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What really divides "Classic" from "Modern"?

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#101 actionhac

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:30 PM

I own a D&G. Its not a classic yet so all my friends here on the classic forum never get to see it!
Its built just like a classic, it looks and works like a classic, maybe it is a classic! maybe it was a classic the day it was made! I ate a classic BigMac the other day and it wasn't 25yrs old!

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#102 amicus sidera

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:49 PM

Youth can not be recaptured.


I would posit that very few truly mature individuals would attempt its recapture their youth, or have much, if any, use for it, if successful. The underlying assumption, promulgated by the current cultural propaganda, is that youth is a desirable state; however, it is demonstrably undesireable, from the point of view of cultural integrity. I know not the reasons that others here enjoy their classic instruments, but as for me, a retreat to the vagaries and ignorance of youth is not among them.


All of the "classics" died for a very good reason . . . better stuff came along. The "classic" crowd can do what it wants . . . but the rest of the world moves on to "better" stuff.


You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but it begs the question: better for whom, and in what way? For example, if given one, I would dispose of any new computized go-to scope as soon as possible, as it would be greatly inferior to my classic instruments for my purposes, any supposed "superiority" it possessed notwithstanding; my bliss does not include the grinding of gears and the raucous whirring of motors, and I am quite capable of reading a star chart and pointing my telescope using nothing but my mind and hands, thank you. Such instruments might be "better" for those who pursue astronomy in a desultory fashion, as well as the bean-counters who wish to acquire a large number of targets in a relatively short time for the purpose of enlarging some "life list"; however, for almost all of the seasoned observers with whom I'm personally acquainted, such instruments are anathema.

As regards the "death" of the classic instrument, that can be laid at the door of the amateur astronomy marketplace, which from about 1983 onwards was dictated to by large numbers of well-heeled techno-dilettantes who, looking for a new fix, were swept into the avocation by the media frenzy surrounding Halley's Comet, using their wallets as hammers to forge an amateur astronomy more to their liking; one we are cursed with to the present day.


I still get a kick out of seeing restored "classic" cars and am glad someone has the cash and the stamina to see these restorations through. But it is not me.

Yes, I once, in the too long distant past, owned a 1960 Polarex/Unitron 4" EQ. It was my first telescope. I have VERY fond memories of it. I would enjoy seeing one now. I enjoy seeing pictures of them here now. But "own" it?? Why in Hades would I want to "own" it???


Well of course, if you're neither a collector or user of such instruments, that's fine; by all means refrain from the purchase of such an instrument, as the reduction in competition will make acquisition that much easier for the rest of the "classic crowd"! :grin:

My position on the original post is this: a "classic" instrument is one that was designed by men who at that time still had slide rules with arm's reach, and used no electronics more complex than a timing motor. Any scope relying upon integrated circuits to carry out out its functions has crossed the line into "modern" territory, in my opinion.

Fred

#103 sgorton99

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:51 PM

I own a D&G. Its not a classic yet so all my friends here on the classic forum never get to see it!
Its built just like a classic, it looks and works like a classic, maybe it is a classic! maybe it was a classic the day it was made! I ate a classic BigMac the other day and it wasn't 25yrs old!


Very nice! If you ordered it new from D&G, it may be a classic by the time it arrived.

#104 starman876

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:05 PM

I have never tried to recapture my youth. I have just refused to grow up. I am sure many of you will agree with that :roflmao: :roflmao:

#105 JonH

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:52 AM

Having read Jon and Fred's beautifully composed - and dare I say it-poetic, reflections, I thought I might add a bit more "zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" to the mix. Reading Amicus Sidera's original post and recent heated comments about chop shops elsewhere on the forum, I am struck by the strong attachment that owners of classic scopes have for their instruments. Clearly, the integrity of a scope is something that has deep significance to us. This is illustrated by a general preference for scopes that come as a single package rather than those produced as assemblies of spare parts. I recently purchased a 4" classic scope. This was an unintended acquisition as I was really just after the clock drive. However, The vendor was absolutely adamant that the scope could only be
purchased as a complete kit. Reluctantly (I already have a similar example) I agreed to acquire the entire unit. In the end this worked out well as the optics and mount were far superior to my scope. The vendor turned out to be an extraordinary individual with a staggering knowledge of telescopes and a comprehensive collection of reflectors and astrographs housed in two beautifully appointed observatories, one of which contained a 12 inch SCT mounted on an equatorial mount that the owner had constructed from the remnants of a local saw mill (Herrointment would love it). Over the course of several hours talking I reached the conclusion that James felt that removal of the Unitron's clock drive would almost amount to an amputation. Clearly, he would have been financially better off parting out the scope but was unable to do so because of some special regard he held for the instrument as a whole. To paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson, perhaps he regarded this particular classic as having a soul. Whilst, I respect the abilities of the ETX125, my next purchase is more likely to be a classic Mak with "soul" -always assuming I can sneak it past the CEO

