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Difference between ES 102 $1900 & essential series $1199?

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#1 EEBA

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 04:36 AM

Hi everyone, I have my wo zenithstar 430mm and my SW heq5 that I use for astrophotography. I am fairly new to the hobby and I am enjoying my setup. I have no images in a few weeks because of the fires. I know many Astrophotographers have more than one rig, I decided to start working on my second rig. Since my WO is only 430, I need something bigger. I was debating between the ES 127 [FL 954] and ES 102 [FL 714]. I think weigh wise for my mount, the 102 is a better fit. While researching, I found 2 types of Explorer scientific 102 scopes, one is $1200 and the other is $1800, does anyone know what is the difference. And if you own one . Are you happy with?
PS; the refractor only use will be astrophotography.
Thanks

#2 japaoletti

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 07:03 AM

You get better glass in the more expensive one. 



#3 drd715

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:32 AM

Consider 115EDT

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#4 EEBA

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 10:21 AM

Consider 115EDT

But the ES 115 ED FL is only 632ml. The 102 ED FL is 714ml
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#5 YAOG

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 10:56 AM

If you are going to spend $2K on a 100mm class triplet for imaging use only at least get a good one with FPL-53 or better glass and a large solid focuser that can easily have an auto focuser installed. 

 

WHILE THE FCD100 series ES scopes are optically good the mechanicals are not very good especially when compared to others in this entry level price range. 

 

Even the lower priced TS optics 100mm triplets have more servicable focusers. 

 

Of course this is all largely a game of waiting at this point, all the good scopes, imaging cameras etc are out of stock these days. Of you are in a hurry look for a used scope. Generally speaking you can buy a much better class of scope used for less money than a comparable new scope of the same objective class. 



#6 drd715

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:13 AM

Consider 115EDT

But the ES 115 ED FL is only 632ml. The 102 ED FL is 714ml
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The 115EDT class scopes from multiple vendors are all based upon a common sorced OTA. The focal length is 800mm. They have a nice 2.5 inch R&P focuser. Both Astronomics (AT-115mm triplet and TS-115EDT are examples as well as Meade - +others). This is a well corrected Lanthanum/ FPL-51 triplet. Or you can look into the AT-125EDL FPL-53/ Lanthanum doublet at just under 1000mm fl.

Look on Astrobin for imaging examples. Do a sort by telescope model.

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#7 YAOG

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:34 AM

Hard pass on budget FPL-51 triplets for serious imaging use unless you are happy with bloated stars with blue rings around them. For imaging use budget FPL-51 class triplets are going to hurt your wallet, they are false economy. Spend the extra few hundred dollars for a better lens with better CA control. You will end up spending even more when you have to buy the better scope and take a double hit from depreciation. There is no good way to image well cheaply. 


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#8 EEBA

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 05:39 PM

The 115EDT class scopes from multiple vendors are all based upon a common sorced OTA. The focal length is 800mm. They have a nice 2.5 inch R&P focuser. Both Astronomics (AT-115mm triplet and TS-115EDT are examples as well as Meade - +others). This is a well corrected Lanthanum/ FPL-51 triplet. Or you can look into the AT-125EDL FPL-53/ Lanthanum doublet at just under 1000mm fl.

Look on Astrobin for imaging examples. Do a sort by telescope model.

These 800 mm Focal length are perfect size, but Yoag says the glass quality are not great for Astrophotography.
Yoag, I follow Trevor Jones and Chuck astrophotography, they use explorer scientific. The TS is not sold in the US , I believe.

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#9 YAOG

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 07:44 PM

 

The 115EDT class scopes from multiple vendors are all based upon a common sorced OTA. The focal length is 800mm. They have a nice 2.5 inch R&P focuser. Both Astronomics (AT-115mm triplet and TS-115EDT are examples as well as Meade - +others). This is a well corrected Lanthanum/ FPL-51 triplet. Or you can look into the AT-125EDL FPL-53/ Lanthanum doublet at just under 1000mm fl.

Look on Astrobin for imaging examples. Do a sort by telescope model.

These 800 mm Focal length are perfect size, but Yoag says the glass quality are not great for Astrophotography.
Yoag, I follow Trevor Jones and Chuck astrophotography, they use explorer scientific. The TS is not sold in the US , I believe.

