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VernonScope/Brandon 80mm APO

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#1 GrampaMoose

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 05:36 AM

Does anyone remember an APO refractor from the mid-80's, made by VernonScope - a 80mm Brandon APO f/6.25? Came with a 32mm widefield eyepiece and on a wooden tripod with slo-mo controls.

#2 Gerd

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 05:57 AM

You mean this?

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#3 GrampaMoose

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 06:37 AM

No, the one you show came later. The one I speak of is 80mm f/6.25. The tripod and slo-mo controls look the same.

#4 vkhastro1

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:15 AM

I have one. A buddy of mine also has one. The scope was supposed to be a 80mm f/6.25 apo. It is not an apo!! The scope was assessed by Peter Ceravolo who is also a member of my RASC Ottawa Centre. He took it apart to assess the optics, etc. The bad news it is only an achromatic. Focal ratio is f/5. The good news both were between 1/4 - 1/5 wave in green light. Therefore a very good short tube achromat with a 2" focuser. The included 32mm 2" eyepiece is a konig design with an AF of 60 degrees.
I hope this info is of some help. Gary

#5 telescopeguy238

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 08:22 AM

I had one that I bought as a "blem" from Don at Vernonscope. It was perfect! It was f 6.25. It was a apo. One side of exact focus had a redish tinge and the other side was greenish. In focus it was perfect, at least to my eyes. I should have NEVER sold it!!!

#6 clintwhitman

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:52 PM

I think I have one of these also. I used it as a finder on the Pearl for a while. It is a triplet and I believe it is an APO as it performs as stated with diverging colors and at focus shows very little to no colors. I stopped using it as a finder because the views are to dizzying!! I would give the little scope a thumbs up for the size and what they sell for. Very neat little piece of history.
Clint

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#7 clintwhitman

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 08:01 PM

I read an article about these and when they first were marketed they were sold as being able to carry 600 power or some silly statement like that was on the sales catalog. Well I find this one to be a wonderful wide field peeker and it works great as a birding scope.....

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#8 vkhastro1

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 10:33 PM

As per my previous post, the Vernonscope 80mm refractor shown in the photos x 2 is exactly the one that I have. This is the exact version assessed by Peter Ceravolo. It is not a triplet apo, not a doublet apo. It is an achromat. Peter is a master optician. I believe his assessment that it is an achromat. Vernonscope did produce a rubberized 80mm apo called the "Master Birder". It was produced much later than the 1986 achromat version.

#9 vkhastro1

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 10:38 PM

I purchased my copy directly from Vernonscope in 1986. I purchased a "blem" that included a 2" mirror star diagonal and 2" 32mm Konig wide field
eyepiece. Total cost was less than $250.00 US.

#10 clintwhitman

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:57 AM

Hi Gary,
I am not a master optician But I did have to restore this old scope as it had been owned by someone who did not take care of it. They didn't mess up the lens but did wrap duct tape all over the exterior and let the glue dry... I was amazed it all came off with no damage to the original paint. I removed the lens for proper cleaning and can say without any doubt it is a glued triplet I could see all three lenses plainly. Also the lack of color for such a short focal length scope leads me to believe that what Brandon called an APO was an APO. Also Apochromat is relief cut and painted white on the side of it. The telescope is not the most incredible scope and I have trouble with it flaring over 200 power. You can see it fighting to eliminate false color when your using it. I find it to be a really neat small telescope. And very historic, the first Brandon. Here a write up web page

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#11 vkhastro1

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:13 PM

Hi Clint,
Great story in restoring a classic Vernonscope OTA. It is a great scope optically - especially for what I paid for it. I love it for grab and go observing. It is a keeper in my book. Had mine for 25 years and I won't be letting mine go any time soon. Well done - they are definitely a rare scope.

#12 Steve_M_M

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 09:17 PM

I just picked one of the up. Came with the original receipt from 1986. It had never been used!

Last night I took it out for first light. Low per views of the moon and various open clusters were beautiful. Once Jupiter got high enough, I tried my Nagler 3-6mm 83x-168x. Yuck! Tons of obtrusive CA. I had read this thread beforehand, so I was thinking that maybe some were sent out as achromats and some as apochromats.

Today, like Clint, I took the lens out and it was a cememnted triplet. I was going to immediately discount the scope and put it up for sale, but decided tonight for another look. Once again, on Jupiter...a bright violet halo outside focus and green ring around the planet inside focus. BUT, if you carefully focus there is a spot with NO chromatic abberation. It is also the spot of perfect focus. I would guess it is maybe 1-2mm of focus travel from bad to great. But, great is really great! It this how some older apo's performed?

This is certainly not a good star party or group viewing telescope. It is going to make a very nice travel scope.

#13 clintwhitman

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 07:12 AM

Neat Steve, I still have mine to. Its the finder that was confusing up at Pinos. Remember??

#14 Fomalhaut

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 11:07 AM

I had one as well. Looked exactly like the one pictured above. Had ordered it directly from Vernonscope. Had been advertized as 80mm/500mm and came with a 32mm Vernonscope 2-inch eyepiece which should have produced a magnification of 15x. But the true f.l. turned out to be just about 360mm, the exit-pupil 7mm and the magnification 11x :bangbangbang:.
It was advertised and even engraved as an "apochromat", hence I tried it with different shorter f.l. eyepieces.
If this was an apochromat then I can guarantee to have been at least King Nebukadnezar myself.:roflmao: In fact, it was far not even a semi-apo!
Happily I finally found someone who wanted it without even previously looking through it...

At that time I really understood for the first time in my life that advertisment does not necesseraly have the slightest bit to do with information...

Chris

PS This scope was not miscollimated at all, but had (besides the huge color error) also big problems with spherical aberrations. However, the Vernonscope 94mm refractor seems to have been of a totally different class - probably due to its objective having been made by AP...

#15 pbealo

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 11:33 AM

The Blue Book is incorrect. Vernonscope offered what they called "Surveyor refractors" in the 60's. I assume the name came from the fact that Don is a trained surveyor. And even before Chester Brandon sold the company he had made and sold at least a few refractors. I believe there is/was a 6" in Puerto Rico. and lastly, I have a nice little 4" newtonian Don made in the early 70's (I believe). So the 80mm APOs were far from their 1st telescope offerings.

Peter B.

#16 Napersky

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 01:16 PM

There were two models the 80mm and a larger aperature. Both with Astro Physics optics. I believe they may even have been NASA glass.

I am holding out for the larger refractor, I can wait.

Mark

#17 Steve_M_M

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 03:47 PM

I had one as well. Had ordered it directly from Vernonscope. Had been advertized as 80mm/500mm and came with a 32mm Vernonscope 2-inch eyepiece which should have produced a magnification of 15x. But the true f.l. turned out to be just about 360mm, the exit-pupil 7mm and the magnification 11x :bangbangbang:.
It was advertised and even engraved as an "apochromat", hence I tried it with different shorter f.l. eyepieces.
If this was an apochromat then I can guarantee to have been at least King Nebukadnezar myself.:roflmao: In fact, it was far not even a semi-apo!
Happily I finally found someone who wanted it without even previously looking through it...

At that time I really understood for the first time in my life that advertisment does not necesseraly have the slightest bit to do with information...

Chris


Yikes! I am glad I don't have that one. I am impressed with this one even with the very short sweet spot.

#18 SATMAN

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 10:24 PM

Napersky, you are correct I think the early Brandon 94's had NASA glass
I have one it out performs my Questar! And from what I have heard they will give an Astro Physics Traveler a run for its money. only 500 Blue Tubed models were produced The Brandon 94 and My Questar 3.5 Standard are my Favorite and Most Used Telescopes. and they are American Made! :usa:

#19 clintwhitman

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 02:03 AM

Steve he must have received a dud! I remember you and I trying to find M31 with mine while it was on the 9" Astro physics as a finder, We were overwhelmed with the wide angle view it produced. I have since had the same problem with it at the observatory and changed to a 80mm F5 Vixen. The Vixen while very crisp seems to not show quite as many small stars as the Brandon 80mm APO did. I really like mine and will not sell it. I did see another one with a problem. All the stars were flaring. Didn't get to see if the lens was flipped, but thats what it looked like to me.
Clint

#20 Napersky

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:43 AM

Too many stars. That sounds like a good telescope to me. I do get overwhelmed at dark sites though I get confused with all the stars.

#21 dougspeterson

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 01:30 AM

I had one of the very first and it was a triplet but a cemented doublet plus a singlet with a spacer ring. There were variants then. I found that it worked better when I swapped spacers with another in the train. Although I interferometrically tested it I don't remember the result but it was not good, I beleive around a half wave.

More recently I picked up a blem Masterbirder from HOO and it turns out the lens ain't bad. It is a cemented triplet. A lot of spherochromatism, you know where you get a lot of color but most of it goes away at critical focus. It had noticeable spherical abberation. Then I switched to a prism diagonal (with which they are sold and presumably optimised) and viola! the star test snapped into focus and the color error got better. I actually like the scope now.

#22 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:18 AM

Too many stars. That sounds like a good telescope to me. I do get overwhelmed at dark sites though I get confused with all the stars.


That's certinly a problem I wouldn't mind haveing.

Rich (RLTYS)

#23 Napersky

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 01:51 PM

There was also a 130mm Vernon/Brandon APO

http://www.cloudynig...psed/sb/5/o/all

#24 mustgobigger

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 05:37 PM

i bought one of these today and it looks just like yours caveman.
i hope its a triplet and from reading post this looks like the first year 86 model.
im embarrassed to say what i paid but if its a dud
i didnt lose much...was worth the risk sight unseen.
we'll see when it gets here.
:jump:

#25 clintwhitman

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:40 AM

Brian Good Score!
while not a traveler I find mine a great day time scope and fun to have around. I am glade they made them so us broke guys can have an APO LOL
(aveman






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