Skywatcher 120


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Skywatcher 120
I personnally own that scope and I love it!!!!
First night that I used it I did the typical star test. I noticed that the spherical abberation is very minimal and my optics have a small zonal error, I would say that the optics range in the 1/4 to 1/6 wave front error wich is reallky not bad when you consider the price of the instrument.

Looking now at the moon and bright stars, I could see some chromatic abberation, blue color was seen around bright object like Jupiter, Sirius, Vega. The chromatic abberation I found was minimal, when looking at Saturn I could barely see the blue halo.

That scope uses a 100% copy of the Vixen GP mount. It's so identical that the other I tryied the Vixen Sy Sensor 2000-PC system to this chinese mount, it works like a charm! the mount for this refractor is just perfect, it's stable enough even for astrophotography. What I did tough is that I completely disassembled the mount for a complete cleaning and regreasing and now it's a lot smoother.

Since I live only 30km North-West of Montreal, I have a decent amount of light pollution from home, but I had the chance to take it to the Mount-Megantic (July 8th 2000)during the Astronomy festival over there and the skies were pitch black. I was even more impressed with the scope. I had an accessory case full of nice eyepieces but I ended up using only one... all night I used a 30mm Vixen LV eyepiece wich gave me 33x magnification and with a field of 1.8 degrees. WOW Veil nebula was really standing out (without filter), objects like M81,82, M27, M16, M17, M8 were really bright and crisp! I was surprised to see the amount of details in M101. I could resolve 90% of the stars in M13 and comet Linear was a good show also.

I love this scope, it stands out!

Thanks!

That scope was purchased at La Maison de l'Astronomie in Montreal Quebec and was bought under their own brand name wich is the same as the SkyWatcher 120. You can visit La Maison's web site at this URL: http://www.microid.com/maison.htm

For myself I have a telescope review site (in french) at this address: http://www.geocities.com/shattercone_ca/index.html and you can reach me by e-mail at: shattercone1@sympatico.ca

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.91.160)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40293


Skywatcher 120
This is one great scope for the money. I bought mine used on astromart and the fellow I bought if from also has an AstroPhysics refractor of the same aperture. He thinks the Skywatcher has about the same sharpness and contrast as the AP but more color (he says the AP also has a slight amount of color). For the money, achromatic two lens construction and performance, this scope has to rate as a "10". This is comparing it with similiar type scopes. Fit and finish are good but not "like a work of art" as some scopes are said to be. I just want a good scope and this fills the bill wonderfully. You cannot go wrong at this price.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.213.199)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40295


Skywatcher 120
The Orion Skywatcher-120 is a great bargain at $599. I have taken it to dark sites on many occasions, and I've been enthralled by its ability to yield very nice images of globulars, galaxies, planets, and nebulae. However, I advise that you remove that dreaded "glue-grease" in the mount's gears on both axis', and replace it with white lithium grease. If you do this you'll notice two things -- One, you'll be able to operate both axis' by just gripping the brass slo-mo nubs with your fingers (amazing!). Two, you'll notice better and smoother operation with motor-drives (trust me on this).
My EQ-3 mount is being converted to a stepper-motored GoTo system. So far it's working wonderfully. This scope has tons of potential!
wjwiegert@greif.com

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.137.125)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40296


Skywatcher 120
I've had a Skywatcher 120 from Orion several months now and have been very happy with it. Mounting is fine for visual use -- vibrations damp in 2-3 seconds, even at high magnifications. Focusing is smooth with no slop. I got the dual axis stepper motors: RA motor, which is coupled directly to the mount's RA axis, is great, no slop at all(!); DEC motor, which is coupled to DEC axis via two gears (one plastic, one brass), has some annoying play in the gear, causing a ~7 second delay when you hit the other direction on the paddle. Tracking seems very good, though I don't have the means yet for photography.

