SkyWatcher Telescope Page

a selected offering from

O'Neil Photo & Optical Inc.

UPDATED: May 26th, 2005

 

If you have any questions, e-mail me by clicking here.

I sell the entire SkyWatcher line, these are just my recommendations. This page is quite long, on a dial up modem, it may take 2-3 minutes to load.

Shipping: How much does shipping cost? That's a loaded question, but by Canada Post (mail that is), your average 4" refractor or 6" reflector can cost around $40 to $50 Cdn by parcel post or ground mail to most places in Canada and the USA. Xpress post is almost double. Yukon and Alaska are double regular ground mail rates. Overseas to Europe and Asia, on average, $100.00 Cdn for surface mail, up to $300.00 Cdn by Air Mail. The 6" (150mm) refractor costs a king's ransom to ship anywhere by any method.

How long does shipping take? That's a REALLY loaded question. My famous example is one day I mailed two packages, one to Portugal by air mail, one to Michigan (in the USA, a two hour drive for me). Portugal took 9 days, Michigan took 22 days. This past year a telescope shipped to me from California via three day guranteed express service took 12 days, while a telescope sent in the mail from the same factgory, left Tuesday afternoon and arrived Friday morning of the same week. I give up anymore. Horrorscopes are more accurate than delivery dates.

On average, Xpress post is 2-3 days Canada, 5-7 days USA. Expedited Post, a week to 12 days in Canada, 3-4 weeks to the USA. Surface mail overseas - up to 3 months, air mail, usually a month, but I have had packages to Portugal and the Middle East arrive in under 10 days. That's the exception.

VISA / MASTERCARD / AMEX: Sales: I cannot charge in US dollars on Visa sales - Visa/MC/Amex saves that privlidge for themselves. On CC sales only, I have to charge in Canadian dollars, and then Visa does thier own conversion on your monthly statement. If you wish to pay by personal cheque or money order, then the amount in US dollars is true and correct as shown below. I have no problems what so ever clearing personal US cheques.

 

PRO Series SkyWatchers on EQ6 and HEQ5

E-mail for most up to date prices, and availability, as both they tend to vary with the exchange on the dollar, shipping fomr overseas, etc, etc. One thing I can say is the price will NOT be higher than the "Suggested Minimum Advertised Price".

The following prices are: "MRSP", and are in Canadian Dollars

 

ED Refractors

80mm ED OTA

$590 Cdn

 

100mm ED OTA

$990 Cdn

 

MAKS

I like Maks and then I don't like them. What I love about them is optically they tend to be excellent, very portable, and good at high powers. What I dislike is the realtively narrow field of view, lack of ability to use 2 inch eyepieces, and the fact they take *forever* to cool down. But if you can put up with the long cool down times, then they are ane xcellent urban telescope - that is, great for lunar, planetary and solar work.

All Maks, even the OTA versions, come with red dot finer, two kellners (read - Supersets), diagonal and a bag for the OTA version. EQ2 mounts are perfectly useable for visual, but no good for imaging of anykind, IMO.

 

 

ACHROMATIC REFRACTORS

 

 

Achromat Refractors

 

80mm, F5 Short Tube refractor. Includes 6x30 finder, and 2 plossl eyepieces.

Price: $225.00 Cdn for OTA alone

$375.00 Cdn for AZ3 or EQ2 mount & tripod

 

80mm, F5 "Table Top" Refractor.

$220Cdn

Not seen but included is a padded nylon carry case in which everything you see here fits. So why is this telescope less money that the regular SW804? Well a couple areas. First, the body of the focuser is plastic - a heavy duty plastic, but not metal. Secondly, this scope comes with two "SuperSet" eyepieces - in other words, Kellners. Third, there is no finder scope, but a zero power red dot finder. Personally I like the red dot finder myself.

Still it's a good deal for something light and compact. Normally I am not a fan of the EQ1 mount, but in this setting it works quite nicely as the TT804 does not overburden it.

