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High quality refractor or Much larger SCT

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#1 Seiko4169

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:24 AM

I'm currently waiting for some stock to arrive for the CPC 1100 HD deluxe and noticed some lovely refractor setups. I'm particularly drawn to the Tak120 and TRex mount combo as it just looks like a fantastic balance. Although that combo would exceed my 4k budget if if I go through UK dealers I wondered what peoples opinions are when considering the two scopes for visual astronomy?

I appreciate they are probably 'chalk and cheese' but clearly not everyone goes down the light bucket route? As such, what would people's preferences be when choosing between the 2 setups?

And no, I definitely can't get both so if you are stranded on a desert island which setup (and yes you magically have a PowerTank that never looses its charge)

Thanks,

:cool:

#2 David Pavlich

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:47 AM

About 95% of any viewing that I do is deep space stuff, so it would be aperture.

David

#3 nicknacknock

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:16 AM

Higher Aperture = Higher Resolution

But I had the CPC 800 and it was one heavy telescope.

On the other hand you get goto and tracking with the CPC1100 but you can always get the TRex with encoders.

Chalk and cheese eh? Here's a wild pork chop then. How about a Dob then?

But if I was on a desert island and had to pick one scope which would be permanently set up and that nice power tank, it would be the CPC.

The Tak would leave me thirsty for detail. On a personal basis I used all 3 main scope types, from 72mm up to 300mm. I find that to get a satisfying view, the 12" did the job for me, meaning it's not about just identifying a DSO and getting hints of structure, but actually seeing serious detail.

Ah, to be in your position with such dilemmas!!!!

#4 t.r.

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:36 AM

I own a very good C11XLT tested diffraction-limited and an excellent AP130GT. For all objects...read ALL, the C11 shows more detail and resolution. With that said, I still own both as they compliment each other. The small refractor does a few things the C11 cannot. It has a wider field of view. It shows perfect star images for its aperture. It shows a steadier image when the seeing is below average. It is ready to observe within minutes from set-up where the C11 takes some time to reach thermal equilibrium with falling temperatures. But again, the C-11 shows much more have no doubt. Yeah, "chalk and cheese" really. ;)

If I were stranded on a desert island...AP130GT. :grin:

#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:52 AM

I'm currently waiting for some stock to arrive for the CPC 1100 HD deluxe and noticed some lovely refractor setups. I'm particularly drawn to the Tak120 and TRex mount combo as it just looks like a fantastic balance. Although that combo would exceed my 4k budget if if I go through UK dealers I wondered what peoples opinions are when considering the two scopes for visual astronomy?

I appreciate they are probably 'chalk and cheese' but clearly not everyone goes down the light bucket route? As such, what would people's preferences be when choosing between the 2 setups?

And no, I definitely can't get both so if you are stranded on a desert island which setup (and yes you magically have a PowerTank that never looses its charge)

Thanks,

:cool:


It really depends on the objects you enjoy viewing, the way you enjoy viewing them. At some point a smaller refractor ought to find it's way into your collection, whether it's a an 80mm, 100mm or a 120mm, hard to say but these scopes do things and go places that a C-11 can't. A smaller, faster telescope provides a window into the world that cannot be seen with C-11 or even a C-5.

If I were on a desert island, I would want a good 4 inch apochromatic refractor and a good 12.5 inch Dob. It's true this is two scopes rather than one but the two can be obtained within the budget constraints of a 120mm TAK so that were I to show up with the TAK, the local, indigenous wheeler-dealer would be happy to make the swap. :)

Jon

#6 jrbarnett

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:13 AM

The world has changed. There's no longer a reason for it to be "either/or". The new answer to such questions is "both". So long as you don't mind buying a mass-market rather than premium brand, there are loads of 3" to 5" apochromats that are often on par optically with premium refractors, though typically not quite as nice in fit and finish in terms of OTA and mechanicals as the premium scopes.

Get a TS 120ED FPL-53 doublet or AT111EDT or ES 127ED or...or...or...to complement your C11. I'd bet you couldn't spot a difference visually at the eyepiece between a Tak 120 on a T-rex and a TS 120ED on a Canadian Telescopes alt-az mount. The latter combination would cost approximately 1/3 what the Tak + T-Rex would cost, and it plus the CPC-1100 in total cost would still be LESS than you would invest in a Tak 120 plus T-Rex. In other words, if you could truly afford the Tak + T-Rex, then you really can afford both a refractor and the CPC-1100, and between the two see everything you could see in the Tak and much, much more that you won't ever see in the Tak. :thinking:

- Jim

#7 Seiko4169

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:54 AM

thanks Jim and yes, I see where you are coming from. I was thinking of the quality aspect more than anything but I bet you are right, I would be hard pressed to notice the difference.

#8 Erik Bakker

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:45 PM

Depending on your local conditions, the difference under the stars can be anything fom small to big :confused:

If bigger temperature changes are expected during most sessions from beginning to end, the TSA will likely be the more satisfying instrument to use.

