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First Light with Zhumell Z8

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#1 RMay


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Posted 22 November 2020 - 02:00 PM

Greetings to all. By way of introduction, I have owned and used for the past 35+ years a Questar Standard 3.5 (and can usually be found making trouble on the Questar Forum). I also worked with and for Questar as a sales agent in the early 1980s. About 30 years ago I built and used for quite a while a 10 inch Dob built with Orion mirrors and hardware.

This past week I purchased a new Zhumell Z8 Dobsonian. Reasons to purchase were as follows:
1. Now retired with more playtime on my hands;
2. Struck by a bit of an aperture fever;
3. I enjoyed my Dob back then and thought, why not...
4. Looked for something low cost with decent ratings.

Here’s my overview...

Unit was purchased from Amazon and arrived in two well-packed boxes with the optical tube assembly arriving about three days prior to the base package. When only the OTA arrived, I called Amazon, but frankly, they were right on top of it, and told me that UPS was delivering the base in a few days, and it arrived one day early.

Both packages arrived in excellent condition and upon initial inspection there was no damage to any element. As others have noted this unit comes with no instructions for assembly, and one is well advised to take a look at a couple of the YouTube videos that have been produced and published, although they are old enough now that some of the elements on the telescope are different now than in the past.

The base unit took about 45 minutes to assemble and the optical tube needed nothing except collimation, which was fairly easy with the included red laser collimator. We had just finished a few days of rain so the night was clear but moist and my observing was limited to about 15 minutes just after midnight a few days ago.

First light was conducted using a TeleView 32 mm Plossl eyepiece and a TV 24 mm Wide Field (the scope comes with a 2 inch 30 mm and 1.25 inch 9 mm eyepiece, and I will try those later), focusing on on the Orion nebula M42.

In both the 24 and 30 the nebula was bright and extended to the full field of view, and I could detect the four primaries in Trapezium with ease. They’re more sharply defined in the Q but were brighter in the Z, which is to be expected. All elements worked as expected.

As an aside, I opted for the Z8 instead of the Z10 because I did not feel that the gain in limiting magnitude (14.5 in the Z10 v 14.0 in the Z8) warranted the extra weight and size. As I learned 35+ years ago when I sold my Celestron C8 (that my wife lovingly referred to as “the bomb”) for my Questar, a telescope is only as fun and useful as it is convenient and easy to operate, so for now the Z8 is fine.

Expecting to try it on the moon, Jupiter and Saturn tonight in a side by side with the Q.

All in all very pleased with the design and build quality of the Z8, and it seems like a great purchase for a sub-$500 scope. If you’re thinking of getting one and have questions or comments feel free to post.


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#2 coopman


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Posted 22 November 2020 - 02:28 PM

Thanks Ron.  Like you, I am retired and have determined that an 8" Dob has just about the optimum balance of performance and convenience for us old people who are realizing that we just can't do the things that we used to be able to do when younger.  The tube assembly and the base weigh about 20-25 pounds each.  I like a Newtonian better than an SCT because there is no corrector plate to dew up and I like the wider FOV of the Newt.  With the proper wide field eyepiece, an f/5 or f/6 Newt. provides awesome wide field views and collects enough light to give decent high power lunar/planetary views too when the skies permit.  I do have a 10" Dob as my largest aperture, but honestly I hardly ever take it out of the garage.  It's just so much easier to pick one of my other scopes instead.           

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#3 Echolight


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Posted 22 November 2020 - 04:24 PM

I'm thinkin an XT8i might be in my future. A little lighter than the Z8 and I figured I'd find a lot more obscure objects with the intelliscope option here on the outer edge of the urban light dome. Also figured I'd appreciate the f5.9 bs the f4.7 of the 10 inch for ease of collimation and less coma.


The C8 on the AVX works well for finding stuff and seems plenty bright. But no substitute for simplicity of setup and added field of view for me when it comes to versatility and actually getting used.

Edited by Echolight, 22 November 2020 - 04:26 PM.

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#4 Bigal1817


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Posted 07 December 2020 - 04:27 PM

Thank you for sharing.  I own the AD8 which I understand to be identical to the Z8.  Like you, I opted for the 8 over the 10 and am pleased.  I do wish it were a little sharper around stars, perhaps I need to buy a Questar!

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#5 Sheol


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Posted 07 December 2020 - 07:04 PM

           I went the opposite route, & moved up from 8 inch to 12 inch. Maybe a mistake? Only time will tell. Right now, Scope ready, astronomer knocked on butt by nasty cold(?). Well I hope that is all it is, I have already had to be tested for Covid 19 twice this year. Last one cost me, but found out it was treatable Sinus infection. I just got everything finally set up for my First Light & the 'Scope is sitting in my foyer waiting to go to the backyard. Right now, I do not have the energy to take my binoculars outside.

            Anyway, thank you for your report, you should enjoy your scope. As for M.42, here is something that can really be outstanding. Let it drift into your FOV, you will realize how big it REALLY is.



                Clear Skies,


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#6 coopman


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Posted 07 December 2020 - 09:12 PM

Hope that you get well soon, Matt.

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#7 cuzimthedad


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Posted 07 December 2020 - 09:50 PM

This has been a long struggle for you Matt but you'll definitely be reaping the benefits of patience soon. Just focus on getting well sir.

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#8 Bonco2


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Posted 08 December 2020 - 04:14 PM


Enjoyed your report. I downsized from a Z10 to an XT8. For me at 72 years old it was a good decision. I' m using the 8 more often and while the performance difference is noticeable it's not significant. I'm impressed with the  quality of the components, ie the spider, mirror cell, and focuser. The red dot finder was immediately replaced with a quality 9X50 illuminated finder. The mount while having very simple bearings, works smoothly. I agree it's a good product at a reasonable price.  


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