Sky-Watcher SkyMax-180 PRO telescope review

The Sky-Watcher SkyMax-180 PRO is ideal for those looking to take their planetary imaging to the next level

Sky-Watcher SkyMax-180 PRO review
(Image: © Sky-Watcher)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Sky-Watcher SkyMax-180 PRO is an exemplary performer when imaging the Moon and planets, but it’s also surprisingly adept when observing the brighter deep-sky objects too, despite its large f/15 focal ratio. Given that this Maksutov-Cassegrain isn't supplied with a mount or tripod, we recommend this instrument to seasoned astronomers over beginners. With a good quality mount and accessories to make the most of the optical system, the Sky-Watcher SkyMax-180 PRO is ideal for those looking to take their planetary imaging to the next level, while also offering some latitude for deep-sky work.


  • +

    Great-sized aperture

  • +

    Clear and crisp planetary views

  • +

    Offers good views of brighter deep-sky objects


  • -

    Long cool-down time

  • -

    Image shifts when focusing

  • -

    Quite heavy

  • -

    High price tag given no eyepieces, mount or tripod are supplied

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

The Sky-Watcher SkyMax-180 PRO is famed for its top-of-the-range planetary views, offering spectacular pin-sharp images of a selection of solar system targets with exquisite contrast. While it has a hefty price tag given that next-to-no accessories, mount or tripod are included, the Sky-Watcher SkyMax-180 PRO is featured as one of the best telescopes for astrophotography and stargazing in 2021.

The Sky-Watcher SkyMax-180 PRO is a Maksutov-Cassegrain, which features an optical design that's built to reduce optical defects that plague reflectors. Reflecting telescopes, which incorporate primary and secondary mirrors are highly popular partly because of their low cost. However, with a budget price comes pesky optical distortions that often ruin observations through the field of view: reflectors can be plagued with ailments such as coma, in which objects off the telescope’s primary axis can appear warped, meaning that stars go from looking like points of light to appearing stretched.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gemma Lavender

Gemma is content director of science and space magazines How It Works and All About Space, history magazines All About History and History of War as well as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) kids education brand Future Genius. She is the author of several books including "Quantum Physics in Minutes", "Haynes Owners’ Workshop Manual to the Large Hadron Collider" and "Haynes Owners’ Workshop Manual to the Milky Way". She holds a degree in physical sciences, a Master’s in astrophysics and a PhD in computational astrophysics. She was elected as a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2011. Previously, she worked for Nature's journal, Scientific Reports, and created scientific industry reports for the Institute of Physics and the British Antarctic Survey. She has covered stories and features for publications such as Physics World, Astronomy Now and Astrobiology Magazine.