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Convince me on an 8" portaball

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#1 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 05:08 AM

I've always lusted after a Portaball, and now one is available in the UK. The scope is from around 1999 but the Zambuto mirror is only 8 months old. I'm seriously tempted, but just have a few nagging doubts.

I currently have a TV85 on a Porta II, which I love! I also recently purchased a C6 SCT, which isn't really doing a lot for me. I think I like the views through the TV85 too much and the C6 just doesn't compare.

I do have a 10" Sumerian Optics travel dob too, but to be honest, I'm too lazy to assemble it and, generally, clear nights are so fleeting here that you often only get an hour or so.

The Portaball, therefore, would give me 8" of, hopefully, APO-like aperture, in a lightweight and relatively transportable unit; at least enough to drive into the Lake District, park up and carry it 100yds into a field.

Or should I spend the same amount on a 120ED such as the Skywatcher? I think the Portaball's mirror should be good enough to satisfy my cravings?

#2 csrlice12

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 07:37 AM

If the price is right, buy it.....convinced yet???

Gene should be along shortly, he's the local portaball expert, but these are fantastic scopes as long as the mirrors are in good shape (you indicate they are) and the mechanics still work, these are lifetime scopes.

#3 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 07:50 AM

Well, I guess something is worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it, so happy with that.

I do like the idea of having two life-time telescopes and with my TV85, I'm halfway there.

#4 Pinbout

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 07:52 AM

the CZ mirror will kick the but of the Orion Optics in the sumerain...literally mop the floor with it. :lol:

#5 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 08:12 AM

I thought the Orion Optics (UK) were considered pretty good? If I'm going to get better than that then I'll be happy. Well, for me anyway, I don't really do happy....just a bit less grumpy.

#6 nicknacknock

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 09:32 AM

the CZ mirror will kick the but of the Orion Optics in the sumerain...literally mop the floor with it. :lol:


Because it was decreed by whom? Orion Optics makes excellent mirrors. Please refrain from debasing a manufacturer like that. Do you have personal experience with Orion Optics mirrors? Because I do and they simply rock my astronomy world...

#7 CosmoSat

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:36 AM

I do have a 10" Sumerian Optics travel dob too, but to be honest, I'm too lazy to assemble it and, generally, clear nights are so fleeting here that you often only get an hour or so.


So what will motivate u to lug out the portaball, which is also a truss design? almost the same effort to set up either of them. A solid tube dob would be more suited for ur condition. Just a thought..

Clear Skies!

#8 hoes

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:49 AM

Others have said on this site that to get the most of a Zambuto you are probably going to need a paracorr - is the model you are thinking of able to handle that weight? Having said that I just purchased a used 10 inch portaball- and love everything about it - I get a smile on my face every time I get it out - not sure I can explain why. I am about to purchase a paracorr and will figure out how to make it work. I don't have a sumarian optics dob but Its hard for me to see how setting up a portaball would be easier. Good luck with your decision.

Steve

#9 schang

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:35 PM

I currently have a TV85 on a Porta II, which I love! I also recently purchased a C6 SCT, which isn't really doing a lot for me. I think I like the views through the TV85 too much and the C6 just doesn't compare.

I do have a 10" Sumerian Optics travel dob too, but to be honest, I'm too lazy to assemble it and, generally, clear nights are so fleeting here that you often only get an hour or so.

The Portaball, therefore, would give me 8" of, hopefully, APO-like aperture, in a lightweight and relatively transportable unit; at least enough to drive into the Lake District, park up and carry it 100yds into a field.

Or should I spend the same amount on a 120ED such as the Skywatcher? I think the Portaball's mirror should be good enough to satisfy my cravings?

I wonder if your craving is for the ownership of a Portaball/Zambuto mirror, or for the image it brings? If the C6 and the 10" Orion dob (both are fine instrument) won't motivate you to take them out, what will motivate you to bring out the Skywatcher 120 ED refractor, which is just as much hassle as the dob?

#10 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:08 PM

Some fair points, and ok...I just really want a Portaball!

In terms of motivation for setting it up, I believe from what I've read that the Portaball is quite a robust instrument and the only assembly I envisage doing it lowering the tube assembly onto the base; I'll probably keep it permanently assembled. The Sumerian Optics is quite delicate to my mind and I wouldn't want to carry it too far assembled, or drive around the twisty bumpy roads we have round here without it being packed away.

Perhaps motivation is the wrong word...opportunity probably describes it better. Clear skies are so rare that I like catching ever clear spell I can.

I suspect I'll end up with all my scopes - I would find it very hard to part with the Sumerian - and be plain greedy!

#11 Pinbout

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:16 PM


Quote:
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the CZ mirror will kick the but of the Orion Optics in the sumerain...literally mop the floor with it.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Because it was decreed by whom? Orion Optics makes excellent mirrors. Please refrain from debasing a manufacturer like that.



saying CZ is much better than OO is debasing them? lighten up. I've seen some pretty hideous examples from OO. I haven't seen any from CZ.

