I chose the Saxon 8" collapsible as I am limited for storage and I needed to be able to move it easily by myself - a 10" would have been great but the weight is getting up there. This model arrives in two boxes and apart from the reflector tube, it is completely un-assembled. The instructions provided are good and make assembly a painless process - two people would make it a snap. The tools for assembly however only deserve one destination and that is not anywhere near the scope. I guess you can't expect tradesman quality tools as they are meant to be disposable however if you have your own tools it does certainly help.
Once assembled the scope certainly looks impressive and for those who don't know telescopes, certainly looks far more expensive than it is. The build quality is quite good. It is from China and I am generally fairly biased against anything from China but I was quite impressed at how well it fitted together. I was however very disappointed that it did not come with the redesigned "buttery smooth azimuth bearings" that it was being advertised with - the very old style teflon washer is still the pivoting system. When I contacted Ozscopes about this they were friendly but were unable to assist so I contacted Saxon who informed me that this was an update that would come in the future but when they had no idea. Ozscopes have since removed this feature from their description however Saxon are still advertising it with it.
The first night I used the scope I wasn't particularly impressed. The teflon washer as described above meant any fine movement left and right is quite jerky and makes it very hard to track. The altitude bearing system, again just teflon runners, is not much better. To top it off the images were far from crisp. Before trying again I decided to check the collimation and yep, it was out - probably knocked in transport. The instructions for collimation at first look complicated, hence the reason I had not collimated when I assembled the scope, but it really is a simple process - the biggest problem I had was finding an old 35mm film canister! After collimation the scope is a different beast. The bearing system is still annoying and really is the biggest down fall of this scope but the images are great. We found saturn and could see 4 moons - a truly memorable occasion, and also found plenty of nebula. It certainly would be assisted with a Barlow but the lenses supplied aren't bad and are a great place to start.
Would I buy this scope again? Maybe as the price is good but other manufacturers are offering roller bearings for the altitude bearings which would solve half of the problems.
Am I happy with this purchase? Yes. A few modifications and it will be terrific. The service from Ozscopes was great and postage was fast and well priced. (Posted on Apr 15, 2010)
I wouldn't recommend getting a smaller scope than this. Also, the collapsible one is a must, as the collapsible one once collapsed barely fits across our back seat of the car so the regular non-collapsible one would be too big to transport.
(Posted on Apr 11, 2010)