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

Orion 102mm Starblast vs. SkyWatcher 102mm

refractor
  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 JIMZ7

JIMZ7

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2050
  • Joined: 22 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Direct flight path of DTW

Posted 21 September 2019 - 10:43 PM

Has anyone purchased one of these? It's 102mm x 600mm focal length on a altazimuth mount. The white tube looks like a bigger version of my Orion ST80. I wonder if the focuser is metal. Looks like it might be. 

The price is $299.99. Sky Watcher has a 102mm x 500mm focal length scope on a AZ3 mount for $305. Any experiences with either would be appreciated. Thanks.

Jim

 



#2 Augustus

Augustus

    Fly Me To The Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 8014
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2015
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 21 September 2019 - 10:48 PM

The Orion looks like a cheap toy scope tbh



#3 JIMZ7

JIMZ7

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2050
  • Joined: 22 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Direct flight path of DTW

Posted 21 September 2019 - 10:55 PM

The Orion looks like a cheap toy scope tbh

Not really talking about the mount but the OTA is it all metal construction? YouTube has a 7 minute video of the Star blast 102mm. The famous Ken from Orion Telescopes.

Jim



#4 fcathell

fcathell

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1172
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2017
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 21 September 2019 - 11:46 PM

The pic on Orion's website is certainly not an F/6 scope.  The tube is too short and this looks like a pic of the CT-80 or ST-80.  I think someone made a mistake here.  I have a Meade 102 Infinity F/6 and it is a good refractor.  The tube and focuser are metal but the lens cell and dew shield are hard plastic. Optics are excellent for F/6.  I used it will a Meade QX 30mm 2" eyepiece.  Incredible 3.5* real field at 20X with an AFOV of 70*. Great for scanning the Milky Way and large to medium DSOs. Not bad on Saturn at 100X. I chose the Infinity because of its light weight.

 

Frank


  • Augustus and jeffreym like this

#5 J.LAMBIE

J.LAMBIE

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 228
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2017

Posted 21 September 2019 - 11:56 PM

No experience with either. Do have experience with the Meade Infinity 102. Gave it as a wedding gift after modifying it. Replaced the prism diagonal with a basic mirror diagonal. Got rid of the red dot finder and added a dual mounted Orion 6x30 RACI and a shotgun laser pointer. Glued a couple condiment lids to the focuser knobs doubling their diameter and degreased the focuser so it was smooth and capable of very fine focusing. The scope is a bit busy focusing at higher powers, but it settles down very fast on the provided mount. The whole rig was easily portable with one hand. And, when the diagonal was properly aligned, gave crisp views of Jupiter and Saturn at 200x and easily split doubles down to 2 seconds of arc. It was very hard for me to let it go.

 

amazon.com/Meade-Instruments-Infinity-Refractor-Telescope/dp/B00LY8JWAQ/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2CRICXILZLEFY&keywords=meade+infinity+102+telescope&qid=1569128334&sprefix=meade+infinity+%2Caps%2C179&sr=8-3

 

amazon.com/MEOPTEX-Finder-Scope-Mounting-Bracket/dp/B07KBH1WMY/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=dual+finder+mount+telescope&qid=1569128425&sr=8-2

 

amazon.com/Acouto-Adjustable-Flashlight-Astronomical-Telescope/dp/B07MNGK34K/ref=sr_1_10?keywords=telescope+finder+mount&qid=1569128564&sr=8-10

 

amazon.com/Pinty-Hunting-Rifle-Adjustable-Mounts/dp/B019Q05CNY/ref=sr_1_13?crid=3M3IIN2ZI2MD&keywords=laser+gun+sights&qid=1569128666&sprefix=laser+gun%2Caps%2C194&sr=8-13

Attached Thumbnails

  • _MG_9691.jpg
  • _MG_9691a.jpg

Edited by J.LAMBIE, 22 September 2019 - 12:05 AM.

  • eros312 likes this

#6 fcathell

fcathell

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1172
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2017
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 21 September 2019 - 11:58 PM

Here's what I use and it is set up for 2" eyepiece accessories. I've been very satisfied with it, however, I did modify the mount with loading springs as shown in the pic below. This prevented excessive tightening of the altitude hinge bolt when the scope is at a high angle. The Slo-mo controls also needed a little adjusting to take out the back lash. For the price it's definitely not a bad scope/mount setup after a little work.