#106 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:47 AM

I see AP is still making scopes. However, that might not last much longer. I also wonder what classic scopes would still be sold if the cheap imports would not have driven them out of business. Even now there are manufacturers making long focus achromats again. Seems some designs are meant to be around forever. I wonder how long D&G will be making their classic scopes. Fit, form or function they all do the same thing. Collect photons for us to look at :lol:


It was not the "cheap imports" but good quality, more capable, less costly imports. The observing world has changed.

Jon

#107 starman876

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:48 AM

:goodjob: :waytogo: :waytogo: :applause:

#108 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:55 AM

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but it begs the question: better for whom, and in what way? For example, if given one, I would dispose of any new computized go-to scope as soon as possible, as it would be greatly inferior to my classic instruments for my purposes, any supposed "superiority" it possessed notwithstanding; my bliss does not include the grinding of gears and the raucous whirring of motors, and I am quite capable of reading a star chart and pointing my telescope using nothing but my mind and hands, thank you. Such instruments might be "better" for those who pursue astronomy in a desultory fashion, as well as the bean-counters who wish to acquire a large number of targets in a relatively short time for the purpose of enlarging some "life list"; however, for almost all of the seasoned observers with whom I'm personally acquainted, such instruments are anathema.

As regards the "death" of the classic instrument, that can be laid at the door of the amateur astronomy marketplace, which from about 1983 onwards was dictated to by large numbers of well-heeled techno-dilettantes who, looking for a new fix, were swept into the avocation by the media frenzy surrounding Halley's Comet, using their wallets as hammers to forge an amateur astronomy more to their liking; one we are cursed with to the present day.



I have a more positive attitude towards the "modern" observer and "modern" equipment, being a "modern observer" and enjoying both modern and classic equipment.

You speak of a disdain for grinding gears, whirring motors and the ability to find objects on your own. My preferences are similar, probably a bit more extreme, in my world, motors, whirring or not, gears, and wires are best avoided, navigating the night sky by my own wits is a part of the pleasure, a big part of what draws me to the night sky.

So for me, in my world, what I see is that modern designs, the Dobsonian, the fast apo refractor, are better suited for my simple, unencumbered observing desires than the classic scopes of 40 and 50 years ago. Just as star hopping requires more understanding and commitment by the observer, so does tracking manually across the zenith at 800x. Both represent challenges but they are challenges I enjoy.

So, what I see is that modern instruments offer a much wider range of choices. In my pursuit of simplicity, today there are simpler scopes with wider fields of view that are more compact, more easily transported and, if one is willing to invest, amazing optics.

I do own a GOTO mount and see no reason to part with it. I bought it for two reasons: The drives are tight and responsive and the tripod is robust. There is no need to use it as a GOTO mount, I tried it to make sure it worked but I never use it as a GOTO mount. My ideal equatorial mount would have a DC drive on the RA axis and slow motion controls on both the RA axis and the Dec axis. This would require a classic style clutch along with more modern slow motion controls. I guess some of the Losmandy mounts qualify but I know of no others.

I think that the classic instrument has not died as much as it evolved and was transformed. The 76mm F/16 of the 1960's and 1970's became the 80mm F/11's of the 1980s and 1990's. The need for ED glasses for cameras allowed for affordable refractors with excellent color correction and with the arrival of the ED-80, these became affordable. The Dobsonian made larger Newtonians possible, a 12.5 inch was no longer an observatory class scope but rather one that could be easily transported in a small car.

- Classic eyepieces versus modern eyepieces.

In the 1960's and 1970's, the common eyepieces that came with most scopes were simple by today's standards. Orthos and Erfle's were available but few scopes shipped with them and the common eyepieces were a long focal length Kellner or 2 element designs.

Myself, I have a number of those older eyepiece but when I observe with my classic scopes, I do use modern eyepieces. I have a set of Meade Series II orthos, they are from the 80's, I consider them modern, they are the oldest eyepieces I use on a regular basis. As I previously said, I make no distinction between "classic" and "modern" when choosing a scope, they are equal footing based on their capabilities. Likewise with the eyepieces...

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So, I am throwing out this Classic versus Modern question:

When observing with a classic scope, how many of you stick with the classic eyepieces that are "era" appropriate for classic scopes and how many use modern eyepieces?

Jon

#109 dawziecat

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:31 AM

"to each his own . . ."

