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The Skywatcher 100 ED APO thread ...

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#1 BlueMoon

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 01:02 PM

Hello folks. From discussions in other refractor threads, I thought it might be interesting, with the blessing of the forum mods, to start a discussion specifically about the SW 100 ED APO telescope. If you own one,  use one or have some particular experience with one of these telescopes, please post. It would be nice to hear about particulars, eye pieces you found work well, mounts, modifications, comparisons, etc. Also interested in your personal impression or lack thereof too. All I ask is to try and keep the thread centered on the SW 100 ED APO without diverging too far off-topic. Thanks.

 

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any manufacturer, retailer or other entity that builds, sells or resells these telescopes. I derive no monetary or other compensation not do I seek to promote the SW 100 ED APO telescope beyond community interest and information sharing.

 

I'll start with a statement from another thread that I found interesting:

 

 

It depends on the particular FPL-53 melt that the telescope was made from and these are wildly variable.

I read extensively about the SW 100 ED APO 'scope before I put down the money for one. I never ran across any comments in any forums concerning this particular problem. While I don't doubt the veracity of the original poster, I like to hear if anyone else has run across this.

 

Cheers.


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#2 jay.i

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 01:04 PM

That statement is a general caveat to mass produced telescopes; you're playing a lottery of sorts. Most units are good but it's possible to get a lemon, even if the optics are aligned properly. You could get a particularly bad melt with lots of bubbles and/or striae. For a $500-750 100mm FPL-53 doublet, that's just what you deal with. Again, most units are pretty good, but not all of them.



#3 BlueMoon

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 01:53 PM

I can certainly agree in the general sense Jay. Any mass-produced telescope can suffer from poor quality assurance issues, no doubt. As Synta has had this line under Sky-Watcher since 1999, one would think manufacturing quality should improve with time. Maybe I'm wrong about it.

 

Anyway, I'm curious about anyone having purchased one of these 'scopes actually having the lens quality problem.


Edited by BlueMoon, 09 August 2018 - 02:12 PM.


#4 ascii

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 02:07 PM

I got one in the spring of 2017.  The only problem I had was the finder scope was damaged when I received it.  I suspect it happened at the factory.  The diagonal base was badly cross-threaded into the optical tube with a piece of the enclosing plastic bag wedged into the threads.  Called up Astronomics and they and Sky-Watcher were on it right away and sent me a new finder scope.  Some people have complained about the focuser on these scopes, but mine was perfect right out of the box.  I suspect that many are just in need of a minor adjustment.

 

All in all, I'm very happy with mine.

 

IMG 0036 (1)

 


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#5 photoracer18

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 02:19 PM

Just like Zeiss optical glass is graded by the amount of imperfections it has in it. FPL-53 is the same. Usually in 5 grades and in Zeiss's case the top "A" grade also gets extended annealing time (as in as much as 6 months depending on the size). Zeiss says that for achromats "A" and "B" are visually the same. Not sure about Ohara's grading, but you don't want anything past the top 1 or 2. And for telescope makers, when you find one selling for less new compare the mechanicals and if that does not total the difference you can bet they may have skimped on the quality of the glass, testing, or other optical issues. Most people get glassy eyed when they see "FPL-53", when in reality they should trust the reputation of the telescope maker (although many are just labeled and shipped from Asia).

While I have had a good number of APOs, I have not had a SW 100ED, unless it happens to be the same scope as the late Vixen 100ED, which I have owned. Often hard to tell these days so many look alike.


Edited by photoracer18, 09 August 2018 - 02:22 PM.

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#6 StarWolf57

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 04:48 PM

Optically, my 100mm is fine. The focuser leaves a bit to be desired. Both samples I've seen weren't great. I've tried adjusting it, but still pretty so-so. My viewing habits have changed so I don't use it much anymore. I may play with it again when I have some time. The funny thing is the 80mm works great. 



#7 barbie

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 05:50 PM

My Skywatcher 100 Ed is fantastic!!

#8 BlueMoon

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:23 PM

Sweet setup you have Sid. I like where the EP tray is located, no fumbling around.

 

I had to tweak the focuser on mine a bit. I ran across this .pdf: https://teleskop-aus...ord_focuser.pdf and it was certainly helpful. Didn't take to much adjusting to get a smooth draw and the tension set.


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#9 ascii

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:50 PM

Sweet setup you have Sid. I like where the EP tray is located, no fumbling around.

 

I had to tweak the focuser on mine a bit. I ran across this .pdf: https://teleskop-aus...ord_focuser.pdf and it was certainly helpful. Didn't take to much adjusting to get a smooth draw and the tension set.

That tray really is great.  I am lucky that I was able to get one of the last of the UniStar Deluxe mounts as Larry was winding down Universal Astronomics.  That was a great loss to the community.


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#10 waso29

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:34 PM

the ubiquitous ed100 f/9 is nice entry to APO optics. 

a nice upgrade from incredibly affordable 4in achro. [did anyone else catch that incredible fire sale from celestron <$100]

 

the optics are nice for quick visual views; also great for outreach on moon and planets.

i did like the original blue color scheme [Canadian market] and the classic white scheme [Vixen version]

 

didn't like the way the lens cap tabs scratched the inner dewshield paint.  also, in time the plastic lens cap tabs would break.

should go back having the lens cap cover the outside of dewshield.

 

the thinly lined tube rings eventually left adhesive marks on the outer tube.

 

the rubber on the single speed crayford focuser knobs would eventually deteriorate. 

the double speed crayford focusers no longer had the rubberized knobs.  just be careful with the focuser lock on the underside.  many a times it would loosen and fall off.  good idea to put tarp below your scope.

i actually prefer the ole rack/pinion with lock knob on top on the achro version, minus the gooey lube of course.

 

the hard cases of early models used a nicer foam; strangely the newer versions added cardboard to odorous foam.

 

is it worth $7/mm vs achro $2/mm, small price to pay to enter into APO world

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_0775 sw100ed blue.JPG
  • IMG_1157 sw100ed fc100dl.JPG
  • IMG_5375 ed100sf.JPG

Edited by waso29, 09 August 2018 - 11:46 PM.

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#11 Jond105

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:50 PM

I love my little Skywatcher EVOSTAR 100. My first real scope purchase. Color free Jupiter. Pin point stars. Moon is amazing. There's a reason I and probably others dubbed it the planet killer. Only wished it was a little bigger in aperture. I had it out the night before and snagged this photo of Jupiter. This may be my last post regarding it since a do have a sale pending right now. So I may be kissing it goodbye shortly. I've seen the ring Nebula in this bad boy and the Orion Nebula among others, though those two stand out. It's a great scope. Especially for the price. Side note to any moderators or administrators reading, kudos to you for upping photo uploads to 500kb or wasn't it always 500 and I just can't remember 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_4604.JPG
  • IMG_4620.JPG

Edited by Jond105, 09 August 2018 - 11:52 PM.

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#12 ascii

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 02:06 AM

the ubiquitous ed100 f/9 is nice entry to APO optics. 

a nice upgrade from incredibly affordable 4in achro. [did anyone else catch that incredible fire sale from celestron <$100]

 

the optics are nice for quick visual views; also great for outreach on moon and planets.

i did like the original blue color scheme [Canadian market] and the classic white scheme [Vixen version]

 

didn't like the way the lens cap tabs scratched the inner dewshield paint.  also, in time the plastic lens cap tabs would break.

should go back having the lens cap cover the outside of dewshield.

 

the thinly lined tube rings eventually left adhesive marks on the outer tube.

 

the rubber on the single speed crayford focuser knobs would eventually deteriorate. 

the double speed crayford focusers no longer had the rubberized knobs.  just be careful with the focuser lock on the underside.  many a times it would loosen and fall off.  good idea to put tarp below your scope.

i actually prefer the ole rack/pinion with lock knob on top on the achro version, minus the gooey lube of course.

 

the hard cases of early models used a nicer foam; strangely the newer versions added cardboard to odorous foam.

 

is it worth $7/mm vs achro $2/mm, small price to pay to enter into APO world

 

The lens cap is something I replaced right away with a large size Hoodie from Lens Coat. waytogo.gif waytogo.gif   It doubles as a nice little bucket for all of my eyepiece and finder caps.

 

I never use the focus lock screw.  It does tend to loosen.  It can be removed and stored.


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#13 db2005

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 06:49 AM

I've owned an SW ED100 Pro for several years now. I have found fit and finish to be remarkably good for a Synta made telescope, and certainly a large leap ahead of my 2003-made Synta ED80 scope, both in terms of fit, finish and optical quality.

 

As others have reported, the scope is somewhat let down by its Crayford-style focuser which is very tricky to adjust, but it does get the job done. Optically I'd rate the scope as very good, and quite excellent considering the scope's relatively modest (for an ED scope) asking price. In terms of CA correction (which is fairly easy to understand, but is not a comprehensive metric for other aspects of optical quality), I'd say my sample roughly splits the difference between a good achromat and my Tak FC-100 fluorite. So CA is definitely there, and it's quite evident if you know what to look for (just don't look for the tell-tale purple haze of the achromatic refractor). But that does not imply that I find the CA in the scope intrusive. Optical quality is good although I would have appreciated better control of stray light and flaring/reflections, especially evident on bright double stars like Castor.

Typical contrast and general performance on planets is visibly better than my 6" f/5 Newtonian (!), but still visibly behind my Tak FC-100. Which is no surprise, considering the asking price is roughly 25% of a similar Tak.

 

As for the included accessories, I upgraded the bundled 2" diagonal and found performance, especially contrast, to be slightly but noticeably improved. The bundled 28 mm eyepiece is quite good for a bundled eyepiece, but as always, better eyepieces improve contrast and especially off-axis performance. At f/9 almost all decent eyepieces will work well. I particularly like the Vixen SLVs as I use eyeglasses and need the 20 mm eye relief. 

 

I consider the SW ED100 Pro an excellent entry-level ED scope, giving a good taste of relatively colour-free refractor performance. It's however not a premium optic by my standard, but it's more than good enough that it won't embarrass you in any way and I think it's a very good-looking telescope too, which has been very beneficial as my wife didn't protest about the scope being set-up permanently in the living room, ready for use, for several months.

 

The simplest and lightest mount I've successfully used with the scope is the SW AZ4. I tried with the Vixen Porta mount, but that was far too unstable to be useful. I found the EQ-5 to be a perfect match for the scope. Rock solid.


Edited by db2005, 10 August 2018 - 06:52 AM.

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#14 cam1936

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 07:48 AM

It's too bad Synta discontinued the Equinox. Same optics (for 100mm and 120mm at least, the 80mm was faster) in a mechanically nicer package.

Pretty hard to beat the ED line in the "bang for buck" catagory.
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#15 Tropobob

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 08:28 AM

Just like Zeiss optical glass is graded by the amount of imperfections it has in it. FPL-53 is the same. Usually in 5 grades and in Zeiss's case the top "A" grade also gets extended annealing time (as in as much as 6 months depending on the size). Zeiss says that for achromats "A" and "B" are visually the same. Not sure about Ohara's grading, but you don't want anything past the top 1 or 2. And for telescope makers, when you find one selling for less new compare the mechanicals and if that does not total the difference you can bet they may have skimped on the quality of the glass, testing, or other optical issues. Most people get glassy eyed when they see "FPL-53", when in reality they should trust the reputation of the telescope maker (although many are just labeled and shipped from Asia).

While I have had a good number of APOs, I have not had a SW 100ED, unless it happens to be the same scope as the late Vixen 100ED, which I have owned. Often hard to tell these days so many look alike.

Thanks. This are the most enlightening remarks that I have read for a good while.  


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#16 BlueMoon

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 08:28 AM

 

As for the included accessories, I upgraded the bundled 2" diagonal and found performance, especially contrast, to be slightly but noticeably improved. At f/9 almost all decent eyepieces will work well. I particularly like the Vixen SLVs as I use eyeglasses and need the 20 mm eye relief.

Same here, set aside the bundled diagonal and slipped my Stellarvue 2" dielectric in its place. A subtle but positive improvement in contrast.

 

I'm encouraged by your comment on the SLVs as I wear glasses myself. I've been using a Baader 8-24 zoom to good effect but seriously considering a few fixed EPs, either the Vixens or Televue Delites for their eye relief.

 

 

... I think it's a very good-looking telescope too, which has been very beneficial as my wife didn't protest about the scope being set-up permanently in the living room, ready for use, for several months.

Amen. waytogo.gif


Edited by BlueMoon, 10 August 2018 - 08:34 AM.

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#17 db2005

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 08:59 AM

It's too bad Synta discontinued the Equinox. Same optics (for 100mm and 120mm at least, the 80mm was faster) in a mechanically nicer package.

Pretty hard to beat the ED line in the "bang for buck" catagory.

Despite some praise of the nice feel and finish the 80 mm Equinox somehow managed to get poorer reviews of the optical performance than the ED80, possibly due to its significantly faster focal ratio (f/6.25 vs. f/7.5). When paying a substantial premium for a mechanically better made and nicer looking telescope as an upgrade to the slightly "agricultural-feel" Synta ED scope, people naturally expect performance to be at least on par with the cheaper alternative. The lacklustre reviews of the 80 mm equinox at least kept me away fro me buying one, and I'm probably not the only one.

 

But I completely agree, the ED line (80-100-120 and recent 150 mm) scopes are probably among the best bargains in the market for entry-level EDs today.



#18 peleuba

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 09:02 AM

Not sure about Ohara's grading, but you don't want anything past the top 1 or 2. And for telescope makers, when you find one selling for less new compare the mechanicals and if that does not total the difference you can bet they may have skimped on the quality of the glass, testing, or other optical issues. Most people get glassy eyed when they see "FPL-53", when in reality they should trust the reputation of the telescope maker (although many are just labeled and shipped from Asia).

 

 

Agree and its a great way in which to think about optical glass.  Even the very best telescope makers don't always use the highest grade ED glass as a substrate for lenses.  They can use one of the lesser grades, but then the optician must check each blank for anneal/homogeneity, bubbles and inclusions as well as the index of dispersion/refraction.

 

Lesser grades of glass can have the same characteristics as the top grades, and be perfectly suitable for a high performing objective lens, but its not guaranteed by the glass company.  I have heard stories about entire batches of mid/upper tier ED glass having to be recycled/thrown out because it did not meet the opticians standard for a high performing objective lens.  Its a risk that the telescope manufacturer takes.


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#19 db2005

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 09:10 AM

Just like Zeiss optical glass is graded by the amount of imperfections it has in it. FPL-53 is the same. Usually in 5 grades and in Zeiss's case the top "A" grade also gets extended annealing time (as in as much as 6 months depending on the size). Zeiss says that for achromats "A" and "B" are visually the same. Not sure about Ohara's grading, but you don't want anything past the top 1 or 2. And for telescope makers, when you find one selling for less new compare the mechanicals and if that does not total the difference you can bet they may have skimped on the quality of the glass, testing, or other optical issues. Most people get glassy eyed when they see "FPL-53", when in reality they should trust the reputation of the telescope maker (although many are just labeled and shipped from Asia).

While I have had a good number of APOs, I have not had a SW 100ED, unless it happens to be the same scope as the late Vixen 100ED, which I have owned. Often hard to tell these days so many look alike.

