Jump to content


Photo

Tak or Starlight micro-fine focuser for FS series?

  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 Sky Muse

Sky Muse

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 239
  • Joined: 26 Oct 2012
  • Loc: De Soto County, MS

Posted 20 November 2012 - 09:24 PM

Which, in your opinion, is the best micro-fine focuser for the Takahashi FS series refractors, the Takahashi...

http://www.adorama.c...c&sku=TKTFF0002

...or the one by Starlight Instruments...

http://www.harrisont...s_Feathertou...

...?

Also, would there be a noticeable improvement over the stock focuser for visual?

Thanks!

Alan

#2 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20631
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:16 PM

Honestly, Alan, at f/8 you're better off with the stock, buttery Takahashi 1-speed unless you're imaging. The downside of a two-speed microfocuser is that they can be finicky to tune. The Starlight Instruments, in particular, can bind if not adjusted "just right".

Are you having troubles finding perfect focus with the scope? If not, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Regards,

Jim

#3 AJT12

AJT12

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 368
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2009

Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:40 PM

I have used both. I definitely preferred the Starlight. I may have got lucky with mine. No issues at all.

#4 plyscope

plyscope

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1491
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Perth, West Australia

Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:16 PM

I have the Takahashi version on my TSA and it is fine. I definitely like have the two speeds for visual.

I have not tried the Starlight version but it seems people that have tried both tend to prefer the Starlight.

#5 M13 Observer

M13 Observer

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1022
  • Joined: 09 Dec 2006

Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:26 PM

Can't say much about the FS series but on my Sky90, the Tak fine focuser felt like a rubber band and was very quickly replaced with the Starlight Feathertouch focuser which feels and works, well, just like a Starlight Feathertouch focuser. I would think it would be an incredible improvement over the original single speed focuser on your FS.

#6 Joe C

Joe C

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 430
  • Joined: 29 Nov 2008

Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:27 PM

I have used the stock single speed Tak focuser and have used many 2" and a few 3.5" Starlight focusers. Also have one on my SCT. I personally would not use anything other than one from Starlight Instruments.

As far as adjusting them, all I have had were new and needed zero adjustments. Even after extensive use, they were and are still buttery smooth.

I also agree with having at the least some sort of fine focuser whether for visual or astrophotography. Fine adjustments make it a lot easier to summon that last bit of focus needed for crisp images.

#7 chboss

chboss

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 731
  • Joined: 24 Mar 2008
  • Loc: Zurich Switzerland

Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:13 AM

I have both and would go with the Starlight.
Both work well but the price difference is small and the Starlight has definitely the edge. The adjustment is pretty simple I did not have any issues during installation.
Short time ago they offered the micro upgrade at a special price directly at Starlight:
http://starlightinst.../product&pro...

best regards
Chris

#8 RAKing

RAKing

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6351
  • Joined: 28 Dec 2007
  • Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:37 AM

I am solidly on the Starlight bandwagon. I replaced the stock focuser on my FS-128 after the first night and never had any issues with the Feathertouch.

The FT is not that hard to adjust. I used a small Allen head screwdriver and never had any issues with binding.

Cheers,

Ron

#9 RGM

RGM

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 954
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2003
  • Loc: Burks Falls, Ontario, Canada

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:47 AM

I have the Tak micro-focuser and have never tried anything else. I knew that it had to be set up "just right" to work well. Mine is, after taking the time to understand how it works and the adjustments required.

If the Starlight is easier to set up, then that might be the best way to go.

#10 Traveler

Traveler

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1274
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2007
  • Loc: The Netherlands

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:09 AM

I am using my FS-60CB a lot. Never felt the need to use a micro focusser.Focus is there or not. Maybe certain EP's are more difficult to get the scope in focus?

#11 coopman

coopman

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3477
  • Joined: 23 Apr 2006
  • Loc: South Louisiana

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:20 AM

I am for the most part satisfied with the stock focuser on my FS-102 and the scope snaps into focus pretty well, but I will admit that there are times when I have thought about doing the FT upgrade. Please let us know how that works out for you if you buy it.

