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William Optics new ZS103 REVIEW (contributions welcome!)

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#51 Kiwi-bloke

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 03:46 AM

I read an article at the top on choosing refractors, funny enough i find the WO seemed to be one of many clones of the same scope. I actually thought william made them in house(or his company)

 

However, as the article eleaborates, it's all about the glass and polish and this scope is the best i've viewed through so far in my years. I'm not disappointed.

 

It's just a fact that what was a top of the line telescope of the 80's and 90's has been superceded by todays manufacturing and polishing equipment, even in mass productions. I've got a classic Asashi (japanese telescope) that is a fine telescope for it's day and had the best glass polishers of japan making that glass lens after WW2. At that time they were superb and had a good reputation, today if you look at the Zenith then look through it, you see just how much manufacturing/computer driven polishing has progressed.

 

lets hope progress continues in this fashion.



#52 rustynpp

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 06:22 AM

The WO does indeed use the same Chinese optics as the AT102, the Stellarvue Access 102, and a few others - or at least that's my understanding. There's been a lot of discussion on these boards lately about the rising quality and consistency of Chinese optics, and the nearly uniformly positive reviews of the above scopes is a testament to that. I think where WO sets itself apart is in the quality of the tube and the mechanics of the scope. The fit and finish of the scope is nothing short of super-premium, and to me that makes a big difference in the experience of using the scope. It appealed to me because it seemed like a nice compromise between spending thousands of dollars on a premium optic like a Tak or TV and getting a generic Chinese scope on the cheap. I think William has carved out a nice little niche for his company in that way.



#53 dscarpa

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 02:43 PM

 The WO 132 doesn't seem to be a clone given it's TMB design, above .95 strehl and FPL53 glass. At $3,600 with with soft case, dovetail , scope and finder rings it's quite a deal. Even the weight is good at 20 lbs given it's 3.5" focuser and you can get a FT if that strikes your fancy. I would have it already but fear it's too close size wise to my WO ZS110. David  


Edited by dscarpa, 13 November 2018 - 02:48 PM.


#54 timmbottoni

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 10:24 PM

 The WO 132 doesn't seem to be a clone given it's TMB design, above .95 strehl and FPL53 glass. At $3,600 with with soft case, dovetail , scope and finder rings it's quite a deal. Even the weight is good at 20 lbs given it's 3.5" focuser and you can get a FT if that strikes your fancy. I would have it already but fear it's too close size wise to my WO ZS110. David  

I have been a fan of WO, and emailed William enough times to know that not everything you read or see in posts (or from vendors marketing) is true.  There are times where there are scopes that are exactly the same as another, but there are also many times where what appears to be the same actually has differences.

 

The reason is that optics are made by the OEM to the specifications required by the end "brand", and that can vary. There can be a number of other differences unique to the "brand" which makes most of what you see not as simple as a "rebrander" which is a very misused term.  The WO products have a number of easy to point out differences.  The tubes and their dew shields/caps, quality of finish, baffles, and even quality of the machined parts for example.  These parts, and the focusers, for example may actually be different and come from different suppliers or be made in house.  Innovative features pattented by WO for example, like their Bahtinov mask cap, their diagonals, rotating camera adapter, flatteners, Rotolock adapters, saddle plates, guidescopes, and other items.  Look at the rings, and dovetails, and handle and guide rings.  All of these are not rebranded by WO, but rather unique designs and manufacturing by WO.   William knows all the best contacts in Taiwan and China (and beyond) and he speaks their language so you can probably guess that he has a long list of options when it comes to offering the best quality at the best price.

 

The FLT132 is a good example , but there are many others and WO will continue to innovate as he has in the past.  He has listened to my feedback, and many other customers for ideas to continually improve his products.  They supply extremely well made and easy to adjust focusers now, which is one of the areas they have improved on substantially.   Even simple things like their cases, are top notch for the money and made very well for them.

 

With that all said, I've decided that I really want to go bigger than the ZS103, so I have decided to try to sell mine (watch for a classified on CN if you are interested or PM me) and then depending on how much money my wife will let me spend in 2019, either buy a ZS126 or an FLT132.  I think my iOptron iEQ45 could handle either, but that's probably as big as it can go.

 

The biggest obstacle I face (besides money of course) is my crummy light pollution and usually cloudy skies here.  I have an old Celestron C8 with a cracked corrector (don't laugh, it still works well and it was essentially free) and when I pull that out I see how much more I get visually from that extra aperture, but it really lacks in contrast, and is NOT suitable for astrophography at all.  Finding something in that 5 inch APO refractor area is what I hope is a good investment for me next.  I still have my ZS61 and really old (but still excellent) WO FD80 as well.

 

Feel free to keep this thread going, ask questions, share comments, etc. 

 

And I will start yet another review thread at some point when I finally do upgrade.

 

Clear skies!!!

 

Timm


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#55 ris242

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 12:17 PM

Not that this is a hijack of the thread...... and I won't mention brands, but for the price wouldn't you go triplet rather than the ZS126?



#56 timmbottoni

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 02:12 PM

Not that this is a hijack of the thread...... and I won't mention brands, but for the price wouldn't you go triplet rather than the ZS126?

Thanks for the reply.   A new thread comparing options would be a great idea.  There are some previous discussions worth looking at first, but if you want to start one or send me a PM, feel free to.



#57 Smarque2

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 07:38 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!

. I know this was a post from last year and I am currently looking for a scope to photograph the Mercury transit in November. Did you manage to get an answer ? Or what scope did you go with ?

#58 timmbottoni

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 08:13 PM

. I know this was a post from last year and I am currently looking for a scope to photograph the Mercury transit in November. Did you manage to get an answer ? Or what scope did you go with ?

The focuser can be easily unscrewed and completely removed.  It would easily fit in two pieces like that.



#59 Foobaria

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 11:51 AM

Hi all,

 

This is going to be like my ZS61 Review from last year, where I go through the new ZenithStar 103, which is another new FPL53 doublet from William Optics.  It's no mystery that I am a huge fan of WO products, but I will try to be honest and objective in everything I review.

 

Here is my setup that I will be using for the review:

ZS103 standard package - FPL53 Doublet refractor (blue color trim on everything) includes the mounting rings, attached to a Vixen style dovetail, top mounted handle, and two guidescope rings sized to handle a 50mm guidescope.  The dew shield is retractable, and includes the new cover with the Bahtinov Mask built in, where by the front part unscrews to reveal the mask for focusing, or the entire cover can slide off.

 

Optional that I also have:

50mm F/4 Rotolock guidescope

NEW - 0.8X adjustable Flat 6A Flattener for photography

NEW - Camera Angle Rotator for 2.5" M63 focusers

 

Below are some unboxing pictures to see

Have you tried this scope on the EZ Touch, i have one and was thinking about this scope. 



#60 Foobaria

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 11:57 AM

I'm a huge WO fan too.  How are you liking this scope Tim, i know we shared experiences on ZS61, now looking at Z103 or Z126 for visual. 



#61 timmbottoni

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 12:13 PM

I'm a huge WO fan too.  How are you liking this scope Tim, i know we shared experiences on ZS61, now looking at Z103 or Z126 for visual. 

Hi,

I used it a couple of times on my EZ Touch mount but mostly I used it on my iOptron iEQ45.  I still have the ZS61 but sold the Z103 with plans to buy a Z126 or FLT132, of which neither has happened yet.   I also still have my really old WO FD80.  I'm considering several options for something to try next, but still now sure which way I will go.  I have such lousy weather here, that its frustrating.

 

For visual, the Z103 is quite good but I could see a tiny bit of false color on Jupiter and Venus at high power, but I'm not much of planetary observer, so it never really bothered me.  I would still be inclined to want to try the ZS126, since it appears to be a great value if you don't have the money for a triplet.

 

Clear skies,

 

Timm



#62 Foobaria

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 12:52 PM

Hi,

I used it a couple of times on my EZ Touch mount but mostly I used it on my iOptron iEQ45.  I still have the ZS61 but sold the Z103 with plans to buy a Z126 or FLT132, of which neither has happened yet.   I also still have my really old WO FD80.  I'm considering several options for something to try next, but still now sure which way I will go.  I have such lousy weather here, that its frustrating.

 

For visual, the Z103 is quite good but I could see a tiny bit of false color on Jupiter and Venus at high power, but I'm not much of planetary observer, so it never really bothered me.  I would still be inclined to want to try the ZS126, since it appears to be a great value if you don't have the money for a triplet.

 

Clear skies,

 

Timm

Hey Tim, interesting news then.  So you sold the Z103 and looking for a Z126.  I'm really angling to do this visually this time around, and I think Z126 might tank my EZ Touch mount, really needs to be mounted properly.   You're mostly just imaging right? 



