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Sky-watcher Esprit 100ED unboxing & imaging set-up

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#1 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 05:59 PM

I recently sought advice on this forum for a fast refractor that would work with my beloved QSI 660ws camera.  After much research, I decided I would rather have a Sky-watcher Esprit 100ED than take a chance on a much more expensive Takahashi FSQ that has an image circle that is much bigger than I need for my camera's small-ish sensor.

 

I planned to buy the 'scope from Starizona, and the guys there were great helping me figure out the right adapter to get an additional  19.5 mm of back-focus (with the right threads).  They also told  me that it comes with a 6" dovetail,  which is just barely big enough to span two clamps on my Paramount MX.  They advised me to get an additional 7" dovetail, and I agreed.  The only problem was that when they went to the warehouse, they had none in stock, and Sky-watcher isn't sending the next batch for at least several weeks.   They advised me to buy the 'scope from High Point, which is right down the road in Joisey.  That was generous of them,  and I owe one to Starizona.  They will get my next camera sale.

 

Around lunch time today, we got a sudden cloudburst.  At that moment, I knew the UPS truck must be coming up the street with my new equipment!  It arrived one minute later, with the dripping wet delivery guy.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that it won't stop raining for 4 more months,  one month for each inch of aperture.

 

The unboxing ceremony revealed a few unhappy surprises, but I'm not going to  lose my cool  just yet.  High  Point is closed until next week, and I'm confident that they'll rectify the problems when they open.

 

First, we have the lovely, sturdy shipping box, which is (interestingly enough) padded with many blue racquetballs on the inside.   I would imagine they make very good shock absorbers!

 

bUyOf97.jpg

 

 

The opening of the box revealed problem #1, which is the empty hole where the 28 mm eyepiece is supposed to be stored (back, left).  There was no eyepiece shipped with the 'scope.

 

2sWtPtT.jpg

 

 

Unwrapping the 'scope revealed problem #2.  There are two protective knobs that go over each side of the focuser to protect it during shipping.  One of them was missing.  (The 'scope was balanced carefully to avoid putting any weight on the focuser in this photo).

 

eUq9RvK.jpg

 

The rest of the accessories were in the box, and they appear to be new/unopened.

 

When I removed the lens cover,  I found some kind of  manufacturing defect that might be adhesive that spilled out around the objective (?).  It seems like quality control  should have caught this on a $2500 'scope. 

 

YoWINXM.jpg

 

 

59FINVw.jpg

 

 

Instead of a 6" dovetail, I received a 5" dovetail that can only be held  in place by one clamp on my Paramount.  I am therefore waiting for the other dovetail to  come from Starizona. 

 

3DtXHfp.jpg

 

 

Nonetheless, I was able to mount the 'scope on my Paramount,  and it's good enough to take some flats later on with an adapter I found that has "almost" the right back-focus.

 

FxjiG8D.jpg

 

7X8hr0R.jpg

 

FBOh35X.jpg

 

 

Overall, the first impression was not good.  I have missing parts,  a cosmetic defect,  and an undersized dovetail that doesn't look like it belongs with this 'scope.  I don't want to return it,  but I feel that somebody had the 'scope out of the box and was playing with it at some point.   I  should have been charged a "used" price, I think.

 

I do think that High Point owes me an eyepiece, a focuser knob cover, and maybe a discount.   However, I mostly care about how good the optics are.  As soon as I receive the adapter with the correct back-focus from Starizona, I can do some first-light tests, and I'll know.  If it has good  optics, then I'll keep it.  If not, then.... 


Edited by Ron (Lubbock), 03 July 2020 - 06:04 PM.

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#2 barbarosa

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 07:07 PM

"All Sky-Watcher USA Esprit refractors come with a 8 x 50 right angle finderscope, 2-inch Star diagonal, 2-element field flattener*, camera adapter, D-style dovetail and padded case."

 

No mention of an EP.. My 120 did not include an EP.

 

Cosmetic damage. Missing cover on focuser knob. You have a used or demo scope. Assume that HP made an honest mistake and shipped you a used scope by accident. They owe you a new one, or an adjustment.  Don't wait to call them.

 

You can get an idea of the average discount for used gear by looking at the used gear pages on the HP website. Be cautious in making a deal because you should  want to preserve the warranty.

 

The Esprit line is top notch. My Esprit gives up nothing to my TV. You will like it once you get this settled


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#3 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 07:22 PM

Here's the word from the Esprit 100ED  manual.  Note the disclaimer at the lower right corner.  There are enough Esprit 100 owners on here that we should hear from a few other  people as to whether there is an eyepiece included.  If not, no sweat.  I tried out my 2"  Celestron 23 mm "hand grenade"  with it this afternoon, and I was really impressed with the sharpness of terrestrial views.  Hoping for some breaks in the clouds tomorrow night so I can look at some stars with the "100.0% full"   moon in the sky. 

