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Apertura AD12 Dobsonian Reflector

Manufacturer Product Number: AD12TDP

Availability: Out of stock


List Price: $1,299.99

Our Price: $1,299.99

More Views

  • Finderscope - 8x50mm, Right Angle Correct Image (RACI)
  • 2 inch, dual-speed Micro 10:1 Crayford style focuser, with 1.25" adapter
  • Battery powered fan for rapid temperature acclimation of the primary mirror and tube assembly
  • Laser Collimater
  • Apertura Dobsonian Telescope Owner's Manual
  • Boxes for Optical Tube Assembly and Dobsonian Base
  • Contents of Optical Tube Assembly Box
  • Contents of Dobsonian Base Box
  • NEW Light Shield (included in OPTIONAL Tweaker's Dream Package)
  • OPTIONAL Preinstalled Setting Circle
  • Closeup of OPTIONAL Preinstalled Setting Circle with Red Dwarf LED light

Quick Overview

Apertura's AD12 Dobsonian Reflector is the choice for maximum light-gathering performance and will help you see more details in the faintest of Deep Space Objects.


Please read John Kramer's Professional Review of the Apertura AD12 Dobsonian Telescope and be sure to check out his VIDEO REVIEW on Youtube.


An Apertura Dobsonian Reflector Telescope is the very definition of "bang for the buck". For the base price you get a high quality telescope with lots of aperture, great features, and a nice complement of accessories (including a Laser Collimator!)  And for those who demand the very BEST in performance, convenience, and professional fit-and-finish, the Tweaker's Dream Package is included with every Apertura AD12, featuring a fully flocked Optical Tube for maximum contrast at the eyepiece, Collimation Screws and Collimation Washers, a Control Knob and an additional 5-hold Eyepiece Tray (see below for full description and photos). Serious astronomy enthusiasts often add these performance tweaks and extra features to their Dobsonian telescopes after purchase in order to make them perform better, move better, and look better. But now your Apertura scope comes with all the best known tweaks already professionally installed so that you can spend your time doing astronomy and learning about the sky, instead of spending hours on researching methods and materials, tracking down vendors, and getting frustrated with trial-and-error prototyping.


And be sure to check out the Preinstalled Setting Circle!


Features included in the base package:

Hand-adjustable knobs on primary mirror for easy, no-tools collimation

2 inch, dual-speed Micro 10:1 Crayford style focuser, with 1.25" adapter

Right Angle Correct Image (RACI) 8x50 finderscope

1.25" 9mm Plössl eyepiece (high-power) with 52 degree field of view

2" 30mm SuperView eyepiece (low-power) with 68 degree field of view

35mm Extension Tube (used to provide extra back-focus for eyepieces that need it)

1.25" Moon Filter

Laser Collimator (1 battery included)

Battery operated primary mirror cooling fan (8 AA batteries required - NOT INCLUDED)

Dobsonian base with roller bearings for azimuth and sealed ball bearings for altitude, resulting in super-smooth adjustment in all dimensions

4-slot eyepiece tray

Plastic molded snap-in dust cover

PLUS all Tweaker's Dream components described below



All Apertura Dobsonian Telescopes and the Tweaker's Dream Package components are covered by a 1 years warranty for materials and workmanship.




Tweaker’s DreamTM Package!

(now included with every AD12)


The Tweaker's DreamTM is a package of upgrades and enhancements that raises the PERFORMANCE of your Apertura™ Dobsonian Telescope while increasing the scope’s convenience and ease of use, adjustability and appearance.


Components Included:

 Flocking preinstalled to the Optical Tube Assembly

  Upgraded primary collimation springs - NEW!

•  Light Shield - NEW!

•  Hand-adjustable secondary collimation knobs

•  Upgraded Washers for the secondary mirror

•  Soft-grip guide knob

•  Additional 5-hole accessory tray for base




Flocked interior – Flocking has been used by astronomers in the know for many years to squeeze every last ounce of performance from their scopes, by soaking up any stray light inside the optical tube that might otherwise spoil the view.  So we apply high quality flocking to the ENTIRE inside surface of the Optical Tube Assembly from end-to-end, in one solid piece, for an incredibly elegant finish that must be seen to be fully appreciated.


