View Poll Results: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

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Thread: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

  1. #1
    Constellasian's Avatar
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    Default Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?



    Okay, I think I've narrowed down my list for my first scope to be one of these two. It's going to be either one of these scopes for viewing our moon, planets and their moons. I'll be transporting it frequently up/down 2 flights of stairs regularly and then every couple of months will be bringing it in the car on an hour long ride to my parent's house for some viewing there. Will be viewing with 2 toddlers for as long as they sky has their attention which will be about 5-10 minutes. No interest in using either of these for astrophotography.


    • The Zhumell Z130 is only 0.5" larger in aperture, but the focal length on the XT4.5 is quite a bit longer. Not sure how that translates to the performance of the scope. What should I be expecting out of a scope that has a slightly larger aperture but significantly shorter focal length?


    • The price difference is around $60 which I feel is negligible considering the long term use of the scope I'm hoping to have for me and the two kids (and possibly wife if she wants to join us).


    • Though aesthetically, I think the Z130 looks nicer, the looks aren't going to be the deciding factor. It's all about the function. Is aperture really king if the difference is just 0.5"?


    • I hear raving reviews about both and can't decide which. Lately, I've been hearing that the XT4.5 is so small in stature that I would still need that to be on a table top so the whole advantage of that possibly having a leg up over the obviously designed table top Z130 is out the door...for me. The kids looking through the XT4.5 standing up would be perfect. 2 and 5 year olds.
      I'm aware the collimating of the Z130 is a bit more difficult (not impossible like the Z114) with the screws over the thumb nobs which I'm fine with. I'm just looking for clarity.



    • Totally okay with not seeing everything out there in the sky, but would be disappointed if what I am able to view isn't as crystal clear as possible for a sub $300 scope. I'll probably be buying a couple eyepieces eventually/immediately.

    Thoughts on the comparison other than to buy one of each? Haha.
    Last edited by Constellasian; 12-30-2018 at 02:06 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

    For me this one is simple. With your desire for as clear a view as possible the XT4.5 wins. When it comes to clarity and such, slower simply wins.

    That higher focal ratio helps out in another way (or two) as well. Given that you are staying on the inexpensive side you are likely to be using quite inexpensive eyepieces. Plossls are where you are likely to settle for a while.

    If you choose to go with the highest normally usable magnification with those telescopes, the XT4.5 will be using an 8mm eyepiece and the Zhumell will be using a 5mm eyepiece.

    With Plossls and similar inexpensive eyepieces, the longer the focal length your eyepiece has the more generous your eye relief will be. The eye relief will be better with an 8mm eyepiece than with a 5mm eyepiece and that means you can expect a more pleasant viewing experience with the XT4.5.

    Also, a Plossl doesn't do a good job of correcting coma/field curvature. While some people have higher tolerance than do I, I don't much enjoy the view through a Newtonian with a focal ratio of less than about 6 if I am not using either a coma corrector, a highly corrected eyepiece (expensive), or both a coma corrector and a highly corrected eyepiece. IOW, the XT4.5's slower optics will give you less aberration than will the Zhumell's faster optics.

    So unless there is some other over-riding factor, if the emphasis is on a view with little aberration then for me it really isn't even a choice. The XT4.5 wins without any real competition.

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    Default Re: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

    Wow! That's good info. Thanks! I'm definitely the newb but I'm proud that I know what aberration is! Haha, kidding aside thanks though. Seriously. This helps. I appreciate you taking the effort to respond to the thread.

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    Default Re: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

    What are your thoughts regarding the ability for the Z130 to increase in magnification with the use of a barlow lens while maintaining the wider field of view compared to the XT4.5 which has a tighter field of view due to the lower focal length?

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    Default Re: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

    Quote Originally Posted by Constellasian View Post
    What are your thoughts regarding the ability for the Z130 to increase in magnification with the use of a barlow lens while maintaining the wider field of view compared to the XT4.5 which has a tighter field of view due to the lower focal length?
    The Z130 has a focal length of 650mm.

    The XT4.5 has a focal length of 900mm.

    With a given eyepiece or eyepiece/barlow combination, the XT4.5 will achieve a higher magnification over the Z130 because it has a longer focal length. Magnification is scope focal length divided by the eyepiece focal length.

    Technically, a barlow lens increases the focal length of the telescope by whatever factor is on the barlow (2x, 3x, etc.).

    Best to not worry over magnification, though. Both of these scopes have similar aperture size, so depending upon the eyepieces utilized, similar results can be obtained. Exit pupil should be the more concerning aspect. Exit pupil can be calculated by dividing the scope's aperture size by the magnification yielded by a given eyepiece.

