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Hard Choice: Used TOA-150(non B) vs new TOA-130NFB

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#1 dawziecat

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 01:44 PM

That's the choice I'm faced with.

The used 150 is an older model. With the non-B focuser that can cause trouble with heavier cameras and auto-focusers. Upgrading it is a around a $1K to 1.2K proposition. It just might be fine with my lighter-than-a-big chip camera, an ST-8300M/FW8.

Other than the "deficient," obsolete focuser, the 150 seems in great shape.

A brand new TOA-130NFB will cost me the same $$$, more or less.

Now, we are talking a HUGE difference in $$$ between these two scopes when both are new . . . $7200 vs $11400. OUCH!!!

It comes down to what is the real difference between the two in actual usage? 1100mm and f/7.3 vs 1000mm and f/7.7. Pretty picayune.
Ten percent in FL/magnification and a trivial one eighth of an f stop in FR.

And the 150 is substantially heavier! So much so, I have doubts about my ability to safely mount/dismount it. The 130 would be a breeze. The mount will be an AP1100 quite capable of handling the 150.

I am leaning strongly toward a new 130 instead of the used 150. But I waffle from hour to hour. :(

Thoughts?

#2 Simoes Pedro

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 02:04 PM

I wish I had your problem. :praying:

#3 Simoes Pedro

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 02:07 PM

Get the 130.

If you wanted aperture, for that money, wouldn't you get something with mirrors?

#4 mgwhittle

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:08 PM

Get the 130.

If you wanted aperture, for that money, wouldn't you get something with mirrors?


I didn't and have no regrets. :grin:

#5 tomcody

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:16 PM

I would not get either right now. If I read correctly, you just got a FSQ106ED.
Why not shoot with it ( as it is an ideal match with your 8300 chip camera) for a while then decide which way to go? I shot with a number of FSQ106's for three years and did not run out of targets.
Rex

#6 andysea

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:04 PM

I use an 8300 based CCD and I decided to standardize on two scopes. The TOA130N and the FSQ106EDX III. With those two scopes and their respective reducers I know I will not run out of targets....probably ever and I have a nice progression in focal length.
1000mm, 754mmm, 530mm and 386.9mm.
1000mm is really starting to be too oversampled for our skies but should be OK in better skies.
The TOA for me was at the limit of what I was willing to carry around.
If I had an observatory I would probably have a large RC and an AP1200 instead of the Mach1... but that's another story.

Rex has a good point tho. You might just use the FSQ for a while and then get a larger refractor at a later time.

As far as different performance of the two TOA's I am not sure if you would notice any difference in your images. They both have two ED elements and as far as I know they have the same design. I can see how the 150 might be more desirable for visual due to the larger aperture but for AP I am not sure what the advantages would outweigh the much larger heavier assembly of the 150.

#7 Scott Beith

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:45 PM

Flip a coin and grin from ear to ear. ;)

#8 David Pavlich

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 09:44 PM

I may not be the one to listen to because the TOA150 is my favorite. I'd get the 150 and upgrade it with the 3545. This isn't just a focuser, it's artwork! :grin:

Edit: Also think about a flattener or a reducer/flattener for imaging. They are very spendy. :scared:

David

#9 Ennis

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:03 PM

"I am leaning strongly toward a new 130 instead of the used 150."

Go with your first impulse. Go with the brand new, lighter, easier-to-handle TOA-130. A brand new Tak will take your breath away when you open the shipping box. And get a nice, protective case for the 130, so that it will keep its "new" appearance over the years. Do these things, and you will be happy. :jump:

E.

P.S. I'm assuming that you would buy the 130 with full warranty from an authorized Takahashi dealer, in case you encountered any problems with the optics or mechanics.

#10 dawziecat

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 07:17 AM

Many thanks for the comments.

Ennis: I think just opening the used FSQ106EDXIII, took my breath away! That is part of this quandary! I "want" as opposed to "need" another shot of this drug. Fondling the FSQ has me addicted! The addiction is what is fueling this orgy of acquisition :)

Andy and Tom: Yes, I really already do have my hands full. As my signature states, I have no mount and am waiting for it. I will be faced with a new mount, a new-to-me FSQ106 and a new AT10RCF all at once. Enough to keep me going for quite some time, especially considering I have rather few clear nights here in Nova Scotia and like to really pile up long integration times on any target I shoot.

As for the TOA-150, this is a once in a lifetime thing. The combination of circumstances is unique. Never again will I have the opportunity to buy a "minty" TOA-150 at pretty much the same out-of-pocket cost as a new TOA-130. It would be a private sale within Canada. Buying used from America would require an additional 13% tax bite from the Canadian government when the 'scope arrives in Canada, not to mention prohibitive shipping costs and possible brokerage fees. All this makes a private sale from a fellow Canadian far more attractive. And how many times is a TOA-150 going to appear in the tiny Canadian market? The short answer is most likely "never again in my remaining lifetime."

