Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass

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Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I just recently bought this scope and all I can say, is that it“s a GREAT scope
First light yesterday. And Wow! The real test was on mars at 2500x and at this
mag. No imagebreakdown! And SPLENDID detail... Go for this one! You want be dissapointed... Thank“s Orion!

Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.233.227)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41315

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
was that a slip of the finger???? or did you really mean a magnification of 2500x wth no image breakdown??? because 250x is a little more reasonable.

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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.221.58)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41316

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I recently purchased the Orion 127mak as the Apex version and I must say it really cooks. I have a Cg-5 mount and a dovetail bracket from another scope and the system is fantastic. For 399 dollars you get a nicely col Mak and a focuser which is smoother than it's Etx125 counterpart. Orion 25mm plossl and erect mage 45 diag. I use the Tv everbrite 1.25 and Ultrascopics and the performance of this scope is brilliant. With the original acssy's it shines as well. Better diag and ep and you have a super system very portable. Resolution on M13 was outstanding. Double double, cleanly split with a 12mm. For the heck of it I used a 8.8UWa on the pleides and WOW!! M42 was a ghostly image with trapezium easily shown. This I hear is another Synta design as is my Celestron 150mm refractor. The moon and planetary views are similar (bright detail)which really impressed me. For fun I changed mounts from Meade ds114 go to eq system just to see if the Mak would work. weight was similar for the Eq2 mount design but not as steady as the Eq3 Starmaster design. Additional tripod weight cured that ill. So now the Apex is firmly attached to the Meade mount Go to works fine. This is one fantastic low price MAk cass that I have used every night over the last 2 weeks. Decent aperature, nice views, I would recommend this scope to anyone interested in a travel scope for vacations, camps, or just when you feel like looking at something but don't want to lug 100pounds of equipment. It also comes with a nice padded travel bag with plenty of room for assy's. My friends were impressed considering I was going to purchase the 125EC. The 399 for the Ota, 150 for the Tv everbrite, 210 for a few Uo ep's and I still have 200 bucks left to spend!! I figured I had 30days (orion return policy) and the other option still available. This Orion Mak has found a new home. Btw my sons 11 and 15 were easily bored with the 90mm. They ask often to use the Apex. Other members now want one but have to wait on the B/O! AH hah! I am loaning it to one of our gurus in the Astro group for his evaluation. He saw it briefly and said ohhhhhhh mannnnn. He uses Questars. He said the optics are very nice. Star test very good. "The parts are metal" Focuser real nice! My biggest kick was when he asked How much was it. His response was this" NO KIDDING, Wow!!!!!" Orion has a winner here" Again I will update his full evaluation.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.204.176)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41317

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Assembly was very easy and everything was ready to go in less than half an hour. I was impressed, as others have been, with the attention to detail and
quality in the Chinese-made OTA. The multi-coatings on the meniscus corrector lens show no blemishes and look superb. I noticed no flaws in the tube or end cells, and everything seems to fit just right.

Some quick tests (using Orion Ultrascopic 15, 25, and 35 mm eyepieces and a Shorty Plus Barlow):

Baffling looks very good. I noticed no stray light in the tube assembly.

"Cooling down" took more than an hour, typical for a Mak and a 15 degree drop in temperature.

Collimation was "dead-on" right out of the box.

With the secondary baffle, I would estimate the obstruction at 31%.

Just the slightest bit of image shift while focusing. Focus action (and knob) have a nice feel, although there is a bit of backlash.

Star tests showed no signs of under or over correction, nor any spherical aberration or astigmatism. Airy disks on either side of focus looked identical. I did see just a touch of coma at the extreme edges of the field, but with the 35 mm eyepiece only. Perhaps this was due to the eyepiece.

Epsilon Lyrae double-double easily resolved with the 15 mm eyepiece (102x). With the Barlow, we saw beautiful Airy disks for all four of the stars.

Mars showed little surface detail (damn dust storms), but a definite gibbous phase. M31 was very impressive with the 35 mm. Other deep sky targets so far were M57, M103, and M28. With the long f/12 effective focal ratio, the 127 mm Mak is not a deep sky scope, but I believe it could hold its own with a 4" refractor with a similar f/ratio.

The EQ-3 (CG-4) mount is easily able to handle the 127 mm optics (the OTA, btw, only weighs about 6-7 pounds). A sharp rap of the knuckles on the end of the tube assembly settled out in 2 seconds.

