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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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rolandlinda3
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: desertlens]
      #6181350 - 11/07/13 03:57 PM

Great posts everyone. I might try some of these ideas when I accumulate some more funds. By the way, the SV 80 finder is like the 60...it has a helical focuser. I am really not so set on the 80 FM2, so don't think I am not willing to try something, but it is a decent focuser that is "tied" to the diagonal...that is set on the rear piece of the tube that is easily rotatable. There is no "draw tube" in a classic sense. In any case, it is a convenient arrangement.

The Celestron travel scope that Jim mentioned looks good, and I am not familiar with it. I know the tripod is junk and pieces a plastic, but if the optics are average and I can point the thing, that means a villager "outback" can do it. Don't know how tough it is and amazon reviews are generally from non-regular observers, so I cannot read to much into the ratins. Does look like a possibility.

Several have suggested things below 80. While I would like to look at the little 70 travel scope, one reason I don't go much below 80 is because we get better bang for the buck by simply using an affordable binocular. You have to think in terms of schools and way out there. It's not a straightforward decision in developing regions: do you want a 60-70 refractor or a 8x42 binocular? Our kits generally have both a small refractor and a binocular. If I could take only one and I am really cramped, we usually opt to take 8x42 binoculars (bushnell H2O) or even 7x35 (bushnell Falcons), 68 and 25 dollars respectively. Serious observers in the developed areas usually laugh at this, but they generally don't go where we go...and usually don't understand the local limitations. Believe it or not, this solution works when a scope can't be shipped in, and still covers a lot of ground.

Thanks again, all. BTW, Stellarvue did get back to me but no real revelation. Their lighter weight 80 is nice and would fit the weight class of the short tube designs; their optics are very good. The price is much higher, however. For me in this nice developed calm region with money, it's fine like many others. In the backwoods in the Philippines and Uganda...nope.


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terraclarke
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #6181411 - 11/07/13 04:31 PM

I too vote for the ST80. I had the Orion one for years. I sold it when I got my AT72ED because that became my new travel scope, but even though the Orion had a larger aperture, it was considerably lighter. It used to easily fit in a suitcase and was light enough it didn't shift around. It gave great views too. The most bang for the buck of any telescope I have ever owned. Actually, I kind of regret selling it.

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rolandlinda3
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: terraclarke]
      #6181997 - 11/07/13 11:07 PM

I hear you. And the others. Probably will get one in any case. Same thing happened to my wife and me with a C8. We eventually put it in service in a Philippine school, but turned around and bought one for ourselves...then two for our little home-based ministry use. One will go to Mexico and we use the other for training. Reasons are similar to the refractor story: its portable; lot of aperture with light weight; easy to replace (for that size), and an ideal scope for the next level after beginners with a little refractor. It ends up being the primary scope for a school or community...but they go back to a little refractor for more constant use by students. The ST80 will probably be our choice since the Antares 80 is getting harder to come by.

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MooEy
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #6182160 - 11/08/13 01:31 AM Attachment (12 downloads)

did someone mention borg?

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munchmeister
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Reged: 04/04/12

Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: desertlens]
      #6183132 - 11/08/13 02:58 PM

Quote:

I'm using the scope shown for my super portable option: a 60mm SV finder on a monopod. It's true that an 3.75 finder will have significant field curvature but some eyepieces are helpful. Naglers and ES82s seem to have a complimentary FC that is very corrective. The 14 and 18mm ES82s are especially nice. Orthos also do well since I suspect they sweep much of the problem under the field stop. The setup in the photo gives me 9x and a TFoV of 4.66. It is also very flexible with EP choices and filters. The setup weighs about 4.2# including the monopod. Due to hand held issues, the monopod limits me to about 18x (a 12.5 ortho) but I'm OK with that.






PMJI, but I love this idea, with the monopod. Might even be able to use the monopod with and ST80 or AT72ED.

Attaching a long cord/ string to the monopod, with something on the end that you can step on as you are using a monopod, can help a great deal with steadying a monopod and is a very cheap solution. I've used that with a camera on the monopod and it should work ok with a wide field scope. Of course, a light tripod works well.


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desertlens
scholastic sledgehammer
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: munchmeister]
      #6183331 - 11/08/13 05:24 PM

I've tried the monopod with my SV70ED and it works pretty well at low mag. I do think that the helical focuser works better in this application. It's just more convenient and less "in the way". I suspect the OP needs a diagonal and a mount that will allow for more mag but thought I throw the idea out there anyway. I had an excellent session with it last night: the entire sword of Orion with an 18mm ortho and a narrowband filter (yummy). I have a narrow IPD and use this as an alternative to binoculars. I usually sit with it, shorten up the monopod and rest it on my seat for stability. The big advantage for me is the flexibility of the 2" helical focuser with eyepieces and filters.

