Jump to content


Photo

Istar 8" F/6

  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
110 replies to this topic

#26 russell23

russell23

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4369
  • Joined: 31 May 2009
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 13 August 2014 - 04:02 PM

Ralph,

 

As I read your post I could not help but think you should give a Baader 495 Longpass filter a try.  What you describe is a more extreme version of what I get with the Vixen 140NA.  The 495 LP eliminates the purple CA making it possible to go well over 100x and get pinpoint sharp star images.  

 

For $59 it could not hurt to try.

 

Dave


Edited by russell23, 13 August 2014 - 04:02 PM.

 

#27 Astronewb

Astronewb

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1292
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 13 August 2014 - 05:12 PM

Ralph, thank you for the 'no bells n whistles' review.   I thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts and impressions and summary of what type of viewing the large refractor is really built for.   I would purchase one of the 'new' lightweight models based on your observations once they become available in any quantity.    The folks at Istar are really making advances in glass production for the masses.   The only downside is that the improvements take quite some time to trickle down to actually having some of the new model inventory available.

 

If you read their forum, some of the current batch of R35 rated glass is actually performing at semi-apo quality and may be re-labeled as R50 or R55?  The new WFX150/F5 shown on the website is actually a nice looking telescope and appears to be equipped with an equally nice WO focuser.  They recently updated the spec to R50 in the title, but in the narrative they still refer to 'R35'...)    Whatever the R number, the bottom line is how well you like the view under good sky conditions, as you noted.

 

Thanks again for the upfront review,

 

Paul


 

#28 aa6ww

aa6ww

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 936
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Sacramento, Calif.

Posted 13 August 2014 - 05:26 PM

 The ISTAR 204 F/6 is an RFT, a Rich Field Telescope. Everything I've mentioned is characteristic of a RFT,, this one just happens to be large, but the results are the same, its a low power wide field scope.

None of this should be a surprise. Everything is typical for that type of scope I just listed. Even ISTAR list is maximum usable magnification at 51x.  You should already know that however.

 

Google Rich Field Telescope. You will get the same results as what I have spoken about, down to a Tee.

 

http://www.robertmartinayers.org/RFT/

 

 

After doing some RFT research, ask me anything you would like more clarification on.

 

Everything I've mentioned I can add more clarity to, but I think by researching RFT telescopes, you will get the same results as I've spoken about.

 

Maybe you've seen this chart also. It explains plenty in one chart. as to what happens to Chromatic Aberration as scopes get larger and faster or slower.

 

http://cityastronomy...chart-achro.jpg

 

Ask me privately or out here, whatever makes you more comfortable.

 

...Ralph in Sac

 

 

 

Ralph,

 

Any explanation in your mind why yours and James Edwards review are at the opposite end of the spectrum?

 

De Lorme


 

#29 De Lorme

De Lorme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 842
  • Joined: 30 Dec 2008

Posted 13 August 2014 - 06:56 PM

Yes Ralph it's true that Istar says it's maximum magnification is 51x but he also states that people are going well over that into the 300-400 magnification

range with great views.  The color is as one perceives the color.  The longpass makes stars pinpoints of light ,craters and mountain ranges really stand out.

Have to think a bit when I see such conflicting views.  Perhaps your expecting to much from a $3500 telescope.  What does APM charge for there

big 8"?  It's way beyond what I can afford. De Lorme 


 

#30 galaxyman

galaxyman

    Vendor - Have a Stellar Birthday

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 2438
  • Joined: 03 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Limerick, Pa

Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:15 PM

To be quite honest De Lorme, when I read Mr. Edwards review it did fall in line with the observations through the APM 7.1" f/6 owned by a CAS member. Though not quite a 8" it's still close.

 

 

 

Karl
E.O.H.

 

 

Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...r/GalaxyLog4565
Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/
HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.com
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
Vixen 5" f/5 reflector (new)
TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro
ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.
Celestron 10x60mm Binos


 

#31 galaxyman

galaxyman

    Vendor - Have a Stellar Birthday

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 2438
  • Joined: 03 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Limerick, Pa

Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:34 PM

Yes Ralph it's true that Istar says it's maximum magnification is 51x but he also states that people are going well over that into the 300-400 magnification

range with great views.  The color is as one perceives the color.  The longpass makes stars pinpoints of light ,craters and mountain ranges really stand out.

Have to think a bit when I see such conflicting views.  Perhaps your expecting to much from a $3500 telescope.  What does APM charge for there

big 8"?  It's way beyond what I can afford. De Lorme 

 

 

This is interesting that "only" 51x is max in a quality large scope (CA aside). As stated prior on the 7.1" f/6 scope as more like the 8" f/6 Istar as being able to push 300x with stars as pinpoint. Globs in this 7.1" are beautifully resolved at 200x or more. Just read an observing report from early July of the owner using an 3.5mm Delos  (309x) in the 7.1" f/6 refractor. CN user and Mod (Deep Sky) Dave Mitsky observed with him all night, so you might ask him about the large short quality achro views.

 

Still the question here was not answered as what Ralph thinks of James Edwards stellar review :shrug:    


 

Karl
E.O.H.

 

 

Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...r/GalaxyLog4565
Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/
HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.com
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
Vixen 5" f/5 reflector (new)
TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro
ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.
Celestron 10x60mm Binos





 


 

#32 aa6ww

aa6ww

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 936
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Sacramento, Calif.

Posted 14 August 2014 - 06:01 AM

Jims review is his own personal interpretation of what he see's and enjoys with his scope and I respect that.

He's a great person and a fun enthusiastic astronomer to be around.

We all see life differently. Accepting that we are all different, seeing and interpreting things as only we understand, is fine with me.

There’s my answer.


...Ralph in Sac




 
This is interesting that "only" 51x is max in a quality large scope (CA aside). As stated prior on the 7.1" f/6 scope as more like the 8" f/6 Istar as being able to push 300x with stars as pinpoint. Globs in this 7.1" are beautifully resolved at 200x or more. Just read an observing report from early July of the owner using an 3.5mm Delos  (309x) in the 7.1" f/6 refractor. CN user and Mod (Deep Sky) Dave Mitsky observed with him all night, so you might ask him about the large short quality achro views.
 
Still the question here was not answered as what Ralph thinks of James Edwards stellar review :shrug:    


 
Karl
E.O.H.
 
 
Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...r/GalaxyLog4565
Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/
HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.com
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
Vixen 5" f/5 reflector (new)
TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro
ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.
Celestron 10x60mm Binos
[/quote]
 

#33 BillP

BillP

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11637
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Vienna, VA

Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:00 AM

Wow Ralph...great way to express your view!  :bow:   Taking what you said and generalizing it some IMO makes a great expression of the issue:

 

We should always remember to acknowledge and respect that an oberver's reviews are their own personal interpretation of what they see and how they enjoy their equipment, and not some absolute truth or incontrovertible fact.  We need to appreciate that each observer can only interpret and understand what they observe relative to their unique context in life.  Observation is therefore typicically destined to be more of an art, and less of a science, and that IMO is a good thing!


 

#34 galaxyman

galaxyman

    Vendor - Have a Stellar Birthday

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 2438
  • Joined: 03 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Limerick, Pa

Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:01 AM

Jims review is his own personal interpretation of what he see's and enjoys with his scope and I respect that.

He's a great person and a fun enthusiastic astronomer to be around.

We all see life differently. Accepting that we are all different, seeing and interpreting things as only we understand, is fine with me.

There’s my answer.


...Ralph in Sac




 
This is interesting that "only" 51x is max in a quality large scope (CA aside). As stated prior on the 7.1" f/6 scope as more like the 8" f/6 Istar as being able to push 300x with stars as pinpoint. Globs in this 7.1" are beautifully resolved at 200x or more. Just read an observing report from early July of the owner using an 3.5mm Delos  (309x) in the 7.1" f/6 refractor. CN user and Mod (Deep Sky) Dave Mitsky observed with him all night, so you might ask him about the large short quality achro views.
 
Still the question here was not answered as what Ralph thinks of James Edwards stellar review :shrug:    


 
Karl
E.O.H.
 
 
Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...r/GalaxyLog4565
Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/
HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.com
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
Vixen 5" f/5 reflector (new)
TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro
ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.
Celestron 10x60mm Binos
[/quote]

Interesting Ralph, for the contrast of viewpoints is stark.


In your longer post above Ales claims nebula and galaxies are best at low power. Really? Some nebula and some galaxies, but most need a bit more magnification. Just an observation there.

I have found over the years that limits on magnification are useless, for much is determined on the particular scope, eyepieces, observer, and of course sky conditions.

For instance most would say the Celestron 6” f/5 is in the same classification as the scope we’re talking about, and that pushing say more than 100x is beyond its limits to provide a quality view. Though I’ve seen through a club member’s Celestron  6” f/5 (yeah we have a lot of types and sizes in CAS) using 200x with nice pinpoint field star images. M-13 looked terrific.

 

 
Also the APM 7.1" f/6 owner in the CAS is quite happy with his, and does show "tight" stars at high power (like resolving globs). Even a pretty good view of Saturn using a high-end 2.5mm ortho. 


Would be interesting to hear from someone else who owns the Istar 8" f/6.


Karl
E.O.H.


Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...r/GalaxyLog4565
Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/
HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.com
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
Vixen 5" f/5 reflector (new)
TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro
ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.
Celestron 10x60mm Binos


  


 

#35 Dakota1

Dakota1

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 613
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2010
  • Loc: West of the Mississippi

Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:13 AM

+1  AMEN


 

#36 De Lorme

De Lorme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 842
  • Joined: 30 Dec 2008

Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:45 PM

Hi Ralph, Where would you say you and James Edwards agree or  have similar views on globular clusters?

Hi Everybody,

I'm counting on the Baader 495 Longpass in the 8"f/6.  Of course I will try using a aperture mask but I don't expect

the same results as the 495 Longpass.   Although the mask makes the focal length longer it also removes all light

with it to.  Using the Longpass it just takes out the blue and living 90%.  That gives me 45.473646 Square inches of

light which equals a 7.625" lens.  Now taken into account{the fast F/6} that the red/yellow don't come to exact focus I don't know

how much I should subtract further to come to an understanding when a larger achro equals a smaller ED.

As the focus ratio goes up{in a achro} how much in percentage is in the airy disk compared to a lower focus ratio

when both are using the Longpass?  Hope I'm asking the right question.   

 

I don't see any diming{as through loss of light}when using the 495.  At what point in your experiences does the larger

aperture view become obvious over a smaller aperture?

 

Thanks for taking a moment  to answer my question or leading me to the right way to ask it.

De Lorme


 

#37 russell23

russell23

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4369
  • Joined: 31 May 2009
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 14 August 2014 - 06:13 PM

Hi Ralph, Where would you say you and James Edwards agree or  have similar views on globular clusters?

Hi Everybody,

I'm counting on the Baader 495 Longpass in the 8"f/6.  Of course I will try using a aperture mask but I don't expect

the same results as the 495 Longpass.   Although the mask makes the focal length longer it also removes all light

with it to.  Using the Longpass it just takes out the blue and living 90%.  That gives me 45.473646 Square inches of

light which equals a 7.625" lens.  Now taken into account{the fast F/6} that the red/yellow don't come to exact focus I don't know

how much I should subtract further to come to an understanding when a larger achro equals a smaller ED.

As the focus ratio goes up{in a achro} how much in percentage is in the airy disk compared to a lower focus ratio

when both are using the Longpass?  Hope I'm asking the right question.   

 

I don't see any diming{as through loss of light}when using the 495.  At what point in your experiences does the larger

aperture view become obvious over a smaller aperture?

 

Thanks for taking a moment  to answer my question or leading me to the right way to ask it.

De Lorme

 

Another interesting question in there - the 495 LP only removes the purple CA.   The red CA is untouched.  In my Vixen 140NA there is not a lot of red CA - sometimes I see flashes of crimson CA and the object that shows it the most is Jupiter.   But with a 204mm F/6 there should be even more red CA and how then does that impact the ability of the 495 LP to clean up the image?   I'm sure it would be a lot better with the filter than without, but there probably will be more red CA than with a smaller aperture achromat.

 

Dave


 

#38 aa6ww

aa6ww

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 936
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Sacramento, Calif.

Posted 15 August 2014 - 11:20 AM

By the way, I just read that review you are all talking about.since I haven't seen it since it first came out..

Regarding this initial comment made in the article:

"After the counter balance was set and everything was a go, it came down to only a few deep sky objects for us to look at. M31 and M32 were very good, not anything to get excited about but with 1 out of 5 transparency and a ton of moisture in the sky, both views were exceptional, the Phoenix was more than up to the task… We spent the remainder of the evening checking out M51 and again the double cluster in Cassiopeia, pin point stars between 180 and 300 power, the 204 performed flawlessly, what a BRUTE this scope is it was meant for bad skies or good, we were all very impressed!!!"

I also made some comments which I posted on the ISTAR forum site after that initial first light. This is what I posted on Sep 21, 2013 at 11:38pm :

Last night I had an opportunity to take my first peek at my friend James new ISTAR Phoenix 204 F/6. Here in Sacramento, some of the weather forecasts were showing a chance of rain but our best source was saying no rain till the following afternoon. Because of this, we decided it would be smart to just set up on his driveway, just in case the weather turned south on us. When I went to his place, his scope was already set up.
He was on his driveway with 3 streetlights all in sight, and a near full moon just rising. We didn't care, we are passionate astronomers and having an opportunity to just set up and look at this beast on his G11 would have been good enough even if it remained cloudy.
Fortunately, the skies cleared up and the clouds had moved away. Despite our horrible lighting conditions, we were ready to have a first light at this beautiful masterpiece.
First off, I'd like to say the 204/F6 was a perfect marriage for the G11 with an optional one foot extension pier installed. For the first time ever, the big mount looked completely matched with a big refractor mounted on it. When I got there, the scope was not balanced on the mount properly. I removed one of the counterweights and ended up with two 21 pound counter weights on the G11. I slid the scope back in its massive stock tube rings because it seemed somewhat front heavy, even with a 2" diagonal and a 41 Panoptic installed. So 41 pounds of counterweights on the G11 was the perfect weight for the big optical tube.
I noticed the Moonlight focuser was adjusted a little too light for his two inch eyepieces, so using an allen wrench, I tightened both screws under the focuser which stiffened up the focuser slightly, and the focuser then felt excellent. When the scope was pointing straight up, the big Panoptic moved like glass in and out of the draw tube. The rotating focuser was extremely fluid, very smooth and precise, exactly what you would have wanted.
With the 12" Losmandy Extension Pier on the mount, the mount was at a perfect height with the tripod legs full extended. Even when pointing straight up, it was at a perfect height for sitting for observing or just leaning forward, and when observing above the roof lines, we were able to stand comfortably. Had we been in open flat horizons, we may have needed one small step on a two step ladder I always take with me. Overall, this scope was matched perfectly to the G11.
With our mediocre skies, I was able to see Cassiopeia and moved the scope over to the double cluster in Perseus. Even with the near full moon about 30 degrees from our target, the big red giants in the double cluster were very prominent and the entire star field was picture perfect pin points. With a big smile, I told my friend Jim that the optics on this scope was excellent. Every star with the widest eyepiece possible was absolutely a perfect pinpoint. It couldn't have been a better image. I panned around and found the ET Cluster, NGC 457. Even with the widefield 41 Pan, the large red and blue star forming the eyes of the ET cluster focuses perfectly. I put in a 14mm ES 100deg eyepiece (85x) and the cluster just jumped into view. Again, perfect pin point stars across the entire field of view, just absolutely perfect optics. This scope had been up for maybe 45 minutes before I started using it, so even in that short amount of cool down time, there were no issues of waiting for the glass to equalize or settle down. The outside temperature was about 55 degrees and despite the clouds just clearing away maybe 2 hrs earlier, there were no signs of puffy stars.
Again, the G11 held the scope perfectly. There was no hint of vibration or settling down time when touching the focuser, nothing, the mount was holding the big scope rock steady. My estimation was that with the 11" D mounting plate, the Massive Istar Tube rings, 2" diagonal and 2" eyepieces, this scope sits on the mount at about 50 to 52 pounds fully loaded. I didn't mount the scope, so at the time I didn't know how heavy it was to hold, but it seems to sit on the mount at about the same weight as my C11 with a 4" F/6 refractor piggy backed on top of my mount, with two 11" DC11 mounting plates on top and bottom of my Aluminum tube C11 with a 2" diagonal and 2" eyepieces. This is the scope the G11 was designed to support, hence the name "G11" for a C11. To me, this mount was also, designed to hold this beautiful Phoenix 204 F/6.
Back to observing, straight above us, I noticed Cygnus, so I put back in the 41 Pan and pointed the scope straight up at M27, the Dumbbell Nebula. The big glass of the scope made the object jump out in the background. We put in the ES14 eyepiece again, and a deep sky filter, and despite the full moon with 3 streetlights in our face, the beautiful dumbbell shape stood out for us to observe. I estimated, with the scope pointing at the Zenith, when using the G11 with the one foot pier extension, the eyepiece height was between 36" to 42", a very comfortable height for sitting in an adjustable chair or just leaning over. Panning around in Cygnus, huge amount of stars were obvious, despite us not being able to make out the Milky Way at all with no optics. Stars again were beautiful. I moved over to Alberio in Cygnus, and the rich gold and blue stars came into view. We put in the 14mm ES100 deg eyepiece again and the stars focused beautifully. I panned around the entire field of view to check the focus over the entire field and the stars remained in sharp focuser everywhere in the eyepiece. There were no signs of spherical aberration anywhere in the field of view. This lens system was absolutely perfect for pin point starts over the entire field of view.
I wanted to take a look at the double double in Lyra, to see if I could split the double double but thin clouds started to moving in.
I tried to point the scope at M81/M82, but one of the streetlights was right below where these galaxies were located, and a big blast of glare just filled up the eyepiece, so I didn’t bother. I moved the scope back over to the east and was just able to make out the great square of Pegasus, so I found M31, M110 and M32 instead even with the moon so bright and nearby. We put in a 9mm ES100mm eyepiece (133x) and M110 and M32 were much more obvious and the star fields around both galaxies as before, were perfect pin points of light. The galaxies were beautiful, the big IStar Phoenix 204 F/6 was laughing at the bright street lights and near full moon skies, and showing off how spectacular its optics were.
In two weeks from now, weather permitting, we will be taking this scope out, along with my C11, and looking to catch our first views of Comet ISON.
Since clouds started to roll in around midnight, we called it a night. Two of us took the scope off the mount, me and Jim, the proud owner of this beautiful scope. He wanted to lift it off himself, but I said there's no reason for that since there were several of us there to observe the first light from the scope.
So I held onto the back of the scope, he swung off the tube rings and he lifted the front of the scope over the rings and held the scope in his arms smiling. His said the scope was heavy, so I reached for it and held it myself. Wow, I had no idea this scope was that heavy. Much heavier than I thought, not because 42 or so pounds is heavy, but because its a very awkward 42 pounds to hold, since there are no handles on this scope when its removed from the tube rings.
To me, it’s completely manageable by one person only, if you consider yourself a healthy average strength male but you have to be extremely careful and take your time in setting it up. Set your tripod legs to as low as possible to mount it. Put your counterweights on first, install the tube rings on the mount, then lift the scope onto the rings and swing over one ring at a time. Doing it this way, on this type of mount, is completely manageable. Then slowly extend each tripod leg a few inches at a time till you get it set up at its maximum height.
If you’re the type of person that always feels you have to rush, forget it, get something smaller and lighter. But if you value your observing, and make it a passion in your life, and don’t feel you have to rush home for “any reason” when your ready to tear down your gear, and enjoy setting up and taking down your gear nearly as much as using it, the extra effort to set up a large refractor like this is well worth it.
This scope is a deep space scope. It should pull in deep space objects comparable to a 10” SCT at least, but with much more pleasing high definition views.
Nevertheless, since Jim and myself always seem to observe together, I mentioned to him there's really no reason to try and set this up by himself and risk either injuring his back, or risk dropping the scope. So we decided its best mount the scope and take it off the mount together.
To me, it’s as heavy as his Meade 12" OTA, but much more awkward to lift and mount. My C14 is much heavier and I prefer to mount my OTA on my G11 by myself, but again, I lift it and rest it on my Robin Cassidy saddle on my G11, something I’ve been doing for 15 years now, but the C14 has handles everywhere making it much easier to mount than the 204 f/6 OTA.
Compared to my 180mm F/6 APM refractor which weighs in at 26 pounds, my 180 is a featherweight. It’s got a sliding dew shield so it’s very compact to transport and set up and I keep my tube rings installed on my scope with a handle on top of the scope which makes mounting it very easy.
Nevertheless, this Phoenix 204 F/6 is absolutely worth the extra effort it takes to mount, because it’s just a magnificent optical instrument. A sliding or removable dew shield option would help make this much more transportable even in a small compact car. A binoview ready option would be nice also, making it a true comet hunter for sweeping the night skies with two eyes.



Ralph Aguirre
Founder of the Sacramento Valley Active Astronomers Group
Sacramento, Calif.


 That was my first light report of that scope, very accurately posted in the ISTAR forum for those members to read. Nowhere did I take the magnification up to 180x to 300x. But thats me. Jim loves pushing his optics and loves to over extend just about everything he looks at, just because its fun to really crank up the power well beyond the threshold of practically. Thats one of the fun things about observing with him. He throws out logic and just has fun. He doesn't care about what he should or shouldn't do based on practically and logic, he just uses every eyepiece, filter and barlow he has and sometimes comes up with some pretty facinating results.

The second report, I wrote on it was the following, written on Oct 18, 2013 at 6:28am, again posted in the ISTAR forum. This seems to coincide with his Night 2 and night 3 review, since I had my C14 out that night, which you also see in the photos. I don’t take my C14 out very often.
Quoted:
I have had a few nights using my friends new PHOENIX WFT 204-6, along with using my C14 and 180mm APM refractor. The Big refractor seems to perform very well, it continues to impress me. Optically, it really is a complement to our group when we have other scopes out with us. The large clear aperture is excellent for large open views of deep sky and large or multiple objects side by side. The scope is very easy to use and reminds me of a large dobsonian, in how it’s so easy to scan any part of the sky to locate objects. This is a huge plus for people with none GoTo mounts who have some trouble locating objects in longer focal length scopes. We tried to stay out to locate the 3 comets in the sky currently, Lovejoy, Eckne and ISON, but during the last new moon, the weather caught us off guard and it was just too cold for us on that one particular Saturday night to stay up till sunrise. We will be trying it again next weekend, being ready for the cold this time.
Its definitely not a bright object telescope. The intense deep purple that comes off of objects like Venus and Jupiter will have you turning away from them. This is no surprise, since this is truly a low to mid power wide field scope. Aside from these two planets so far, the optics have been spectacular.
Under darker skies, objects like the Pleiades just sparkles and shows more nebulosity than I’ve ever seen in a refractor, being able to capture the entire object in one field of view. Andromeda is just dazzling with a 41 Panoptic, the two satellite galaxies, M32 and M110 are nearly as spectacular beside M31, and M31 itself. I can go on and on about how objects look, but the point is, if someone really wants a large refractor, this one would be tough to beat. I did notice that on stars brighter than about mag 2, the deep violet color becomes obvious. Despite that, the scope does do an excellent job at focusing the stars to tiny perfect dots of light, or round perfect balls, depending on the size of the star.
We didn't get to look at the planet Uranus or Neptune during our last outing. I found them with my C14, but I think because of the size of these planets, and other distractions around us during that particular night, we didn't have time to locate them in the big refractor. I didn't personally spend much time hunting for objects in the refractor, but instead just walked over to it and took a peek in the eyepiece once James had located something. I was involved in locating dimmer deep sky objects with my own scope, and let him do his thing with his own scope.
I will say though, that I think the PHOENIX WFT 204-6 can use more light baffling. This won't be an issue at all in dark sites with no low level lighting nearby, but where we were at, there was a building about a block away, and though there were no lights shining on us directly, some stray light was entering the tube until the scope was pointed in a different direction completely. My APM 180 F6, does not have this issue at all, but it has a huge number of light baffles in the tube by comparison. My C14 does not have this issue also. It’s just something to mention, and be aware of, if your observing with low level lighting nearby.
We are moving to a new dark site location in two weeks, that has absolutely no lights visible anywhere, so this won’t be an issue to us from this point on.
The scope doesn't seem to be bad at higher power on dim galaxies and planetary nebulas also. It seems to hit its ceiling at about 150x to 175x, still, this is way above what most would even consider using this scope at. Most of my observing, with most of my scopes, is below this anyways. With the exception of really getting on planets, for example when observing the planet Uranus this last time out, I was up in the 430x to 550x range on my C14, to pull in the 15th magnitude moons of the planet. We haven't tried the 204 on splitting tight double also yet.
Honestly, I would say if anyone ever wanted to consider a large scope like the PHOENIX WFT 204-6, by all means, don't hesitate to get one, if you can handle lifting the weight and your mount can support it. It’s a dream scope that nothing else in its class can compete with, for the price, and for its excellent optics.
Attached are two photos I took of our scopes. One is the 204-6 by itself on a Losmandy G11 with a 1 foot extension pier, the other is beside my C14.
I'll report back in a few weeks after we locate the 3 comets in the sky we currently have.

....Ralph in Sacramento


His Night 3 comments were actually at a new site I found. We didn't see any comets that particular night. I found them myself first, by myself on November 1st, and wrote this article on finding all for in one night:

http://www.cloudynig...one-night-r2849

After that night I wrote my comet article from, we all went out several times and located the comets again and again and again.


There you go. Compile your own conclusions from all of this. But thats all I can add to this on going questioning.

 

My final commet still stands, in that the ISTAR 204 is an amazing refractor and using it the way it was designed to be used, its one of the best you can every hope to own in this size for its price. More so now more than ever, with the much lighterwhite tube 3rd generation coming out.
 

 

...Ralph

 

 

Yes Ralph it's true that Istar says it's maximum magnification is 51x but he also states that people are going well over that into the 300-400 magnification

range with great views.  The color is as one perceives the color.  The longpass makes stars pinpoints of light ,craters and mountain ranges really stand out.

Have to think a bit when I see such conflicting views.  Perhaps your expecting to much from a $3500 telescope.  What does APM charge for there

big 8"?  It's way beyond what I can afford. De Lorme 

 

 

This is interesting that "only" 51x is max in a quality large scope (CA aside). As stated prior on the 7.1" f/6 scope as more like the 8" f/6 Istar as being able to push 300x with stars as pinpoint. Globs in this 7.1" are beautifully resolved at 200x or more. Just read an observing report from early July of the owner using an 3.5mm Delos  (309x) in the 7.1" f/6 refractor. CN user and Mod (Deep Sky) Dave Mitsky observed with him all night, so you might ask him about the large short quality achro views.

 

Still the question here was not answered as what Ralph thinks of James Edwards stellar review :shrug:    


 

Karl
E.O.H.

 

 

Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...r/GalaxyLog4565
Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com/
HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.com
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
Vixen 5" f/5 reflector (new)
TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro
ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.
Celestron 10x60mm Binos



 

 


Edited by aa6ww, 15 August 2014 - 12:40 PM.

 

#39 De Lorme

De Lorme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 842
  • Joined: 30 Dec 2008

Posted 15 August 2014 - 01:22 PM

Ralph,     Your statement that you and James never went to 180x-300x on first light is at best very disturbing.

 

James Edwards first light review says that "we all " looked through the 8"F/6 at magnifications between 180X-300x.

 

Who else was there besides you and James? 

 

You did say that you were doing your own thing with your C14 as was James

with the Comet Hunter and could it be possible that you just missed it or you didn't realize the magnification you were using on the Istar being

distracted by what you where looking at with the C14? 

 

Seems that  would be a significant thing and whoever was there would be

talking about how well the 8"f/6 was doing being that it wasn't designed for such high power.

 

Ralph,   There is a credibility issue here. There is direct conflict between 2 people who had direct involvement.

              We{me}on CloudyNights rely upon such reviews when making serious purchases. 

              Is there an alternative motive here that's going to end up hurting a person{or company}reputation

              plus the harm it's caused by people taking what you said seriously?

 

            Awaiting a final explanation,   De Lorme


 

#40 De Lorme

De Lorme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 842
  • Joined: 30 Dec 2008

Posted 15 August 2014 - 01:33 PM

Ralph, James said that the view between 180X-300x were good even in a bad sky  But you say that this scope isn't capable of such power.

Since you had real doubts about the capability of this scope why didn't you push the magnification yourself to find out.

I wonder what James would say right now?

 

Credibility, Credibility, it's all about Credibility.

 

 

De Lorme


 

#41 stevew

stevew

    Now I've done it

  • -----
  • Posts: 4333
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2006
  • Loc: British Columbia Canada

Posted 15 August 2014 - 08:45 PM

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but not in that order, regarding the 204 F/6


...Ralph in Sacramento.

Great post Ralph!

It's refreshing to read a post about what one can actually expect from a telescope. 

Let's face it, we are all susceptible to wearing "new scope goggles" when trying out our new toys.. 

 

Steve


Edited by stevew, 15 August 2014 - 08:46 PM.

 

#42 De Lorme

De Lorme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 842
  • Joined: 30 Dec 2008

Posted 15 August 2014 - 10:17 PM

Steve, Lets take a look at what James said back in July of this year.

 

I actually NOW use a Minus Violet filter aka " fringe killer"...I do have to say it brings another

dimension to how good this scope truly is, meaning; IT Kicks Some Serious BUTT, planetary and DEEP

SKY!!! I use all the Explore 100 degree eyepieces, down to the 5.5mm, nothing I look at gives off a

"marginal" view, more so it brings out more of what I look at, BS on the fringe aspect, If you haven't

looked through a 8 inch refractor, YOU have nothing to base your opinion on...Northern Cal has not had

decent skies, even last weekend we had to deal with smoke from a fire east of our location...all in

all, the 204 was exceptional, I spent a great deal of time resolving the Elephants trunk and the Iris

nebula but the skies wouldn't cooperate, but the quadrants we spectacular, pin point stars and vivid

dark space...MORE to follow!!

 

Now since Ralph actually didn't push the power of James 8"f/6 but James did who do you think

has more credibility?  Why would you criticize something you have not personally evaluated

{remember he did say He did not push the power but James did because he said James like to}

unless there is a hidden motive of which I'm not inclined to delve into.

Suffice it to say I believe James and I think you should at least  go back and reread James Opinions

on the Comet Hunter starting in January of this year. As for me I'm done with this matter.

 

Only 4 more weeks and then LIFT OFF LOL LOL! De Lorme


 

#43 Dakota1

Dakota1

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 613
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2010
  • Loc: West of the Mississippi

Posted 15 August 2014 - 10:42 PM

+1


 

#44 aa6ww

aa6ww

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 936
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Sacramento, Calif.

Posted 16 August 2014 - 03:48 AM

De Lorme,

Honestly, the local skies we observe in are incapable or visually detecting not only the Elephants trunk Nebula, they are also incapable of detecting the IRIS Nebula, not only with the 204 F/6 but also with my C14.

It’s in the orange zone based on the Bortle Scale. These are not dark skies, they are just darker than my back yard here in Sacramento.

Also research "The Bortle dark sky scale" its a guage astronomers use to check the darkenss of their skies, so they can understand what they are capable of detecting with the gear that they have.

I have seen the IRIS nebula in darker skies in my C14, seeing the beautiful blue nebulosity, but not at the local skies we routinely visit, which are the only skies the 204 F/6 has ever been in.

You may also want to do a little research also on the elephants trunk nebula, and understand the level of dark skies required to detect such an object. Our orange zone is incapable of detecting dark mater like that.

You should also research the effects of seeing and transparancy, and how they effect the quality of objects you are looking at in your scope. It should also help you understand what "1 out of 5 transparency and a ton of moisture in the sky" actually does to optical performance and the effect it has on the quality of stars. Have you ever seen the eskimo nebula? Thats what stars look like at 300x in "1 out of 5 transparency and a ton of moisture in the sky" even in a triplet refractor with beautiful glass.

http://en.wikipedia....onomical_seeing

Here is a gif of how stars appear in different seeing condtions, 1 being the worse condition, and 5 being the best condition. "1 out of 5 transparency and a ton of moisture in the sky" is what James wrote as the sky conditions, when the claim of 300x was performed. "pin point stars between 180 and 300 power" in "1 out of 5 transparency and a ton of moisture in the sky."


http://weather.gc.ca...ages/seeing.gif

This is why I had no intersted in looking through any telescope in 1 out of 5 seeing conditons at higher magnifications.

That gif came from this article:

http://weather.gc.ca...o/seeing_e.html


It would be wise to consider doing a little research on what anyone claims, myself included, when you use that information to make your purchases.

Send me a private message if you want, I'll even give you my telephone number, and we can talk for hrs on anything your interested in regarding astronomy.

I may not tell you what you want to hear, but I'll be honest with you, based on my experiences and knowledge Ive gained in this hobby.

Thats a standing offer I'll give to you. Just send me a private message so we don't beat this dead horse any more out here.


Ralph in Sac.









 

Steve, Lets take a look at what James said back in July of this year.
 
I actually NOW use a Minus Violet filter aka " fringe killer"...I do have to say it brings another
dimension to how good this scope truly is, meaning; IT Kicks Some Serious BUTT, planetary and DEEP
SKY!!! I use all the Explore 100 degree eyepieces, down to the 5.5mm, nothing I look at gives off a
"marginal" view, more so it brings out more of what I look at, BS on the fringe aspect, If you haven't
looked through a 8 inch refractor, YOU have nothing to base your opinion on...Northern Cal has not had
decent skies, even last weekend we had to deal with smoke from a fire east of our location...all in
all, the 204 was exceptional, I spent a great deal of time resolving the Elephants trunk and the Iris
nebula but the skies wouldn't cooperate, but the quadrants we spectacular, pin point stars and vivid
dark space...MORE to follow!!
 
Now since Ralph actually didn't push the power of James 8"f/6 but James did who do you think
has more credibility?  Why would you criticize something you have not personally evaluated
{remember he did say He did not push the power but James did because he said James like to}
unless there is a hidden motive of which I'm not inclined to delve into.
Suffice it to say I believe James and I think you should at least  go back and reread James Opinions
on the Comet Hunter starting in January of this year. As for me I'm done with this matter.
 
Only 4 more weeks and then LIFT OFF LOL LOL! De Lorme


Edited by aa6ww, 16 August 2014 - 12:41 PM.

 

#45 The Ardent

The Ardent

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1185
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:24 AM

I'm very interested in a large Widefield refractor like this, but...

 

I live in the city

I don't like setting up a large eq mount and tripod 

For this scope I need to buy a DM6 

If I go to the dark sky site I can see more with my 18" dob 

 

Still very interested...I would however want a white tube, and shortened 6" for BV'ing....


 

#46 Dakota1

Dakota1

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 613
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2010
  • Loc: West of the Mississippi

Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:41 AM

They are already making a Comet Hunter 2 in a 5.9 inch in the white tube, They say they will have the 8 inch in white also soon. They have cut the weight down some also.    Thanks


 

#47 De Lorme

De Lorme

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 842
  • Joined: 30 Dec 2008

Posted 16 August 2014 - 12:34 PM

Hello Again, Good to be back!   In my mind the 8"F6 isn't a specialty scope{refractor}it's an all around refractor. It has enough strength to pull in globulars,

galaxies and has a wide angle for nebulas.  It's weakness is planets and the moon.  But using the 495 longpass will solve that problem.  If I could see Jupiter the way I see the moon and the color really effected intricate details then their would be a complete re-evaluation.

 

I have high expectations of the 495 Longpass because it's effect on my CR6".  But if need be I will reduce the aperture to 6" and use the Longpass

with it.  If I subtract 15% of the overall light that the Longpass blocks I will then have 90% of a 5"ED giving me the same view as my CR6"

 

I expect though that the quality of the Istar lens to be a full notch above that of my CR6 which is why I'm confident I won't need to reduce the aperture

but just use the Longpass all the time. 

 

The blue wave ranges from 455-492.  Subtract the difference and length is 37nm. If you divide the overall wave length{390nm}into 37nm the total

blue wave length that is block is .0948717.  Taken into account that the red/yellow doesn't come to focus I'm guessing{yes I know very bad lol}

the overall loss off light is 15%{50.24" X 15%=42.704"= 7.375"}

 

With the lens now giving me 7.375"{42.704 SQ"} I don't think I will notice that much of a difference compared to an 8"

 

Now this does concern me. Please tell me what you think about having 42.704" verses 50.24"   Thanks for giving me your advice/opinion.

 

De Lorme


 

#48 drollere

drollere

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1581
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2010
  • Loc: sebastopol, california

Posted 16 August 2014 - 01:56 PM

Any explanation in your mind why yours and James Edwards review are at the opposite end of the spectrum?

 

won't speak for ralph to that question but mr. edwards's review struck me as borderline uninformative ("this scope ROCKS!" "what a BEAST!" "a transparency of 2 out of 5" (huh?), etc.). i'm impressed by a report that disregards optical theoretical considerations for actually looking through the instrument, and describes the optical performance on a variety of targets and magnifications. ralph does both clearly.

 

also, ralph's review is hardly "at the opposite end of the spectrum". if anything he is more emphatically favorable about the telescope because he clearly describes and weighs its drawbacks on bright targets. with edwards you're not sure what he was able to see clearly because he's busy running his fingers over that pebbly black finish while humming the darth vader theme melody. and so many exclamation points!

 

the discussion of magnification gets to ralph's contention that this is really an RFT scope. it might be more accurate to say that you can *primarily use* it as an RFT scope, and at a magnification of 51 it is working at around an exit pupil of 4, which is about a 24 mm eyepiece. with really dark skies it would probably be optimal for RFT viewing to go longer, maybe 30mm and a 5mm EP.


Edited by drollere, 16 August 2014 - 02:17 PM.

 

#49 The Ardent

The Ardent

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1185
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 16 August 2014 - 02:03 PM

We must be like ants to you.


 

#50 drollere

drollere

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1581
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2010
  • Loc: sebastopol, california

Posted 16 August 2014 - 04:14 PM

Ralph, James said that the view between 180X-300x were good even in a bad sky  But you say that this scope isn't capable of such power.

Since you had real doubts about the capability of this scope why didn't you push the magnification yourself to find out.

I wonder what James would say right now?

 

Credibility, Credibility, it's all about Credibility.

 

i can't agree, really. pretty much everything you read in CN about specific equipment or equipment choices ("shoot outs") is unreliable as the basis of purchase decisions, for four reasons:

 

1. happy face.

2. "i was driving drunk on marketing fumes."

3. amateur instrument testing skills (for example, failure to star test the optics/collimation).

4. YMMV (and it almost always does).

 

what's wrong with all that? this is a recreational forum, not a professional one, and nothing you get here should be construed as professional advice. "credibility" and recreation just don't mix.

 

i pointed out why i find a review more informative. but i wouldn't trust ralph's opinion that "i will love the scope" as far as i could throw him. much less, throw the scope.

 

then what's informative about ralph's review? PURPLE; also, not the best choice for planetary/lunar, also that he considers it "the cheapest way to get 8 inches"; also, it's basically an RFT. the fact that he admires it greatly is only an inducement to get more information.


 






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics