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Why do we like classics??

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#1 mooNSpy250

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:01 PM

After now spending some quality time on CN, I thought I would offer my thoughts about classic scopes; who buys them, and why some people find it odd the money some of us are willing to pay for them.

Many people appreciate the classics over technology. The argument may be; why would you buy an old telescope over a new telescope with all of the technological advances today?
I would answer; even though there has been huge technological advances over the decades in optics (mainly manufacturing) , that does not mean that the full advancements are always present in every new telescope, especially in lower end new scopes. Craftsmanship and materials that are often present in many of the classic telescopes are just not found in new telescope (of similar price point).

I have posted this because I am still surprised of the great value many classic telescopes offer for the price, and I often see posts from people surprised how much people may pay for them.

Recently I have paid what many may consider “top dollar” for several classic telescopes (no one has commented directly to me about paying too much; that is not what is behind this post), and have really sat down and analyzed what “value” relative to price that they really are. I just cant figure out how the “other than classic lovers” don’t see this value..

Example: I picked up an Edmonds 4001 fork mount 8”, near mint condition, circa 1980 telescope recently. The thing is cast aluminum, built like a tank, clock drive that works quite well, optics that are superb.. for about the same price you will have to pay for a new 8” Dob ( particle board construction, no drive etc).. I am not bashing them, I had a Z10 at one time and loved it..

I can give similar examples for my RV6, my C8, and my Sears 76/1200 #4…

I just don’t understand why others don’t see this???

Now that I think about it; I will now shut up as not to alert others to the value of these scopes.

Lets keep them all to ourselves shall we…

#2 starman876

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:28 PM

Too late, you just spilled the beans. I will be on the look out for these classic bargains.

#3 Datapanic

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:02 AM

Because it's not what you have, it's how you use it.

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#4 rcwolpert

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:11 AM

Wow! Nice pic! I've seen Saturn like that one night last year with my C11 and Pentax 5mm XO eyepiece - couldn't stop looking. What Classic did you use for this pic? :bow: :bow:

#5 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:11 AM

Because it's not what you have, it's how you use it.


That is one of the crazy best pictures of Saturn I've ever seen, or will ever be seen.

There is a difference in usage of classic scopes. Classicists like using their mechanical mounts and their own knowledge to find objects. Hard to do that with the ^v<> buttons on an electric paddle controller, let alone with a computerized mount!

#6 amicus sidera

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:34 AM

I just don’t understand why others don’t see this???


Good question, Bob.

I think that there are a lot of things at play here:

Many might not have confidence in their ability to repair or maintain an older instrument;

...unlike many of us here, the average amateur who sees an older classic for sale might have little knowledge of the particular scope and thus avoid purchase for fear of ending up with a "white elephant";

...and, in the case of far too many amateurs, if a telescope doesn't come equipped with a USB port and go-to, it won't even be considered for potential purchase.

#7 Datapanic

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:20 AM

Bob - the image was taken with a webcam through the Horsetrail Cave.

Joe - all my scopes have dual axis drive control and a hand controller, but the box was built in the early 80's. No goto or RS-232 ports for any of them, just On/Off :)

I'm almost done restoring the RV-6 and I hope to do some imaging with it this weekend since I don't recall ever seeing any such stuff here in the classics through that kind of scope. The RV-6 gets a lot of good press and I hope to verify that!

Why do I like classics? - it's simple, I'm comfortable with using them. That may be something unusual for me since I'm also on the high end of Information Technology, truth is that I like to hold on to the foundation that defines this hobby from the time I first got into it all. My best analogy is to imagine yourself on any kind of boat, going with the flow, down a river - except for staying afloat, it's not the boat that matters, it's what you see along the way ;)

#8 A6Q6

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:38 AM

"I just don’t understand why others don’t see this???" Well Bob some of us had 60mm refractors etc when we were kids. Some held on to them, some sold them and never looked back. some are trying to get back the telescope of their youth. Some of us couldn't afford anything at all but wanted a Questar , Unitron or Cave etc and can afford them now. I'm having a blast with a classic orange tube C5 that I found for $100 at a pawn shop. If I had know the optics were as good as they are, I would have been willing to pay a whole lot more. Here it is with some of the accessories I got for Christmas. :grin:

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#9 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 04:03 AM

I can give similar examples for my RV6, my C8, and my Sears 76/1200 #4…

I just don’t understand why others don’t see this???


