Jump to content


Photo

Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors

  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 rolandlinda3

rolandlinda3

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3427
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Crozet VA 22932

Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:07 PM

We sent some Antares 80mm f/6 telescopes overseas (desk mounts with slow motion controls) for astronomy kits. They worked well, but it is getting harder to deal with the logistics process to get these. I review options about every 2 years to see if anything else fits the bill better for shipping and overseas use...so it has to be reasonably tough and yet inexpensive. Perfect glass is not the aim. The aim is lots of school kids using it for a long time. If anyone has suggestions about what to look at, I will investigate in 2013. We are looking for something that can repeatedly be ordered, has a simple collapsible mount or a desk mount, and comes with a couple EPs. Orion's short field 80 refractor is a candidate. Any others anyone suggests??

#2 Scott Beith

Scott Beith

    SRF

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 44540
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Frederick, MD

Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:23 PM

Orion ST80 is your best bet.

#3 oo_void

oo_void

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 609
  • Joined: 13 Nov 2009
  • Loc: San Francisco, CA

Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:47 PM

My ST80 has become my "daughter's" scope. At start parties, people usually avoid it since it looks so small unless she's manning the mount. Once they look through it though, they're pretty impressed at what a small, $100 refractor can do.

Unfortunately, the cheapest astro mount is probably going to run you close to double the cost of the scope. Though I'm sure something small and lost cost like my little Manfrotto ball mount can handle it (~$50), finding the right hardware to adapt it may be a challenge.

#4 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20634
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:28 PM

What's your target budget for scope + mount?

Regards,

Jim

#5 sg6

sg6

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 802
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Norfolk, UK.

Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

Your budget is the unknown at present.
A retailer here used to sell a nice 80mm f/7 (I think) scope for around £100 = $150, bit less I seem to recall. It was however just the OTA and that was the retail price.

I assume that they were Chinese in origin.

Problem is they stopped them about a year back and I have not seen any since. They had a good name as the CA control was pretty good.

Best I could suggest if it were an appropriate source was to look round the various Chinese manufacturers and see what they have on offer.

#6 rolandlinda3

rolandlinda3

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3427
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Crozet VA 22932

Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:54 PM

About 200 max. It gets involved, because we add things to the kits plus shipping plus training plus binoculars. Sometimes I can get a vendor to cut a deal on a group of 5-10 because we give them away or use them for training, but that does not happen very often. So I look at things 50% higher per chance we can cut a deal. Hope this helps. Thanks for reading...and asking.

#7 rolandlinda3

rolandlinda3

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3427
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Crozet VA 22932

Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:57 PM

forgot one thing....when it is all said and done, I have to pack whatever we get into doubled FOREX boxes if the destination is the Philippines...that means tripod pieces (if it has one) have to be less than 34 inches long. If it is somewhere else where we fly, the longest piece must fit in checked luggage...that means less than 28 inches. This is why we use desk mounts more often than not. Lots of vendors advertise portable scopes; almost none have a matching portable tripod.

#8 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20634
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:17 PM

http://www.vixenopti.../space eye.html

How about something like that? $140, slo-mo alt-az mount, 70mm aperture, and tripod legs 27.5" long; just under your limit.

I admire what you're doing, by the way. Great work!

- Jim

#9 bcuddihee

bcuddihee

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2117
  • Joined: 04 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Cincinnati Ohio

Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:29 PM

The Orion 4.5 starblast might be another option.

#10 bcuddihee

bcuddihee

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2117
  • Joined: 04 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Cincinnati Ohio

Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:35 PM

Oops wrong forum, still a good option though.

#11 stevenf

stevenf

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 385
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2009
  • Loc: Vancouver, BC

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:32 PM

The Orion GoScope 80mm might work. Doesn't magnify very high and has lots of false colour, but it does have a simple and very usable table top mount.

I have one of those table top Antares mounts you've mentioned, like it quite a bit. I pack it along camping and kayaking, simple, sturdy and sits on the ground very well when a table isn't handy.

#12 BillP

BillP

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12052
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Vienna, VA

Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:56 PM

I have not looked through it, but iOptron 90mm f/5.6 Achro is $189 and comes with 2 eyepieces, 45 degree diagonal, clambshell and vixen plate all for $189. LINK

#13 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 44766
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:59 PM

I have not looked through it, but iOptron 90mm f/5.6 Achro is $189 and comes with 2 eyepieces, 45 degree diagonal, clambshell and vixen plate all for $189. LINK


Bill: I have not seen one in person either but the focuser looks suspiciously like the plastic focuser that is standard on the iOptron 80mm F/5. I just happen to own an iOptron 80mm F/5. While there are plastic focusers that I find acceptable, particular when a scope is very inexpensive, the focuser on my 80mm F/5 is of the poorest quality, well below that of the "$40 at Walmart" Celestron Powerseeker 70.

In my view, the focuser is unacceptable, a deal killer, particularly on a $200 scope. :(

Jon

#14 achronut

achronut

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 98
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2009

Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:22 AM

I love your blog. Its great to educate young minds through the beauty of the heavens. I live in Pasig City, Metro Manila btw.

#15 rolandlinda3

rolandlinda3

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3427
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Crozet VA 22932

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:42 PM

Thanks. Have found, however, that teaching folks with no background at all means having anything more than f/6 or f.7 makes finding things much more difficult. So, we stay with widefield refractors rather than the long skinny ones.

#16 rolandlinda3

rolandlinda3

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3427
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Crozet VA 22932

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:44 PM

Have one myself. In the tropics, however, an open tube invites disaster due to high humidity and lots of little kids hands. Teaching adjustment of the star blast would add too much to an already challenging training. We have experimented with a number of things, but the fast refractors always come out ahead.

#17 rolandlinda3

rolandlinda3

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3427
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Crozet VA 22932

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:45 PM

This one is new to me. I will check it out.

#18 rolandlinda3

rolandlinda3

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3427
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Crozet VA 22932

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:50 PM

Thanks everyone, for your suggestions. We head to the philippines and the schools where we do training and work with the scope kits we have already set up. When we return I will pick up this search and check some things out. Appreciate the readership and responses.

#19 Mike W

Mike W

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 302
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2006
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

How about the Edmond scientific Astroscan? They are small and inexpensive (289.00 I believe) and you might be able to get a deal on multiple units. I believe it includes mount (table) and a good eyepiece.(might actually include two rke eyepieces) The tubes are also sealed, :refractor:

#20 rolandlinda3

rolandlinda3

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3427
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Crozet VA 22932

Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:13 PM

Good point, and I had forgotten about this one. Will add it to the list to check.

#21 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 44766
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:52 PM

Good point, and I had forgotten about this one. Will add it to the list to check.


Astroscans need to go back to the factory for collimation... Small refractors are more rugged...

Jon

#22 Rat8bug

Rat8bug

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1745
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Michigan

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:47 AM

Vixen 80SS if you can find one....

http://www.barrie-ta.../vixen80ss.html

Ciao.....Barry

#23 Binojunky

Binojunky

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2931
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2010

Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:55 PM

You can get the Orion Starblast in the 4.5" size for a lot less than the Astroscan , and its a lor more capable,it can be user collimated, handle higher magnification etc, I owned both for a while and the Astroscan got sold, the Starblast is still in my collection,DA.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics