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