*NEW* Upgraded primary collimation springs – Your scope's performance depends on accurate collimation (alignment) of the primary mirror.  The primary collimation screws that adjust the mirror's alignment have compression springs that hold it in place, and as part of the Tweaker's Dream Package upgrade, we replace those stock springs with larger and stronger stainless steel springs that will help keep the mirror collimated more accurately and longer.






*NEW* Light Shield – Unwanted stray light can come from many sources including streetlights, houses, and even the moon.  And because the focuser in a newtonian reflector is relatively close to the end of the optical tube, stray light can shine over the top of the OTA and directly into the bottom of the focuser inside the optical tube, which will degrade contrast at the eyepiece.  The NEW light shields included with the Tweaker's Dream Package are the answer!  Quick and easy to put on and take off, these custom designed, laser cut shields are made from ABS plastic and are finished on the inside with the same flocking used to line the optical tube, so these shields do a fantastic job of blocking stray light from opposite the focuser AND absorbing stray light from the front side to prevent it from ruining your contrast.





Hand-adjustable secondary collimation screw knobs – These adjustment screw knobs eliminate the need for a Phillip’s head screwdriver to collimate the secondary mirror (which means you don’t have to worry about dropping a screwdriver on your beautiful new primary mirror!).  These black, fully threaded screws replace the recessed factory screws and extend the grip-point with a 1/2 inch diameter head to allow you to quickly and easily adjust the secondary mirror during collimation.  The secondary mirror is suspended on thin metal spider-vanes which can flex under the pressure of a screwdriver, but with these thumbscrew knobs you can use a more precise, lighter touch during alignment, increasing the accuracy of the collimation.






Upgraded Washers for the secondary mirror – Most standard Dobsonian telescopes (including basic Apertura™ telescopes) come standard with a common metal fender washer between the secondary mirror holder and the collimating screws, and with time and use, it can become difficult to accurately adjust the secondary mirror.  But a couple of years ago, CloudyNights.com forum member Jason D. came up with an incredibly simple yet elegant solution.  He cut a washer out of a Milk Jug (yes, literally from a discarded plastic Milk Jug) and placed the plastic washer between the tips of the collimating screws and the metal fender washer.  That simple tweak made it much easier to rotate the secondary mirror, and made the collimation screws work more smoothly (and later it was decided that two “Milk Jug” washers was even better than one).  Well, we knew that we couldn’t honestly call our upgrade package the “Tweaker’s DreamTM” unless we included this nifty upgrade.  But not wanting to dig through the garbage and cut thousands of washers from old Milk Jugs, we put our thinking caps on.  Standard Milk Jugs are made of High Density Polyethylene (also known as HDPE) and we could easily have washers custom-manufactured from HDPE.  But while “Milk Jug” washers do the job quite well, our experience in manufacturing told us that there was actually an even BETTER choice – Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (also known as UHMW-PE).  UHMW-PE has higher physical strength and abrasion resistance than HDPE, meaning it will last longer.  And UHMW-PE has a significantly lower coefficient of friction than HDPE, meaning that it is slicker which helps the secondary mirror holder and collimating screws move against each other more easily.  So we took the “Milk Jug washer” idea and made it just a little bit better! Two UHMW washers are pre-installed with each Tweaker’s DreamTM Package.  Oh and by the way, our washers are black and don’t smell like sour milk.  :-)


Soft-grip guide knob – When you use a basic Dobsonian telescope, you generally move it around during viewing by simply pushing or pulling on the main tube.  It works fine, but many experienced astronomers add a nice little knob to their Optical tubes so that they have an easy, comfortable way to guide their telescope around the sky.  So we’ve included a very nice “Soft-Grip” handle that is pre-mounted in the perfect spot on your Apertura™ telescope.  And the rubberized handle is much more comfortable on those chilly nights when holding the metal telescope itself isn’t your first choice.




Extra 5-hole accessory tray for base – The four-hole accessory tray that comes standard with most Dobsonian telescopes is a nice feature for a beginning astronomer.  But the standard tray has only one 2” diameter hole and three 1.25” diameter holes, and most astronomers quickly find themselves running out of places to put their growing collection of eyepieces, adapters, collimators, etc.  The Tweaker’s DreamTM Package includes an additional accessory tray that has THREE 2” diameter holes plus two 1.25” holes.  So with the standard tray plus the extra tray included with the Tweaker’s DreamTM Package, you will have plenty of room to store your favorite eyepieces, a collimator, plus a handful of other accessories while observing.



