astroram New Member
- Skill Level
- Time with Product
Jan 8, 2007
- User Notes:
Antares 812GP OTAPros:
Portability and outstanding opticsCons:
Typical Synta focuser, an upgrade to a Moonlite is desirableComments:
Over 8 years ago I was bitten by the refractor bug when I obtained a Celestron 4" F/9.8 Synta refractor. The images I thought to myself were quite spectacular for a scope of this size. Yes it had limitations, as the image softened over 40 power per inch. I was quite amazed at how nice the images were for this inexpensive scope. When I saw the new ads for the big Orion 120mm F8 OTA I was then determined to save up for this larger brother.
Just by luck Celestron advertised yet another entry into the refractor craze, the big 6" F/8 refractor. Well that did it, somehow I needed this scope. By luck a friend of mine had a number of these scopes and he let me try some out, the optics were quite good. I was amazed at the contrast on deep sky objects. One of the nicest observations of M81/82 came while looking through one of these big boys. Planetary images also were quite nice, but even the best OTA of the lot showed annoying amounts of false color and some image breakdown above 250 power.
Yet for the price you could not beat these refractors. But my goal was a combination of excellent optics and portability, and these big refractors did not quite fit my portability factor. I did a review in amateur Astronomy Magazine comparing the Chinese made refractors. At about that time I read a review by Ed Ting regarding 4" refractors in the same magazine. He really liked the Celestron Vixen refractors. When I had an opportunity to purchase one, I snapped it up.
The mechanics and the optics of the Celestron made by Vixen SP-C102F9.8 were a nice upgrade in comparison to the Synta versions. The optics were quite spectacular, so I sold my 6" refractor and my previous C102 F9.8 Synta version and I was quite happy with my now Vixen made scope. But wanting more aperture is a sickness we all have so when I saw some ads from a company in Canada in regard to a new Antares GP812 refractor with Vixen made optics, almost 5" in aperture and a portable sized 1000mm objective, to say the least I was interested.
This scope appeared identical to the Skywatcher Synta version being offered at the time, with the exception of the Japanese made optics. Knowing the quality of the Vixen optics I had, I became quite obsessed with this possible purchase of this model. Just by luck someone advertised a used Antares 812GP OTA on an astronomy classified site. After a few emails with the owner, I purchased the OTA.
When the scope arrived, I set it up on the mount to do a star test. The star test using a green filter and high power exhibited an inside/outside diffraction pattern with almost identical diffraction rings. All the Synta refractors that I tested had spherical aberration, some more obvious then others. This scope had very negligible SA.The images of Saturn were just awesome! Images snapped into focus, double stars were clean in separation, planetary detail was diffraction limited. Even deep sky objects were spectacular.
Using my Meade 2" 40mm SWA eyepiece, the widefield low power views are inspiring. The fit and finish of the scope is quite attractive. It came supplied with a 2" focuser, an 8x50 RA finder, and a very nice Antares 2" enhanced coated star diagonal. To say the least this scope has fit the bill for portability and exceptional optics. This is a highly recommended OTA if you can find one.Sort by