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Skywatcher ED80 Pro
Submitted: Wednesday, 11th June 2008 by Daniel Tickell

I purchased the Skywatcher pro ED80 which consists of the following items:

  • ED80 OTA
  • Rings and dovetail plate
  • Case with pre-cut foam
  • 1.25" to 2" adapter
  • 2" diagonal
  • 8x50 finder
  • 2 random GSO plossl eyepieces
The lot came well packed and shipped via AusPost with no headaches. The case contained everything except for the rings and dovetail.

Taking the OTA out of the case I was a little concerned, it was wrapped in a plastic bag, but there was no cap in the focuser, so any foreign material trapped in the bag is probably in my OTA now, but there was nothing visible. Next step was to put the 1.25” – 2” adapter in the focuser, as this has a cap in it, and now that the scope is unwrapped I didn’t want to get any more matter in the tube, this however highlighted another issue - the pre-cut foam in the case is not cut for the extra length of the adapter, so that idea was out the window. No worries 2” cap in the diagonal, put that in……didn’t fit either, ok some more cutting required but we will get to that.

My previous refractor had a dew shield on the end of it similar to the ED80; however it slid up and down, and had to be screwed off. In comparison I almost dropped the OTA finding out that the dew shield was not fixed, and simply popped on and off.

The rings fit like they should, but I was further dismayed to find that the foam didn’t have slots cut for the rings to go in, or the dovetail plate. Fair enough there is a plate at the bottom that could be used as a mounting point.

Getting a serrated knife from the kitchen I found that the foam was really easy to cut and made the necessary cuts to fit everything in. 4 channels for the rings, 1 cut in the base of the case for the plate, one in the lid foam for the camera mount, 1 at the focuser end for the diagonal plug and several for my modified finder scope.

Finished case looks like this, with the new cutouts shown with the red arrows.


Click to Enlarge
Thanks to my son for helping with the photo taking :)

First Light

Given the mandatory clouding over of skies when a new scope arrives, I was lucky enough to get 10 mins to try the ED80 out on the second night of ownership.

The good, bad and downright ugly

Good: The scope offered good views, sharp images, and nice contrast. Which of course is what they are renowned for. No apparent CA, focuser was reasonably smooth as expected.

Bad: My last refractor had a rotating focuser assembly, which I missed almost instantly. The focuser has a 2-part threaded bit on the end, with a locking piece that performed something resembling a solution for this issue, but the wheels of the focuser are fixed in whatever awkward position they are, short of course of rotating the tube in the rings….which would put the finder in some  weird angles.

Ugly: I found that one of the screws in the focuser looked weird, on closer inspection it was actually rusty, looks like it skipped the anodising process in the factory, which IMHO is downright poor quality control. Not a functional issue, but really small things go along way in the reputation of quality.

Overall this is a good scope, I am happy with its performance, but disappointed in the small things that could have been done to really make this an as stated “pro” scope. Its worth noting that the comparison scope I had previously was a Achro Long Perng 80mm refractor.

Review by Daniel Tickell (tnbk00). Discuss this review on the IceInSpace Forum.
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