If you don't face thermal challenges and/or have little constraints on your available observing time, the CPC1100 might win you over.

These choices are very personal and involve considerations of all relevant local /personal observing conditions.

If I had to choose only one of the 2 mentioned, I would go with the TSA120 and T-rex in a heartbeat. Otherwise I would opt for the APO-Newt combination some others have suggested. In the end, you will need both :D

#9 Eddgie

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:13 PM

First, the CPC may not be the optimal mounting. The fork/OTA is a big, bulky package. Celestron make it ergonomic, but it is still big and bulky.

A C11 on a GEM is much more manageable.

And this.. If you get a C11 on a GEM you can always use the GEM for a smaller refractor at a later time.

You don't have to spend god awful amounts of money on a refractor to get the benefit of the one thing they do really great, which is offering a wide field of view.

My advice would be to buy the C11 on a GEM and later complement it with a 120mm Achromat refractor for wide field viewing, or perhaps when your budget has recovered, a nice 120mm ED scope. You can use the same mount for either of them.

The only time I would say that super high prices of most high end refractors is worth the investment is for pretty serious astro-photography. For general use, it is over over overkill.

You will see just as much in a 120mm ED scope as you will in a high end scope. Subtle difference maybe, but so subtle that you would have to do numerous comparisons to see it.

#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:16 PM

thanks Jim and yes, I see where you are coming from. I was thinking of the quality aspect more than anything but I bet you are right, I would be hard pressed to notice the difference.


I have to disagree. The difference would be obvious, plain as day.

Just check your wallet. :ubetcha:

Now looking through the eyepiece, the modern, affordable apos are great.

Jon

#11 RAKing

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:16 PM

First, the CPC may not be the optimal mounting. The fork/OTA is a big, bulky package. Celestron make it ergonomic, but it is still big and bulky.

A C11 on a GEM is much more manageable.

And this.. If you get a C11 on a GEM you can always use the GEM for a smaller refractor at a later time.

You don't have to spend god awful amounts of money on a refractor to get the benefit of the one thing they do really great, which is offering a wide field of view.

My advice would be to buy the C11 on a GEM and later complement it with a 120mm Achromat refractor for wide field viewing, or perhaps when your budget has recovered, a nice 120mm ED scope. You can use the same mount for either of them.

The only time I would say that super high prices of most high end refractors is worth the investment is for pretty serious astro-photography. For general use, it is over over overkill.

You will see just as much in a 120mm ED scope as you will in a high end scope. Subtle difference maybe, but so subtle that you would have to do numerous comparisons to see it.


Ed hits the mark!

Sorry, but personal experience would force me to steer you away from the CPC. Mine lasted all of four months before the electronics died. I was stuck until I figured out how to remove the OTA from the forks and mount it on a decent GEM (Orion Atlas). Even though there are more pieces to carry they are all smaller and more manageable.

There is no doubt the C11 will show fainter objects in greater detail, but for my type of observing (variable stars), I usually want more than the single degree FOV of the SCT. That's why you would find me with a nice refractor on my desert isle. :cool:

Cheers,

Ron

#12 bobhen

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:41 PM

It depends on the kind of observing you do and under what conditions. I have both a C11 and a Tak 120.

If you have the time and conditions for long observing sessions, then the C11 will usually show more or at least make deep sky objects easier to see.

If your sessions are short because of work, home life, poor sky conditions, cold temperatures, quickly moving weather fronts, you have to move your scope during the night because of trees, portability is a main issue, then the motto: the scope that you use the most will show you the most comes into play.

CAREFULLY evaluate your time, conditions, and portability needs.

The Tak 120 is the sharpest 120mm scope I have looked through – period. You don’t need a T-Rex for the Tak. A Celestron AVX goto mount or Universal Astronomics, or Desert Sky 3, or other such alt/az mount will be more than fine.

Remember, when it comes to refractors, you are already giving up aperture so get the best optical quality if you can – you don’t want to compromise on optical quality (in a do-it-all refractor) or you might as well get another type of scope.

Yes the C11 goes deeper. BUT between the 2 scopes, I use the Tak 120 more often.

Keep at it and maybe someday you’ll have both.

Bob

#13 SkyRanger

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:02 PM

The company I work for bought a CPC11 for public star programs. I will tell you that in the high desert environment where we live the temps tend to drop sharply at night. It can take a lONG time for the C11 to reach ambient, and until then the images are horrible. A cat cooler may help, but I have not tried one.

Gordon G

#14 charen

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:18 PM

After 40 years of observing and owning and using around 30 different scope including 5x SCT's and numerous Newts. I gave stopped owing anything with a central obstruction - multiple usual reasons cooldown, collimation, decreased contrast of fine detail images. The only reason I would have light bucket would be for low power DSO's.
IMHO only.

Chris

#15 Kunama

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:38 PM

On my "Desert Island" I have chosen the Tak TSA120 and the T-Rex as the perfect combination. This is the most colour-free refractor I have ever looked through, even on the full moon at 250x there is not even a hint of colour and the sharpness and contrast are phenomenal.

