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New ES 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Scope - Pictures and Impressions

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#1 SkyHunter1

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:19 PM

Hello All,
In the last few weeks I've made some posts regarding the new Explore Scientific FPL-53 scopes, having purchased the 115mm f5.5 Feathertouch model on Black Friday of last year.

 

There was a lot of curiosity regarding these new ES Scopes. Many people were asking me questions and wanted information. I indicated that I would start a thread that would address these questions and give the community some more details.

 

Ultimately, I got aperture fever and was able to work out a deal with Explore scientific to upgrade the 115mm to the 140mm since it was less than 30 days old. I decided to forgo the feathertouch on the 140mm to save some money when upgrading and go with the stock 3" hex focuser after some consideration. I'll write more on that later when reviewing the focuser. I will post pictures that will hopefully provide some more detailed views of this scope than have been previously posted on the net. I'll include my impressions of course and answer any questions as quickly as I can.

 

I received the 140mm scope this past Wednesday 1/30 so haven't had a chance to view thru it yet. I only viewed the moon thru the 115mm and took a quick moon pic thru it one night before sending it back to ES. The view was stunning using 26mm & 8.8mm Ultrawide plossls. No CA that I could see thru that scope. Razor sharpness you'd expect from a high-end refractor. I'll post the 115mm pic just so one can judge for themselves. It's 25 stacked images taken from just 5 mins of imaging from my balcony as a quick test. I'll be taking the 140mm out to Jones Beach LI in the next few weeks to do some DSO imaging at a darker site with the ZWO 294mc-Pro.  I'll also be taking some lunar shots before then with the 140mm scope in the next week or so.

 

115mm Moon Test Image

moon   115mm Jpg

 

As for the 115mm It was a gorgeous scope, and far smaller than the 140 in terms of total length (632mm vs 910mm focal length). Definitely a more compact scope. It's much more a grab and go scope than the 140. I wanted to photograph M63, M51, and M104 and the 140mm with its longer focal length had more magnification for these smaller DSOs I'm looking to image. The feathertouch focuser on the 115mm was buttery smooth and solid. I wouldn't have had any regrets with that scope had I kept it, as there are many wider field targets it would have been perfect for.

 

I'm going to post the pictures ive taken of the 140mm and update the thread in the next few days with the reviews of the individual components. I'll also answer any questions I can. Enjoy all smile.gif I'll be back tomorrow to provide more information. It's taken me a few hours to take the pics and post so i need to get some sleep.

 

Regards,
Skyhunter1

 

 

 
 
Explore Scientific 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor Telescope
Explore Scientific ED140 FPL-53 Refractor
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo FPL-53 Refractor Telescope
Explore Scientific ED140 apo Refractor Telescope
Explore Scientific 140mm f/6.5 FPL53 Refractor Telescope
Explore Scientific ED140 apo FPL-53 Refractor Telescope
Explore Scientific 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor Telescope
Explore Scientific 140mm FPL-53 Refractor Telescope
ES 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
ES 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
ES 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
ES ED140 FPL53 Refractor
ES ED140 FPL-53 Refractor
ES ED140 f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
ES ED140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
explore scientific 140mm review photo
ES ED140 f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
ES 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
ES 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
Explore Scientific ED140 FPL53 140mm f/6.5 Air-Spaced Triplet ED Apochromatic Refractor in Carbon Fiber with 3" HEX Focuser
ED140 FPL53 140MM F/6.5 AIR-SPACED TRIPLET ED APO REFRACTOR
ED140 FPL53 140MM F/6.5 AIR-SPACED TRIPLET ED APO REFRACTOR
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo refractor CF
ES 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor

 


Edited by SkyHunter1, 07 February 2019 - 01:29 AM.

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#2 Eric H

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:59 PM

Excellent. Looking forward to hearing more about it.


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#3 Stellar1

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:15 PM

Beautiful scope! Yikes, where's your counterweight?


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#4 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:19 PM

Great looking scope. I’m interested in the 115mm version. Surprised it has such a hefty price tag for a 115mm. That focal ratio though - just what I want.

 

Cant afford the 140 for awhile.


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#5 SkyHunter1

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 01:02 AM

I know about the counterweight lol smile.gif just was taking pics for the post and was lazy. Had those locks down hard.

