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HELP!......I'm feeling like a novice again....

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#1 zawijava

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 10:54 PM

I think this might be the best CN Category for this Post but if not let me know!

After over a decade of Amateur Astronomy under my belt, countless hours looking at the night sky through many fine telescopes and an above average understanding of optics.......why am I feeling like a novice again when it comes to terrestrial viewing? We recently purchased a Cabin with abundant mountain views in Western Maine and it already has me wanting a terrestrial scope of some sort. I have binos that are nice and also serve me well for close in bird/wildlife watching so I'm not really looking for a close focus "birding scope" but more in need/want of an optic for views across the local valleys/foothills on out to the White Mountains....so anywhere from say .25 mile to maybe 40-50 miles. Of course most of the distant views, such as Mt Washington at 35 miles out, will be novelties but I have lots of opportunity for wildlife spotting in the .25 to 3 mile range. I'd like to keep it cheap to begin with...say $500 or less, 80mm-100mm perhaps? Compact, light. For now it would be set up indoors viewing through window glass. Any suggestions with pros/cons would be appreciated....preferrably based on first hand experience but I'm open to all! Redirect me to good reading, comparos etc if you wish. Thanks! Tim

#2 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 11:46 PM

Any suggestions with pros/cons would be appreciated....preferrably based on first hand experience but I'm open to all! Redirect me to good reading, comparos etc if you wish. Thanks! Tim



Tim:

I really like my 80mm F7 apo for terrestrial viewing. Works good for birding too. Your AP-130 on an solid alt-az mount might be pretty awesome.

Jon

#3 zawijava

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 12:12 AM

Jon,

I'm thinking an 80mm ED refractor might be pretty good. Do you view straight through or otherwise? I'm very limited on room where I can currently set up for views otherwise I would just buy a nice Zeiss Amici diagonal and use the 130 GT.....it may come to that in the long run, we'll see. thanks for your thoughts! Tim

Tim:

I really like my 80mm F7 apo for terrestrial viewing. Works good for birding too. Your AP-130 on an solid alt-az mount might be pretty awesome.

Jon [/quote]

#4 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 06:40 AM

Tim:

I use a star diagonal with it. The views are reversed left to right but that doesn't bother me at all.. in fact, since that's what I use at night, if I use an correct image diagonal, I tend to move the scope the wrong way when tracking a moving object..

Posted Image

(This photo is of my wife looking through the 80mm F/7, it's mounted sidesaddle on a Bogen 3040 (3046 tripod + 3047 head) The location is the Canyon de Chelly in Arizona on the Navajo reservation)

Jon

#5 btb

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 10:05 AM

You might also want to check on Orion Short Tube F/5 80-T. That plus your favorite photo tripod would make a decent rig. Picture was taken at about 25 feet with a cheap point and shoot.

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#6 rdandrea

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 10:34 AM

Maybe a used ETX-90 RA or C-90 with an erecting prism?

#7 zawijava

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:06 AM

That makes sense Jon, and I like the idea of using what I already have[star diagonal] instead of buying another piece of astro gear :grin: Care to comment on "turbulence" when viewing terrestrially? I don't really notice it when using binos but it must certainly become a factor when you go up in aperture and magnification :question: thanks, Tim


Tim:

I use a star diagonal with it. The views are reversed left to right but that doesn't bother me at all.. in fact, since that's what I use at night, if I use an correct image diagonal, I tend to move the scope the wrong way when tracking a moving object...Jon



#8 zawijava

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:08 AM

thanks, I have had these in mind since a few used ones have been in the marketplace recently. -Tim

You might also want to check on Orion Short Tube F/5 80-T. That plus your favorite photo tripod would make a decent rig. Picture was taken at about 25 feet with a cheap point and shoot.



#9 zawijava

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:15 AM

thanks, I just missed what looked like a real clean, vintage Orange Tube C90 on AM for $145 :shocked: I would love to hear from anyone using one of these for terrestrial viewing. One concern is the availability of a good quality 45* erecting prism. I know allot of these Celestron Mak scopes came with an erecting prism but I doubt the quality matches that of the optics :question: thanks, Tim

Maybe a used ETX-90 RA or C-90 with an erecting prism?



#10 BKBrown

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:54 AM

I use my ES 80ED on a Manny modded Porta II w/ Hands On Optics wood legs for both an astro Grab-N-Go and terrestrial scope. I can do wildlife digi-scoping with this scope or with my WO ZS66SD. It is a very portable rig with NO electronics or complicated mechanical parts that can malfunction...

Clear Skies,
Brian

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#11 mtnm

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 11:46 AM

I am much happier using a spotting scope for terrestrial viewing mounted on a strong tripod (Bogen 3011 used off e-bay) and video head (Manfrotto HD-501).
I use a Celestron ED spotting scope. I find the 80mm objective the best option (although I own the 100mm).

Price adds up in a hurry. Just like telescopes the mount is very important. But I also expect to use this for 10-20 years. Being able to quickly assemble and then store is important. Being able to get good, true color makes bird watching fun.

I try to shop used. Seems to be harder now with some sketchy deals on e-bay and craig's list.

#12 Jarrod

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 04:24 PM

One concern is the availability of a good quality 45* erecting prism. I know allot of these Celestron Mak scopes came with an erecting prism but I doubt the quality matches that of the optics :question: thanks, Tim


There was recently a nice discussion about this in the eyepiece forum. You can mine that thread for recommendations.

http://www.cloudynig...6224960/page...

#13 dengwer

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 08:14 PM

meade ETX 90 or orion starmax 90 tabletop mak. this was taken at about 80yd from car window with scope on a platform over the passenger seat. eyepiece was 40mm plossl and point and shoot digital camera.

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#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 10:58 PM

That makes sense Jon, and I like the idea of using what I already have[star diagonal] instead of buying another piece of astro gear :grin: Care to comment on "turbulence" when viewing terrestrially? I don't really notice it when using binos but it must certainly become a factor when you go up in aperture and magnification :question: thanks, Tim


Tim:

Seeing is definitely at longer distances, it can be down right horrible and a major reason larger scopes don't really help much terrestrially.

The best seeing can be viewing over water, here's a shot I took with a point and shoot camera of a Loggerhead Shrike that was mostly across water.. The scope was an Astro-Tech 102ED, the distance was probably about 1/3 of a mile. The image isn't the sharpest but considering everything, it's pretty decent for a 9 inch bird.

Posted Image

Jon

#15 zawijava

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 11:38 AM

thanks Brian, I'm beginning to think seriously about an AT72ED. -Tim

I use my ES 80ED on a Manny modded Porta II w/ Hands On Optics wood legs for both an astro Grab-N-Go and terrestrial scope. I can do wildlife digi-scoping with this scope or with my WO ZS66SD. It is a very portable rig with NO electronics or complicated mechanical parts that can malfunction...

Clear Skies,
Brian



#16 zawijava

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 11:47 AM

thanks Mike, yes I'm keen on buying used myself. What vintage is your Celestron ED spotter and is it straight through or 45 deg? I know Celestron is working hard to remain competitive in the Spotting scope market and have made some changes over the past few years. Although I like the comfort of a 45deg I like the thought of using what Astro Gear I have already ie 90 diagonal. I'm kinda leaning towards a AT72ED for reasons of size, weight, price and lens quality. I could also use it for Astro stuff as well. -Tim

I am much happier using a spotting scope for terrestrial viewing mounted on a strong tripod (Bogen 3011 used off e-bay) and video head (Manfrotto HD-501).
I use a Celestron ED spotting scope. I find the 80mm objective the best option (although I own the 100mm).

Price adds up in a hurry. Just like telescopes the mount is very important. But I also expect to use this for 10-20 years. Being able to quickly assemble and then store is important. Being able to get good, true color makes bird watching fun.

I try to shop used. Seems to be harder now with some sketchy deals on e-bay and craig's list.



#17 zawijava

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 11:49 AM

thanks, I'll check this out! -Tim

One concern is the availability of a good quality 45* erecting prism. I know allot of these Celestron Mak scopes came with an erecting prism but I doubt the quality matches that of the optics :question: thanks, Tim


There was recently a nice discussion about this in the eyepiece forum. You can mine that thread for recommendations.

http://www.cloudynig...6224960/page...



#18 zawijava

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 11:51 AM

wow, great shot! thanks! -Tim

meade ETX 90 or orion starmax 90 tabletop mak. this was taken at about 80yd from car window with scope on a platform over the passenger seat. eyepiece was 40mm plossl and point and shoot digital camera.



#19 zawijava

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 12:02 PM

Yeah, the seeing is definitely going to be the limiting factor in the mountains :( that's a nice bird shot btw.....you must have been quick [and steady] to get that shot off. So, I'm leaning towards a AT72ED but haven't yet finalized my thinking. I don't think I want to go lower than that in aperture, though going up to 80mm-90mm is still in the back of my mind. -Tim

Tim:

Seeing is definitely at longer distances, it can be down right horrible and a major reason larger scopes don't really help much terrestrially.

The best seeing can be viewing over water, here's a shot I took with a point and shoot camera of a Loggerhead Shrike that was mostly across water.. The scope was an Astro-Tech 102ED, the distance was probably about 1/3 of a mile. The image isn't the sharpest but considering everything, it's pretty decent for a 9 inch bird.

Posted Image

Jon








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