Technical Specifications and Dimensions


Primary Mirror Diameter:   


Primary Mirror Details:

 Thickness 1.48", Parabolic, 1/12 wave

Primary Mirror Coating:

 Aluminum and silicone dioxide (SiO2); reflectivity=93%

Secondary Mirror Details:

 Minor Axis 2.76", Major Axis 3.86", Thickness .47"

Secondary Mirror Coating:

 Aluminum and silicone dioxide (SiO2); reflectivity=93%

Optical Design:

 Newtonian Reflector

Mount Design:

 Dobsonian, clutch mounting with tension knobs

Focal Length:


Focal Ratio:



 2 inch, dual speed Micro 10:1 Crayford style

Eyepiece 1:

 2", Superview 30mm, 68 degree FOV, Eye-relief=22mm

Eyepiece 2:

 1.25", Super-Plossl 9mm, 52 degree FOV, Eye-relief=6mm


 Right-Angle, Correct-Image 8 x 50 viewer

Limiting Stellar Magnitude:


Optical Tube Length: 


Fully Assembled Height:


Optical Tube Assembly Weight:

 47.8 lbs

Base Height:


Base Diameter:


Base Weight:

 38.3 lbs

Fully Assembled Weight:

 86.1 lbs


 1 year for materials and workmanship



Download Owner's Manual











Customer Reviews

Worth every dollar!

Review by Chuck | Posted on 5/13/15

I ordered the AD12 with the "Tweaker's Dream Package" last August and promptly received it within a couple days. I had slight trouble with installation of the base (user error) but got it with a fast and courteous response from customer service. I've really been impressed with the quality and ease of use. Being a dob I can set this up fast--much quicker than my C-8, and share great sites with family and friends. We jokingly call this my "Water-furnace-telescope" because of the huge size. It's not only limited for deep sky--I was able to get some great lunar eclipse pictures just my holding my phone up to the eyepiece. Of course it is an amazing light-gathering scope, and I've really enjoyed views of Comet Lovejoy as well as simply scanning through the Milky Way for beautiful views.
A year later and still a great scope!

Review by AhBok | Posted on 9/15/14

I should have posted a review a year ago, but this gives me a chance to give the perspective from experience with the AD12.

1. The optics are as good as they say. I am an old time ATM and have ground a few mirrors and tested many optics. Careful star testing shows my mirror to be about 1/7 wave P-V with no edge or zone issues. Views of planets at 350X on great nights confirm that my mirror is very good.
2. On-going support--Excellent! Since purchasing my scope, I've ordered the light shield, the Alti-Guage and a new base with setting circles installed. Opticsmart has always answered my calls promptly and shipped my stuff fast.
3. Wow factor a year later?--I saw the best views of the Veil complex this week that I have ever seen in nearly 50 years of observing and that includes larger, much more expensive scopes that I have previously owned, so yes, Wow!

Frankly, I expected my initial impressions which were very positive to wear off after a year, but actually, the more I use this scope the more impressed I am with it.

Downsides? Well, there are better travel scopes, frankly. If you have a large vehicle, like my Jeep Cherokee, transportation isn't that difficult. If you have a smaller car, not so much! For me--I keep the scope on a custom made dolly and just roll it out on my patio for viewing. Scopes like this are great for folks who have a place to leave it set up and can roll it out and be observing in a couple of minutes. I take my 8" scope to star parties.

