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SW Esprit 120 - First Impressions

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#1 BravoFoxtrot

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 01:42 AM

I took advantage of the Sky-Watcher sale and purchased an Esprit 120 ED.  I've been looking at refractors in the 5" range for some time to gain a little aperture advantage over my 3" and 4" refractors.  The main reason I've held off as long as I have is that I believe 5" refractors are no longer grab and go which fits my observing habits.  With that being said, I decided to give it a shot.  Below are my initial impressions:

 

Fit and Finish

Superb.  I was pleasantly surprised with the fit and finish of the Esprit 120.  I scoured every square inch of the scope and found it virtually perfect to my eye.   The paint is even and perfectly applied, the dew shield slides smoothly and doesn't sag, and the graphics look impeccable.  The OTA is incredibly robust which contributes to the significant weight of this scope.  It is beefy and that can't be understated (I believe the tube diameter is 140mm).

 

Focuser

I am not an imager, so take my impression of the focuser with a grain of salt if that's your intended use.  For visual, the focuser is very nice.  The operation is very smooth with no perceived backlash, slipping, or roughness.  If I had to nitpick, I'd say there is a lot of stuff going on at the back end of the focuser with adapters and such.  I'm wary of one of them becoming loose inadvertently.  This specific impression could be misguided until I have more time using it.  

 

Accessories

The Esprit 120 ED comes with robust hard case that holds the scope well.  The wheels on the case are a nice touch as it is huge.  The diagonal appears to be ok and collimated, but it's not quite up to the same build quality as the TV's or AP's.  The included 8X50 finder presents a decent image with some CA.  The rings are of good quality and fit the scope well.  

 

Optics

Now to the good stuff.  This is my quick impression of the optics after about 2 hours of observing.  Since I didn't have a mount capable of handling the weight and girth of the Esprit 120, I also purchased a EQ6-R Pro mount.  After getting the mount polar aligned and figuring my way around the menu, I decided to do a star test.  I usually don't perform or attempt to evaluate star tests unless I suspect something is wrong.  However, since I was already on Vega from the mount's star alignment, I gave it a go.  Seeing was excellent so I used a Nagler 3-6mm zoom at 280X magnification.  The star test yielded almost, if not, identical diffraction rings inside and outside of focus.  I did not notice any astigmatism, SA, zones, or other issues.  This surprised me as triplets can yield different diffraction patterns inside and outside of focus due to lens design.  So far, so good.

 

I moved over to Jupiter and again took advantage of the excellent seeing.  Compared to its 3" and 4" brethren, I thought the Esprit 120 showed quite a bit more detail and was much brighter.  In addition to a few other targets I observed messing with the mount, I also took a peek at the moon using the Nagler Zoom again.  As with Jupiter, the resolution and detail seemed better than my other refractors.  The optical performance was excellent.  

 

Initial Impressions

With only one night observing, my initial impressions are very favorable.  It appears I received a sample that is excellent optically as most owners who observe or image have reported.  The fit and finish of the Esprit is among the best I've owned and maybe the best of the scopes I currently own.  It is also a very beefy scope; much more so than I anticipated.  Time behind the EP will yield further impressions, but I'm very pleased with this scope.  I think the Esprit series (especially on sale) might be one of the best values in this hobby.   

 

Thanks,

Joe


Edited by BravoFoxtrot, 09 October 2019 - 01:44 AM.

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#2 agmoonsolns

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 01:47 AM

Great review! From all of the wonderful feedback on these scopes, they sound like phenomenal scopes.



#3 Erik Bakker

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 02:12 AM

Congratulations Joe! Sounds like you’ve got a superb addition to your stable waytogo.gif  



#4 barbarosa

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 04:00 AM

Great choice, great review, great scope! You sir are demonstrably a person of taste, refinement and perspicacity.


Edited by barbarosa, 09 October 2019 - 04:02 AM.


#5 Lonkero

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:37 AM

Great scope, I have just tested mine with star test and it was excellent, numbers speak strehl of 0.989 so it should be good. Wishing cloud free nights to get imaging started
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#6 Jason3272

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 03:23 PM

Hi, great review, and it has to be said, everything I read about the Esprit range from the SkyWatcher range is great if not awesome.

 

So here's my question, I'll soon be purchasing either the Esprit 100 or the 120 myself to sit on my SW AZEQ6 Pro for astrophotography with a little bit of visual when the mood takes me.

 

I've not yet made up my mind between the two, but it will be my only scope, at least for a long while, so I'm trying to weigh up the best all rounder, both have a dedicated field flattener, but SkyWatcher doesn't make a reducer for the esprit range, meaning the 120 with my APS-C DSLR will have a very tight FOV. 

 

Obviously the Esprit 100 with it's 550 mm focal length @ f 5.5 is an ideal scope for deep sky wide field imaging,  and the 120 has a longer 840 mm focal length @f7 is a little slower but has a slightly bigger objective and a bit more reach, ideally I'd rather have the 120 with the ability to reduce it down for faster/ wider performance. .

 

Is there a combined flattener/reducer that is compatible with the 120, I'm pretty sure  they produce one for the Black Diamond 120 but not sure if this would be compatible. 

 

Help..... please



#7 skyward_eyes

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 04:45 PM

Starizona is producing a reducer called the ApexED which is actually a universal reducer but is designed around the Esprit optics. I believe they have started their wait list for it. 

 

The ApexED reduces by a factor of 0.65x with an APS-C illuminated field. This drops the Esprit 100 to f/3.6 and the 120 to f/4.9. For details you would need to contact Starizona directly. 


