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Vixen A80M - a quick view
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Quality 80mm achromats refractors with a focal length longer than 480mm will probably be gone soon. The Synta Apochromatic 80mm refractors like Celestron's C80ED and Orion's 80ED will probably degrade the sells of this Vixen scope and Stellarvue's 80/9D until they are no longer made. The Vixen A80M is an 80mm (3.1 inch) achromat refractor optical tube assembly with a focal length of 910mm.
Stellarvue, a while back, quit making their 4 inch achromat while it appears that Vixen has stopped making their 4 inch achromat even though they still list it on their web page but I can not find anyone that has one in stock (and why would I buy one when I can buy Orion's 100ED for only a little more).
The A80M does show color on Venus at 100X where I could not detect any with the C80ED. I haven't found the rack and pinion focuser on the A80M to be that much better than the one on the C80ED (though you may have to remove the grease Synta provides on the C80ED and replace it with a lighter weight version; I didn't have to on mine but others have on theirs).
I bought my A80M from Telescopes.com for $379 (one dealer wanted more and Astronomics does not list it on their webpage). It comes with the flip mirror diagonal, red dot finder, tube rings and dove tail adapter. The C80ED comes with diagonal, tube ring, eyepiece, and 6X30mm finder for $409 at Astronomics.
I bought mine mainly for looking at colorful, double stars like Izar, Rasalgethi and others. I've found that an 80mm scope gives a Òcleaner viewÓ (no diffraction rings) of many double stars over larger aperture scopes and especially scopes with a central obstruction. I prefer the A80M over the C80ED for this purpose because of the longer focal length of the A80M (910mm compared to 600mm) which allows higher powers with eyepieces like Vixen's 5mm LV ( 182X ) without the use of a barlow.
Basically, I can not recommend the A80M over the C80ED since $30 more dollars will buy color free viewing unless you have another scope like I do (Orion's 102mm Mak) and want to use the A80M for a specific purpose like viewing just double stars. (I'll also be using it as my quick look scope if I do not have time to allow the Mak to acclimate).
I'm not affiliated with any company mentioned other than as a satisfied customer.
22 December 2005