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I love Trevor Jones, he is very entertaining and has improved a lot since he started as have his refractors. As I recall Trevor has one older 100mm class CF FCD-1 (FPL-51 class ED) ES triplet but mostly he has move up to FPL-53 class ED triplets. More recently Trevor is liking the SkyWatcher Esprit apos which are FPL-53. Chuck is boring but he is good and used to use an ED127 with FDCD-1 ED glass but he quickly upgraded to an ES127 FCD-100 (FPL-53 class ED). this should tell you something, they both started with the FPL-51 class triplets and moved up to FPL-53 class ED lenses. These guys didn't switch to more expensive lenses because the FPL-51 class ED lenses were good, the did it because FPL-51 class ED triplet lenses are not good and they needed the better optical performance of FPL-53 class ED glass with the FCD-100 series ES scopes. Trevor has even moved on to premium FPL-53 scopes with the Esprits which are a step up from the FCD-100 ES scopes due to the larger better quality focusers and better quality lenses. 

 

TS Optics AFAIK doesn't have a US dealer. But IME the best way to buy TS optics products is to order directly from TS in Germany. I've had very fast service and no issues getting scopes or other goodies from TS in Germany.  

 

So using your own YouTube imaging guys FPL-53 lenses are the way to go.  


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#10 EEBA

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 03:20 AM

The SW esprit, looks beautiful and has great focuser. Sadly, the spirit 100 FL is only 550 mm. The 120, is perfect FL 800s, but it weights 22lbs. Only OTA. Adding astrophotography gear will push me over the limit in my HEQ5 mount. ):
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#11 YAOG

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 02:11 PM

The SW esprit, looks beautiful and has great focuser. Sadly, the spirit 100 FL is only 550 mm. The 120, is perfect FL 800s, but it weights 22lbs. Only OTA. Adding astrophotography gear will push me over the limit in my HEQ5 mount. ):

I had a pair of HEQ5/Sirius mounts and they were good for visual up to maybe 25 pounds but for imaging they were not so good even at 15 pounds. I had completely modified the mount with all new high quality Japanese and American bearings, filled the numerous casting voids in the bearing and worm carrier areas, honed the worm carrier surfaces, installed Bellevue spring discs to preload the worm bearings, installed the Rowan belt drive, replaced the crap saddle with an ADM dual D/V saddle and mounted it on the much more stable 2" leg tripod from my EQ6/Atlas mount at 20 pounds for imaging it worked a lot better but it was obviously never going to be excellent imaging mount even with only 20 pounds in the saddle. Anyway you are really limited to under 20 pounds imaging payload and even then you may not have great PE on a stock HEQ5 and 1.75" OD leg tripod. 

 

This mount limits you to a 100mm class triplet telescope for imaging IMO and shorter overall length is desirable for best PE from the HEQ5 mount. I think and f/7 optic is as good as it gets for your mount really. Look at the TS scopes on the TS and APM sites in Germany, they cannot be beat for their offerings. If you are going to spend $2K for an ES scope you owe it to yourself to look at the TS Optics 102mm f/7 FPL-53 triplet with 2.5" FTF at the same price point, better optics, better mechanicals and a far better focuser. Their part number TLAPO1027-FT  


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#12 awong101

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 04:23 PM

I have the carbon fiber version of the 102, coming in at 7 pounds. It's the only reason why I settled with a HEQ5 mount. (Still waiting for parts to complete the rig though)


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#13 EEBA

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 04:31 AM

I had a pair of HEQ5/Sirius mounts and they were good for visual up to maybe 25 pounds but for imaging they were not so good even at 15 pounds. I had completely modified the mount with all new high quality Japanese and American bearings, filled the numerous casting voids in the bearing and worm carrier areas, honed the worm carrier surfaces, installed Bellevue spring discs to preload the worm bearings, installed the Rowan belt drive, replaced the crap saddle with an ADM dual D/V saddle and mounted it on the much more stable 2" leg tripod from my EQ6/Atlas mount at 20 pounds for imaging it worked a lot better but it was obviously never going to be excellent imaging mount even with only 20 pounds in the saddle. Anyway you are really limited to under 20 pounds imaging payload and even then you may not have great PE on a stock HEQ5 and 1.75" OD leg tripod.

This mount limits you to a 100mm class triplet telescope for imaging IMO and shorter overall length is desirable for best PE from the HEQ5 mount. I think and f/7 optic is as good as it gets for your mount really. Look at the TS scopes on the TS and APM sites in Germany, they cannot be beat for their offerings. If you are going to spend $2K for an ES scope you owe it to yourself to look at the TS Optics 102mm f/7 FPL-53 triplet with 2.5" FTF at the same price point, better optics, better mechanicals and a far better focuser. Their part number TLAPO1027-FT


It is a beautiful scope, but I am afraid to buy overseas. If weight is an issue I was thinking on the ES 102 CF, all set up wont go above 15 lbs. I know , everyone says focuser is not great. If I can get a TS here will be awesome.

#14 EEBA

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 04:42 AM

I have the carbon fiber version of the 102, coming in at 7 pounds. It's the only reason why I settled with a HEQ5 mount. (Still waiting for parts to complete the rig though)

Do you have issues guiding with your heq5?
How are you pairing your ES with? (Guidescope, flatener, etx)
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#15 awong101

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 10:56 AM

Do you have issues guiding with your heq5?
How are you pairing your ES with? (Guidescope, flatener, etx)

I haven't had a chance to use it yet. I am still waiting for parts to arrive to complete my HEQ5 rig.

 

But I can tell you what I have so far:

Guidescope - SVBONY SV106 50mm

Flattener - Explore Scientific Field Flattener FFEDAPO-01


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#16 Jeff Lee

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 01:11 PM

With a lighter camera, like an uncooled 294 the focuser is fine. Mine producers tight stars with 5 to 10 minute EAA and a .8 reducer. Don't believe everything you read in these forums. YMMV. 



#17 YAOG

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 01:28 PM

Yeah, don't believe everything you read on these forums. Doing short exposures for EAA is a poor indicator of suitability for stacking many hours of data. ES focusers with any kind of serious imaging rig tend to shift, flex and go out of alignment as the tube changes position and the load on the focuser changes. And if you are using an Essential the blue halos are an issue. 


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#18 rdmarco

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Posted 20 September 2020 - 09:48 PM

Hard pass on budget FPL-51 triplets for serious imaging use unless you are happy with bloated stars with blue rings around them. For imaging use budget FPL-51 class triplets are going to hurt your wallet, they are false economy. Spend the extra few hundred dollars for a better lens with better CA control. You will end up spending even more when you have to buy the better scope and take a double hit from depreciation. There is no good way to image well cheaply. 

Isn't there a well known you-tube guy that received an APOD with one of those FPL-51 (or equivalent) triplets? He seems to have had pretty good success with it.  



#19 EEBA

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 02:08 AM

Isn't there a well known you-tube guy that received an APOD with one of those FPL-51 (or equivalent) triplets? He seems to have
had pretty good success with it.


Chuck Astrophotography ha 8 APOds with the F51 glass ES, he just upgraded to FDC glass . Also Trevor from Astrobackyard has ES 102 CF. Here in the US we dint have to many choices. Either SW sprit or ES , I like the SW 102 Sprit, but it is too heavy. My HEQ5 payload is 30 lbs. If i buy the ES 102 CF, i will be running super light. But all you, are saying the focuser sucks. Now , I am not sure if I wanted anymore.

#20 YAOG

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:53 AM

Isn't there a well known you-tube guy that received an APOD with one of those FPL-51 (or equivalent) triplets? He seems to have had pretty good success with it.  

I'm sure and if images that need to be heavily processed are what you are looking for by all means buy an FPL-51 or similar triplet. APODs and other random awards are a poor way to evaluate optics IMO. YMMV of course.



#21 YAOG

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 11:02 AM

Chuck Astrophotography ha 8 APOds with the F51 glass ES, he just upgraded to FDC glass . Also Trevor from Astrobackyard has ES 102 CF. Here in the US we dint have to many choices. Either SW sprit or ES , I like the SW 102 Sprit, but it is too heavy. My HEQ5 payload is 30 lbs. If i buy the ES 102 CF, i will be running super light. But all you, are saying the focuser sucks. Now , I am not sure if I wanted anymore.

If you are only willing to buy a brand new scope from a USA vendor then yes, at the moment the options for a 100mm class triplet apo are limited.

 

But many many people buy from APM and TS Optics in Germany every year and have had good experiences with them. I have only had good purchase experiences with them myself so I don't understand your reluctance to the better scope options in Germany. This is 2020 and regardless of what a small number of people think it is a global market for just about any and everything because the USA doesn't actually make anything worth buying anymore. 