If you want an unbelievable bargain in a 12" scope with good mechanicals, very good optics and impressive customer service--this is it!
Thank You

Review by Robert | Posted on 6/28/14

I ordered this scope on Wednesday morning it arrived Friday, as the Fed-Ex delivery lady asked
"Is this a coffin?" and honestly given the size of the package I wasn't to sure myself. I unpacked
it and found my barlow packaged in with the ota it was bubble wrapped to the point I was fairly
certain it could survive a landing on mars, very very nice job. After assembly my son came in and
gasp that he had never seen anything like it. And for the record I bought this scope to be an
upgrade from my 114mm, and yeah I know can use the 114 as a view finder. I am blown away
by the level of customer service from opticsmart. I am recommending them to all my friends and
family. As far as my first experience with the telescope on steroids I am blown away at what I
have never seen before, and that is under light polluted skies. The absolute best part of this whole
experience has got to be the time I spent with my 8 year old son tonight, he was so happy to see
all the stars and the view of saturn was amazing. Thank you so much for this awesome telescope.
A great scope!

Review by richie | Posted on 5/8/14

The 12" dob is a well made, easy to set up telescope. The views of Jupiter,M42,open clusters, are beautiful to say the least. If you are looking for a large aperture telescope, this scope will not fail your expectations. I am in agreement with the other reviews of this scope. This is a must buy!
Truly Incredible

Review by Mike | Posted on 4/10/14

First, let me just say there were at least a dozen reasons why I shouldn't have gotten a telescope this large. I live in a small, third-floor apartment in a big city without even a front yard to set up in. My girlfriend was not pleased with the idea of sharing what little space we have with this monster. I also had to forego a much-needed computer upgrade to fund it. But even though I have to cart it down three floors of stairs, drive it twenty minutes just to get into Bortle Scale class 6 sky, and set aside a large portion of my apartment as a sort of shrine to aperture, I don't regret a thing. One look through the eyepiece at pretty much any DSO, a few minutes scanning the surface of the moon, or just scanning around with the 2" eyepiece, would open the most tightly sealed wallets.

I'd imagine that people reading this review fall into one of two groups: Those who have not used a reflector of this size, and are wondering if the price tag and size are worth it; and those who have used a light bucket of this aperture before, and are wondering if this is the one for them.

To the first group: I haven't even taken it to truly dark skies, and it has already given me some of the most spectacular views I've ever enjoyed. The only thing that should prevent you from going with this size is if you would need to buy a new car to fit it into (a legitimate concern with something this large). In extremely light-polluted skies, with a near-full moon, I was able to resolve almost perfectly the M81-M82 pair of galaxies, fitting comfortably in the 2" eyepiece's massive FOV. It was just unreal, I actually let out an audible "whoah!". The praise that massive Dobs get is not exaggeration, for under a thousand dollars you can get some of the best views of the skies outside of an observatory.

To the second group: This is, absolutely, a quality scope. I spent a lot of time researching the different brands, and I'm really glad I went with Apertura. I truly believe that it's the best value out of what's available. I got the Tweaker's Dream package to save myself some effort on modifications I knew I would probably do eventually anyways, and their mods are really top-notch stuff. The flocking is installed perfectly, the screws hold collimation well (even after bumping it up and down three floors of stairs), and when it does go out of collimation the thumb screws on the secondary mirror make it really easy to fix. I've found in a lot of telescopes that the secondary mirror can be a pain to adjust, the screws are often really tight and so deeply recessed that you can't even figure out what tool you should be using without trial & error. Easiest time I've ever had collimating a scope. Altitude & azimuth controls are smooth, once you get everything balanced correctly. I have found that I need to change the tightness (especially azimuth) when changing from looking at stuff near my zenith down to the horizon. Further balancing adjustments may fix the problem, but as is it's not really a big deal. Manually tracking stuff is not hard at all.
The finder scope is pretty decent. As some people have noted, it tends to wobble a bit, but it hasn't bugged me yet. The magnification is perfect to resolve and utilize the sorts of asterisms common in star charts. The focus is sharp and it's easy to align. I am also going to attach a red dot scope, just to speed up the process of star hopping a little.
Eyepieces don't slip right in, they need a little big of wiggling to fit even if the screw tightening the ring is all the way out. This means that sometimes, when I switch eyepieces, I have to re-find what I was looking for. This is probably the only thing that's actually annoyed me during use, but that's probably only because the other scope I usually take with me doesn't use the ring system. But, in the end, it's a very minor complaint at the end of a long list of positives.

