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Televue 85 vs WO Zenithstar 80mm FD Apo

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#1 GOLGO13

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 11:33 PM

I finally had a clear night since acquiring my Televue 85 (sorry for anyone close to St. Louis). Tonight was a shoot out between it and my William Optics 80mm FD Apo. The WO 80 is a conversion of the Zenithstar 80mm achro to a FPL53 doublet. It was called the "apo-grade" where you swap out the lens and also get a 2 speed focuser attachment. The Lens is co-designed by the late Thomas M Back. I've had the the WO 80 for about 6 years and it has been a great grab and go.

The Televue 85 I have is an older model with a single speed R&P. It has a very small chip/nick on the lens 1mm by 2mm...but it seems that didn't make any difference tonight.

I'll go through a few points below and compare/contrast.

1) Optics. The WO star test has always been pretty good. But it isn't perfect on both sides. Still, it gives some awesome images and is pretty good. However, the TV 85's star test was certainly better. Especially on one side of focus where the WO is a little less defined. Winner: TV 85
2) Focusers. The WO focuser is a 2 speed rotatable crawford. Having the two speed feature is quite nice and was a plus for the WO 80. However, the WO 80 doesn't like heavy eyepieces or binoviewers. The TV 85's R&P is very smooth and strong. I think it could handle just about anything you throw at it. However, not having a 2 speed does hurt. Here I will give the slight edge to the TV85, but I think I may consider getting the feathertouch upgrade at some point (unless there is some sort of 2 speed attachment).
3) Color Correction. Both scopes were pretty close on color correction. It's pretty hard to say which one was better. I'd almost guess that they are using similar coatings. Both are F7 doublets. Maybe the TV85 was slightly better, but I think both did very good.
4) General observing. I focused mostly on Jupiter tonight, but also observed the Double cluster and the Orion Nebula (and some bright stars for star tests). I used all kinds of magnifications ranging from 24x to 180x. For Jupiter I found the images to be pretty close between the two. I felt the TV 85 had the edge at just about every object. A little sharper and a little more contrast. I think Jupiter was the one that showed the most difference. The TV 85 provided the sharpest image and most pinpoint stars.
5) Portability. The WO 85 is quite a bit more portable...but part of that is due to the fact that it requires a 2 inch extension (because of the apo-grade changed the scope from 480mm focal length to 555. This is also handy for situations where you need extra in-focus. The TV85 is longer, but still quite portable. WO 80 wins this one easy. It would be a better airplane scope.
6) Build quality. Both scopes are well made, but the TV 85 seems to be much more solid. I think the WO 80 looks a little better in terms of aesthetics, but the TV 85 also is very pretty. But for build quality I'd go with the TV 85. This scope has been through a lot from what I can tell with it's history...and it still is giving great images.


In my opinion the WO 80 is 85-90% of the TV 85. I think the quality control of the TV scopes would be higher on average. The star test really showed the difference and I think it could be seen in the observations as well. However, if I were buying one of these new, it would be hard to justify getting the TV 85 at 2000ish. I think the WO cost me $750 which came with a soft case and a 2 inch diagonal. The WO is more portable if you were taking it on a plane often. But, I will be keeping the TV 85 and selling the WO. Money is a bit tight and I may get a few upgrades for this one sometime.

#2 Mark9473

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:28 AM

Interesting comparison, thanks for posting that.

#3 la200o

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 07:49 AM

Nice comparison. I'm a real fan of TV scopes (and ep's), but you're right, there's quite a difference in price, and I hope the smaller TV doublets don't go the way of the discontinued TV 102.

Thanks for the review!

Bill

#4 lisure

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:29 AM

TV85 is a good scope,i very admire this design of Al naglar.

#5 tomchris

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 06:42 PM

Thanks for the review from another Tele Vue fan. The 85 has always seen the most time from all the scopes I've owned. I just enjoy using it due the combination of sharpness in viewing and my general perception of its built quality.

