Review of Orion Starblast Imaging Reflector

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Meng Lee
 
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Review of Orion Starblast Imaging Reflector

Postby Meng Lee » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:52 am

Hi all,

I think, in this forum, I try to introduce people into astrophotography in a cheap but decent way. Hence I will mostly reviewing lower end products from Synta, Skywatcher or Orion.

Pardon my frankness, if I were to spend S$10k on a telescope, I wouldn't bear to touch it or use it. One mark on the scope and I will :cry:

This Orion Starblast Reflector is from China modified slightly by Orion. The secondary mirror is slightly enlarged to provide a full illuminated view on small CCD chips, such as Meade DSI Pro CCDs.

Appearance:
Gun-metallic gray tube made of steel is indeed a solid tube. The front and back parts are made of plastic but nothing is flimsy. The mirror is centre-spotted for easy collimation. Very Nice feature. The undesirable part is the 1.25" plastic rack and pinon focuser which can't really allow you to hold a DSLR or SBIG on it at all! I tightened the focuser to ensure the StarShoot deepsky camera does not slip out of focus during imaging. So because of the focuser, it can only hold cameras like DSI pro, StarShoot, or small Starlight Xpress cameras.

Optical performance:
Since this is also a RFT (Rich Field Telescope), the views of Orion Neb and starclusters are nice. But remember there is a minimum magnification for Newtonians. Lower than that, you will see the secondary mirror shadow even at focus. For small chip cameras, the coma is almost negligible (see the bottom pic) and vignetting is also negligible as claimed. Due to its small f-ratio, imaging is fast with many details captured!

Conclusion:
At S$330+, this telescope is unbeatable as a very light imaging scope and a good scope to lug around overseas. Collimation is also very easy. No false color also! The 4.5" aperture is big enough for you to image many things. Of course the plastic focuser is the worst part of the scope. The software is idiot proof and automatic and reading the help file will let you learn the basics!

(Before beginners plunge into imaging, make sure the fundamentals or imaging are observed: polar alignment, guiding, balancing, collimation and so on)

Hope this sets the blood of beginners boiling!

Pic: Orion Neb, 40 x 20 seconds, no dark frame subtraction (or rather, its forget to take dark frames!), processed in MaxIm DL essentials and Photoshop.
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weixing
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Location: (Tampines) Earth of Solar System in Orion Arm of Milky Way Galaxy in Local Group Galaxies Cluster
Favourite scope: Vixen R200SS & Celestron 6" F5 Achro Refractor

Postby weixing » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:05 pm

Hi,
How does this scope perform visually?? Would be great if you can give some comments on it visual performance, such as Wide Field, planetary and lunar viewing. Also, is it difficult to colliminate??

If this imaging version can have decent visual performance, then the visual version should perform better and it'll be an excellent beginner and grap and go scope at an excellent price... always want to recommend this scope to beginner, but really got some doubt on the visual performance as it is an F4 scope.

Have a nice day.
Yang Weixing
:mrgreen: "The universe is composed mainly of hydrogen and ignorance." :mrgreen:

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Meng Lee
 
Posts: 1196
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:36 pm
Location: NUS, Ang Mo Kio

Postby Meng Lee » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:21 pm

Hi, sad to say I didnt really look through it much. Most of the time I look through it to centre the object in the camera. I would expect decent views of Lunar and planets with enough wow factor for beginners but definitely not going please discerning planetary observers. This is due to the large secondary obstruction.

Wide views are very pleasing. Coma is really quite negligible. But the collimation has to be done well. The collimation is the standard Newtonian way, and a collimating cap is supplied with it. I think that's the most difficult part for beginners if their scope if off collimation. But it's really easy to collimate once you get the hang of it. So if we were to recommend it beginners, then we need to teach them collimation.

The imaging version has its focal point pushed outwards for the sake of recessed chips in imagers, so some eyepieces may not reach focus with the imaging version. I am not sure about the visual version.

I think this scope with the Porta mount is really a solid package for beginners and can be a keeper even if the beginner were to become either a visual astronomer or astrophotographer.
Photo Album:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14113965@N03/

Grab and Go visual: Mak 150 + Voyager
Imaging: (Atik 16HR, StarShoot Pro)
GPD2 w SS2k
+ FS-60CB,
+ Pentax SDUF
EQ-6 Pro
+ ED115S
+ VC 200L
+ C11 (Planetary)


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