I had to make a steel adapter to fit the base of the telescope onto my CGEM II mount which is on a permanent pier. Once that was done I was able to mount and test the telescope by photographing M8, M20 and M31 for 60 seconds each. The Canon 60 Da camera was set on bulb and an ISO of 6400. I then downloaded the pictures into my computer to get a good look at them after processing on Photoshop 7.0 to eliminate background light pollution. I can say that there was a very even sharpness all the way across the picture indicating that the curvature of the optics was uniform and the resolution of M8 and M31 was slightly better than what I had achieved with my Celestron 11-inch SCT! Only the extreme corners of the pictures suffered from a very slight astigmatism. Overall I am very satisfied with the telescope for deep sky photography.
I have not been able to find time to set it up and use it but the ordering and shipping were fine. I needed to have the scope arrive on a certain date and they were able to have it arrive on the day I could be home to take shipment on that date which was over three weeks after I ordered it.
Bought this AR152 last December (2014) after doing a lot of research into trade-offs for best viewing vs size and usability. My original theory was that this would be my rich-field/dark sky scope and that I would get a Maksutov for lunar/planetary use. To my surprise, the image quality at higher magnifications (200x +) is quite good. CA is only an issue on the moon (sometimes) and Jupiter. For these I use a Baader UHC filter - CA gone! No motivation left to get the Mak. Recently I have completed my collection of Explore Scientific 82Deg eyepieces and alI can say is Wow! what a great combination - ultra widefield, high contrast, pinpoint images. This scope and these eyepieces have really rejuvenated my interest in visual astronomy. BTW - In some review I read it was claimed that this scope tends to be a favorite at star parties. I find this is definitely the case. Mounted atop a GEM this scope is quite impressive to all and is a dream for outreach.
Ordered and replaced three, before I received one with little to no problems. Shipment packs the finder scope in box at bottom so every arrival had broken plastic screws. One scope arrived with a cracked lens. Exp Si has one of the best customer service dept of any scope manufacturer. So if the one you order has a problem call them first. It will save You time. On sale at $600. it could be the bast purchase you ever make. A better scope in 6" can't be found in any format for this price. Better than my 6" RC astro. Pop in a quality eyepiece and you will smile. Not a lightweight though. Tops 25LB with a 2" lens and if you mount on the twilight II, It makes my old arms ache to set up. But well worth the effort for a night outside. Every guest I share it with prefer it to my AT6RC Astro-Tech that is mounted on the other half of my Twlt2, with the same focuser, diagonal and lens. Views of Saturn, Jupiter and Orion Neb are all incredible. Refractor OTA's at three times the price are little better than this amazing scope. And 6" reflectors or Catadioptric are just not as good. A great investment for a small price.
My recent purchase of the ES AR152 ended up being a positive one. So many had said that these short focal length refractors had a myriad of visual problems, but after just one use, I can't imagine anyone knocking this telescope. The view was sharp and clear. I could not see any odd colouring around stars or planets. Maybe I just don't have a trained eye. I am using this telescope for visual only, and atop a Celestron AVX mount. Both do well together, and if someone new to astronomy, with a fairly deep pocket wanted something really nice to start out with, this OTA and the mount would be perfect If you do purchase this combination, you will need an additional 11# AVX counter weight. I failed to realize that, and was delayed a few weeks in using the new telescope.
I have had this telescope for a while now and I love it. It arrived with a damaged focuser, which was repaired promptly by Explore Scientific. They even tuned the focuser for the weight of my camera. I am new to astrophotography but on my first night I got photos of Jupiter and the Orion nebula. These photos will never grace the cover of a magazine, but I got positive results on my first try. I am using a Pentax kx camera, Baader Planetarium Click stop III eye piece with a filter (to reduce fringing) and a Celestron CG 5GT equatorial mount. Good points: it is a big light bucket, it is inexpensive for what you get, and I get great views. On the minus side: it is a big light bucket, this scope is long and heavy so you will not want to lug this beast up mountain, with my eyepiece and camera it tips the scales at about 34 pounds, a bit much for my mount. In summary, this scope has a great wow factor and is fun to use. I have recommended this scope to others and our local astronomy club is looking to get one.