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#8 Jason3272

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 01:35 PM

HI Skyward Eyes, thanks for the information, I will certainly look into this, I'd rather have the 120 with the ability to reduce it, or use its further reach than be just stuck with a wider focal length, so this is good news.



#9 Fernando134

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 07:29 PM

Hi, great review, and it has to be said, everything I read about the Esprit range from the SkyWatcher range is great if not awesome.

 

So here's my question, I'll soon be purchasing either the Esprit 100 or the 120 myself to sit on my SW AZEQ6 Pro for astrophotography with a little bit of visual when the mood takes me.

 

I've not yet made up my mind between the two, but it will be my only scope, at least for a long while, so I'm trying to weigh up the best all rounder, both have a dedicated field flattener, but SkyWatcher doesn't make a reducer for the esprit range, meaning the 120 with my APS-C DSLR will have a very tight FOV. 

 

Obviously the Esprit 100 with it's 550 mm focal length @ f 5.5 is an ideal scope for deep sky wide field imaging,  and the 120 has a longer 840 mm focal length @f7 is a little slower but has a slightly bigger objective and a bit more reach, ideally I'd rather have the 120 with the ability to reduce it down for faster/ wider performance. .

 

Is there a combined flattener/reducer that is compatible with the 120, I'm pretty sure  they produce one for the Black Diamond 120 but not sure if this would be compatible. 

 

Help..... please

Hi there. I have been imaging with the SW Esprit 120 with two different DSLR: a Canon50D and a full frame Canon 6D.

Never used a reducer. Just the field flattner that came with the scope. It is just "play and plug" with DSLRs. Never felt a needy for a focal reducer.  My scope is kind of 5 - 6 years old. The only complain that I have is about the focuser. I had at least twice to take it off and made some adjustments, what was not a big deal, though.



#10 Lonkero

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 12:39 PM

There is also the Riccardi reducer at 0.75x that is suitable with Esprits

#11 suvowner

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 03:51 PM

Starizona is producing a reducer called the ApexED which is actually a universal reducer but is designed around the Esprit optics. I believe they have started their wait list for it. 

 

The ApexED reduces by a factor of 0.65x with an APS-C illuminated field. This drops the Esprit 100 to f/3.6 and the 120 to f/4.9. For details you would need to contact Starizona directly. 

for the 120 at F7 , 7X.65 = f4.55 right ?



#12 SilverLitz

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 03:45 PM

Another FF/FR for Esprits, 0.75:

https://www.teleskop...fotografie.html

 

TS specifically mention its use for Esprit 120/150.  I have this for my Esprit 100, and it works well for up to APS-C sensor.  Others have mentioned it works well for full-frame with the Esprit 100.  I would expect it would have a larger image circle with the Esprit 120.  It comes with all the adapters you need to connect it to the Esprit.



#13 Waynescave

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 11:55 AM

Guys howdy

Im also an owner of a much loved esprit 120

i image with it and thinking about getting the starizona apex ed reducer.

Im a bit confused tho, as i see any esprit 100 owners can thread the reducer straight into the focus draw and then get backfocus with spacers to the camera..

Do us esprit 120 owners do the same? i ask because with the esprit 120 it comes with a rather long focus drawer extension tube which i currently have my filter wheel and camera attached.

If i get the starizona reducer do i get rid of this extension tube?? or put the reducer threaded inside there etc ....?

Is the focus draw tube larger on a 120 compared to the 100?

 

im trying to figure out exactly what id need to order so im ready to go!

 

thanks in advance

 



#14 premk19

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 12:06 PM

Guys howdy

Im also an owner of a much loved esprit 120

i image with it and thinking about getting the starizona apex ed reducer.

Im a bit confused tho, as i see any esprit 100 owners can thread the reducer straight into the focus draw and then get backfocus with spacers to the camera..

Do us esprit 120 owners do the same? i ask because with the esprit 120 it comes with a rather long focus drawer extension tube which i currently have my filter wheel and camera attached.

If i get the starizona reducer do i get rid of this extension tube?? or put the reducer threaded inside there etc ....?

Is the focus draw tube larger on a 120 compared to the 100?

 

im trying to figure out exactly what id need to order so im ready to go!

 

thanks in advance

Esprits 100, 120 & 150 have the same focuser.

 

You'd need a focuser adapter & a focuser tube extension. If you already have the latter you should be all set. (Though I don't remember my Esprit 120 coming with a focuser extension)



#15 Waynescave

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 12:14 PM

Esprits 100, 120 & 150 have the same focuser.

 

You'd need a focuser adapter & a focuser tube extension. If you already have the latter you should be all set. (Though I don't remember my Esprit 120 coming with a focuser extension)

Hello

Thanks for the reply

yes i definitely have a focuser extension tube..its a dirty great big thing which the t2 canon ring adapter also came with the scope..from my understanding here in the UK we get this with the scope but no SW flattener.

im curious now to know how you attach your camera to your focus draw? unless you just do viewing? Because i think the focus draw is big m78 thread or something?

wayne



#16 premk19

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 02:58 PM

Hello

Thanks for the reply

yes i definitely have a focuser extension tube..its a dirty great big thing which the t2 canon ring adapter also came with the scope..from my understanding here in the UK we get this with the scope but no SW flattener.

im curious now to know how you attach your camera to your focus draw? unless you just do viewing? Because i think the focus draw is big m78 thread or something?

wayne

That explains, I got mine with flattener included here in the US.

 

The focuser draw tube has M74 threada. SW flattener threads directly to the focuser, and has a camera friendly T2 thread on the other end. So no issues attaching cameras and other T2 accessories.




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