 

As for the 115mm, That f5.5 was just what I was looking for, but f6.5 for a 140 is plenty fast as well and gives me much more focal length. I have spoken multiple times with Kent at ES and they are going to loan me a .7 reducer that is being marketed for the 152mm and also works on the 127mm scopes. This way I can test it and let them know if it will work on the ED140. I'll be using a friends DSLR just to see if it will flatten to edge of field on a larger chip than a 4/3 (zwo 294mc). Being close to the same focal length as an ES 127mm scope (952mm), I'm thinking it'll pair with this scope as well. If so I can get this scope to f4.5. @ 637mm. There are a number of targets that will frame well with the 294mc or the 183mc at that focal ratio and give me much shorter subs. I'll also need some FOV at times and can't afford a full frame camera right now after buying this scope.

 

As an aside, ES's customer service has been stellar (no pun intended). They have done everything they can to make sure I'm happy with my purchase and are obviously willing to work with me to find accessories that will work with these new scopes. 

 

Regards,

Skyhunter1


Edited by SkyHunter1, 07 February 2019 - 10:31 PM.


#6 25585

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:00 AM

The dream rich field visual scope if it works.


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#7 beanerds

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:09 AM

It's gorgeous ! flowerred.gif  , what a lovely looking telescope and all I can say is congratulations on getting ' Aperture fever ' , this will be an easy pill to swallow as an antidote .

 

So looking to following this thread and how it performs ,,, very well I would think .

 

Beanerds .


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#8 zjc26138

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:23 AM

Beautiful scope, congrats!

 

 

Looking forward to your full report on it.


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#9 SkyHunter1

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:28 PM

As promised, I'm back to continue my review of the Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor. To start, The 140mm scope overall is gorgeous! The ED115mm f/5.5 was a work of art as well. While this says nothing about how the scope performs for visual and AP, I can say that they make you want to run your fingers all over it and shine it up with polishing cloths constantly lol. I didn't find any scratches or similar manufacturing defects on this scope. With the exception of the cheap white plastic screws to attach the finder, (could have made them metal or at least black plastic), the feel of the scope is solid and well made from end to end.

 

Of course there will be a debate as to why carbon fiber as opposed to aluminum, but as carbon fiber scopes usually are, it's sleek and sexy. I chose carbon fiber because it handles temperature changes better, it's lighter than the aluminum ES scopes, and my previous refractor was carbon fiber as well, so I feel comfortable imaging with it. Also, it is aesthetically more appealing in my opinion, but again, that is a moot point for some.

 

The case is a great addition being that I hate soft cases and am very neurotic about storing and transporting my scopes. Most times you would have to buy one separately. There are handles on 3 of the 4 sides. The case is lined with hard foam and also has areas for accessories. I am including some pics of the case for your perusal. The locks are sturdy and keep the case real tight, so tight in fact I was afraid to push hard enough initially when trying to secure the locks until I got used to the locking mechanisms. This is a good thing...

 

Overall, there are better cases out there I'm certain, but it comes with the scope and is sturdy enough that I won't have any concerns when transporting it. I would have bought one anyway and they can be expensive so that's a little savings. This one is more than fine for this scope.

 

Now to the nitty gritty, I'll start with the focuser because that seems to be the most common complaint/consideration with the ES scopes. The ED115, ED140 and ED165mm scopes are sold in 2 configurations, the standard hex focuser from Explore scientific and the feathertouch model which runs approximately $875 more.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I purchased the 115mm with the feathertouch after reading some reviews about the ES focuser. The focuser seemed to be the biggest peeve regarding the ES scopes. There was also little info on the HEX focuser as well. AP is my main focus so I went with the FT initially. When I upgraded, I decided to forgo the extra cost and go with the Hex focuser in exchange for the 1" of aperture. in the end, the difference was $1000 to upgrade to the ED140 without the FT.

 

I haven't done any visual or AP with the scope yet, but I have put my 294MC-pro on it and stuck it out the window to get an idea of how well the focuser works and to generally just play with the scope (weather has been horrible here in NYC). I hooked it up to my laptop and use Sharpcap for acquisition. I imaged and "viewed" some terrestrial targets just to get a sense of the color, contrast, experiment with camera settings, etc.

