SkyWatcher Heritage 130P Review: Smart And Beautiful
Despite its weak focuser, Heritage 130P stands out from the rest with its well-built collapsible design.
Of course, the optics of 130P are not as powerful as an 8” or 10” Dobsonian, but they are very impressive considering SkyWatcher Heritage 130P’s size and price. The 130mm aperture gathers a substantial amount of light which proves enough for deep space objects. It is able to go up to 180-200x magnifications without losing image quality, meaning Solar System objects such as Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are clear and detailed. The Great Red Spot on Jupiter and its 4 Galilean Moons, Rings of Saturn and ice caps on Mars are visible, which makes this telescope a “powerhouse” beginner model.
The collapsible design is absolutely appreciated. Compared to non-collapsible models such as Zhumell Z130, it makes the telescope much more convenient to live with. You can carry the SkyWatcher Heritage 130P like a laptop with your one hand.
The tubes are stronger than they look.
The mount is sturdy and simple. It has a Dobsonian design which means it only moves up, down, left and right. It is very easy to use and much more stable than a tripod thanks to its tabletop design.
The focuser is not as sturdy as the usual rack-and-pinion.
The only negative thing that can be said about the Heritage 130P is its focuser. It is not a rack-and-pinion design. It is helical, which means you place the eyepiece on a ring and by turning the ring you move the eyepiece inside the focuser. It feels looser than the standard Crayford style focuser. It works absolutely fine, but any rack-and-pinion would be a little better.
Despite the focuser, there are almost no drawbacks to this telescope. It is powerful, well-built, portable and looks great. It is highly recommended for any beginner.
Heritage 130P’s build quality is great. It is solid enough to work perfectly with the collapsible design. The main optics are top-notch. The eyepieces are OK and the focuser is a little loose, but these are acceptable drawbacks with a budget telescope.
650mm Focal Length
Deep Space Performer
The 130mm aperture is wide enough to observe Solar System and deep space objects. 4 Galilean Moon’s of Jupiter and the Great Red Spot, Rings of Saturn and its largest moon Titan, the Cassini Division are all clear and bright if you are observing at the right weather conditions. You can also see deep space objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and Orion Nebula, which are always impressive.
The focal length is 650mm, creating an f/5 focal ratio. You are going to get a wide field view and good brightness with f/5. The maximum magnification potential is enough to mesmerize any beginner at 180-200x.
The optics are perfectly built and implemented.
The included eyepieces are OK for beginner telescopes. They are Kellner eyepieces with 10mm and 25mm aperture, which will provide 26x and 65x magnifications. If you are a beginner these eyepieces will feel like they are amazing at first. But as time passes you may wish for higher quality such as Plössl’s or Goldline models. A Barlow lens would be a good addition as well.
The main worry with the collapsible designs is that they are attached to the optical tube with struts, which may mess with the optical alignment. We didn’t have any problems with stability and sturdiness caused specifically by the collapsible design. The tube feels rock solid.
The opening in the tube creates light-pollution problems.
A problem with the collapsible tube is it gathers loads of stray light. This is not a problem if you are observing in a dark environment, but if you are observing near a city or a powerful light source, you will probably need a shroud to cover the optics. This is not a huge drawback since it is easily solved with a 2$ cloth, but it is good to keep that in mind.
Tensioner for Vertical Axis
The mount is one of the strong aspects of the telescope. It is Dobsonian and Dobsonian’s are as simple as it gets with telescope mounts. You can move the optical tube up, down, left and right. Movement feels smooth and easy. The base is rock solid and stable.
The mount is rock-solid and smooth.
There is a tensioner between the optical tube and the mount. This allows you to slide the optical tube horizontally to control the weight distribution. This feature is especially useful for heavy eyepieces and accessories. The telescope has a 1.25” focuser so you won’t use any heavy accessories. But it is nice to know it is there just in case.
1.25″ Helical Focuser
Red Dot Finder
The only weak point of the telescope is the focuser. It is 1.25” with Helical design. It is not as solid as a rack-and-pinion plastic model. It seems like SkyWatcher couldn’t fit that into the front of the optical tube, which is a shame. It actually works fine and most users don’t seem to have any problems with it but if this is a real deal-breaker for you, Zhumell Z130 has a better focuser.
The red dot finder is a standard with beginner models and it works well. It is 0x magnification and helps you point the telescope in the right direction in the night sky by projecting a red dot on the screen. It is a good finder to use at first. If you wish to change it with better ones such as a 9×50 or an 8×40 finderscope you can.
As I’ve mentioned before the Helical focuser is not that good. Adding to that you may need a shroud to cover the optics if you are observing near a powerful light source. So if you are living near a big city and you will do your observations close to the city, Zhumell Z130 might be a better choice.
Even though the focuser is a so-so model and the collapsible design exposes the optics; SkyWatcher Heritage 130P is an incredible beginner telescope and a great grab-and-go addition to any telescope collection. It has a great build quality and powerful optics. Its lightweight build combined with the collapsible design makes this one of the most easy-to-carry telescopes. It looks good as well. It is heavily recommended to someone who is starting out with astronomy.