    This has the neat effect of bringing focal ratio into play. The focal ratio is focal length divided by aperture. The XT4.5 has a focal ratio of f/7.5, the Z130, f/5. Thus, the xt4.5 will give you a 1mm exit pupil with a 7.5mm eyepiece, the Z130 with a 5mm eyepiece.

    A 1mm exit pupil will, on most nights, be the most you can achieve before the image begins to degrade. On nights of good seeing, you can push that further with a shorter eyepiece. With the Moon, and sometimes the brighter planets, you can push down to a .5mm exit pupil (an eyepiece shorter than half the focal ratio).

    With larger deep sky objects, you want an exit pupil around 2.5 to 4.5mm and sometimes up to 6mm (multiply those numbers by your focal ratio to get a proper eyepiece focal length).

    If you get an exit pupil that is too large (too large being more than your dark-adapted pupil can dilate), you will begin to see the shadow of the secondary mirror creating a dark blob on the object you are viewing, especially on brighter objects like the Moon and Jupiter. Things begin to look a little funny and somehow not quite right.

    So after all that confusion, I'll sum up by saying that with either scope, you can achieve similar exit pupils appropriate to the objects being observed with the right selection of eyepieces and/or barlow lens combo. Since they are similar in aperture, you can get pretty much the same results. The XT4.5 will have a slightly narrower field of view than the Z130 due to the slightly longer focal length, but not so much to make a huge difference.

    The real measure, in my mind, it how both scopes are built. The XT4.5 will sit on the ground and you snug up to it with your observing chair and have at it. With the Z130, you need a small table or a stool to set it upon. Unless you pack that up as part of your gear, you may not have a handy table around to put the scope on. That is not a worry with the XT.

    Of course, the Z is more portable because of it's smaller stature.

    Either one will do a similar job for you. Which one is the most convenient to use for you owing to its design?
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    Default Re: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

    Boy, I just learned more terminology when I thought I had already come across all the jargon. Thanks for enlightening me. I have much to learn.

    I recently realized that if my 2 kids don't get into this as much as I'm expecting (rather "hoping"), then I may be taking this into my own car which is a small hatchback with no cargo room in the back seat due to the two car seats back there and the scope would have to fit in the tiny trunk or front passenger seat. The Z130 will fit no problem whereas the XT4.5 may have a hard time if it's even possible. I'm weighing the two different designs. I had never previously wanted a table top due to the nature of needing err.... a table, but with the portability of it, it might be worth it. The consideration of a table top Dobsonian style scope came into play due to the benefit of the increased aperture albright minimal at 0.5" larger than the XT4.5.

    The Z130 also has a parabolic mirror as opposed to the XT4.5 which is spherical. From what I understand, the benefit of the parabolic mirror shouldn't be ignored. The XT4.5 comes with better eye peices, but knowing me, I'm going to upgrade those anyway so maybe the Z130 is better for my particular use. Decisions decisions.
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    Default Re: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

    With a small, slow reflector like the XT4.5 the spherical mirror is not a significant issue. It might not be quite as good as if it were parabolic but there is a good chance you won't notice a difference.

    With a fast reflector the spherical mirror becomes a big deal. As the aperture increases your focal ratio must also increase in order to avoid problems.

    Net effect is that the XT4.5 should give you some very nice views. But it has to be able to be where you are going to observe or it doesn't do you any good.
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    Default Re: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

    Thanks for the info. After having seen the XT4.5 and XT6 in person today, the XT6 definitely won't fit in the car so the decision is still between the XT4.5 and Z130. Leaning towards the latter.

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    Default Re: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

    I have the Starblast 4.5 tabletop version, but I have it mounted on a field tripod using tube rings. I like that better than the tabletop mount, though that mount isn't all that bad. I prefer the convenience and greater portability that the tripod affords however. I've been tempted to buy the XT4.5 and just mount the OTA on my tripod. I already have the rings, so it should work. I like the little Starblast, but one issue is the very small depth of focus it has due to it being a f/4. This, sometimes, is a pain to deal with and I just don't get good clarity. I suspect the Z130 may have a similar concern, but at f/5 it might be more tolerable than the f/4 Starblast. I use to own a 60mm f/11.6 refractor. Even though the ergonomics of viewing higher up in the sky were not to my liking I sure did enjoy the clarity and contrast provided by the deeper focusing depth. Based on these factors I would opt for the XT4.5. Just my .02 cents worth.
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    Default Re: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 or Zhumell Z130?

    There I go again reconsidering the Z130 and now back to the XT4.5. Haha. Thanks for your feedback. My plan is to increase the focus length by using eyepieces to keep the overall physical scope more on the compact size. An XT4.5 on a tripod would be quite large for my liking vs a Z130 on a tripod if I ever went that route.

 

 
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