Other notes:
The eyepieces aren't top-notch, but I really was pleasantly surprised with them. They're better than the ones most telescopes come bundled with.
THIS THING IS HUGE. Seriously. I can just barely fit the OTA in my Mazda Tribute (about the same size as a Ford Explorer). With the back seats down, it stretches from the rear window to the back of the passenger seat. And don't forget about the base - it's ALSO huge, very wide, and needs a spot to hang out.
To transport it, I fitted a large hand cart with some padding. I re-used the styrofoam from the box on the bottom of the cart, to give it something to rest on. I keep it in the plastic bag it came in and wrap in in a moving blanket to protect against dings and moisture. I found 24" bungee cords stretch perfectly around the OTA in order to keep it on the hand cart. It's pretty easy to move it around, now, which is essential with stairs.

If you're on the fence: get one. You won't regret it.
1 year review

Review by nick | Posted on 6/2/13

ill keep it short and to the point.
you wont find competiors dob of the same size that will beat the quality,ease of use,and views.
ive used many scopes in the past year,including a old praised meade dob,a nice meade lx200....the ad12 was the favorite to use at star parties.
the lx200 classic is well known and honored in the astronomy world,the views in the ad12 blew away the lx200 in the same viewing conditions.the lx200 smokes the ad12 on magnification,but beauty,color,and structure was more visible and brilliant in the ad12.
m42 with just the 30mm ep is life changing,this scope shows the gas of orion as a greenish blue.the lx showed plain gray due to its ability to magnify.
my last star party included a 6 in meade refractor,lx200 10in classic,celestron 127 slt mak,meade star finder 10 dob,orion 130 star seeker,meade etx 80 bb,meade 60mm refractor.
and about 20 different ep's.
all the scopes provided great views of deep space,the best view came from the ad12 on the ring nebula,m42,m13....every m object in our view that night.
6 out of 7 amature astronomers that night all agreeded that the ad12 excelled that night,and was the favorite for dso's.most mag went to the lx200.the 6 in refractor was no joke,its a big bad scope with awesome views.but the owner of that scope....spent more time in my ad12 ep that night.

-quality and customer service is top notch
-durability is great,i tripped and fell on my tube while setting up....all the componants survived.just a few scuffs.
-portability.....its manageable,carried out in 2 parts.the base then the tube.furthest ive carried alone was about 50 yards.after 30 yards I was ready to put the tube down....not because of the est 50lb tube,just the akward size of the tube.
-optics...stunning views,clear and crisp.holds collimation very well.i collimate about every 5-6 uses,needs only minor tweaks.
-field use...she rolls smooth on both axis,precision tracking is possible with little effort.
-included gear...the finder scope is a bad lil scope on its own.jupiter and its moons are visible,a hint of saturns ring,all dso's are a bluish fuzz in this little scope.i find it easy to locate dso's using only finder scope.
the ep's....I only use the included 30mm ep on my ad12...rarely do I drop in a different ep.i do however use a 2in 2x aperture barlow...which is phenominal.
-the tweakers dream package is worth the money....no doubt about it.have you ever tried to flock a 12 in tube...I have...never again.in my opinion....the flocking job alone was worth the price of the entire tweakers package.

every dso in my bortle scale 5 light polluted skies.....were visible.i cant wait to bring this scope in dark skies,away from the city.the only thing stopping me from doing so....it wont fit in my car.the tube does fit across the rear seat of a full size pickup.
portability wasn't even an issue that made my decision to go aperture ad12.it was all the great feedback I read about aperture and opticsmart...and im thankful that I went this route.
views are stunning on every dso.on planets I have gotten best results right before dark.as soon as you can spot the plant and the sky is still dim blue....the ad12 will show you the ice caps on mars,and some dark shading on the surface.in the dark mars is just a red ball.you can always buy filters to see bright objects with more clarity.
bright planets and the moon are very bright,the moon actually hurts my eyes without the filter.
this is a powerfull light gathering scope,for a price that cant be beat.
Just Great