 

Don't pay for carbon fiber tubes for refractors, they are a waste of money. You are getting an automated focuser right? The lens glass and focuser quality are so much more important than the minimally lighter tube material. And yes the focusers on the Essential series suck and even the FCD100 series Hex is barely an upgrade and it is a very expensive price to pay for a mediocre at best focuser. The FCD100 costs as much as an FPL-53 triplet with a 2.5" Feather Touch from TS. Why in the world would you buy the weak Hex focuser based ES for the same price? 


Edited by YAOG, 21 September 2020 - 11:12 AM.

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#22 Jason B

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 01:04 PM

I think the glass type is so overblown.  Yes, it is important and I am not down playing it by any means but there is so much more to a telescope than what kind of glass the ED element is made of. I have a lot of different scope with a lot of different glass types and my AT111 (FPL51 triplet) is my most used scope both visually and imaging wise. There are good ones out there, you just need to do your research and find one that fits your needs and budget.  I am happy with the AT111, have compared it to just about every similar sized scope out there side by side and still use it every chance I get and have never feel compelled to "upgrade".  It's too bad that it not available new any more....

 

That being said, I have heard of a lot of issues with the ES "hex" focuser, especially for imaging.  As for the optics, we have owners of both a 127 FDCD1 and 127 FCD100 in our group of imagers. Both are pleased with the scope's optics and they both image and use them for visual. I don't think either has a hex focuser but the focusers have worked for DSLR imaging for them.  Are they perfect scopes?  Nope and the owner of the cheaper 127 wants to upgrade at some point but it has worked well for him, fit is budget, got him outside and he is happy with it.  All that really matters.


Edited by Jason B, 21 September 2020 - 01:05 PM.

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#23 YAOG

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 02:23 PM

I think the glass type is so overblown.  Yes, it is important and I am not down playing it by any means but there is so much more to a telescope than what kind of glass the ED element is made of. I have a lot of different scope with a lot of different glass types and my AT111 (FPL51 triplet) is my most used scope both visually and imaging wise. There are good ones out there, you just need to do your research and find one that fits your needs and budget.  I am happy with the AT111, have compared it to just about every similar sized scope out there side by side and still use it every chance I get and have never feel compelled to "upgrade".  It's too bad that it not available new any more....

 

That being said, I have heard of a lot of issues with the ES "hex" focuser, especially for imaging.  As for the optics, we have owners of both a 127 FDCD1 and 127 FCD100 in our group of imagers. Both are pleased with the scope's optics and they both image and use them for visual. I don't think either has a hex focuser but the focusers have worked for DSLR imaging for them.  Are they perfect scopes?  Nope and the owner of the cheaper 127 wants to upgrade at some point but it has worked well for him, fit is budget, got him outside and he is happy with it.  All that really matters.

As a pro photographer I assure you glass and lens class matters. Without the best glass and pro lenses, in many shooting disciplines you are much less likely to get the shot you need, plain and simple. Telescopes are lenses and the same applies to them, without the best glass and lenses you are a lot less likely to capture the best images. The difference is nobody is paying anybody for an APOD, few are paying mortgages and food bills with APOD awards. 



#24 gnowellsct

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 03:35 PM

I had a pair of HEQ5/Sirius mounts and they were good for visual up to maybe 25 pounds but for imaging they were not so good even at 15 pounds. I had completely modified the mount with all new high quality Japanese and American bearings, filled the numerous casting voids in the bearing and worm carrier areas, honed the worm carrier surfaces, installed Bellevue spring discs to preload the worm bearings, installed the Rowan belt drive, replaced the crap saddle with an ADM dual D/V saddle and mounted it on the much more stable 2" leg tripod from my EQ6/Atlas mount at 20 pounds for imaging it worked a lot better but it was obviously never going to be excellent imaging mount even with only 20 pounds in the saddle. 

 

My goodness why not just build your own mount?


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#25 YAOG

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 04:09 PM

My goodness why not just build your own mount?

Funny you should say that. I have an imaging EQ mount I'm working on drawings for with my son the prototype engineer. It is different in how iit is controlled and the mount will be produced using carbon or aluminum tubes. I can't say where I'm getting 6" bearings from but my solution is unique. It is very light yet will carry sufficient payload for portable imaging. It might scale up for permanent installation but portability is my focus. 




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