Myself, I am interested in classic scopes as tools for observing. I like simple equipment and in general classic scopes are simple and at one time I had quite a number of classic scopes, small refractors, 60mm-80mm, larger Newtonians, until recently I had both an RV-6 and a 12.5 inch Meade "Research Grade."

However, what I noticed was that those scopes were just not getting much use. It is true that many modern scopes are more complicated than the classics, it is also true that there are modern scopes that excel at being simple and in this they are even better than the classics and better suited for observing the way I like to observe. These modern scopes are more compact, more ergonomic, the mounts are solid and free from vibration, easier to transport, they were getting the vast majority of my observing time.

So, when I recognized that my classics were not getting the use they deserved, I decided it was time to find them new homes that would provide them with the caring and use they deserved. So these days, I am really down to two classics, a pair of the 60mm x 800mm Asahi-Pentax's. This scope is somewhat different than most 60mm scopes of their vintage, they have a full size drawtube so a 1.25 inch visual back is possible. The mount is very robust, no vibration here even at the highest magnifications and they have that clever shift into gear slow motion controls..

If and when "classic" Dobsonians on the Obsession model are considered true classic scopes, if and when TeleVue refractors that trace their lineage back to the Genesis and MPT are considered classic scopes, then I will be doing the vast majority of observing with classic scopes..

Jon

#10 Bomber Bob

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:29 AM

Why do I like classics??

Ditto Jon.

Quality, craftsmanship, & simplicity. And, nostalgia. These vintage scopes are so easy to use - once you learn the strengths, weaknesses, and quirks of each. I'm limiting my collection to 3, so that they get equal time outdoors. The 60mm Monolux is very light and easy to set up, so it'll be my Travel Scope. The heavier Sears 76mm with pier will be my Home Scope. My planned 100mm will be my Mars & Saturn Scope. However, if the Sears performs well on those two planets, my collection may stop at just two.

#11 Bomber Bob

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:35 AM

But, I don't fault people who prefer new & modern scopes to vintage ones. I'm a shade tree auto mechanic with a workshop, and I actually enjoy restoring old scopes to like-new condition. But many of the young folks I know have no interest in handiwork.

#12 wargrafix

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:49 AM

After pondering i remember that the build quality stands the test of time and can exist far longer if given the right treatment.

#13 terraclarke

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 09:14 AM

Why do I like classics?

Quality, craftsmanship, & simplicity. And, nostalgia.


Moreover, I feel that I am much more one with the sky, using traditional, non computerized, no-go systems. I feel that there is a zen to being a visual observer with a traditional refractor that affords me an experience like no other. I love knowing the sky and navigating my way to an object using time-tested means.

#14 starman876

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 09:30 AM

I like classics a bit too much as many might have noticed :smirk: However, there is also a thrill in being lazy and pushing a few buttons and seeing that allusive object centered in the eyepiece. The build quality of some of these scopes is outstanding. When I have to take a scope out for viewing a piece at a time I know someone designed this scientific instrument for serious observing. The Celestron 10 is one of these instruments, the Cave telescopes and Unitrons, all were built to provide pure enjoyment at the eyepiece. The list goes on for serious scientific instruments. However, let's keep this secret in this forum. If too many people find out we would not be able to post pictures of our favorite finds. Already on Ebay you can see that people are reading this forum because the price of these classics keeps going up. I hope it is not us driving the price up.

#15 Jim Curry

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 09:40 AM

It's probably about two dozen of us here driving the pricing through talk and purchases. :>)

Jim

#16 Bomber Bob

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:15 AM

"I feel that I am much more one with the sky, using traditional, non computerized, no-go systems."

Even if I had a go-to system, I wouldn't use it. Not to be recalcitrant, but because I learned to star-hop, and that seems more natural - doesn't require a computer.

#17 Bomber Bob

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:18 AM

"let's keep this secret in this forum"

Uh... Too Late!!

In researching the Sears 6336 / Tasco 15TE, almost all of the links pointed back to this forum! Google cache has betrayed us!!

#18 Bomber Bob

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:23 AM

"I hope it is not us driving the price up."

Well, if you take the original MSRP for a 50-year old scope, and adjust it for inflation, there are still good deals to be had; but there are some smart sellers who take advantage of our posts - maybe we should get a percentage??

#19 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:56 AM

Why do I like classics?

Quality, craftsmanship, & simplicity. And, nostalgia.


Moreover, I feel that I am much more one with the sky, using traditional, non computerized, no-go systems. I feel that there is a zen to being a visual observer with a traditional refractor that affords me an experience like no other. I love knowing the sky and navigating my way to an object using time-tested means.


Terra is particularly articulate about this, but I suspect this sentiment drives many of us. Certainly me!

#20 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:05 PM

The manual controls of classic scopes allow quick use, and are an important part of the pleasure.

Joe - all my scopes have dual axis drive control and a hand controller, but the box was built in the early 80's. No goto or RS-232 ports for any of them, just On/Off



I was not clear, sorry. I was thinking of a member of my club who has a 6" Celestron Schmidt-Cass on a one-armed-bandit, Go-To mount. Trouble is, there are no clutches to allow the scope to be rotated manually. Since the Go-To does not work, the options are to lift and turn the entire tripod to change azimuth, followed by using the button on the hand paddle to change altitude; or, to use the buttons in both directions. It's as time-consuming and tedious. When Dec and RA motors are accessories for super-fine-tuning the pointing without shaking the mount, they are wonderful tools. The trouble comes when a scope can not be pointed manually, so it must rely on those buttons and motors. Those scopes are a pain, and don't get used.

What a trade-off! If Go-To does not work and there are no clutches, the scope is tedious, and does not get used. If Go-To works, the astronomy is removed from the astronomy, so using it becomes boring, and the scope is no longer used!

#21 starman876

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:24 PM

Not all Go to scopes work like that Joe. Just those one arm bandits that Celestron and Meade sell. Most decent go to mounts have cluthces that allow one to push the scope if needed. There are many nights I do not use the Go TO feature of the CGE or the Losamandy and I just push the scope where I want to look. However, it sure is nice to have those motors on both axis when you want to keep an object centered when that polar alignement was not done when you set the mount up. The GO TO feature of these mounts have allowed me to see more of the universe in one night then I have ever done before in many nights of star hopping.It is simply amazing. If you have never tried it you are in for a real treat.

#22 turk123

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:08 PM

Not all Go to scopes work like that Joe. Just those one arm bandits that Celestron and Meade sell. Most decent go to mounts have cluthces that allow one to push the scope if needed. There are many nights I do not use the Go TO feature of the CGE or the Losamandy and I just push the scope where I want to look. However, it sure is nice to have those motors on both axis when you want to keep an object centered when that polar alignement was not done when you set the mount up. The GO TO feature of these mounts have allowed me to see more of the universe in one night then I have ever done before in many nights of star hopping.It is simply amazing. If you have never tried it you are in for a real treat.


I somewhat agree, but here is an example of my modern rig (i've added more to it since this picture was taken). It takes about 2 1/2 hours to setup and align. It's for astrophotography and it's pretty state of the art. If I had an observatory, I guess I would enjoy it more. I do love just rolling out the Cave and start observing in 2 minutes. And the biggest kick I get, is actually seeing the image in the eyepiece not on the screen of my laptop.

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#23 starman876

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:38 PM

I see you labeled everything so you would not forget what it is. An important thing at our age :lol:

that is a beautiful set up :bow: :bow:

that is a very large wave runner board behind the scope

#24 A6Q6

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:47 PM

Nice setup, I'm saving that Image in my Celestron section. :waytogo:

#25 Bomber Bob

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:51 PM

"the biggest kick I get, is actually seeing the image in the eyepiece not on the screen of my laptop"

Same here, which is why I don't spend much time on astrophotograhy. I'd rather be looking than pointing & clicking.






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