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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.