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Ed Ting's Orion 120 Review

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#126 Mitrovarr

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:41 AM

I don't think he's ever given a negative review of a 6" achromat. He's reviewed at least three, the CR6 and also the Explore Scientific and Astrotelescopes models.

They have limitations, but also have strengths. Although now I think the SW150ED is a strong competitor to them - it's more expensive but not crazy expensive, and solves most of the issues with CA.
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#127 Echolight

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 12:24 PM

Ed Ting, indeed, frames it very nicely. But as Roland once explained to me in an AM forum on the subject, a good achromatic refractor can never be as good an equivalent Apo refractor because it isn't just the false color that's at issue here. You're not getting all the "information", ie all the data from the light from an achromat that you'll get from an equivalent apochromat. All that defocused blue light that you're seeing isn't focused in the image that you're seeing and while it can be filtered out, it's still not in the image where it belongs. So, while an achromat allows one to drink from that splendid refractor cup, it doesn't allow one to finish the cup. 

If one understands it's A LOT MORE than the color aberration that's at stake here, then one has a more complete understanding of the compromise in image quality that an achromat provides in comparison to an equivalent apochromat...

I'm not debating that you can't buy a better 6 inch scope for ten times the price. Because if you want to spend five or ten grand you can.

 

But you aint gettin no 6 inch apo for five or seven hundred without burning your fingers every time you touch it.

 

The fact still remains, that the 6 inch achro will beat a 5 inch apo in many ways. And still at a fraction of the cost.

 

Same principle holds true for the ST120.

Where else can you get a similar scope for $300?

Maybe a fast 6 inch newt? But then everything is upside down.


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#128 LDW47

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 12:29 PM

Ed Ting, indeed, frames it very nicely. But as Roland once explained to me in an AM forum on the subject, a good achromatic refractor can never be as good an equivalent Apo refractor because it isn't just the false color that's at issue here. You're not getting all the "information", ie all the data from the light from an achromat that you'll get from an equivalent apochromat. All that defocused blue light that you're seeing isn't focused in the image that you're seeing and while it can be filtered out, it's still not in the image where it belongs. So, while an achromat allows one to drink from that splendid refractor cup, it doesn't allow one to finish the cup. 

If one understands it's A LOT MORE than the color aberration that's at stake here, then one has a more complete understanding of the compromise in image quality that an achromat provides in comparison to an equivalent apochromat...

Does Roland ever mention the wide range in prices between the two types of scopes ? Many like the low end of that range and love the performance of those scopes ! Ed has the wisdom, I think, to realize this and thus his reviews of these achro scopes or lower end apo scopes, the high enders aren’t interested in them as can be seen by some of the comments ! He's a pretty smart guy !


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#129 Echolight

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 12:40 PM

Echolight, what a cool handle. Yes it would appear that he was more forgiving than I remember. I had the CR150 I bought it when it first came out long ago from Herb York. He was the only one who had it in stock. I used the 4 and 3 radians on it and it showed great views. I did sell it due to the fact I bought an AP 5" and came to love the true color views much better than the purple ones.

Thanks!

 

I feel the same. I got the C6R to start because I wanted a refractor. And I wanted one with more punch than a 4 inch.

 

The 5-ish inch apo seemed too expensive for me, as a beginner.

 

But some day I'll get one and probably move on from the C6R. But not necessarily because I think it's far superior in performance. But because something in the neighborhood of a 120 f7.5 apo is in the ballpark and a far more portable and mountable scope.


Edited by Echolight, 15 September 2020 - 12:42 PM.

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#130 LDW47

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 01:03 PM

I'm not debating that you can't buy a better 6 inch scope for ten times the price. Because if you want to spend five or ten grand you can.

 

But you aint gettin no 6 inch apo for five or seven hundred without burning your fingers every time you touch it.

 

The fact still remains, that the 6 inch achro will beat a 5 inch apo in many ways. And still at a fraction of the cost.

 

Same principle holds true for the ST120.

Where else can you get a similar scope for $300?

Maybe a fast 6 inch newt? But then everything is upside down.