#12 nicknacknock

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:18 PM



Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

the CZ mirror will kick the but of the Orion Optics in the sumerain...literally mop the floor with it.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Because it was decreed by whom? Orion Optics makes excellent mirrors. Please refrain from debasing a manufacturer like that.



saying CZ is much better than OO is debasing them? lighten up. I've seen some pretty hideous examples from OO. I haven't seen any from CZ.


Kick the butt and mop the floor probably fits the bill for debasing.....

#13 tomcody

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 02:15 PM

These are fairly rare, if the condition and price are good and you want one? buy it, life is short.
Rex

#14 Pinbout

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 02:25 PM

Kick the butt and mop the floor probably fits the bill for debasing.....



say what you will, I'll stick by my statement. on a CZ you can mag x100 per aperature inch if you have good seeing.

#15 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 02:43 PM

if you have good seeing.

Ah well.

#16 JMW

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:03 PM

The only negative on a Portaball is the difficulty of using encoder technologies for digital setting circles. You could always bring a tiny grab and go refractor on a alt/az mount with encoders and put a Telrad on each. Then you just match up the Telrad locations when you need help. If you can find everything you want to see with a Telrad than you are all set. I have only seen a 12 inch Portaball and the views looked nice and the movement of the scope worked well. It's a nice sit down scope.

#17 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:37 PM

Sounds like my TV85 porta-mounted Argo Navis-aided scope would be a good match!

#18 orion61

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 04:00 PM

A lot of people find it hard to replace the visual quality of an on-obstructed tube. You kind of sound like that.
I also wonder if your skies are causing some of your problems?
I have a C6 and find it to have very good optics, it is still blown away by my Synta 6" F8 Refractor. The coma from a Schmidt and Dob are probably putting you off.
I'd try and find an Astronomy Club and see if someone has a scope of similar size and quality! That is a pretty shilling you are going to invest..
Do yourself and don't let us make up your mind.
Just like a Pretty Girl.. only you know which one is for you..
Good luck.

#19 stratocaster

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 04:43 PM

If you feel you're too lazy to set up the 10" dob, then I don't see why a portaball would change your mind about the hassle of assembly.

When you say the C6 isn't doing anything for you vs the TV85 I wonder what may be going on there. What are your viewing habits? Do you like to look at faint fuzzies or do you prefer lunar, planetary, stellar observing? I'm assuming the latter since the TV85 wouldn't be strong in the faint fuzzy category. Otherwise a C6 should be at least comparable to the TV85 - assuming proper setup and cooldown of the scope.

Now, would an 8" Zambuto on any platform provide better resolution and brighter images when set up properly. Absolutely. Would it ever see the dark of night due to the setup factor? That's the big question.

But if you've always had a hankering for a portaball I'm wondering how you're reconciling the hassle factor with your portaball lust. Seems like the two would be mutually exclusive.

And the 120ED sounds like the biggest hassle of all of them. You'd need a pretty robust mount - even if you went alt-az. And if you go GEM then you've got to REALLY want to use the scope to drag it out and set it up.

Personally I'd go with the portaball in a second assuming it's in good condition and the price is reasonable.

#20 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 05:05 PM

Well, I'm definitely more of a faint fuzzies kind of guy but I got the C6 mostly for a bit more aperture combined with that long focal length, to make the most of planets. I've just been finding that my TV85 shows me more detail, although that could just be because of poor skies or cool-down issues. The hassle bit is nothing to do with not having the energy to go out with a 10" scope but purely about assembling and de-assembling something when the skies are clear so briefly. I see the portaball as a grab and go dob?

#21 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 05:07 PM

These are fairly rare, if the condition and price are good and you want one? buy it, life is short.
Rex

My life will be very short if my wife found out how much it is!

#22 Pinbout

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 06:20 PM

Ah well.



well the thing is, the atmosphere doesn't equalize the differences in wavefront ratings of an optical train.

the atmosphere will effect an lesser ~rating system more than a higher ~rating system.

so a CZ primary with a matching secondary will be able to cut thru the sky better than a lesser system.

#23 tomcody

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 06:20 PM

Ask yourself:
How many of these have you seen come up for sale?

#24 stratocaster

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 07:15 PM

Well, I'm definitely more of a faint fuzzies kind of guy but I got the C6 mostly for a bit more aperture combined with that long focal length, to make the most of planets. I've just been finding that my TV85 shows me more detail, although that could just be because of poor skies or cool-down issues. The hassle bit is nothing to do with not having the energy to go out with a 10" scope but purely about assembling and de-assembling something when the skies are clear so briefly. I see the portaball as a grab and go dob?


If you were to assemble the portaball and keep it assembled for grab n go, then death by wife notwithstanding (and this is a very serious consideration) - and assuming you can afford it - you have to go for it.

You'll get better dark sky performance out of it than either of your existing scopes. And probably excellent planetary views as well, as I'm assuming this is at least an f7 scope with a small central obstruction. Performance would probably be akin to something like a 6" refractor.

#25 nevy

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 07:17 PM

I'd get it if I didn't have what I've got.






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