#63 timmbottoni

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 12:52 PM

Hey Tim, interesting news then.  So you sold the Z103 and looking for a Z126.  I'm really angling to do this visually this time around, and I think Z126 might tank my EZ Touch mount, really needs to be mounted properly.   You're mostly just imaging right? 

Hi - yes, mostly imaging.  I'm torn between sticking with wide field imaging and wanting to try to go up to something with more focal length.  I have the curse of all three problems...Tons of light pollution, poor weather, and not enough time.  Oh, and money of course, but that is always assumed since if I had enough money I would quit working, and move somewhere with better weather and less light pollution.  lol.gif

 

I think the ZS103 worked fine on the EZ Touch when I first tried it on the moon, so I can't imagine the ZS126 would be that much worse.  I have used my old C8 on on side, and my FD80 on the other and while not ideal, its ok for visual use if you don't try to go too high power on the C8 because the slightest bump and you lose your place.  The ZS61 and FD80 works wonderfully on the EZ Touch for solar (see my ZS61 review post for pics).



#64 Ballyhoo

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 05:38 PM

Can anyone tell me what is the final verdict on this telescope regarding CA when imaging? I understand some mild discernible CA exists w higher power, planetary. But, would there be CA when imaging? Thanks



#65 RandallK

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 12:44 PM

Here's one with my small chip ATIK-3l4e Mono CCD with the W0 Z103 with flattener...

 

 

M94_Drizzle_CN 500K.jpg

 



#66 soltanto_sergio

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 03:44 PM

 Hi

I have a ZenithStar 103, with a Flat 6AII focal reducer. as a camera I use a reflex, a modified Canon 70d
So, when I use the focal reducer, I have a coma problem with the stars on the sides of the photo that present a trail towards the center of the photo. Here three photos that I think explains my problem very well.

 

maybe it's a telescope problem that should be calibrated?

what do you think about it?

 

thanx 

Sergio

 

http://digilander.li...l reducer 1.jpg

https://digilander.l...l reducer 2.jpg

https://digilander.l...l reducer 3.jpg



#67 ris242

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 04:16 PM

 Hi

I have a ZenithStar 103, with a Flat 6AII focal reducer. as a camera I use a reflex, a modified Canon 70d
So, when I use the focal reducer, I have a coma problem with the stars on the sides of the photo that present a trail towards the center of the photo. Here three photos that I think explains my problem very well.

 

maybe it's a telescope problem that should be calibrated?

what do you think about it?

 

thanx 

Sergio

 

http://digilander.li...l reducer 1.jpg

https://digilander.l...l reducer 2.jpg

https://digilander.l...l reducer 3.jpg

Flat 6AII distance = 4.6mm?



#68 soltanto_sergio

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 06:38 PM

Flat 6AII distance = 4.6mm?

 

this is my situation 

 

https://digilander.l...o/IMG_0240.jpeg

 

correct?



#69 mewmartigan

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:22 AM

In your picture you have the 4.6mm illustrated as going from the beginning of the flattener to the beginning of the lock. If this is true, the 4.6mm is supposed to go from the beginning of the flattener to the other side of the lock.

 

With the lock in place, you shouldn't see the 4.6mm hashmark. You should see that mark with the lock out of the way. I am probably not explaining this well. Here is the diagram from WO:

 

https://williamoptic...nt-not-included

 

you may have to scroll all the way down to the pictures of "how to adjust distance".

 

 

Essentially if you have 4.6mm of space according to your drawing, you are off by the thickness of the locking screw.



#70 ris242

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 01:02 PM

Ignore the GT81 7.9mm red arrow taken from WO website.

Bring the 2 green line edges together to the 4.6mm mark

and everything should meet up at the line marked in blue [below on your camera pic]. I reversed your photo to match the direction.

 

46mm.jpg



#71 Ballyhoo

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 02:23 PM

I would just like know if anyone is getting decent images with this doublet? Otherwise I am considering the Star 4 element 71mm. 



#72 rustynpp

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 02:34 PM

https://www.astrobin...ithstar 103 APO



#73 mewmartigan

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 04:07 PM

I would just like know if anyone is getting decent images with this doublet? Otherwise I am considering the Star 4 element 71mm.


I love mine. All of my astrobin except M81/M82 is with a z103.

https://www.astrobin...rs/mewmartigan/
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#74 sunnyday

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 03:06 PM

hello 

i have just order that rig in red 

thank you for the post 

it did help me choose 

clear sky to all of you 

 

ps hope my anglish is not that bad 


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#75 gusser

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 05:19 PM

Enjoy!!


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