Skywatcher 150


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Skywatcher 150
Purchased this scope at the NEAF show in NY a few weeks ago from Hnads on Optics. I was all set to get the CR150HD but learned that Gary Hand would be importing these scopes from Sky Instruments in Canada and was also going to take care of service so when I went to the show I looked real close at both. First thing is except for the color there exactly the same, even down to the improved EQ4/CG5 mount (improved RA bearings). The only differences were ones blue and $200 less than the celestron which is black, I like the blue. I have had several refractors in the past year, C102HD, Orion Skywatcher 120, Photon 127 and now the Skywatcher150 and out of all the scopes this is the best so far with the photon coming in second but its also a great scope. The false color on bright objects is really not bad at all, even on the moon and at high powers also the color you see on the limb is a fine line, you alsmost have to look for it, no haylow's here and no purple rings even on bright stars. On the star test at focus you see a nice clean airy disk with very faint difraction rings, maybe 2 on a bright star. Inside of focus you see well defined difration rings that are white and only a very slight redish fuzz on the outermost ring. Outside of focus the difraction rings are also defined but they have a greenish/yellowish tint to them but as far as the achromats I have had so far this has been the best I have seen. Now for this price range lets not expect an AP or a TAK performance but I have looked threw some more costly scopes that have not done as good of job and for just under $1k this is one hell of a scope. The finder is big and works well, focuser is smooth and easily handles a 2" diagonal, the improved mount is very good, RA is silky smooth, DEC lock up tight with zero play, the only thing that is weak on the scope is the tripod legs and once you up grade these you will have a very good package. I would have given it a 10 but the tripod legs nocked it down a point but the optics are that good.
I have done some deep sky but have not had a chance to get it to a dark sight yet. I have had the scope up to 360X on the moon with sharp detailed images, I also pushed it to 450X but it was not on the best of nights you could see sharp images at this power but at times you would get distortion from a semi boiling uper atmosphere. I am sure on a really stable night I have a feeling you could take it to 500X. I did a star test at 300X and was blown away, no other scope I have had was able to do this at even close to this kind of power.
I am very impressed with this scope and if you decide on one of these I would recomend you use the better EP's on the market with it, the better EP's show off the optics really well. I also recomend replacing the diagonal with a 2" type with enhanced coatings ( I bought the Anatres 2" 94% enhanced diagonal but you could go with the lunicon or tel vue ), the 2" lets you to go with a 2" 35mm or 50mm EP that really gives you a latge slice of sky. The detail is tack sharp and has good contrast and should be an excellent all around scope. I can't wait till late August for some nice planetary observations and am looking forward to taking the scope to a dark sight for some deep sky fun. Highly recomended, this is finally a scope for everyone who wants a large refractor with great performance at a resonable investment with great optics.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.111.144)
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Skywatcher 150
First let me explain my 10 rating. For a 6 inch F8 complete refractor with these accessories, the unexplainable slight false color exhibited, the sharp/crisp/contrasty views, and an upgraded equatorial head, at this price is an exceptional telescope. This is now my fourth Chinese made refractor that I have had the pleasure of using this year, (and have checked 3 other 6 inch achromats), and each one has been an unexpected surprise. Firstly my C102HD was a total joy, then a 5 inch photon was even better (see my other posts on these 2 scopes). Now I am just as thrilled with this 6 inch skywatcher. don't get me wrong, the optics on any of these scope were not perfect (all have showed undercorrection or spherical abberration during a star test- but these are not AP quality or AP in price either!). I also have to say that each has shown, crisp views that snap into focus and seems to hold up to magnifications of 60 per inch. They also have shown much less false color then I would have expected for such fast instruments. The Skywatcher 6 inch, as the Photon 5 inch are incredible performers at around $100 per inch for the OTA. I now own just the 6 inch Skywatcher, The instrument gave just as good an image as my 5 inch Photon, with the added advantage of more light gathering power-at roughly the same weight (15lbs vs 18lbs for the 6 incher). the accessories include eith the skywatcher are Two nice quality Plossl eyepieces (10mm and 25mm), a very nice 8X50mm finder with the innovative spring loaded finder bracket assembly, a fair 2x short barlow with a camera adapter attached to the barlow (nice idea for twice prime focus photography), a piggyback camera mount, and also an improved CG5/EQ4 head. All is needed to make this a dynamite combo is to ditch the aluminum tripod, supply a hardwood tripod for increased stability and I would not mind paying another $100 for this setup. This scope has given me some fine views of DSO's/double star/and lunar viewing. You can't go wrong with any of the 3 scopes I have mentioned. Bob Midiri DVAA

