Un-boxing and First Light:
After a Couple of Weeks:
- The price
- Optics of the OTA - everything I have pointed it at is beautifully defined and pin-sharp - MUCH nicer than my 90mm short-tube refractor (and no detectable CA, of course!)
- Build quality of the OTA - it feels nice and solid, with a good “weighty” feel. The tube and back (including the finder-scope dovetail) are made of some sort of plastic / resin, but it feels very solid and tough, not “plasticky”, and gives a nice solid “metallic” sound when you tap it. The focuser thumb-wheel knob itself feels a bit “plasticky”, but the focusing mechanism and action is very precise and smooth, allowing pin-sharp focusing.
- Two ports - one for visual, and one for photography.
- Did I mention the price?
And the Not-So-Good:
- The supplied Kellner eyepieces are OK, but not exactly great. They don’t have any rubber eyecups, so I found I was getting a lot of stray light in my light-polluted backyard. The focal lengths (9mm & 20mm) make a good “starter pair”, and a first-time user would have no reason to complain, but I really enjoyed the view a lot more with my other Plossl eyepieces.
- The 8x21 finder scope is pretty useless - small field of view, dim, and mounted much too close to the body and the main eyepiece port to be comfortably accessible. However, it installs in a dovetail mount, so I put in a red-dot zero-magnification finder (which has a much longer stand-off than the supplied finder scope mounting bracket), and it worked MUCH better! (One thing to note is that the dovetail mount on the telescope back seems to be a little bit smaller than the “standard” mount, so I had to file the foot of the red-dot mount a little bit to get it to fit in, but once done, it sits nice and secure.)
- The tripod, which is somewhat flimsy for astronomical use. I put the telescope onto an EQ2 mount that I already own, and it was MUCH better! I’ll keep the supplied mount as a compact travel mount for the OTA, but I’ll use the EQ2 at home.