Customer Comments - SV110ED-BV

Last Friday night I enjoyed "first light " through my new SV110ED. It was wonderful!...(snip)...Now I realize that some cloud boxes are probably more potent than others, but I must have been given an especially powerful one, because within ten minutes after I opened it, the planetarium lost power and we found ourselves under a "Tornado Warning"!

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(Warning: This review contains a sense of humour.)

Even so I like my inmate, 107 days is enough. I repeatedly requested a lesser sentence but his Honor would not hear of it. So finally, on 4/09/2011, my time had come and I was free to go, grab my new SV 110ED/BV, and head for first light.

Wow, there actually was a sky, full of Stars and Galaxies and Nebulas and Star Clusters. It astounded me and my heart skipped a beat or two. However, with my guarding Angel on one site and my SV on the other, I remained balanced and steadfast on my trembling legs.

My heartbeat, slowly regaining its normal rhythm, a small tear rolling down my cheek, I slowly bend over to spread the legs on my tripod. The waxing crescentMoon, 38% of full, was my first inviting target. I slowly lifted the eyepiece cover of my 25mm plossel off, and slowly lowered my by now tear free eye down for my first look through the 110.

Nothing, oh my God, a deep panic struck. I thought I had gone blind during my incarceration.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. If I take the lens cover off I might be able to see my target. I took a note, to increase my protein intake for some much-needed mental muscle and finally I saw Ma Luna mia. Oh my Dear God, this was better than sex.

I had to sit down. My legs trembling again, but this time from the joy I was feeling. From the appreciation of the many people involved from so many different nations.

From the Japanese glassmakers, the Russian Optical Grinders, the international cadre of Captains of Sea and Air for transport. The Mexican UPS drivers, the lonely former Forest Ranger and his dedication for perfection, to last but by no means least, Shelly the ever-friendly Office Matron answering all the good, bad and I presume many times silly questions being asked by us, the customer.

All this having come together in a body made out of glass, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, and felt.

All this came together for me, to afford me the view of a Lifetime. Thank you all Earthlings for your dedication and work, and thank you God for the view.

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Hi, all - I'm new to the group and a proud new Stellarvue owner. My SV110ED just arrived this morning and I am ecstatic! This thing is absolutely beautiful - and the craftmanship is impeccable. I've been an amateur astronomer
for 36 years. During those years I have owned a number of scopes and even built a few. But this is without a doubt the finest piece of equipment I have evergotten my hands on. First light, unfortunately, won't be until tomorrow night (weather permitting)as I have a family commitment tonight that will take me out of town for the evening.

Needless to say, I'm really curious about the contents of the "cloud" box that came with the scope, but I don't dare open it until after first light (wouldn't want to let all those clouds out of the box to ruin my first outing!).

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I set up  before dark, but theclouds had  rolled in about the time I could have imaged Jupiter (1:15 AM local). However, I  did get to try the scope for the first time early in the evening on those little  lights in the sky - star thingies! I was blown away by the 110 - easy focus  with and without Barlows/PowerMates, the SkyView Pro carries the scope just  fine, and superb star fields. I know what the sky should look like - did field  work in the desert of Baja California in the 70's and that is NOT what Michigan  skies look like. However, nothing but stars through the 110 - many more than I ever  saw with the Orion Mak. No CA on anything I looked at earlier in the evening but  lots of subtle color variation in pin-point stars that I never used to see  either. Ended up star-hopping for over an hour as I couldn't resist what the next  view might reveal! No question I'm going to love that instrument! My camera is  an Imaging Source DMK21AU04 USB monochrome. Simply a great camera. Maybe by  next week I can shoot Jupiter and/or the Moon. I don't know if there are enough  110's to have a Michigan star party, but I bet there enough different SV scopes to  have a go!

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I have  traded up from the SV80ED
to the SV110ED APF version. The change is significant. And...remember, I'm the guy who uses telescopes for extreme things, like putting the Powermate before the diagonal and then a barlow after.

A few points:

1. Star test - Excellent on both sides of focus. Once I get a clear night with the web cam I'll post some photos of the dozen or more concentric rings this baby produces.

2. Size and Weight - Telescope immediately nicknamed "The Beast." Not because it is large, 25 inches long collapsed and 5.5 inches of diameter for the dewshield, but because it weighs 15 pounds as an OTA. The weight catches you by surprise. The three inch focuser is massive and strong, the tube is thick, and the glass is large. Result, this is probably the largest scope I would want to grab and go. My Vixen VMC 200L is lighter and has a handle built it.

3. Mounting - Carry it like a football with the rings and dovetail in place. Use your body to hold it into the Skyview Pro Alt-Az mount and screw down tight. Loosen rings to adjust back and forth for balance. Easily obtains zenith.

4. Dew Shield - Twice as deep as the one on the SV80ED and probably the best idea on the scope. No dewing or stray light on this puppy.

And now...the visual tests (part 1). Preface: The scope arrived the day I was heading out on vacation to Northern Michigan, where the skies are dark and clear (as in very dark and very clear). The 110ED's Metal Case was too large to fit in the car with everything else so I took my Oberwerk 20x80 binos instead. (Hang on, there is a reason I bring this up). The first night was so dark and clear I promptly burned down every object in the Milky Way with ease and sighted additional globs and galaxies (M51, M81, M82, M31 and M110). With hazy skies for the next several nights, our party observed the Moon each night. The 20x80's were killer grab and go choice. So, naturally, I was kicking myself for not taking the 110ED. Back at home under medium light pollution I tried the scope out on a few select targets.

Moon - Spectactular at all magnifications, from 20mm SWA to 3.2mm. Powermate and 12mm Nagler produced the best resolution with numerous craters seen inside the larger craters. More interesting was the use of my SV1 binoviewers with 15mm Superwides. The APF version of the 110 is not supposed to be bino friendly. Wrong. I started with the lens from my 2x SV barlow screwed into the front of the binoviewer and easily reached focus at about 35mm of drawtube with the 2 inch SV diagonal. I then took the corrector off and the diagonal and went straight through, again easily reaching focus for a bright, sharp, 3D view of the moon at 50x. An unbeatable combo.

Jupiter - Timing was good as the 5mm Hyperion at 3:00am Sunday morning caught Europa in transit. The moon and its shadow both clearly visible (a first for any of my scopes). Mind you, Europa was a tiny dot, but it was visible. Cloud bands up to the poles were visible with the major ones showing festoons, all under turbulent skies. Excellent resolution. All moons were tiny orbs, not dots or stars, actual orbs with a 3D look. Web cam tests are on the to-do list.

M31 - Hard to see dust lanes with the existing light pollution, but M32 and M110 both showed clearly. Please note above that even under dark skies the 20x80's couldn't find M110.

First Findings: Still need to play with the mounting of the scope to see if there is a faster way to get it outside. Will most likely buy the C9S padded case for faster transport to the outside. The metal case is excellent protection, but it takes up a lot of space and is awkward to carry.

Optics are excellent and blow away my previous C8 for performance. This weekend I will mount the 110ED and Vixen VMC 200L on the Alt-Az for a shoot-out (now, that's firepower). Rivals the Tak FC100, and buries the SV80ED, AT80ED, and Orion 100 in performance. I once owned a CR5 from the Meade LDX75 series and it easily outshoots that one as well. Web cam tests can document the differences in Part 2 of this report.

Usability - Not bad. Balancing is critical. Because the lens and focuser are farther away from the center of gravity than SV80's, it requires more care when you switch from binos to 2 inch eyepieces or 2 inch to 1.25 inch eyepieces. Once you are used to that, no issues. Focuser is not "buttery-smooth" except for fine focus, but it is so rugged and has 3 inches of opening for large chips, no issue here either.

Coming next...attempts to bust globs, more galaxies, web-caming with a DMK camera, and the Vixen shoot-out (to answer questions no one is asking). Also, what is with the three inches of removable tubing in the main body of the scope? Is that for mounting the 3 inch focuser to the BV tube used in the other model, or is binoviewing with a diagonal acutally possible? I'll find out once I work up the nerve to unscrew it.

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A while  back I traded my SV 80 ED for another scope. Don't get me wrong, the trade was good for me. But it didn't take long to miss it. In the meantime, I purchased a 110 ED from Vic. While the 110 is a great scope, I still found myself missing the 80 and its portability.

Circumstances found me able to make another telescope purchase. I called up Stellarvue and ended up speaking directly with Vic. We talked about what was available, and what I was looking for. I made arrangements to get another 80ED.

Within two days I was on my way (I live within driving distance) to pick up my new scope.

During first light last night the missing parts fell back into place, and I was beck in the 80 ED game.

First light was as expected, M42, Mars, Saturn, M35, even M81-82.

Thanks Vic and Shelley.

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Really  nice images of Jupiter with the SV110.

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I spent  much of this past summer imaging Jupiter through opposition with both the 127mm MCT and the SV110ED-APF refractor. My very best image was the one on 13 Aug with the MCT. Basic optics suggests that the MCT should have a very slight edge in resolution over the SV110, even with its modest central obstruction. In turn, the refractor would be expected to have a slight edge in terms of contrast. I expect that both generalizations are true. However, to conclusively compare the performance of the two instruments, I would need to attend to the following:

Seeing - seeing trumps everything! At a minimum, both instruments would have to be compared during the same observing session. Given the rapid changes in seeing that I have encountered here in Michigan, near simultaneous observation would be required.

Focal Ratio - comparisons would have to me made at equivalent focal ratio.

Mount - if the comparison is to be made via imaging (my personal preference), identical (or the same) mounts must be used. Not only can drives differ in their characteristics, but the accuracy of polar alignment can also vary.

So, will I ever spend the time to do such a comparison? Probably not! Everything I have seen so far suggests that those two initial generalizations are true. I also feel that seeing is such an over-riding issue that the two instruments are functionally so close to one another that it doesn't matter. The performance spread should be a bit wider with the SV102.

I really do love refractors, so I do use the SV110 most of the time. Given the fact that I am likely to stay with relatively small apertures, I could certainly afford the refractor, but that might not be true for everyone. In contrast, the 127mm MCT is probably one of the best values on the market today and I have no intention of selling mine. I have also heartily recommended it for people on a tight budget who are just getting started in imaging. Both are fine instruments and the price spread is fully justified if you want the aesthetics of a custom-built refractor that is simultaneously both simple and elegant.

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Welcome  to the SV family. The SV110 is a wonderfully versatile scope which should work quite well on both your CG5 and your alt/az. The 110 will make an excellent companion to your C9.25. Looking forward to your first light post.

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So, am I  going to need duct tape for my Socks? When I use my SV110 I go barefoot to avoid sock replacement cost. Cold nights can be rough! > I think I remember reading your impressions of the upgrade awhile

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The  SV110ED-APF continues to deliver. After almost a week of rain the sky finally cleared and I got some nice AVI's of the Great Red Spot. It is really starting to get cold, but that may improve seeing (hope springs eternal!).....