Review by Ian | Posted on 2/23/13

Ordered My AD12 with fitted setting circles and the tweaker pack on Tuesday, arrived Friday Morning. David from Opticsmart Emailed on Wednesday personally thanking me for the order. He also attatched the PDF instructions for both attaching the leveling feet and using the setting circles, nice touch I thought. Which by the way David I think are very clear and concise. Those together with formal user guide supplied with scope had the whole thing ready to go in just over an hour. I didn't rush.
Now although I have used colleagues 12" before somehow I had overlooked how big these things are so as per most of the above be prepared!! I set it up in the front yard leveled the scope left it to cool down.
Collimation was a doddle. I first set it on the moon set my finder and went to Jupiter, after picking up my bottom jaw, realized why I had wanted this light bucket. I then moved on to the Orion Nebula The view through both the supplied eyepieces revealed a Jupiter and Nebula to me that I have only seen in the big truss Dobs at the Astronomy clubs.
I just cant wait to get it to a really dark spot.
At the moment I am very pleased with my new toy!!, I cant see that changing any time soon.
fantastic deal on a large, quality scope!

Review by cpsTN | Posted on 2/17/13

I bought the Apertura after using the one John Kramer (previous reviewer) received from Opticsmart. Large does not seem to cut it when you get this wonderful telescope. To deal with the total weight of 86#, I attached full-length 60" wheelbarrow handles and 14" wheels to it so movement would be easy. Since I have owned smaller dobsonians before, I am able to say that the the quality is very high for the price I paid ($629.98 when I bought it new, February '12). The 2" 30mm eyepiece gives a field of view of about 1.5 degrees (and 51x power) and with all the light that the mirror sends your way, I have spent many a night just panning the sky for star patterns I had never seen before in smaller aperture scopes. As far as the Moon and Planets, the Moon takes on a new, brighter and smoother appearance and much more tiny detail not noticed by me with smaller apertures, even after 25 years of observing (1986). Jupiter looked the size of the Moon more or less with detail visible I cannot describe. With all the light you are "capturing" with the AD12, star clusters look three-denmensionally. Even for the shorter adults like myself (5' 4"), the eyepiece is just at eyelevel when standing when looking anywhere near zenith. collimation if very easy with the provided laser collimator. Turn it on, put it in the focuser, look down the tube and adjust the secondary mirror screws (I use figure screws bought as an option from Opticsmart) until the laser dot is in the center of the center-marked main mirror. Then, adjust the main mirror from the back of the scope until the laser dot is in the center of "bull's eye" on the laser collimator itself and your done.
fantastic telescope and service

Review by Kevin | Posted on 8/9/12

Well, I read the scope was big, even saw it in videos.Still wasn't fully aware. It barely fits in my 2009 Toyota RAV-4, but I do have it mounted to a hand truck with 12" wheels. But the good news is it does fit because I do want to take it to a dark sky location from time to time. It is a big beatiful monster! Saw an awesome star cluster and some unknown (to me ) nebula. And I was just scanning the sky without any device help, just the kick-butt wide view EP it came with. Great light gathering and contrast despite too much ambient light from the neighbors. The "tweaker's dream package" with fully lined tube I'm sure helps. Can't wait to get this baby up to my good viewing location. In due time. I'm not qualified to give any optics reviews more specifically, but as previously reported, great smooth swivelling and rising/lowering movements, well balanced with the supplied optics/finder. Good finder scope, love the RACI. That was one feature that helped me decide on the Aperura. I used to break my neck looking through my straight red-dot finder, even with my short tube scope. This is much nicer. Planning to add a Telrad to the set-up. Sounds like a must have, also getting Apertura's 2x 2" Barlow. That will double the MAG on the nice wide-angle EP that was included. All around great deal. However, you MUST have a good plan for transporting it if your home skies aren't dark enough. Well, you can see pretty well anyway, but I bet in a dark sky the views will be twice better if not more. Lastly, I've got to put in a good word for Opticsmart: OUTSTANDING service after the sale, and FAST shipping. LOVE "em. God bless, clear skies one and all!!
A great buy!

Review by Joshua | Posted on 7/31/12

I ordered this scope to gain some serious aperture and boy did it deliver! The scope is of excellent quality and I have found it to be extremely user friendly and simple to set up. Ease of collimation and great optics make for a wonderful scope for any backyard astronomer!

Not to mention, the wonderful customer service provided by the staff at Opticsmart!

I would recommend this scope!!

