The Sky Watcher Classic 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Aperature Telescope is a large light bucket style telescope with a foot in the past and a foot in the future. It combines classic sensibilities with modern upgrades to create a powerful and functional Dobsonian telescope that has what it takes to be a feature telescope in your collection for years to come.
Sky-Watcher Classic 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Specs
- Dobsonian telescope
- 8” primary aperture
- f/5.9 focal ratio
- 400x highest useful magnification
- 45lbs assembled weight
This powerful telescope comes in at a moderate price with few drawbacks. It is large, sturdy, and does everything you expect a large Dobsonian to do.Check Latest Price
I am not super familiar with Sky Watcher USA as a company but from my limited experience, they seem to make solid, well priced, equipment. They have a unique aesthetic that reminds me of the old college equipment I used to use and see on campus all the time. The tubes are utilitarian white with simple knobs.
The founder says he was inspired to create Sky Watcher while working in a lab in Taiwan and that kind of academic and Spartan design shows through, in a good way. It does not try to be flashy, it just tries to work and it does work.
The only downside I have seen, in doing my research, is there seems to be a lot of shipping issues. These issues have generated a lot of complaints and for good reason. I did not experience the issues described but I thought I would bring them up first.
Many people have reported getting only the base or two bases rather than the tube and the base. This is alarming because, obviously, the tube is the most expensive part and this has happened enough to cause me to raise an eyebrow. It seems convenient to leave out the most prominent part of the kit over and over again.
This is because, due to the size and weight, this telescope ships in two boxes. Whether one is getting lost or damaged or not, there have been many reports of only receiving half of their order.
However, if you manage to get the telescope shipped to you properly, there is a great scope to be had.
A Classic Light Bucket
Shipping issues aside, what you get with the Sky-Watcher Classic 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Aperature Telescope is a classic light bucket telescope. This is a Dobsonian that is designed to be placed under a dark sky and feast on deep space objects.
The specifications are good, if not a little basic, for a Dobsonian of this design. It has a full 8” diameter aperture which allows for a ton of light gathering capability. This is double the size of smaller reflector and refractor telescopes on the market and that means you are getting exponentially more light potential than those basic telescope models.
This means you are going to be able to get some spectacular views of objects that smaller telescopes just won’t be able to locate and see.
A look at the Sky-Watcher 200Check Latest Price
Nebulas look sharp and colorful. You don’t realize how colorful nebulas truly are until you get a great look at them with a telescope like this. Distant galaxies have defined arms and structures to admire. The farther you peer into dark skies and deep space, the more stars that appear from farther and farther distances. For anyone who has a love for the farther reaches of space, this telescope has the chops to reveal them.
The image quality and light gathering ability is bolstered by mirrors which have been highly polished to be 94% reflective. This level of near-perfection is not present in every reflector telescope. This is fitting since the founder of Sky Watcher was allegedly a polishing technician at the lab where he hatched the idea for these telescopes. His past expertise shines through in the polish on the mirrors found here.
The focal ratio of f/5.9 plus the magnification level of 400x gives you the ability to really peel back the layers of the universe and see farther than you ever have before. The image quality is great and the power is excellent.
With a diameter of 8”, and a focal length of 48” the tube on this telescope is beefy. That can be seen in the weight, which is 20lbs for the tube alone. Weight and heft like that requires a solid base to support it properly to make operation easy.
This is your standard Dobsonian telescope. It has a large, heavy and powerful, optical tube that sits on an equally heavy base to counter the weight of the tube. The base is made from solid wood and this one weighs in at 25lbs. The whole thing together creates a solid platform from which to stargaze from. Once everything is assembled, and it does require some assembly to get right, it feels solid. You won’t have to worry about knocking this telescope over or bumping it out of alignment.
The tradeoff is it is not portable. Some Dobsonais claim to be but I have never found one that travels nicely. The size and sensitivity of the tube and its mirrors do not lend to easy transport and the same goes for this model as well.
Making moving easy…
This setup also includes Teflon bearings and tension controls which are upgrades over standard Dobsonian controls. The Teflon bearings make it so the bearings in your altazimuth mount will not burn out over time as cheaper bearings might. Moving this much weight around can put a lot of strain on the bearing system which is why they upgraded it for longevity.
The tension controls are another nifty upgrade that helps make this as userfriendly as possible. These allow you to tighten the base into place to slow down the movement or lock it into place so that you do not have to keep the full weight of the tube balanced while using it. It makes it easier to zero in on specific objects without getting fatigued from holding the tube exactly in one spot.
If you are going to be using this telescope regularly, you are going to appreciate these upgrades to the mount.
What’s In the Box(es)?
Unlike the majority of telescopes on the market, Dobsonian telescopes ship in two boxes. One has the optical tube and the accessories and the other holds the (usually heavier) base and pieces you need to assemble the telescope. That is true here too, no surprises.
In addition to the base and the tube, you also get a decent haul of accessories with this telescope kit. This is nice because a lot of reflector telescopes, and Dobsonians, can be a little short on added accessories. Especially at this price, it is a nice value package.
The accessories included here are a 2” Crayford-style focuser, a 1.25” eyepiece adapter, two eyepieces, and a 9×50 finderscope. While it doesn’t sound like much, there is a lot of value here.
First, the 1.25” adapter is a huge addition that really opens this telescope up. Most telescopes are 1.25” compatible but there is another subset of accessories that are 2” compatible that most people never get to experience. With this adapter, you can effectively use any eyepiece or eyepiece accessory in both 2” and 1.25” sizes. This boosts the versatility of this telescope by an immeasurable amount.
SkyWatcher 8″ Dobsonian UNBOXINGCheck Latest Price
The eyepieces are serviceable, many reflectors only come with a single eyepiece so the inclusion of a second is a nice get. Like we just mentioned, you have access to any eyepiece on the market with the adapter so upgrading should be smooth if desired.
Lastly, the beefy 9×50 finderscope allows you to precisely find what you are looking for in the night sky and comes in handy when you need high levels of precision to find deep space objects. Unlike the planets, and nearby objects, the farther away you look, the smaller the room for error becomes. This finderscope is powerful enough to really help you zone in on those small spots in the sky.
This telescope could easily be twice the price as it is now and many people would not bat an eye at it. It comes in at a reasonable price from a decent manufacturer. The Sky-Watcher Classic 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Aperature Telescope offers a lot of power and versatility to anyone looking to grab a light bucket without breaking the bank.
This is not the largest Dobsonian out there and it is not the most fully equipped but if you want to get a bigger aperture or more features, you are going to have to pay quite a bit more. For the price and what it offers this is a solid telescope that should be on anyone’s radar who is interested in getting a Dobsonian without investing too much.