Bresser AR-152L 1200mm f7.9 Review (part1)
I bought this scope for three reasons, 1, I have wanted a 6″ frac since I was a young boy that first looked through my Uncle’s one and saw Saturn. 2, I want to spend more time on the Moon, not that a Newt can’t deal with the Moon because of course it can but like many of us we have heard that a frac is better for Luna and Planetary observing, which is why my third reason seemed a good time to test this theory…3, it was going very cheap!
It arrived in good time and well packaged in a double box and supporting foam half supports both top & bottom. It comes supplied with an 8×50 finder scope, hinged one piece scope ring with Vixen style dovetail, 1.25″ star diagonal, and a 26mm Plossl. In addition you get a Planisphere, a CD (with Stellarium and User Guide) and a printed User Guide.
The optics were sparklingly clean and from what I can tell so far well aligned, although trying to do a star test in either Southern England or Northern France has yet to yield the sort of out of focus concentric ringed image all the tutorials show.
I am sure at some point I will have to collimate this scope which again will be a completely new experience for me, but the objective on the scope come provided with a very extensive set of collimating screws and hex bolts and can be adjusted in both angle and up & down directions. The only weak point in the train of collimation I can see is the all too familiar focuser flop as this scope comes with a R&P focuser, the ability to change is limited (I will get to this later).
After humping the SW 10″ Newt onto the mount every session, the AR-152L is light by comparison, at 11.1kg it comes in at a good 3kg lighter than the 254mm PDS which is 14.7kg, which makes mounting it a much less huff & puff affair, which is a good thing when you consider the differences in setup.
Talking of setup. Having to use the full extent of my EQ6′s legs has been a first for me and the tripod, which up until now have never shown more than an immodest ankle while levelling the mount. Having used the frac twice I am now wishing that the tripod had further to hoist its outer garments and give me some more height, it is a new experience for me having to sit at the EP. And the scope being much lighter than the newt is very welcome when having to lift that high up.
Now to performance. My first object during both sessions has been the Moon, the first session being armed only with my poor EP selection the second introducing my new Baader Hyperion 8mm (Mmm!..Hyperion), and the second session also having the flocked dew shield and blocking ring I made to hide the big shiny collimating bolts Meade in their wisdom decided would look good placed right next to and above the objective lens.
I will forget the first session really as it was no more that a test and the seeing was poor. But the Moon on the second session was sensational, probably the best views of the moon I have had and I still could have pushed it further but for the fact I am still waiting for my new 2″ diagonal to arrive and was unable to use my 2″ ED 2x Barlow so 8mm it was. I did however rig up my new 2″ Semi-Apo filter to the Hyperion by putting it between the first and second set of elements of the EP. On the Moon this worked wonderfully, I was expecting to see an overall cast from the filter that some reviews had mentioned, but not a bit of it, and as I want to get to grips with the Moon over the next couple of years I am going to enjoy this combination quite a bit.
As there is no terminator on the moon at the moment (it being 98% of full: 14/02/2014) I spent my time on the edge and went all the way round…boy it was good, if not a little bright, but when my variable filters arrive along with the diagonal I will see if they can be used in combination with the Semi-Apo.
Next Jupiter. Despite Jupiter being high at the moment the seeing has not been all that good. But last night was better than the first session so I was happyish with it. But this is where I really wanted to go back to the Newt! Not because of the image, that was pretty good, but for the Crayford. The R&P on this is OK but is hard to bring to fine focus and has convinced me that a Crayford dual speed will be my next purchase (when funds will allow).
The overall image of Jupiter was good but there is a lot of colour fringing, pretty much a mauve halo, but the funny thing was I got used to it very quickly and did not IMO prove to be a hindrance, I did not bother with the Semi-Apo at this point as I was not convinced that with such poor seeing it would have improved the view and if not diminished it. But there were moments of clarity as on any night and when I got them the detail was stunning, I definitely (in those moments) got more surface contrast and colour than I get from the Newt.
Last object of the night M45 (Pleiades). All the stars in the Pleiades were pin sharp and a sight to behold but as ever I am plagued by magnification, I long for them to be in their entirety in the EP but I can never go low enough (a question to you all here, is it possible with this size of scope and what is the realistic bottom end of mag?).
Overall I like this scope and once the focuser is replace it will be a remarkable scope for the price, which was £295, on special offer from Amazon France. Would I recommend it? Without hesitation.
In part two of the review I hope to bring you its performance on DSOs…When skies allow!