Man, this is one great scope! I must admit, up til now achro was a dirty word to me when looking at a refractor, but man, I take it back! First, let me again comment on the build quality. Really phenomenal! Focuser is of a slightly different design than my 102mm f11ed, but more or less a first cousin to it. Buttery smooth, rotates beautifully, overall a solid A. The finish on the optical tube is magnificent, great metallic white with brilliant depth. If I were to nitpick, the 2 things that are just ok are the fit of the sliding dewshield to the tube (slightly too loose for my taste, easy fix) and the cap is also a hair too loose. Again easy fix.
On setup, the weight was not at all cumbersome, and didn't bother me at all. I set up in 3 trips rather than my normal two, really no hastle, and my usual 2" tripod and mount head have no issues with it. If anything, I wouldnt mind stiffening up both axis on the mount for the extra weight. It mounted rock sold, which was nice to see. Only other thing I need to get right is a dependable shaft lock to change eyepieces. More on that to follow.
Sky conditions were a tad below average, but getting to have a first light the day a scope comes is so rare for me that I'm not complaining. First thing I decided to do was have a gander around with my maxvision 40mm 68°. Holy pinpoints! Great field of view, nice tight stars, and as could be foreseen, the achro lens made little to no difference at this low magnification. More lower magnitude stars joining the field over my 4" was immediately apparent. As I didnt have a ton of time before clouds would be rolling in, I was able to hit a few star clusters (M44, Double Cluster, M13) before quittin time. The scope performs admirably, showing quite a bit more than my 4", easily snapping into focus in both my 40 and 30mm eps.
Also, the scope is well corrected spherically. This is something that I'm fairly sensitive too, and had some reservations with the fast optical system of this 152. Happy to say the reports of the field looking pretty flat ring true, any spherical error thats there was not noticeable. I'saeven say the chromatic error was lower than I expected. I'd really love to get under some dark skies, as where I am the light pollution is extreme. Under better conditions, this must give some breathtaking views.
At these low magnifications, I found the achromatic objective to not make any difference. I did not go to higher magnifications, largely due to the challenge of changing eps while staying on a target. I really need to add a shaft lock to my mount head, because otherwise it's pretty much impossible. I could also see myself picking up an appropriate goto mount head in the near future.
For me, I think theres 2 main takeaways from this night. First, I think its appropriate to compare this scope to a similarly priced apo in terms of opportunity cost. A TS 102mm f7 apo doublet with a fpl53/Lanthanum objective is about the same price. For mounting this 152 only need a slightly more robust mount, largely due to how short the moment arm is for its objective size. At low magnifications, the 152 really pulls away from a 4". Even on the moon (yes, I looked 😉). There's a small amount of color, but even with it theres clearly more surface details apparent. Again, this is at low magnifications. At higher mags the 4" is going to clearly be more useful.
I think its really important to make this comparision, particularly since the general concensus I seem to read over and over is how a 152 will need considerably more mount, and that a 4" apo is likely the better choice over a 6" achro. On the contrary, I found neither to be true. While a little more mount would be helpful, I believe theres many cases where the same mount would be adequate for both. As for as which is "better", well that really depends on the observer. If you want a great low power rich field, the 152 is your guy. If you want planetary performance, go with a 4". If you want it all but don't want to cough up the coin for a 6" apo, then both compliment each other well.
While I still wish to get more time in at the eyepiece before fully developing my opinion, particularly with some nebula and galaxy work, it's safe to say this was a great purchase. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who wants to see more than a 4" apo will give, but doesnt want to break the bank. You'll have the deep sky performance a 6" can offer, just dont try to push magnification on bright objects without understanding the scopes limitations. It'd be the same as trying to do widefield observing with a 7" mak, or high mag planetary viewing with an st80, just not how they are designed to be used.
That all being said, I would consider this a fantastic deal for the price. Best quality package I've seen housing a 6" achro objective, with an attractive price for this class of scope. Everyone should consider this as a worthy addition to their stable.
Edited by jag767, 29 April 2020 - 04:34 AM.