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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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rolandlinda3
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/24/06

Loc: Crozet VA 22932
Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors
      #5605650 - 01/04/13 10:07 PM

We sent some Antares 80mm f/6 telescopes overseas (desk mounts with slow motion controls) for astronomy kits. They worked well, but it is getting harder to deal with the logistics process to get these. I review options about every 2 years to see if anything else fits the bill better for shipping and overseas use...so it has to be reasonably tough and yet inexpensive. Perfect glass is not the aim. The aim is lots of school kids using it for a long time. If anyone has suggestions about what to look at, I will investigate in 2013. We are looking for something that can repeatedly be ordered, has a simple collapsible mount or a desk mount, and comes with a couple EPs. Orion's short field 80 refractor is a candidate. Any others anyone suggests??

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Scott BeithAdministrator
SRF
*****

Reged: 11/26/03

Loc: Frederick, MD
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #5605673 - 01/04/13 10:23 PM

Orion ST80 is your best bet.

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oo_void
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/13/09

Loc: San Francisco, CA
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: Scott Beith]
      #5605706 - 01/04/13 10:47 PM

My ST80 has become my "daughter's" scope. At start parties, people usually avoid it since it looks so small unless she's manning the mount. Once they look through it though, they're pretty impressed at what a small, $100 refractor can do.

Unfortunately, the cheapest astro mount is probably going to run you close to double the cost of the scope. Though I'm sure something small and lost cost like my little Manfrotto ball mount can handle it (~$50), finding the right hardware to adapt it may be a challenge.

Edited by oo_void (01/04/13 10:48 PM)


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #5605762 - 01/04/13 11:28 PM

What's your target budget for scope + mount?

Regards,

Jim


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sg6
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/14/10

Loc: Norfolk, UK.
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5607032 - 01/05/13 05:52 PM

Your budget is the unknown at present.
A retailer here used to sell a nice 80mm f/7 (I think) scope for around £100 = $150, bit less I seem to recall. It was however just the OTA and that was the retail price.

I assume that they were Chinese in origin.

Problem is they stopped them about a year back and I have not seen any since. They had a good name as the CA control was pretty good.

Best I could suggest if it were an appropriate source was to look round the various Chinese manufacturers and see what they have on offer.


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rolandlinda3
Post Laureate
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Reged: 01/24/06

Loc: Crozet VA 22932
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5607036 - 01/05/13 05:54 PM

About 200 max. It gets involved, because we add things to the kits plus shipping plus training plus binoculars. Sometimes I can get a vendor to cut a deal on a group of 5-10 because we give them away or use them for training, but that does not happen very often. So I look at things 50% higher per chance we can cut a deal. Hope this helps. Thanks for reading...and asking.

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rolandlinda3
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/24/06

Loc: Crozet VA 22932
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #5607046 - 01/05/13 05:57 PM

forgot one thing....when it is all said and done, I have to pack whatever we get into doubled FOREX boxes if the destination is the Philippines...that means tripod pieces (if it has one) have to be less than 34 inches long. If it is somewhere else where we fly, the longest piece must fit in checked luggage...that means less than 28 inches. This is why we use desk mounts more often than not. Lots of vendors advertise portable scopes; almost none have a matching portable tripod.

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #5607235 - 01/05/13 08:17 PM

http://www.vixenoptics.com/refractors/space%20eye.html

How about something like that? $140, slo-mo alt-az mount, 70mm aperture, and tripod legs 27.5" long; just under your limit.

I admire what you're doing, by the way. Great work!

- Jim


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bcuddihee
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/04/06

Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5607249 - 01/05/13 08:29 PM

The Orion 4.5 starblast might be another option.

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bcuddihee
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/04/06

Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: bcuddihee]
      #5607261 - 01/05/13 08:35 PM

Oops wrong forum, still a good option though.

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stevenf
sage


Reged: 10/11/09

Loc: Vancouver, BC
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: bcuddihee]
      #5610142 - 01/07/13 12:32 PM

The Orion GoScope 80mm might work. Doesn't magnify very high and has lots of false colour, but it does have a simple and very usable table top mount.

I have one of those table top Antares mounts you've mentioned, like it quite a bit. I pack it along camping and kayaking, simple, sturdy and sits on the ground very well when a table isn't handy.


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BillP
Postmaster
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Reged: 11/26/06

Loc: Vienna, VA
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #5610726 - 01/07/13 06:56 PM

I have not looked through it, but iOptron 90mm f/5.6 Achro is $189 and comes with 2 eyepieces, 45 degree diagonal, clambshell and vixen plate all for $189. LINK

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: BillP]
      #5610997 - 01/07/13 09:59 PM

Quote:

I have not looked through it, but iOptron 90mm f/5.6 Achro is $189 and comes with 2 eyepieces, 45 degree diagonal, clambshell and vixen plate all for $189. LINK




Bill: I have not seen one in person either but the focuser looks suspiciously like the plastic focuser that is standard on the iOptron 80mm F/5. I just happen to own an iOptron 80mm F/5. While there are plastic focusers that I find acceptable, particular when a scope is very inexpensive, the focuser on my 80mm F/5 is of the poorest quality, well below that of the "$40 at Walmart" Celestron Powerseeker 70.

In my view, the focuser is unacceptable, a deal killer, particularly on a $200 scope.

Jon


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achronut
member


Reged: 01/23/09

Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #5611399 - 01/08/13 06:22 AM

I love your blog. Its great to educate young minds through the beauty of the heavens. I live in Pasig City, Metro Manila btw.

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rolandlinda3
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/24/06

Loc: Crozet VA 22932
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5616322 - 01/10/13 09:42 PM

Thanks. Have found, however, that teaching folks with no background at all means having anything more than f/6 or f.7 makes finding things much more difficult. So, we stay with widefield refractors rather than the long skinny ones.

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rolandlinda3
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/24/06

Loc: Crozet VA 22932
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: bcuddihee]
      #5616329 - 01/10/13 09:44 PM

Have one myself. In the tropics, however, an open tube invites disaster due to high humidity and lots of little kids hands. Teaching adjustment of the star blast would add too much to an already challenging training. We have experimented with a number of things, but the fast refractors always come out ahead.

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rolandlinda3
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/24/06

Loc: Crozet VA 22932
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: BillP]
      #5616333 - 01/10/13 09:45 PM

This one is new to me. I will check it out.

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rolandlinda3
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/24/06

Loc: Crozet VA 22932
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #5616342 - 01/10/13 09:50 PM

Thanks everyone, for your suggestions. We head to the philippines and the schools where we do training and work with the scope kits we have already set up. When we return I will pick up this search and check some things out. Appreciate the readership and responses.

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Mike W
sage


Reged: 04/30/06

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: rolandlinda3]
      #5619100 - 01/12/13 01:45 PM

How about the Edmond scientific Astroscan? They are small and inexpensive (289.00 I believe) and you might be able to get a deal on multiple units. I believe it includes mount (table) and a good eyepiece.(might actually include two rke eyepieces) The tubes are also sealed,

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rolandlinda3
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/24/06

Loc: Crozet VA 22932
Re: Reviewing small fast inexpensive refractors new [Re: Mike W]
      #5621896 - 01/13/13 11:13 PM

Good point, and I had forgotten about this one. Will add it to the list to check.

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