The Sky-Watcher ProED 100mm Doublet APO Refractor telescope is a serious model for both astrophotography and visual observing.
But, it also comes with a serious price tag, over $900 (today’s price). You ‘only’ get the optical tube assembly (OTA) for that price too, there’s no mount and only one cheap long focal eyepiece supplied.
So, is it worth it?
That’s what our Sky-Watcher 100mm ProED telescope review is here for!
The ProED Range
The 100mm ProED is part of Sky-Watcher’s Black Diamond ED Refractor series of amateur telescopes. These telescopes focus on providing broad views of the night sky, making them suitable for gazing at nebulae, galaxies, or star clusters. They’re also ideal for astrography.
This model is the mid-range choice within its line, larger than the 80ED options but not quite as good as the 120ED. The 120 model is also seriously expensive, at almost twice the price of the 100mm.
As we saw in our review of telescope prices, producing high-quality glass lenses becomes exponentially more expensive with size. This 100mm model sits at a sweet spot of price vs. aperture.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Sky-Watcher 100mm ProED
This telescope is a higher-end amateur telescope with a 900mm focal length which offers a medium-to-wide field of view.
This places it as a ‘best of both worlds’ scope, equally at home offering views of large deep sky objects, such as nebulae and galaxies, as it is with pin-sharp views of the moon and planets.
The high ticket price and lack of accessories mean that this is not an obvious choice for new astronomers. Getting into astronomy is best done with a beginner’s scope at a lower cost, and which allows you time to find your way around the night sky and learn what you enjoy seeing.
This Sky-Watcher is best for experienced astronomers who want to upgrade to a high-quality refractor for either detailed planetary investigations, deep space observation, or astrophotography.
Features and Benefits
Let’s take a closer look at the key elements of the ProED 100mm, and how those features translate to an immersive astral experience when using the telescope.
We’ll cover off the most essential features and factors to consider when purchasing a telescope.
- Optical Performance
- Mount Performance
- Included Equipment
- Set-up & Use
- What You Can See
Standard Magnification Table
The table below shows the magnification levels you’ll achieve with this scope using a 25mm, 18mm, and 10mm eyepiece. The bottom row shows what this would be with a 2x Barlow Lens.
|With 2x Barlow:||72x||100x||180x|
This telescope is a doublet APO refractor. APO, or apochromatic, telescopes use a special design in their glass lenses to minimize chromatic aberration. This ensures everything you see is sharper and as free from halos and other light effects as possible.
Doublet APO refractors provide the best images at this price point. To get any better, you’d need a triplet lens (made of three glass elements) which can cost more than $1000 for a smaller aperture (e.g. this model from Orion).
Cheaper refractors, like the Orion AstroView 120ST, are not apochromatic and so exhibit much worse color rendering when viewing bright objects like the moon planets.
To achieve its APO status, one element of telescope’s doublet lens is made of FPL-53 Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass, which is where the ‘ED’ part of the telescope’s name comes from. It is this super high-quality glass that practically eliminates chromatic aberration.
As we’d expect at this level, the scope is supplied with a precision 2″ Crayford-style focuser. It is two speed, so you can sweep in and out quickly for rough focus and then fine-tune the last step. It is a very smooth piece of equipment.
The only other point to note is that this scope doesn’t have the best resolution limit at 1.39 arcseconds. There are models offering finer resolution but, unless you are a committed double star-hunter, this is not going to be an issue.
Whether looking at the moon, planets, or your favorite DSOs, the lens quality on this Sky-Watcher is not going to let you down.
The Sky-Watcher does not include a mount, all of your money is going into that high-end lens. And, as we said earlier, this is an ‘upgrade’ scope, so chances are you already have a mount you can use.
If not, Sky-Watcher suggests using the EQ5 Pro mount, which is a lighter and simpler model compared to their other options. It works well for this scope which weighs just 3kg. However, unless you’re looking to get into astrophotography, it is crazy-expensive.
The EQ5 Pro uses Sky-Watcher’s SynScan system, which makes it easier to find and look at specific objects in the sky. Do not confuse this product with similarly-named mounts like the HEQ5 Pro, which is significantly heavier and more expensive.
A cheaper alternative is Sky-Watcher’s EQM-35 mount, which is half the price and perfectly good for visual observing.
This telescope doesn’t come with much additional equipment.
What there is includes a dielectric diagonal (the dielectric refers to the coating which gives superior light transmission), a decent 8×50 viewfinder, providing a useful 8x magnification, and a quality foam-lined aluminum carrying case.
Two 1.25″ eyepieces are included, a 20mm and 5mm long eye relief. These are Kellner style, i.e. very low quality and really should not be bundled with a scope of this specification.
If you don’t already own some, invest in a decent set of wide-angled eyepieces, like Celestron’s Luminos range.
Setting Up and Using the 100mm ProED
Setup is generally fast with this telescope, just attach it to your polar-aligned mount, set up the controller (if applicable) and you’re good to go.
At just 3 kg, this telescope is light enough for anyone to manage, although it is quite long at 36″ (92 cm).
Transportation is as easy as you can realistically get with a telescope. The foam-lined aluminum case provides sturdy protection from average bumps and jostles, and it will fit comfortably into any vehicle.
What You Can See
This telescope’s key selling point is its fantastic optical quality.
At 4″, it’s not the biggest aperture scope for collecting light but what it does gather is shown in exquisite detail.
It might not present the widest views of the sky, but it still delivers amazing deep space viewing with stunning brightness and accuracy. The Doublet APO lens keeps the fine details of these stellar objects in sharp relief, which is the most important part of enjoying them.
Being a medium speed telescope, it also delivers razor-sharp lunar and planetary detail with only the merest hint of chromatic aberration at the edge of the bright lunar surface.
We’ve been hard-pushed to find anyone who has used this telescope with a bad word to say about it. Sure, it’s a big price, but it delivers the views that will last a lifetime.
One of the main reasons backyard astronomers buy the EvoStar 100 ED is for its excellent quality astroimaging. The Sky-Watcher delivers crisp, clear images free of distortion.
This telescope offers nearly the best image quality at a significantly lower price point than the best options currently on the market, and pricing is a real consideration when you’re doing astrophotography.
Aside from spending almost $1000 on this telescope, you could expect to spend another $1000 on a mount and more than your telescope and mount combined for your camera. These prices add up fast, so if you’re buying a telescope for astrophotography, it’s important to get one that’s worth the price.