First Hand Dealer Review of the Orion Optics UK  ODK-10 telescope and OMC140

The following review is aimed to protect future possible purchasers considering buying an Orion Optics UK product


As a long time amateur astronomer and highly experienced telescope dealer, user and servicer, the following review is based on my own and that of others first hand experience with the company Orion Optics UK and their ODK-10 telescope assembled by Orion Optics in the U.K and will be updated as new information comes to light. Our company was in fact invited with an opportunity to deal with and promote the products of the above said company by a highly accomplished astro-photographer AG-12 customer who in fact had problems with his telescope purchased directly from them but later resolved thankfully. He did this with the best possible intention suggesting to only two of of Australia's most respected high end telescope dealers. The other, obviously more cautious than us. However that source, despite doing some great things he has since achieved with his later rectified telescope, kindly still apologised to us for the incredibly poor developments that we have encountered over the years with Orion Optic's UK and was himself treated very shabbily in communications from them after they used his images and reputation to promote their product freely and when he tried desperately to highlight their deficiencies and approach to treating customers be they dealer or end user. We thank him sincerely for that.

So, to our own review. There is no question when, as serious and knowledgeable amateur astronomer consumers, we must all take clear and outright responsibility for our own purchase choices based on the best knowledge and references available at the time. Some times we make mistakes about the suitability of a given telescope or eyepiece etc due to perhaps a lack of thorough technical understanding or misguided opinions. However when a product is clearly faulty on many levels from the mechanical to the optical and even electrics and the manufacturer sticks their head in the sand then you know you're in trouble. In most cases, professional manufacturers like Vixen Co. Japan, Meade Instruments, Celestron and Sky-Watcher telescope manufacturers are quick to offer solutions and accept their responsibilities where such obvious factory error has somehow occurred. But it seems when it comes to proclaimed high end products, a few manufacturers are not so forthcoming in taking such responsibility for their workmanship despite advertised guarantees. 

Before you read on, you should understand that this review is not an isolated case of one individual consumer but a report from someone who was, in fact, the Australian Distributor for Orion Optics UK and who eventually had to cease further business dealings with Orion Optics UK after a long history of consistently poor post sales product support and delivering a consistent (except for a few) product defects or non-compliance with order requests.

In 2015 an Orion Optics UK telescope an ODK-10 arrived in a wooden crate ready to deliver to our customer. Packed well it had thankfully survived the overseas journey unlike one persons AG telescope we'd read about a few years before. The scope was ordered with their ACU-3 Crayford style focuser, a universal accessory mounting plate plus a Baader motor drive unit with controller  Checking and unpacking the scope, it had a nicely branded and clean carbon fibre tube. Delivery was way much longer than promised as is usual for Orion Optics UK and followed up with several tiresome excuses from them which we've since learned is characteristic of the company owners, father and son team Barry and John Pemberton. Nonetheless, it was delivered eventually.


Received physically in good condition, the first thing that struck me was the terrible anodised finish of the universal accessory mounting plate. Not a major concern given it wouldn't be obvious in the dark but quite unexpected finding it being such an expensive purchase. But this was to be the very least of ours and our customers problems.

The Focuser ACU-3 - At one time the company fitted a quality Baader Steel Track Crayford style 2 speed focuser but it appears they are cheaping down. The new one they fit (ACU-3) is a poor  cheaper copy of the original Baader steel-track yet with assurances it was as good as the Baader and compatible. Well, this was my first eye opener. Along with other high quality companies they once dealt with that have fallen by the wayside, like FLI, Vixen and Baader to save a few bucks and profit with inferior changes, OO-UK continue to impress NOT!!.

As one typically does when checking out the facets of their new purchased telescope, try the focuser. Oh my god!! What is with the stiffness and horrid droning noise when winding the focuser in and out !!  Did anyone even try this at the factory before it left the building? Ok, so it's going to need some adjustment but the nightmare wasn't to end there. The Baader Steel Track motor drive they supplied is not designed to fit the ACU-3 focuser because when attached, rotating the focuser through 360 degrees is no longer possible due to obstruction between the focus motor housing and the raised bolt heads of the focuser mounting plate. Seriously.. what a major oversight ! Contacting them about this, I get a response.. "we're going to send over a bag of screws" Ok, so they wanna save a few bucks, I'll be happy to change out the screws needed to rectify the focuser and Baader motor focus unit but I would imagine most other customers being expected to fix a factory stuff up like this would be out of the question!

But it wasn't to end there... where's the advertised 2 inch adaptor for the focuser, they've only supplied a 1.25 inch adaptor - not much use for its intended purpose for imaging. After contacting them again and some debate from them saying the focuser doesn't come with a two inch adaptor which is optional, pointing them back to details of the ACU-3 specified on their website, a 2 inch adaptor would later be sent. But if you weren't shocked already, read on because the problems didn't end at that.




Watch and listen to the video here
to see how poorly this ACU-3 focuser was when delivered & the jamming when supplied focus motor drive was attached.

ACU3 focuser dramatic shifting video here
Shows how dramatic stars shift when fully racked in
and bounces back when focuser knob released

ORION Optics ACU3 focuser shift laser collimator video


The Dew Heater
Later when plugging in the phono type DC dew heater plug, bang the power supply fuse blew! What the hell ?!?! Change the fuse and Fizzz - there goes another fuse. Measuring with a multi-meter there was clearly a short circuit.

Removing the cover of the phono plug and on careful inspection the problem was obvious. See the picture at right. Abysmal workmanship where the crimping earth connection has pierced (or melted through) the outer sheath of the positive 12 volt wire most likely while it was still hot after soldering.

I ended up cutting off the cheap rubbish phono plug, stripped back the wire and fitted a quality gold plated RCA style plug (in keeping with common commercial type dew heater controllers). When I sent this photo to the Orion Optics, there was no apology or acknowledgment of the shoddy workmanship... Then when I asked them what the resistance measurement of the dew heater should read... They simply didn't know.



Collimation & Optics

The scope is supplied with a ronchi tool come collimation tool for general set up inspection of the optics. Out of the box, it the collimation from factory was impressively spot on and the ronchi star test showed well spaced optics needing no adjustment. The image at right gives a good indication of this.

Slip in a mirror diagonal and low power eyepiece and off we go to take in a few objects. Hmmm not a bad view of the moon but stars seemed a little disfigured near the edges. Oh no... not something else... through in a moderate powered eyepiece and take a look at Jupiter. Oh dear... the moons appear distorted no matter what focus adjustment I made.. please not something else.

Time to put a camera on the thing and check the collimation and star images.

Well the star collimation looks good in both in and out-of-focus testing so what is the problem now ? Even in focus the star in the image at left taken with short exposures is clearly deformed as well as those fainter ones in the upper right of the image.

 No, it's not a coma effect and given the ODK telescopes have a fixed correcting lens inside the rear end of the telescope, spacing is not or rather should not be an issue since the draw tube simply moves in and out to achieve focus.






Click on the above image or here to examine the entire sample image from fully collimated ODK-10 telescope
After presenting the supporting in-focus distorted images of a perfectly collimated ODK-10 to Orion Optics I was sent a brief instruction from them:

"The focus mount dovetail plate which is sitting on the main cell under the focus mount has 4 x M4 grub screws to enable tilt of the focuser."

Well as I came to discover (see in Fig.7) other than empty threaded holes, all four of these were absent from the delivered telescope and sending this image back to Orion Optics... once again, no apology, or comment. Really it made me wonder how seriously they respect their own product let alone taking any responsibility. Perhaps because one is not a resident of the U.K it would seem they will hope the problem will just go away.

Later, after a legal intervention letter I sent, I finally got a reply to try "this and that" including rotating the corrector lens and then the secondary convex mirror to see what might be the offender. After 2 days of careful collimation checking, removing and refitting the crappy ACU-3 focuser I sent several images to them resulting in "again" no reply or advice or assistance - You can see the images here.

Rotating the ODK-10 corrector

Rotating the ODK-10 secondary

Even after providing these images and having set the telescope to their exact instructions for primary and secondary mirror spacing and corrector lens turned 17mm closer to the focus plane as they advised, their heads dipped back into the sand pit... No reassurance they will fix or send a replacement secondary mirror or corrector lens as they had done for others in the past who had received a defective AG-12 telescope. No apologies, no acknowledgement of the obvious fault. The only e-mails we received from past communication with them is that the user is at fault with examples described "once again" of others who must have done the wrong thing when setting up their faithfully ordered Orion Optics UK telescope. NOT HELPFUL!!!

While the telescope ordered was a great disappointment on so many levels to the point it wass completely unusable, I'm sure there are some good ones out there however apparently not an isolated incident according to other advanced amateur astronomers.
I think as time went by I became further disappointed with the general attitude of the father and son, Barry & John at Orion Optics and their blaming everyone else for the defects of the products they ship out of their little Birmingham based factory. Very happy when talking up the product for a sale but when things go wrong, they either blame the user or share boring tales of some other disappointed customer did something wrong, or else they simply don't respond at all and put their heads in the sand. No apologies, ship it back at your cost AUD $1200 and we'll look at it and if we find nothing wrong (in other words when we fix it as it should have been sent in the first place) you the consumer will also be charged return freight. There appears no sense of urgency in this companies manner towards the growing anxiousness of the end customer and clearly no pride in their workmanship as is evident from my account above. 

In summary, I'm sure there are good telescopes from Orion Optics of the UK out there however this has not been my experience. If they were simply willing to offer a full replacement, fully tested and completely compliant unit, without astigmatic optics, short circuiting dew heater and a silky smooth focuser than can be rotated through 360 degrees and with the Baader steel drive focusing motor system that fits correctly, I'd have been happy. But moreover as an advanced amateur astronomer I'd have been happy to work with them with there cheap down ad-hoc repair solutions had they not been so blaming of others.

If you are considering buying one of their products, approach with caution and query their claim of "We guarantee the performance of our World Class Optics.. No other manufacturer does that". Well perhaps they will after you've spent an enormous amount of money shipping it back to them to correct the issues it left the factory with in the first place. However other manufacturers like Vixen Co. Japan, ASA and even the Chinese manufacturer Synta (otherwise known as Sky-Watcher for many) do respond instantly taking responsibility for their products and product quality without insult or question. But in the case of my experience with Orion Optics in the UK, you'll get lots of stories about how others have stuffed things up, the distributor in that country should also fully test and check all their work prior to delivering to the customer (because their own work cannot be assured) or the end user (nearly all highly advanced in their field of astronomy) have done the wrong thing and that might also end up being you!

I provide this insight as a warning to those prospective buyers out there who do not live in the U.K where your rights will be hard to follow up with such a manufacturer before parting with your hard earned money. I have heard from many of superior quality of Taiwan made RC telescopes with superior quality fitted focuser. And to be frank, some AG-12 telescope owners who also encountered problems after receiving their instrument could have achieved for one third the price the same results with something like a steel tube f/4 Sky-Watcher Newtonian fitted with a fine coma corrector and quality focuser. Don't get sucked in by brand name or the website hype on the Orion Optics UK website because in most cases that's what you're paying the extra bucks for and as has been my direct experience these guys are clearly cowboys and unable to back their own claims both professionally, honestly or as it appears to me, financially. As for my personal experience, made in the UK (most components are not) offers nothing better and even less than you can pay for half the price for something out of China or Taiwan. Never thought I'd be saying that but there you go! Spend wisely and don't get sucked in by the hype of this Birmingham UK based Abbott and Costello show! Even manufacturers out of Asia treat quality assurance and after sales service with greater importance and with consumer respect than does the machine shop assembler of Orion Optics UK.

You have been warned!


We sent the ODK10 telescope to Beamtech a professional optician and telescope designer in Victoria who was very keen to examine the instrument and who agreed with me originally that the problem appears like the corrector but later, we discovered more. Here is a summary of his findings.

a.) Hi Steve -First thing I did was to set up the focuserís mounting plate in a jig, on the lathe, and machine it parallel, as it was out by .3mm. While at it, I also machined a small step on the inside diameter for a locating ring. The retainer ring had a very sloppy thread and it wasnít running true when tightened so I made a new one that stays centred but even after that there was only another small improvement in the wobble. Eventually I removed the last, or third, lens from the housing and replaced it with a spacer.

I just came in from star testing and looks like I will have to pull the scope apart again as I found some astigmatism coming from the primary mirror. Nick Jones from the ASV also had his ODK10, see attached image, and that is another horror story. He had to ship it back to Orion to have the primary mirror reground because of severe astigmatism. I combined 20 interferograms taken at 5 different orientations of the mirror, spaced at 72 degrees, in order to minimize various measuring errors.

Please find 3 versions of the report attached. The first one shows the full extent of the errors, dominated by astigmatism. In the second version the Zernike terms for astigmatism have been turned off to reveal the remaining errors, this time dominated by trefoil error. In the third version the trefoil error is subtracted too in order to reveal significant high order spherical aberration. This was the worst of the 3 lenses and I have not even attempted to do any work on the other ones. Bottom line is that even if I rework the secondary, it still wonít be a planetary scope because of the residuals errors in the corrector assembly. After many hours of figuring I managed to bring back the secondary to a good spherical surface.

Next I will put it back in the tube uncoated and see if the spherical aberration can be corrected by adjusting the longitudinal position of the corrector lens assembly. I have never come across such a disgracefully assembled while also optically defective telescope. I am amazed that Orion UK are allowed or continue to do business.

Ultimately and in conclusion, both the primary and secondary mirrors had to be re ground to the correct shapes to fix the factory delivered errors in this telescope. No, I wasn't going mad and yes, Orion Optics UK are liars, schemers and opportunists who take no responsibility for their work blaming the end user only while enjoying summer cocktail vacations in Spain at the telescope buyers expense.

Today the telescope is now fully reworked (at great expense) but now in the field with a new owner producing lovely images just as it should have been delivered.

SHAME ON YOU BOTH  JOHN AND BARRY AT ORION OPTICS UK. It does not come as a surprise when eventually learned from your other customers that you have been legally sued in courts several times over the years for supplying exceptionally inferior optics and mechanical assemblies along with false claims including non-existent interferometer test reports and so on. An absolute disgrace.

ORION OPTICS UK Own Facebook Feedback on their own site (before they remove it)

Orion Optics UK treating customers like rubbish

We absolutely agree and this is how we (a dealer) were treated too.

Some feedback to this review from overseas OOUK customers:

I just read your review of the ODK10 and your experiences with OOUK.  As I was reading it I thought to myself, "I could have written this."  I purchased an ODK10 early last year from an individual here in the US who had ordered it and his plans changed before it arrived.  It was like new, still in the crate.  It had issues similar to your customer's scope, e.g. poor anodizing, focuser was inadequate, hardware was incorrect in places, images were distorted, machining tolerances were sloppy, and it had scratches on the primary.  It was like OOUK had no quality control.

I went to the OOUK Yahoo Group to find out if the primary could be adjusted and from there things went down hill.  I ended up emailing OOUK directly and they either would not respond or when they did respond all they would offer was that the scope was fine when it left the factory. Sound familiar?  Heck, Dave Tandy at AG Optical provided better customer support than OOUK and he's a competitor!!!  LOL

N.B in the  U.S


Hi there

Thank you for your description of experience with the ridiculous Orion Optics UK. I so wish I had your feedback before my sad experience occurred back in 2014 with attempts to purchase an ODK10. My experience with OOUK was very similar to yours. Absolutely the worst customer experience I ever had trying to work with founder Barry and son John. At some point, Barry must have done some good work, however IMHO OOUK should not be in business. 

Excuse after excuse in long wait for the scope to arrive, then large extremely disappointing optical problems and having everything blamed on me was the worst! People sometimes just go wrong, just give up on trying to do good work. I was hopeful and gave OOUK a chance, huge mistake!
Did you ever get this excuse, "Richard is on the machines today" so he cannot work shipping? Ha, I really want a t-shirt with that on it. After a while, it was just surreal and laughable. The best outcome of the experience are the times when friends and I can laugh and some of the silly things Barry and team would say!
After much too much frustration and effort, OOUK on second try sent a scope with more acceptable performance but I could not stomach owning something from those ridiculous idiots and sold it quickly so I could start over. Much happier now.

S.A  Britain


Hi Steve,

Just read your fine article on that unmentionable piece of dung that operates in the UK, and gives telescope-makers a bad name.
I am given to understand that John has been sued many times over very sub-standard optics, especially 24 inch ones. A good friend of mine had bought a 24 inch telescope with optics from you-know-who, and sent me some photos, as it didn't perform at all well. I could see at least one inch of bad tde, with astigmatism mixed in. He returned it for re-work, but it came back nearly as bad (they never admitted that it needed re-working). My friend now has telescopes with optics from reputable manufacturers from the US. 'Nuff said.
Kind regards,


OMG... BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE !!!!! Here yet more information for those interested to follow:

and here is yet another test report sent to me

Faulty Orion Optics UK 14 inch Newton

ORION OPTICS UK - OMC140 Maksutov Cassegrain

OMC140 (OMC-140)
Another  ORION OPTICS UK disaster

Check out the front lens of this OMC-140. Not something you see everyday but typical of the end quality inspection procedures of Orion Optics UK. Aside from the horrid dust and rubbish inside the optical corrector lens, note especially the hand scribbled serial number on the inside.

Again, sending an immediate replacement was not an option. Orion Optics UK, wanted and expected the customer to fix the problem. Open the unit, try remove the objective corrector and clean it.


Orion Optics UK OMC140 poor quality inspection

ODK-16 - faulty fans supplied to an Australian University

A university here in Australia purchased a ODK-16 . It arrived with dead rear cooling fans. When the problem was raised, after some time, some new fans were eventually sent out and guess what !?!?!?. The fans sent did not match the ODK16 (ODK-16) and so again we Orion Optic UK had to be approached again to send out the correct fans. Absolutely unbelievable!

Again, what the hell is going on with Orion Optics UK quality assurance !!!???


Always be wary!
The guarantee that doesn't exist

Send it back at your expense... we'll find what you've done wrong after we fix what we sent wrong and charge you for it.








































































If you would like to contact me for further information and first hand insight about this  dodgy family business or about this review please e-mail me.
Perhaps this report will help save you money down the drain (it has help several others already who have contacted) -