2020 Update: Stellarvue offers an updated version of this telescope how Stellarvue improves on perfection is beyond my comprehension simply remarkable.
Bottom Line Up Front: This 4" refractor is by far the best refactor I have had the pleasure of using and looking through in my years in this hobby. This instrument has an outstanding color correction, a great contrast with a pinpoint edge to edge sharpness. This telescope was a hot item when it was first released causing many to take notice, and that excellent quality has and continues to hold today, It is simply a fantastic instrument. I highly recommend without hesitation to order one if you are in the market for a 4" premium telescope.
Shipping: Stellarvue shipped the SVR102T in a box within a box configuration allowing for maximum protection during the 6-day transit across the United States. Inside each box was a lining of dense foam for extra cushioning, the telescope itself was inside a zippered case surrounded by bubble wrap and the added protection provided by the included case it came in. Overall, I was confident the scope was in perfect condition, and it was - excellent shipping and packaging.
The scope will arrive with a 2.5” Stellervue or 3” Feather Touch focuser depending on what you ordered. The scope also includes two high-quality CNC aluminum mounting rings with five threaded screws top and bottom. Holes sizes are 1/4-20 with one center hole, and two others spaced 1.5" apart and yet two more spaced 60 mm apart. Having the mounting rings included is a very nice addition, and reduces frustration in finding a set to match the telescope - and these mounting rings are top quality.
You may need to pick up a mounting rail, I had already purchased the TP-10 rail for my iOptron CEM Vixen-style mount. The rail bolted on in just minutes.
My visual inspection did not discover any issues in fit, finish, or otherwise mechanically, and the included inspection sheet help solidifies my inspection results - this scope is high-quality fit and finish. I did see one minor blemish on the OTA appearing at the front of the OTA, only visible when the dew shield is fully extracted, appearing as a dull 1.5” mark that was the results of removing an imperfection from the carbon, it was so minor nothing to write home about.
The dew shield has a metal screw-on cap. The dew shield itself is fitted to the OTA very securely and has a nice positive feel as it is being extracted or retracted.
Optics Inspection resulted in the same high quality and attention to detail, not one visible speck of dust anywhere. Inside the OTA was the obvious attention paid to the dark paint to reduce any stray or reflective light. I normally do not conduct a "flashlight" test, in this case, it was spotless. I threw on a diagonal and pointed the scope at a distant object and the view as exceptional. Very Very high details, almost as nice as my Nikkor 600mm ED FL lens but you can not really compare the two, one is for astronomy the other for terrestrial use. Optics were splendid - this is one fine telescope optically.
Optics Elements: The Optics are all multi-coated apochromatic triplet objective: Using a 101.5 mm f-7 apochromatic triplet objective, with an Ohara FPL-53 inline element. The Stellarvue telescope provides very desirable contrast and near as perfect color correction as you can achieve. Stellarvue performs a triple test of the lens to ensure it is as well corrected as any a 4" apo triplet offered. Stellarvue even includes an interferometric report showing the results. To increase contrast special broadband multi-coatings are used on all six air-to-glass surfaces to make the stars pop against the dark black of space. In my night of testing in light polluted skies, I can attest I have never seen stars as a round edge to edge with an almost 3-dimensional view of planets, the moon with no trace of color aberrations.
Stellarvue 102mm Telescope with carrying case
The Scope itself is a 4” f-7, 714 mm focal length air-spaced APO triplet refractor. I opted for the 2.5” Stellarvue dual speed, rack and pinion focuser with both 2” and 1.25” adapters that are included. This is Stellarvues latest design. My Scope arrived with a certified, Strehl rating of .964 which makes this Scope near optical perfection. I have not yet purchased the photographic field flattener specific to this model, but in July I will do just that. Based on everything I know up to this point, I believe without a doubt this will be the best 4” visual and imaging platform I have ever owned.
The SVR102T-25SV is the standard version of this telescope having a fully baffled, carbon fiber tube with a weight in for the OTA right at 9 lbs without the rings, which weigh an additional 1.6 pounds for a total weight of under 11 pounds. When the focuser is unthreaded the tube assembly is 19.25” long, making it airline carry-on. Thus allowing you to easily and securely carry your telescope with you.
Design and Use:
The Stellarvue SVR102T is designed for visual and photographic use, delivering stunning visual performance thanks to a high Strehl of over .96, the elements are all fully multi-coated. Included with my telescope was the optic report showing near perfect optics.
Stellarvue 102mm Telescope with case
Stellarvue 2.5" Focuser: I have yet to load up the focuser with cameras and filters, I can sense the fit and finish is rock solid, including the very secure positive feel as you rack the focuser from one extreme to the other, this left me with very high confidence the back end can handle what I can throw at it. The focuser is fully rotating with very smooth rotation and features a 7:1 ratio and a locking screw to ensure not movement after you have a sharp focus.
Nice Case: Stellarvue include a very nice case to carry and store your prized possession, the case is of heavy-duty nylon construction with thickly padded interior walls, a hard inside lining, with heavy-duty zippers. I hate the metal hard cases, rough edges, and they tend to beat up your car seats. Stellarvue cases are a substantial upgrade from what I have seen on the market, and it is nice to see these high-quality nylon cases offered, nicely done Vic.
Stellarvue 102mm Telescope carrying case dimensions
What is left to say: Exceptional Optics, High-Quality Build, and Superior Performance that allows people like me to enjoy both visual and imaging all from the same platform. Nicely done and accolades to Stellarvue. Highly recommended to anyone searching for a lightweight scope in the 4" range.