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SW 180 mak - other alternatives?

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#26 mark379

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 04:39 PM

If it were me, I'd be looking at a c9.25.

Real planetary performer , better cooldown than the MAK and more aperture for DSO's

 

Hi all! I have a SW100ED refractor, and am looking for a companion OTA.

I really like looking at planets, and just need more reach. If the new scope is decent on galaxies, etc, all the better - but reach for planets is #1 concern.

I observe only while on long camping weekends. We go to far offroad camping spots in Utah, and the seeing is mainly clear, sometimes unbelievable, and sometimes too much turbulence.

I currently have an iOptron EQ30, and a non-goto Bresser Exos second mount. I also have ES 2" 30mm, 5.5, and 9mm 100* eyepieces - plus the 20mm/5mm eyepieces that came with the refractor.

In any case, I've read about every thread I can on the subject, and I think I want a Mak-Cass.

My budget is "around $1K" although I'm lucky enough to go up to $2K if need be (for everything.)

I see the SW180 is well liked by many who own them. They are on sale for $1080, plus a better diagonal (+$250) plus a better focuser ($250?) so really more like $1600. Because of the FL (2700mm) I would also have to buy at least one more eyepiece .(17mm? 45?)

So really, it's more like $2K for that scope, mainly due to the FL and other concerns.

Since I already have a SW, and it's my only OTA, I'm wanting to make sure and not pass over something else. As far as I can tell, my options in this price range would be

Orion (probably same as the SW)
https://www.telescop...2160/p/9969.uts

iOptron 6"
https://www.ioptron....duct-p/6101.htm

Meade (comes with mount, which I don't really want/need)
https://www.meade.co...lx85-mak-6.html

So, my question is, what am I missing? Is there a $1500 scope I should be considering that already has a good diagonal and focuser?

Used market?

Thanks in advance,
--Bill



#27 photoracer18

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 05:33 PM

C9.25 was my favorite SCT also based on the early first generation model I had for a number of years. My current C11 I like because I can run dual Feathertouch focuser on it. But its heavier than I like for my current age of 71.



#28 Tyson M

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 07:24 PM

No alternatives directly to this large mak anymore, so might as well buy a new one! The SW 180 mak cass are on sale currently from a few places!


Edited by Tyson M, 20 December 2018 - 07:41 PM.


#29 Magnetic Field

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 11:34 AM

No alternatives directly to this large mak anymore, so might as well buy a new one! The SW 180 mak cass are on sale currently from a few places!

How about a Vixen VMC 200L? The Vixen has f/9.8 vs f/15 for the Sky-Watcher and could also be used for deep sky observing.

 

The Vixen is also a lot lighter with 6kg and the list price is $1500 vs $1200 for the Sky-Watcher with 8kg.


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#30 blamkin86

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 12:32 PM

How about a Vixen VMC 200L? The Vixen has f/9.8 vs f/15 for the Sky-Watcher and could also be used for deep sky observing.

 

The Vixen is also a lot lighter with 6kg and the list price is $1500 vs $1200 for the Sky-Watcher with 8kg.

Wow fantastic suggestion. Let me take a look.

 

Actually B&H photo has them for $899.

 

https://www.bhphotov...cassegrain.html'

 

...and some not-very-complimentary reviews out there. Also appears to be more like a Dall Kirkham than a Mak..


Edited by blamkin86, 21 December 2018 - 12:37 PM.


#31 blamkin86

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 12:36 PM

C9.25 was my favorite SCT also based on the early first generation model I had for a number of years. My current C11 I like because I can run dual Feathertouch focuser on it. But its heavier than I like for my current age of 71.

This seems like right now to be my best option. It is truly different than the refractor I have, and it's in my price range almost. 

 

I think they were just on sale, so I will have to wait I guess.



#32 Bill Barlow

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 12:49 PM

This seems like right now to be my best option. It is truly different than the refractor I have, and it's in my price range almost. 

 

I think they were just on sale, so I will have to wait I guess.

Or you might buy used and save $300-$400.  Seen a few nice ones being sold used recently.  I would also prefer the C9.25 over the SW 180 MAK. 

 

Bill



#33 Magnetic Field

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 12:51 PM

Wow fantastic suggestion. Let me take a look.

 

Actually B&H photo has them for $899.

 

https://www.bhphotov...cassegrain.html'

 

...and some not-very-complimentary reviews out there. Also appears to be more like a Dall Kirkham than a Mak..

I have the smaller brother: VMC 110L (110mm free aperture, f/9.4).

 

My main motivation to go for the VMC instead of 4" or 5" Makustov over a 3" apo:

 

1. Weight (1.9kg) and compactness; a good fit for the Vixen Mini Porta.

2. No corrector plate/glass. In theory cool down time is a non issue.

3. It can still be used for deep sky observing with f/9.4 (compared to a typical Mak with f/14 or f/15).

4. At least for lower magnifications say at 42x pinpoint like stars across the field.



#34 Magnetic Field

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 01:05 PM


 

...and some not-very-complimentary reviews out there. Also appears to be more like a Dall Kirkham than a Mak..

 

1. You know reviews ...

 

2. According to reviews my Vixen VMC is tat and unusable.

 

3. People also claim you cannot observe planets with an obstructed system.

 

4. I would say pretty good for an allegedly crap system: https://www.cloudyni...200l-or-c8-ota/

 

5. Or here post #16: https://www.cloudyni...c-200-comments/



#35 blamkin86

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 01:22 PM

I truly appreciate the suggestion! That's exactly what I was asking about.



#36 jjack's

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 08:46 PM

I had this Vixen VMC 200L some times ago. It's a field-maksutov-cassegrain design. Not a Dall-Kirkham. Just a little less good than a C8 XLT about planetary performance . Obstruction is 40% with thick spiders vanes. Dispite this i got good pictures on the moon and Jupiter. the biggest advantage i find is the lack of shifting.and the well placed handle. Other than that it have the same cool down time, the same amount of field curvature and coma. The corrector -reducer work well to get flat field imaging. I think they could be more inspired to let the VMC for an overall and imaging scope at F/6, suppress the VC 200L , they are all undercorrected and that spoil the planetary views, and make a good planetary F/12-15 scope to complement the wide field astrograph VMC 200L.


Edited by jjack's, 21 December 2018 - 08:48 PM.


#37 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 12:02 AM

This seems like right now to be my best option. It is truly different than the refractor I have, and it's in my price range almost. 

 

I think they were just on sale, so I will have to wait I guess.

Perhaps read a little more about people's struggles with the scope.


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#38 blamkin86

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 01:00 AM

Perhaps read a little more about people's struggles with the scope.

The C9.25?



#39 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 01:30 AM

The C9.25?

No, the VMC200L.



#40 Magnetic Field

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 04:43 AM

I had this Vixen VMC 200L some times ago. It's a field-maksutov-cassegrain design. Not a Dall-Kirkham. Just a little less good than a C8 XLT about planetary performance . Obstruction is 40% with thick spiders vanes. Dispite this i got good pictures on the moon and Jupiter. the biggest advantage i find is the lack of shifting.and the well placed handle. Other than that it have the same cool down time, the same amount of field curvature and coma. The corrector -reducer work well to get flat field imaging. I think they could be more inspired to let the VMC for an overall and imaging scope at F/6, suppress the VC 200L , they are all undercorrected and that spoil the planetary views, and make a good planetary F/12-15 scope to complement the wide field astrograph VMC 200L.

1. The one thing that goes against the VMC line is the non existent quality control. It is hit and miss.

 

2. Also I don't think Vixen Japan is interested in feedback (hierarchical Japanese societal structure).

 

Anecdotal:

 

3. I think the Vixen UK importer is okay. They sent me replacement parts after writing them a complaint hate mail:

 

3.1. Two slow motion control handles for the Vixen Mini Porta. Although I am not using it as I sourced proper ones for £8 (with a lock screw) from ebay after the original ones broke (piece of plastic junk).

3.2. The plastic knob lever for the flip mirror broke on the inside on my Vixen VMC 110L.

3.3 A new 6mm Vixen NPL eyepiece. The one I bought from a Vixen dealer were full of swarf like objects inside the eyepiece lens edge.

 

 

No, I do not regret that I bought a Vixen VMC after a hiatus of more than 16 years without a telescope. I am glad I did not buy a 3" apo. I suffer from eye floaters and every inch more on aperture is welcome. There are reasons why I cannot easily go for say a 6" telescope.

 

Edit:

 

I cannot vouch for the validity of the following test report (especially if the tester is trained or experienced ) and it would be foolish to draw general conclusions for the VMC 200L or VMC260L. However, the VMC 110L is not bad. Especially with a rms of 1/26. This is very good. Also the test report is a testament of the fact that a ptv is not a good measure (I rather take the 1/26 rms than the 1/4 ptv as an overall quality gauge number, see link below).

 

Also a ,,relative" Strehl of 0.94? Does it mean 94% of the theoretical possible Strehl for an obstructed system with 40% obstruction.

 

https://translate.go...700186,15700201


Edited by Magnetic Field, 22 December 2018 - 05:00 AM.


#41 Traveler

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 07:02 AM

No, the VMC200L.

 

VMC200L: whatch out for the spiders on bright planets and collimating for example.



#42 luxo II

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 07:05 AM

maybe I should just get an SCT since it's very different from what I have.

You’ll regret that when you have a chance to use a good big f/15 mak, whether that be a SW 180, or an Intes M715 or one of the other unicorns (TEC or AP)

Having had a few maks including SW180mm, their production quality really is good and these are a very nice size and weight for a portable scope.

When the seeing permits you can push these to 400X, yet if the seeing is poor, fall back on say a 40mm eyepiece and they give nice views of DSOs and galaxies that are simply out of reach of your smaller refractor.

The SW 180mm maks are in production and IMHO are a bargain for what they do.

Only reason I sold mine was to fiund my primary mak - an MK91. I had only dreamt of these, but when you have a shot at one of the unicorns, you have to make a decision which is pretty much now or never.

Edited by luxo II, 22 December 2018 - 07:11 AM.

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