Amateur Astrophotography

Skywatcher Skymax Maksutov-Cassegrain f = 1500mm / D=127mm F12 SynScan AZ GOTO
Skywatcher Skyhawk Newtonian f= 500mm (450mm) / D=114mm F4
Skywatcher Explorer 130PDS Newtonian, f=650mm / D=130mm F5 with Skywatcher Mount EQ5 Pro SynScan GoTo

1. Skywatcher Maksutov telescope MC 127/1500 SkyMax BD AZ-S GoTo Review

You can find a nice, informative, honest review of the scope in here. Please read it carefully.

I will add now some more information from my own experience about the eyepieces. The scope is provided together with two Kellner eyepieces: 24mm and 10mm. They are cheap and light, but be careful, they provide a remarkable performance. You will read reviews about how bad they are to bias your experience and to push you to buy new ones. It is very easy to bias people's experience and opinions. Psicologists are always so surprised about how easily human beings get biased by other's and how they report biased opinions even when trying to be completly honest. Enology is one of their favorite examples. If you are familiar with the high level of stupidity and absolute ignorance in the HiFi world you know now what I mean. My opinion follows and it quite agrees with some people.

About the 24 mm eyepiece

Magnification is about 62X. This eyepiece provides the maximum field of view this telescope may provide, which is about one degree. Buying a 32mm or 40mm eyepiece to get more field of view will be a complete waste of money.

Resolution near the optical axis (central zone, let's say about 70% of the field) is excellent. Near the edges, oh yeah what a surprise! you can find some aberrations. My eyes usually work looking ahead, so I am lucky. If you watch the moon and you have it more or less centered you will enjoy your life. With planets this is quite a low magnification, but with careful observation you can see Jupiter's red spot, shadows from satellites on Jupiter's surface, and of course the Galilean satellites.

If you replace it with another wide field eyepiece, white balance will be better, you will get a little bit more light, and aberrations near the edge will be less (how much less depending on budget). Resolution near the optical axis will be the same. In my case it was impossible to tell from a good Plossl that the resolution was any different.

In my opinion, in an initial phase of observation, it will be a waste of money to replace it. Later on, after hours of absolutely enjoyable observation, if you get so picky, try to replace it. Buying in places like Amazon allows you to easily bring it back if you are not satisfied.

About the 10 mm eyepiece

Magnification here is 150X, not a small one. Some details on planets become visible and the view is enjoyable. In a good night with a nice seeing, you can see Cassini's division on Saturn rings. In Jupiter, you can see cloud belts and of course the red spot. In a bad night, and there are plenty of them in here, you will see Jupiter and the satellites dancing in the dark. When you see them moving like that you will not be able to see details, not even with a better telescope. Air motion, winds on upper atmosphere, turbulences, are always problem number one when trying to make good observations.

Again, I tried to replace this wonder with a Baader 10mm orthoscopic eyepiece. Wow! White balance got better, a bit more light, resolution near the edges was better, but guess what, resolution in the central zone was a bit inferior. Cassini's division was clearer with my cheap and light 10mm Kellner eyepiece! Why? May be the Baader orthoscopic is a too much compromise of perfection in all the field of view, very nice when watching the moon, no doubt. My cheap Kellner eyepiece is only designed to be fully perfect around the optical axis, very nice when interested in seeing something in particular with more detail. Surprised? Please try and be honest to yourself!

Shorter eyepieces?

This telescope is able to provide a maximum theoretical magnification of 250X. WOW... You need a 6mm eyepiece for such an achievement. To enjoy such magnification, you need a perfect night with an absolute clean air with no air motion. I have never been so lucky yet. If you are located in a high mountain (or have access to it) and you enjoy perfect skies, then you go for a 6mm. In my case, I went to an 8mm (187X). My experience: in general images get bigger, darker, softer, and because of air turbulences the image moves a lot. In lucky nights you see some moon details bigger and clearer. In my case I will never go for a 6 mm.

The human eye likes having plenty of light and plenty of contrast. The eyes work better with a smaller image if it has more light and more contrast. The human eye loves edges, it is a magnificent edge detector by design. The fovea, the region of the eye where we get the maximum resolution, is a very small area. If the planet fills that area, you get an enjoyable experience. If you spend some time looking at the planet, the eyes get able to get more and more detail until a certain limit, depending on air conditions. Believe it or not, in general, your eyes will get more detail from a 10mm eyepiece than a 6mm eyepiece. In my case, I have been able to enjoy more detail with an 8mm eyepiece only in some happy nights.

Take your time and your observation abilities will increase little by little, in the same way a musician develops a better sense of hearing, or a cooker a better sense of taste and smell. Eyes can be trained, same as any other sensorial organs. They get more details by practice. So take your time and enjoy.


Keep in mind the following: this is an F12 scope. Light arrives at the eyepieces with a very small angle. This means it is easy for any eyepiece to perform well. Any eyepiece designed to be perfect on the optical axis will perform very well (the Kellner stock ones). To get better eyepieces than the stock ones, with better resolution near the edges and keeping or improving the resolution near the optical axes you will need to spend a good fraction of the telescope price. In my opinion not worth it!

You want better images with the maximum amount of detail? You want to see Mars, Jupiter and Saturn far better? In the 21st century the best investment to get better images it is not about buying eyepieces, it is about buying a camera (150 - 250 euro depending on the sensor, brand, store and frames per second). Processing the images on the videos provided by the cameras it is possible to overcome a great deal of the loss of quality due to air turbulence. This is something you can not do with eyepieces. Far more information is provided in the next sections.