 

Frank

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • alt-az-2.jpg

  • howardcano likes this

#7 JIMZ7

JIMZ7

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2050
  • Joined: 22 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Direct flight path of DTW

Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:12 AM

The pic on Orion's website is certainly not an F/6 scope.  The tube is too short and this looks like a pic of the CT-80 or ST-80.  I think someone made a mistake here.  I have a Meade 102 Infinity F/6 and it is a good refractor.  The tube and focuser are metal but the lens cell and dew shield are hard plastic. Optics are excellent for F/6.  I used it will a Meade QX 30mm 2" eyepiece.  Incredible 3.5* real field at 20X with an AFOV of 70*. Great for scanning the Milky Way and large to medium DSOs. Not bad on Saturn at 100X. I chose the Infinity because of its light weight.

 

Frank

Then what do think of Ken of Orion Telescope with his video of the Starblast 102mm on YouTube.

I once owned 2 Orion 100mm f/6 refractors. Maybe it looked bigger because it was all black. If Orion says it's a f/6 scope so let it be. 

Jim



#8 fcathell

fcathell

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1172
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2017
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:19 AM

I watched the video and I guess it is an F/6, but the tube + focuser just seems to look too short.  I could maybe buy F/5.  Oh well, must be the white tube. I also had one of the Astroview 102, F/6 refractors in the past.  Good scope but a bit heavy IMO. 

 

Frank



#9 JIMZ7

JIMZ7

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2050
  • Joined: 22 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Direct flight path of DTW

Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:25 AM

After looking at the video of the Starblast 102mm it does look like a f/5 refractor but the focuser looks like it goes out quite a ways maybe to make it a f/6. I don't know if you can see the full aperture with long focusing if that's the case.

No one has mentioned about the SkyWatcher 102mm f/5 scope yet so I guess I'll leave it up to you.

Jim


Edited by JIMZ7, 22 September 2019 - 12:28 AM.


#10 kksmith

kksmith

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 501
  • Joined: 08 Mar 2018
  • Loc: Montana

Posted 22 September 2019 - 05:06 AM

I have an earlier version of the SW 102/F5. Same tube cosmetics as the current one. So far it has been my favorite Grab-n-Go scope. It came with an earlier version of the current Alt/az mount - only difference is how the tube rings mount to the tripod. The tripod design sucks in my view - to many movements to zenith and the mount loosens allowing the scope to plop about. I have mine mounted on a ES Twilight Nano mount which handles it nicely. 

 

The OTA on the other hand is nice. Typical Synta achro refractor. Since I'm not a Moonie - I haven't used it for Lunar - I'm sure there's the typical achro color though. Nice views of Jupiter and Saturn - no false color evident to me. I just recently found a dark site close to home but I'm waiting for the new moon in order to explore more DSO's other than what I can see in my 5/6 backyard. The one thing I haven't been able to do is split Epsilon Lyrae into 2 pairs, but that maybe due to seeing conditions from home. 

 

I stripped the stock focuser to clean/remove the gnarly factory grease, regreased it with Super Lube, and adjusted it. I can now move it in 1mm increments. 

 

As far as eyepieces, I've mainly been using it with a Meade 4000 26mm and the ParadigmED 12 mm both alone and barlowed. As well as a Russell Optics 2" 18mm SW Konig XL both alone and barlowed. Monday, I have an ES52 10mm showing up - so hopefully, clouds permitting, it will get to try the SW102 with it this week. It is a fast scope - most eyepiece designs have artifacts at the edges, but it has been sharp on axis. Telvue, Pentax, Baader Morpheus, and the like are too rich far my blood right now. 

 

If finances allowed it, I would replace it with a 102ED, but right now it's my only 4" refractor. 

 

Ken


Edited by kksmith, 22 September 2019 - 05:08 AM.

