Orion Skyquest XT12i Dobsonian

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Brand and Model:Orion Skyquest XT12i Dobsonian
Price ($USD):949
Attributes: checked Go-To un-checked PEC
f Ratio:4.9
Focal Length:1500mm
Electric Power:None
Mount:Dobsonian Alt-Az
Weight (lbs):85
Dimensions (w/h/d):40cm/150cm/-
Description:Orion's 12" version of it's popular Skyquest intelliscope dobsonian reflector series. Go-To computer sold seperately $149 US.

Vote Highlights Vote
Orion Skyquest XT12i Dobsonian
I bought this scope about 20 months ago and love it more and more.
The 4 compelling reasons I picked this scope were ( and still would be)
1) Aperture
2) Ease of use (the best scope is the one you will use)
3) Object locator
and of course price.
All 4 reasons get a 10 score.

I bought it with a Telrad 0x finder. I will replace that with a laser pointer (see scopestuff.com).
My first upgrade was a higher power eyepiece. I have a 7mm Nagler and 2x Barlow.
My next upgrade will be a Starlite 2 speed focuser (for higher powers and heavier eyepieces) The thumbscrews and rack and pinion are just awful with the 2" Barlow and eyepieces.
Then a wide angle 22mm Nagler, which will me 60% more (1.2 degrees) true FOV of the 25mm plossl the scope came with, but a great 4.5mm exit pupil.

The optics are absolutly great! Star tests (as good one as the air will let me have around here) are spot on. I collimate almost every use, since I carry it in and out the back door several times a month. It is no more trouble than swapping eyepieces now. Ease is definitely a 10. Its a Dob!

Clusters get a WOW! out of anyone. Resolved to the core.
colorful doubles also entertain, very tight points of color.
Planetary is a bit disappointing, contrast is awful. Neutral density filters seem to be the best help. Off axis mask helps also, but then I'm down to 4" resolution performance. I will try blackening the inside of the tube better. Probably end up a refractor. Probably go with aperture over apo.
I am still tring to track down things like the Cresent, Veil and North American nebulas. I need wider views and more contrast. Probably have to leave the back yard for darker skies. I am waiting on my 22Nag.

I recommend (insist) any of these Intelliscopes for a first scope. They will get used, and they are highest value. Anything first timer on an EQ will end up on EBay. But then how do they find stuff? These scopes are it for first timers. And one with this much aperture will last for years. Also recommended for experienced astronomers looking to try out some aperture cheaply or ease of a Dob.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:7 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=571473

Orion Skyquest XT12i Dobsonian
I purchased this scope about 2 weeks ago. I disassembled the mirror cell, redrilled the holes on the 9 point flotation pads
and loosened them enough to actually work. Before this the triangular pads were pretty much locked in place - very stiff.
I then released the mirror hold down clamps - looks like (at least the one I have) they put the wrong hold downs on this mirror - too short, causing excessive strain on the mirror. I cut them down for minimum diffraction , set the tension correctly and reassembled. I mention this mainly because after making these adjustments, I was very surprised at what I saw through the eyepiece at first light.
I've seen and evaluated a lot of optics. This is the first newtonian (including an Optical Craftsman 10" f/7 and a Galaxy 12.5" f/4.8) which has such a perfect star test that I have yet to identify any faults. I'm still waiting for a near perfect night, but even in so - so seeing, the images through this scope are impressive. Last night the Moon was just past half phase and high in the sky which helped seeing a bit. Turbulence was quite evident and caused high speed blurring of fine surface detail. Even so, 400x was usable with literally hundreds to small craters visible in the area of Copernicus. I think ,in near perfect seeing, 800x would show even more fine detail.
I have seen enough variance in optics over the years to realize that this one may be a fluke, but I'd like to give whoever made this mirror a bit fat kiss right on the lips.
If you purchase one, have someone knowledgeable make those mods and adjustments - If you are lucky, you may just find that your average mirror becomes a great one like mine !

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:8 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=500931

I have a 12XTi that with modest modifications (tube flocking, blackening the edges of the secondary mirror, obtaining a helical fine focus adapter and installing a cooling fan for the primary), throws up some of the best reflector images I have ever seen from any reflecting telescope, bar none.  At around $1,100 with digital setting circles thrown in, the 12XTi is a fantastic steal.  Mechanically it's a bit flimsy.  The OTA is too heavy for the thin side boards which causes too much lateral flexure.  The 10XT is extremely solid by comparison.  The mount for the 12XTi is under built.  It's not as smooth axially as any of the high end Dobsonians (Obsession, Starmaster, etc.).

Not an heirloom by any means.  It's not a scope you'll be handing down to your grand children one day, but optically to use and enjoy for the next several years it's wonderful.

Orion Skyquest XT12i Dobsonian
Bought a used XT12i recently. My other scope is a very fine Celestron Ultima 2000 (8" GOTO). The Orion optics are what you'd expect for the price: okay but not great. Even after collimation, it's hard to bring stars to pinpoint focus. Overall optics clearly are inferior to my U2000. However, there's no question about the light-gathering ability of 12" aperture! I definitely can see more detail in dim nebulas and clusters, for example, than I can with the 8" scope. Plus, the Orion is a snap to use. It's much easier than the "automated" U2000. I have the computerized object locator and have been able to place targets in the FOV of an inexpensive 20mm EP (75X) very reliably. It's a bit tricky to manually make fine (fractional-degree) adjustments given the mount's stickiness, but after a few seconds I can get the target into view. (And the mount's motion could easily be improved if I wanted to invest a little time working on it.) Collimation is easy. Overall, I'm using the XT12i more than my U2000 because of the greater ease of use and enhanced light-gathering ability in my suburban site. I expect that eventually I'll replace both with a high-quality 12 - 15" dob, which is quite a change in my thinking!

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:7 Mount:8 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=452843

Orion Skyquest XT12i Dobsonian
This is my first Dob. Lx 200's have been my scope(s) of choice. Bought this one from 20/20 Optical at "Astrofest", here in Illinois. I am very impresed. Other than the azmuth rotation could be a little smoother, I have no complaints. and even this is an easy fix. I also bought the "computer object finder" which is not bad at all. Mind you that it is not as accurate as an Lx 200, but that was not the goal here. Optics are good, considering the price of this scope. and the ease of operation is a breath of fresh air, and down right fun. Now I can see why there are so many die hard Dobsonian fans out there. For a scope in this price range, I don't think that you could hope for more. Mine will surely be getting a lot of use. Those guys and gals at 20/20 Optical are not bad ether, a real pleasure to talk to and do bussiness with.Especially Wes.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=388260

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