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.224.89)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40188


Skywatcher 150
If you're in focus, the color all but disappears in the images of the Moon seen through the Synta 150, with no blue-violet in the shadows. Stars are comaless pin-points in at least 75% of the view. Out of focus star discs are perfectly round, or nearly so, across the field, and sharply defined. Star test:
Inside-some transient non-homogeniety of inner rings (atmospheric play)with slight fuzziness. Thinner rings, slightly less illuminated than outside focus. Blue violet haze of very low
intensity surrounding disc.
Outside-Evenly illuminated disc with clear gaps between inner rings. Inner rings/gaps have decreasing thickness (subjective ratio=
4:2:1:1:0.7). Blue-violet dot at center of disc.

M4 constituents granular with many very tiny sparkles resolved. M81/82 beautiful, with easily defined arms of M82. M57 contrasty-much more so than in Hoon V120SGT2 4.7" (a good glass), in a side-by-side.

The stability of the 150 was quite high, as it was mounted atop a Losmandy GM8. Even with the added weight of the ETX guidescope and camera, the rig was solid.

There was so little image color and so much contrast and resolution in the images I saw the night of 5/27 at Joshua Tree Nat'l Monument, that I am doubtless, and very happy about my decision to purchase the Skywatcher OTA. This is a very easy recommendation to give.

After a two-day recovery, I'll be back out to the park.

OTA Rating: 9.5

Overall Rating: No Vote
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Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.83.99)
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Skywatcher 150
Upgrade the tripod to wood or convert to a pier and replace the diagonal with a Lumicon or Televue and you have a winner! This scope takes down all 8" SCT's and all the Mak-Cass's and Mak-Newt's of equal aperture on deep-sky. On planetary the Mak's win barely because of color, but cost more! There is only minimal cool down time on the refractor compared to the Maks and Newts. Nice sharp images with large fields of view. No collimation worries ever! I quit using my 7" Mak-Newt when I got this scope! Highly recommended for beginners to advanced.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.252.225)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40190


Skywatcher 150
I bought this scope earlier this year (March) and have found it very good.
The optics are far better than myself and my Astronomy club could imagine..pin sharp and very little false colour considering being an F8 150mm achromatic refractor.
The provided eye pieces(10/25) are run of the mill..and of good quality,the 25mm being the best.
The OTA is well built and rugged,a few adjustments were needed for smooth out the focuser and the Dew Tube removed and replaced with a light plastic one (yes the original is made from steel and weighs nearly 2LB!!!) and balances the tube nicely and saves the mount some work!
The mount is OK and once the backlash is eliminated by adjustment(easy)it works fine.
The tripod as standard is hopeless..but can be cheaply modified to work well.. I have listed the two (main) and easy wobble stopping modifications.
1.Firstly the 6 lugs at the top of the legs are made from plastic and don't fit the upper legs very tightly.. relying on the two screws on each lug to do all the work!..these lugs should be removed bonded back in place with apoxy glue and screwed back in position tightly. 2.The lower legs inserted with planned close fitting hardwood for their full length and also bonded in place.
Owning and using reflectors,SCT's etc..I have found this scope a refreshing change ...Its robust, quick to set up and for Moon and Planet viewing can't be beat for its aperture..and for its price!!! Recommended!

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.38.193)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40191


Skywatcher 150
ADDING to my review..has anyone fitted the MOTOR DRIVES to their EQ4/CG5 mount supplied with this scope?? Do they work OK considering its weight? If you have any views please send them in.
Thanks :-)

Overall Rating: No Vote
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Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.185.169)
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Skywatcher 150
To the above post. I added the dual axis drives to my scope. Compared to the drives that I had with my C102HD/Cg-4 mount, these are more superior. You must have the OTA balanced properly for the drives to function well, and also good polar alignment. Also make sure the clutch knobs are tightened. The response time for actuating the N/S/E/W drive control is on par with my SP mount/ dual axis drives. Response within 1 or 2 seconds. Filling the aluminum legs with sand has helped tremendously in the stability of the system. Bob Midiri

Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.115.213)
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Skywatcher 150
For the price the SW150 is a good value. Very good optics. Star test via Suiter's book, about 1/5 wave undercorrection. However, you need a steady night, the obstruction method, 300X, 58 green filter, and plenty of practice to determine this.

Chromatic aberration is noticeable on bright objects such as Jupiter and Venus. There is a purple halo around Jupiter.

There are oil spots within the tube and a few AL shavings. Fit and finish are 'functional', but this telescope will never make you forget a Tak in workmanship.

However, the views are great for the price and that's why one would get this OTA.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.244.231)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40196


Skywatcher 150
I already had a Celestron 8" /DELUXE which is equiped with the Fastar optic option and a SBIG ST237 camera. I have upgrade and tweaked that scope to be an amazing scope. But I wanted a knock around scope suitable for puplic star parties...and also lusted after a big refrator...but didn't want to buy a APO...at least at the price they are going for. I was going to get the Celestron but the Skywatcher 150 is absolutely identical except for paint and logo. Gary Hand would also sell it minus the items I didn't want...the diagonal, barlow and eyepieces. I already had very high quality accessories so was appreciative I could save another $80 as credit for those items...plus saving about $200 for the Skywatcher vs. the Celestron version.

I knew the tripod would be the limiting factor from previous experience so I built massive home made legs out of 1 3/4" x 3 1/2" hardwood. I used the stock upper section of the German mount and the stock spreader. I set the tripod on a set of the Celestron Vibration Reducing Pads which I have found to be an amazing accessory for any tripod mounted scope. The result is a mount that can easily dampen out a good thump or wind harmonics in less than a second. I pulled the German mount completely apart to see how it was made and was impressed. The RA axis has two ball bearings and the DEC is a bushing. Both axis have brass worm gears with fully adjustable axle play as well as gear lash adjustments. The grease they use is very thick though....too thick in my view so I removed that grease and replaced it with some bicycle ball bearing grease. With fine tuning of the adjustments the mount has excellent tracking with the dual axis drives (if you get them make sure you get the latest version which has brass spur gears...not the older plastic version....stay away from the single axis drive that still has a nylon gear).

I lined the inside of the dew cap and the last bit of the tube with Edmund Scientific black flocked contact paper (past experience on three other scopes show that to be a worthwhile modification). I also removed the elements and blackened the edges of the glass with a black felt tip marker (don't use paint,..it is too thick) The two elements are marked by the factory for correct rotation to each other. I also used three small pieces of Scotch magic mending tape to tape the edges of the two elements in perfect registration with each other. NOTE...this appears to be the one area that some scopes have had a problem with...elements can shift under transportation and go out of colimation/index. The elements are held in place by a lock ring that can be removed by inserting two 1/16" drill bits in each of the spanner holes and it will unscrew with finger pressure. The ring presses against a rubber O ring like piece that presses against the front of the element. This actually is a clever way to ensure that you don't get pinched optics with temperature changes...and hold the elements in quite nicely. The tube itself has three internal baffles and another 4 or so in the focuser. The focuser rides on three rails, one of these is adjustable via two tiny allen screws accessible on the top of the focuser near the chrome focus lock screw. By the way...this arragement is used on all of these Chinese scopes made by Synta. Synta is the manufacturer of all of these Chinese scopes and distributes them to lots of manufacturers. That is why Orion, Celestron, Skywatcher, Bresser, etc. have identical scopes...just different paint. Once adjusted the focuser rivals the smoothness of a Tak I have used...pretty impressive.

Make sure you use a good diagonal and eyepiece with this scope...the optics will reward you. I use a 2" Astro Physics Max Brite or a Lumicon 1 1/4" Enhanced mirror star diagonal borrowed from my other scopes (the 8" SCT and a 80mm refractor). My eyepieces are a nearly complete set of the Pentax XLs (40, 21, 14, 10.5, 7mm and a University Optics 5mm Abbe Ortho). I have heard of some reports of strong purple coloring near bright objects..I get none of that. I do get a barely perceptible yellow fine line around the limbs of the moon. Saturn and Jupiter have no color problems. Thus far only Venus has color...although that is an extremely difficult subject. To do a star test image you need to use a color filter to minimize the effects of the achromat lens. I get about 1/5th wave or better with sperical aberation and of course chromatic aberation present but FAR less than I expected with a achromat 6" fast refractor. In fact it showed less color than even the smaller scopes by the same manufacturer except for one 80mm Short Tube with a particularly excellent optic set. I have found that a star test won't tell you a whole lot with an achromat...it can be misleading. I have had good star tests but actual viewing didn't necessarily indicate great performance...and vice versa. To me the real test is what it does at hard focus. Here is where I have been blown away. As I mentioned originally I saw this scope as a beater scope for the public to abuse somewhat. But the incredibly good views are making me think twice about unleashing the public on this beauty. In direct comparison to some bigger scopes the 6" continues to impress all who look through it. Nebula are very detailed due to the great contrast, detail is very sharp and I have yet to see anything it didn't do well on (other than Venus). I never would have considered a 6" achromat f8 scope to be a planetary scope yet perhaps the best views of Saturn and Jupiter I have seen through ANY scope were with this one. Two weeks ago I had a night of particularly excellent seeing...the best I have had in maybe 3 years. I was able to see 7-9 bands on Jupiter and Saturn was crisp and Casini looked like it was etched with a black pen on the rings. I pushed the magnification up to as high as 480x which still showed a pretty good image...but frankly that was too much for the scope. I backed off to around 340x and the image was razor sharp....in fact for the very first time in my life I believe I actually got some fleeting glimpses of the Enke...I was working alone so couldn't get a second observation but I am pretty sure it was there. If so this would be a pretty impressive observation. I have also gotten the 5th and 6th star in the trapezium...but not the 7th or 8th. With the 8" SCT under good nights of seeing I have gotten the 7th maybe 4 times and the full 8 stars one time. So in the final analysis...aperture still does win...but the 6" shows more contrast. On DSO the 6" does give up a little to the 8" but not much.

So if I like the scope so much how come I gave it a 9 and not a 10...well a ten would be an amazingly versatile and wonderful scope (my 8" Celestron Deluxe with the Fastar setup would rate up there near the 10 range...not because of optic superiority...but because of what it can do). Also...the tripod while fixable is something that would be a nice factory upgrade.

The final exciting news about this scope and the rest of the big Synta scopes is that Aries is about to introduce a achromat to APO converter for these scopes. It will consist of an optic assembly that screws in the filter holder end of a 2" diagonal. Preliminary tests show this to be a very well corrected modification. The price is around $600. If so this combo should make this an even more desireable scope. The latest versions of this scope evidently are being shipped with an adjustable lens cell for colimation via three screws. If so this would be a nice upgrade although I doubt if really necessary. At least in my version the optics are in perfect alignment per the star test. I suspect this was more to deal with the problem of some of the examples having optic shift during shipping alluded to earlier in my review.

You might also ask...for the money...is this a good choice or are there other equal of better choices. For less money you could get a nice bigger DOB. If you just wanted the biggest aperture that would be the way to go. But you wouldn't have the tracking ability. How about a SCT...that would be a tough choice...if I didn't already have one I might recommend that route first. The problem is that for the same amount of money you get the same German mount from China so you still need to do the hop up of the tripod. The refractor does have one big advantage over the SCT and that is the FOV isn't restricted by the secondary mirror so you can go to a long focal length eye piece which paired with the 1200mm focal length of the scope gives a much wider FOV than is possible with the SCT. On the other hand...if you want to do photography...the SCT is fully corrected so it works great. The refractor being an achromat falls down here...at least until equiped with the achro/APO converter promised by Aries. I have done both film photography as well as CCD with the refractor. Film results even in color are pretty good but there are some artifacts of the achromat design. CCD is much more critical of chromatic aberation so this isn't a good option. I was able to get some pretty decent black and white shots when using a IR and yellow filter...but color...don't bother. As far as the mount...I was impressed with its tracking ability as well as how much weight I could load on it and have it still work fine. The basic scope weighs 18#...I added another 2# of lead weight inside the scope nearest the focuser to allow it to balance when pushed farther up in the tube rings (reduces the huge swing of the eyepiece and gets it farther off the ground). I also have added a 80mm guide refractor and a heavy 35mm camera for a total weight of a little over 30#. I was amazed to see that the mount could still guide fine using the Celestron dual axis motor drives! I also tried unguided exposures with the CCD camera to see what duration I could get. I was able to get 40 seconds unguided which alone would be quite good...but I did have periodic error which meant that about half of the shots wouldn't be acceptable. So while this mount would be OK for guided imaging...unguided use for CCD for Stack and Acumulate wouldn't be the best choice. So in the final analysis you could use the scope and mount for film photography (black and white or color) but that wouldn't be the best choice. This scope is best as a visual scope...and that is where it shines.

Synta just introduced a 8" and 10" refractor objective set (not in tubes yet) and they also introduced a very heavy duty German mount more in the class of the Losmandy g-11. Haven't seen any reviews of that mount...or the new optics...but rumor has it that Synta is also going to bring out some APO type scopes. So I suspect that Synta will move into the higher end scopes and perhaps become a VERY serious player in this field. I don't think they will ever replace the very high end scopes like a TMB, AP or Takahashi which has a exlclusive client they are aimed at...but for the rest of us mortals...a Synta APO might be a possibility.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 7 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.134.140)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40197


Skywatcher 150
Pati-pattti-part-part blah-blah bublaaaah!

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.19.155)
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Skywatcher 150
I just thought I'd add my impressions to those posted here and in the Celestron
150 slot. Yes there is some color around brighter objects the amount of which depends on sky conditions (slight haze, etc.), but is suppressed pretty well.

Since I've owned the scope, seeing hasn't permitted serious star testing, but the views at hard focus rival some of the best I've seen in other scopes. This is an aesthetic judgement as different scope types give different views in terms of field, brightness, and contrast. I'm of the opinion that views please some people don't please others as much due to the aethetic nature of seeing things. Since the cost of this scope is currently at $800, the cost/performance ratio is quite high if you can handle its complexity. I built new legs for the tripod out of 2"x3"s 65" longwhich brings the eyepiece at a good height for me.I never used the standard legs. The CG5 mount is just adequate for visual use holding the scope, dew cap (heavy), 5 lbs of ankle weights strapped around the eyepiece end of the OTA, as well as a 2" diagonal with Nagler E.P.s.

The views of planets are good holding magnifications up to 400X though around 375 is better. I consider that to be very good for an $800 scope that outperforms SC types (yes I have mostly used an 8" SC).
Galaxy views are better through really big scopes, but seeing M81 & M82 together in the field of a 9mm Nagler with both showing a mottled appearence under so-so skies was a real knock-out! Keep in mind that this is just a 6" scope.
The Owl Nebula showed its eyes and the Eskimo showed detail as well. The Orion Nebula in 9mm Nagler, (133x)shows rippling that is just not as evident in my SC.
The FOV in a Televue 40mm Widefield takes in more than Orion's sword or the Pleades. As you can see, I'm pretty stoked about this scope's performance.

Though hardly a "perfect" scope, I can't help but think what my past 20 odd years of this hobby would have been like if a scope like this had been around. For the money, it is very hard to beat.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.71.155)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40199


Skywatcher 150
Corrected typo to the above posting:
I meant 275x magnification being best on lunar/planetary observing.
My apologies, I know people read these reviews with an eye toward making choices about product purchases.

Overall Rating: No Vote
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Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.176.252)
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Skywatcher 150
Have used this scope for about 2 months now. Got the 150 as an OTA only and mounted it on the Viven GP-DX mount and heavy duty Aluminum tripod. Under the tripod I placed Celestron anti-vaibration pads. Use the Astrophysics 2" MAXBRIGHT diagonal with Vixen Lanthium Superwides, and Takahasi 5 and 7.5mm ED eyepieces. With this set up vibrations settle within 1 to 2 seconds. The moon, Saturn, and Jupiter are tak clear with virtually no aberations.. a Miniscule purple halo around Jupiter that you have to strain to see. I get a near perfect star test without reduction of apature. Either I got really great optics or the diagonal and eyepieces with ED glass are making a significant difference. For the price I rate this scope a 10. Excellent brightness and contrast. Star test vwas symetrical either side of focus...

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.155.69)
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Skywatcher 150
I picked up an OTA only as I already had a G11 mount. The optics in this one seem to be quite good. Chromatic aberration is really only a problem on Jupiter. The moon shows just a small amount of purple at the limb. Detail on Jupiter and Saturn is very impressive. Deep sky views are beautiful. The focuser is okay, not great.

Overall I've been happy the 150. I think it's a good buy for the money.

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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.221.66)
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Skywatcher 150
For the most part I haven't seen many comments on eyepieces that function well with the Skywatcher 150. My current eyepices consist of: 8mm, 11mm, and 15mm Televue plossls; Tak-LE 5mm, and TAK-LE 7.5mm eyepieces; the Vixen Lanthium
22mm Superewide. I chose these eyepieces after months of speaking with many refractor owners in seeing what has worked the best for them.. The Vixen Superwide prvides clear and crisp views. It is clear to the edge with my SW 150
and is really as low in power as one needs to go to orient yourself with starfields. It really provides excellent wide field views of the moon and star clusters, and M31 looks really great with this baby along with its companian galaxies. Less glass means more light especially for deep space objects and that where my Televue plossls really shine. I use my 15mm to orient with then work up to higher power with the 11mm and 8mm. The area of view is much less with the plossls but by eliminating the light from other surrounding objects really appears to increase the contrast and with only 3 orv 4 elements the amount of light coming to your eye really makes the difference. With my TAK-eyepieces I find they are best when viewing the moon and planets. THe LE glass in them gives an edge with color correction. I now use Sirius Optics MV1
filter in combination with my TAKS and find that focus is much easier and I am able to use my SW 150 at a much higher magnification than without the filter. I also find virtually no bluish-violet chromatic abberation jupiter with this combination. However there is a slight color change of the object with the MV1. Lets hear more from others on eyepieces that you have tried with the SW 150 refractor.

Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.155.60)
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Skywatcher 150
works well . better with tuning

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:7 Mount:7 Ease of Use:5 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.191.40)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=70283


Skywatcher 150
Front heavy, under mounted and has more purple haze than Jimmy Hendrix. Still, it deserves an extra couple of points for just being a 6 inch refractor, so a 7 it is.

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:7 Mount:4 Ease of Use:5 Value:7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.62.186)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=483403


Skywatcher 150
Just wondering, all you guys who gave this a 10, what would an AP155 or Tak 152 rate? 20?

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:6 Mount:4 Ease of Use:6 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.135.90)
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Skywatcher 150
I had seen one of these back in the late 90's and although they were very good on the deep sky, they were not as amenable to the planets and moon.The owner spent several hours aligning the elements and had fabricated a collimatable cell for the objective. He ended up changing out the focuser after several fits trying to get it to hold focus with some rather weighty eyepieces.

Flash forward to 2008 and I was able to look through another more recent sample at a local star party. Now this unit was different from the first in several ways.
This version had a collimatable cell, and I was told that upon inspection of the objective, that it was marked and etched with the info for rotation and numbers.

Now as luck would have it the owner of the earlier version was on the field with his, and we were able to do side by side comparisons.

Although both scopes showed C.A. the levels in the newer version were somewhat more subdued and thus less distracting.
Cool down time didn't seem that bad for all that glass.
They were still using the same focuser which although a little stiffer, still had troubles with weighty eyepieces.
The tube seemed darker than the older version, and contained 3 baffles. The paint job inside seemed darker and "lumpier" than the original.The tube seemed to have a better fit and finish than the older version.

The eyepieces used on both scopes were all Televue,
including 55 plossl, 31 nagler, 24 panoptic, 9 nagler and, 5 radian.
Seeing and transparency were noted at about 6 at the beggining and improving to about 8 by early morning.
Various deep sky targets as well as the moon and Saturn were viewed that session.The views trough the newer version seemed to be sharper across the total field with tighter stars and slightly better contrast. The C.A. seemed tamer in the newer o.t.a. than the other. The moon was at first quarter and there was a thin haze on the horizon.
The Cassini division was clearly evident in both scopes but the newer tube seemed to have a slight edge in contrast, and thus presented a sharper division in the eyepiece.

I found out that the local purveyor of all that is astronomical had managed to get 6 O.T.A.'s of this group and had a few left. I attended his shop and bought one, then ordered and outfitted the scope with a Moonlite 2 speed focuser.

I rated the optics as a 9 because I felt that although I am dealing with an achromat, this is a well corrected specimen and can put up images with the best of them.

I rated it as an 8 for ease of use due to the fact that this is a large scope and so needs a large mount. Mine sits atop an EQ6 and so I felt this could impact the ease of use (not exactly grab n go).

Value is a definite 10 for the wide fields and decent views for the local system. Nice clear crisp views of the deep sky
is what knocks it out of the park for me.

Overall I rated it 9 for two reasons:
1) its an achromat
2) its a big heavy achromat

I have more than enough optical tubes for a lifetime and have had many more pass through my stable, but I genuinely think this one will be here for quite a while.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.86.110)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=598781

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