In the future the TSA will be joined by a Mewlon 210 for a bit more lightgrasp but being a visual observer it will be sharing the T-Rex. The T-Rex is in my opinion the best astronomy buy I have ever made.

The fully assembled T-Rex, TSA120, GMT128 Tripod, 2" Diagonal, SV F50W2 finder and Vixen LVW weighs 25Kg,
being tall (6'4") I can comfortably pick the system up and carry it outside and be set up to observe in less than 2 minutes. (OTA cooling time on a desert island is not an issue as there are no heaters indoors anyway)

On mainland Australia, I set everything up and then move it out to the terrace before dinner so its ready for observing once my belly is full.

Posted Image

#16 Arizona-Ken

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:58 PM

I have the CPC1100 and an ES127. They complement each other very well. The ES127 does double star work and planetary viewing in the light polluted back yard, and gets taken out to my dark site on occasion. The CPC1100 goes to the dark sky sites where it is a killer on those faint DSOs. It also does very well on the planets.

If you must buy one now, fine, but plan on getting the other later.

Arizona Ken

#17 JMW

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:12 PM

I got about 3 years on my CPC-925 before the Alt motor started flaking out. I got tired of it working/not working and deforked it. A C9.25 or C11 OTA is a piece of cake to pick up without the motorized forks. I used it on my Altas and DM-6 mounts. Eventually I replaced it with the C11 EdgeHD. I use se it visually or for imaging on an AP900GTO.

If you get a big SCT, get a modest sized and price 80-100mm refractor to enjoy the wider fields of view. I have a TEC 140 and love it but I use it next to a C11 Edge or 20 inch dob. The big dob is for the faint fuzzes, the refractor for the wide fields of view. My TEC 140 gets a lot more eyeball time because the big dob only comes out when I make the drive to dark sites.

#18 A. Viegas

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:17 PM

I would echo what Eddgie and Jim said... Get the C11 on the Cgem, and buy a decent 80mm or 100mm ED refractor which you can piggyback on the C11 or else swap onto the CGEM. I am sure there are a few of CN members with just one scope... But the reality is we all love to acquire gear and for $4k you can buy a lot of stuff, especially If you don't mind getting used gear...

Your budget is sufficient for this solution.... C''mon, ya know you want it! :john:

Al

#19 la200o

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:28 PM

I have a CPC 9.25 and various little refractors, which, though less capable in most ways, I use far more often since they are so easy to set up, and I have very little time or opportunity to observe. So I'd take set-up into serious consideration.

Another thing that perhaps some will object to is the pleasure of using a fine, well-built refractor vs. a mass-produced SCT. I like to look at (as well as through), handle, and use my TV's much more than the clunky but bigger CPC. This may not matter to you, and for DSO's, there's no comparison, of course: The bigger scope will win every time.

Bill

#20 David Pavlich

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:38 PM

By all means, if you can afford a nice 4" apochromat and a 10-12" SC, get both! I have 2 scopes, an 11" Edge and a 10" MeadeR. :grin:

David

#21 Lane

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:08 AM

If you can only get one then get the C11, but it is best to get both since they both have pros and cons.

C11
---
con - narrow field of view - you really need to use 82 degree or 100 degree eyepieces with this scope.
con - stars all look a little fat
pro - a lot of resolution to see detail (particularly important for globular clusters and planets)
pro - a lot of light gathering ability to see faint objects.
pro - high power views are still bright


4" APO
------
pro - wide field of view
pro - stars all look very sharp
con - not much resolution
con - not much light gathering ability
con - high power views are dim

#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:23 AM

Another thing that perhaps some will object to is the pleasure of using a fine, well-built refractor vs. a mass-produced SCT.



If one wants a "fine, well-built" scope rather than a mass produced one, there are a variety of custom/premium Newtonians available. SCTs are not the only larger aperture choice.

Jon

#23 Seiko4169

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:23 AM

thank, some excellent and clearly sound advice!

#24 StarDust1

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:44 AM

I think a 4" (or 5) refractor will do nicely when time is short. The C11 is heavy and needs beaver mount. The T-Rex and the TAK are made in heaven. Beautiful looking combination, not only looking through it but as well looking at it. For quick peeks I use the TSA120 on Tak lapidas mount, you will need a sturdy tripod. As the others have noted, it all depends how much time you have for observing. When I had C9.25, most of the time I did not have the whole night to observe, so it did not get used at all. But with the refractor is a different story. Though the Lapidas is not up to the task for my taste, it still gets a lot more used than my EM200 mount. It's all about time, weather condition, the quality of the image and portability.

I'm sure you will make a good choice. These days there are a lot of nice scopes and mounts available. Good luck!

#25 timps

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 06:51 AM

I have been pondering the same question. Initially I was looking at only one instrument, but now have decided on a TOA130 and augment it with something like a 12" Skywatcher Dob. I will then be set up for photography and visual. If I was only doing visual, I would most likely go the C11 edge.






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