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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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Stephen S
professor emeritus
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Reged: 08/21/07

Loc: Carmel, IN
Search for ultimate grab & go, up next TV NP101
      #5534218 - 11/22/12 05:05 PM

I love this hobby but have very limited time to observe (work/family obligations). So, I continue my quest for the ultimate grab and go system. I need something that sets up quick and cools down fast. GOTO is a plus but quality optics is far more important to me.

My first serious telescope (the one that started it all) was an ETX125PE. Great scope, horrible mount. I tried a couple SCTs on an equatorial mount. Alas, set up time and portability of the system makes these less attractive. Got my first refractor (Vixen ED100sf) with a Vixen Porta Mount and immediately developed a preference for refractors.

The ED100sf has fantastic optics but the housing is a bit rough and the system is quite long, which reduces it's grab and go appeal. I recently got a Stellarvue 80mm APO Triplet thinking this would be the answer. Great scope, super sharp. Fit and finish is fantastic. Alas, I was missing the extra aperture of the 100mm Vixen scope. Bought a Sky90 II thinking it might better meet my needs. The extra light gathering was minimal and the Stellaruve was noticeably sharper with a much better focuser. Traded the Sky90 for a 3.5" Questar (plus some cash on my end). The Questar is awesome, especially as a grab and go all in one system. Matches the Stellarvue in sharpness and offers better contrast (I can't see any false color with either). A very compelling package. In the end, it's still just a 3.5" scope and it's not a refractor.

So... I just made a deal to buy a used NP101 with Feathertouch focuser. I plan to use it with my Porta Mount initially but will likely get a Gibraltar with Sky Tour if I end up keeping the scope. I still have my Vixen, Stellarvue and Questar telescopes. Most certainly will not be hanging on to all four most (one or two at most). Looking forward to doing a head to head comparison once the NP101 arrives. I'm especially intrigued to see how the Questar and NP101 do head to head. I can hardly wait.


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edwincjones
Close Enough
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Reged: 04/10/04

Re: Search for ultimate grab & go, up next TV NP101 new [Re: Stephen S]
      #5534280 - 11/22/12 06:03 PM

my search ended with a Tak Sky90 with 22-7zoom ep

edj


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Moonglum
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/01/08

Re: Search for ultimate grab & go, up next TV NP101 new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5534320 - 11/22/12 06:41 PM

I've a Universal Astronomics Macrostar on it's way for my Stellarvue 102T Triplet(12 lbs with clamshell). I've pretty much given up on the idea of any camera mount for the portability. It only needs to go in the car anyway, not flying with it. I'm starting to give serious thought to a Berlbach UNI-14(Paint it Black!) Total weight with binos and eyepieces should be well under 30lbs.

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Stephen S
professor emeritus
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Reged: 08/21/07

Loc: Carmel, IN
Re: Search for ultimate grab & go, up next TV NP101 new [Re: Moonglum]
      #5534628 - 11/22/12 11:25 PM

I suspect my search will end once I get the NP101. If the TV does not do the trick, I'll be happy to 'settle' for the Questar or Stellarvue, both awesome scopes.

As for the UNI-14, looks very tempting! Alas, one of the advantages of the Gibraltar is the integration with Sky Tour. Then again, if I end up staying with the Questar, the UNI-14 might be a better option. All kind of depends on how the NP101 works for me. I can hardly wait to get my hands on my new (to me) scope!


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Pinbout
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/22/10

Loc: nj
Re: Search for ultimate grab & go, up next TV NP101 new [Re: Stephen S]
      #5534688 - 11/23/12 12:48 AM

I really like my tv genesis sdf on the gibraltar mount



but on DSO's my 127f5.5 that I put together shows so much more.



Still the 4in from a darksky site shows m81/m82 in the same view very brightly.


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Search for ultimate grab & go, up next TV NP101 new [Re: Stephen S]
      #5534782 - 11/23/12 02:37 AM

Quote:

I suspect my search will end once I get the NP101. If the TV does not do the trick, I'll be happy to 'settle' for the Questar or Stellarvue, both awesome scopes.




My search ended when I bought a used NP-101. At 10 lbs and 26 inches, it's just about the biggest scope I will consider as a Grab and Go scope, I use my 80mm F/7 apo when a more compact scope is desired.

I kind of stumbled upon the NP-101 based on recommendations and reputation, I really didn't know I was getting a scope that did all the things the NP-101 does. I was looking for a compact 4 inch that provided top notch color correction and high powered views, I got that, even out of focus, the images seem free of chromatic aberration...

What I wasn't really expecting were the perfect to the edge widefield views. Refractors have significant field curvature, SCTs have field curvature, Newtonians have a combination of Astigmatism and coma... all these things can be corrected to some extent but when pushed to the limit with an eyepiece like the 31mm Nagler, the NP-101 is the one that truly delivers those big wide fields of view that are pinpoint to the edge... 4.5 degrees of perfection.

Jon


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Stephen S
professor emeritus
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Reged: 08/21/07

Loc: Carmel, IN
Re: Search for ultimate grab & go, up next TV NP101 new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5534815 - 11/23/12 03:25 AM

Thanks Jon. Actually, your comments about the NP101 posted elsewhere is partly what swayed me to give this scope a try. I have found you comments in various treads incredibly helpful in general.

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SkyRanger
super member
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Reged: 10/21/10

Loc: Prescott Valley, AZ
Re: Search for ultimate grab & go, up next TV NP101 new [Re: Stephen S]
      #5535930 - 11/23/12 05:39 PM

I love my NP101,and I enthusiastically endorse what Jon said about those perfect pinpoint stars from edge to edge. On my GM8, it is grab and go only for someone stronger than I. On my (recently acquired) Gibraltar with Skytour, it is grab and go, and SO EASY to use.

For high powers I prefer the GM8; for wide fields the Gibraltar (or similar) is wonderful!!

Gordon G

Edited by SkyRanger (11/23/12 05:46 PM)


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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Search for ultimate grab & go, up next TV NP101 new [Re: SkyRanger]
      #5535986 - 11/23/12 06:18 PM

I am greatly enamored of my NP 101: the very flat wide field, the ability to take high power well, the lightness and handiness of the OTA, and the overall excellent build quality add up to the perfect small telescope for me. Mine is a 2009 model, with the old one-speed focuser, which I suppose I really should upgrade one of these days. I like the Gibraltar, but now have mine on a Half-Hitch MK III with Sky Commander. My guess is that you will be very happy.

Give us a report.

Bill


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