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Sky-watcher Mak 127 vs 150

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#1 Baatar

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 03:45 AM

Hello,

I've got Sky-watcher 80ED on EQ5 mount with SynScan, with some good EPs and zooms (see my signature).  I also have Sky-watcher AZ5 mount with stock aluminium tripod (not the heavy duty version), which has max load capacity of 5kg.

 

I am thinking of complementing this with a bigger aperture scope, and I need something small and grab-go.  I am thinking of SW Mak 127 or 150.

Mak 150 would be nice due to its bigger aperture, but I also like the ergonomics of 127.  Is there any substantial difference between 127 and 150?  I would also like to use my existing EP/zooms, without buying new EPs.

 

It would be also good if I can use the Mak with AZ5 while on the go.  AZ5 seem to handle Mak 127 without issues (saw internet photos of AZ5 carrying 127).  But Mak150?

 

In general, 127 would be the best choice to use with AZ5 and for its smaller size.  But is there any performance difference where I should go for the 150?

 

If you used both Maks (and specifically with EPs and mounts I mentioned), your suggestions are appreciated!


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#2 Cali

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 03:57 AM

I use the Orion 127 Mak with a Twilight I mount with no problem (compare that mount with yours regarding spex). I use Baader Hyperion lenses (17 and 21mm) with 14 and 28mm rings. CNers on this board have said to me that they can use the Orion 150 Mak with the Twilight I. Maybe not optimal but doable.

 

The 127 Mak is Grab and Go. Good for Luna, Planets and DSO's (at least for me). Dark sky's help.

 

I added the GSO 1.25" 90-deg 99% Dielectric Mirror Diagonal with Compression Ring and the Orion 9x50 Right-Angle Correct-Image Finder Scope. That's it.

 

Compared to what Galileo had to work with, I feel privileged.

 

 

- Cal 


Edited by Cali, 08 April 2019 - 04:33 AM.

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#3 Baatar

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 04:14 AM

Hi again, Cal

 

That's a nice set-up.  I gather the twilight I mount is better than AZ5, due to its payload capacity of almost 8kg and the steel tripod.  Although 150 worked on twilight mount as some reported, it would be really stretching the AZ5 I think.

 

However, I don't mind using the AZ5 head on my existing EQ5 tripod, if I go with Mak 150 and if I can find suitable adaptors.  But it would be a bit of a hassle changing the heads and tripods.

 

But in terms of optical performance, would the 23mm difference make 150 a substantial improvement over 127?  To me it sounds like the gain would be marginal or very very slight, thus is worth it?

 

Indeed, Galileo would be envious of all the gear that are available to us.  


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#4 Cali

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 04:27 AM

I've never used a 150 Mak so you'll have to wait for others to reply. The 150 is going to weigh more and from what I've read here on CN, its an improvement over the 127 but for a real gain you'd want to move to a 180 Mak, which is d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y going to ruin your day in so far as mounting and Grab and Go are concerned.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 08 April 2019 - 04:33 AM.


#5 Baatar

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 04:42 AM

Thanks again Cal.  I hope others will chip in on the performance of 150.

 

I did read about 180, and it is huge and definitely not grab-and-go.  And the magnification offered is substantial, I guess I will miss out on things between wide FOV 80ED and very narrow FOV of Mak 180.  Thus, I though something in between, such as Mak 127 or 150, would be a good compromise performance and size wise.

 

The question is 127 or 150?  If price is another factor, where 150 costs twice as much as 127, but could the performance will be in the same range?


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#6 Freezout

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 04:43 AM

I would consider my 150mm at the limit for grab and go. My equipment is fit to be carried in one travel but it still requires more than 5 minutes to install.

It starts to be heavy and require a mount able to take more than 5kg, unless you feel OK with shaking views. Mine is overmounted on a Skytee, but it might be OK on a Twilight 1 or something like that:

https://www.astrosho...ab_bar_0_select

That looks like a nice simple setup with still enough aperture. 150mm is not nothing! You will see way more than with 80mm.

 

To note: I never owned this last one or the Twilight1. I can just say that I wouldn't feel comfortable putting it on a 5kg capacity mount.

 

Considering the optics: I don't have a lot of experience with other telescopes, but I am very satisfied with it. It's I think the correct size for me, I'm not attracted in big setups as I have to take my car to make nice observing. 


Edited by Freezout, 08 April 2019 - 04:47 AM.

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#7 Baatar

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 07:41 AM

Hi freezout,

 

Indeed, I don't doubt that you can see much more with 150, but I guess it is so for 127 too, compared with 80ED.

 

As you said, 150 will be on the edge of 'grab-and-go', especially on the AZ5 (although on EQ5 will handle it without problems).

 

So if I limit my choice down to price and the usability with AZ5 (which I will use most often as a portable mount), I am really leaning towards 127 Mak, unless there are compelling reasons to go with 150.

 

Just needed confirmation on my thinking, and expert views on 127/150 Maks.



#8 KerryR

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 09:06 AM

In cases where the scope will be taken from a warm house and into the cold, Maks don't usually make the best grab and go scopes owing to their notoriously long cool down times. If you have enough time, you can observe at lowest powers while the scope cools, and bump up magnifications as things settle down- this is my normal observing strategy with all scopes. Most of the time, though, when we talk about grab and go, we usually are also talking about limited observing time. The protracted cool down of Maks often doesn't fit in with shorter sessions. I usually grab scopes that cool much faster for short sessions, and this usually means a 4" or smaller refractor, sometimes a 4.5" Newt.

There have been recent threads here on CN that strongly advocate for covering the entire OTA of Maks and SCTs with a thermal barrier. It's been reported that this reduces thermal currents sufficiently to bring these scopes in to the rarefied realm of immediate use, even under relatively extreme temperature differences. Might be worth pursuing if you really want a grab and go Mak.

Regarding the Synta (Skywatcher, Orion U.S., Celestron, others) 127 Maks: In the past, it was reported by several owners that the functional aperture is closer to 118mm, mine measures 115mm, though it's quite old. While not a deal breaker from a performance perspective, it's irritating to carry around the full aperture but not be able to use it. I don't know if this issue has been resolved, but it'd be reasonable to find out before purchasing, unless you don't care.



 



#9 Cali

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 09:18 AM

Here is what I know through actual usage.

 

The AZ5 mount is rated to carry a Payload Capacity of 5kg. The Twilight I mount is rated at just over 8kg.

 

My 127 Mak with all of the goodies attached clocks in at about 5.45kg. The 127 Mak using a 32mm eyepiece on the Twilight I is fine. Using a 9mm lens shows some vibrations but is tolerable because of the Twilight I Slow-motion control cable capability. 

 

I also own the Oberwerk 5000 Series Tripod/Head which is rated at 10.9kg. The Oberwerk can handle my 127 Mak if I use a 32mm eyepiece but has too much play in it to handle using a 9mm eyepiece. (The scope won't stay centered on the target). The 5000 has pan handles instead of Slow-motion control cables found on the Twilight I, which is fine if the mount hosts a binocular (my Obie 20X80 LWs) but not the 127 Mak using an eyepiece > 32mm in strength.

 

This is the reason I own two mounts but hey, I can now use both optics side by side. 

 

- Cal

 

Note: I could probably host a 150 Mak using a 32mm eyepiece on the Twilight I mount but any stronger magnification would be really pushing it unless I added weights.

 

Regarding functional aperture, I believe I have read on this site that the Skywatcher 127 is dead on as is the Orion 150. The Orion 127 may be 5mm less but I'm happy. Cool down time is an issue with a Mak but there is A Lot written on this site on how to skirt that issue. You Will need a dew shield with a Mak.


Edited by Cali, 08 April 2019 - 11:07 AM.


#10 Baatar

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 09:49 AM

KerryR, I am aware of Mak's cooling time requirements.  In my case, I am intending to use during campings, where I stay for several nights.  I am not sure if I will be grabbing the scope and going for short observations.  Thus, longer cooling time is not a problem for me.  And, the 80ED will be with me all the time, to use conveniently if observations indeed will happen to be short.

 

As for the lesser functional aperture size, that I also read in other threads but without explanation, what would be the reason for that?  Is it due to the secondary spot or central obstruction and its implementation?  I don't recall if I read anything about his.  In which case, I guess, it will similar to Mak 150 where the functional aperture will be also less, perhaps close to 127 advertised aperture?

 

Cal, based on your experience, then even 127 with all gear attached (around 5.5kg) will be over the AZ5 capacity and will really push the mount.  The web photos I saw of 127 on AZ5 then might be just a marketing thing.  But of course, I am just limiting this to AZ5 usage, while my EQ5 will handle both well although the mount/tripod is not as grab-and-go as I would wish too.

 

Anyway, I will hold off on Maks for the time being and will keep researching.



#11 dakinemaui

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 10:28 AM

As for the lesser functional aperture size, that I also read in other threads but without explanation, what would be the reason for that? 

The corrector lens and primary mirror are the same size in some designs. The corrector lens causes the light to spread out, so the light that makes it through the edges of the corrector don't make it to the primary mirror in these scopes. Other designs have a slightly larger primary mirror that catches all the light entering the tube.


Edited by dakinemaui, 08 April 2019 - 10:32 AM.

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#12 KerryR

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 10:32 AM

The corrector lens and primary mirror are the same size in some designs. With these, the corrector lens causes the light to spread out, and the light that makes it through the edges of the corrector don't make it to the primary mirror. Other designs have a slightly larger primary mirror that catches all the light entering the tube.

That's my understanding, as well.

There's some speculation that the primary mirror baffle my cut some rays, too.

The secondary baffle in the 127's does not appear to be involved, at least by much. Those who've removed it have not reported an increase in effective aperture beyond 0-2mm. In the 150's, the secondary baffle was the main culprit, if memory serves. I think the 150's were quite close to operating at full aperture... I can't remember for certain.



#13 Cali

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 10:44 AM

 

Cal, based on your experience, then even 127 with all gear attached (around 5.5kg) will be over the AZ5 capacity and will really push the mount.  The web photos I saw of 127 on AZ5 then might be just a marketing thing.  But of course, I am just limiting this to AZ5 usage, while my EQ5 will handle both well although the mount/tripod is not as grab-and-go as I would wish too.

 

I'm skeptical about the Mak 127 on an AZ5. You could go with a smaller Mak, such as this. Looks like a good match for that mount. (Figure 2.7 kg with lenses). Note that I amended my post above. The latest Orion 150 is dead on according to what I have read on this site. dakinemaui nailed it on the corrector lens and primary mirror.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 08 April 2019 - 11:13 AM.

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#14 Baatar

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 11:40 AM

Dakinemaui, KerryR, Cal

Thanks for additional clarifications, everything makes sense now.

I am still new to the hobby, thus need to fully use my 80ED for some time before deciding on a bigger aperture scope. I think I have a good grasp now of pros and cons of Maks, including what I am reading here in our forums.

#15 jeremiah2229

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Posted 08 April 2019 - 06:15 PM

Up to ~200x range the 5" vs 6" Mak will be basically the same in presentation but when pushing beyond the ~200x range the 5" will start lagging in light grasp and at ~300x the 6" is clearly ahead (solar system and globulars come to mind). So if your sky cannot do the 300x then the 5" is it.

 

 

Peace...


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#16 Baatar

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 02:14 AM

Up to ~200x range the 5" vs 6" Mak will be basically the same in presentation but when pushing beyond the ~200x range the 5" will start lagging in light grasp and at ~300x the 6" is clearly ahead (solar system and globulars come to mind). So if your sky cannot do the 300x then the 5" is it.

 

 

Peace...

 

Hi, thanks for this additional thought.

 

I hope with Nagler zoom at 3mm I could push 80ED upto 200x on EQ5 mount (not on AZ5 of course), in principle.  But this will need extremely dark, clear and stable sky.

 

From this, I gather that 127 would add little value then, especially if it will struggle at 300x magnifications.  Thus I take it that I will need to go for at least 150 or more aperture, in which it will not be a grab-and-go anymore.

 

Thanks again for this note, just more things I need to think about before investing into bigger scope.



#17 Eric63

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Posted 09 April 2019 - 09:11 AM

My Two cents here smile.gif

If you already have an ED 80 you have a great grab and go scope, so what you need is more aperture. I compared my old ED80 to my 127Mak and I preferred the Mak because it had more light grasp, but the ED80 was more grab and go because it cooled faster. For a quick session, the ED80 is your best bet. Also, under average seeing conditions they were both similar on planetary object.

I also compared my 127Mak to my 150mm reflector and for lunar and planetary the views were very similar. Anything I could see in the 150 I was also able to see in the 127Mak except that the 150 was brighter. The 150 did pull away on deep sky objects though, and that I liked. The 150 also allowed for more resolution to see small craters on the moon, but the difference was subtle.

If you are limited to average seeing conditions most of the time like I am, you will be observing mostly under 200X, in which case both the 127 and the 150 will be fine. If you observe the moon, the 127 can easily go to 300X. If your seeing conditions are very good to great, then you will definitely benefit from more aperture. Under great seeing I had the most amazing view of Saturn with my 150F5 reflector at 280X. But I rarely get those conditions and therefore I stay mostly under 200X.

So if you only want to view the moon and planets under average seeing conditions, the 127Mak will be as good as the 150. If you have better seeing conditions the extra aperture will let you go higher in magnification. If you want to observe DSOs as well, then the extra aperture will help.

Eric

PS the SW 127Mak only had about 118 mm of actual aperture while the SW150mm mak works at full aperture. The 150 Mak will need a beefier mount, but I use my 150F5 reflector on an Steel leg AZ4 with vibration pads and it works very well (OTA is about 15 lbs with EP and finder). The 127Mak is a dream on the AZ4 though with either aluminum or steel legs.
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#18 Baatar

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 02:49 AM

Eric63,

 

Hmm, puzzling indeed.  Yes, my 80ED will be good general observing with crisp and wide FOV, not really a tool for fainter DSOs and detailed planetary observations.  I am not really confined to any particular observing objectives, but aim to see as much as possible (of course confined by the limits of the scope), which 80ED alone will not serve well.  I am too have average viewing conditions, thus 80ED pushed to 200x max would serve me well for the time being.

 

Anyhow, everything I read on pros or cons of Mak 127 just tells me that how good this particular scope works for many depends on viewing conditions and adequacy of other gear (mounts, tripods, EPs).  Thus, it is not secret that many end up having different scopes for different purposes.

 

As for me, I can't really afford such luxury of having many scopes.  But just another scope to complement 80ED or vice versa, in a smallest possible form factor with biggest optical gains, would do it.

 

May be I am just asking an impossible thing and dreaming, but will keep researching.



#19 fcathell

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 03:58 PM

I agree with Eric 63.  I've had both scopes (127 and 150) and the difference in weight was dramatic in my opinion. The 150 was about the same weight as my C-8.  Despite both being good scopes I unloaded the 150 Mak and the C-8 just to make setup quick and convenient. The 127 Mak is my main scope now and I have always been impressed with the planetary contrast and double star resolution. I had a nice C-6 for several years and it had good optics, however, the 127 Mak always seemed to have a slight edge in planetary contrast despite slightly dimmer images. I measured the true aperture of this Mak using the "flashlight test" and it showed 120 mm. I haven't tried the 180 Mak yet but I don't think my present mount would handle it. In any case, I really like the 127 Apex Mak.

 

Frank

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#20 Baatar

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:59 AM

Frank, thanks!

 

How 127 compares with 150 on DSOs and faint nebulas?  I take that 127 is more than adequate on planetary observations, then for DSOs 150 would do better owing to slightly bigger aperture? 



#21 Maurolico

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 07:59 AM

AZ5 head is rated 9kg with the heavy duty tripod; in this configuration the 150 should work.



#22 Cali

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:00 AM

I agree with Eric 63.  I've had both scopes (127 and 150) and the difference in weight was dramatic in my opinion. The 150 was about the same weight as my C-8.  Despite both being good scopes I unloaded the 150 Mak and the C-8 just to make setup quick and convenient. The 127 Mak is my main scope now and I have always been impressed with the planetary contrast and double star resolution. I had a nice C-6 for several years and it had good optics, however, the 127 Mak always seemed to have a slight edge in planetary contrast despite slightly dimmer images. I measured the true aperture of this Mak using the "flashlight test" and it showed 120 mm. I haven't tried the 180 Mak yet but I don't think my present mount would handle it. In any case, I really like the 127 Apex Mak.

 

Frank

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Frank

 

I agree. I have an Orion 127 Mak on a Twilight I mount. I push the scope to ~160X with a Baader 17mm lens and 14mm & 28mm fine tuning rings. 2-nite I caught Io creeping out from behind Jupiter during the wee hours. Pretty cool.

 

Interesting to note what jeremiah2229 mentioned in Post 15 above. I've been tempted to get a 150 Mak but I doubt I could do 300X magnification with a 150 Mak on my mount. I've had the 127 Mak at somewhat high elevation in really dark skies and it performed very well.

 

In dark skies it was like working with a whole new telescope.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 12 April 2019 - 11:15 AM.


#23 fcathell

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 12:29 PM

In answer to Baatar's question about DSOs in the Maks - yes, more aperture makes a difference, however, if you want to look at DSOs, get at least a 10" (or larger) Dob. My alternative to the Dob for large DSOs and star fields is a 90mm, F/6 refractor with a 2",  70* APFOV eyepiece that yields about 22X. This latter setup is lightweight and on a nice well balanced Alt-Az mount.  I've been playing with amateur astronomy for 45 years now and one thing has become very evident as I've gotten older. The amount of observing you do is inversely proportional to the size/weight of the scope. If the equipment has electronics, wires, battery packs, do-dads, etc, this will further compound your frustration as you evolve into an impatient, grumpy old fart like me!

 

Frank 


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#24 Baatar

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 07:32 AM

Frank,

 

It is funny what you say about impatience and inverse relationship between viewing and size of the scope.  I have actually thought about 10" DOBs in my other post (https://www.cloudyni...of-sw-80ed-apo/).  But DOBs are last options for me, they are big and heavy.

 

That's why I thought about Maks, but it is really hard to decide.  I don't mind waiting as I am good with my current gear.  It is really a fine juggling act between convenience and quality, and I guess I have to make trade-offs somewhere down the line.



#25 Luckypaul777

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 08:26 PM

Glad to see this post, I have an empty Twilight 1 mount and was considering getting a Sky-Watcher 127 mak for it. Doubt it would handle a 150 mak? Wanting something light to take out, looks like it would be a good combination.

 

Paul 


Edited by Luckypaul777, 15 April 2019 - 08:28 PM.

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