And I think Andy`s comment is bang-on. For imaging, these two instruments really are two peas in a pod.

David: At present I am using only a KAF-8300 chip camera. I am unsure how essential a flattener would be with such a small chip.

In summation, if I'm going to do the used TOA-150, I must act now!

A new TOA-130, of course, I can buy anytime and, right now, a ``cooling off`` period is probably a very good idea. :ubetcha:

#11 wormstar

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 07:29 AM

You need to take the "new" part of the 130 out of the picture IMHO, as the newness disappears pretty quick. Personally I would jump on the 150, if it doesn't meet your needs you can just sell it, probably for what you paid. However if lifting it onto the mount is an issue, it's not going to go away.
It is a nice bind to be in :)

#12 andysea

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:38 AM

Terry,
I use a flattener with the 8300 chip and the TOA130. You will most likely need one unless you are ok with cropping your images. Given that the 150 is the same design and a similar focal length you will most likely need one with it as well.
Off topic: I found imaging with the 10"RC and the kaf8300 chip extremely frustrating due to the 0.5"/pixel sampling rate and the poor seeing that we usually get here.
Regardless of seeing, massive exposure times were necessary to get half way decent images. I could have binned but at that point why not use a 1000mm FL unbinned and get a larger field of view? Binning also increases the readout noise slightly.
Your mileage might vary depending on your sky quality. I have seen wonderful images produced by the 10RC but they were taken in areas with world class seeing and with different sensors. I ended up selling mine because the TOA outperformed it and it didn't need fiddling with collimation.

Andy

#13 Olee

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:50 AM

Hi Terry

I have a 5" NP127 (not a TOA-130) but similar in aperture and I also own a TOA-150.

I always grab the TOA-150. Once I'm setup & yes the 150 is heavy, I'm always glad I did.

Just my two cents worth!

#14 t.r.

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:53 AM

And the 150 is substantially heavier! So much so, I have doubts about my ability to safely mount/dismount it. The 130 would be a breeze. The mount will be an AP1100 quite capable of handling the 150.

I think you have answered your own question whether you want to admit it or not. If you have to mount and dismount each session, this is a valid point. If only necessary one time to get it into a permanent set-up, not valid. What does your gut tell you? I think often times, we confuse our decision process when good deals present themselves, even though our gut it telling us something different. ;)

#15 tomcody

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:55 AM

Terry,
After reading the circumstances you listed above, I say go for the TOA150, with your light cameras the focuser will be fine (as long as it is in good condition when you get it) see this article for information about adjusting it:
web page
Note this is the same focuser as on the older TOA's and it is easy to keep in good adjustment!!
If you want two (for want of a better word) lens of different lengths to shoot with? the TOA150 will give you the biggest spread and be faster at native focal length. As for a flattener ? not needed with the FSQ and maybe needed with the TOA's (try it without first!)
Just remember shooting astro targets is not like normal photography, your exposures can run up to 40 hours of sub images to make a "great" finished photo and getting that many hours of imaging of one target can take many nights (of good weather) so think in terms of using one scope for a few weeks at a time rather than using multiple scopes in one evening.
As for the weight of the TOA150, if you google images of the TOA150, you will see that many people do not use the weight collar with a camera/filter wheel on a good mount like the AP 900 or 1200 as the camera provides good counter balance to the lens cell, so you will be dealing with 32 lbs lifted into the rings (although I much prefer to keep the rings and dovetail on the scope and use a good tip-in saddle (like a robin cassady) to make loading/unloading easy and safe in the dark.
Rex
P.S. As to the weight difference between the 130 and 150 with a 4" focuser on each: the 130 weights 25 lbs (bare ota) and the 150 weights 32 lbs (bare ota) the rings and dovetail are about the same weight for both, so without balance ring on the 150, there is only a 7 lb difference between them.

#16 Scott Beith

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 10:00 AM

150

#17 MAURITS

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 10:15 AM

Terry the TOA-150 is an AWEFUL tools, once you have it, you never leave it.........

#18 Olee

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 10:24 AM

Terry

I forgot, when mounting the TOA-150, I have the rings attached to my dovetail plate & slide that into the saddle first. Open the rings & place the OTA. Its really easy & I don't need the counterweight ring at all, so I'm only lifting 32 pounds..only

#19 dawziecat

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:45 PM

Ohhh . . . .

