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Absolute Beginner - Zhumell Z130 vs Orion Starblast II 4.5

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#1 Simebaby

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 03:33 PM

Hi All

Sorry for any daft questions - I’m a complete beginner to this.

I’m looking to get a scope primarily for my 12-year old daughter (but for me as well). As kids do have a tendency to lose interest in things, I’m after something that’s easy to use and around the £200 or under mark - but good enough to actually present a little bit of “wow” factor - so something that will at least give a good view of the closer planets - Mars, banding on Jupiter, Saturn’s rings etc.

I’ve done some reading and narrowed it down to the Zhumell Z130 and the Starblast 4.5. The main thing is whilst I can find plenty of info and reviews on the Orion, I can’t really find much around the Zhumell, which looks to be the better scope on paper - Dob rather than EQ which I’m guessing will be easier for a beginner (and a 12-year old), larger apature etc. I expect we’ll be looking at better eyepieces, a Barlow etc etc as we get more experienced.

Am I on completely the wrong lines with these two? Anyone out there with the Zhumell who can report on performance, usability etc?

TIA

Si

 


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#2 rhetfield

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 03:56 PM

The dob would be easier to use than the EQ.  It will also be much easier for a kid to carry arround and set up.

 

More importantly, the zhumell is an F5 scope.  That means that it is easier to collimate and focus and will perform better at higher magnifications.  It will give much better planetary views as a result. 

 

The Starblast 4.5 is an F4 scope.  It will give wider views at lower magnification, but will struggle at higher magnification.  In this case, the F4 vs F5 is a bigger issue than 4.5" vs 5".

 

The Starblast 4.5 also comes in a dob version.  This version is quite a bit smaller and lighter than the zhumell.

 

There is also the AWB OneSKy/heritage 130 which is a collapsible version of the zhumell.  It folds up smaller and is a bit lighter but does not have as nice of a focuser.

 

With the little dobs, you can add paper degree circles to point them at targets using the coordinates from a phone app.  This makes it easy to find a lot of objects.


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#3 sevenofnine

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 04:08 PM

Welcome flowerred.gif The Zhumell Z130 is often recommended on this forum as a decent table top reflector. Just realize that you will have to figure out something sturdy to set it on. Orion has a similar model in their Starblast series (not the EQ). It's a table top reflector as well. Similar price point. These scopes are often used in introduction to astronomy classes. They can be stored in large Rubbermaid tubs that can serve the dual purpose of having something to set it on if nothing better is available. Either of these scopes should be fine for your purpose IMO. Good luck with your choice! waytogo.gif


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#4 paul hart

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 04:09 PM

Hi and welcome to CN! You are right about the EQ mount-it is a bit of a pain and I personally prefer an alt-az mount. Did you know the Orion Starblast is also available in a similar tabletop alt-az mount?  Both are decent scopes. If it were me, I would probably go for the Zhumell because of the slightly larger aperture (130mm vs 114mm). Neither of these telescopes are "planet killers" You will see Saturn's rings. The 4 largest moons of Jupiter and 2 cloud bands, but you won't see too much detail. The place where these scopes do very well would be in very dark sky areas on larger brighter objects like The Beehive Cluster, The Pleiades and sweeping through the Milky Way. Years ago I owned a 4.5" Starblast and it was a good little scope.


Edited by paul hart, 07 May 2021 - 04:11 PM.

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#5 Jim R

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 04:21 PM

My two cents: I think both OTAs are pretty good. I agree that a dob mount is the way to go. Zhumell made by GSO, which, in my opinion, is a better (slightly) manufacturer than Synta that Orion uses. In the end, either choice would be ok with a dob mount.
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#6 ShaulaB

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 04:25 PM

I use a 4.5 inch StarBlast for outreach. Lots of families have looked through it.

Spend another bit of money to buy a zoom eyepiece for either scope.
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#7 Simebaby

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 04:41 PM

Thanks all smile.gif

Just pushed the button on the Zhumell. Hopefully arriving Monday - fingers crossed for some clear skies!


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#8 CBM1970

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 05:06 PM

I purchased a Starblast 6 (150mm) a few months ago (my first scope in decades) and I really like it.

 

Despite the name and the fact that it is an Orion scope, its design seems much more like the Z130 than the Starblast 4.5". (It's f5 and the mount seems very similar as well.) The Z130 is probably a little lighter and easier to manage than what I have.

 

I recommend it wholeheartedly. I picked up an inexpensive 2x barlow and 7-21 mm zoom eyepiece. These and the 25mm and 10mm eyepieces that came with it provide almost the whole range of magnifications the scope is capable of.  I have a fair amount of experience using telescopes (albeit decades ago), but I can honestly say that this scope and set of eyepieces will keep me busy for quite some time. I expect you'd have a similar experience with the Z130.