 

100mm (4"), F5 Short Tube Refractor

I find this to be the best selling refractor Synta makes. Not very good at powers above 150X, it is unsurpassed for wide angle, rich field views of the heavens. Combined with a 2" diagonal and a wide angle 2" eyepiece, it is sure fun under the milky way on a lazy summer night. Prices are as listed below:

Plain OTA, just tube rings & finder: $390.00

AZ3 Package - as seen above: $480.00 Cdn

EQ3 Package: $600.00 Cdn

 

 

 

100mm, F10 Refractor,

Includes 6x30 finder, 1.25" diagonal, two superset eyepieces, mount & tripod. 2" focuser on this telescope.

EQ3 Package: $600.00 Cdn

EQ5 Package: $690.00 Cdn

120mm, F8.3 OR F5 refractor,

Includes 6x30 finder, 1.25" diagonal, two superset eyepieces, mount & tripod. The tripod legs on the 120, EQ5 model are the heavy duty stainless steel ones, and are included in the price below.

EQ5 mount, Price: $899.99 Cdn

 

 

150mm (6 inch) f8.3 Refractor, HEQ5 mount.

Price : $1,640 Cdn

150mm (6 inch) f8.3 Refractor, EQ6 mount.

Price : $1,950 Cdn

The accessories have improved. All models incldue a 9x50mm finder, a 2 inch star diagonal, a 2 inch, 28mm SkyWatcher wide angle eyepice, and th eEQ5 mount version includes the heavy duty stainless steel tripod legs. However. The EQ5 mount is way to light to handle this telescope, I reccomend one of the heavier mounts, even with the heavy duty legs.

 

 

If you have any questions, e-mail me by clicking here.

 

PARABOLIC MIRROR REFLECTORS

 

SK 1145- EQ1

$230 Cdn

Not a bad scope. Not great, but not bad. It is a 4.5" (114mm) F5 reflector. Now what is really neat - it has a parabolic mirror. Up until this model, 99% of all your 4.5 newtonains had spherical mirrors and long tubes becasue under F8 to F9, sphereical mirrors are not that good. This telescope is quite compact and isn't half bad at all. Now you will notice it is $150 Cdn less than the 130/EQ2. Why? Well aside from the fact it is smaller by 16mm, there are a couple of other reasons.

First, this telescope comes with the EQ1, not EQ2 mount. The EQ1 mount does hold it as the scope is very compact and you are unlikely to be using it at powers above 150X. Secondly it has a red dot finder instead of a glass 30mm finderscope - but I actually like the red dot finder better myself. Finally it comes with two kellners (SuperSet) eyepieces, not plossls like the 130 (seen below). Overall however it is a good telescope for somebody on a budget or for a high school student or for somebody who says to you "I want a telescope for Christmas/Birthday/etc", but you are not 100% sure how serious they are. This little scope will do a fair bit without breaking the bank.

 

130mm (5.1") F5 Parabolic reflector, 1.25" focuser

On EQ2 mount.

With two superset eyepieces, and 6x30 finder: $300.00 Can

On EQ3 Mount

With two Superset & 30mm finder: $440.00

I highly recommend this telescope as a first telescope for any serious observer who wants an equatorially mounted telescope. The Parabolic mirror makes a big difference in image quality over similar sized spherical mirrored telescopes. The EQ2 mount will handle this telescope, but if you can afford the extra money, the EQ3 mount will give you much better stability. At any rate, for $400 Can, there is simply nothing better.

 

150mm (6 inch), F5 Parabolic reflector

EQ3 mount, two superset eyepieces,finder. Price: $580.00 Cdn

EQ5 mount,two superset eyepiecess, 30mm finder. Price: $690.00 Cdn

This is possibly the most popular SkyWatcher reflector on an equatorial mount. Portability, good price, good light grasp. Excellent first telescope, or as a second telescope for quick use.

 

SW2001P, 8" (200mm), F5 reflector, parabolic, on EQ5 mount, includes one 28mm, 2" wide angle eyepiece, heavy duty legs, 9x50mm finder.

$750.00 Cdn

 

SW2001P, 8" (200mm), F5 reflector, parabolic, package as above, on HEQ5 mount.

$1,190.00 Cdn

 

SW2501P, 10" (250mm), F5 reflector, parabolic, EQ6 Mount

$1,650 Cdn

 

This telescope features a 2" focuser, and a 9x50mm Synta finder. Fine, 4 vane spider on all of the parabolic reflectors. The EQ5 mount does carry this scope especailly with the heavy duty legs - included in this package, , but the HEQ5 carries it rock solid. EQ6 mount available on request, but is a bit overkill,IMO for the 8". The 10 inch version however is too big for the EQ5, and needs the EQ6 mount. Also, it comes only with the 28mm, 2 inch eyepiece. Another $50 Cdn / $35 US if you want to add two plossl - at time of purchase only.

If you have any questions, e-mail me by clicking here.

 

DOBSONIAN TELESCOPES

If there is such a thing as a "best beginner telescope" the dobsonian is it. Maximum size for minimum price. No motor drives to freeze up in winter or burn out in summer. Very simple to use, and I find dobsonians are very intuitive to use. As a best, first telescope, or even for advanced amateurs, the 8 inch dobsonsian is it. Why? First, it is not to large to haul around, and i have been able to fit one in a car as small as a Dodge Neon - the tube takes up the entire back seat and the base sits on the passenger seat, but otherwise, you just make it in. Secondly, when seated in your average lawn chair, the height of the eyepiece is just right. Finally if something ever does go wrong with them (I once dropped my dobsonian down a flight of stairs ), they are the easiest of all telescopes to repair and collimate, in my opinion. For the money, the 8" dobsonian is the best bang for the buck in amateur astronomy.

6" (150mm), F6 Dobonian.

With TWO Superset Kellners (25 & 10mm) and 30mm finder, price is $300 Cdn

 

8" (200mm), F6 Dobonian.

With TWO Superset Kellners (25 & 10mm) and 50mm finder, price is $400 Cdn

 

10" (250mm), F4.8 Dobonian.

With ONE, 28mm, 2 inch wide angle eyepiece and 50mm finder, price is $650 Cdn

 

 

MOTOR DRIVES

EQ1 and EQ2 Single Axis Drive for RA only. Fixed Rate, runs on 9V battery. About 40 hours per battery.

Price: $70.00 Can

EQ1 and EQ2 Single Axis Drive for RA only, includes hand controller for 2X and 4X speeds, takes 4 D cell batteries and battery case.

Price: $115.00 Can

EQ3 and EQ4/5 Single Axis Drive for RA only, includes hand controller, clutch, 2X, 4X and 8X speeds, takes 4 D cell Batteries, includes battery case.

Price: $120.00 Can

EQ3 & EQ4/5 Dual Axis Drives for both RA and DEC, includes two clutches, hand controller for speeds of 2X, 4X and 8X, takes 4 D cell batteries, includes battery case.

Price: $180.00 Can

For the money these motor drives cannot be beat. These units sell for about 1/3rd the price of what I can sell a similar Vixen set of motor drives and clutches for. But they have three weakness compared to the Vixen motor drive set. First, maximun slew rate is 8X, while for example Vixen motor drive set slew at 16X and 32X. Secondly, I find the Vixen drives are more responsive at the ahnd controller paddle. Finally, Vixen uses heavy duty microphone jacks as connectors, whereas Synta uses light duty RS-232 (telephone jack) connectors, whch just cry out ot be snapped off if you bump into them.

Still, at 33% of the cost of a Vixen set, you cannot beat them, as long as you are aware of their drawbacks. Also the motor drive set for the EQ4/5 mount WILL work onthe Vixen GP and GP-DX mounts, as I have used them myself on these mounts.

Warning - if you have an older Tele Vue (made by Carton) mount, an Orion SkyView mount, or an older Celestron Polaris mounts, all of these mounts use a slightly different motor drive. I do keep these motor drives in stock, and prices are comparable. E-mail for specific details.

EQ6 Mount

EQ6 Regular: ......... $975 Cdn

EQ6 SynScan: ................. Call

EQ6 PRO SynScan: ..........Call

 

HEQ5 MOUNT

HEQ5 Regular Mount: ................ $825 Cdn

HEQ5 SynScan : .................................. Call

HEQ5 PRO SynScan : ......................... Call

 

 

BASIC EYEPIECES

Ramsdens & Huygens - utterly evil eyepieces. About as useful as teeth on a chicken. Avoid at all costs.

Kellners & Supersets, Price: $20.00 Can Each

 

Kellners and their variations are 3 element eyepieces. Good for somebody first starting out and when you have no idea of what you want. The SuperSet have slightly better coatings, wider field of view, and a rubber eye cup.

SkyWatcher Plossls, Price: $35.00 Can. each, 6.3mm to 25mm

$50.00 Can for 32 & 40 mm

Good basic, 4 element design, fully coated on all surfaces. 40mm eyepieces in any 1.25" size are a waste of time as you actually loose true field of view due to the physical restriction of the barrel size.

 

Omcon and/or Super Plossls, Price: $65 Can each, 7.5 to 25mm

$80.00 Can for 32 and 40mm

Same basic design as the SkyWatcher plossl, but they have better full multi-coatings, a rubber equip, and they seem to be a wee bit heavier in the hand. I think at sizes of 10mm and below they perform a tiny bit better than the standard SW plossl.

LE Series

These eyepieces are not perfect, but I like them. I find them comfortable on the eye, with very little eye strain. Now contrast is not as good as the Antares Japanese orthos I sell for $95 Cdn, so if you are a planetary fanatic, ask me about the orthos. But for all around use, they are quite good. Also, apparent FOV is a bit narrower than a regular plossl, but about a degree or two I find. The 2 and 5mm versions have a 45 degree FOV while the rest are 50 degree. Eye relief is a constant 20mm on all sizes. Some people have asked if these are the same as Orion Epics, and they are not. The two are very different. The Orion Epic EDs strike me as a poor man's clone of Radians while these are more of a poor man's clone of the regular Vixen lanthanums.

So how good are they really? Well, as a practical joke, late one night, I handed a friend the 2mm version to stick in his 20 inch Obsession dobsonian, without telling him what it was. At 1,250 power on M13, in a 45 degree apparent FOV, the stars wizzed by like a replay of the Indy 500. However, it did hold together. Now, I do not reccomend such a thing, but I can say, it was done at least once.

My favourite is the 9mm, followed by the 15mm. Dunno why, but the 9mm just strikes my eye in a "sweet spot". As usual, your milage will vary.

$70 Cdn or $48 US for the 2, 5, 9 or 15mm

$65 Cdn or $43 US for the 20 & 25mm

Special Offer - buy all 6 at once and get 5% off total price.

 

SkyWatcher "Ultra Wides"

66 degree apparent FOV, about 15mm eye releif

Almost parafocal. 6, 9, 15 & 20mm

$65 Cdn each

Of all the eyepieces made by Synta, these are my favourites. Why? Well, they are not perfect, but like an old sweater that fits you just right, these are comfortable to use. First off, the field of view is very pleasant. Secondly, the contrast is good due to the multi-coating. I would say these are better contrast than the LE series, but not as good as an ortho or ultima. Third the eye releif is comfortable. Kinda tight if you have to wear eyeglasses, in which case the LE series is better, but "just right" for non-eyeglass observing. Yes, they are soft on the edge in fast scopes - F6 is where it becomes really noticable I think, but even then, they are not that bad. Not great, but at the price, the feedback I am getting is people are ahppy with them.

 

Other Eyepieces

I of course carry other brands and styles of eyepieces, not made by SkyWatcher. The Antares Ultimas, made in Japan, 5 element fully multi coated are my best recommendation at $100.00 Can each. I also carry the Canadian made Speers-Waler line, the Canadian Omcon Erfles, the Japanese Vixen Lanthanums and Super Wide Lanthanums, and a few others. For barlows, I recommend the Antares Ultima (Japan) barlows in 2X and 3X at $90.00 and $95.00 Can respectively.

If you have any questions, e-mail me by clicking here.

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