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Thread: First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat

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    Default First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat



    I've had the Visionking 90 F/5.6 StarSky achro refractor since December 5th but clouds and other circumstances have prevented a first light until last night. Recovering from a head cold and the bitter cold (for Atlanta anyway) I was, I hate to admit, looking for an excuse to stay warm indoors instead. The sky turned out to be close to as good as it gets so with five minutes of set up, and bundled up, I was ready to go.

    The Chinese made OTA went onto the Twilight I mount very easily with the carry handle (added by me) a great help. Although there isn't a lot of tube length (with the dew shield retracted) I was still able to get it properly balanced with the 2" GSO 99% dielectric and eyepiece installed. As has become my practice for first lights I start out with a Russell Optics 41mm RKE eyepiece. It's a truly outstanding eyepiece with edge to edge resolution that is nearly perfect and wonderful eye relief. While the FOV isn't quite as wide as some other 2" eyepieces the view is amazingly good and perfectly suited as a lead-off EP. If there are any issues with the quality of the view I can have a very good idea that the problem lies with the scope itself. I pointed the scope randomly and peered into the 41 RKE.

    As "luck" would have it I hit a nice rich star field in Cassiopeia. Despite the cold I found myself grinning. Once focused in I was looking at beautifully crisp stars from edge to edge. I hate to compare it to the ST80 but it was a natural thing to do. While my ST80 is a valued scope what I was seeing through the 90 was on a different level. Of course this was based upon my recollection of the 80, but the view through the 90 was more "refined". That's not a proper term but it's the only way that I can describe it. Stars were perfectly crisp pinpoints. Maybe it was the extra 10mm of aperture, but I don't think so. In the very few reviews of this scope thatbI have seen the quality of the optics are described as "outstanding". I would quite agree with that assessment.

    Next I turned my attention to the Pleiades. Again, wonderful, like a sprinkling of diamonds fully framed in the FOV. Next, a quick stop at Aldebaran. Again, pinpoint sharp showing a wealth of orange color. Not a hint of CA. Next, on to M42. I was a bit shocked as it was larger than I had anticipated and was downright bright without averted vision. With averted vision I was picking up extended cloud and structure. All of this was with M42 caught between bare tree limbs and not that far above the roof ridge of my garage, far from optimal.

    Next I repeated the tour using a Celestron 32mm Elux. Resolution fell off noticeably in at least the last 20% at the edges. The Pleiades were busting out of the FOV (as was to be expected) and was not the same crisp sprinkling of diamonds as with the 41RKE. But still, it was an impressive sight. M42 had moved behind a tree trunk and I was shivering, so I called it a night. I plan on continuing tonight with better eyepieces than the Elux in the 32-19mm range to get a better idea of the scope at higher power. There has been zero CA up to this point but expect that will change at different magnifications and on some brighter targets. My evaluation are being made without use of filters such as my #8 light yellow and 495 Long Pass. So far I could not be more pleased with the optics with the right eyepiece.

    The mechanical quality of this scope is unbelievable. If someone was to hand it to me and ask what I guessed it to be priced at my guess would be well north of a grand. Multi baffled, fully flocked, ring cradle, retractable dew shield, solid metal construction with zero plastic. Fit and finish is top notch. And then there is the focuser. It's a roller bearing Crayford, a variant that I haven't seen before where rod rails ride the roller bearings. I would easily give it the nod over any one of a number of my GSO Crayfords. The only negative is that it requires significant tightening of the tension adjustment knob to prevent slippage of the focuser tube with a heavy diagonal and EP, but it really has little to no effect on the smoothness of operation. The real surprise is the function of the second speed fine focus. At first I thought that it wasn't functioning until I realized that it is a very, very fine focus. While my GSO fine focus' are a 10:1 ration I would guess this to be somewhere between 15:1 and 20:1. The focuser alone will bring me back to this scope again and again.

    The evaluation will continue. So far I am as pleased as I can be. At $269 to $299 new I am suspecting that this OTA may be one of the great deals in the amateur astronomy world. More evaluation will be necessary to say for sure. I can only be extra pleased with this scope as I acquired mine very lightly used for $252 shipped including the following extras: GSO 2" 99% dielectric diagonal (my second); Meade 2" 4000 Series 56mm EP (also my second one); 2" 82A light blue filter; 1.25" diagonal. BTW, the included carrying case makes transport a breeze. It could use a bit more padding.

    More to come.
    image.jpgimage.jpg
    Last edited by Rogan; 01-05-2016 at 05:26 PM.
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    Default Re: First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat

    Great review Rogan! Kinda makes me want to get my hands on one of these.
    Bryan

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    Default Re: First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat

    I think the key to this scope is going to be to find a handful of eyepieces that work really well with it. Just like the ST80 this scope is most likely going to shine 18mm through 70mm. I also predict a sweet spot somewhere around 40mm. The key for a scope like this (and an ST 80/90) is to understand what they are for and not for.

    Speaking of the ST80, once it warms up a bit I plan to set it up next to the 90 on my Twilight II for a side-by-side comparison. I'm not looking to see which is "better" (although I sense better optics with the 90 early on) but to see how they differ. The 80 isn't going anywhere. In fact, I just upgraded the GSO single speed Crayford to double speed with the conversion from Agena.
    "I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe; attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion; I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those... moments... will be lost... in time, like... tears... in rain."

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    Default Re: First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat

    Thanks for taking the time to write your excellent review.
    SXINIAS

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    Default Re: First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat

    Thanks for the review: sounds great! I'll be very interested to see how it goes with a bit more power.

    All the best,

    Dean

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    Default Re: First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat

    Quote Originally Posted by DeanD View Post
    Thanks for the review: sounds great! I'll be very interested to see how it goes with a bit more power.

    All the best,

    Dean
    Most definitely. How it holds up at higher power, and what happens with CA, is key. With a little time having passed since the first light I still can't get out of my mind how much structural detail that I was seeing with M42. Last night I wussed out. I've lived in the Deep South for over a decade and my cold resistance as a native Greater Clevelander of 46 years is long gone. Second light probably won't be for another day or so and most likely through pokey holes. The forecast is improving.
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    Default Re: First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat

    thanks for the review. I'm currently lookogm for an entry level scope for astrophotography and came across this one. It may be a contender

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    Default Re: First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat

    grgoman, Altocumulus and Apollo69s like this.

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    Default Re: First Light/Review: Visionking 90mm F/5.6 StarSky Achromat

    Sounds amazing for the $$! Thanks for the report. I'd love to see some pictures taken with it. I wonder if my ATFF2 flattener would work well with it?
    My eyes
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