You guys aren't making this easier at all!!!! :) :) :)

Of course, I'm a man!! Bigger is better!!! I take that on faith. It's "knowledge" programmed into my very genes through millions of years of evolution!

I want the big one!!

But Tim's points are painfully valid. That admitted, I think I can handle the 150, allowing I can mount it without having to heft the tube CW, the rings and the dovetail all at one go. Thirty-two lbs . . . do-able. Fifty pounds? Pretty scary. Likely not good for me and risky to the hardware too.

I now appreciate that long FLs are not well-matched to my KAF-8300 chip. Not entirely sure I understand that in its entirety but, get the idea. The past couple of years I have had an absolute blast imaging emission nebulae with results I find very gratifying using large, fast camera lenses. But I am sort of "locked out" of galaxies, SNRs and planetaries without a much longer FL. So, I bought the AT10 for them. I had great hopes for it but had no intention at all when I purchased it of going to a large refractor.

I don't mind the idea of spending $$$ on a "big" refractor. However, for some reason, I just HATE the idea of spending even MORE $$$ on a large chip CCD with big pixels to better match the long FL.

It's a mental block.

I appreciate Tom's comments concerning the time needed to get images. Thought I was clear about that. I already know one doesn't use more than one OTA in a night's imaging. At least I sure don't. I have no intention of using the FSQ for an hour or two and then mounting the TOA-150 up in the dark to image something else. I don't do that with camera lenses and sure won't be attempting it with these two OTAs either.

This is still a very tough choice. But I thank profusely those who have contributed their opinions.

One thing has become clear (thanks, Olee!). I DO NOT have to heft 50 lbs at one go to get a TOA-150 onto the mount! I am certian I can do 33 lbs or so. After all, I have used a C11 for decades. In fact, the AT10 weighs that too. I did reject the idea of an AT12 because of the weight.

#20 tomcody

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:03 PM

Terry,
As to matching ccd pixels to a FL, there is a free CCD calculator by Ron Wodaski available on the Yahoo group: ccd-newastro in the files section.
This program and other like it make matching the image scale to the telescope and camera easy.
To full understand the effects of pixel size and image scale on imaging, I highly recommend a copy of Ron Wodaski's book: The New CCD Astronomer. The book is out of print and has a some what rambling style but is a gold mine of info regarding choosing the correct camera pixel size and focal length when imaging, the information is dated but as Ron used an FSQ and longer Fl refractors as examples for many parts of his book, it is still very valid info.
Rex

#21 dawziecat

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:11 PM

Thanks, Tom. I already have both.

Doesn't make it any easier to match pixel pitch to FL thought. Mutliple CCDs are beyond my ability to support this hobby. One camera has to do!

#22 andysea

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 04:45 PM

Well sounds like you made up your mind! Congratulations on your imminent purchase:)
We want photos now!!!

Andy

#23 dawziecat

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 08:21 AM

We want photos now!!!
Andy


Well, it's here.
Picture is just for show . . . no intention of actually mounting an FSQ106 atop the TOA-150 like this.
I gott'a be the only person in the world with these OTAs and absolutely not a mount in sight to put 'em on. :(

C'mon, A-P! Start shipping those AP1100s!! :jump:

Attached Files



#24 jjbird

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

This is excellent advice! +1

#25 whwang

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 12:36 PM

Hi,

I can't give any advise on 150old vs 130new. However, I have some information for you about 150's focuser.

I have a TOA150, with the new focuser. I have used it for roughly 3 years. Just to show you that I am at least a semi-serious user, here are some pictures I took with this telescope:
http://www3.asiaa.si...cutres/M101.htm
http://www3.asiaa.si...res/NGC7000.htm
http://www3.asiaa.si...ta_Car_2012.htm

Now, on the focuser, to my surprise, this new version focuser is not as good as the old one. Last year, I was evaluating its capability to hold a heavy camera (FLI 16803 Pro plus a large filter wheel). I found that there is a clear tilt of the focuser once it is loaded with the heavy camera. The tilt is so large that I can see it with my eye (no fancy measurements, just by eyes I can see it). A friend who works for a local TAK dealer told me that it is common for the new focuser, and the old one is better. I couldn't believe him. So I found an old TOA150 and tested it. And he was right, the old focuser is more solid than the new one. I cannot guarantee that there is absolutely no tilt with the old focuser, but it is totally clear to me that the old one works better in terms of holding heavy cameras. I asked how much it will cost to get an old TAK focuser, and it is very expansive. So I just ordered a Feather Touch Focuser, and I am still waiting for its arrival.

So, please don't consider the old focuser a disadvantage. It may not be as good as the FTF, but it is better than the one on a new TOA150.

Cheers,
Wei-Hao






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