I picked up for myself a little 127mm Synta made Mak not too long ago. The brand name is of no consequence as Synta is the OEM to many different brands not only for which it is the parent company of but to many others. And this little scope is available in many different flavours...
What was of most importance to me though was figuring out just how good this scope was. Granted, it is just one random sample, but a good place to start all the same.
To begin with, I did compare it side by side with a C5. The C5 was collimated to as good as it could be (I take my time with collimation and know how to work with mirror shift with this). The Mak was straight out of the box and did need some collimation tweaking, but I couldn't wait to do a first up drag race. Even though the Mak was running a little rough, it left the C5 for dead.
Acclimating? Not a problem as both scopes were insulated so this was not a point of contention.
Eyepieces and diagonal? The same diagonal was swapped between the two scopes and the same eyepieces used (yes the Mak has a slightly longer fl), but also compared at as close to the same magnification as I could get between them.
With all of this and the Mak not being collimated to its best, the Mak just left the C5 in its wake for clarity, focus and resolution.
Next was collimating the scope and pushing it to what it can really do. And Oh My! This baby can swing!
The scope does show some mirror shift. Not a major problem and it can be worked with. I'd rather not see mirror shift but this is how Synta does things.
Ok, now that it was collimated until I had it squealing the time came to thrash it. My first test was splitting a couple of double star systems. First up was Pi Lupi, a 1.6" pair of similar magnitude - Check! An easy split. Not especially testing for this aperture, but the quality of the image and spacing was really lovely. Next was Antares, wider than Pi Lupi but the magnitude difference makes it a contrast test - Check! This is not a scope I would be using to go splitting double stars myself as I have 9" Santel Mak that I would use for such an exercise, but this little scope has shown itself to be capable all the same.
The last test in the reckoning was to spot the trio of craters Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin. The old orange tube C8 I had struggled to show them even under very good seeing conditions, the brand new Meade 8" SCT (brand new in 2017) I had totally failed to show them, the C5 just managed to show Armstrong, and this 127 Mak had no problem with the trio in just good seeing conditions. WOOHOO!! Now here is a mass production scope that is really VERY good.
The 9" Santel shows much smaller craters around Aldrin and Collins, but this is a different beast.
I picked up this 127mm Mak as a grab'n'go for myself and for sidewalk astronomy, and I am really, happy with it. Astonished actually.
No need to show what this Mak looks like - there is nothing unique about the appearance of this Synta Mak that isn't already available as an image on the Net. The insulation wrap I made for it is from a sheet of Coreflute that I salvaged from the last local election that was being used as an advertising placard, costing me nix . But I did go to town on decorating it as it was a blank canvas that was goading me to take to it... I will be most disappointed if the girls and boys in Blue are not called on me especially with the flashing LED I've put in it I have also added a fan to the dewshield end of the wrap as this simple addition keeps the corrector nice and dry from dew - the flap that the fan sits under can be seen in the pic showing the LED light.
The last pic I took with an Oppo phone the other night, handheld, with a Prostar 20mm 68° eyepiece. It is not the best photo of the Moon, but for a single frame point and shoot I think it is pretty good. I can't wait to see what I can do using a smartphone adapter with this scope! And as for more orthodox AP at least of the Moon and planets, I have to see if I go there with it - I kinda do like what the Santel does too...
Thanks for reading my review,