Friday, 9 March 2012

Skywatcher Evostar ED80 review

After some time imaging with a Skywatcher 200p I felt the need to upgrade my kit to a new refractor telescope and the  Skywatcher Evostar ED80 Pro had very good reviews as an imaging scope and also for observing.

My first telescope the Skywatcher 200p and EQ5 mount was purchased from Phil Burton photography in Bungay, Suffolk.

Phil is a professional photographer and I can highly recommend him as personal friend and a great choice for buying your first telescope from.
Customer service and after care service is excellent and Phil is a keen astronomer himself so understands just what you need to get started if your new to this fascinating hobby.

After 2 years of using the Skywatcher 200p I called Phil and ordered a new Skywatcher Evostar ED80 Pro Refractor telescope. So here is my review for those of you who are thinking of getting one.

As usual service from Phil Burton was excellent and the ED80 arrived the next day after my order went in so I went to the shop to collect it and take a look.

First impressions were of a comprehensive package will thought out with everything you need to get started.
The ED80 comes in a very smart foam lined carrying case that is well made and will protect your telescope from damage.

Here's a picture of the case it comes in, very smart with plastic studs on the bottom and a set of keys to lock it up with as well.

Once open everything inside was well packaged and protected, Inside you have the telescope with its rings and dovetail plate to mount it to your telescope mount, in my case an EQ5. Above the telescope you have a 10x50 finder scope, I have this on my 200p and it is great finder scope that can also double up as a guide scope.

Next to this you have a solid built diagonal for holding your eye pieces with brass lining and it hold standard 1.25 and 2 inch eye pieces very well made indeed this and saves you getting a neck ach a must have item. Next to that an adaptor for a DSLR camera, this screws into a standard T'-adaptor that fits on you camera and then that lot screws onto the next item which is your eye piece holder for putting directly into the end of the telescope.

And lastly you have a super wide angle 28m eye piece that gives suburb views of the night sky.

Here is a photo of the telescope inside the case with the above items..

The ED80 comes with a very nice crayford type focuser that is very smooth to operate and has a fine adjustment control knob for extra fine focus, it works very well and I found with my camera attached to it focusing was smooth and easy to do.

Here is a close up of the focuser..

The main lens has a white removable due shield over it ..

And here are the extra items included in the full package..

Once all this is assembled and placed on my Eq5 Mount in the garden it looks like this..

And a close up..

Now onto how it preforms as I use it for my first imaging session on M43 in the constellation of Orion.

I found it very easy and light to set up having been used to a very large reflector and fast to focus on my target for the evening. Optics are crisp and very clear but I did have a problem with dew later on. This can be sorted out with a dew strap though as standard so is not a problem.

Because it is so light compared to my 200p the Eq5 mount I had no problems at all and I was able to take 60 one minute exsposures with out any star trailing at all and longer if needed.
Views of the planets mars and the moon were crisp and sharp with very good definition and wide field views with the 28m lens were breath taking.
I was very impressed with the sharpness of the view and the telescope feels solid and very well made.

Now dispite there being a full moon which is bad for imaging deep sky objects generally, I managed to take enough subs of M42 the Orion Nebula to give me a resonable result and when I had finished for the night packing it all away was quick and easy.

The supplyed camera adapter works well and my canon 350d had no problems focusing. Also found the extra fine focus adjustment knob was a real blessing on closer observations.

So to sum up my first night with the Skywatcher Evostar ED80 Pro. A brilliant telescope that does everything I need it to do and does it very well. Solid and well built with good optics and crisp clear views of planets I viewed that evening, Mars Jupiter Saturn and Venus and the Moon. Deep sky objects give you a lovely wide field view and the results from a very poor imaging night due to a full moon were still very good indeed.

Here is my first image of the Orion Nebula 60x 1 min subs at ISO of 800 with normal darks flats and bias offsets applied.

Ten out of ten for a great telescope a joy to use and own.