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Bintel 12" Dobsonian
Submitted: Monday, 4th May 2015 by Rick Parrott

It’s almost 14 years since I got my first telescope; I guess like everybody with everything you can have “peaks” and “troughs” in your participation of your hobbies; that has certainly been my case! I still love astronomy though, growing up in the age of Apollo and the Moon landing.
Recently, a resurgence in this passion, (and a company gift card for my 35 years at my work) prompted me to spend many hours of research plus back-and-forward emails and “selling” the idea to my long-suffering spouse J to finally purchase the latest 12” Dobsonian from Bintel in Sydney (Glebe).

I should add that I have no commercial connection with Bintel, and my comments should be understood in that context. I should also add that the staff at Bintel are fantastic and very helpful; they definitely made my choices clear and easy.

In addition to the telescope, I purchased an Orion Laser Collimator and a blue filter.

A Big Box and A Very Big Box

Bintel arranged delivery to my home; thank goodness this thing is HUGE! Out of the boxes, everything looks well protected and small parts are packaged nicely. As a side note, the instructions seemed to indicate an earlier model; the actual parts were a slightly different quantity to the parts list but everything went together pretty easy! Assembly is almost “Ikea” like. All the parts have a great finish and feel like will last a very long time. (Note to self – pay attention to which side – the side you stand (!) – should be the side the eyepiece bracket goes on!).
The telescope comes with everything you need to get started:

  • 9mm and 15mm 1.25” eyepieces, and a 26mm wide view eyepiece + eyepiece rack
  • Moon filter, Cooling fan (8 @ AA batteries required!)
  • Dust cap, Instruction Manual
  • Right-Angle finder scope
Roll-Out Storage

This think would normally take 2 people a bit of careful and ambitious handling to get it out. With that in mind, we bought a “dolly” board with 4 large castors from Bunnings, big enough to sit the base on. We left the 3 rubber “feet” off the telescope base, and drilled a hole in the centre of the dolly board to allow the telescope base to rotate easily. The telescope stores vertically in our garage (in our backyard) and we have a large concrete area that it simply rolls-out on for use. Add a plastic “garden furniture” cover, and an old sleeping bag (great idea, thanks Bintel!) and the ‘scope is well protected. It is also very quick to set-up!

Ready for Action

The base is quite heavy and is of good design and construction. The ‘scope easily sits in the cradle, and tension is easily controlled with the large knobs on each side of the scope. The spotting scope easily attaches and is much easier to align with the right-angle viewer. Collimation using the Orion laser (and watching a quick video on YouTube!) was VERY easy! That said, it was pretty close to correct “out of the box”. Once you have tension correct the scope easily moves and stays put!

Big Eye on the Sky

My first few uses (lots of nasty weather of late!) have been a little restricted but I think I have used it enough now to start forming some opinions.

How did I ever manage without the Crayford focuser? This is fantastic to use! Spotting scope is also great! Some recent objects viewed (stuff I’m used to finding)

  • Eta Carina Nebula – really can see the dark “keyhole” and lanes of dust. This is beautiful! A highlight for me!
  • Jupiter – sharp, detailed, even some colours in the bands. The 4 moons also are sharp points of light and I was able to see the shadow from 1 moon on the face for the first time.
  • Saturn – again, very well defined and clear. Good separation between planet and rings.
  • Omega Nebula – wow!
  • M42 – much sharper and more detailed than I ever remember! The trapezium is stunning!
  • Jewellery Box – almost too much to see!
  • The Moon – waxing, just the other night. My goodness! What a spectacle!

Lots of other stuff viewed, but this is a telescope that should provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment!

Why a Big Dob?

Most of my viewing is from my suburban backyard. Even if neighbours leave a backyard floodlight on we can still see plenty! The ‘scope is so easy to use (assuming you can do a dash of “star-hopping”).

The dolly board means it is very easy to get out and also put away. I do recommend a small stepladder to lean on, or for when the ‘scope is the highest position. I may yet invest in one of those nice adjustable viewing chairs.

Bottom line – this thing delivers great views and is so easy to use. A first-class view for a very reasonable price.

Review by Rick Parrott. Discuss this review on the IceInSpace Forum.


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