Review by Brian S | Posted on 3/24/12

I really don't know where to begin. This thing is a beast. It sharp, shiny, gorgeous. AND smooth....SO smooth. The accessories are an upgrade on any other scope, from any other seller. The dang thing got here in two days. Collimated in about 2 minutes. The eyepieces are pretty nice too, basically GSOs. Solid.
I just don't see how they can stay in business giving so much away for so little.
I'm a believer. I want to be a sales rep for this firm. I'm floored! Worth MUCH more! Get one!
Impressive, killer deal

Review by Rick Olaiz | Posted on 2/11/12

This tube is big, be prepared. Took the AD12 out to the front yard and almost caused an accident
from people bending there necks, I'm not much of a writer.I just wanted to say thank's for the
opertunity for being able to have so much for so little. I saw the orion nebula for the first time
in my life with my own eye's, I was humbled.Will be taking her out to the desert in two weeks
to see her real capability.P.S you'll need a truck or the space shuttle to move this bohemoth around.
I'd just buy a truck,lot cheaper!Thank's again Rick,
excellent scope for an excellent price

Review by copperneck | Posted on 1/17/12

After looking for the right scope to cure my aperture fever, I finally found and settled on the Apertura AD12 which fit into my budget rather nicely and gave a great enough jump in size from my 8" dob to satisfy my fever. The great reviews found regarding the AD12 as well as the cost/size/quality ratio was more than enough to convince me.

About a week after purchase, I received from Opticsmart via FedEx, my basic configuration Apertura AD12. It arrived in good, undamaged condition and was quickly assembled (took me about 30 minutes). The basic package included a laser collimator, a 2"30mm widefield ep, a 9mm plossl ep and a 2"focuser extender. I felt the quality of the OTA and it's components was good especially for the price paid.

Before first light, I collimated the scope using the included laser. This is, in my opinion, the weakest component in the package. In order to get the best collimation, I ended up modifying the laser to hold its own collimation better. I also found that the primary mirror cell adjustment and locking bolts were a little awkward and the springs a little too weak but after a few minutes of messing with them, the "system" seemed to work fine and seems (so far) to be holding collimation well. I had no problems with the secondary mirror and holder which was actually pretty close to ideal alignment from the factory. After the initial collimation, the AD12 was set outside to cool for about 4 hours, plenty of time.

Well, what can I say, that first night was a little disappointing. I couldn't get stars or Jupiter to focus sharply even at low magnification (50x) and the stars were somewhat "seagulled," even in the very center of the field. I suspected collimation was part of the problem and possibly a pinched mirror.

The next day, I removed the primary mirror assembly and found the retaining clips had been tightened down WAY too much. For shipping maybe? I loosened the clips to where I could just slip a thin piece of paper between the clip and the mirror. While I had the mirror out of the OTA, I also checked the mirror center mark which was spot on (pun intended:-)).

After re-installing the primary, I then turned my attention to the collimation. I was certain I had made the proper "measurements" and adjustments when I collimated the mirrors the first time but not wanting to rule anything out, I started back at the beginning with the laser. Sure enough, the laser was out of whack. After a couple simple modifications to the laser, which now holds its own collimation better, I recollimated the scope and found the initial collimation to be off by several millimeters. This explained the lack of the sharp, crisp views I had expected. Satisfied that the collimation was within tolerances and the primary issue had been corrected, the AD12 was set outside to cool for about two hours using the fan.

WOW. That nights views were FAR AND AWAY better than the initial night. Seeing was good (roughly 3 to 4 out of 5). Star tests (based on my limited experience), showed a well centered Airy disk with concentric diffraction rings, indicating the collimation was well within tolerances. Stars at low to medium power were crisp and bright and Jupiter at low to medium power was sharp and detailed but very bright, almost to the point it washed out the detail (this I attribute to the awesome light gathering power of 12"). M31 was very bright at the core with a fair amount of "nebulosity" surrounding it, especially for my orange/red zone, more so than I have ever had at the same site with my 8". The Orion Nebula was also very bright and clearly showed whispy detail and dark lane structures. The Trapezium resolved well with the four main stars showing crisp and bright. At high power, I was also able to resolve the E and F stars, albeit given the seeing level, the two faintest ones came and went with the brief moments of calm. Very beautiful. I also took in the Eskimo nebula which although small was bright, clear and sharp. I am very pleased with the quality of the optics and the incredible light gathering power.

The motions in both altitude and azimuth are incredibly smooth which makes manual tracking a breeze. The tension in both axis is also adjustable. The only issue I have is with the altitude bearings. The clutches have to be kept really tight in order to keep the scope balancing properly. That and the small size of the altitude bearings causes a fair amount of vibration, but well within my acceptable levels.

All of the issues encountered initially were easily corrected and I am satisfied with the mechanical and optical quality of the scope, especially for the price.

Overall, I am VERY happy with the views my new AD12 gave me and would absolutely recommend this scope to the enthusiast looking for a manageable larger aperture dob. I am excited to take my AD12 to my dark site for more incredible viewing.
Large aperture, great price, cheap accessories

Review by Dan | Posted on 12/28/11

I'll first say that I am very satisfied with my purchase. The scope is a high quality product, and under dark skies the views are as good as any I've seen in this aperture. The Tweaker's Dream package is all high quality stuff, and makes the scope very nice to use. The accessories are useful and there are a lot of them -- I don't think you can get so much for so little money anywhere else.

My only beef with the package is that the accessories feel very cheaply made. Almost all of my astronomy gear is of the "Made in China" variety, but the finder, mirror cell, focuser, and eyepieces included with this scope are the only Chinese-made gear I've really felt suffered for the cheaper manufacturing. I'm not able to get the finder to come to a sharp focus (the twist focus is a bit "gritty" and does not lock in place very securely), and the bracket is a bit wobbly and prone to shifting when I look through it. The mirror cell's collimation screw springs are too lightweight to hold the mirror in place (collimation shifts significantly when moving the scope from the horizon to zenith). The 10:1 dual speed focuser is actually nice and easy to use once it's tightened up, but the brass compression rings don't open up fully from unscrewing them, requiring me to "click" the rings the rest of the way in with my fingers. Switching eyepieces requires a bit of wiggling to get the new EP in place. The eyepieces are surprisingly sharp in an f/5 scope, and give good bright views. The machining isn't great, though, and the threading doesn't quite match any of my filters. I was able to screw the filters in well enough to secure them, but I was a bit worried that tightening the filter could strip the threading.

I can't really fault Opticsmart for the quality of the accessories too much, since the package is so complete and priced so cheaply. Everything at least works, and it'll be easy enough to swap bits and pieces out over time. Given the great price and the great service by Opticsmart, I'd gladly buy the same package again.
Awesome light bucket - AAAAA+++++

Review by JDGII | Posted on 11/18/11

Great optics. Even under full moon I could see many very faint objects. Splits some of the faintest doubles very good. Showed 3 of my Grandkids amazing views of the heavens and I now have 3 little more star gazing buddies. They were awestruck!
Fast shipping ( I had mine at my house in two days ). Great tech support (they are very friendly ). You can't beat the price for such a large scope!
ad12 excellent scope. A+++++++++

Review by W.Clary | Posted on 11/11/11

high quality!

Review by John Kramer | Posted on 10/20/11

DISCLAIMER: OpticsMart announced themselves as a new astronomical telescope and accessory vendor through contacting me via email, as they heard of my radio show on BlogTalkRadio. I offered them the opportunity to give them an unbiased review of their Apertura AD12, which they graciously accepted. This scope is a loaner from OpticsMart for the specific purpose of this review, and I by no means have any professional association with OpticsMart.

They say good things come in small packages, but for the Apertura AD12, small doesn't apply. You just gotta love large dobsonian telescopes; no other scope permits you the simplicity, affordability and light gathering capability as a dob. It's all about what's at the eyepiece with these scopes, and that's exactly where they deliver; a fantastic visual observing experience for those of us that long for those faint fuzzies. Thus, when the opportunity presented itself evaluate a new line of scopes exclusively offered by OpticsMart, I jumped, and jumped into the deep end so to speak, asking for and receiving no other then their top-of-the line, large dobsonian, the Apertura AD12 with the "Tweaker's Dream Package".

Please find the rest of this review at http://www.attheeyepiece.com/2011/10/apertura-ad12-review-great-things-come.html
Or click the link in the Description:Details box under the Owner's Manual link

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