 

The focuser is very solid. The FT has a much more buttery smooth feel, but this one is built like a rock as well. It's tighter in terms of focusing than the FT and will require more pressure to focus it. I would have preferred a little less tight myself. The Hex focuser is rated for 10lbs of equipment. My ZWO is about a pound, so this thing is yawning. There were some comments on image shift with the ES focusers when I did some research hence why I initially chose the FT. Now I'm not going to say in any way shape or form that this focuser is better than the feathertouch, Even ES uses them. My C9.25 has a Moonlite and motor which I love. That being said, I will say that the hex focuser is heavy and rock solid, I personally don't see any image shift, and its smooth as butter. Maybe cold butter as opposed to soft warm butter like the FT, but I don't believe that I will have any issues with this Focuser and feel that the $1000 savings was worth it. It rotates and locks nicely and a small camera like the ZWO taxes it not at all. When I tightened the 2 locking screws, the camera was not going anywhere. I can't say how 10lbs of equipment would feel, but I think that most of us aren't anywhere near that much in terms of weight.

 

My first impressions are that this is a very good focuser and it will perform well in the field. I could have spent nearly $1000 more and gotten the feathertouch. Would I have preferred the FT if I was rich? of course, but when looking at having that 1K for doo-dads I'd need, and having played with both, I feel I made the right choice going with the Hex focuser. If you have deeper pockets than I, go for the FT. Please keep in mind that I could very well have a different opinion after viewing and imaging, but these are my first impressions having owned the scope for a week.

 

If there is a particular part of the scope you'd like to see in more detail. let me know.

 

Regards,
Skyhunter1

 

Explore Scientific ED140 f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
Explore Scientific 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
Explore Scientific 140 FPL-53 Refractor
Explore Scientific ED140 f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
Explore Scientific 140mm f6.5 FPL53 Refractor
Explore Scientific 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
Explore Scientific 140mm f/6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
Explore Scientific ED140 FPL-53 Refractor
Explore Scientific ED140 FPL-53 Refractor

Edited by SkyHunter1, 07 February 2019 - 10:30 PM.

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#10 CounterWeight

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:38 PM

Great posts and pictures!  Thank you.   My question... what is the (looks like cedar top) classical guitar in the background?


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#11 Tyson M

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:50 PM

I actually like carbon fiber in my refractors as well, with one major caveat: no solar work with them for their black color.

 

The lighter weight was a welcomed attribute, looks beautiful and holds thermal equilibrium well once cool (takes awhile).

 

This is a seriously impressive scope, and I will admit the 115mm F5.5 would be great to try out myself for grab and go.   

Too rich for my blood anytime soon though. 

 

Thanks for sharing your impressions! Looking forward to some visual reports from you.

 

Cheers


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#12 iKMN

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:56 PM

I like the pictures. I also like the looks of the carbon fiber and the weight savings even if it is just a few pounds. The CF is not make or break for me as I have alum scopes as well but it’s nice to have. Thanks for sharing the pics.

K
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#13 Stellar1

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 08:14 PM

Looking at your post again, i'm not sure whats cooler, the scope, or the Adamantium shirt.


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#14 SkyHunter1

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 08:49 PM

In response to the questions that have been posed in this thread on the Explore Scientific ED140 CF APO Triplet Refractor:

 

I used to play classical guitar for about 6 years... 'Play' being used very loosely lol... Made by Dieter Hopf (German) I bought it in NYC almost 20 years ago but it has fallen into disuse frown.gif I was not a natural born Flamenco guitarist unfortunately...

 

ES ED140 FPL53 Refractor

 

And yes, this shirt is one of my favorites for the gym and even work sometimes... Goes well with my new baby smile.gif
 
ES 140mm f6.5 FPL-53 Refractor
 
I'll be posting some more impressions in the next few days and get some lunar AP by the end of next week.
 
Regards,
Skyhunter1

 


Edited by SkyHunter1, 07 February 2019 - 10:32 PM.

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#15 SkyHunter1

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 10:35 PM

Back again for an update on the ED140 apo refractor. Did some visual tonight in the cold and wind to provide an update for those of you who are visual observers. I am not really a visual guy, but have seen the targets that I will discuss many times before thru cassegrains and refractors. I live in queens NY in bortle 7 skies. 20 miles from NYC.

 

I was able to view the Pleiades, Orion, and the crescent Moon tonight.

 

The moon was gorgeous... At 26mm I swore I saw craterlets in the Mare I had never seen before. Razor sharp and crisp. I was able to make out detail and surface features easily even in the darkened area of the moon. Never seen it like that before... Just stunning.

 

At 8.8 mm there was minimal loss of quality. The refractor handled the magnification very well. The crescent moon filled the eyepiece and I couldn't get all of the crescent in the FOV at this magnification. As is the norm, stronger eyepieces tend to degrade an image. In this case the 8.8mm was amazing. Even from my horrendous skies I could use the 8.8 with ease and found it to give amazing views with no CA visible to my eyes. I would have to say that this scope handled the magnification increases while maintaining sharpness and contrast better than any I've ever owned. This gives me hope when attempting some planetary with my Televue 2.5x powermate. I'll be pushing the scope hard on Saturn and Jupiter.

 

Orion was the best view I've ever had of this object. I can't imagine how this will perform at a darker site. I was able to easily resolve the 4 distinct stars in the trapezium at 26mm. Nebulosity was sharp and distinct. I could easily see the orientation of the nebula just from the visible nebulosity. No filters were used from my light polluted location.

 

At 8.8mm the nebulosity became even more apparent and detailed. Again, the scope performed flawlessly at this magnification. I didn't find myself going back to my lower power eyepieces as I usually do. The wisps of nebulosity seemed much more visible at this magnification than thru the 26mm.  At one point when viewing thru the 8.8, I thought " I should try the 8.8mm now" not because I wanted more magnification, but because I had forgotten I was looking thru the 8.8mm!!. I would have never mistaken a 26mm view over a 8.8mm view with any of my previous scopes.  Needless to say, at this magnification the 4 trapezium stars were pinprick perfect and Orion filled the eyepiece.

 

Took a quick look at Betelgeuse just to test the color and I wasn't disappointed. a beautiful orange-red globe. No CA whatsoever. At just over 100X it was round and sharp as a tack.

 

The Pleiades was framed perfectly in a 26mm eyepiece. I didn't test the 8.8mm as it was excessively zoomed in at that magnification. Again, the best view I've ever had. The 7 sisters were razor sharp and perfectly round without a hint of CA. The larger stars were more than just pinpricks of light thru the ED140. In this case, aperture does rule....

 

5.5 inches of FPL-53 glass is a beautiful thing...

 

The focuser was smooth and I didn't see any image shift when focusing. No movement at all... the second test of this focuser confirmed my earlier findings when using the 294mc. I think this focuser will deliver for AP, but that remains to be seen. In my opinion the ED 140 FPL-53 Apo performed flawlessly as was to be expected for a pricey high end refractor. You get what you pay for it seems. For me, the real test will be the imaging test as this is why I chose this scope. Big and fast smile.gif

 

Hope this was helpful to some of the visual observers in the community.

 

Regards,
Skyhunter1


Edited by SkyHunter1, 09 February 2019 - 01:58 PM.

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#16 junomike

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 08:45 AM

Excellent review (and pics).

This was on my Radar before I found a 130mm F6 locally

IMO this would suit me better than a TEC 140 due to the air spacing...


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#17 SkyHunter1

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 01:04 PM

Junomike,

I have no experience with the TEC 140 but obviously I had looked into that scope as well when searching for a high end scope of this aperture. The TEC has amazing reviews and if I had deeper pockets I would have considered it more seriously. 

 

I was able to get a very good deal on the Explore Scientific ED140 for $4300 as opposed to the TEC which runs about $6,600 dollars, not to mention the wait time. Another consideration was the fact that the TEC is sold as an OTA only, and was looking at at least another $1K in mandatory accessories that came as standard with the ES ED140 (case, mounting rings, plates, diagonal, finder mount plate, etc.)

 

Obviously I have money to spend, but the TEC was out of my price range with the necessary accessories and the ES scopes have always impressed me with their performance so I decided to take a chance. 

 

From all the reviews, the TEC is an amazing scope, but considering that it would cost me about $7600 with the needed accessories, I believed that the price to performance ratio would make the ED140 worth the investment. So far I am very impressed and happy with my purchase of the ED140. While I have no doubt the TEC is the gold standard from what I have read, having paid far less for an ED140, It is my belief that after some further testing, the ED140 will rival the TEC in terms of price/performance ratio. So far I don't have any regrets, and the support ES has provided has been second to none...

 

Regards,

Skyhunter1


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#18 SteveG

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 01:19 PM

In the last picture of the scope on the mount, is the tube balanced? If so, was it balanced with imaging equipment?


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#19 SkyHunter1

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 03:46 PM

SteveG,

Funny you should mention that... I did have some observations re: balancing with the ED140. I'll take some pics in a few hours and post in response to your question. I'll put on my AP equipment and give you the details. 

 

Regards,

Skyhunter1



#20 rob.0919

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 03:49 PM

Looks a nice scope, but i'm amazed that they are happy to send out a $5K scope weighing 21lb (accessories on top)

without a decent mounting plate.

 

You absolutely need to use a Losmandy type mounting plate for a 5" + class refractor.

It doesn't look secure to me.

And i'd want to swap the saddle plate over on the mount as well.

 

I'm not trying to be negative or anything, and remember, on a GEM mount these refractors can end up in 

some precarious positions, and the last thing anything wants, is to hear the whole job lot has come crashing down.


Edited by rob.0919, 10 February 2019 - 11:10 AM.

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#21 SkyHunter1

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 04:16 PM

Rob,

I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly:)

 

Although the scope does feel secure, I do have a universal Losmandy plate that I may swap out for the vixen to give it more stability. I have a friend and my imaging buddy, who buys and sells scopes and he said the same thing. I have replaced the saddle on my Atlas to accommodate my C9.25 with the far better ADM saddle upgrade to provide a more secure base. 

 

And please, I don't feel you're being negative. Your comment was appreciated and as a result I will most likely make the modification. I want to address all aspects of this scope, both the strengths and weaknesses. 

 

Regards,

Skyhunter1



#22 25585

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 04:24 PM

Looks a nice scope, but i'm amazed that they are happy to send out a $5K scope weighing 21lb (accessories on top)

without a decent mounting plate.

 

You absolutely need to use a Losmandy type mounting plate for a 5" + class refractor.

It doesn't look secure to me.

And i'd want to swap the saddle plate over on the mount as well.

 

I'm not trying to be negative or anything, and remember, on a GEM mount these refractors can end up in 

some precarious positions, and the last think anything wants, is to hear the whole job lot has come crashing down.

I agree about the mounting plate needing to be Losmandy. Better to have an OTA only for a lower price, snd let the buyer choose his/her own hardware.

 

Competition for the ES 140 will maybe from the SW Esprit 150 among others. 


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#23 Bill Dean

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 04:57 PM

Swapping out the dovetail takes all of five minutes. Honestly, it's more a question of what the saddle requires though- I've shown tens of thousands of people the Sun through my MaxScope 90 on a LXD-75 over the last 15 years without incident. Little ones can be very "grabby" at times! 

 

But my ES ED127 generally rides on a Paramount and so it has a Losmandy-style dovetail mounted which required another five minutes of work with a bread knife to modify the case foam to allow it all to fit.

 

Clear skies,

Bill


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#24 SkyHunter1

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 08:48 PM

Back again to continue with the thread on the ED140 apo. As was suggested, I took a 14" universal Losmandy plate I had lying around and fitted it to the scope. It's shifted back on the rings up to .5 inch from the front so as to be able to fully retract the hood.  They make a 7" universal but it would be too small. Locks in good in the ADM saddle smile.gif

 

Thanks to Rob for his suggestion. Makes for a much stabler base.

 

I ask everyone to please provide me with any input that they feel would improve the setup.

 

In response to Steve's question, I added my imaging train with a single filter drawer to balance the scope. It is balanced in the photos. As you can see the counterweights are shifted quite high. I was ALMOST able to balance the scope with a single counterweight at the end of the counterweight bar. I may buy a smaller one to reduce the total weight on the mount. Does anyone know of any?

 

You may notice the pics don't include the finder in the balancing. I tend to balance without the finder, add it to align the scope, and then remove it after alignment as I'm usually spot on and don't require it anymore to add to the total weight. Yes, I keep my total weight as low as possible. Maybe it's overkill, but that's how I roll...

 

Does anyone know of a smaller counterweight that I can use for the Atlas Mount? if you have any ideas please share.

 

I brightened up some of the photos in PS to make them easier to see. Thanks to everyone for your help.

 

Regards,
Skyhunter1

 

Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
IMG 3221
explore scientific ed140 review
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos
Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor Review Photos

Edited by SkyHunter1, 09 February 2019 - 08:58 PM.

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#25 25585

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 09:00 PM

Is 1 bolt to fix each tube ring to your plate enough?  I would want 2 minimum. 


  • Paul G and SkyHunter1 like this


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