Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass

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Brand and Model:Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
Price ($USD):$389.00
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:102mm (4")
f Ratio:f/12.7
Focal Length:1300mm
Electric Power:Optional
Mount:EQ-2 German Type
Tripod:Adjustable height, Alum w/ acces
Weight (lbs):21.9 lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):11"
Description:So Much To See.. .. ..So Little Effort
The StarMax 102 provides plenty of light-gathering power (28% more light than a 90mm), quality Maksutov-Cassegrain optics, portability, and affordability.

Its 102mm, fully multi-coated front corrector lens renders the rings of Saturn in razor-sharp detail and coaxes out the gaseous tendrils of the Orion Nebula. And with its 1300mm focal length (f/12.7) it has the same magnification range (up to 200x) as longer, bulkier refractors in a tube less than 12" long! T-threads on the eyepiece adapter enable direct attachment of a 35mm camera body (with optional T-ring) for short-exposure shoots.

Accessories are top-of-the-line: a sturdy German-type EQ-2 equatorial mount with dual setting circles and manual slow-motion controls; a 1.25" fully coated 25mm Sirius Plössl eyepiece; a 90° mirror star diagonal; and a 6x26 correct-image finder scope, and a fully padded carrying case!
One-year limited warranty.

Orion StarMax 102mm EQ Compact Mak Page
Collimating a Starmax
Cloudy Night's Starmax v. C102

Vote Highlights Vote
Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
I have used this scope for over a month now, it was purchased from Orion. The optics are impressive for a mass-produced scope. Mine did however need to be collimated properly upon delivery. This could be difficult for a new stargazer.

The mirror shows some spherical aberration during a star test at 217x. (Typical of machined polished optics). Due to the long f/ratio this is not really much of a problem in this telescope.

This is the worst thing about this setup, but it is still usable and acceptable. This is clearly a China attempt at manufacturing a cheap mount. I had to tighten everything a lot more than I should have and the R.A. decal spins making it impossible to be even fairly accurate, but what can you expect for the price. At least vibration is not bad and the mount considering everything is still usable with this MAK.

Ease of Use:
This telescope is extremely easy to use. The focuser is a pleasure to use compared to the rack-and-pinion Synta style focusers. This setup is very portable and light.

I think the telescope is a very good value. If you want color free views, great lunar and planetary performance, quicker cool down times than a Mak127, and a telescope with acceptable forgiving optics, then the Orion Mak102 is your telescope.

I would have given this telescope a "10", but if you have a cold climate and are unable to leave this scope in an unheated area, then the cool down times could get annoying. I have noticed cool down times take anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes with this scope to acclimate.

The Moon is stunning and a purer color than in an achromat. Above powers of 200x the views began to slowly loose sharpness (varies from eyepiece design).

Darkenings and polar ice cape seen.

Double stars:
Rigel is easily split at medium powers. Castor is widely split at 217x. The image is extremely sharp and the 10th mag. C component is seen with direct vision. Orion Nebula and the trapezium looks breath-taking with a 32mm plössl with more detail at 87x with a 15mm plössls.

DSO & Open Clusters:
The Double-Cluster fits in the same FOV with a 32mm plössl and looks 3D. All the Messier galaxies and some of the NGC ones can be seen with this telescope.

One great thing about this telescope is that you can use cheap eyepieces and they will give you excellent views due to the long f/12.7 focal length of the telescope. The long focal length is very forgiving of aberrations and can save the user big time on costly 5+ element eyepieces. Some observers may not like the narrower field of view this long focus instrument has while other will be thrilled with the quality of the views.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:6 Ease of Use:9 Value:9
Weight: 20 (Notable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.32.98)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=574721

Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
The scope I received is absolutely wonderful. It produces bright, contrasty, and well resolved images of every major class of object. The views of the planets surpass everything I've ever seen in lesser aperture high-end refractors including small flourites. There are only two minor criticisms, the focuser and the diagonal.
The focuser is a bit stiff especially in cold weather, very annoying at high magnification. I replaced the diagonal with a Televue that cost $75. That really lets the scope show how great it truly is. The EQ-2 mount is adequate for this scope. The finder seems small until you consider that your only looking for bright objects anyway. If your interests lie in faint fuzzies get at least a 6" dob. Unless wide angle views are very important to you DO NOT buy an expensive or even a cheap refractor until you seen a view through one of these scopes!

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 8 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.224.101)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41389

Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
Got this little gem a couple of months ago and I gotta tell you, I've found my planetary/lunar scope (at least for a while ;)). I can see more detail in the starmax 102 than in my XT8. And on the moon, it is fantastic. Sharpest optics I've ever seen. Ya ok so it doesn't make a good rich field scope (show me a mak that IS). The mount is the eq-2 which works very well with this scope. More than steady enough and the tripod is steady as well with this small tube on it. The included eyepiece is a 25mm plossel (Orion's catalog says it is a sirius but all my sirius plossels are MgFl coated and this 25mm is multi coated on at least the eye and field lenses)of excellent quality. Field is flat and tack sharp to the edge of field (using the 25mm ep).

