Lomo Astele 133.5

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Lomo Astele 133.5
Up to about 150x or a little more it gives away little in resolution to 5-6" refractors regardless of type. Side by side testing showed that it could easily resolve more stars in M13 than a Vixen 102ED. M57 was slightly brighter in the refractor but the Mak could resolve more detail. Light enough to be rock solid on a CG-5/EQ-4 mount. Star tests indicate Lomo is reaching their stated goal of 1/8 wave optical elements. Even without any fans or extra air openings plus the full metal tube the Astrositall primary and Pyrex correctr seem to reach thermal equilibrium quickly for a Maksutov. Only reason I don't give it as 10 overall is the annoying different shape of the Lomo dovetail. Not the same shape needed to go right in a CG-5. You have to mount it's dovetail plate holder onto a drilled out Synta short dovetail to make it easy to take on and off. Other than that it's been a keeper.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Mount:8 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.105.17)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=99969

Lomo Astele 133.5
Well, I am finally ready to cast a vote. I give the 133.5 an overall 8. I was disappointed with the images.

The scope is built like a tank. Construction and workmanship is excellent. Focuser feather -touch but easily moved out of focus - I prefer a tighter focus knob.

The finder is a 10+++ - awesome right angle finder that is very useful.

The star test was good, and on terrestial views it was crisp and clear. But, astro images were just not bright and contrast was low. I compared it to an older Criterion 6" reflector. The Criterion RV6 was a much better imaging instrument. Views of M13 in the Lomo were muddled and gray -not much definition. The Orion nebulae resolved the trapezium but lack of contrast and brightness made the nebulae disappointing. The background sky never looked black - always a medium gray that hindered looking at DSO's.

Jupiter was OK in the Lomo. It's position in sky was not ideal. I resolved two bands and slight shading of planet. One band had some details but they were hard to resolve. I never could cleanly focus - either focuser too subtle or temperature problems.

The moon was sharp and clear, so I believe the collimation and optical surfaces was good. I just think this scope lacks the ability to put up a lot of contrast and brightness.The images of DSO like globulars were large but lacked brightness and contrast, thus lacked definition and clarity. Imagine M13 like a big dirty snowball.

The scope is very compact and easily transported. It is a perfect match for a CG5 with a wooden tripod. With this set-up I could lean against the tripod while viewing.

Acclimation to outside temperatures takes a long time. It took over 2 hours in the late winter. Even in late spring I could never reallly get it to reach thermal equilebrium.

A dew shield is a requirement - the outer lens dews up and fogs up very quickly.

I had hoped this scope would perform better and had actively promoted the Lomo Yahoo site and solicited people to post their reviews here. Maybe I will get a Lomo 150 or Intes MK 67 and compare them to the Lomo 133.5.

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:7 Mount:10 Ease of Use:8 Value:8
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
By: electric
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=104655

Lomo Astele 133.5
Recently I picked up one of these through a friend on Astromart. The previous owner wasn't advertising, and I couldn't find a used one from any individual so I put out a search there and ended up with this one. I approached the whole affair with a somewhat casual attitude in that I new I couldn't spend more than $500 total (OTA). If I were to find one at this price, well, I couldn't expect it to look or perform like a new 133.5. So when this one arrived, I was genuinely surprised to find a very well cared for, if not basically new scope. Nearly everything about the build quality is very sturdy, robust is the word, with nice paint work. My only gripe is the focuser. The image shift isn't bad, but it developes play at certain angles. I have come to find out that this is caused by a spring inside that supports the mirror mount to provide a little resistance-which can be adjusted by literally stretching/compressing and reinstalling it. I picked up a similiar spring at Ace Hardware, cut it down a little, put it in and that helped alot. Remember, this is a used scope, so a new one might be just fine. Still, it is better than the focusers I have found on the cheaper Chinese import refractors. The weight is not too much for the CG 4 clone on Vixen wooden legs, but is is approaching it. The mount doesn't handle my 4" Carton very well at all. But with this little Astele, I have a two second damp time when tapped vigorously which I can more than live with. It came without a finder but with a finder mount of strong and precise machine quality. I got the Losmandy finder mount from Astronomics with the Antares 50mm finder (Astele is 40mm, but I wanted the 50mm for my waining eyes). It's a great combination and matches/fits the scope well enough. Images are bright and easy to find. I also made a temporary 10" dew cap out of poster board painted ultra flat black to keep out stray light (plenty of that here) and protect the corrector from the elements a little. Seems to work ok. The provided corrector cover is of thick plastic, taking on kind of a carbon fiber look, I mean it's not bad at all even if plastic, and the only plastic that comes with the scope. It fits well and screws on tightly if need be. The thick aluminum ~7" mounting strip that runs along the base of the tube is firmly attached by two hefty screws, and slides firmly into a beefy aluminum dove tail that inturn mounts onto the CG 4 via a 3" x 10" piece of 1/4' thick red oak I fashioned for the combo. You'll probably have to make your own mounting rig, which doesn't take much time or money. I think the oak was $3.50 (3' x 3" x 1/4" strip), and accompanying screws, nuts, washers came to around $8.00 total (all stainless steel). It took about an hour and a half of my time, looks good and is plenty strong enough for this scope. This will eventually be aluminum. While I'm at it, let me say that I've read several places on the net on how to clean the corrector on a Mak/cass. Many people suggest removing the plate altogether which I think is a really risky plan. Not only do you contaminate the secondary, you are handling a large piece of glass that is very easy to damage/scar, and incredibly difficult to get back on correctly (pun). If it doesn't go right, your in trouble. Keep it on the scope and find your ideal method of cleaning. I have never cleaned a corrector (lots of glass though), and am not in a hurry to clean this one. I have my ideas. Now, here's the meat and potatoes of the viewing experience.
Cool down from 70o F to 40o F takes 1 1/2 hours. The Mak seems to establish its potential right around here, and all anomalies in the expanded fresnel pattern dissappear. That's fine. First light revealed to me a less than perfect stellar image, and some astigmatism was evident as well. Not terrible, but the scope would not focus like it should. I found it to be quite perplexing at first because the contrast was much better than I had imagined. Images up to ,say, 150x looked crisp and clean, but further coaxing brought out that dredded astigmatic "cross" in the image that would come and go with the seeing. It was miniscual, but there. Not acceptable. This is the funny part here though. I'm used to refractors. I've played with them for years (first 60mm in 1974). I'll get ready to observe, take the refractor outside and start observing within just a few minutes. No big deal, no bad images after a short while. Ok. I'm not used to waiting an hour or two to look through one. I just assumed I could get started right away, and am really guilty of not using my intellect here. Most everybody knows that you have to let a Cassegrain design acclimate except me. Once I realized this, I timed the scopes ability to adjust and came up with the number above. Now, after perfecting the collimation and letting the scope equalize, the results achieved have left me to believe the wave front error in this telescope in fact meets or exceeds 1/8 wave accuracy at the eyepiece. The spherical abberation is as minimal as in any scope I have looked through, and the donut pattern at breakout is identacle on either side of focus. I have never seen better. Focusing anything under 200x is cake, while pushing that requires a little more patience, but that is only because of the mount. The scope gives definate snap-no mistakes/uncertainty here, even at rediculous powers (500x +). I get a clean point(softer-sure) image with anywhere from one to three diffraction rings in daylight @ 900X (yes, 900x), depending on the image intensity (produced by the sun's reflection off a fairly near (to negate the effects of atmospheric disturbance)reflective source). I know that that is also part of judging an optics quality, how well it handles the air. I made all my observations in real world conditions too, and found the performance to be exactly as I am stating and on par with the quality scopes I have looked through in the past-barring the obstruction. And while I'm at it let me add that I would rather have a perfect Mak as this one appears to be, with 38% obstruction, than a telescope without obstruction with "good" optics. I've read in some of Roland Christen's writings that the absence of the amount of "junk" floating around the image at very high power (400x-550x +)is a good indication of optical perfection-the lack of spurous, image degrading light) and have found this scope to indeed produce very little scatter or spurious artifacts in the immediate vicinity of the image. The optics are astounding. Saturn absolutely has very little haze surrounding it, (only with averted vision) even at 250x on several succesive nights. The stability is good. The globe is tight, showing the top cap and the orangish central band, and the rings reveal structure (like a record groove so aptly described in another article). Cassini is evident everywhere except the back where it is hidden now by the globe. It is starkly black, not fat, but very evident. The planet shows an overall whitish glow with a slight yellowish tint. 5,6,7 etc. mag stars look identicle to the view through a perfectly alligned 4" refractor. The Moon has great contrast, and for the first time ever I was able to perseive height in some of the peaks/mountains in craters and ridges. Theophilus revealed structure/valleys on it slops. Several craterlets were intermitingly visible on Plato. Black was pretty much black, and white was pretty much white with dark and light to lighter shades of grey splotching the surface. On the fairly good nights, exceptional yet to be seen, the image is stable enough. I mean I don't have any other Mak experience-I'm a refractor guy. What I see seems to be within 80-90% of a good 4" long focus refractor's stability. Maybe better numbers exist? The only exception is the main diffraction ring which is, of course, thicker, and not quite as deliberate if you know what I mean. It's hard to put your finger on it. I printed out and enlarged some of Marcus's diffraction patterns at his APM site to compare with this Mak, and found his best Mak examples to be identicle to mine in their intra/outra focus range. I studied for zones, breakout of the donut, color fringes, outer ring equal intensity and texture, hairish glows, spikes etc. None of the bad was there. It was good to see, and I tried hard to find descripancies. This test was done in the controlled invironment of my home with a strong point source at a distance, similiar to the way he does his, just not photographed.
I haven't done much deep sky-sorry-but I can tell you that Orion has that greenish-blue color and the sky background is dark in the background here at my suburban location. I am truely impressed with the images in this telescope, and have found them to be fairly stable under acceptable to good viewing conditions. Not as good as a top flight 4" apo, but who cares. Portability, again, is a virtue. It means you can use a lighter and therefore less expensive, portable mount-in my case, a lot less. Don't think I wouldn't love owning an Astro Physics 5" apochromat, but it's just not time yet. The Carton 4" f/13 refractor I own (not portable) is a good scope to judge others by, both better and worse. It is great in its own right, but I don't have a good enough mount for it to bring out its commanding performance (used to have a G9, but no more).
I am, again, happy and surprised with the optics in this Astele and whole heartidly recommed it to anyone wanting a nice alternative to an apo, but with the added convenience of portability to further offset that expendature.
My hope is that my next purchase of a telescope (or your purchase), will be as exciting as this one has been. I recommend the telescope, and for the $450 price tag that I paid, it is absolutely unbeatable. Clear skies and best of luck to you.
Oh yes, a better designed focuser would have landed the rating at a 10.,

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:8 Ease of Use:8 Value:9
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.8.46)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=325036

Lomo Astele 133.5
I have owned many telescopes in my lifetime. Over 50 easily.
Many of these have been maksutov-cassegrains...but, I must
say. This is the best I have seen. The optics are superb!
This has better contrast and accepts better magnification than a 114mm APO...and if some of these APO owners compared their scope's views with the view one gets from the
Lomo Astele 133.5, I'm afraid they would cry...knowing that
they over spent for less quality. Better images, more compact
and more versatile. You can't touch this 5.25" telescope with
a 4"-5" doublet APO...the only thing that will beat it is a 5"
triplet (true APO-apochromatic), but then, my friend, expect
to pay a few thousand dollars. As far as the 40mm right angle
finder. I have never seen one better. I use the LOMO photo
tripod and a slow-motion control adapter...and it works very
beautifully as well as the makings of a great "grab 'n' go"

Chris Douglas
(Douglas Observatory, OH)

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.2.99)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=338814

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