The Vixen R130Sf is a Newtonian reflector telescope that's an ideal beginner's instrument. It offers the excellent fit and finish you should expect from the Vixen brand, along with impressive light-gathering capacity for an introductory telescope. Its 5.1" diameter is large enough to do some serious deep sky, star cluster, and nebula observing. Together with the GP2 Mount, you have a classic combination of telescope and mount which is meant for users who will enjoy growing with their mount, and learning the celestial map through their own skill. Vixen stands behind this outfit with an impressive 5-year warranty.
A 650mm f/5 optical configuration is pretty bright in optical terms, besting most refractors, and offers impressively-wide viewing fields when coupled with longer focal length wide angle eyepieces. Newtonian telescopes have impressive resolution and color rendition in the viewing field's center, and the view gets progressively more distorted towards the edges-but it is often a good tradeoff, because you can get so much light-gathering capacity per dollar. Gathering light, after all, is a telescope's most important function.
The Vixen GP2 Equatorial Mount is so well respected throughout the world that it is the standard which is universally copied by many different companies outside of Japan (known as 'CG-5', 'EQ-4', etc.). The copies, loving as they are, focus on lowering costs-and in their wake have left a thriving aftermarket cottage industry to improve them. You don't really have to spend too much more to cut through all that baloney-every geared part on the GP2 is individually inspected before assembly in Japan, and lubricants are the best available. It shows in its use. The modular GP2 has a slew of upgrades to accommodate growing astronomical interests and skills, so you'll use the mount for a long time to come.
Together with the GP2, this outfit's perfect for some imaging use; add a clamp-on digiscoping adapter for simple use with point and shoot cameras through the eyepiece, or attach a Vixen T-mount directly upon the rear of the scope if you want to use your DSLR camera. Crisp shorter-duration images can easily be made with just some judicious manual operation of the mount; for professional images from longer exposures of several minutes (or even hours), add such accessories as a polar axis scope, an MT-1 motor drive with an SD-1 motor drive controller, and the Focal Reducer R.
The R130Sf with GP2 arrives as an all-manual affair-you don't need anything else to observe except perhaps a star map and a red light flashlight.
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