Sky-Watcher SupaTrak Explorer-130P & Skymax-127
Optical Vision Ltd. — +44 (0)1359 244200 — from £199 SRP
Written: ~5 years ago

Since this is a product that straddles both telescope and mount categories, I've cross-posted it here. For a more thorough treatment of the SupaTrak mount itself, follow this link:

Explorer-130P + SupaTrak (SRP £199)
Until comparatively recently there existed an aperture void between the 4.5- and 6-inch Newtonian, one admirably filled by the well-figured 130mm (5.1-inch) f/5 parabolic mirror of the Sky-Watcher Explorer-130P. Its sharp optics and relatively small central obstruction (35mm = 27%) ensure that it delivers bright, diffraction-limited images for its aperture. The easily managed tube and 650mm focal length means that can view a true field of in excess of 2° with 1.25-inch format eyepieces, while well-corrected shorter focal length oculars will give you memorable views of the Moon and bright planets. In short, it’s a great all-rounder in its class. The 'scope comes with 10mm & 25mm eyepieces, 2x Barlow lens, red dot finder and compass.

Mounted via an integral Vixen-style dovetail bar on the SupaTrak, the average eyepiece height of the Explorer-130P with the tripod legs retracted is around 110cm; with the legs extended it's nearer 160cm. In the latter configuration vibration damping time on grass is in the region of three seconds. Be aware that the Explorer-130P does touch the mount at altitudes greater than 85°, so there is a small exclusion zone near the zenith with this instrument (no such restriction applies to the Skymax-127 model below).

Skymax-127 + SupaTrak (SRP £ 299)
At just 33cm long and 14cm in diameter, the 127mm aperture f/12 Skymax-127 still packs a performance punch with a relatively short cool-down time for a 'scope of this type. The largest Maksutov-Cassegrain in the standard range (only the 150mm and 180mm Pro Series instruments are larger), this is one of the jewels in the Sky-Watcher crown. It's large enough to produce richly detailed, high-contrast lunar and planetary images, yet doesn't overtax smaller mounts like the SupaTrak. The Skymax-127's standard Vixen dovetail rail also ensures its compatibility with a wide range of other mounts. The 'scope comes with 10mm & 25mm eyepieces, a 2x Deluxe Barlow lens, 6x30 finder, erect image star diagonal and compass.

One might not consider the Skymax-127 for daytime terrestrial use, but the instrument comes with an erect image diagonal and is quite capable of focusing down to 8 metres with minimal image shift. The bright and sharp 6x30 finder sensibly comes on a longer bracket offering plenty of clearance from the OTA. Its internal baffle diameter of just under 23mm means that the Skymax-127 is a strictly 1.25-inch format instrument. While it hardly excels as a wide-field 'scope, it can still deliver a crisp ¾° field with low power eyepieces.

As with all catadioptric 'scopes, I wished that the manufacturer bundled a dewshield with the Skymax-127. With the SupaTrak's tripod legs retracted the average eyepiece height is close to 75cm, extending to about 130cm at full height. Vibration time on grass at full tripod extension is around two seconds.