 

 

 

r3b6Jor.jpg


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#4 telfish

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 07:45 PM

They no longer ship with an eyepiece, the protector on my scope was only on the fine adjustment side. The glue will come off with some goo gone. Though it should not be there. Try the scope before contemplating a return.


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#5 ChrisWhite

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 07:53 PM

Ron,

 

Congrats on the new scope and hope you get your issues sorted out.  HPS is a top notch dealer, I have been buying there for years and they have excellent customer service and support. 

 

Regarding the EP-  I bought an Esprit 80 in the USA from a dealer several years ago, and it did not come with an EP. 


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#6 OldManSky

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 08:01 PM

HPS has a “what’s in the box” tab on the page of everything they sell, including the Esprit 100. 

No eyepiece.

And the one-side focus knob cover is standard.

Rather than this being a demo, it’s almost certain HPS didn’t open the ES shipping box. They usually don’t, or they would have to sell it as “open box” at a discount.


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#7 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 08:03 PM

They no longer ship with an eyepiece, the protector on my scope was only on the fine adjustment side. The glue will come off with some goo gone. Though it should not be there. Try the scope before contemplating a return.

 

Ron,

 

Congrats on the new scope and hope you get your issues sorted out.  HPS is a top notch dealer, I have been buying there for years and they have excellent customer service and support. 

 

Regarding the EP-  I bought an Esprit 80 in the USA from a dealer several years ago, and it did not come with an EP. 

Thanks for confirming on the eyepiece not being included,  and the cap for the fine side of the focus (only).  I actually feel a lot better knowing that.  It reduces the feeling that someone had the box open and was using it.

 

My nightmare (as an imager) is that I get a 'scope that was returned by someone who tested the optics and found out they were pinched / not collimated right / etc.



#8 telfish

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 08:18 PM

Thanks for confirming on the eyepiece not being included,  and the cap for the fine side of the focus (only).  I actually feel a lot better knowing that.  It reduces the feeling that someone had the box open and was using it.

 

My nightmare (as an imager) is that I get a 'scope that was returned by someone who tested the optics and found out they were pinched / not collimated right / etc.

That is why I said to try it out first. People have sent optically great scopes back and received a worse scope in return. The Esprit 100 and 120 have a great reputation especially optically and mechanically. Try it out and enjoy.


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#9 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 08:38 PM

I "should" get some breaks in the clouds tomorrow night for a (careful) first light test with the small dovetail.  Then again, yesterday was supposed to be rain-free, and I found out otherwise when I was 1 mile into the woods at Lake George.



#10 SilverLitz

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 06:40 AM

The dovetail is the same that came with my Esprit more than 1 year ago; yes it is shorter than it could be, but it works in my situation with my G11, which as a long saddle.  Esprit's do NOT come with eyepiece in the USA, but that is better than in Europe, where they get the eyepiece but do not get the FF.  I do not remember if there was a two focus knob covers or not, as that is a non-functional piece and basically a throw away.  I bought mine from HPS, and I find their support to be fantastic; talk to them.

 

Check out your Esprit's optical and mechanical quality, which is what is important, before sending it back.


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#11 calypsob

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:22 AM

Imo the distributor should have caught the adhesive issue. It appears they did not inspect the scope upon recieving or before shipping. Send it back for replacement.



#12 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 02:07 PM

After setting up the Esprit with a 60 mm guide scope and getting the adapter from Starizona to provide the correct backfocus, I was able to shoot 30 minutes of "first light" on the Veil Nebula late last night with the near-full moon in the sky.  The sky was so washed out with moonlight that I could barely see Cygnus, so it had to be H-alpha. 

 

Here it is: 3 x 6 minutes + 1 x 12 minutes, with gentle noise reduction and nothing else.  Stars in three of the corners look just as good as those in the center, but there are some oblong stars in the lower right corner.  Field of view turns out to be 77.5' x 62' with the 660ws, with an image scale of 1.69" per pixel.

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

I'm not too worried about the non-round stars in the one corner (yet).  I also took some unguided, 1 minute shots of M56 on July 4th, and the stars were round in all of the corners.  At the time, I was using a different camera adapter that had a little too much backfocus, and I had the camera mounted "east up".  I might want to go back to that configuration, despite the backfocus calcs.


Edited by Ron (Lubbock), 07 July 2020 - 02:51 PM.


#13 ChrisWhite

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:39 PM

You might have a little tilt in the system.  Its tough to evaluate an integration as there is some averaging going on, but from what I can see, there might be a little bit. 

 

The nice thing about QSI is that the bolt on faceplate gives you a very easy point for tilt adjustment.  You can use aluminum foil and shim it out where you need to. 



#14 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 07:22 PM

I've shimmed my QSI before.  :)

 

The trouble is that the small crack that results eventually allows dust to get inside and onto your filters, no matter how  small the gap is.  Thus, the shimming benefits from some black electrical tape around the edge of the plate.

 

I didn't get any tilt or egg-shaped stars on July 4-5 when I was using a different camera adapter that has the "wrong" backfocus.  The funny thing was that I didn't see any effects of incorrect backfocus around the edges.  The field looked flat to my eyes.  If it turns out to be tilt due to the new adapter, I have a quick recourse with the other adapter. 

 

In order to rule out guiding/tracking errors, I plan to take some very short exposures with a clump of bright stars in each of the corners tonight, assuming the clear skies hold on for a few hours.  If I find a problem, then I'll rotate the camera 90 degrees and see what happens.  



#15 ChrisWhite

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 07:49 PM

What adapter were you using before, and now?



#16 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 11:25 PM

The current adapter has 19.5 mm backfocus,and the previous one was 25.5 mm.  They're generic, so I can't really provide  better info.  I don't  believe either one came with the QSI camera.



#17 RossW

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 12:05 AM

From 25.5mm to 19.5mm? That is a huge change in back-focus. It could be that the back-focus was so far off that any star aberration on the edges was hidden by the increase in star FWHM (similar to defocused stars having better eccentricity than in-focus stars).


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#18 RossW

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 02:20 AM

Sorry Ron, cancel that. I assumed you were using a reducer but that does not appear to be the case, so the adapters' lengths won't affect star quality because the difference will be adjusted for by the focuser. 

 

As an aside, my European-sourced Esprit 100 arrived with no eyepiece, no flattener, and only one focuser knob cover, so the provided accessories varies greatly between dealers.

 

Did you manage to clear that adhesive off the objective?



#19 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 11:38 AM

I did a quick wipe of the suspected adhesive with a Zeiss lens wipe, and at least some of it came off.  It doesn't matter, because I think the scope has good optics.

 

I am using the provided 1.0x field flattener that came with the scope.

 

The egg-shaped stars in the one corner is a mystery that requires more experimentation to sort out.  I don't want to say any more about it until I figure it out, but let it suffice to say that it comes and goes, and some of my subs have perfect stars in the corners.  It appears that the scope itself has really good optics, and something else is going on.

 

I have 3 hrs. of data on NGC 6791, an open cluster in Lyra, that I plan to work up and share in the next day or two.  Looking forward to posting it here.


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#20 cosmo59

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 01:45 PM

After seeing this I will never buy from High-Point Scientific. I ordered a couple of dew heaters a couple years ago from them and one was junk right out of the box. What kind of outfit sends garbage like this to a good paying customer? The only thing that would rectify this would be a complete refund and a sincere apology.



#21 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 02:23 PM

It's not such a big deal at this point.  The scope has good optics, and the cosmetic blemish can be fixed.   I mainly care about getting an instrument that performs well, and this one does.  I do agree with you that the vendor should take a look at the merchandise before shipping it, even if it means technically opening the box.  Otherwise, they could just as easily ship a customer a scope that has a cracked objective lens.

 

The dovetail & eyepiece questions were resolved above,  so it's really just the cosmetic blemish that was the problem.



#22 Bobby_CN

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 02:24 PM

I also bought Esprit 100ED about 10 days ago from High Point, for the exact same reasons as you, they had it in stock, while other places didn't. I can also confirm no eyepiece came with it and only a single cap on the fine focuser side. I have bought other stuff in the past from High Point and was never disappointed.

 

I had only a single imaging session with it. I am quite happy with the results. I could share my image (single frame or stacked) for reference if you are interested. Only keep in mind I am a relative beginner so there could be other issues with my images.

 

Thanks,

Bobby


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#23 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 02:52 PM

Feel free to add your image to this thread.  It adds to the discussion for sure.  I am almost done processing my first LRGB image with my Esprit, and the image is really quite nice.  I just need to get the processing where I want it before posting. 



#24 Bobby_CN

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 04:16 PM

Here is my first light images with the Esprit 100ED, camera was ASI183MM, filter was Astronomik Ha 6nm
 
No processing other than the standard stretch in PixInsight (the nuclear button) to give an idea of the star shapes
Single frame:
SingleFrame

 

 
Stacked image:
Ha Integration

 

 

Thanks,

Bobby


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#25 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 04:39 PM

Are you satisfied with the star shapes you got?  It's tough to tell from the downsized Cloudy Nights images, as usual.  I think Astrobin has a free account you can use to upload your gigantic photos (up to 25?), and linking thumbnails here is easy. 




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