Edited by desertlens (11/08/13 05:43 PM)


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rolandlinda3
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: desertlens]
      #6200552 - 11/17/13 07:19 PM

We did get the little ST80 for evaluation, and we like the package. It is not quite as beefy as the Antares that we had and still use overseas, but it is lighter, a little smaller, the EPs (couple of Expanse EPs) are much better, the finder scope (8x40) is much better, and the price is right (less than 180 for the OTA, rings&dovetail, 2 EPs, finder scope, and a soft pack). Focuser is tight and smooth. I will test it tomorrow but I doubt it has an issue of any mention. Last, I can get it easily and replace it easily...part of our requirement. Thanks to those who kept suggesting it.

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #6201125 - 11/18/13 06:15 AM

Quote:

We did get the little ST80 for evaluation, and we like the package. It is not quite as beefy as the Antares that we had and still use overseas, but it is lighter, a little smaller, the EPs (couple of Expanse EPs) are much better, the finder scope (8x40) is much better, and the price is right (less than 180 for the OTA, rings&dovetail, 2 EPs, finder scope, and a soft pack). Focuser is tight and smooth. I will test it tomorrow but I doubt it has an issue of any mention. Last, I can get it easily and replace it easily...part of our requirement. Thanks to those who kept suggesting it.




Roland:

If you find that you have issues with the focuser, I can give you some tips on how to improve the action without too much effort..

These are wonderful for all around usage and actually make quite good spotting scopes for observing birds and wild life during the day.

Jon


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rolandlinda3
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #6204316 - 11/19/13 06:16 PM Attachment (15 downloads)

First, Jon, I will take any suggestions you have. It looks like the screws on the focuser can be tightened a bit to give a little more resistance, although mine seems fine right now.

Second, for anyone reading the thread, the ST-80A OTA "kit" that I got was tested last night. The picture shows the OTA kit on the Antares desk mount (we had an extra from the Antares refractor kits that we use overseas). As expected, it is a keeper for a quick and light scope. A couple foibles I found surprised me: the EPs that were included get mixed reviews. The 9 mm Expanse is OK, but the 20mm is just not right. I know the scope is fast, but the EP accentuates the errors unacceptably. A much better choice for EP (and smaller + lighter) is a typical Meade or Celestron 15 or 25 mm EP with a typical 50 deg field. The view is much better...whether terrestrial or astronomical. As you would expect, the field is really fine to about 2/3 away from center, then it gets a bit flaky. That said, it is much lighter than other 80s and tough enough to stand some abuse. This kit had a standard Orion star diagonal, which is OK. I also have an old erect-image diagonal, which worked just fine also. Weight for OTA stripped is 3.8 pounds but it is really 5+ when you add the rings/small Vixen-style bar, diagonal, and EP. The pack with it can pretty much fit everything.

Yes, we would recommend it to newbies rather than a "Walmart-special" variety of scope and it will serve our purpose "outback" and overseas. Consistent with my previous comments, I would not go for less than 80mm. I tested alongside of a 4 inch SV102ED (much better of course) because I wanted to see how the 20mm Expanse EP did with better optics. But the test also reminded me that 80 is about as little light gathering as I want, or I would use a binocular instead. That conclusion is not for everyone, of course, but it is appropriate for our range of use and application.

Thanks everyone. Go buy one if you have not. And, hang on to those "cheap" EPs with standard 50 deg field and any diagonals because they work with this little one just fine. The bare OTA price is well worth it, as others testified, and it's decently light.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #6204326 - 11/19/13 06:23 PM

Roland:

Indeed, the Expanse series is manufactured by Synta, it's one version of the generic Synta 66 degree Widefield. There are four of them, the 20mm, the 15mm, the 9mm and the 6mm. I have owned them all, multiple examples of most.

The 20mm and the 15mm seem to be modified Erfles and like an Erfle, are quite poor in a fast scope but quite wonderful at F/13.. The 9mm and the 6mm are quite different. They are very similar to the TMB Planetary eyepieces (the varies pieces can be swapped between them) with a negative Barlow-like front section and a magnifying rear... that negative-positive design with Barlow-like front section makes for better correction in a fast scope.

Jon


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rolandlinda3
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #6204677 - 11/19/13 09:21 PM

That is very helpful, Jon. We use C8s all the time at home or in outreach, so I will just use the 20 with the f/10s. Even at f/7 on the 102 is was not the best but sounds like it will do fine on the SCTs.

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core
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #6204786 - 11/19/13 10:22 PM

imo a 8x40 finder is not necessary on the ST80, even more so when your criteria is "a true light travel scope", a 1.25" 32mm Plossl will give 12.5x and 4 FOV. A RDF would be much better suited for the ST80.

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Pete-LH
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #6205182 - 11/20/13 07:19 AM Attachment (9 downloads)

Just a couple notes on my part.
I have been looking for a small scope to be both a finder and a wide field addition when using my SCT(s).

I found the SV Finders to be nice as finders but do have the issue with curvature.

I have gone to the Baader Vario (f/4.1) which seems to be better. It has a combination sliding tube RACI 45 deg diagonal and helical focuser. I have tried it with my TAK 1.25 inch diagonal and get great views with my TV 32 deg Plossl (6.2 deg , 8X) and 11mm Nagler (3.42 deg, 23X) and even higher magnifications. In the latter case I could only focus with the sliding tube but I plan to get the Baader diagonal with a helical Eyepiece focuser.

I have also used the older small fast SP series of refractors, in particular the 60S(f/8) and this gives very nice views. Now I have a Vixen 70S guide scope which is reported to be f/6 (I need to check this because all of the other S series scopes were f/8).

I sold the 60S in a moment of weakness.

I have checked both the Vario and 70S on a Camera tripod and I think they are great. I use the 70S with my C9.25.

I am looking for the Fluorite FL70S (F/8). If anyone is interested in a sale or trade please let me know. I think this was Vixens best series-even the R&P focuser.

The Baader Vario can be relatively expensive but I have considered The Tak 60C and Borg 71FL(Still considering) and it is less than half of these. The lens is made Zeiss. I bought mine used. One downside-The diagonal has an illuminator with ten brightness settings and there seems to be no low setting which I prefer. But the brightness of the image and the fine crosshairs make the illuminator no a necessity.

Here is a pic of both scopes.


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t.r.
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: Pete-LH]
      #6205213 - 11/20/13 07:58 AM

I had forgotten about the Baader Vario, that would be a cool travel scope as well me thinks! But, like the OP, I feel 80mm is about the minimum for most and I personally really like what happens at 90mm, which IMHO is the best compromising package of all!

Edited by t.r. (11/20/13 08:02 AM)


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curiosidad
sage


Reged: 06/09/11

Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: t.r.]
      #6206015 - 11/20/13 04:18 PM

Televue 60 maybe ?
Regards.


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JKoelman
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Reged: 05/16/11

Loc: Bangalore, India
Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: curiosidad]
      #6206562 - 11/20/13 09:49 PM

Quote:

Televue 60 maybe ?



Wish that gadget had a 2" focuser...


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JKoelman
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/16/11

Loc: Bangalore, India
Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: JKoelman]
      #6206568 - 11/20/13 09:52 PM

Anyone who has experience with TS's RFT905? In essence an ST80 on steroids: 90 mm aperture, decent 2" focuser, retractable dew shield: http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5616_TS-90-500mm-R...

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Kon Dealer
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Reged: 01/05/11

Loc: Cambridge UK
Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: JKoelman]
      #6207081 - 11/21/13 08:27 AM

Yes- a Kson 102ED f/6 See this thread.
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6198675/page...

CF OTA weighs 5.7lbs and is under 21" long with dewshield withdrawn.


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t.r.
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: JKoelman]
      #6207147 - 11/21/13 09:03 AM

Quote:

Anyone who has experience with TS's RFT905? In essence an ST80 on steroids: 90 mm aperture, decent 2" focuser, retractable dew shield: http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5616_TS-90-500mm-R...




THAT is a cool ST! Thanks for posting it. OPT looks like a dealer for Telescope Service...I have an interest in these small, portable, inexpensive scopes. 90mm to me, really is a sweet spot! I love comparing them and seeing what they are capable of. I play with them more than my larger scopes really due to work, time contraints, yada yada...oh, to be retired! I'll be inquiring with OPT!


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nicknacknock
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Re: A True Light Travel Scope--Possible? new [Re: t.r.]
      #6207199 - 11/21/13 09:41 AM

FYI Teleskop Service ships worldwide.

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