The Vixen R130Sf is a Newtonian reflector telescope that's an ideal beginner's instrument. It offers the excellent fit and finish you should expect from the Vixen brand, along with impressive light-gathering capacity for an introductory telescope. Its 5.1" diameter is large enough to do some serious deep sky, star cluster, and nebula observing. Together with the GP2 Mount with Starbook-S, you have a "GO TO" combination based on a classic mount which is meant for users who want to enjoy immediate observing as well as dabbling in some astrophotography. Vixen stands behind this outfit with an impressive 5-year warranty.
A 650mm f/5 optical configuration is pretty bright in optical terms, besting most refractors, and offers impressively-wide viewing fields when coupled with longer focal length wide angle eyepieces. Newtonian telescopes have impressive resolution and color rendition in the viewing field's center, and the view gets progressively more distorted towards the edges-but it is often a good tradeoff, because you can get so much light-gathering capacity per dollar. Gathering light, after all, is a telescope's most important function.
The Vixen GP2 Equatorial Mount is so well respected throughout the world that it is the standard which is universally copied by many different companies outside of Japan (known as 'CG-5', 'EQ-4', etc.). The copies, loving as they are, focus on lowering costs-and in their wake have left a thriving aftermarket cottage industry to improve them. You don't really have to spend too much more to cut through all that baloney-every geared part on the GP2 is individually inspected before assembly in Japan, and lubricants are the best available. It shows in its use.
The R130Sf and GP2 arrive in this package with Vixen's lovely Starbook-S, a combination of motors & encoders with a 2.6" monochrome LCD controller unit which functions like a handheld video game. Starbook-S displayed star map controls the telescope's slewing speed-push a button to 'zoom in' on an area on the map and the mount accordingly slows down its movements. Select anything you like on the map, and the telescope immediately centers upon the object. The 22,000-object dropdown menu only lists objects available for immediate viewing, eliminating frustration of other systems that don't tell you an object's below the horizon until after you've selected it. Starbook-S lets you spend more time viewing and less time searching.
As delivered, this collection's perfect for imaging use; add a clamp-on digiscoping adapter for simple use with point and shoot cameras, or attach a Vixen T-mount directly upon the focuser if you want to use your DSLR camera. Crisp shorter-duration images should be immediately expected, and for truly professional images from long exposures of several minutes (or even hours) just add a polar axis scope and the Focal Reducer R.
All you need to begin observing immediately is the batteries (a pair of Plössl eyepieces is included). While the Starbook-S' hand controller uses 4 "AA" batteries, easily found in rechargeable format, the battery box operates upon 8 "D" batteries and yields ~6 hours of operation time at 68°F/20°C. Many users adapt the motor drive to AC power with Vixen's #3599 AC adapter, or use the #8643 Cigarette Lighter Adapter with a vehicle's cigarette lighter or a Celestron Power Tank.