Focus is great on my sample... I have noticed a very slight image shift that is only seen at very high power (250+ which is technically over the 50x per inch rule but this scope handles it well with good conditions/seeing). The person who had a problem with his/her focuser said that it happened over time so maybe it'll get worse, but I've been using mine regularly and I can't even detect image shift at less than 200x.

Highly recommended (nearly as good as FINE 90mm florite optically only the mak has less color... )

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 8 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.22.44)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41388

Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
I've had the opportunity to observe 3 shadow transits with this scope and I have been astonished at the scopes ability to hold a jet black perfect bullethole at 130x. During two of the transits I was able to see the moon against the face of the planet while it was still at least 15" from the limb. Under better than average seeing the 4 moons are resolved into disks.
On Saturn the Cassini division is always visible at 81x as is banding on the globe. The scope will use 194x on very steady nights. At this power it splits Alnitak very cleanly. I've already given this scope a 10.

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: 7 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.224.101)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=59608

Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
Orion hit the nail on the head with this one! What a nice scope! The scope is very solid and made of quality metal parts and superior optics. All knobs are real high quality and it even came with a real nice carrying case, awesome finder scope and solid tripod. I have seen great detail of the creaters, rills and shadows of the moon. Planetary and deep space objects are very visible through this scope. I am already thinking about a 3X barlow lens and additional eyepieces. I will own this scope for a long time. What a great deal for someone just starting out. It is so easy to use. Also, the type of scope that an intermediate user would be proud to own and will not out grow for a long long time! Enjoy the sky everyone! If anyone has any question drop me an email at ss_designer@yahoo.com! Thanks Orion!

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.34.123)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41384

Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
this is the best small scope i have ever used.... i highly recommend it to anyone looking for a small scope ,light weight,easy set up... period..!!

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.44.239)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41386

Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
Mine is an absolutely superb little OTA (Apex 102, which is with no tripod), excepting the focusing mechanism. The focusing mechanism is primary mirror, and worked well initially with no image shift & no noticeable backlash. However, as time went on, backlash began to develop - - - ending up with a totally unacceptable amount of backlash (read 'slop') in the system. Even on something as simple as the moon, the focusser cannot be just rocked back & forth to catch the best focus - - - when one twists it thru focus and then attempts to tweak it back to catch the 'sweet spot', y'gotta turn the focus knob thru a few degrees of nothing before the gears pick up - - - so one has to twist her thru the sweet spot and then very carefully make a reverse tweak stab, in the hope of hitting it close enough.
I have an f5 Newt from Orion (130ST), and the ordinary old rack'n pinion focuser on it is totally superior to the 102 Mak - - - subjectively, I'd say the Newt focuser backlash is just non-existent when compared to the 102 Mak.
I looked into procuring some type of rack'n pinion focuser for the little Mak, and found JMI makes what will do the job, but for very near the price of the little Mak.
Oh yeah - - - I sent the 102 Mak back to Orion & they advised me that the focusing mechanism for it met Orion's specifications.
Yeah, most readers of this will probably guess - - - I'm now considering an ITE Astro Rubinar 100 Mak - - - which does not use primary mirror focusing.
Fred Woodruff

Overall Rating: 5
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.8.34)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41385

Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
I have had this scope for a year now and everything works well,focuser included. For a 4 inch scope this baby paks a whallop when it comes to it's optics. Nice images up to 210 power normal on clear still nights. EQ mount acceptible for price range,but needed tweeking a bit to become stable for my likes. Had to grease and tighten pivot base to stop drifting but no big deal. I had to modify mount and tripod on more expensive units in my time,but thoght you should know none the less. If you need to dampen vibration on tripod use gel insoles from doc. shoals, they work great and cost less than pads you buy for tripod feet. Optics are superb for this price scope but mount and tripod left a bit to be desired. It's just my two sense worth. Would have rated higher but for mount and tripod. But overall a good scope for the money no doubt! Mike

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:8 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.92.238)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=592372

Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
Looks small, but good power for beginners. Mount is bulky which limits portability.

Excellent optics - passed the star test near perfect!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:9 Mount:8 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.161.195)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=400545

Orion Starmax 102 Mak/Cass
I just want to say i love this little scope the optics are outstanding for the price I have seen cloud belts on jupiter and luner transits,I have seen the cassini's division on saturn and some of its moons.I have even pushed the magnification to over 400 on saturn and the moon on those rare steady nights with a perfect focus.This little telescope has very good contrast for its size on deapsky objects I can easily see the dark center of m-57 on a steady night.The mount is quite good but it could be a little better.And its very easy to use I would know because i'm only 14.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:8 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.138.182)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=251919

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