Well said ! That should ruffle some feathers, lol !


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#131 RLK1

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 01:11 PM

To add, when different wavelength light come to focus at different points (different colors focusing at different distances from the lens cell), and you adjust the focus to what “looks best”, the “unfocused” light is not only not contributing information to the picture, it’s actually detracting from what one could see.

 Agreed, and I brought up the concern about color aberration because it appears to me that it's the only one noted in Ed Ting's review and that's the fixation that many observers seem to have as well. So, while I know most observers understand that an equivalent-sized apochromat is superior to an achromat, it doesn't appear to me that they understand why, other than the appearance of color aberration in an achromat. 

I do agree Ed Ting's review offers a great deal of information on what to expect from a fast 120mm f5 scope, particularly at its performance level and price point. And if I wanted a quick and cost efficient means of entering astro-imaging I would consider it for that purpose as well as widefield observing. But I've got the latter covered with my Antares 6" F6.5 achromat but I might decide to dabble in imaging with the faster F5 unit from Orion...



#132 LDW47

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 01:41 PM

 Agreed, and I brought up the concern about color aberration because it appears to me that it's the only one noted in Ed Ting's review and that's the fixation that many observers seem to have as well. So, while I know most observers understand that an equivalent-sized apochromat is superior to an achromat, it doesn't appear to me that they understand why, other than the appearance of color aberration in an achromat. 

I do agree Ed Ting's review offers a great deal of information on what to expect from a fast 120mm f5 scope, particularly at its performance level and price point. And if I wanted a quick and cost efficient means of entering astro-imaging I would consider it for that purpose as well as widefield observing. But I've got the latter covered with my Antares 6" F6.5 achromat but I might decide to dabble in imaging with the faster F5 unit from Orion...

You can’t get much better than the Antares in an achro !



#133 RLK1

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 04:10 PM

A fun video of Saturn thru the 120mm Orion F5, with the best view at around 0:44 and 1:01 on the video, probably closely approximating what one might see under visual observations, not bad considering...

https://www.youtube....h?v=xp5cf2bcSa4


Edited by RLK1, 17 September 2020 - 04:50 PM.


#134 Echolight

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 12:11 AM

A fun video of Saturn thru the 120mm Orion F5, with the best view at around 0:44 and 1:01 on the video, probably closely approximating what one might see under visual observations, not bad considering...

https://www.youtube....h?v=xp5cf2bcSa4

Ack! So that's what CA looks like.

 

Never noticed anything like that through the C6R.

Vega is colorful at high mag. But I don't think I've ever seen a picture of it when it wasn't.

At 200x plus a little, Jupiter showed a halo about a diameter outside the planet. But nothing on the actual surface.

Ran the Baader zoom in Ultima SV 2x barlow up to 300x on the moon with zero color.

But when I put the econo SWAN 40 in, it showed a little color on the limb.

 

Kinda shaky video.

 

Was considering one of these for a easy to mount grab and go. Think I'll stick to the original ED80 plan. Though I'm sure the ST120 would be much brighter when scanning the heavens. 



#135 bobhen

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 06:13 AM

A fun video of Saturn thru the 120mm Orion F5, with the best view at around 0:44 and 1:01 on the video, probably closely approximating what one might see under visual observations, not bad considering...

https://www.youtube....h?v=xp5cf2bcSa4

I owned an Orion 120 F5 and the scope will show a “markedly better” image of Saturn than is shone in that video. The 120 will show the Cassini Division among other details.

 

My smaller 102 F5 achromat also easily shows the Cassini Division.

 

Keeping the magnification reasonable will help keep the views sharp. When pushed to higher powers is where CA “noticeable” starts to soften the views.

 

When observing the planets with the 120 F5, using a CA reduction filter or reducing the aperture to 80 or 100mm along with keeping the magnification reasonable will help with CA.

 

Bob



#136 t.r.

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 07:23 AM

I never recommend reducing the aperture of an achromat...that reduces resolution which is the primary function! Instead, filter out the CA, you will be amazed at what planetary detail suddenly pops and it allows a $250 fast achromat to compare (I didn’t say compete) against an apo. Truth...the ST120 shows quite a bit for the quid!
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#137 Usquebae

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 08:15 AM

The question is more about whether the achromats are suitable for their purpose, worth what they cost, and competitive with things around their price point.

 

Agreed.  IMO, if the purpose is wide-field sky sweeping then the answer is yes, they are suitable and competitive.

 

Where else can you get a similar scope for $300?

Maybe a fast 6 inch newt? But then everything is upside down.

First, thank you for calling this a $300 scope.  It feels misleading almost to the point of being disingenuous to call this a $240 telescope when it cannot be reasonably used without rings, dovetail, diagonal, finder and eyepiece (the latter of which, admittedly, veteran gazers will already own).  It's as if Orion has stripped the OTA for the specific purpose of creating marketing hype around how incredibly inexpensive the telescope is.

 

As for comparable newts, there's no "maybe" about it.  You can get a 150mm F/5 newt with rings, dovetail, diagonal (duh wink.gif ) and finder for $200.  You can get a 130mm F/5 newt with same PLUS a mount & tripod, 3 EPs and a barlow for the same $200.  For the more realistic $300 price tag of the ready-to-be-used Orion ST120 you can get a 6" F/8 dob.  Of course you can use the ST120 for higher powers and views of Moon & planets, but all of those other newtonian options will provide superior views of same for less money. 

 

I think this is why the ST120 and other fast achros have the erroneous reputation of being usable only for low-power sky sweeping.  It's not that they can't do other things, it's that there seems to be no reason to choose them over many other better, cheaper options for those other targets.

 

I own a bunch of scopes and the ST120 would be one of the last I'd choose to part with.  But it would also be one of the last I'd choose to have as my only telescope.  That is to say, it would be very low on my list as a first scope, and very high (likely top) of my list as a second scope.  I almost exclusively use it between 17x and 43x.  When using the ST120 on a dual mount opposite an SCT I will generally be using lowest-widest configuration.  When observing with the ST120 by itself I'm usually around 40x with a binoviewer or with a 100-degree EP.

 

It is worth pointing out that getting the most out of the ST120 for its specialty (amazing low power, widefield views) calls for a field flattener and a well corrected ~30mm wide-angle ocular.  I cannot recall exactly what my TSFlat2 cost, but between that and the used 31 Axiom or 35 Panoptic you could say I've got an additional $400 invested in my $300 telescope.  Not to mention the upgraded focuser...

 

Anyway, as much as I love t he ST120  flowerred.gif I feel that the descriptor "incredible bargain" is fairly well owned by one particular telescope design, and it's not the one to which this forum is dedicated.


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#138 Wildetelescope

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 10:14 AM

Cool review:

https://www.youtube....h?v=Y8OedyDOYwo

Wish he would have added a filter or two and discussed them for visual and imaging...

I like Ed's review.  I like MOST of Ed's reviews.  He is generally positive and upbeat, while pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of a particular telescope.   Anyone who has been reading him understands that as he says in the video, he has expensive eyes:-).  But he also is first and foremost an ardent advocate for the hobby and I think provides good perspective on what one might expect from a given telescope.  That is really the key for a new person who is choosing what gear to start out with.  It is not a question of good or bad, it is a question of what are the inherent design limitations and how does that correspond to what you as a user what to do with it.  

 

JMD


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#139 daquad

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 12:31 PM

I like Ed's review.  I like MOST of Ed's reviews.  He is generally positive and upbeat, while pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of a particular telescope.   Anyone who has been reading him understands that as he says in the video, he has expensive eyes:-).  But he also is first and foremost an ardent advocate for the hobby and I think provides good perspective on what one might expect from a given telescope.  That is really the key for a new person who is choosing what gear to start out with.  It is not a question of good or bad, it is a question of what are the inherent design limitations and how does that correspond to what you as a user what to do with it.  

 

JMD

I agree,  I started out with an Edmund 3" f/10 Newtonian and over a two-year period, I was able to observe more than half of the Messier list from my urban back yard.  By today's standard, it would not be considered a "good" telescope, but it served me and my meager pocketbook well.

 

"It's what you do with what you got, that counts."  - Jimminey Cricket  



#140 Rutilus

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 03:37 PM

I never recommend reducing the aperture of an achromat...that reduces resolution which is the primary function! Instead, filter out the CA, you will be amazed at what planetary detail suddenly pops and it allows a $250 fast achromat to compare (I didn’t say compete) against an apo. Truth...the ST120 shows quite a bit for the quid!

Totally agree. I was more than happy the other night observing Mars in superb seeing conditions with

my (used $180) C6R. 

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#141 Jeff B

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 04:06 PM

Six pages for a $250 fast achromat.

 

Not bad.  Not bad at all.


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#142 LDW47

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 05:13 PM

Six pages for a $250 fast achromat.

 

Not bad.  Not bad at all.

For your information it is only 2 pages if you allow 100 posts per page !



#143 LDW47

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 05:17 PM

I like Ed's review.  I like MOST of Ed's reviews.  He is generally positive and upbeat, while pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of a particular telescope.   Anyone who has been reading him understands that as he says in the video, he has expensive eyes:-).  But he also is first and foremost an ardent advocate for the hobby and I think provides good perspective on what one might expect from a given telescope.  That is really the key for a new person who is choosing what gear to start out with.  It is not a question of good or bad, it is a question of what are the inherent design limitations and how does that correspond to what you as a user what to do with it.  

 

JMD

I would think maybe only perfectionists or the big guys wouldn’t / don’t like his posts ! I could be completely wrong though ?



#144 Jeff B

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 08:52 PM

For your information it is only 2 pages if you allow 100 posts per page !

But it is six.



#145 RLK1

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 08:55 PM

I'm not sure but at 8:39 in the video, it *looks* like the focuser is a dual speed and I know the Orion info describes it as a single speed but I'm not sure if Ed swapped it out or if that's just the way it's made. 



#146 LDW47

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 09:21 PM

I'm not sure but at 8:39 in the video, it *looks* like the focuser is a dual speed and I know the Orion info describes it as a single speed but I'm not sure if Ed swapped it out or if that's just the way it's made. 

Maybe its one of the dual singles, maybe ?



#147 LDW47

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 09:28 PM

But it is six.

Unless you allow 100 posts per page !  Then its only on the second page !



#148 turtle86

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 09:46 PM

I like Ed's review.  I like MOST of Ed's reviews.  He is generally positive and upbeat, while pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of a particular telescope.   Anyone who has been reading him understands that as he says in the video, he has expensive eyes:-).  But he also is first and foremost an ardent advocate for the hobby and I think provides good perspective on what one might expect from a given telescope.  That is really the key for a new person who is choosing what gear to start out with.  It is not a question of good or bad, it is a question of what are the inherent design limitations and how does that correspond to what you as a user what to do with it.  

 

JMD

 

 

I’ve always enjoyed Ed’s reviews.  He is very knowledgeable and his enthusiasm is obvious.  I’ve always liked how he endeavors to cover a wide range of gear, from Taks and AP’s on one end and scopes like the ST120 on the other.  He ably explains just how one AP might slightly best a Tak performance-wise in a shootout, but at the same time he conveys how both are still a joy to look through.  By similar token, he points out the shortcomings of the ST 120 while at the same time makes a convincing case that it’s still great fun to use and gives a big bang for the buck.  I hope he’ll keep them coming for a long time.


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#149 Jeff B

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 09:49 PM

Unless you allow 100 posts per page !  Then its only on the second page !

Is there some sort of setting here that allows me to change the number of posts I see per page?



#150 BFaucett

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 09:55 PM

Is there some sort of setting here that allows me to change the number of posts I see per page?

 

It's under "My Settings" in your member account settings.

 

display-1.jpg

 

display-2.jpg

 

 

Bob F. 


Edited by BFaucett, 18 September 2020 - 10:30 PM.

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