A fantastic instrument that I thoroughly recommend
I bought my SkyWatcher 200/1000 PDS with EQ5 steel tripod in November. Over the years, I have owned several small (60-70 mm) refractors, but having used larger instruments, they inevitably disappointed me, and I wanted something better. Even though I had some knowledge of telescopes, I had previously mainly used refractors. But I knew I wanted a Newtonian reflector, largely because they offered the best aperture for the price. The staff at Jacobs Digital were incredibly helpful and patiently answered my myriads of questions. The SkyWatcher 200/1000 PDS with EQ5 steel tripod was the ideal choice for my requirements and budget. I didn’t want GoTo, because I wanted to enjoy the ‘thrill of the chase’ and find objects for myself. But I didn’t want a Dobsonian, because I wanted the easy tracking that an equatorial mount offered. And I wanted 150 mm aperture minimum, but preferably 200 mm so this was an ideal choice. I spent a little bit more than I had intended to, because I also bought the SkyWatcher Ultra Wide 82° Eyepiece Kit, as well as a collimation eyepiece and a set of lunar filters. But these were great investments. It took a little head-scratching to set up the tripod, but I soon got there after harassing the Jacobs Digital team with a few more questions. Once it was set up, I was blown away by the quality of the instrument. Over the last three months, I have enjoyed breath taking detailed views of the Orion Nebula, Tarantula Nebula, Omega Centauri, the Pleiades, and the Milky Way. Marvelled at the recent lunar eclipse. Gazed at detail on Jupiter and Saturn like I had never looked at them before. And taken some not bad photos using a hand held cell phone. And a few weeks ago, I found Uranus, which I had never seen before. I may have only seen a pale blue disk, but it was Uranus! All up, this is a fantastic instrument that I thoroughly recommend if you are serious about your astronomy and want excellent value for your money. In the name of complete disclosure, I do have some very minor criticisms to offer. Firstly, the eyepieces that come with the package are not ideal. But that is the same with pretty much any telescope you buy, and I strongly advise buying better eyepieces. Secondly, I have had some issues with vibration, and it doesn’t help that the payload is in the upper range of what you would want to put on an EQ5 mount. But the good people at Jacobs Digital offered practical some suggestions that have improved this. Thirdly, regular assembly and disassembly has slightly scratched the anodising on the dovetail. But this is not obvious, and it does not impede performance. And finally, I sometimes end up with some awkward viewing angles. But that is always going to happen when you have a Newtonian reflector on a German-style equatorial mount, so this did not come as any real surprise. But these minor issues aside, this telescope package is close to perfect and is incredible value for money. If you want to take your stargazing to a whole new level, I thoroughly recommend it.
Great views, beautiful movement, sturdy construction, easy to use for this beginner.
This telescope is HUGE but with some practice you get used it. I can set it up in 9 minutes flat, and take it down in the same time, and I'm 5"4 short. I alternate between a wide legged squat to using a step ladder to be able to see through the eyepiece because I like to look in all directions in one session. If you prefer to spend a session in one area of the sky or are a better planner than me than you could avoid the gymnastics. This baby weighs about 34kg altogether (I weighed each part) so once it's up you can't move the legs or adjust the height unless you take it apart first. I bought this as my first ever telescope because "go big or go home", and for someone who had never laid a hand on a telescope I learnt to use this very effectively within a few weeks with some practice and some research (the instructions are a little vague for a beginner). All the parts are sturdy and well made and the black paint with glitter is so pretty. The views are very good even with the included eyepieces, but even better when I upgraded to Plossl eyepieces. My favourite part of the whole design is how smooth and weightless the tube feels when I position it by hand. It just glides and curves so beautifully. Using the azimuth and altiude knobs is also smooth and I can follow planets without any noticeable movement in my view. I cannot see southwards from where I set up my telescope so have not been able to appreciate having the equatorial mount set to my latitude, but look forward to taking advantage of this feature once I find a new viewing spot that can support the weight and width of my beast. It's a big telescope that requires a little more effort to set up and use but the views are awesome; I like to watch what Jupiter's biggest moons are up to as they move in their orbits and change position around the planet. 100% worth the money and the size.