  • BFaucett likes this

#11 bobhen

bobhen

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3289
  • Joined: 25 Jun 2005

Posted 22 September 2019 - 06:56 AM

I’ve owned the Celestron/Synta version of the Sky Watcher TravelStar 102mm F5 refractor for 15 years. I have no experience with the Orion Starblast but judging by the images of each and owning the Sky Watcher version I would lean toward the TravelStar.

 

In both cases the mounts will be problematic. You are really paying for the OTA.

 

The AZ3 can be made “serviceable” with one simple change. Substitute a “wing nut” for the nut used on the altitude axis. This will allow you to adjust tension in the field “without” using any tools. But again, there are better alt/az mounts than either of these mounts.

 

The good news is that the Sky Watcher Travelstar is a nice, fast achromat that is great for low power deep sky observing and sweeping. Used under a dark sky the scope will thrill with wide field views of the Milky Way, clusters and nebula. Comets are also nice in this scope.  The scope is also really wonderful as a daytime spotter when stopped down to 60 to 80mm. Although not the best for the moon and planets, for casual quick looks it does a decent job. 

 

I use mine now with an image intensifier.  With the intensifier the 102 F5 achromat just kills on the deep sky.

 

HERE is a link to the review of the Travelstar.

 

Below is my 15-year-old Celestron Wideview 102 F5 refractor with the Intensifier in the diagonal

 

Bob

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_31012.jpg

  • JIMZ7 likes this

#12 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 78960
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 22 September 2019 - 07:31 AM

The OTA on the other hand is nice. Typical Synta achro refractor. Since I'm not a Moonie - I haven't used it for Lunar - I'm sure there's the typical achro color though. Nice views of Jupiter and Saturn - no false color evident to me.

 

 

I don't know what magnifications you are using but I think someone buying one of these 4 inch F/5-F6 achromats should expect to see significant chromatic aberration viewing the planets at 80x plus.  

 

I have owned F/5, F/6, F/6.5 and F/10 version of the 4 inch Syntas and it was there to be seen, less with increasing focal ratio.

 

Jon


  • Augustus likes this

#13 sg6

sg6

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5910
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Norfolk, UK.

Posted 22 September 2019 - 08:21 AM

At 102/600 it sounds more like the Meade or Bresser the make a 102/600.

Catch is that Orion tend to rebrand an off the shelf scope to improve it in some way. So they could have had the Meade/Bresser rebranded.

 

I have the Bresser 102/600. Reasonable scope, does show CA on Saturn, th image of Jupiter was fair but not great. However it was low and not a great clear night. If I recall the ED the night before was not really better.

 

Would be nice if it had a 2 speed focuser. Dew shield appears fixed, which is annoying. Although half looks like it might come off. Trouble is I guess it would need abot the same force to release it as it needs to break it. Wish I knew if it is tightly screwed down or glued.

 

Reasonable scope if you want a first one and accept the shortcomings, easy to use and with the wide views available easy to use. I used the tube rings to align on Saturn, never have fitted the finder. If length were not a factor I would say the Bresser 102/1000 or a rebrand. Simply go slower and reduce the CA and be easier on eyepiece specification.



#14 LDW47

LDW47

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2265
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2012
  • Loc: North Bay,Ontario,Canada

Posted 22 September 2019 - 09:02 AM

To qualify, if you are a perfectionist, a complainer of a bit of color sometimes, on brighter objects, that you can’t look pass, that the scope doesn’t have the same feel as the much higher priced brands then neither of these scopes are for you ! Now having said that, if it is the same built scope as my 12-15 yr old SW 120mm ST it should be an excellent piece of equipment, at the time that I bought mine they were both of the same build quality, as I looked the 102mm over pretty well back then. Mine provides great relatively low power, wide field views as should the 102mm, the only plastic on it might be the dew shield, mine is metal. I mounted it on a SW AZ4 from the AZ3 and switched the focuser to a 2” GSO Crayford 2 Speed Focuser from Agena Astro for about $150, the overall performance went up with the introduction of various 2” eps. The glass is well coated. I think you will love it for what it is a wide field achro at a relatively low cost ! I have to say I am a SkyWatcher person as I have owned at least 4 both refractor and dob over my time, lol !   PS: As to the Orion scopes, the name is there but up here in Canada the brand is / was pretty scarce due probably to SW being here what with our lower population and thus lower demand in this hobby. I have only owned the GoScope, of the Tony Flanders fame in South America, which was a well built, great performer for again what it was / is.


Edited by LDW47, 22 September 2019 - 09:28 AM.


#15 fcathell

fcathell

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1172
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2017
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 22 September 2019 - 10:11 AM

I used to have an ES AR-102 and I was largely disappointed with it. Mechanically it was fantastic with the dual speed focuser and built like a tank.  The "tank" thing was a problem because it was heavier than I wanted for grab-and-go, and it had significant CA at higher powers. The Meade Infinity (102mm, F/6) actually has less CA and is less than half the weight of the AR-102. I got the Meade used as a package from an AstroMart ad, and it came with the alt-az mount.  I was ready to sell the mount until I made the spring loading mod shown in a previous post and adjusted the backlash out of the slo-mo controlls.  It made all the difference in the world in the mount, so I kept it.  It is easy to do and only requires a small "L" bracket for upper mounting platform, a washer for the screw in the base and a spring or 2 from Ace Hardware. The springs are sufficient to maintain balance at 45* with the altitude axis nut fairly loose and a 2" diagonal and eyepiece in the scope. 

 

Frank

Tucson 



#16 LDW47

LDW47

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2265
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2012
  • Loc: North Bay,Ontario,Canada

Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:07 PM

I used to have an ES AR-102 and I was largely disappointed with it. Mechanically it was fantastic with the dual speed focuser and built like a tank.  The "tank" thing was a problem because it was heavier than I wanted for grab-and-go, and it had significant CA at higher powers. The Meade Infinity (102mm, F/6) actually has less CA and is less than half the weight of the AR-102. I got the Meade used as a package from an AstroMart ad, and it came with the alt-az mount.  I was ready to sell the mount until I made the spring loading mod shown in a previous post and adjusted the backlash out of the slo-mo controlls.  It made all the difference in the world in the mount, so I kept it.  It is easy to do and only requires a small "L" bracket for upper mounting platform, a washer for the screw in the base and a spring or 2 from Ace Hardware. The springs are sufficient to maintain balance at 45* with the altitude axis nut fairly loose and a 2" diagonal and eyepiece in the scope. 

 

Frank

Tucson 

I keep hearing this ‘ like a tank ‘ thing what does it mean, does it mean ‘ well built ‘, ‘ will last a lifetime ‘, what does it mean ? Is being a bit lighter than another condone the use of plastic just so it is easier / liter to carry ? I mean if some one can’t carry 7-8 lb. as a G&G what does that mean ? I have always been curious of these terminologies and their meanings, I sure wouldn’t want to give up a better scope in many cases ! The AR isn’t a bad scope when it comes to views is it and isn’t it on the high end of what many consider G&G size ? I sure wouldn’t mind an AR102 but I already have similar in an Antares and its a one out carry for a almost 72 year old, lol !


  • OneGear likes this

#17 fcathell

fcathell

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1172
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2017
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:30 PM

The AR-102 was very ruggedly built and that resulted in extra weight.  Once I added the heavy 2" eyepiece plus the 2" diagonal, plus the finder, the only mount that would handle it was my equatorial mount.  With all of this, it was hardly grab-and-go, so I decided to look for something lighter.  Since my goal was low power Milky Way scanning, a dual speed focuser was not necessary, nor was a 50mm finder. I had tested the older Orion Astroview 102, F/6, which a friend owns, against the AR-102 and the Orion was superior optically and slightly lighter in weight but also more than I wanted. I read the reviews on several of the "entry level/beginner" 102 refractors and the Meade Infinity 102, F/6 got decent reviews so I looked for one and found one in the full package for $130 and jumped on it. Despite the plastic achro lens cell, it appears to be a good scope and is excellent optically, definitely has less CA than the AR-102. The weight was right even with 2" eyepiece accessories, and, with some mods, the very lightweight stock alt-az mount was adequate. It is a great RFT refractor IMO, and a far better grab-and-go compromise for this 71 year old body!

 

Frank 


  • Binojunky and BFaucett like this

#18 Binojunky

Binojunky

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5599
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2010

Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:44 PM

Celestron do the Omni 102mm F6.5 achromat on a mount for a reasonable price, a bit like a ST80 on steroids, I like mine,easy to move for this 70yr old also grin.gif D.


Edited by Binojunky, 22 September 2019 - 12:46 PM.

  • BFaucett and jeffreym like this

#19 LDW47

LDW47

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2265
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2012
  • Loc: North Bay,Ontario,Canada

Posted 22 September 2019 - 01:08 PM

Really my only point was, many of us are older adults, surely in most cases we can still carry comfortably what most consider G&G ie less than say 10 lb especially if it is a few feet, less than 50’, out the door of our house / garage. But you continuously hear that one G&G package is 1-2lb or what have you liter than another. I mean surely we still have enough strength to ....... ? Those relatively lite weights that we are talking can’t be that much of a factor, unless you have some sort of injury ?


  • JIMZ7 likes this

#20 Jond105

Jond105

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4168
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2018
  • Loc: Detroit

Posted 22 September 2019 - 03:58 PM

The diagonal doesn’t come out of the Orion version I believe. I know it may not matter to you but the Orion as well is only 1.25” focuser. Me personally, would get the skywatcher. 


  • Jon Isaacs, LDW47 and Augustus like this

#21 kksmith

kksmith

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 501
  • Joined: 08 Mar 2018
  • Loc: Montana

Posted 23 September 2019 - 04:37 AM

I don't know what magnifications you are using but I think someone buying one of these 4 inch F/5-F6 achromats should expect to see significant chromatic aberration viewing the planets at 80x plus.  

 

I have owned F/5, F/6, F/6.5 and F/10 version of the 4 inch Syntas and it was there to be seen, less with increasing focal ratio.

 

Jon

I don't think I've pushed it above 80x since I haven't used the full barlow, just screwing the Barlow lens set to the end of the eyepiece. It has given me a clean view of Jupiter with the ED12 and the Barlow lens set used this way. 

 

Ken



#22 caheaton

caheaton

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2114
  • Joined: 26 May 2009
  • Loc: SW Ohio

Posted Yesterday, 11:11 AM

I have a Sky Watcher version of this scope (it came as a Light Chariot 102mm), so Synta does indeed offer a 102 /600 scope.  My guess is that Orion's is the same scope.  Weight seems to be on par.  It's a nice little scope, color is evident but not bad (but I'm tolerant of such things).  I've used it many times as a travel scope and have imaged the Moon with it as well when I first got into imaging.  For me, it fills a niche between the ETX80 (80 F/5) & the ST120 (120 F/5)...all are wide angle scopes, but the 102 gathers a bit more light than the ETX80 and is considerably lighter than the ST120.  It rides well on just about any mount I choose...


Edited by caheaton, Yesterday, 12:06 PM.


#23 MalVeauX

MalVeauX

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5761
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Florida

Posted Yesterday, 11:25 AM

Has anyone purchased one of these? It's 102mm x 600mm focal length on a altazimuth mount. The white tube looks like a bigger version of my Orion ST80. I wonder if the focuser is metal. Looks like it might be. 

The price is $299.99. Sky Watcher has a 102mm x 500mm focal length scope on a AZ3 mount for $305. Any experiences with either would be appreciated. Thanks.

Jim

Hey Jim,

 

I've not used those.

 

Are you looking for just a scope or looking for a scope+mount? You have a 90mm in  your sig so I wonder if the extra 10mm aperture is worth while? Overall plan for this scope?

 

Very best,



#24 Jond105

Jond105

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4168
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2018
  • Loc: Detroit

Posted Yesterday, 03:51 PM

So everyone knows Jim did pick the ST90 this week. 


  • JIMZ7 likes this

#25 JIMZ7

JIMZ7

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2050
  • Joined: 22 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Direct flight path of DTW

Posted Yesterday, 07:42 PM

The Orion ST90 was actually my first choice & when one came up locally on Craigslist I jumped to it. I have a Vivitar Professional Tripod which works nice with it. Almost purchased a 102mm short tube refractor but was not sure. I once owned a Orion 100mm f/6 scope very nice but I wanted a little more in portability.

Jim




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





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: refractor



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics