Posted 20 August 2014 - 04:14 AM
The TOA-130 visually is a different experience than the TSA-120. Side by side, the differences are obvious. Its not about the aperture difference, it’s the way the glass performs. Its not just about how the stars look, or the planets look, it’s overall, how even the skies look, how the overall contras lets you see through objects, not just look at them. Its how star light radiates off the stars, you never here people talk about, because they think “pin point” stars define optics.
The 130 doesn't have to be cranked up to be appreciated. Even under 100x, the skies are seductive if you match it with worth eyepieces like the Ethos. In perfect seeing conditions, where the next day, everyone in the forums are talking about how great the conditions were, the optics wont break down. Your upper limits are set by the scopes inability to keep gathering light, not because the optics break down. That’s the 10x pixel density that Takahashi set their standards for when they designed their TOA optics which the camera see's, keeping everything razor sharp, that makes these triplets out perform the Fluorite cousins. Most of the time, the conditions wont let you see that difference, but when the conditions are right, even the visual effect is magical.
People don’t abuse these refractors, and tend to pamper them and go out of their way to keep them pristine. The used market can get you a pristine TOA-130 for the same price as a new TSA-120.
Don’t believe the TOA-130 is a heavy scope. The OTA weights 22 pounds. About the same as a C9.25 Edge OTA in weight. Also the same weight as a Skywatcher Esprit 120ED APO Triplet. No one ever said those scopes were heavy. It’s 5.5 pounds heavier than an FS-128. If you can’t lift a 22 pound scope, then you probably also can’t lift a mount that will support it, so the lighter 120 might be better for you.
I don’t think it’s the weight of the OTA that people complain about when setting up scopes, I think it’s the weight of the mount needed to support whatever scope they have that people complain about.
If you’re going to limit either scopes ability to give you their optimum performance by not matching them to the highest quality eyepieces on the market, I don’t see the point of owning either. People don’t usually go to Costco to buy tires for their Maserati.
The TSA-120 is a scope you have to settle on, because for whatever reason, the TOA-130 is out of your reach. It’s not the other way around.
Having said all of this, it sounds like your really just looking for a small lightweight portable scope that’s easy to set up with great optics. I wonder if you would consider looking at a Skywatcher 120ED with Fluorite glass, they are relatively inexpensive even new, about a 3rd the price of a new TSA-120 and have beautiful optics.
I'm ending this with the Skywatcher comment because sometimes these forums tend to seduce people with Takahashi hype. Everything on the market now is very good. Some are better than others, but the differences are very subtle. The new ED scopes out of China are very very good visual scopes now.