Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Sky Watcher 120 or ES 127?

  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#1 RefractoryTWO

RefractoryTWO

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 46
  • Joined: 13 Dec 2018
  • Loc: AZ

Posted 05 January 2019 - 07:11 PM

I’m wrestling with two APO refractors...

* used Explore Scientific 127 triplet with FCD1 glass ($1,200)
* new Sky Watcher 120 doublet with FPL-53 glass ($1,500).

 

From what I understand and from the endless threads I’ve read on CN, this is how they stack up:

 

SW is lighter so it can use a less heavy duty mount.
SW is a doublet so it will cool down faster.
SW uses a better grade of glass.

 

ES has a larger aperture.

ES, being a triplet, should be better for AP. (But it might have some CA.)
ES is $300 cheaper.

 

Am I missing anything? Thanks!



#2 gardenfish

gardenfish

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 687
  • Joined: 09 Mar 2016
  • Loc: Phoenix Az.

Posted 05 January 2019 - 08:01 PM

I have never used a Sky Watcher but I have had an ES127CF and a metal tube ES127 and used both with an ATIK460 and the QSI690WSG. I ended up selling both and a lot of times wished I had kept them. I have now  come full circle and just purchased an ES127CF FCD100. I would have to say that of all the scopes I have tried the ES127 Triplet is one of the better scopes I have ever used for astrophotography. Probably why I now have the FCD100 glass is I had the TSA120 which I sold and got a little spoiled on better glass. But if I would of kept the original ES127 FCD1 I had I would still be a happy camper. 

 

Also the customer service from ES is hard to beat. That is worth a lot right there!!!  Lifetime guarantee is a nice thing to have and its transferable if you buy used or sell from new.

 

Rick


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#3 spaceoddity

spaceoddity

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2001
  • Joined: 28 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Cloudsylvania

Posted 05 January 2019 - 08:02 PM

Pretty much correct I'd say. The biggest advantage of the SW is the lighter weight. The 7mm of aperture probably isn't real noticable. Optics are very good and CA is minimal on both scopes from what I gather. Never understood why a doublet would be more expensive than a triplet though so I'd say the ES is the better deal. The considerable weight difference is something to consider though if you plan on using a lighter duty mount.

 

I recently purchased a used/like new ES127(FCD1) triplet w/case and polar finderscope for $1150. I haven't had a chance to use it yet. 

 

Last I checked the ES127 FCD1 APO's had dropped to $1399, so $1200 used is a little high unless it's near mint and comes with some useful accessories(like a case).


Edited by spaceoddity, 05 January 2019 - 08:04 PM.

  • precaud and RefractoryTWO like this

#4 precaud

precaud

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4856
  • Joined: 05 Dec 2012
  • Loc: north central New Mexico

Posted 05 January 2019 - 08:14 PM

It's not cool around here to like the FCD1 ED127. You kinda have to appreciate it in silence. Mine doesn't have any visible CA at focus. Collimation needed to be tweaked a bit but triplets are more sensitive to adjustment errors than doublets.

 

I agree with spaceoddity on the used pricing.

 

Chances are you'll like either one.


  • erin and RefractoryTWO like this

#5 Exnihilo

Exnihilo

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1332
  • Joined: 02 Aug 2010
  • Loc: Tempe, AZ

Posted 05 January 2019 - 08:17 PM

For the price, I think the new SW120 with the focuser it has, doesn’t measure up to the ES as far as value. But if you can find the right used SW for a better price, the two are pretty much equal.
  • DPT and RefractoryTWO like this

#6 hfjacinto

hfjacinto

    I think he's got it!

  • *****
  • Posts: 18423
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Land of clouds and LP

Posted 05 January 2019 - 08:57 PM

I've used both the SW and ES, there was no comparison as to which one was better...


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#7 rowdy388

rowdy388

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3302
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Saratoga County, NY

Posted 05 January 2019 - 09:20 PM

I've used both the SW and ES, there was no comparison as to which one was better...

Okay, I'll bite. Which one? I'm guessing the SW because of the Eon 120 in your signature.


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#8 hfjacinto

hfjacinto

    I think he's got it!

  • *****
  • Posts: 18423
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Land of clouds and LP

Posted 05 January 2019 - 09:30 PM

Okay, I'll bite. Which one? I'm guessing the SW because of the Eon 120 in your signature.


Correct
  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#9 hfjacinto

hfjacinto

    I think he's got it!

  • *****
  • Posts: 18423
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Land of clouds and LP

Posted 05 January 2019 - 09:30 PM

Okay, I'll bite. Which one? I'm guessing the SW because of the Eon 120 in your signature.


Correct

#10 jnmacastro

jnmacastro

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 264
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2007
  • Loc: SE Minnesota

Posted 06 January 2019 - 11:29 AM

From what I see, the SW is now generally at $1780.  It was at $1550 last month when it was on sale.

The ES 127 FCD1 is still at $1399.  That is an extension of the sale from last year.  When the sale ends, it will be at $1549.

Some sites list the ES sale as extended to the end of January, others don't mention it.

Jeff


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#11 25585

25585

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3827
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2017
  • Loc: In a valley, in the UK.

Posted 06 January 2019 - 01:29 PM

I have the SW 120 Equinox. Retractable lens hood, dual speed focuser, CNC tube and rings. Quality optics in quality dressing. Bought the 100, 80 & 66 Equinoxes after. Not mine but identical..

Attached Thumbnails

  • equinox120side.jpg.2007e21e4e9472601fa93f119a5d6cbc.jpg

Edited by 25585, 06 January 2019 - 01:31 PM.

  • hfjacinto and RefractoryTWO like this

#12 rkaufmann87

rkaufmann87

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1241
  • Joined: 07 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Folsom, CA

Posted 06 January 2019 - 02:24 PM

I’m wrestling with two APO refractors...

* used Explore Scientific 127 triplet with FCD1 glass ($1,200)
* new Sky Watcher 120 doublet with FPL-53 glass ($1,500).

 

From what I understand and from the endless threads I’ve read on CN, this is how they stack up:

 

SW is lighter so it can use a less heavy duty mount.
SW is a doublet so it will cool down faster.
SW uses a better grade of glass.

 

ES has a larger aperture.

ES, being a triplet, should be better for AP. (But it might have some CA.)
ES is $300 cheaper.

 

Am I missing anything? Thanks!

Have you considered the AT115EDT or AT130EDT, higher quality focusers than the ES and I've never run across an owner that doesn't love theirs. Look for photos taken through them on Astrobin. 


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#13 Uranotopia

Uranotopia

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 72
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2018

Posted 06 January 2019 - 03:34 PM

I own only the ES 127 triplet with FCD1 glass and the metal tube, so I cannot compare with the SW 120 ED doublet based on own experiences.

But I can tell that I am very content with the ES, nevertheless this triplet is not a light weight telescope. You can use it on an HEQ5 mount (I have a Celestron ADM) - it's possible, but only for visual purpose and not so comfortable at all. On a Vixen Sphinx mount (f.i. my SXW) you can observe more comfortable. But for lunar and planetary imaging (what is my favorite in photography) the HEQ5- level mounts could work sufficient with this telescope.

 

For my opinion this triplett shows hardly any CA, perhaps very little when watching the moon. The scope gives visually very good contrasts and a sharp image also of Jupiter and Mars. And I was also happy when looking at the globular clusters M13, M92 and M71 and some double stars. The colours of observed brighter stars were amazing. That's why I like this scope very much!

Unfortunately in late summer and autumn, when I purchased the scope, the seeing here wasn't really good at all, and in winter there were only a few days with no clouds in the night, but I couldn't observe with the ES. The cooling down process didn't take too much time in summer and autumn, but I haven't tested this when the temperature falls down rather quickly.

 

But after all, because of the lower price, I would advice the ES 127 triplet!


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#14 Eddgie

Eddgie

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 23767
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2006

Posted 06 January 2019 - 11:00 PM

Have owned 120ED and ES 127 Carbon Fiber.

 

The star test on the ES showed a scope that had fair optics but nothing special.  Maybe 1/5th wave of SA and a zone  at  50% radius.  A few people have asked for the test of their ES scopes and the two that I have seen showed optics similar to the one I had (nothing special). Mine was the Carbon version but it still weighed in at 17 lbs and was much nose heavier than the 120ED.

 

The 120 optics were better.   Star test showed no zones, no astigmatism, and a very good SA correction 1/8th or better. This was the third ED refractor I have owned from the company that makes these and all have been quite excellent. 

 

I found that the  11 Lb 120ED was comfortable on light Alt-az mounts that would not be close to being able to handle the ES 127 but if one already has a decent GEM mount, this should not be an issue.  If a mount has to be part of the acquisition cost plane on spending more money for the mount that will hold the 127E.

 

Last but not least, and this is an important difference (unless changes have been made since I owned each of these).  The ES has a very limited amount of focuser travel. It utilizes a two part focuser tube.  This is done so that a 2" focuser (unless this has changed) could be used and not vignette when a focal reducer was used.   The good thing about this was that with the extension tube removed, I could reach focus with the ES using binoviewer with a T2 diagonal and the BV (a Mark V) connected directly to the diagonal, and not have to use an OCS or Barlow.    The 120ED had far greater focuser travel so pretty much any eyepiece could be used but this could limit the amount of reduction you could use before vignetting. It would not reach focus with BV unless an OCS was used (though someone I think made it work with BV by replacing the focuser, but this only matters if you thing you might want to use BV one day).

 

Overall, I liked the 120ED better simply because it could get the same stability on a lighter mount and the optics on the one I had were of very high quality.   Great views.   I have owned refractors from 80mm up to Astro Physics 6" and if I ever owned another refractor, it would be another 120ED.  Not to big, not to small, and excellent performance.  Refractors though are not really my thing (to slow) but the 120ED was (to me) a great compromise between size/weight and performance. 


  • Jon Isaacs, JMP, wprince and 5 others like this

#15 barbie

barbie

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 846
  • Joined: 28 Jan 2013
  • Loc: Northeast Ohio

Posted 07 January 2019 - 01:27 AM

I would definitely go with the SW ED120.