 

My only challenge is figuring out what works with the scope ergonomically, in terms of table/chair combinations. The good news is that it will sit on lots of different surfaces with good stability. I even set it up on a Rubbermaid tote sometimes.

 

Good luck and enjoy whatever scope you choose.


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#9 rhetfield

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 05:46 PM



My only challenge is figuring out what works with the scope ergonomically, in terms of table/chair combinations. The good news is that it will sit on lots of different surfaces with good stability. I even set it up on a Rubbermaid tote sometimes.

Good luck and enjoy whatever scope you choose.[/quote] for a z130, depending on your height, the chair will either be the same height as the table or a few inches taller.
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#10 nebula24x

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Posted 07 May 2021 - 07:17 PM

I just picked up a z130 and love it. Easy to set up out of box. Was eyeing it or 6" dob and it was in stock first (for correct price). Mostly been looking at moon and constellations since planets won't be until later (not waking up early to see stuff).

 

I used it with celestron zoom, celestron 32mm and svbiny 9mm.

 

Nice starter scope for me for the small amount of time I have to view stuff. Beats the old 60mm hand me down that was always hard to target/aim.

 

Built a table using parts from lowes for it but also worked fine on small backyard table (nownhas plants on it). Fits perfect with my patio chairs.

 

Fits nicely in closet too below shelf. EPs in a lunchbox.

 

20210418_195954.jpg

 

Screenshot_20210507-191602_Gallery.jpg

 

Some moon shots: 

https://www.cloudyni...ere/?p=11048093

 

Buy whichever in stock first. smile.gif

 

Might get a 102mm mac in a year or so for better planet views so have a wide scope and smaller field scope. And to just try one out.

 

Ps. Mars is moving away so going to be small for 2 years (I think). But should be good for Jupiter and Saturn.


Edited by nebula24x, 07 May 2021 - 07:42 PM.

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#11 vtornado

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 06:25 PM

Might get a 102mm mac in a year or so for better planet views so have a wide scope and smaller field scope. -- nebulat 24x

Your 130 will out perform a 100mm mct.   Don't drink the mac kool aid.  They are nice scopes, but do not perform miracles.

 

To the OP. get the 130, slightly more aperture, and f/5 is more forgiving than 4.5.


Edited by vtornado, 08 May 2021 - 06:26 PM.

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#12 Jay6879

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Posted 08 May 2021 - 07:18 PM

Hi All

Sorry for any daft questions - I’m a complete beginner to this.

I’m looking to get a scope primarily for my 12-year old daughter (but for me as well). As kids do have a tendency to lose interest in things, I’m after something that’s easy to use and around the £200 or under mark - but good enough to actually present a little bit of “wow” factor - so something that will at least give a good view of the closer planets - Mars, banding on Jupiter, Saturn’s rings etc.

I’ve done some reading and narrowed it down to the Zhumell Z130 and the Starblast 4.5. The main thing is whilst I can find plenty of info and reviews on the Orion, I can’t really find much around the Zhumell, which looks to be the better scope on paper - Dob rather than EQ which I’m guessing will be easier for a beginner (and a 12-year old), larger apature etc. I expect we’ll be looking at better eyepieces, a Barlow etc etc as we get more experienced.

Am I on completely the wrong lines with these two? Anyone out there with the Zhumell who can report on performance, usability etc?

TIA

Si

 

 

+1 for the Orion Starblast 4.5, though I wouldn't get the equatorial version, I've heard the tripod is kinda crappy. I've got thr tabletop version and it is an incredible telescope for the size and price. Here are some pics of Jupiter and Saturn that I've captured using the Starblast and a Neximage Burst.

 

https://www.cloudyni...ess/?p=11088328

 

I've heard only good things about the Zhumell but I can only speak for the Starblast!


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#13 Angeles

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Posted 09 May 2021 - 10:11 PM

I think the 5 inch is a bit better than the 4 1/2 inch it might seem like a half inch diameter is not much but it’s a decent amount also I think an F5 system is just way better overall than a f 4 system

Two telescopes that are similar is the skywatcher heritage 130 mm which is a 5 inch but with the open design you might need a shroud and I don’t like how it’s not a real focuser

so I think the Zummell is a better build its also 130mm but it seems to be double the price
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#14 Simebaby

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Posted 17 May 2021 - 05:28 PM

Thanks all. Zhumell arrived last week and we’ve had a play. Just caught the Starlink satellites passing overhead - daughter (and me) hooked!


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