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Ed Ting's Orion 120 Review

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#51 Jeff B

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 04:57 PM

I watched his video again and enjoyed it the second time too.  I like the idea that he challenged the idea that such a scope is not suitable for AP.  Interesting in that when I froze the video with the shots of the North American Nebula and just looked at them, side by side.  I have to say I see more clearly defined structure in the red portions of the nebula in the shot with the achromat.  

 

Things Ed did not comment on were the mechanical design and operation, spherical correction of the lens with a green filter or if there was any astigmatism with his sample.  I personally think those comments would have made for a more complete review.  I left that feedback on his video.

 

Jeff


Edited by Jeff B, 29 August 2020 - 05:55 PM.

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#52 RLK1

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 05:19 PM

Optical testing is very helpful.  You said its a particular data point which is better then no data points.  Why are you hung up on Strehl and interferometry?  (FULL DISCLOSURE:  I have an optical bench with two interferometers and perform autocollimation testing)  I don't find Strehl values that important on a telescope like this, but rather qualitative testing certainly is.

 

The design is a known factor?   I don't swim in this end of the pool (short focal length imported refractors).  So personally, I don't know the details of the design nor baffle count.  But a good review would include this.  A product demo, probably not; and this one didn't.

 

Agree to disagree...

You asked about optical tests and I'm not "hung up" on either strehl ratios or interferometry, particularly on a sample size of one. I leave that you. And, like you say, we agree to disagree...


Edited by RLK1, 29 August 2020 - 05:20 PM.

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#53 ismosi

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 05:27 PM

I signed up and am following Ed as I mentioned in my previous post. Whatever this one YouTube video is, the more of us sign up, I’m guessing the more Ed will be motivated to do more. 

 

Cheers,

John

I subscribed as well.

 

Way back around the turn of the millennium when I 'got back into' astronomy I pored over Ed's website. Helped me choose a scope to get .. the AP 155. Of course being a noob I didn't understand the whole Astro-Physics waiting list. I figured I'd call them up and order one ... LOL


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#54 aeajr

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 06:05 PM

I subscribed
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#55 aeajr

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 06:08 PM

Snip...

Things Ed did not comment on were the mechanical design and operation, spherical correction of the lens with a green filter or if there was any astigmatism with his sample. I personally think those comments would have made for a more complete review. I left that feedback on his video.

Jeff


I am going to assume that if these were problematic for visual or AP he would have mentioned them.

#56 turtle86

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 07:30 PM

I thought it was a wonderful review.   

 

For a $250 I don't think full spectral analysis or whatever it is people would like are necessary. They are not the target for this review.  

 

In fact I have been looking at a used one.  I have had my eye on an AT102ED for $600.   But I can pick one of these up used for $150 with the rings.   I may get it. 

 

Hopefully it will do OK on my ES Twilight 1 mount. 

 

I agree.  As the owner of one, I thought Ed nicely captured what they’re all about, and ably explained the main pluses and minuses. For something like a $7000 apo, I would want as much info in a review as possible, including optical bench test results and all that.  But for a $200 scope that isn’t targeted for advanced observers or imagers, I thought Ed went into plenty of detail.  


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#57 Jeff B

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 07:49 PM

I am going to assume that if these were problematic for visual or AP he would have mentioned them.

But that's just my point.  You have to make an assumption relative to three of the "big four" relative to optical performance, spherical aberration, color fidelity, coma, and astigmatism.  He only mentions color fidelity.

 

Ed is an experienced and skilled observer.  He knows how to do a star test.  I just find it odd that he made no mention of spherical, coma or astigmatism, especially since he routinely does so in his other reviews. He also usually comments on build quality.  But, again, not here.  A simple mention of these things like "I found no significant spherical aberration, coma or astigmatism during the star test" and some coments about quality, would go a long way towards making this a much more informative and complete "review". ....for me.