I'm not sure how to judge the optics -- a bit mixed. Star test was disappointing at first: decent rings inside of focus, though outermost ring was somewhat bright and fatter; outside of focus was mostly mush. However, despite this the views were surprisingly good. Double double in Lyra split cleanly and very easily. Not being satisfied with the star test performance, I loosened the objective lens retaining ring (after first making sure with a carpenter's level that the tube was vertical), tapped gently on the outside of the tube all around the objective lens with a piece of soft wood, and retightened the retaining ring to its previous position. Took the scope outside for a star test before advancing clouds covered everything, and -- holy moly! -- large improvement. Appearance of the diffraction rings is now much better inside and outside of focus. Still about 1/4 wave of spherical aberration, but I can easily live with that. Saturn is breathtaking -- Cassini division extremely easy, a couple of bands on planet (no filters), and three inner moons are easy (Tethys, Dione, Rhea). On nights of great seeing, and I can push usefully to very high powers on Saturn: things crap out by 440x, yet even that can still be useful for the rings; 270x seems to be the best view (of Saturn) on good nights. In moments of good seeing, Jupiter detail is stunning, though there is some annoying chromatic fringing (easily removed with filters). I regularly see stars down to 12.5 or 12.6. Would probably see fainter but I have fairly lousy vision to start with. Bright stars have some haze around them (tube needs better baffling?), and the brightest stars show some color. Can't say much regarding deep sky objects, since I have yet to escape my mag 2.5-3.5 suburban Washington location with this scope. Ring and Dumbell nebulae show detail when viewed with Orion's UltraBlock nebula filter (which BTW sure makes finding planetaries very easy). Much to my surprise, easily found IC2003, a mag 12.6 planetary, using the UltraBlock. Using solar filter material from Baader, views of sunspots are very good -- stunning detail with high power and moments of good seeing. I did not expect the amount of planetary and sunspot detail I'm seeing with this scope -- very happy about that.

Objective lens has nice green multicoating, but unfortunately not on all surfaces. 10mm and 25mm Plossls that came with the scope are very decent -- better than the Sirius Plossls I purchased separately. (Naglers are WAY outside my budget. I'm already in the doghouse bigtime with the scope purchase!) Diagonal mirror seemed so-so (cheap construction), so I replaced it with a more solidly constructed $70 TeleVue -- didn't notice any difference in performance. 6x30 finder is a bit small -- I'll be upgrading that soon. I really like the polar alignment scope built into the mount, as well as the leveling bubble. Thoughtful on somebody's part, those two items.

So, all in all, is it a keeper? You bet. Great bang for the refractor buck.

--Marc Murison
murison@wizard.net

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.41.254)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40297


Skywatcher 120
The Skywatcher 120mm F5 widefield refractor offers teriffic value for the money. The images are bright and contrasty and the scope is well built, although the focuser has too much side to side wobble...so whaddaya want for 329 bucks---Tak quality?

Overall Rating: 6
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.37.69)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40298


Skywatcher 120
Not as sharp or contrasty as the 4" F5. Seriously bad startest.

Overall Rating: 0
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.36.186)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40299


