I recently purchased my first real telescope, a William Optics 80mm Flourite Double apochromatic refractor. My previous experience with telescopes has been a cheap refractor that I owned as a kid. That scope is long lost, and as I recall my brother and I had taken it apart and banged it up pretty bad. Never got much use out of it. I recently became interested in astronomy again after some positive experiences in Yosemite National Park with a Canon 20D camera, a nice photo tripod, and a high quality Pentax 10x50 Pentaprism binocular. After many months of pondering, researching, I had nearly decided to buy one of the inexpensive 80ED style apochromatic refractors. But, I wasn't thrilled by the mechanical quality flaws reported by many reviews. When William Optics offered up this telescope, I was unable to resist.
The telescope arrived today (13 December 2005), and I have to say it is spectacular, mechanically. I have owned very few products, all things considered, that are this well made. Its feels superior (but slightly) to my Canon 70-200mm f4 L (luxury line) zoom lens that I use with the 20D. It has better fit and finish than the Pentax binocular. It approaches the tanklike feel of my Dad's 1950's Leica M3 rangefinder 35mm camera (but doesn't quite get there).
I am still assembling my astronomy setup. Initially I will experiment with a Manfrotto 3021 tripod and some highly unsuitable mount. I am shopping for an astronomical altazimuth mount, and hope to make a decision soon. I'm considering the Giro Mini and suitable tripod legs with a dovetail mount. I have one of the WO 90 deg dielectric star diagonals, and 2 eyepieces, one being a Burgess Optics Planetary series eyepiece, and the other being a Celestron X-Cel. I read some reviews on these and was generally happy with what I read (especially the recent Burgess reviews). I have a William Optics SWAN 25mm 72 deg AFOV on order from Adorama.
I haven't seen any particularly great photos of this telescope on the web so far. Even the ones on WO's site are poor quality (they switched from gold focuser knobs to silver, and when they updated the website, they replaced the photos with far poorer quality ones). So, I took some of my own tonight. Some, especially the closeups, I think are quite good. Without further ado, for your enjoyment, the photos. A few that I am particularly happy with have higher-resolution versions, so look at the caption to find links to the larger versions.
Please note that the larger versions very likely are tool large to fit in your browser window! If your browser is setup to scale images to fit....you probably won't be seeing the image at its best quality! Zoom in to see the pristine version.
Page updated on 13 December 2005. Text and photos are copyright (c) 2005 Graham S. Rhodes. All rights reserved.