear others are having the same positive experiences I have had with this ZS103.  Here are few answers to the posted questions.

 

Focuser rotation:  The focuser rotation uses the same method as prior WO focusers.  To improve the smoothness, loosen the three small brass slotted inset screws in the colored part of the focuser assembly.  These brass screws have a nylon tip on them, which rides in the groove of the white part that rotates, and the nylon is there to allow it to rotate smoothly so adjusting the tension of these is the first thing to try. 

 

Removing the 3 screws along with the silver thumbscrew will allow the entire white part of the focuser to fall right out, so be careful.  The groove will be visible, and you can put a very thin layer of high quality grease in that groove if you want to.  This allows you to more tightly adjust each of the three brass srews.  It honestly takes less time to do than it did to type this up.

 

M63 Camera Angel Rotator:  I will admit that the extra rotation piece is very nice for astrophotography because it is marked in degrees so if you use a tool like SkySafari, and want to frame an object relative to the standard position, you can match the degrees in rotation to what you set in Sky Safari and be perfectly rotated to match the displayed rectangle in Sky Safari. Sorry it that is confusing, I can elaborate more if needed.   The only drawback to adding this (which is easily threaded on or off) is that it adds a bit of length to the focuser and I found that some of my eyepieces when used with a 2" WO Dielectric diagonal worked with the focuser racked all the way in.  My WO zoom eyepiece wouldn't work at all.  Of course its a simple matter to remove it, and use the scope without it for observing, so you can decide if you think its worth the extra cost.

 

Flat 6AII:  I will create a composite image and post it when I can, showing the difference in corners vs center, of stars both with and without it, because is does make a huge difference the further out you get from the center.  I shot the image already, but I have been too lazy to create the image like I did for my ZS61 review.  For some objects however, like the moon. planets, or a globular cluster that you are going to center, you might not need it or even want it since it reduces focal length (.8X), and you probably want the extra magnification instead.  It's a nice option when you start looking at wider fielder fields of view to image, and well worth the $198 USD if you are going to do astrophotography.  The exact distance isn't as critical as you might think. I posted earlier that I experimented and found that being "close" to 4.6mm is good enough.  Being off by .5mm wasn't noticeable from my images,and even 1mm off was barely distinguishable which surprised me, but I'm shooting with a Canon 60D which isn't full frame DSLR (its APS-C) so it might be more critical with full frame sensors.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Boy, I sure wish we would get some clear skies here, I haven't been out in over a month and now is a really good time for certain objects, and I really want to try to see and image Comet 46P/Wirtanen in December.   This scope should provide for some amazing views and imaging possibilities.

 

Timm

Hi thanks about the focuser, but my issue with that is getting it centred again, it's easy to loosen the three screws, i did it on my Petzval, but it was nigh on impossible to get it bang on centred again so when rotated the image doesn't shift. If you slack two off and one tight..well you get the picture. I just received it, and frankly i'm to paranoid to touch it's setup. The focuser rotates, and is a tad tight but if i hold the handle and turn it by gripping the focuser she rotates steady. Just, mentioned it as a very small irk. I'll email Williams team and see what they suggest as a method to reduce it, I have lithium grease, and used to work in Engineering,But lathing up flanges for pipes and weld necks isn't experience with a highly tuned telescope. My hands have the grip of a vice and are used to throwing about stainless and mild steel, occasionally forgings and boiler plate,  that's why i'm afraid to adjust it without the tools William probably has to keep it all aligned and centered... IE it's not a biggie.

 

The 6Aii. thanks that info is great, i'd love to see your comparison and will wait for that before purchasing, quite frankly i spent a bit of cash lately have a new mount and scope to master and learn before i get into worrying about stars on the peripheral of my shots. :)


Edited by Kiwi-bloke, 11 November 2018 - 03:10 AM.


#42 Kiwi-bloke

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 03:14 AM

I've had my ZS103 for a couple of months and I am very pleased with the results I'm getting. I'm using the Flat6Aii on an APC-C size sensor (the QHY168C). I haven't tried imaging without the flattener but I suspect you would see some coma in the corners on an APC-C or full frame sensor.

 

I was lucky to have some clear nights last week and targeted M33. The FWHM and Eccentricity maps (using PixInsight's tools) show how effective the Flat6Aii is:

 

 

I also have the M63 camera rotator but haven't used it in action yet. It is well made and I'm sure it is the safest and most accurate way to adjust the camera angle and will come into its own for mosaics.

 

I have another setup - a WO FLT110 with FlatIV - but so far the ZS103/Flat6Aii combo is beating it.

 

45711183912_cbf78fd307_n.jpgM33 by John Sim, on Flickr

 

Clear skies!

John

Hi John, i'm obviouly way more amatuer than you are knowledgeable, your first picture of the median, can you elaborate as to what those images mean? To a layman like me. i point and shoot mate, not a lot of skills going on, just relying on the quality of my gear to do the hard yards. smile.gif The picture looks amazing!, is this just quirks you professionals notice? More than the likes of me, who's basically just over the moon his stars are round, and he captured something spectacular he can't see with a eyepeice. smile.gif


Edited by Kiwi-bloke, 11 November 2018 - 03:16 AM.


#43 timmbottoni

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 12:16 PM

Hi thanks about the focuser, but my issue with that is getting it centred again, it's easy to loosen the three screws, i did it on my Petzval, but it was nigh on impossible to get it bang on centred again so when rotated the image doesn't shift. If you slack two off and one tight..well you get the picture. I just received it, and frankly i'm to paranoid to touch it's setup. The focuser rotates, and is a tad tight but if i hold the handle and turn it by gripping the focuser she rotates steady. Just, mentioned it as a very small irk. I'll email Williams team and see what they suggest as a method to reduce it, I have lithium grease, and used to work in Engineering,But lathing up flanges for pipes and weld necks isn't experience with a highly tuned telescope. My hands have the grip of a vice and are used to throwing about stainless and mild steel, occasionally forgings and boiler plate,  that's why i'm afraid to adjust it without the tools William probably has to keep it all aligned and centered... IE it's not a biggie.

 

The 6Aii. thanks that info is great, i'd love to see your comparison and will wait for that before purchasing, quite frankly i spent a bit of cash lately have a new mount and scope to master and learn before i get into worrying about stars on the peripheral of my shots. smile.gif

To be honest, its not that hard to adjust, and its worth learning if you aren't going to get the camera rotator.  I say that because I have had other models, and I found that the rotation resistance can loosen over time, and even change with significant temperature changes over the year as I get here in the Chicago area.  I found that in prior models, I was often tightening it a bit in the winter and loosening it a bit in the summer, but by all means only adjust whatever you are comfortable with.  I'm here to help if you need anything!

 

Timm


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#44 timmbottoni

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 12:55 PM

I've put together my comparison image that shows the WO ZS103 both with and without the WO FLAT6A-II flattener. 

 

A few key points to consider on this image are...

  1. The star was Vega, and 1/60 of a sec at ISO1600 was intentionally over exposed because besides testing for flatness I was also trying to get as much chromatic aberration to show Basically, I was intentionally trying to show the worst possible CA that I would expect to see.  Its more visible in reds with the flattener, and more visible in blues without the flattener.  Because of the .8x reduction with the flattener, the stars are automatically less magnified which is why they look smaller with the flattener, and it looks like some of the extra CA being seen with the flattener is a result of lateral CA because I tried to get Vega as far into each corner as possible.  None of this CA shows up in any of my other images of the Moon, planets, or DSOs, so don't be put off by the slight amount you are seeing here.  If I can get some time I will work on submitting a few images that I goofed around taking over the Summer, but I'm still very much a novice, and have terrible light pollution to deal with (but learning Pixinsight little by little).
  2. I was choosing the distance of approximately 4.6mm like the chart online on the WO website suggested, but I think if you were particular you could easily fine tune it more through further testing.  My original testing showed that it is flattening very nicely over a range of a few millimeters, so if anyone finds that fine tuning it more is worth the effort, please reply with those results.
  3. The star crops are at 100% which makes the slightest amount of CA and corner elongation much more noticeable than if you were to look at these images.   In these images, I focused on Vega in the center first, and then moved the mount to reposition Vega to each of the 4 corners WITHOUT refocusing, and got Vega very close to each corner.

Overall, the FLAT6A-II does an amazing job with the ZS103 for the money.  Reply with any comments or questions.

 

Timm

 

 

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#45 RandallK

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 01:42 PM

Go up a few entries and you'll see my Wizard diffuse nebula. This was taken with my new Z103 and the FLAT6A-II flattener. Take a close look all around the corners of the image. I think they're pretty darned round. 

 

My focus tube is extremely tight as well, but I got the manual rotator and it's a lot easier to rotate the image train. It  still is a tad stiff even with the manual rotator but you don't have to really strain yourself in turning it. It is much easier than doing the other with trying to turn the focuser  This is one of the best additions I've got. (Next to PoleMaster). It goes side-by-side with SGP's Framing and Mosaic Wizard. Even if you are not doing a mosaic, it will frame your object exactly as you have it framed in SGP. SGP will tell you how many degrees you're off and you simply rotate by that number of degrees and bingo...your perfectly framed. I used to do this by guesswork and I had to correct for SGP's iteration prompts more than a few times. Now I get it in one shot!



#46 SteveG

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 04:25 PM

To be honest, its not that hard to adjust, and its worth learning if you aren't going to get the camera rotator.  I say that because I have had other models, and I found that the rotation resistance can loosen over time, and even change with significant temperature changes over the year as I get here in the Chicago area.  I found that in prior models, I was often tightening it a bit in the winter and loosening it a bit in the summer, but by all means only adjust whatever you are comfortable with.  I'm here to help if you need anything!

 

Timm

Same here. And you'll need to remove it to put grease in the slot anyway.


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#47 Kiwi-bloke

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 05:24 PM

I've put together my comparison image that shows the WO ZS103 both with and without the WO FLAT6A-II flattener. 

 

A few key points to consider on this image are...

  1. The star was Vega, and 1/60 of a sec at ISO1600 was intentionally over exposed because besides testing for flatness I was also trying to get as much chromatic aberration to show Basically, I was intentionally trying to show the worst possible CA that I would expect to see.  Its more visible in reds with the flattener, and more visible in blues without the flattener.  Because of the .8x reduction with the flattener, the stars are automatically less magnified which is why they look smaller with the flattener, and it looks like some of the extra CA being seen with the flattener is a result of lateral CA because I tried to get Vega as far into each corner as possible.  None of this CA shows up in any of my other images of the Moon, planets, or DSOs, so don't be put off by the slight amount you are seeing here.  If I can get some time I will work on submitting a few images that I goofed around taking over the Summer, but I'm still very much a novice, and have terrible light pollution to deal with (but learning Pixinsight little by little).
  2. I was choosing the distance of approximately 4.6mm like the chart online on the WO website suggested, but I think if you were particular you could easily fine tune it more through further testing.  My original testing showed that it is flattening very nicely over a range of a few millimeters, so if anyone finds that fine tuning it more is worth the effort, please reply with those results.
  3. The star crops are at 100% which makes the slightest amount of CA and corner elongation much more noticeable than if you were to look at these images.   In these images, I focused on Vega in the center first, and then moved the mount to reposition Vega to each of the 4 corners WITHOUT refocusing, and got Vega very close to each corner.

Overall, the FLAT6A-II does an amazing job with the ZS103 for the money.  Reply with any comments or questions.

 

Timm

Oh wow, that really does show it up. thanks tim, i'll need to get a flattener. Definitely. Thanks for you contribution mate.

 

I just ordered one with a 2" nose piece, quite expensive after conversion to NZ dollars, but well worth it, thanks to your very good image of the difference, thanks again.


Edited by Kiwi-bloke, 11 November 2018 - 05:45 PM.

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#48 Kiwi-bloke

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 05:46 PM

Almost enough of us to make a Z103 users post,.. for sharing and helping.?



#49 Kiwi-bloke

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Posted 12 November 2018 - 04:07 AM

I have a question on dew, have you guys had any issues with dew on your main lenses at all? IE Will i need to invest in those dew straps for this scope?

 

I think it may be ok as it has a long dew sheild, but was just wanting to check.



#50 rustynpp

rustynpp

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Posted 12 November 2018 - 07:21 AM

I have a question on dew, have you guys had any issues with dew on your main lenses at all? IE Will i need to invest in those dew straps for this scope?

 

I think it may be ok as it has a long dew sheild, but was just wanting to check.

Depends on your local climate, but hasn't been an issue for me. I bought a Tech2000 Dew Zap-On as sort of a minimalist approach to dew control, and it seems to work well enough.

 

The presence or absence of dew on the ZS103 shouldn't be any different than any other 4" doublet refractor, though.




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