One possible problem that I haven't looked at in any detail is that the declination setting circle seems to be off a few degrees.

In summary, this scope is a winner. At $539, it's also a steal.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.47.111)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41318

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I am amazed!! My Thanks to ORION. I had almost given up on the possibility of having a high quality, inexpensive telescope. Near perfect star test and collimation. Images are suprisingly bright. Mount is good, takes about three seconds to dampen--but I probably extend the legs a bit furthe than the average person.
Planetary performance is exceptional--a wealth of detail viewing Jupiter and Saturn. I'd forgotten how much fun it was to scan the moon. No real detail on Mars.
Deep sky performance is suprisingly good--easily surpasses a 4.5 inch Newtonian I had years ago.
Diagonal is very good but I purchased Televue Everbrite. I also like the supplied Plossl but my wide field lens of choice is Orion's 30mm Ultrascopic. For higher power I'm using Televue 14mm Radian, and Pentax 7mm SMC XL.
This scope and the lenses I am using is ideal for ME.
Excellent optics, very good mount, easy to use, very portable--all at an exceptional price.
Orion's service has also been outstanding.
Content in Oklahoma.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 6 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.201.59)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41319

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Please. Be reasonable. There is no thing such as 2500x magnification
on earth due to the atmosphere. I just bought it because my son
was begging for it. He could of asked me for my ETX 125 which I rarely
use. It's alright though. Optics are good. I made a Hagreaves Strut
for the mount because my son doesn't have much experience in GEMs.
The Strut makes the mount much steadier. My son just got it to practice
on GEMs. He is used to computerized scopes.
Good scope for the money though.


Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.254.118)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41320

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Hi All,

Had a chance to look through one of these at a recent star party. Seeing was very stable at the time - so the scope had a chance to "stetch its legs". 300x on Saturn was stunning. Virtually indistinguishable from the view through my own 150mm Mak.

I hope folks reading these reports are getting the idea that the all-spherical optics of Maksutov-Cassegrains makes for uniformly excellent and relatively inexpensive optics.

The Starmax 127 is a marvel for the price and continues the fine optical tradition that has established MCT's as the low cost alternative to super-expensive apochromatic refractors.

One thought though, can we get one of these in 7 or 8 inches in aperture? (Would make all the difference on deepsky.)

Adios Compadres,


Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.86.117)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41321

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Over the years I've had a decent 3" achromat, two Celestron SCT8's, and lastly, an ETX 125EC. The ETX was a perfect size for me and I appreciated the great optics of the MCT ETX over the SCT's (collimation, etc.) but was disgusted with its cheap, flimsy mecahnics so I sold it and replaced it with the Orion StarMax 127. The Starmax's optics are even better than the ETX - about perfect airy disk, less light in defraction ring (smaller central obstruction) and superior brightness and contract on planets, etc. As to mechanics - superior! No image shift or dead area while focusing - just nice and precise, if a little tight. The smallish 6X26 finder works very nicely. And of course, the EQ3 GEM compared to the ETX mount is - well, no comparison. The EQ3 provides a nice, solid, quality mount that the StarMax deserves. Orion has delivered a very fine top-notch MCT to the amateur astronomy community at a very competitive, affordable price.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.101.2)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41322

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I purchased the Apex version and put it on an Orion SVD equatorial mount. The mount was from my SVD8, I turned that into a Dob among other modifications that it needed. I also purchased a 90` Mirrorstar diagonal and a right angle 50mm achromatic finder as well. I don't think the Mirrorstar diagonal that I purchased is the same one that comes with the Starmax, as far as I can tell from the photos in the catalogue anyway. It is a pretty nice one, far superior to the 45` correct image diagonal that comes with it. The scope was very well packed and arrived in excellent condition. From the time I ordered it to when I received took about 3 weeks. Some items were not in stock and Orion won't ship anything until they have the complete order.

My test site was at our hunting lease out in the Texas hill country, a two-hour drive north west of San Antonio. The skies are very dark there. The closest town to the site is the little town of Junction about ten miles to the south. It was a very crisp cool and steady night; unfortunately there was a 60% moon high over head for most of the evening. I have also used it several nights from my back yard in the city.

The coatings on the front meniscus are clean and consistent. Perfect collimation right out of the box. The scopes appearance is excellent. The star test was good. The outer ring was a little brighter than the rest and it inverted when the focus was shifted to the opposite side. I'm not sure about inside or outside of focus. The Ring Nebula was sharp but I could never see either of the interior stars, maybe due to the bright moon. When I turned to the double-double, I was amazed. With my 30mm Ultrascopic, 50x, I was able to tell that they were definitely doubles but they did not quite split. With the 25mm Sirius Plossl that came with it, they did. That's only 62x. With higher powers they were a clean split with a distinct dark space between them. On the Orion nebula the views were good and there was a lot of detail. At 200x I could just barely make out a fifth star in the trapezium. I showed some of my friends Saturn and Jupiter, it was a first for them; the views were great "Cassini's division was easy to see. Jupiter was still too low to get a good look. After I showed them M31 it sparked some interesting discussion and I think there may be some new scopes out there the next time I go out.

From my back yard I split some of the doubles noted in Sky & Telescope's January issue. The atmosphere was not very still that night but the results were still impressive non the less. I will try some more on another evening. I have had some of my best views of Saturn and Jupiter with this scope. I'm keeping mine.

DR Kelly

Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.62.164)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41323

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I just recently got the starmax 127 and I love it. There are a couple of things that I belive could have been done diffrently. Mounting of the main tube to the mount is a little difficult under dark skys and tring to hold my red light and put the bolts in without stripping the threads is a little difficult. The second is the plastic cover over the polar allignment scope falls off with a little bump and im affraid to lose it in the night. Other than that it deffently out preforms any other scope I have ever owned if any one has any sugestions with these problems of mine please feel free to email me


Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 6 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.3.39)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41324

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I just purchased an Orion Star Mak 127. I had read the stellar reviews of others as well as the ads and thought this was a great first scope. I was so enthusiastic I bought three additional eyepieces, a barlow and sun and planetary filters. I live on Long Island (NY). Unfortunately I have been disappointed.

All other reviewers marvel at the detail they can see. I can easily pick out Jupitor and Saturn. However, no detail I can see Jupitors four moons, but I dont see any cloud ferstoons or the red spot. All i see is a yellow orb. I have tried using a 25mm, a 12.5 mm, a 7.5 mm eyepiece with or without barlow. I have tried all sorts of filters including a light pollution filter. It doesnt matter. No detail.

As to Saturn, I can easily see the planet and its rings, but I have never seen the cassini division. I can see barely the greast nebula in Orion's sword but I have not been able to see any other nebula or messier objects.

I would appreciate it if someone could tell me what I am doing wrong. I would like to think its because I live in a large suburban area where the seeing is not the best, and I am hopeful that a trip to a more remote sight will improve performance.

If anyone out there reads this and can offer some advice, please email me at wlaino@mhhlaw.com.


Overall Rating: 7
Optics:6 Mount:9 Ease of Use:6 Value:7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.75.131)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=57006

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Just bought the Orion StarMax 127mm from http://www.scsastro.co.uk in Somerset, yesterday. I bought a Televue x2 Barlow (not the Powermate).
I actually decided to drive down there and pick it up - which I did - as it was the last one they had.
Got home about 4:00pm, had it up and ready 30-40 minutes later. The moon was still up but the weather was changing for the worse. Had to be quick.
Put a Televie Everbrite 1.25" to replace the... erm, cheap, bad one, then the Televue Radian 12mm.
All ready to go. Just a 30 minute wait.
Dark sky, stars were out and fairly sharp, but there was cloud coming in. The moon seemed to be saying "hurry up, I'm freezing".
THe EQ3 mount (in my opinion) is really very good for this scope. Infact - this is the rarest thing I will ever say - it perfectly matches it (did I just say that? Yes I did).
Got the scope outside (it's a cinch to setup, but I think the screws that hold the scope to the mount need to be thumbscrews, not "spanner them in" screws - I'm not complaining though, but at night putting it on...
Outside, it's really cold and the air is sharp. The wind is picking up and there's a little bit of wobble
The 12mm gives x128 magnification, so I knew it wasn't going to be rock steady.
The finder is 6x26 with a faint crosshair - it's ok and I like the "slot in" mini-mount it uses to attach to the scope. Wish I had a Telrad, though.
Swung the scope in the direction of the moon; use the finder (it's ok actually) and pinpoint the moon. Take a deep breath, steady the nerves and look through the eyepiece.
I suppose its at this point that you think the following: I wanted a small compact scope I can carry around (I'm sick to death of dobs etc etc). This scope you can carry around "IN A BAG" which is provided and it's a nice one too. I also wanted a light enough mount, which it is. I also didn't want to spend £1000 and instead, spent £620. I was happy. It has a great focal length and it's rather long for the little twiddly knob used to focus in the light, but I like it. Small focus knob, small scope - makes sense to me. It's a cherry red in colour (deeper and richer) and I liked that too. Looking at the front of the "show" model at scsastro, the business end has an incredible feeling of "meade beating" appeal and style on the big main glass. It's got "quality" written all over it. If you shine a torch in there, there is no dust, pieces of anything and the back reflecting mirror is like a jewel of reflecting silvery light.
I'm all geared up now as I look into the ep.
If it weren't for the fact that I had my butt against the patio door of my house, I would've fallen through backward into the living room.
Buy this scope.
Think of the money you saved on a £1500 one, then look through it again.
You will be amazed.
I only had 20 minutes (it was after 6:00pm when I did this - god was it cold) with the moon (only a small portion was full in light) but I've never seen the moon look like that for a long time. It was refractor quality, and that black velvety space, and the hint of 3D as the clouds passed in front, just hit me for six.
I just spent £620 (I had a Televue Everbrite separately and Radian).
I just don't believe it.
Then I put the Televue barlow in. That almost killed me. It wasn't as good as the first time, but it was just as contrasty and sharp as before. The focus doesn't "snap in" as I'd like, it need fine adjustment, but when it's there a few seconds later...
The clouds were making the moon look too glowy and smeared, but it was impressive nonetheless.
If you're on a budget, if you need the looks and the compactness (and a neat little bag to stick the scope in, with lots of little pockets).
Female astronomers will go nutz over this scope. And you're girlfriend will do a lot more than make a sandwich for you in the cold.
That I can promise you.
Is it really happening at last?
You betcha!

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:9 Mount:8 Ease of Use:7 Value:10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.150.50)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=58618

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
If anyone is interested to know, Ed Ting has just reviewed the StarMax 127mm as of 10th January.
Considering Ed is a very detailed and critical reviewer of all kinds of scopes, the StarMax came out of it pretty well and unscathed.
I think there's a suggestion there that it has definitely exceeded all expectations of a $300 Maksutov Cassegrain scope by a cosmilogical margin (excuse the pun).

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.150.163)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=58621

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Just read the webmaster's input (I'm the guy who got the scope in Somerset).
The diagonal that comes with it is a real cheapo - it's useable, but in a light polluted area, I don't think so. I live in Crowthorne, Berkshire and I'm lucky to have pitch black surroundings (kinda creepy out here tbh).

The Sirius Plossl from Orion is actually, very good (try a Radian though - oh dear! way better) but there is a slight problem - the field of view is quite narrow even though the eye relief is 22mm (I think) - the f/12.1 tube of the starmax is great for picking out "portions" of the sky and bringing them in, but it "pushes" the object away slightly rather than giving the impression of "printing" onto the ep.

Definitely needs a good diagonal though - no doubt about it.

There's 3 collimation screws on the rear of the scope in a triangle formation, but I haven't done anything with them. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I'll do further testing - at the moment, we're absolutely got windy-rainy-gusto weather here and it might go on until the end of the month.

Still, I've got a nice grin on my face.

The scope is just so small, that's what get's me - it's like the MN56 is Eyeore and the Starmax is Piglet (the words from my gf).

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.146.213)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=58627

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
It's been 2 and one half hours outside since 7pm.
The night sky was perfect.
The Starmax has performed above and beyond what I thought a mak scope of 5" should be capable of doing. Something like the Tak MT130. There sure as hell isn't much difference in the x192-220 range. Anything above that and the MT130 wins hands down.
x308 is what I got the Starmax up to. It was as good at x100 as it was as x200. At x308 I refused to try and abuse the Mount any further. I've collimated this scope probably up to 98% within what could be perfectly attainable by professional measuring instruments - the human brain.
At x308, you really wish you could drop it on £1500 worth of Mount and tripod, but then that would be pointless. May as well pay £900 for an MT130 and use it at x200 on a £400-700 Mount.
At x64-192 the Starmax will blow anything away within a budget of £700 for an OTA mak-cas for planetary viewing. I've never seen anything, other than a good fluorite refractor, perform like this.

Jupitor at 192 was simply stunning. Four moons easily seen as jewel like points of white light. Detail and colour, easily resolved on the atmosphere of the king of planets - almost as sharp as a fluorite, but just as black and jewel-like as a refractor. At x220 exactly the same performance. x256 was as far as the Mount could go without serious concentration, and frustration.
At x308 on the star test, it was beyond belief - had I just accidentally just bought a Tak MT130 or IM-MN66?

I'm borrowing a Losmany-G8 from a friend in Wokingham - he was here too, sounding off what I'm saying here, but thinking the same thing - what's the point of sticking THAT on a G8?

We're going to find out the next time a good night sky comes along.

This rating is from a colleague. I reckon a 10 is forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Value:10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.149.106)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=59192

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
The best optics for the best price I have ever seen.
Put this on a Vixen Polaris mount, then, it's like an optician performed laser treatment and surgery to your eyesight the day before.
The 26mm Sirius Plossl does it justice and with a Televue Barlow x3 at 171, nothing short of the best buy in history. This is refractor terriory by an MCT.
The EQ3 is JUST enough to hold steady views at x171. Adequate in my opinion, but definitely needs a Dual RA motor drive on it for any greater magnification and observation.
Stunning performance and portable enough to give Televue a right kick up the backside with this little beauty.
The EQ3 with a RA unit would get an 8.

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:9 Mount:6 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.81.81)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=60491

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I don't actually own this telescope, but I
have looked through it. One thing that strikes
me about this telescope is how small it is (almost
mistook it for a 4" telescope). It looks nice
and is probably one of the most portable 5"
telescopes on the market. The outer diameter of
the telescope seems to be the same as that of
the outer diameter of a 4.7 synta telescope (so
that one solar filter, for example, could fit
be fit on both of these telescopes).
The optics (on average, since
manufacturing quality will vary from model to model),
are better than the C5, but worse than the mn-56
mak-newt. One thing I don't like this telescope
is the long focal length which generally results in
small exit pupils unless you use 24mm or larger
eyepieces. Just a personal preference is all.
Perhaps if they sold a corrector/reducer for this
telescope, it might make it better for me. I won't
vote because I don't actually own this telescope.
But based on initial impressions, I'd probably
give it a 9.

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.2.83)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=60898

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I saw one of these and had a browse of it; I was quite impressed. Focal length and the F/12.1 is the only drawback as far as I can see. I agree with the previous viewer.
I doubt you could use anything below a 12mm ep too well. Long as you stick to x250 and under, with a good barlow, it's a fine scope.
Very compact. Bit of a fembot appeal to it as well and it's well rounded for what it's obvious use is. Planetary.
Personally, save your money and really make a go of paying out for a MN56. It's newtonian, but it acts like a refractor, cassegrain and SCT all in one. I should know, I've got one.
Now that would get 9's all the way.

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:8 Mount:8 Ease of Use:8 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.76.180)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=60922

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I purchased this telescope about 6 months
ago. I gave my initial impressions then but
intentionally left out a rating. Now that
I have had it for some time now I can give
a more thorough and accurate review.

The scope has very good optics and performs
very well, but there are better images to be
had for the same money or less. The scopes
compact size and decent aperture is what gives
it its appeal. I have been on many camping and
fishing trips when I left my telescopes behind
just because I hade to much gear. When nighttime
rolled around I regretted that decision. Never
again, the starmax will be in a little corner of
the car waiting for me from now on.

The views through the starmax are very good
but are quite a bit dimmer than those through
my 6" Newt, more so than I would have expected
with just an inch of difference in aperture.
According to March 2002 S&T magazine, they
measured the actual aperture at around 120mm
or about 4 3/4" not 127 mm, which may account
for some of the loss in brightness. They also
measured the focal length to be about 100mm
longer than the advertised length. If this is
correct then the smaller aperture and the longer
focal length would make this an f/13 telescope
not an f/12. Keep that F/L in mind when
calculating magnifications.

I do a lot of observing from my home and when
I do the "Starmax" usually stays in its carrying
case. I will get it out if I am trying to split
some close doubles from some S&T article. The
lack of diffraction spikes makes it easier to
slit doubles than with a Newt. If it is a little
breezy the smaller tube is less affected by the
wind and the images will be more stable as well.
For the planets, under calm observing conditions,
I prefer the views that I get with my homebuilt,
equatorial mounted, 6" f/8 Newt. For comparison
sake the Newt has a "Discovery" premium primary
mirror and a 1" secondary. It only cost me about
$250 to make.

The planets are very sharp through the "Starmax"
if you don't try to push the power to far. Speaking
of magnification, It dose top out around 240x or
so, that is if you use the advertised F/L of 1540mm
to do your calculations, 300x if you use S&T's
measured F/L. Many cloud bands are visible on Jupiter
and some detail within them as well. Shadows of
Jupiter's moons are jet black and occasionally
you can see the disk of a moon against the backdrop
of the planet. Saturn is quite pleasant to look at
and the Cassini division is routinely observed.
Some slight changes in shading on the disk of Saturn
are also visible. If you are into deep sky, under
dark skies the starmax is a beautiful thing. The
contrast is excellent. The Orion nebula just seems
to go on and on, it doesn't just fade away there
is an abrupt darkening where the nebula ends and
the background sky takes over. You can glimpse
faint galaxies and nebula with it as well, but
there is not much detail. A good dark sky location
is the key in the deep sky department and the
larger aperture the better.

So I guess the short review would be if you
need compactness, portability and no fuss
equipment the "Starmax" is an excellent choice
and an excellent value.
If you can handle a bulkier scope and don't
mind tinkering with collimation, for about the
same money a 6" EQ mounted Newt might be the
way to go. For even less money a Dobson mounted

I purchased the "Apex" version of this scope
which does not come with a mount. I use Orions
SVD Mount which does a good job and I am sure
it is comperable to the EQ3.

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:9 Ease of Use:9 Value:9
Weight: 8 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.61.72)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=68730

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I received my StarMax 127 complete with dew shield and R.A. axis drive about a month ago. It arrived nicely packaged (double boxed) and in good shape. Assembly was a cinch with the well written instructions. The only items the instructions didn't cover were the use of the vernier scale on the R.A. axis or collimation instructions, which would have made them perfect.

The scope has sharp optics but was a bit out on collimation. I guess FedEx decided to re-collimate it on the way here. Cured that with a few tweaks on the collimating screws. I also noticed different variations of the same ghost image (faint doughnut image) while viewing Jupiter through three different eyepieces, so I ordered a replacement scope - the Apex 127 (OTA). I have found Orion to be excellent to deal with. Now get this. I was using the 25mm Sirius Plossl that came with the scope and two others I had on hand (9mm Kellner and 6mm Plossl). It turned out that the coatings on all three of these eyepieces were the cause of the ghost image, so I really didn't have to get the second scope. I'm glad I did, though, because the optics on the second scope are even sharper than the first. The 25mm Sirius Plossl that came with the second scope had no ghost image. By the way the second scope was received with perfect collimation. I will be shipping the original OTA back today.

Views through this scope are awesome. Tack sharp with virtually no false color. Planetary is awesome up to 180X and even 250X with very good seeing. Starsplitting is a cinch. The other night I resolved Eta Orionis (1.6" separation) as two perfect airy discs from 180X all the way up to the nutty power of 750X with very good seeing.

I'm very happy with all aspects of the Starmax 127. The scope is compact, all metal, and has sharp optics. The EQ mount is lightweight and plenty stable for my tastes. It even comes with a Polar alignment scope (not mentioned in the ad). The setting circles are a bit crude, but for $140 (price of EQ3 mount) I'm definitely not complaining. The tracking drive is very smooth and has 8X speed to center on the R.A. axis.

I ordered the two hand knob screws for the main tube and the two thumbscrews for the drive from Scopestuff.com prior to receiving my scope. They are very inexpensive and well worth having.

In summary, I really don't see how you can beat this high quality, all metal, compact, lightweight, complete outfit for $539. There is a lot of very good equipment sitting in front of you for this price.

Two things to consider with this scope, though.

If you are after rich field views, look elsewhere. This f/12 scope has a narrow one degree FOV.

If you can't tolerate one to two hour cool downs, look elsewhere. I store the scope in the garage. Most days, I get good views in half an hour, but on colder days it can take a couple.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 13 (Trustworthy Vote)
By: dsroy209
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=71542

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