Optical Design: Refractor
Focal length: 360mm f/7.2
20mm Kellner EP
Hybrid mirror diagonal, accepts 1.25” eyepieces
First Light Impression:
The weather was partly cloudy so I had to wait for the clouds to pass, look quick, and then wait again. This, of course, limited any serious observing. Based on the time I had with it here is what I think:
- Tripod is close to worthless. There was a light breeze and the scope was shaking at higher powers making it hard to get focus. I may try hanging a weight, but a better plan would be to replace it.
- The scope is TINY. I could easily put the entire thing – with tripod- in my laptop backpack and still fit all my laptop stuff. This makes it great for traveling.
- I used three different EPs:
- Included 20mm Kellner. Clear image of the Sun, but it was tiny. Hard to make anything out.
- Orion Hyperion 13mm. This is a massive EP and probably weighs more than the entire scope. It also worked well, but the Sun was still tiny in the view and hard to make out much detail.
- Orion Expanse 6mm. This ep did remarkably well. I could finally make out some detail on the Sun and spotted 2 sun spots before the clouds came back.
- At 6mm the slight breeze nearly made the view unattainable. I have a 3x focal extender I will try if I get a still day.
- The scope uses a standard tripod mount, so if you have a good tripod for your camera already just use that.
- The finder is really cool. It looks like a sundial. You line up a shadow with a bullseye and the sun is in the 20mm EP. It was also in the 13mm Hyperion, but just out of the 6mm Expanse. Easiest sun finder scope I have used yet.
Overall, for $100 it delivers a view similar to Baader film. My other telescope is a 8″ on an AVX EQ GOTO mount with more than double the focal length. If I planning any camera work I would break out the 8″ for the better mount and etc (I have a 50mm aperture homemade Baader filter for it). But for grab and go viewing, not unlike what you might use binos for, this scope is great. I will probably invest in a more stable tripod for it in the future and definitely want to try the focal extender.
Bottom Line: If you already have a small refractor, then you are better off spending the money on a full aperture glass filter rather than buy a new small refractor. Since I did not, I think it was a good purchase.