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Who uses an apo for birding and astro?

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#1 NHRob

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:52 AM

Am thinking of getting a small apo (80-100) for both terrestrial use and also astro use ... just viewing.
Do other folks do this and what scope do they like ???

Thx,
Rob

#2 coopman

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:54 AM

I have used an 80ED for birding before, with a WO 45* erecting prism. It worked really great. IMO, anything larger than an 80ED would be sort of impractical.

#3 Paul G

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 09:15 AM

I use an AP Stowaway 92mm f4.9. It was designed with both astro and birding in mind.

#4 GOLGO13

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 09:23 AM

An 80mm apo is perfect for both astronomy and birding. Especially if the birds are far away...you can get up close.

Make sure you get a good 45 degree erecting prism. William Optics tends to sell the best ones as far as I can tell.

#5 ScottAz

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 11:45 AM

Just watched a pair of cedar waxwings in our backyard. Now watching a pair of northern cardinals using a nice 80mm ED ... which is providing a great view. Hope to someday use an Apo, but so far find the ED fine for grab & go astronomy and for birding.

#6 TomCharlock

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 01:09 PM

I sometimes use an Orion ST80 (achromat) with a 45 degree correct image diagonal and a Televue 32mm Plossl for both birding (Hampton Roads Bird Club) and astronomy (Virginia Peninsula Astronomy/Stargazers). It's light enough for birding; and PANSTARRS looked okay with the ST80 (but it was much better with my heavier Orion EON 80mm APO doublet and an astronomy diagonal).

If your birding will be from a FIXED LOCATION, a short focal length 80mm apochromatic refractor, built for astronomy, may be just what you need for both applications.

But if you intend to walk a few km on your birding adventures, a scope constructed specifically to be ported about would much be better. Such scopes are light, well armored, and slap right onto a variety of light tripods. Ten years ago, astronomy scopes like the Televue 76 and 85 were among the tops for birding. But birders have proven to be a big market, and the optics houses have stepped up to their demands. I've been very impressed with the scopes that my fellow birders now use. While I still like the light ST80 at 12.5X (33mm Plossl)for birds, their zoom apo birding scopes have superior color at higher power (as good as with my heavy EON APO 80mm and a Televue Radian eyepiece, which is too heavy to march around with).

The Vortex Razor HD 85mm ($2000) would be my choice for a birding scope. I have not had the opportunity to use such for astronomy but expect it would be fine at the low and medium powers to which it is limited. In the next few years, one hopes that companies like Vortex would become aware of the astronomy market; and provide us those nice, light short focal length scopes with fittings for astronomy-oriented diagonals, eyepieces, and filters.

Tom Charlock

#7 kevint1

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 01:30 PM

We have a family of red tailed hawks that just arrived in our backyard for the second year in a row. We've been watching them with the AT72 ED through an open windows on the three seasons porch.

#8 turtledude1

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:17 PM

I picked up a TMB 80 from a professional photographer about three weeks ago. He tried to beat buying the $10,000.00 Canon 500mm lens but it didn't work out. He had it for a couple years tried it twice but didn't get the results he wanted. Well DUH even I know that there's a huge difference in purpose. Anyway his loss was my gain and its 2.5" Feather Touch mounts right up to my Hassleblad. For simple viewing from a stationary point the TMB would be great, but I wouldn't want to lug it around.

I've done the nature viewing thing all my life I'm sort of a swamp rat having been all over the Everglades. I use two high end Nikon bino's I've had for 30+ years with a simple mono pod. Everything is very light and I can go anywhere anytime. I have two pairs of Pileated Woodpeckers setting up nest near by, they've been near my home for about two years now.

Russ

#9 MarcF650R

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 03:01 PM

I use a TV76 for birding and birding photography

#10 silicon

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 03:00 AM

I use a Borg 71fl for astro visual/photo and recently started taking some photos of birds with it. In Japan it seems to be popular for both subjects.

#11 Lane

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 03:23 AM

TMB 92L - I got it more for Terrestrial use than Astronomical use.

