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The Unsung Hero

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#26 gmussman

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 08:57 AM

Steven,
I recently went through this same process, going from to celestron 8x56 binocs to a 114mm f/8 tasco 11T EQ. The tasco was so undermounted it was really tough to use on anything besides the moon. I bought a vixen polaris mount and I'm really happy with it now, but that alone cost me 200+. Then I added a RA drive, 1 1/4 focuser, eyepieces, scope rings ... you get the drift.

The more I think about it, these scopes are like punching a hole in the ice beneath your feet. Once the hole starts to open, get ready to fall in and spend more and more trying to get them to work. If you are an experienced astronomer with an astro-junk pile you might get away with swapping out parts, but for me ... money pit (I mean, 700 or so all told).

If I had to do it all again, I would look for a mount/scope combo that came with eyepieces, scope rings, dovetail, etc. That stuff adds up quick!

New, I would be curious about the Astroview 90 from orion, the astroview being a minimally acceptable mount similar to my polaris and the 90 being an f/10 refractor that I would guess is a reasonable performer given the specs. That's $300 -- eyepieces included!

The SVP 8 is also really not a bad deal. I wound up spending that much anyway. I'm sure meade and celestron have similar deals. I don't have enough experience to have developed brand loyalty, except that I hate paying for shipping.

Used -- who knows? I've seen skyview pro mounts with scopes on them recently for reasonable prices. But I would be looking for included eyepieces and stuff.

Anyway, good luck whatever you decide. Hope my experience is useful!

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#27 gmussman

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 09:14 AM

On second look, that "astroview" 90 is on an eq-2, not an astroview (eq-3). There is a review here: http://www.cloudynig...hp?item_id=1319

Still worth considering, but if you are going to get a reflector in the future you probably want a better mount. Oh, well, I guess there's no free lunch ...

#28 hottr6

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:46 AM

I'll second that!

Here is a thread on my newly resurrected vintage CO114.

And for a "then and now" photo, with exactly 40 years between the two photos.
Posted Image
The white 'scope may have been a Towa, but who knows? Teenage kids in the 60's were not brand-aware.

#29 Tophat3

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:01 AM

Hmmm,I started with a Z10 a little later a celestron 130 SLT and then later still a Meade LX50 10in.Last year when I bought my first refractor Explore Scientific 127 APO,We put it up against all my other scopes.First my heavily modified Z10 and the ES 127 walked (And I do mean WALKED!!) all over it.Did the Z10 go deeper and show more stars? Well, sure it did.But the quality of the glass was shocking!!

The 130 SLT did no better and the LX50 was the same song.I'm not even a refractor guy,but the proof is in the pudding.

Lets just drop the 80mm apo for a minute and focus on the 100mm apo.The 114mm has a 14mm edge and the author still gives the 100mm a 20-25% edge.In a hobby where 10% is noticable, a 20-25% edge is a lot.My 127mm is only 13mm larger, so I should be able to enter this against the 114mm reflector,and the 127mm will walk away from it more then 20-25%.

I find the article misleading at best.Someone who is new to the hobby thinks Hey!! I can get Apo like proformance from the 114 and then finds he has to modify the heck out of it and he still ends up 20-25% worse off,and the scope goes in the closet.and we have a budding astronomer no more.Happens all to often,and we all know it.An Apo killer it is not,and never will be.

Took me almost two years to save up enough for the ES127 and i'm glad i did.I didnt think the views could get better.Man was I wrong!!

Bottem line here is no one rides for free.There is a reason a apo refractor costs more.Its just better at what it does,and I dare say it will do everything better then a 114 reflector,on anything and everything.

We should all be proud of our scopes and eyepieces.Lord knows we pay very good money for all this stuff,and to anyone who has a 114mm,I'm not trying to slam them,but to call them apo killers is just false.It won't wash with me because I know better.

Anyone who wants to challenge me on this,I live in Columbus Ohio and will be happy to "line em up" and you can judge for yourself.

And thats the name of that tune.

Rant over,have a nice day.

#30 gmussman

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 10:10 AM

Tophat,
I completely agree with you -- heavily modifying these scopes makes little sense to me. Comparing these scopes to an apo is silly. I think it only makes sense to compare these to other beginner sets -- see my post above, I could have done alot better than my 114 tasco for the invested money.
I know better now, but sunk cost is sunk cost. My 114 is great -- I love it, in fact (see picture above). But I keep coming back to what I wouldn't have had to spend if I'd just spent the money on the right stuff up front.

BTW, I'm in Cincinnati, so I'd be happy to shoot it out -- but mostly as an excuse to look through your ES 127 apo!

#31 gmussman

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 12:13 PM

All of the above being said, what a terrific article for bringing this up in the first place! We might all quibble with the details, but the author brings up some great points.

#32 Tophat3

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:31 PM

gmussman,
Yeah,I saw your setup.I have to say,I don't think you could have made a better decision on your mount.It is a REAL head turner!! I am jealous! I have mine on a cgem.It looks ok,but really lacks the character of yours.

I could go for a shootout with you,mostly to get a couple of pictures of your setup! But also just to have a good time with them.

Also I agree with you that Malcome Bird did do a overall good article.My total disagreement aside,you almost never see anything written on these scopes.

Far from being an elitist,I applaud Mr.Bird for pointing out the viability of these often overlooked diamonds in the rough.They are very much apart of our history and should not be overlooked.

Kudos to Mr Bird!

Have a great day gmussman!!

#33 themos

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 04:40 AM

More astrophotography with a 114/900: 1 hour's worth of 5 min frames of M27 in OIII narrowband with an Atik 16ic camera.

M27 OIII Narrowband






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