I am not a "collector." Presently I do own two telescopes . . . most I've ever owned! If I could "unload" the 1984 C11 OTA, I would.

Telescopes are very much "tools" to me. I do not feel emotionally attached to them in any way.

Others here obviously do.

Incidentally, some might consider the 1984 C11 a "classic" in its own right. To me it is just a clunker, plagued with mirror flop, and a very slow FR that render it all but useless for my present interest, photography. It does deliver beautiful views of globulars but, you know, M13 looks the same now as it did in 1984 when I first pointed that C11 at it. Visual astronomy just doesn't cut it for me anymore and the "classic" telescope isn't much good for anything else. The "classics" IMO may be the "jewelry" of astronomy hardware. I just am not a "jewelry" person.

I am not dead-of-soul. I appreciate the beauty of a classic refractor (like Unitrons!). Now, the folks that consider the likes of 60mm Tascos as "classic" just leave me thunderstruck! "One man's junk is another man's treasure" sums it up I suppose. Then there are folks still struggling to use film in AP. FILM!!!! What in ever are they thinking???

#110 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:48 AM

Jon, you've got to diverge from the topic and tell us about the koto in your living room! It's long and skinny, kinda like a telescope, right?

A wise and clever question about eyepieces, because everyone knows the answer. Sure, we use classic eyepieces from time to time, and still love our Orthos; and, not everyone can afford the newest wide-fields; but, by and large, the Ramsden and Huygens are used only out of occasional curiosity to see how things used to be seen. Plossls abound, replacing the more ancient designs.

Interesting question, whether the D&G is a classic. Is a Skylight f/15 a classic? If one did not know it were new, might it be possible to believe either were a well-preserved antique with newly coated optics? These scopes meet all the criteria of classics, unless one requires a classic to be old. They meet the ideal, especially when mounted on a pipe mount! Certainly their designs are classic.

Reminds me of Keats, and his notion of objects meeting, or not meeting, the model of ideals.

#111 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 12:32 PM

Jon, you've got to diverge from the topic and tell us about the koto in your living room! It's long and skinny, kinda like a telescope, right?



My wife plays the Japanese Bamboo Flute and the Koto is peripheral... This is her Shakuhachi website. The Shakuhachi is definitely on the long, slender side and a classical instrument for traditional Japanese music.

Shakuhachi-Koto Ensemble

(Notice the Fender Reverb Deluxe on the right. Definitely a classic tube amp, this one is not a reissue but an original no-circuit boards, point to point wired classic Fender)

In terms of classics, it's worth thinking in the future about today, 25-50 years down the road, which of today's scopes, which of today's mounts, which of today's eyepieces, will be looked on as classics?

Jon

#112 starman876

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 01:17 PM

How I would love an old fender tube amp right next to the fender pre CBS telecaster and a 6" Unitron to complete the classic look. Oh yes, the classic weight drive and the 4" guidescope to go with it, might as will throw the metal pier in with it. Now that is what I would call a real classic look. Maybe that is what we should be concentrating on. The classic look. That is what seperates classic from modern.

#113 rdandrea

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 01:36 PM

I have more old Fender tube amps than scopes.

#114 starman876

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 02:18 PM

Then you also must have an oscilloscope a DVM, signal generator and a soldering iron. Oh yes, a tubetester. :smirk:

#115 roscoe

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 04:33 PM

So, I am throwing out this Classic versus Modern question:

When observing with a classic scope, how many of you stick with the classic eyepieces that are "era" appropriate for classic scopes and how many use modern eyepieces?

Jon


With my vintage 60mm scopes, I use a set of vintage Vixen .965 Kellners and Orthos.....

#116 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 04:42 PM

With my vintage 60mm scopes, I use a set of vintage Vixen .965 Kellners and Orthos.....


You're lucky to have those. Lots of us use modern eyepieces because they work better. But, to be fair to older designs, many of us have only junk for 0.965" eyepieces. Must be great to have a set of Vixen Kellners and Orthos. Classics indeed!

#117 starman876

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:08 PM

The vintage Zeiss .965" eyepieces are awesome. So are the very large Unitron eyepieces. Of course Tak also made some fine .965" eyepieces and Brandon mad some great vintage euepieces, and then there is Clave. The list goes on when it comes to vintage eyepieces.

#118 actionhac

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:37 PM

I like using the old eyepieces with the old scopes.
Makes me feel like I'm "there".

With my Edmund 4"f15 I use these originals that came with it. They are medium(122X) and high power(254X). Sharp and bright and a little challenging to use, but interesting.

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#119 starman876

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:59 PM

http://www.cloudynig...5805562/page...

some awesome eyepieces were put on display in this thread






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