#12 Sky Muse

Sky Muse

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 239
  • Joined: 26 Oct 2012
  • Loc: De Soto County, MS

Posted 21 November 2012 - 09:29 AM

Thanks, guys!

The stock focuser is adequate, "buttery smooth" indeed, as I've been using it for nine years, although I've yet to see the true "snap" as described by many in reading, and perhaps due in part to the average quality of my oculars. I can't help but suspect that such might be just the thing to coax said "snap" out and before my eye, especially with the finer oculars, the orthos and whatever other I decide on in future.

My considering the Takahashi focuser was based on the desire to keep it all "oem", understandably, and if the integration of either proved to be a bust, I could always revert to the original configuration...

The Starlight it is!

Thanks again!

Regards,

Alan

#13 dscarpa

dscarpa

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3006
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2008
  • Loc: San Diego Ca.

Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:59 AM

No opinion on which is better but I definately like and use the fine focus on my WO-ZS-110, Lunt 60 and cats especially for high power. As to snap to my experience is that if the eyepiece you're doesn't have it your scope isn't going to either. My 5000 18 Meade UWA is a case in point being a ease into it proposition in my scopes. With XWs, Delos and such it's snap to with all of them. David

#14 tomcody

tomcody

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1798
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Titusville, Florida

Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:20 AM

I have and use both on my scopes.
One point you should know is that the Starlight uses your original shaft and pinion in it so all you are getting is a two speed knob and new housing for the shaft.
As to which is better? the Starlight is definitely smoother, but not by much, but adds weight to the scope (heavy housing) and does not allow the use of a robo focus unit on the other end.
The Tak is a simpler install, is the lighter of the two and allows for a robo focus on the other end of the shaft.
For visual only, I would go with either, although the starlight does have a little better feel.

Rex

#15 delgado39

delgado39

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 118
  • Joined: 13 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Glen Ellen, California

Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:31 PM

In my experience, I could never adjust the Starlight well enough on my TAK FS-128. Especially when the scope was at zenith, my heavier eyepieces would drag the focus tube down. No amount of adjusting could provide the right degree of tension to hold the focus tube and eyepiece in place. I spent way to much time dealing with it. So decided to stick to my TAK one speed OEM. Works quite well and for me less frustrating. But I do admire the quality of the Starlight. It's beautifully machined and smooth. If you can tune it right, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

#16 Sky Muse

Sky Muse

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 239
  • Joined: 26 Oct 2012
  • Loc: De Soto County, MS

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:01 PM

I put the 2" 32mm Astro-Tech "grenade" in the stock focuser one night, and near the zenith while observing Andromeda it seemingly had the same effect, dragging the focuser out and downward. Perhaps the focuser has loosened up a bit over the years, though not out of excessive use.

Now I'm back where I started; not only debating between the stock and the upgrade, but in addition to purchasing either the Takahashi, in the interest of keeping it all oem, or the Starlight. :thinking:

#17 tomcody

tomcody

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1798
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Titusville, Florida

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:28 PM

If you want the best for your FS? go for the Feathertouch FTF3035B-A,
See this article:
http://www.cloudynig...3784411/page...
Yes it costs more but it has the advantage of having a built in angle adjuster so you don't need the Tak CAA (that saves you about 26mm of in-focus)
which matters on that scope if you use binos.
Note the 3035 costs about as much as a two speed fine focuser and a CAA combined. (this will be my next focuser upgrade for my FS)
Rex

#18 ThomasWos

ThomasWos

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 124
  • Joined: 10 Feb 2007
  • Loc: Bellingham WA

Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:03 AM

Hi Alan,

I have the FeatherTouch Microfocuser on my FS 102.

It needs to be installed such that it is "parallel" with the curve on the bottom of the scope. No sweat.

It does for the most part use the Tak focuser, only provides a "geared down" fine focus.

My FeatherTouch carries a Televue 2" diagonal with a Televue Nagler 17mm 2" eyepiece.....with zero slippage when pointed straight up. :jump:

I also felt the need for a fine focus, and would'nt have it any other way!

Tom

#19 Sky Muse

Sky Muse

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 239
  • Joined: 26 Oct 2012
  • Loc: De Soto County, MS

Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:25 AM

Thanks, guys! Now all that's left is to pour over the variables, one versus the other, and make my decision.

Regards,

Alan

#20 plyscope

plyscope

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1491
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Perth, West Australia

Posted 22 November 2012 - 01:35 AM

There are some good pictures of the Takahashi version on this UK website.

web page

#21 Sky Muse

Sky Muse

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 239
  • Joined: 26 Oct 2012
  • Loc: De Soto County, MS

Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:14 PM

Nice, but with the stabilising bar it's not as uniform in appearance, and therefore perhaps not as uniform in practice. I wasn't fully aware of the bar until I viewed the link, having only seen the bar in the parts bag in illustration and thinking, "What's that for?"

At this point, I so want to keep it all oem, but with that exposed bar, it's time to rethink...again.

Cheers,

Alan

#22 Scott99

Scott99

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2933
  • Joined: 10 May 2007
  • Loc: New England

Posted 22 November 2012 - 02:40 PM

another data point- ordered the FT pinion upgrade for my FS102 and loved it, I found it easy to install and never needed to adjust it. Nor have I ever need to adjust the FT pinion on the Astro-Physics scopes I've owned.

I've also used the Tak 2-speed on other peoples' scopes, I did find it a little more rubbery-feeling, but not anything atrocious. I liked using it and it did the job well. If you want the all-Tak OEM look I think going with the Tak upgrade would be fine.

Let's put it this way - if I bought a used Tak with the Tak 2-speed upgrade I would just use it, no reason to switch it to FT or fool around with it. If I bought a Tak scope without a 2-speed on there and wanted to upgrade it I would buy the Starlight upgrade.

The Starlight pinion does blend pretty well with the Tak aesthetic also - the knobs look very similar except for being gold-colored, which does not clash too badly IMO. Actually I just checked, only the fine-focus knob is gold, the big ones are silver just like Tak.


#23 Pete-LH

Pete-LH

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 425
  • Joined: 25 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Wilmington, DE

Posted 23 November 2012 - 01:01 PM

RE: "One point you should know is that the Starlight uses your original shaft and pinion "

I bought the Starlight for my FS-102 and is says in the directions that the shaft/pinion has to be true. I went and bought it anyway and my shaft/pinion was not true which caused an uneven movement. I took it to one of the local shops to make it straight and they did the best they could but it still did not move smoothly. So eventually I went back to the stock focuser which is fine. I don't know that I would call it "buttery" but it works and the views are great. The shafts on these and Vixens R&P focusers are a soft metal and are easy to knock out of true. In that sense if you have a good one the Starlght can maintain the movement and prevent bending since it encloses and protects.

I think the difficulty some have to adjust the Starlight may be due to this issue because other wise I found it easy to install and adjust.

#24 RossSackett

RossSackett

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1719
  • Joined: 17 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Memphis, TN

Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:09 PM

I know I'm jumping in way late in this thread, but I thought I'd mention that I drilled and tapped one of the stock knurled knobs on my FS-102 and added a 3" diameter disk of 1/4" thick Al and it works great. I had been contemplating an aftermarket 10:1 fine focuser but no longer feel the need. In fact, I prefer the c.2.5:1 to the looser-feeling 10:1 micro-fine focusers I have on my other scopes. And I can more easily work it wearing gloves.

Ross

#25 Mike Clemens

Mike Clemens

    Frozen to Eyepiece

  • *****
  • Posts: 7579
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Alaska, USA

Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:39 PM

Starlight micro focuser didn't work for my FS128. I guess the casting tolerance was not right. The Starlight was not a proper fit.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics