Home / Readers Choice - 2007: Top Products
by Tom Trusock 01/26/08 | Email Author
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Top Products 2008
Readers Choice –
2007: Top Products
Tom Trusock – 1/2008
Trying to sort through all this stuff can be a tall order for even the
most die hard gear hound, and that's where you come into play.
Back in December, we asked you – our 20k+ readers and forum members - what
you thought were the most innovative, interesting, and all around best pieces of new equipment for 2007.
Here's number one – and by a landslide:
Tele Vue Ethos - $620
If you haven’t heard of Tele Vues Ethos, you've been hiding under
some fairly large rocks for the last nine months. This new
13mm eyepiece by Tele Vue sports a triple digit (100 deg) apparent
field of view, as well as an amazingly flat and well corrected field.
Frankly, it's one of the few pieces of gear that has actually lived up
to the hype. While 100 deg is “only” 18 deg more in
diameter, there is nearly a 50 percent increase in area. This
truly takes immersion to the next level. Whoda thunk anyone could
make an 82 deg AFOV seem, well – straw like? But hey, don't take
our word for it. Check one out at your next star party.
There's nothing like seeing for yourself.
Kudos to Tele Vue!
And now for some of our other reader chosen Top Products of 2007 (in no
Obsession Ultra Compact -
The times they are a changing. Like it or not, there are a few
constants in life – people get older, and light pollution gets
worse. More and more of us have to travel to dark
skies. Enter the 18” Obsession UC. This redesign of
one of the best selling large dobs on the planet is designed to break
down as small as possible to facilitate use in remote
locations. It’s easily handled by one person, and can be
fitted with the Servocat system for tracking and goto.
4” F7 102ED - $1100
Everybody loves Apos. It’s a common maxim that aperture rules,
but these little guys seem to be the sports cars of the astronomy
world. And now’s a good time to pick one up, as they have
never been more affordable. They aren’t the equal of
the high zoot scopes on the market, but there sure seem to be a lot of
satisfied owners. Hey, a 4” F7 102mm ED scope for somewhere in
the ball park of $1000? What’s not to like?
MallinCam Hyper Plus Color -
Is the eyepiece dead? Well, that's a hot button topic in our
forums, but anyway you look at it, the MallinCam is one hot piece of
gear. This device allows you to greatly extend the limits of your
telescope and site by hooking up an extremely sensitive video camera to
your telescope. The images are viewed in “near real” time on a
local monitor, and can be easily captured for a permanent record if you
Astronomical Sketching: A Step By Step Introduction (Paperback) - $26.37
We had several books in the running this year – it’s been a wonderful
year for print media, but in this category, the hands down top
selection was Astronomical Sketching, by some of our very own
members. This awesome little book is an introduction into the
lost art of astronomical sketching, and should be investigated by
anyone who has given any thought at all to the topic. (Congrats
Sky Shed Pod - $1595 and up
For the amateur astronomer, observatories are the greatest thing since
sliced bread. Although not as easy to make a sandwich with they
greatly increase the number of time we spend under the stars.
While there are companies out there who make a superb product for the
“unhandy” like myself, there’s no denying an observatory can become an
expensive proposition. Enter the Sky Shed Pod. This
(relatively) low cost plastic dome seems to be capturing the interest
of many amateurs throughout north America. And with good reason –
it’s offering something never quite seen at this price point.
TMB 80 Signature Series - $995
When Thomas M. Back passed away last year, it left a hole in the
amateur community. Many of us had known Thomas, or have had the
pleasure to use equipment designed by him. One of the
last telescopes that he designed was the TMB 80SS. This high
quality affordable triplet apochromatic refractor includes a 2”
diagonal and hardcase. Best yet, it retails for just under
Megrez 90 WO - $1199 and up
(depending on package)
WO brought yet another bargain to market last year for those looking
for the largest small scope they could find. The Megrez 90 is a
fast, lightweight apochromatic doublet that’s perfect for airline
travel. And it’s fairly inexpensive too: most competitors run $500+ more
Takahashi FSQ-106 ED - $3995
The “New” Q is the successor to one of the most popular imaging
telescopes on the market. Small and fairly lightweight, the Q
provides a flat field by utilizing a 4 element Petzval design.
And if the f5 focal ratio isn’t fast enough, Tak offers a reducer to
take it down to f3.6.
AP 130mm f6.3 StarFire EDF - $TBA
Any discussion of top flight gear has to include Astro-Physics, and
they’ve made a splash this year with their announcement of a
lightweight 5.1 inch apo that disassembles to fit into an airline carry
on container. This 15lb scope sports a 2.7 inch ID rack and
pinion focuser with a FeatherTouch Micro 9:1 FeatherTouch fine focus
mechanism. Technically, I suppose that it's really more of a 2008
product – although introduced in 2007, first deliveries aren't
scheduled til – well, now. - however our readers saw this as a very
valued addition to a top notch product line, and – well this *is* the
readers top 10 after all.
Well, there you have it our readers top choices for 2007. Granted
that wasn't all that was introduced in 2007 - not by a long shot.
There was a ton of new and innovative gear from many different
vendors, and if we've left your favorite company or piece of gear off
the list here's hoping that they'll make an appearance in 2008.
It seems each year brings more and more innovation to the hobby.
With NEAF just a few short months away, we can hardly wait to see what
Congratulations to all the 2007 winners!