Skywatcher 120
Early this summer, after owning both a 4” Celestron refractor and an 8” Meade Schmidt Cassegrain, I sold nearly all of my scopes and purchased a Skywatcher OTA from Telehoon in Vancouver, B.C. to fit my pier mounted EQ5 mount.
The model is the 120mm 1000mm f.l. f/8.3 refractor, after having observed with this instrument all summer, I am quit pleased.
HOON has very good service and pricing and I was more than happy to deal with him. According to the email I received from him he
tests every scope before he ships it and adjusts the collimation if necessary.
The objective itself appears to be of quite good quality. Close examination reveals greenish and bluish tints to the over coating and the surface of the lenses appear clean with no scratches or sleeks in the coatings.
The cell on my instrument is metal, and I took the extra precaution of loosening the retainer ring and tapping the tube to seat the objective before re tightening, to ensure good alignment. I also re-painted the entire inside of the tube with a highly absorbent flat black paint.
Star test was done on Vega for the diffraction pattern and color test.
No astigmatism noted, pattern remained round both in and out of focus. At 230X (49X/in.)the central core surrounded by one fairly bright ring, and indications of another ring were seen.
Little color except for slight yellow was noted along the edge of the moon and bright sunlit peaks along the terminator showed no false color even at 230X with a slight high cirrus cloud. No red secondary color was seen.
Epsilon lyrae, the double double was used for the second test, dark black sky was seen between both pairs, the view was very sharp with black sky through out the entire field.
So satisfied so far with the objective, I added a 7x50mm finder (Vixen) from Orion Telescopes and a TeleVue 2” Everbrite mirror diagonal to take advantage of the 2” focuser. The view with the TeleVue 55mm Plossl eyepiece is 2 degrees across and has no distortions that can be seen, great for open clusters and M42 and other large areas of deep sky.
My other eyepieces are a TeleVue 21mm and 13mm Plossls along with TeleVue 2x and 3x barlows, all par focal, yielding magnifications of 45x, 77x, 95x, 144x, 155x, and 230x.
As I am primarily a planetary observer, a set of colored eyepiece filters completed my equipment.
I have had to fit the mount with a Jim’s Mobile Drive System in order to function in the winter temperatures of Alberta. An electric focus was also added to provide smooth focusing for video work.
With these enhancements the instrument has performed well and at the Alberta Star Party, presented planetary images surpassed only by an Astro Physics 5” refractor and far superior to most of the 8” Schmidt Cassegrains in attendance.

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.198.108)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40300


Skywatcher 120
This is my first scope, and i got it on Sept 2001. It came with CG-5 mount that handle this scope pretty good. Of course there's still some shake due to the aluminium tripod that came with it. Most people upgrade it by making/buying a set of wooden tripod which is more stable.
The performance of optics is pretty good, except of course chromatic abberation does exist. Reviews by other ppl that own this type of scope agree that MV1 by Sirius Optics will reduce the violet color created by chromatic abberation.
(there are other products as well, such as CASS & Chromacorr).
The view on Jupiter and Saturn are magnificent. I tried it on M57 (ring nebula) , M42 (Orion), M31 (Andromeda), M13. I also had chance to find comet Linear C/2000 WM1 (magnitude around 5.4), it's awesome!! (my first time seeing a comet + deep sky objects).
Good scope for a beginner like me.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.141.98)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40301


Skywatcher 120
It must be difficult for a large scale telescope company to design something that is solid, reasonably priced, not too big, good enough optics, but practical enough it will be used and appeal to a wide audience. I think the Canadian Skywatcher 120, with 1000mm focal length, has done this.
I have only owned four telescopes in a short period of time - so limited experience. Something daft years ago, which I returned to the shop, because it wobbled, then a Meade 4500, and now currently a Celestron GT114 and the (Canadian) Skywatcher 120.
My Skywatcher came with EQ5 mount (with built-in bubble level), polar scope, two Possls (10mm and 20mm), an adjustable cell for the object lens and shop included a 2x barlow. The lens cap has a stopped down feature, presumably for viewing the moon, without a filter.
It is a huge telescope, much bigger than its photos seen on most internet sites. I need to take the tripod outside, then the counterweight and finally the OTA. The EQ5 mount is solid looking, with plenty of features. I like the stubby controls, because it is easy to switch from RA to ascension, once familiar with the technique. The image steadies after 3-4 seconds, but I have the tripod mounted on Celestron anti-vibration pads, so now the image is steady after 1-2 seconds following any focusing (and less now I am getting more gentle with the controls). I notice the Super Possls are much nicer, brighter than the SMAs on the Celestron GT114. The FOV on the 10mm Possl feels big, Jupiter and its four moons are nicely in the frame, at 100 magnification. The 6x30 finderscope is much brighter than on the Meade 4500 (must be the multi-coatings). I am sure the purists like 6x50, but I actually liked the image from this small finder, which has a minor baffle half way down the tube.
The scope cools down in 30 minutes, nice diffraction pattern intra-focus and extra-focus, but then the shop had set-up the collimation, using some artificial star. The focus is sharp. The movement on the focuser seems silky. On Saturn, the Cassini division is easy and three inner moons were evident. Jupiter had load of bands, seven probably more, but I stayed at 100x, will try with the Barlow when the skies are clear again, but such an nice image, with practice I am sure one can see more detail than might be supposed at first viewing.
The 'Canadian' Skywatcher seems to be the real deal - I paid 379 pounds or 550 Dollars.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:8 Mount:8 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.20.53)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=61927


Skywatcher 120
I have this scope and a celestron 9.25 and this 120 is a keeper. Had to completley rebuild the mount and modify the tripod and the lens had a flare just out of focus after removeing them and clocking them at 180 degrees and then start moveing only the outer at small steps of 2 to 4 degrees at a time I was able to find the best views and marked them for referance then the focuser and draw tube was reworked and aligned[collimated]. This unit is a photon buster! It is at least 75% beter than when I bought it I like it very much and on so so seeing nights it is better than my 9.25 which is the second one I owned which is a gem. perfect alignment of mirror and secondary and at least 1/6 1/7 wave mabe better the first one was soso mabe 1/4 1/5 wave and alignment was poor. But this 120 is a screamer for the modest price. Bought it at Orion in Santa Cruz older model SKYWATCHER newer ones are called Astro view. Also my 9.25 is slightly older black tube model. I think that the newer stuff from the Big3 is getting a little sloppy on QC some great and some lemons.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:6 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.16.152)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=88728


Skywatcher 120
I love the ota. Mine came with the eq3 mount which is much to light for this long of a tube. I put the eq3 to work with my st90 and put the 120 on a gp mount and tripod. I changed the diagonal to a better quality mirror diagonal. When using this scope for solar system objects, doubles, and clusters, I use the minus violet filter from Sirius Optics. I thought it had and very sharp view before using the filter but man, what a difference on the planets. The 120 ain't to shabby on dso's either. Not a lot of detail on some of them but you can find a lot of them. I cleaned off the factory grease from the focuser and put something smoother on it. I would rate it a lot higher if it had come with a decent mount. With the gp mount, setup is a snap. The tube only weighs 11# and twist one safty and one lock knob and the tube is on or off the gp mount. It is still usable out of the box and is a great buy for such a large refractor. Recommended

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:8 Mount:6 Ease of Use:9 Value:8
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: rstargazer
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=89345


Skywatcher 120
The Skywatcher 120 (Synta) is an excellent value for the money. I bought the OTA used, and installed it on a GP-DX mount with homemade wooden legs, which is adequate for the twelve pounds of the OTA, 2 inch diagonal, and 50mm finder. The original star test proved some tuning was required to make the scope comfortable to use, and the optics were under-corrected (expected of the Synta 120). I had previously ordered a Chromacor U1 for installation in the 120. The focuser was stiff and difficult to manage as received, and the focus tube wobbled quite badly.

Modifications made-

1. Removed focuser and cleaned off all sticky grease
2. Added a plastic milk carton shim under the focuser toothed bar
3. Relubed focuser assembly with Lithium based grease
4. Recolliminated focuser separately, and with objective in place
5. Added a custom 181mm 2” extension tube to handle the Chromacor
6. Installed a JMI electronic focuser motor with hand control

The modifications made proved the Skywatcher 120 is a sound investment, but it needs to have the tune-up to make it really enjoyable. Although I opted to go with the Chromacor, an MV-1 filter should also remove much of the apparent color normally associated with this scope.

I now have a 120mm telescope that can compete with the finest of expensive APOs, and at an affordable price. My total investment in the OTA with Chromacor and extension is $900.00 – that is $1,449.00 less than a Takahashi FS-102, and $2,575.00 less than the Takahashi FSQ-106N, of course it is not a Takahashi., but for $900.00 I will keep it!