 

Jeff 


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#58 Jeff B

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 07:53 PM

I agree.  As the owner of one, I thought Ed nicely captured what they’re all about, and ably explained the main pluses and minuses. For something like a $7000 apo, I would want as much info in a review as possible, including optical bench test results and all that.  But for a $200 scope that isn’t targeted for advanced observers or imagers, I thought Ed went into plenty of detail.  

Rob, have you done a star test on yours?  If so, how soon after you got it out under the stars did you do one and what were the results?

 

Jeff



#59 RLK1

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 08:52 PM

From the comments from the review section on the Orion site:

" With 120x I find reasonably consistent diffraction rings both inside and outside of focus."

"Airy discs nearly textbook, diffraction rings noted."

"My biggest complaint on this scope is the optics were way better than I expected for a OTA of this price."

OPT site:"But where this scope excels, at least for me, is in narrowband imaging.  I have had great success imaging in Ha, Oiii and Sii where CA is not an issue.  The large aperture and fast optics are perfectly suited to this kind of work."

While I'd expect some variation in mass produced optics, if the above is accurate, the trend seems ok for a fast scope like this one.


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#60 LDW47

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 09:34 PM

My point has been missed - entirely - by some readers.   

 

What you describe above is a product demonstration.  And, they are - by definition - quite practical and extremely useful in that it shows what to expect by demonstrating the product in real world usage.  Technical details are not really part of these product demonstrations.  However they are quite complimentary to a more in-depth review that delves into the physical attributes, design and some optical tests. 

 

In-other-words a product demo is not a review, but can (should?) be a component of one.

 

I would not make a purchase decision based on this demo.  I would need to see more.

 

If anyone is curious about what equipment reviews should really be like, check out the Japanese publication Temmon Guide.  Many of  the product reviews found in this magazine are deep and take no prisoners.  Which is really the way it ought to be.

So what you might be saying is that if he put a lot more of this information into his review, real test information and it wasn’t up to some standard it may cause potential buyers to turn from this scope to something with higher results such as a beloved Tak and its associated astronomical costs in comparison to ?  If not then the more general info he put into his review is enough to convince the average astronomer to buy one, I owned one and I loved it . Numbers aren’t every thing, only for a few, most times they just confuse and are instantly disregarded and forgotten. This would be one of those times, there is no doubt ! Ed Ting all the way !  PS:  How could it be a product demonstration, I don’t think he works for that company ??


Edited by LDW47, 29 August 2020 - 09:36 PM.

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#61 tony_spina

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 10:04 PM

I thought it was a wonderful review.   

 

For a $250 I don't think full spectral analysis or whatever it is people would like are necessary. They are not the target for this review.  

 

In fact I have been looking at a used one.  I have had my eye on an AT102ED for $600.   But I can pick one of these up used for $150 with the rings.   I may get it. 

 

Hopefully it will do OK on my ES Twilight 1 mount. 

That is a great price with rings if the scope is in good condition.   I love my ST120. I leave it right by the door to the backyard. It gets used practically every clear night.  Even if only for a quick 15min sweep of the skies.

 

As for the Twilight I mount it can handle it if you have the arm setup straight up and even better if you have modified the arm to brace the open space with wood block.  A few posts on CN have pictures of this mod that will reduce vibration time significantly 


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#62 aeajr

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 11:33 PM

How is the focuser on the 120.  I see it is a single speed Rack and pinion.  How well does it handle large 2" eyepieces?   How is it for focusing at high power?



#63 tony_spina

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 12:37 AM

The focuser that comes with the ST120 is good and serviceable. Lots of post in CN that show how to make it very smooth and handle heavy eyepieces.

 

It will handle 2" 1.5lb eyepiece.  I have used the single speed stock focuser with a 3-6mm Nagler zoom, and Morpheus 4.5mm eyepiece on the moon and planets and got sharp focus.  Now with that said after the first year of heavy use I decided to get the GSO 2-speed focuser which I have been using the past 6 years

 

By the way a few months ago I got the APM 30mm UFF  2" eyepiece.   What a stunning eyepiece to use in the ST120.  Very sharp across most of the field.  The views with that eyepiece and a 2" UHC and OIII filter are wonderful 


Edited by tony_spina, 30 August 2020 - 12:43 AM.

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#64 turtle86

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 08:52 AM

Rob, have you done a star test on yours?  If so, how soon after you got it out under the stars did you do one and what were the results?

 

Jeff

 

 

I haven’t star-tested it, as I use it on a non-tracking mount and our loquat tree blocks my view of Polaris.  smile.gif



#65 turtle86

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 09:00 AM

The focuser that comes with the ST120 is good and serviceable. Lots of post in CN that show how to make it very smooth and handle heavy eyepieces.

 

It will handle 2" 1.5lb eyepiece.  I have used the single speed stock focuser with a 3-6mm Nagler zoom, and Morpheus 4.5mm eyepiece on the moon and planets and got sharp focus.  Now with that said after the first year of heavy use I decided to get the GSO 2-speed focuser which I have been using the past 6 years

 

By the way a few months ago I got the APM 30mm UFF  2" eyepiece.   What a stunning eyepiece to use in the ST120.  Very sharp across most of the field.  The views with that eyepiece and a 2" UHC and OIII filter are wonderful 

 

+1  I’ve had some wonderful views of the Lagoon/Trifid, Veil, North America Nebulas, etc. using a 27 or 35mm Pan with UHC and OIII filters in my ST120.


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#66 turtle86

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 10:01 AM

But that's just my point.  You have to make an assumption relative to three of the "big four" relative to optical performance, spherical aberration, color fidelity, coma, and astigmatism.  He only mentions color fidelity.

 

Ed is an experienced and skilled observer.  He knows how to do a star test.  I just find it odd that he made no mention of spherical, coma or astigmatism, especially since he routinely does so in his other reviews. He also usually comments on build quality.  But, again, not here.  A simple mention of these things like "I found no significant spherical aberration, coma or astigmatism during the star test" and some coments about quality, would go a long way towards making this a much more informative and complete "review". ....for me.

 

Jeff 

 

I think Ed did make a few comments here and there about the mechanics and build quality.  I wouldn’t expect a review for a scope at this price point to include results of an optical bench test, but I do agree that Ed’s review would’ve benefited from giving the brief results of a star test.  


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#67 LDW47

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 10:53 AM

How is the focuser on the 120.  I see it is a single speed Rack and pinion.  How well does it handle large 2" eyepieces?   How is it for focusing at high power?

I replaced mine with a 2”- 2 speed GSO from Agena Astro for about $150 US, it switched over in about 15 min., was an excellent performer.



#68 LDW47

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 10:55 AM

I think Ed did make a few comments here and there about the mechanics and build quality.  I wouldn’t expect a review for a scope at this price point to include results of an optical bench test, but I do agree that Ed’s review would’ve benefited from giving the brief results of a star test.  

Only to those who care about that test, which the high majority of times is excellent, I would say because you never hear many complaints vs the number that are out there !


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#69 peleuba

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 09:11 AM

You asked about optical tests and I'm not "hung up" on either strehl ratios or interferometry, particularly on a sample size of one. I leave that you. And, like you say, we agree to disagree...

 

 

You mentioned Strehl, I think perhaps twice - a Strehl value would mean little to most folks and is probably not as relevant to a low power widefield instrument.  I specifically did not mention ANY particular optical test - just that the "review" would have meant more to if something was done - even a star test.  Photography is a poor arbiter of optical quality.  As Jeff B. said above - astigmatism, collimation and spherical estimates are what really matters here (especially astigmatism and collimation).

 

We are getting a little far afield here - my premise is that I don't consider this a "review" without more information.  It is, however, a very nice product demo showing results that can be expected when using the product.  I am starting to see that others (you?) have lower expectations of product reviews.  I like mine to contain more information to help me drive a potential purchase.  Unfortunately, most don't.   

 

I have met Ed Ting, he is a terrific guy, wonderful speaker and an incredibly well-rounded individual.  My StarMaster Oak Classic that I fully restored is mentioned in a snippet he did on the Black Forest Star Party when he was the keynote speaker some years back.  So, I'm a big fan of Ed Ting.  However, I take his website and videos for what they are, which is very useful product demonstrations and an interesting diary of personal experiences with a lot of varying astronomical equipment. 

 

Thanks and best regards. 


Edited by peleuba, 31 August 2020 - 11:18 AM.


#70 peleuba

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 09:13 AM

How is the focuser on the 120.  I see it is a single speed Rack and pinion.  How well does it handle large 2" eyepieces?   How is it for focusing at high power?

 

A product review would have discussed this.   grin.gif



#71 Mitrovarr

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 09:38 AM

How is the focuser on the 120.  I see it is a single speed Rack and pinion.  How well does it handle large 2" eyepieces?   How is it for focusing at high power?

I would rate the focuser as "sort of adequate". It's not a plastic atrocity or anything; it's all metal but the focus knobs. But it's not good at focusing at high power; it has a hard time finding just the right position and the focus tube shifts a little bit focusing in vs focusing out, messing with the collimation. It's ok with large, heavy eyepieces - not surprising for a rack and pinion.

 

It is sufficient for the sort of low power use the scope is intended for, but not ideal. You will probably want to buy this scope a better focuser if you like it, both to avoid the collimation shift and because this scope desperately needs a microfocuser to do anything high power. People have fixed the image shift and collimation effects by shimming it with teflon, but you really need that microfocuser.

 

Basically, you don't need to replace the focuser if you are very light of budget, but if you aren't you probably will want to.


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#72 Starman81

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 11:03 AM

They were always fun, super portable as a g&g, and the most bang for your refractor buck on the planet. There’s a world of practical difference between an ST120 and it’s little brother the ST80 or it’s big brother the ST150. The ST120 is the Goldilocks scope of the three.

 

Terra you hit the nail right on the head! I own the trio of achromats and the ST120 gets much more use than the other two combined. Nice reach with 120mm of aperture and modest mounting requirements. Less CA than the 150 and less FC than the ST80 without giving up much practical wide field capability.

 

Like an 80mm ED refractor or a C8, it's one of those sweet-spot scopes that any amateur astronomer could use in their lineup. 



#73 Mitrovarr

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 11:18 AM

Because the field is so huge but it also has a decent amount of aperture, there are some fun tricks you can do with it, like fitting both sides of the Veil nebula in one field.

#74 eyeoftexas

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 12:20 PM

 

 

Basically, you don't need to replace the focuser if you are very light of budget, but if you aren't you probably will want to.

Just out of curiosity, doesn't this start to defeat the main pro of this scope?  That it is very good for the cost?  If you have to start adding things on, why not just get something better to begin with?  It's been mentioned a couple of times that someone added a better focuser for $150–200.  That is getting on par with the cost of the scope.  Again, just curious about where to draw the line on add-ons.


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#75 RLK1

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 12:20 PM

Overall, Ed Ting's review should provide, IMO, more than enough information on an off-the-shelf $249.00 optical tube in order to make an informed purchase decision. I think he frames it quite nicely, from the standpoint of both visual and imaging purposes. For example, it should be evident that the stock focuser can handle the weight of a DSLR camera and if it can do that, it can handle a 2" eyepiece without issue particularly in light of its intended purpose as a fast short tube widefield instrument. As evidenced from the Orion website description of the scope: with a "25mm Plossl telescope eyepiece, this telescope serves up a sprawling 2.1° swath of sky! The fast f/5.0 optical system also makes it an excellent telescope for astrophotography." The aforementioned statement and the actual description of the OTA makes no claims about high power lunar, planetary, or double star observations so it seems to me that it's quite a stretch to expect a review to address the features required for the latter, such as fine focusing for example, because that expectation exceeds the intended purpose of the scope. Likewise, I'm puzzled as to why someone expects more than what the instrument is intended for in the first place. 


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