Excellent points! The comparison between my old Orion ED80 and my newer Vixen SD81S, both using FPL-53 glass is a case in point, with the Vixen substantially outperforming the ED80 on all optical parameters. Period.

 

I'm guessing very few of the entry-level ED scopes fully utilize the potential of their advertised FPL-53 glass. Design, quality of lens figure, coating, polish, the choice of material for mating element, and the quality of baffling to suppress stray light all matter for the scope's performance, and judging from my own experiences comparing the two scopes, Vixen clearly did a better job than Synta did with my Orion 80ED. At roughly 100% higher price, of course.

 

The discontinued Vixen ED100 is, as far as I know, using exactly the same lens cell as the Synta ED100.


Edited by db2005, 10 August 2018 - 09:25 AM.

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#20 db2005

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 09:24 AM

Agree and its a great way in which to think about optical glass.  Even the very best telescope makers don't always use the highest grade ED glass as a substrate for lenses.  They can use one of the lesser grades, but then the optician must check each blank for anneal/homogeneity, bubbles and inclusions as well as the index of dispersion/refraction.

 

Lesser grades of glass can have the same characteristics as the top grades, and be perfectly suitable for a high performing objective lens, but its not guaranteed by the glass company.  I have heard stories about entire batches of mid/upper tier ED glass having to be recycled/thrown out because it did not meet the opticians standard for a high performing objective lens.  Its a risk that the telescope manufacturer takes.

Interesting!

 

I do wonder... if makers of premium scopes pay a premium with the glass factory for getting "first pick" on ED glass batches to ensure a higher quality class which are within tighter specifications? I can't imagine that telescope makers are eager to redesign the figure of either the ED element or the mating element in an existing lens design just because of slightly out-of-spec characteristics in a slightly "odd" batch of ED glass. At least, if I were a premium lens maker I'd rather pay a bit more to get glass matching my production specifications rather than change too much in my factory pipeline.

 

But for entry-level scopes like the ED100 and its siblings maybe part of the successful design is substantial tolerance to variations of the ED glass batches? Maybe they designed the lens to be theoretically slightly sub-optimal, in exchange for a much higher degree of tolerance to variations in the characteristics of the ED blanks? And even a slightly sub-optimal ED lens will have much better colour correction than a good achromat, so the scope is still very competitive despite being "suboptimal".

 

Just wondering...


Edited by db2005, 10 August 2018 - 09:24 AM.

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#21 zirkel 2

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 10:10 AM

Hi,

 

the ubiquitous ed100 f/9 is nice entry to APO optics

 

We do not talk much but Orion T & B was forerunner for glasses F / 9 refractor ED ... Souvenir ... August 6, 2004 the 100ED Orion is presented at the showroom of company 7.
It arrives with a doublet in S-FPL 53 Ohara for the fluorocrown lens and can be the first front lens in ZKN7 schott (or in BK7 still at Schott of course, difficult to know)
Today it is no longer manufactured by Synta for Orion T&B maybe because of the current price of ZKN7 or the stock sold for Orion T&B ?, I have a 100ED refractor Orion T&B from 2004 or 2005 ...
Do you want to know? it is excellent in planetary as well as in DSO.

 

I keep this OTA!

 

Lunette Orion100ED (8)

 

Note : Lookin' the lenses at the same time of an 80ED and this 100ED ... it's not quite the same ;-)

(80ED also a great Refractor but with a slightly different optical design)

 

Back to 100ED Skywatcher topic now.


Edited by zirkel 2, 10 August 2018 - 10:17 AM.

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#22 peleuba

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 10:32 AM

Interesting!

 

I do wonder... if makers of premium scopes pay a premium with the glass factory for getting "first pick" on ED glass batches to ensure a higher quality class which are within tighter specifications? I can't imagine that telescope makers are eager to redesign the figure of either the ED element or the mating element in an existing lens design just because of slightly out-of-spec characteristics in a slightly "odd" batch of ED glass. At least, if I were a premium lens maker I'd rather pay a bit more to get glass matching my production specifications rather than change too much in my factory pipeline.

 

But for entry-level scopes like the ED100 and its siblings maybe part of the successful design is substantial tolerance to variations of the ED glass batches? Maybe they designed the lens to be theoretically slightly sub-optimal, in exchange for a much higher degree of tolerance to variations in the characteristics of the ED blanks? And even a slightly sub-optimal ED lens will have much better colour correction than a good achromat, so the scope is still very competitive despite being "suboptimal".

 

Just wondering...

 

No - premium makers do not get first pick of anything when it comes to glass.  Its the digital camera makers who drive the market for ED glass.  Telescope makers, are at the bottom of the food chain because they only purchase glass in small quantities.

 

Tweaking the design to match the glass parameters and melt data is just part of the normal process of making a high performing objective lens.  This is what separates AP and TEC from Synta and others.  I'm certain manufacturers of the imported, mass produced, refractors do not do this as it would add to the cost of the telescope.  The consequence of not doing this is the sample to sample variability seen in such imports. 

 

Its MUCH less expensive for a manufacturer to simply replace a telescope with a new one if the user has issues rather then tweak the design to match melt data on every single production run.  This practice also generates great customer service stories...  How many times have you read here in CN that a member has an issue with a telescope and the vendor/manufacturer replaces it with a new sample?  Seems to happen a fair amount if the stories are to be believed.    

 

I am a fan of the ED series from Synta.  I have had an ED80 non my bench it was quite good.  I know nothing of the design other then what I've gleaned from info that's commonly available.  It seems to be a good design with a forgiving  focal length.


Edited by peleuba, 10 August 2018 - 10:41 AM.

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#23 BlueMoon

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 11:19 AM

One gets the impression that it's just been a good design. As glass type and lens element configurations evolve, the 80-100 Synta configured telescopes just get rebranded and on they go ... Considering the Sky-Watcher 'scopes have been around in one incarnation or brand since 1999, it seems to work. This I see as fortunate for the Takahashi, Zeiss and Williams Optical folks because if someone doesn't step up to a larger aperture then they may buy the higher quality Tak, etc as a second telescope.

 

Then there's been a bit more of the "grab n go" train of thought these days it seems. The Synta manufactured 'scopes are a good fit. My "grab n go" usually is involved with traveling so I'd feel less upset about my $700 Synta being damaged than a $3000 Tak.


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#24 belgrade

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 11:46 AM

I digress for a moment: an earlier post, "[did anyone else catch that incredible fire sale from celestron <$100]"

 

What are you referring to?

 

Thx, guys, now back to SW 100ED chat!



#25 contrailmaker

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 11:59 AM

The “secret” to these scopes is the Zeiss machines that polish and figure the lenses. Years ago, when these telescopes first came out, one of the distributors posted here on CN how the Chinese had been purchasing large numbers of these machines. He got to see them in action during a trip to one of the factories. The post piqued my interest and I did a little research on the subject. The process is highly automated but they are limited to making relatively small lenses. They probably have a new one for the 150mm lenses.

 

 I had the Orion version of the 100ED and as I have mentioned numerous times, it is one telescope I truly regret selling. The optics were sharp and the scope was very easy to mount. I also kept it at the ready on an alt-az mount with slow motion controls. The focuser was my only gripe but it could carry my Denk binoviewers with lightweight eyepieces. Planetary and lunar views were outstanding and it took almost no time to reach thermal equilibrium. Jupiter was my favorite target with this scope because of the color rendition and contrast. I have a TV76 that I now use for quick grab and go but from my recollection, the 100ED outperformed it (well, it is 1” more aperture). Hard to beat the bang for the buck factor of the 100ED.

 

CM


Edited by contrailmaker, 10 August 2018 - 12:01 PM.

  • Scott Beith, SteveG, BlueMoon and 3 others like this


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