Star tests prove nearly perfect with equal size rings in and out of focus. The scope splits doubles cleanly with pure black separation between clear pinpoints of light. Since the tube is an f/8.6 it does very well for DSO work, and nebulas are a real joy to view. It holds up well through magnification of 300 x using a 3-6mm Tele Vue Zoom Radian; it does break down when trying to go above 300 x however. For DSO work I prefer the comfort of a 16mm Harry Siebert Ultra Plus.

As the tube came I would rate it at a 7, with modifications made it is a 9.9.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:7 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.167.7)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=139611


Skywatcher 120
Purchased the Skywatcher 120 from Scopes Direct in the UK. I was looking for a scope to mate with an EQ5 mount I already had. My original choice was the Skywatcher Viewmax 102, which is identical to the Orion Starmax 102. However due to demand they are not currently available so settled on the Skywatcher 120 instead.

The scope scores a solid 10 for value. £198 for the OTA, inc tax and delivery. The price includes two LER Super Plossls (10 & 20mm), collimation eyepiece, 2" - 1.25" adapter, 6x30 finder, star diagonal, tube rings, dove tail plate and piggyback mount. Oh, and I forgot, a 4.7" F8.3 refractor.

Of course, all the above would count for nothing if the telescope didn't perform. But all my fears were put to sleep on the first night out. I would say the OTA scores a solid 9 on performance. Its never going to outperform or even get close to a £3000 Tak but then it was never built to compete or be compared with one. Its only real downside is the false colour, purple fringing on bright objects. That aside the scope is a real joy to use. It star tests very well (after a bit of adjustment on the lens cell) inside focus and outside focus. Jupiter was simply awesome, must have a very steady night. The view using a 20mm Orion Ultrascopic and Televue 3x barlow was crystal clear. I counted nine cloud belts, GRS and numerous detail in the main equatorial belts. Saturn showed some detail on the disk and Cassini's devision. The Moon was impressive but then it is through almost any scope. Only tried out some brighter DSO's (M31, M42, M27 & M57) but they were very impressive. M42 especially showed a lot of detail. Can't wait to get this scope out to a dark site.

The only problem I had in using the scope, was the focus lock. As soon as i applied the lock, it would go out of focus. Not quite what it was intended to do. Thats my only grumble though. It feels well made, the finish is good and its much migger than it appears in the photographs. It has to score a 9 for ease of use.

The EQ5 is the standard mount for the Skywatcher 120. And it the only weakpoint in the whole package. However a few aftermarket improvements soon turn things around. I replaced the aluminium tripod with the heavy duty stainless steel model and added some Celestron anti-vibration pads. This improved things immensly. There a lot things that can be done. These can be found at www.astronomyboy.com. A 6 in its standard form, an 7 with the steel tripod and pads. A 7.5 with the dual axis drives. Probably an 8 with all the other improvements.

So there you have it. A absolute bargain of a scope. A solid 9 overall. If you're on a budget, then this fits the bill nicely.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:7 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.69.34)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=143435


Skywatcher 120
Excelent value for money,well corrected optics,decent light gatering for most popular deep sky targets,excelent for double star and planetary work.
Some false color visible on brigther objects such as Jupiter but can be easily corrected whit a minus violet filter (i'm now using a sirius optics pc-1 and it does wonders).
Oh,and you can turn it in to a super telescope with a matched chromacor,at least for planet observation the diference is incredible.
I would recomend this telescope from the medium to the advanced star gazer.
Good skyes!

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:7 Mount:7 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.76.51)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=365234


Skywatcher 120
- Hmmm interesting post and site takhns for posting!Yes STILL undecided. It's like being forced to pick one of two women to marry, but you don't love either one of them it's not as easy of a decision as you may think for some. This helped me to get closer to my decision though for sure, takhns.October 27, 2008 11:56 pm

Overall Rating: 5
Optics:2 Mount:9 Ease of Use:2 Value:1
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.17.34)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=600189

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