  • 25585 and RefractoryTWO like this

#16 mogur

mogur

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3434
  • Joined: 29 Jul 2011
  • Loc: WI

Posted 07 January 2019 - 07:51 PM

AFAIC the main advantage to the SW 120 is weight. It will ride on my GP mount (barely). The ES 127 would not. Visually I find very little difference between the two. I suppose the 120 will cool a bit faster if bringing it out to a much lower temp that it was stored in. I never did that with my ES 127 so it was not a problem for me.


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#17 25585

25585

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3827
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2017
  • Loc: In a valley, in the UK.

Posted 08 January 2019 - 11:17 AM

Just reading threads and reviews, I have found very few issues with the SW120 ED. In fact usually glowing appreciation for it (& the 100 ED), they are definitely great value. Plenty pre-owned and new is not too expensive.  


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#18 Peter Besenbruch

Peter Besenbruch

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6926
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2014
  • Loc: Oahu

Posted 08 January 2019 - 01:25 PM

From what I understand and from the endless threads I’ve read on CN, this is how they stack up:

 

SW is lighter so it can use a less heavy duty mount.
SW is a doublet so it will cool down faster.
SW uses a better grade of glass.

 

ES has a larger aperture.

ES, being a triplet, should be better for AP. (But it might have some CA.)
ES is $300 cheaper.

 

Am I missing anything? Thanks!

You have it pretty much covered. The 120ED will ride nicely on a CG-5 with the 2" tripod legs, and damp in a second or less. The 127mm triplet won't. I have compared my 120ed to a 130mm (Astrophysics), and found the views about 10mm better (i.e. close to the same).


  • 25585 and RefractoryTWO like this

#19 neptun2

neptun2

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1151
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2007
  • Loc: Bulgaria

Posted 08 January 2019 - 03:29 PM

I have the Skywatcher 120ED since around 5 years and it is good scope that i like. It is very lightweight for the aperture and it quickly reaches thermal equilibrium. I also find it very well corrected for doublet. I can not comment about the ES 127 because i never had or looked through one.


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#20 Ballyhoo

Ballyhoo

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2880
  • Joined: 22 Jul 2011
  • Loc: San Diego

Posted 08 January 2019 - 05:07 PM

last night I had my ES 127 FCD1 out, I was comparing it to my friend's 6" MakNewt. Anyways the point is we were looking at the sword of Orion and what I can tell you is a tighter point of four blue /white stars than the ES 127 you will have a hard time findings. I have my SW 100 on the classified. The 127 is just a winner all around for its price class and I like ES customer service.


  • precaud and RefractoryTWO like this

#21 precaud

precaud

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4856
  • Joined: 05 Dec 2012
  • Loc: north central New Mexico

Posted 08 January 2019 - 08:01 PM

The 120ED will ride nicely on a CG-5 with the 2" tripod legs, and damp in a second or less. The 127mm triplet won't.

 

Huh? Mine does.



#22 25585

25585

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3827
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2017
  • Loc: In a valley, in the UK.

Posted 09 January 2019 - 12:38 PM

last night I had my ES 127 FCD1 out, I was comparing it to my friend's 6" MakNewt. Anyways the point is we were looking at the sword of Orion and what I can tell you is a tighter point of four blue /white stars than the ES 127 you will have a hard time findings. I have my SW 100 on the classified. The 127 is just a winner all around for its price class and I like ES customer service.

There would be a difference between 100 and 127mm apertures! The OP is pondering a 120mm though.


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#23 Peter Besenbruch

Peter Besenbruch

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6926
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2014
  • Loc: Oahu

Posted 10 January 2019 - 06:04 PM

Peter Besenbruch, on 08 Jan 2019 - 08:25 AM, said:

    The 120ED will ride nicely on a CG-5 with the 2" tripod legs, and damp in a second or less. The 127mm triplet won't.

 

Huh? Mine does.

Having seen and worked a little with the 127mm ES refractors, and with Astrophysics refractors, the answer is, they don't work that well. The 120mm Skywatcher will work with a CG-4, but a CG-5 offers the better stability. The 127 on a CG-5 would be similar to the 120 on a CG-4. The extra weight of the 127 and the triplet lens is a negative.


  • RefractoryTWO likes this

#24 precaud

precaud

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4856
  • Joined: 05 Dec 2012
  • Loc: north central New Mexico

Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:03 PM

Having seen and worked a little with the 127mm ES refractors, and with Astrophysics refractors, the answer is, they don't work that well. The 120mm Skywatcher will work with a CG-4, but a CG-5 offers the better stability. The 127 on a CG-5 would be similar to the 120 on a CG-4. The extra weight of the 127 and the triplet lens is a negative.

 

My CG-5 has the Orion pier extension, which allows the legs to be fully retracted. It's quite stable with the ED127.



#25 mogur

mogur

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3434
  • Joined: 29 Jul 2011
  • Loc: WI

Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:24 PM

I did use my ES 127 on a CG-5, but with a Meade field tripod under it. Makes all the difference. I could hardly make it shake when bumping the OTA on purpose!




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics