Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass


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Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Very good optics, superb mount (for this scopes weight & size) that is smooth in motion and very stable with quick dampening time, and best of all is the price. I have a 31mm Nagler eyepiece which is excellent but when I think about the Starmax package and all that I got for less than the cost of the 31mm Nagler it truly amazes me. This is what I call great value.

I find the optics very good for a Mak of this size and price range. Shows good crisp images and much contrast on the moon and planets. Collimation has been excellent since I received it but it is nice to know that it can easily be adjusted (primary mirror) with push pull screws on the rear cell if needed. My scope shows NO IMAGE SHIFT even at high powers. Under good seeing the scope handles powers in excess of 200x quite well. The scope also does a respectable job on deepsky objects although is greatly limited with its f12.1 focal ratio and narrow field.

I use this scope as my quick setup and grab & go scope. When I say quick setup though I mean setup not including the 1-2 hours for the optics to aclimate. I have used this scope for public viewing such as our clubs moonwatch with a Astrovid Planet Cam and find its dual drive (an Orion upgrade) keeps the scope tracking quite well and allows easy low speed slewing in both axis. I have also used the scope for some afocal digital imaging with great results. All in all I think it is a great little scope at a very low price.

One other item I should mention is that though my scope arrived in excellent condition, these scopes are mass produced and occasionally a bad one gets by. If I were a potential buyer I would not worry as Orion is a great company for customer service and I have had very good experiences with them on other items both with returns and technical support.

Dennis B.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:9 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 20 (Notable Vote)
Date:
By: Dennis53121
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=85225


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I purchased only the OTA. Finest 5" scope that I have ever owned in nearly 40 years of using different telescopes. For a $400 OTA, the images even with my 4.8 Nagler (320X) show fine detail and incredible amount of clearity for such a small aperture. I rate it a 10.

KD...

Overall Rating: No Vote
Optics:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.241.88)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=89498


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
the minimum spec telescope a beginner
should buy , a pleasure to use! stars small round globes , fuzzies slightly bigger , have to wait for the planets .
cant wait to connect camera.........

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:8 Ease of Use:9 Value:7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.64.8)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=112035


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Optics seem a little weak, but for the price its a good starter scope. These little beauties are punched out by the thousands in mainland China and you know labor doesnt get any cheaper. Star test show good but not great optics ( sub Intes or Meade). My thinking is if it gets you involved long enough to buy a real scope, its served its purpose.

Overall Rating: 4
Optics:3 Mount:5 Ease of Use:7 Value:4
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.175.30)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=116001

I tried one and it is incredible. Try looking through the little lens instead of the 5 inch objective and give a comment on that. And dont forget to remove the cover.

Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
What a great scope. Terrific value, considering what you get. Especially when compaered to a Meade ETX.

The mount is perfectly suited to this scope. Added dual axis drives. Tracks well for visual and not bad for 15 minute exposures with the camera.

The scope is best on the Moon and Planets, where its reasonable focal length help achieve good magnification without using tiny focal length eyepieces. Images obtained are excellent. I disagree with the previous review, in that a seasoned amatuer would be happy the results this scope gives, let alone a newbie.

Deep sky objects are not bad considering the aperture. Its here that you wish you had a big aperture newtonian. A cheap dobsonian would compliment this scope perferctly.

Overall a fantastic buy.

Overall

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:9 Mount:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.69.187)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=136503


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Wow! I am very impressed with the Apex/Starmax 127. Actually, I purchased the Apex version which is identical to the Starmax versions optical tube except that it comes with a 45 degree diagonal as opposed to a 90 degree one.

The views of the moon through this scope are absolutely stunning! In addition, I have viewed Saturn and it is the best view of Saturn that I have seen through a telescope to date. The Cassini division was clearly visible with much contrast and good color on the planet. No false color was visible at all. I also have a Celestron CR150-HD and I have to say that the view of Saturn in the Apex beat the CR150 by a close margin. The main difference here being a tad of false color in the CR150 and none in the Apex/Starmax. This being the case, I must have received one with excellent, first rate optics! I can't wait to turn this scope on Jupiter next.

This telescope is great for viewing planets, the moon and terrestrial delights, but not so great viewing deep sky objects due to its 1540mm f/12.1 focal length/ratio.

I added my Apex to an Orion SVD mount which seems to suit this telescope very well. All in all a very classy looking setup indeed.

It is true that you need to allow the telescope to cool off before viewing through it. More time is needed the colder it is outside.

Definitely, this telescope is well worth the money paid for it and I would recommend it hands down.

Frank C.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: fchappell
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=150329


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
This is an amazing scope for the money. The images are tack sharp. I had mine up to 277x on two different nights, and the images were razor sharp. Very surprising for such a mass produced scope. The focus is very nice - slow enough to hit the "sweet spot" every time. Compared it directly to an 8 inch SCT and an 8 inch dob on the same night - it provided very similar views of Saturn and the Moon at 200x plus but had higher contrast than either of the 8 inch units. I'm sure on deep sky stuff, the 8 inchers would pull away, though. The mount is solid and the RA drive tracks very smoothly. Even the 6x30 finder is quite useful - love the quick release knob and 2 knob alignment - very easy! The Orion dew cap has kept my corrector dew free on three sub-zero sessions thus far. In summary, this is about as close as you can get to an all purpose portable scope. It gobbles up power like an APO, and gives awesome, contrasty views.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:7 Ease of Use:8 Value:9
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: BBQedIguana
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=152319


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Based on three months of use.

Optically.
Having spent an evening collminating the scope I can only say that there are wonderful sharp views with this scope at all powers. Fov is small. A little scattered light on bright objects is about the worst of it. The scope takes power very well. I've had it up to 490x on the moon and was shocked. I did loose a load of detail so whats the point? It does however get you in real close on the terminator which I found interesting. The optics are by a long way the best thing about this scope.

(Scores 8)

Mount.
RA setting circles are broken RA ring is split inside the mount and jams the RA motion if locked down. When DEC axis is locked obvious rocking movement shows way to much play in the worm gear.
A middle weight mount for a light weight scope which is always good.
Hinged leg restraints are great I love them !

(Scores 5 mount needs stripping down and cleaning up and fixing)

Ease of use.
The optical tube is very SOLID and a pleasure to handle. Fixing to the mount can be a bit tricky even with the supplied rosette style fixing screws. Mounting rail on tube was not completely screwed into the optical tube causing some flexure.
Focus knob became completely loose on third day of use. (you can imagine how far my face dropped)
Loose black chips of paint internally on the Primary mirror.
The scope has held collmination since I adjusted it.
No shift of image is noticed during focus.
No mirror flop noticed whilst changing the tube orientation.
Out of the box there were to many things that needed to be addressed before the scope actually became predictable in its use. However none of them stopped me pointing the scope the first night and getting some views.
I'm six foot one and seventeen stone I can pick the whole scope up with one hand long enough to retract one of the legs. The scope is easy to handle, move about and set up it stays assembled all of the time. All of the adjustments you might need to make to the mount or scope are there you just need a selection of quality spanners and screw drivers to get the best out of them. dump the supplied tools.

(I've scored it 6 for ease of use because of having to finish the assembly myself. "Loose focus knobs and mounting rail" The paint flecks were moved buy carful rotation of the tube untill they fell behind the primary mirror. Issues with the mount really lower this score.)


Value.
With respect to optical performace its great value for money no doubt about it. The fit and finish however are not of the same standard.

(scores 7)

Overall.
The views are excellent. Portabilty is excellent. I really like using this scope it obvious to me that a refractor of reflector of similar collective size might not be so easy to live with considering this scopes small size.

(scores 7)

Comment.
If I was to ponder my next upgrade right now ! as we all do from time to time I would say I dont really think I need a new scope what I need is a higher quality mount. Not a bigger mount just one with a much better build quality.

Kevin.

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:8 Mount:5 Ease of Use:6 Value:7
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.244.66)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=164094


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Great scope for the price. Sharp planetary and lunar views and decent performance on brighter DSO's. Good contrast. Narrow FOV not the best for deep sky, but at f/13 that's not what it's made for. Mine's collimation and star test good right out of the box. Mount is actually up to the scope and dampening time is under a couple of seconds at higher powers.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:8 Ease of Use:7 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.95.20)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=198747


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Not sure what the problem is but I can't see ring divisions of Saturn and the bands on Jupiter are not clear. The star test seems ok when I try it . I have tried different eye pieces at various Power settings ?

Overall Rating: No Vote
Optics:5 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.191.8)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=224355


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I've had this for over a year now and have done some comparisons with my Celestron CR-150HD (6-inch Chinese refractor) and XT 6 Dob. I use it on a Celestron CG5 mount.

The Starmax does a decent split of the double-double with a small diffraction ring around each star except where the rings intersect. The Celestron does it better. Planetary detail on Jupiter and Saturn is substantially better with the Celestron. However, Starmax has no purple halo as with the Celestron (most of which can be removed with a v-block filter). I should add that I was lucky and got what has proven to be one of the better CR150's that have come off the assembly line. Planetary detail on the Starmax is sharpest at about 120 - 140 power while the Celestron can usually go to about 170 - 200 power before no further improvement is seen and detail starts to soften up. On double stars, the Starmax will support up to about 250 power yielding a decent image encircled by a small diffraction ring. The inside / outside focus images are comparable.

My general impression of the Starmax is that optics are OK, but nothing remarkable.

Starmax focuser is smooth with negligible (if any) image shift. The knob is located upper left on the back -- not the ideal place I think. The dinky finder scope is of limited usefulness.

The mediocre overall light transmission combined with the 5-inch aperture limit its usefulness for deep space objects. Every time I try it for this purpose, It seems that it is always starving for light.

One must exercise some care when collimating the Starmax because there is a rubber band that will easily fall out -- the work of a mentally retarded designer. I originally thought this was a defect in the scope. When I contacted Orion about this, I found their customer service to be almost hostile.

In comparison with Celestron CR150 refractor, the Starmax is soundly beaten on all points but chromatic aberration. It is fairly close to the XT 6 for showing detail, but the XT 6 wins out on deep space objects. For what it's worth, The Starmax beats the pants off an ETX90 (as one would expect).

The Starmax is an OK, but not outstanding, scope and represents a reasonable value for the money. If we are to call the likes of TMB, Televue, etc. a 10, then I think a rating of 6 is fair for this scope. It does a decent job of providing a portable and modestly priced scope for planets and double stars. I find it unsatisfactory for deep space objects. If nothing else, it will give you something to put on your CG5 mount after you buy a GOOD mount for your Celestron CR150.

Overall Rating: 6
Optics:6 Value:7
Weight: 13 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: percy_smogg
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=244646


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I bought my Starmax in March and have used it frequently since. When compared to an ETX125 or Celestron C5, it represents incredible value. What you pay for this scope will only buy an ETX90RA. However, if you broaden your search, there are perhaps better value scopes about and most of them offered by Orion.
The build quality is impressive, the little scope feels solid and very well made. And its physically very small, so should prove a good scope for holidays. It's also relatively light and on the supplied EQ5 (I paid for the upgrade from EQ3/2), it is rock steady. The finder is your typical 6x30 job and I quickly replaced it with an Antares 9x50 right angle finder. The supplied eyepiece is one of Orion's Sirius 25mm plossls (also came with my XT10) and a decent eyepiece it is. Although I won't be using it much, as I already have the superior Ultrascopic. The diagonal is also satisfactory but I wouldn't mind replacing it with a Tele Vue 1.25" Everbright. Overall a good package!

Performance
A mixed bag here. Lets get the deep sky done first as it won't take long. Useless! That just about sums up it's deep sky capabilities. 5" aperture and f12.1 focal ratio are not the recipe for a good deep sky experience. There's not enough FOV for open clusters or large objects like M31. And there's not enough light gathering power for viewing fainter objects or resolving globular clusters. A good job I didn't buy it for this role.
On the Moon and planets its whole different story. The Moon is awesome and on nights of good seeing, the magnification can really be cranked up (400x +). The planets are sharp and show a good amount of detail, more than I was expecting from a 5". One thing of note here is the focuser. The mechanism is the same as an SCT, whereby the primary mirror is moved to focus, but it works far better than any Meade (LX10, LX90, LX200) or Celestron (Celestar 8, Nexstar 8i) I have used. Zero image shift, no mirror slop. The focus is dead smooth and images just snap into focus. When I recently observed Mars the Polar cap and surface markings were easily seen. Of course top performance from this scope, as with any MCT or SCT, is hugely dependent on proper cool down time. I reckon a couple of hours with one of these. The good views of Mars were obtained after leaving the scope out all night. I tried observing Jupiter after 45mins cooling and the view was appalling.

To sum up:

Pro's - Superb on the Moon and Planets. Great for imaging the Moon and Planets. Small, light and portable. Excellent build, great focuser and nice accessories. Good price when compared to ETX and C5. Doesn't overstress the EQ3/2 or EQ5. Comfortable to view through, no funny angles as with an F10 refractor.

Con's - terrible deep sky performance. Very narrow field of view. Poor light gathering ability. Very long cool down time. More bang for the buck with a dobsonian if photography isn't on the cards.

Bottom line - This a great planetary scope, which is well made and very portable. It won't overstress any mount and is rock steady on an EQ5. However if deep sky is your thing, then avoid this telescope. Or do as I did and buy a second rich field telescope (Orion ST120 F5 refractor) to satisfy the wide field observing.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.69.187)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=259854


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Great portable scope, very good construction, good optics, very good mount for the money.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:8 Mount:7 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.103.242)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=325963


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
Excellent telescope Optically -

You have to let this baby cool down for a bout 1 hour or so and the views are second to none -

Very nice - recommended -

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Ease of Use:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.141.175)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=348731


Orion StarMax 127mm Mak-Cass
I posted a review on this scope after owning the scope for a couple of months.

Now two years on.
The optics remain the best one point about this scope. No colour. Some scattered light. pin point sharp views. You can check out some images here.
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/smallscope/

Its robust. I've had it in bits, knocked it, dropped it and generally abused it. But I havent broke it YET ! Collmination is not so difficult and once done it sticks I've only ever had to collminate the scope three times once when I bought it and twice when I took it apart. Focusing is smooth and accurate. I added a bigger section to the focus knob with a plastic lid with a whole cut in the middle so it could slip over the main knob. This has been a great success. Critical focus is easy nothing vauge about it.

Like most blackned surfaces in cheap telescopes there is some internal glare I might flock mine to see if it will make any difference. The glare is obvious if you look through the back of the scope with no eyepeace in.

Does not perform on visual deep sky. Globulars can be a bit of a dissapointment needs more resolving power. The objective as stated in S&T measure 120mm not 127mm.

Planets and moon are great, doubles and different coloured groupings of stars are fantastic colour correction wins through here again. Bright deep sky OK anything else forget it. I've taken some great shots of the moon and planets with a webcam and they just keep getting better the scope has never dissapointed in this area. see the link above. Deep sky Astrophotgraphy could be good with a guided mount.

Two years ago I wrote that my next upgrade would be a better quality mount. I've tried both an EQ3/2 and EQ5 with this tube. This is a high power scope with a small FOV with too much vibration when focusing with either the EQ3/2 or EQ5 with the new tubular legs. Personally I think an EQ3/2 on a pedastal will perform better than an EQ5 on a tripod. Without going totally over board on the mount a pedestal is the only solution left to solve the wiggles when focusing.

I keep the scope in my garden shed with no cool down time envolved. One of the best view I've ever had through this scope was one morning in winter when I woke up early about 5 oclock with an outside temprature around -3 degrees. I caught a stunning view of the Alpine valley on the moon ten minutes after getting out of bed. I was completely blown away with the view it brought a tear to my eye. That moment alone has justified the price of the scope for me. Cool down time can take a long time so forget quick looks unless temp difference between were you store the scope and use it are large. If it wasent for the fact that I keep the scope stored outside in a shed I would never have had that moment.

With deep sky being the outstanding issue here I'm looking at guiding the scope for long exposure coupled with a focal reducer which in the long term might be a more economical solution than replacing the scope with something of a higher quality or with a bigger collective and ending up guiding this bigger more expensive scope.

In the last year I moved out of London/uk I know have my own back garden with outside storage as mentioned I've considered a replacement for the scope. Newtonians, bigger SCT or a large refractor. The only sensible upgrade that makes sence to me is a 4inch apo or a 9.25inch sct. Neither of which I can afford. But with the good planetary views, colour correction, durabilty, cost of this scope and for me no cool down time I'm reluctant to actually get rid of my China Mak/Cass. If I can get some deepsky out of the scope, it might never need replacing.

For equal performace I would think you would have to look at an ED refractor or quality newtonian.

Kevin McCarthy Surrey/UK

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:7 Mount:4 Ease of Use:6 Value:8
Weight: 15 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.233.183)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=367424

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