#12 MAURITS

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 03:46 AM

Maybe off topic, but why are there so little " 45° erecting prisma's" used for astronomy viewing? :ooo:

I believe the view's are not upside down, is this the better way to go, or I am wrong? :confused:

#13 dennilfloss

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 04:21 AM

I'd guess because those become awkward to use as you approach the zenith? Above 45 degrees of telescope inclination, your star diagonal would start pointing towards the ground, meaning you'd need to be below it.

#14 APtelephoto

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 05:22 AM

The two primary scopes I've used for birding are the TV NP-101 and the AP130EDFGT. I wrote an article about techniques I've used. It can be found in Astronomy Technology Today Sept/Oct 2012 Vol 6 Issue 5.

:bow:

Pete

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#15 azure1961p

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 06:54 AM

Ok it's an achro but my 70mm is a stunning daylight spotter. BETTER VIEW DESIRED rated it above the most expensive Nikon spotter of the time in its ability to resolve details on a dollar bill at some range standard he used. An apo would be even better of course. My res claim to fame : observing a person on the deck of a lighthouse tower at a measured 20miles. THAT was wild. Closer to the observing deck, glossy ibis, herons, egrets particularly at 18x-24x look etched in 3D. Seeing cormorants sunning themselves on the rocks off an island a measured 7 miles out is another feat. The instrument is such an optimized resution power house it makes for dazzling daylight applications. A fringe killer at 45x and up is appreciated on my achro under these conditions.

Pete

#16 kenrenard

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 07:00 AM

Nice Pictures Pete.

I like those Turkey Vultures! Great Shots


Ken

#17 t.r.

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 07:27 AM

Do yourself a favor Rob, stick with 90mm as your minimum, not for the birding aspect,but for the astro! ;) I played extensively with 80 achros and apos and 90 apos. The 80's never impressed and left me wanting...the 90's hit the sweet spot.

#18 NHRob

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:32 AM

Yeah,
I'm thinking SV-90T, or TMB92, but it's getting bulky for birding maybe.
Either that or get a 72ED for terrestrial and a second scope (101-105) for astro.

#19 Lane

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 04:25 PM

Maybe off topic, but why are there so little " 45° erecting prisma's" used for astronomy viewing? :ooo:

I believe the view's are not upside down, is this the better way to go, or I am wrong? :confused:


The reason you don't want to use a 45 degree diagonal is because most if not all of them will noticeably degrade the image. For terrestrial use I think you are ok to use them, but for astronomy you will want to stick with the 90 degree type. Views are not upside down in the 90 degree either, they are just mirror reversed.

#20 SteveSMS

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 04:38 PM

Hi Rob,

I use both an Orion 80ED and a Vixen 102ED f6.5 for birding and prime focus photography. I took the red-tail photo from about 80' away through the 80ED. flickr hawk

Clear Skies,

Steve

#21 DRodrigues

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 06:10 PM

45º prisms are ok for low power viewing. If you want >70x you should get a Vixen erector lens or a Nikon FSA-L2 - have a look at http://www.pt-ducks.... image erectors
I use my TMB92 for birding but I'm not an astro fellow - just an occasional one...

#22 ScottAz

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 06:30 PM

Nice red tailed hawk, Steve!

#23 azure1961p

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 07:16 PM

The reason you don't want to use a 45 degree diagonal is because most if not all of them will noticeably degrade the image. For terrestrial use I think you are ok


Very true and what's funny is the birding/spotting camp in reviews and forums have made claims that no other group of observers is more discriminating of optics than they - lol - yes as they gaze through their amici's. I've tried a couple times here and there to sway them away and mentioned astronomy and do on and I was written off as naive.

Pete

#24 curiosidad

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:15 AM

Fabulous shot!!

#25 Mark Harry

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:24 AM

I use this for terrestrial, limited astro, and wildlife. Can even follow airliners handheld. Cheap, 80X700 achro; homemade OTA that's very well corrected.
M.

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