Author Topic: Nexstar 127 SLT Vs. Nexstar 5SE - Is the $250 Premium for the 5SE Really Worth i  (Read 77 times)

Nassim Zaragoza

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Mainly posting this for curiosity and getting your thoughts. As I am asked for feedback on beginner GOTO scopes all the time i'd like to understand these two scopes below a little more. For the beginner quite a few people recommend a non goto dob or an alt az refractor, but given my better familiarity about cassegrain telescopes I am usually itching to recommend a cassegrain of some type and I think that is totally fine . Sure they have the disadvantage of them having a constrained slow f/ratio and you do have dew issues to figure out with the corrector being on the front, but overall i'm smitten with my Evolution C8, so when people at outreach events or new astronomers joining our area club ask me for a recommendation for something well under $1000, i'm usually itching to tell them to find a used C8, but lately i've wondered about 5" cassegrains (both MCT and SCT) for ease of portability as well as what one can truly see. The aperture is more than most decent refractors that can be had under $1000. They are great on planets which in many cases is what people like to see first and then dabble in more deep sky. And they come in packages with usable GOTO mounts with similar electronics as I have so I can help them through some of the initial newbie headaches to get them started.

One of my friends has a Levenhuk 105 Mak on a similar mount to the Orion Starseeker which is similar to the 127 SLT and it tracks very nicely. He uses it for EAA and some nice planetary stacked imaging. For the cost and size of that little scope i've been really very impressed. He even runs it on batteries quite frequently and gets decent run time.

I've seen a lot of recommendations for the 5SE which instead of a Mak-Cass it is a 5" Schmidt Cass, but what about the less expensive 127 SLT? Any love for the 127 SLT?

The aperture is the same for the two scopes below, but the focal length of the Mak 127 SLT is longer (1500 vs 1250 on the 5SE SCT) and the f/ratio is slower on the 127 SLT (f/12 on the 127 SLT vs f/10 on the 5SE). I've also heard that while you need to still collimate a Mak they are even less susceptible to losing collimation than comparable size SCT's. For the record my 8" SCT Evo purchased in Feb 2016 is still holding its factory collimation even after multiple tumble bumble trips in the car to the dark site, so this argument between holding collimation on Maks and Schmidts may be moot

To frame this a little better I'm interested mainly about the difference in real dark site or backyard experience between these two scopes-I really could care less about technical jargon or arc seconds of accuracy..we are talking 5" beginner scopes here-what's the real experience difference? I'm thinking of both beginners or as a grab and go for someone with a larger scope that would like something they could keep setup or "minimally" stored. For similar sky conditions and targets list including higher Mag objects like the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Lagoon and Orion Nebula, M13 and M3 and M11 what would the difference in what one actually sees? Is the 5SE really worth $250-270 more than the 127 SLT???

Both mounts use spur gear drives not worm gears, so i'm not sure that would make a difference. Both are alt/az Nexstar Electronics. Maybe the 5SE has a better tripod and stiffer mount, but on something like this would that really change the experience? Assume that both are setup on grass not concrete.

Head to Head Shootout!!!
Nexstar 127 SLT (Some suppliers have this as low as $439!)

Nexstar 5SE (Usually sold for $699)

Jon Thomas