#6 Kutno

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:14 PM

Thanks for the review from another Tele Vue fan. The 85 has always seen the most time from all the scopes I've owned. I just enjoy using it due the combination of sharpness in viewing and my general perception of its built quality.


Al Nagler hosted a Tele Vue 85, at a star party held last fall at Central Park, in New York City. It was trained on the Moon, when I first arrived, and the images it delivered were superb. An Ethos sat in its star diagonal. The combination was amazing!

#7 Jeff Gardner

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:27 AM

TV85 is a good scope,i very admire this design of Al naglar.

+1, I have owned my TV-85 since 1998 and will never part with it. The scope has been all over the country and never failed to provide a pleasant experience. Here is a picture from my trip to Hawaii this summer to enjoy the Venus transit

Attached Files



#8 kenrenard

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:29 AM

Jeff,
May I ask about the Solar filter you are using with the 85? Thanks

Ken

#9 la200o

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:06 PM

Looks like a SolarMax 40 to me.

Bill

#10 Jeff Gardner

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:49 PM

Jeff,
May I ask about the Solar filter you are using with the 85? Thanks

Ken

Bill is correct, it's a 40mm Solarmax.

#11 kenrenard

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:01 PM

Thank You Both.

Ken

#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:48 AM

3) Color Correction. Both scopes were pretty close on color correction. It's pretty hard to say which one was better. I'd almost guess that they are using similar coatings. Both are F7 doublets. Maybe the TV85 was slightly better, but I think both did very good.



A few thoughts:

Color correction is in the glass, not in the coatings. Your WO 80mm Zenith Star is based on FPL-53, that's about the best out there. The TeleVue is unknown but I think most assume it to be FPL-53. Since both are similar focal ratio, both should have very similar correction though if the designs were exactly scaled, the smaller scope should have better correction.

- I have owned a William Optics Megrez II FD for several years and outside of the focuser, been very happy with the scope. When Terrence McAdams was originally selling this scope on Astromart with full disclosure, I thought long and hard about it and even corresponded with him concerning the scope. In the end, it came down to the slightly smaller aperture versus somewhat more compact scope I already owned. Owning an NP-101 already, the more compact, slightly shorter focal length 80mm made more sense.

Jon

#13 GOLGO13

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:40 AM

I think that makes sense Jon. Both are good scopes. As I have noticed in this hobby, you can usually get 90% of a capability for 1/2 or 1/3 the cost. I do think at $1000 used the tv85 would be a great deal. I have seen a few go for that used lately.

#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:10 PM

I think that makes sense Jon. Both are good scopes. As I have noticed in this hobby, you can usually get 90% of a capability for 1/2 or 1/3 the cost. I do think at $1000 used the tv85 would be a great deal. I have seen a few go for that used lately.


Honestly, I wonder about the 90% from an optical standpoint... the difference would seem to be due to the aperture rather than the quality of the optics. Mechanically, the build of the TV-85 is more robust and the focuser is certainly more reliable.

Jon

#15 GOLGO13

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:56 PM

well...at least my scope the optics were clearly better in the televue. Meaning, the star test on the televue was equal on both sides a looked great. The 80mm wasn't the same on both sides, but close. Certainly not bad, but not as good. Again, we're talking two scopes here and my star testing.

I think most people have good opinions of WO scopes..but i don't think they are quite on the level of the very top folks. At least that's the vibe I get. But, they are priced pretty good. At least they were at the time I got mine.

#16 timmbottoni

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:43 PM

To me, the biggest appeal to WO scopes is that they represent a really good value for my money. I'm willing to not have perfect, or a name like TeleVue on my scope if I can save 50%, as long as it's "good enough" for my use.

But each has to decide what they can afford, and what level of perfection they are willing to pay for.

Timm

#17 GOLGO13

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:31 PM

Sometimes more than 50%...I'd say my 80mm was %70 cheaper than the TV85 new 6 years ago when I got it. That makes it a pretty easy choice to me. If I had the money I'd go for the better scope, but I usually don't have that much to spend on a scope.

#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 07:32 AM

well...at least my scope the optics were clearly better in the televue. Meaning, the star test on the televue was equal on both sides a looked great. The 80mm wasn't the same on both sides, but close. Certainly not bad, but not as good. Again, we're talking two scopes here and my star testing.


Roland Christen: Notes on Star Testing Refractors

"Every Apo lens I have ever star tested, even ones that tested close to 1/20 wave P-V, shows different inside and outside patterns of interference. This is normal...

The real test of an optic is not so much how the diffraction pattern looks outside of focus, rather, how much extraneous junk is floating around a star when it is in focus."

Jon

#19 GOLGO13

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 07:50 AM

Well that is interesting. But that also supports my observations between the two scopes. The in-focus stars seemed a little sharper in the TV85. And that was more evident during the bright star testing.

While there probably isn't a huge difference, I suppose it could make the difference between seeing some fine details on an object.

Probably similar to mirrors. I've been tempted to keep my 10 inch dob and just upgrade the mirror to a top mirror maker.

#20 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 09:29 AM

Well that is interesting. But that also supports my observations between the two scopes. The in-focus stars seemed a little sharper in the TV85. And that was more evident during the bright star testing.



I guess I will have to hook with a TV-85 and see what I think. I would want to make the comparison with both scopes having 2 speed focusers, getting a sharp focus with a single speed is getting a bit difficult for these old eyes. I can't really do it with the NP-101, I have to use the two speed.

Jon

#21 GOLGO13

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:42 AM

Jon,

I agree...two speed is very nice and I will be looking into some way to get it added to this scope. I understand the feather touch upgrade for these is very nice. But it isn't cheap so I may try to find another option.

I find I don't need two speed...but I certainly prefer to have it.

#22 Edwin Quiroga

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 07:24 PM

Hi Golgo13!

I'm glad about your new TV85. I used to have one, and the vistas with the pentaxes were outstanding!

I really regret having sold. I miss its really nice handcrafting and optics. And now it comes with a great two-speed starlight-made focuser! Mine had the Feather Touch retrofit...

I want to upgrade to a ed103s, but I'm still flirting with the idea of buying another TV85.

According the theory, a 103 has about 47% more light-gathering than a 85.

I suppose that you have done some comparos between the ED103 and the TV-85.

Could you share your thoughts about "go-deeper",really there is a crucial difference? How is the portability in both of them?

And whatever you think is relevant.


Thank you very much in advance!

Best regards!

Edwin

#23 NHRob

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 07:48 PM

Edwin,
Get an NP-101!

#24 GOLGO13

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:04 PM

Ahh...I ended up selling the TV85 and getting the Vixen 103mm Swt. I like the vixen more because of the added aperture, but the TV85 was very nice. The TV85 I bought had two issues from my perspective. First, it had a single speed focuser. While it was a very good focuser, I like dual speed a lot more. That's an easy fix with a feather touch upgrade. Newer TV85s come with two speed focusers. The second issue is it had a nick/chip in the lens...although it really didn't affect the view through the scope, it was a bit bothersome from a mental standpoint.
What I will say is the scope had near-perfect optics from what I could tell. The view was very awesome!! I wouldn't mind getting another TV76 or 85 some day!

Compared to the 103mm, I don't know. I think the 85 maybe had better optics but it was very close between the two. The 85 is built like a tank, but it's very heavy for it's aperture. The 103mm is very light but also well built. I like both of their ring setups. A two speed focuser is a must for me with these scopes. Both provided bright sharp images. I really don't think you can go wrong either way. The TV85 is probably a bit more portable...so if portability is needed, the TV85 would be best. But I would probably pick the aperture otherwise.

#25 Scott Beith

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:13 PM

I would love to run my SV80ED against a TV85. I have always thought the TV85 was a classy looking scope and the extra 5mm would make for an interesting twist. I really like the newer ivory version with the black drawtube.

I'm not giving up my SV, but I would love to know how they would stack up.






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