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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
TEC 140 or TMB130ss
      #5820966 - 04/24/13 10:20 PM

If you had to choose one... I'm curious because i'm looking to get myself an apo, it's got to be a keeper, can't afford more than one and don't wan't to be left wondering if i should have held out for the TEC... Is the difference in aperture that significant with respect to these 2 scopes, or is the 130 so good that there would be literally no point in spending the extra dough the get a 2nd hand TEC

Basically looking for some opinions and maybe first hand experience backed reviews. There are plenty of reviews for these individual scopes and they're both stellar, but has anyone had them side-by-side and really assessed the diff? Or is it even worth asking, just go for the TMB130

clear skies


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blueman
Photon Catcher
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Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5820986 - 04/24/13 10:33 PM

Can't go wrong with the TEC, it is a very good scope and has a lifetime warranty too.
Blueman


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watcher
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/21/07

Loc: St. Louis, MO
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5821000 - 04/24/13 10:44 PM

The TEC is definitely in another league. Is it worth the difference? Hand crafted in the USA and made so close to optical perfection that any better would probably not be detectable by any one. But the TMB is no slouch either. The extra half inch would be nice, but I don't know that I'd pay 1500 + more for it. I would probably go even a little cheaper and go for the Astro-Tech 130, especially if you're going to have to use it on an LXD55 for any length of time, you'll appreciate the shorter moment arm.

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jrbarnett
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Reged: 02/28/06

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Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5821003 - 04/24/13 10:44 PM

As in all things...it depends.

Depends on (a) how deep you pocket is, (b) whether it will be your main or only or largest aperture scope, (c) whether you have a mount capable of handling the larger TEC, and (d) whether your seeing supports the extra resolution of the larger instrument.

Another point. The TEC holds its value extremely well, depreciating less than 10% from new on the secondary market. $600 is $600 but $600 extra dollars buys you a brand new TEC rather than a used one ($5000 used vs. $5600 new). By the same token, particularly if cost is a significant factor, a used TMB SS130 would likely be considerably less than a new one, and from a pure value perspective that might be hard to beat. IMO the TEC does better on a G-11/GCE class mount than it does on a CGEM/Atlas class or smaller mount. A TMB SS130 might be workable on a CG5 class mount, in contrast.

There's a lot to like about either scope, but the answers to the questions posed above should help steer you to the better choice for your particular preferences.

Regards,

Jim


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dhaval
professor emeritus
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Reged: 07/21/08

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Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5821017 - 04/24/13 10:55 PM

Like Jim says, it depends!

However, that being said, if those two scopes are the two that you have narrowed down, then I would go with the TEC. Apart from the amazing quality, Yuri is a great guy to work with. It will give you a lifetime worth of joy - whether it is imaging or viewing.

But then again, I am biased towards TEC - so take my word with a grain of salt!!

Dhaval


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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: dhaval]
      #5821063 - 04/24/13 11:21 PM

ahh, the proverbial pocket, not very deep these days.. in any event,for the moment, my CT Duo T can handle either scope, i think :/

Although i have thought about taking the plunge and getting a TEC for what seems an eternity, the TMB at 2900 looks so darn sweet and priced to move..

i guess what i'm really after, is an idea of just how different the views would be given dark skies and stable-ish atmosphere, etc.. side-by-side, say some fuzzies, doubles, planets and moon, hec when the sun comes up throw it into the mix.. how marked is / would the diff be, because in answer to Jim's question, this would be my primary visual (no AP here) large aperture scope..


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Kent10
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 05/08/12

Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5821087 - 04/24/13 11:33 PM

Not precisely the review you had in mind but it does compare the Tec 140 with a 130 aperture.

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=2749


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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: Kent10]
      #5821111 - 04/24/13 11:52 PM

actually Kent, that's a pretty good review.. essentially stating that all things being equal, the average eye would not discern the views between the differing apertures... or are there certain conditions where one really outshines the other, seriously...10mm is less than a half an inch.. does it come down to 2.5k for an extra half inch.. is it reeeeaaaally worth it? or is it like putting a Porsche next to a Rolls or something like that? What would be the ultimate justification aside from having more money than to know what to do with? considering the 2 scopes in question of course

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NHRob
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Reged: 08/27/04

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5821374 - 04/25/13 07:15 AM

I once owned a TEC140 and took it to a star party where someone else setup next to me with a TMB130 CNC classic. We spent a lot of time going back and forth comparing views of Saturn and bright DSOs. Both had amazing optics so there was nothing wanting for either in quality. Contrast was similar. What was surprising was how close they were in performance. At first glance the views were similar. It took a bit before you noticed a somewhat brighter image in the TEC. If you had to pick one, either would make you happy.
Still, I preferred the TEC140 .. probably mostly psychological.


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DaveJ
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Reged: 01/07/05

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5821418 - 04/25/13 07:45 AM

Quote:

If you had to choose one... I'm curious because i'm looking to get myself an apo, it's got to be a keeper, can't afford more than one and don't wan't to be left wondering if i should have held out for the TEC... Is the difference in aperture that significant with respect to these 2 scopes, or is the 130 so good that there would be literally no point in spending the extra dough the get a 2nd hand TEC




I fell in love with a fellow observer's TEC 140. I thought I couldn't afford one (and didn't want to buy used nor wait for a new one to be built) and ordered a TMB130SS when they were first announced. I received the TMB130SS three months later and thought I loved it - and I did right up to the moment I set up next to another TEC 140. I immediately put the TMB130SS up for sale and sold it quickly. I ordered a new TEC 140 from Yuri at TEC and waited nine months for it. It arrived five years ago. It was my dream scope then and remains my dream scope now, perfect for me in every way. I mount mine on a six year old CGE and I smile every time I look through it. By delaying the purchase by buying the TMB130SS I lost $600. Buy what you want rather than what's available even if it takes a while to save up the difference - you'll be further ahead. Lesson learned.


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RAKing
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Reged: 12/28/07

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Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: NHRob]
      #5821434 - 04/25/13 08:05 AM

I guess I am qualified to write about this because I just sold my beloved TMB130SS and still have my equally beloved TEC 140.

I do a lot of variable star estimates and both scopes work well for this - plus they are virtually equal in performance under normal operating conditions. The 10mm greater aperture of the TEC barely gains me an extra tenth (0.1) in magnitude and both scopes usually top out at 12.2 magnitude under my suburban skies. Other than the aperture difference, they both produce the beautiful triplet apochromatic views that you should expect. The TEC is slightly brighter, but that's it. My TMB's optics were just as good and it performed as well as my old TOA 130.

Both scopes have the exact same focuser - the magnificent FeatherTouch 3545. Yuri's new TEC focuser looks exactly like the 3545, but he has embellished it with a new TEC logo.

Both scopes are close in weight, but the TMB is the heavier of the two by about a pound. I happily used my TMB 130 on a Losmandy GM-8 for about six months until my Mach 1 finally showed up. It worked fine for visual observing, but I wouldn't chance it for imaging.

The Bottom Line for me: I finally had to let one of my 5 inch refractors go again and it was a toss up - again. The first time I did this, I sold the TOA 130 and kept the TMB 130. The Tak was great, but the optics weren't any better than the TMB, the FeatherTouch focuser of the TMB is better, and the Tak was way too heavy for me. This time, I let my TMB 130 go. It was a tough call and the only reason I chose the TEC over the TMB is because it was a Christmas present from my wonderful spouse!

If you can find a decent TEC, it will run about $2K more than a TMB 130. Either one can be the scope of a lifetime.

Cheers,

Ron


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LLEEGE
True Blue
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Reged: 03/03/05

Loc: Cloud-chester,NY
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: RAKing]
      #5821454 - 04/25/13 08:23 AM

What focuser is on the 130SS? The original or the FeatherTouch?

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olivdeso
super member


Reged: 02/20/11

Loc: Paris FR
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: DaveJ]
      #5821477 - 04/25/13 08:49 AM

The TEC might be more suitable for visual use even at high magnification. It will cool down faster, will always have a excellent contrast at high magnification due to both its oil spaced triplet and tight manufacturing tolerances.

The TMB 130SS is also using the same FPL53ED glass, but it is an air spaced triplet. It may have a little bit color correction on a widder spectrum, which could give smaller stars in photographic use. The glass of the signature series is figured in far east, while the older TMB/APM was manufactured in Russia using OK4 glass instaed of FPL53.
If the figuring is as good as my astrotech AT106, then it should be excelent for photographic use.

For visual use, I would rather choose the TEC140 (which has also proven results in photographic use)

The TOA130 has a completly different formula : it is a wide cook air triplet, using 2 FPL53 glasses instead of one for all the other. This gives an extremly low spherochromatism (i.e. it is as good in violet as in green and red, which is not the case for classical triplets). So it is suitable for solar/calcium imaging for instance, keeping an high enough strehl, while the classical triplets will fall well below the diffraction limit at the same wavelength. So it has the widder corrected spectrum of the 130-140mm refractors.
On the other hand it takes a long time to cool down and its wide corrected spectrum is not really needed for visual use. It is also much heavier than a TMB130 or an AP130.

Edited by olivdeso (04/25/13 09:01 AM)


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DaveJ
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Reged: 01/07/05

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Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #5821496 - 04/25/13 08:59 AM

Quote:

What focuser is on the 130SS? The original or the FeatherTouch?




Hi Luke, since RAKing stated that his TMB130SS and TEC 140 both had the Feathertouch 3545 focusers, I'm going to assume you were asking me the question. My then-new TMB130SS arrived with the original asian-made focuser and I wasn't happy with it at all. I took the option of exchanging it for the Feathertouch 3545 that was available at a substantial price savings as soon as that was offered. So both my TMB130SS and TEC 140 had the Feathertouch 3545. As RAKing stated, it is a magnificent focuser. From the TEC user group, people are equally, or more, impressed with the new TEC focuser that is made in-house, and this has been stated by owners that have used both.


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DaveJ
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/07/05

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: olivdeso]
      #5821514 - 04/25/13 09:06 AM

Quote:

The TEC might be more suitable for visual use even at high magnification. It will cool down faster, will always have a excellent contrast at high magnification due to both its oil spaced triplet and tight manufacturing tolerances.




It's quite normal for me to run the power close to 400X on nights of less-than-perfect seeing. That's between 65X and 70X per inch of aperture. You're correct about the fast cool-down, too. What can I say, the TEC 140 is simply perfect for me. Since the first time I used it, I have never once thought about changing it out for something else.


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t.r.
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Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: RAKing]
      #5821531 - 04/25/13 09:13 AM

Ron was the only one so far to attempt to quantify the difference the extra 10mm will provide. I can add that after comparing side-by-side a TEC140(owned 3 yrs) and an AP130GT for an entire year, the difference is noticable but not at all obvious or revelationary. On planetary there will be no additional micro detail (spots, ovals etc) but what macro detail (belt/zone) there is will be slightly enhanced in color saturation and definition. On DSO's there is slighty enhanced nebulosity, but much less so than what planetary detail is enhanced and you really have to go looking for it. The real difference between these sizes is what Jim mentions...size, weight, portability and cost.

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LLEEGE
True Blue
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Reged: 03/03/05

Loc: Cloud-chester,NY
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: DaveJ]
      #5821632 - 04/25/13 09:40 AM

Quote:

Quote:

What focuser is on the 130SS? The original or the FeatherTouch?




Hi Luke, since RAKing stated that his TMB130SS and TEC 140 both had the Feathertouch 3545 focusers, I'm going to assume you were asking me the question. My then-new TMB130SS arrived with the original asian-made focuser and I wasn't happy with it at all. I took the option of exchanging it for the Feathertouch 3545 that was available at a substantial price savings as soon as that was offered. So both my TMB130SS and TEC 140 had the Feathertouch 3545. As RAKing stated, it is a magnificent focuser. From the TEC user group, people are equally, or more, impressed with the new TEC focuser that is made in-house, and this has been stated by owners that have used both.


No, my question was to the OP. $2,900 seems like a good price if it has the FT option.

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Mike Clemens
Frozen to Eyepiece
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Reged: 11/26/05

Loc: Alaska, USA
Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #5821859 - 04/25/13 11:37 AM

TMB130SS are 4 grand aren't they? not 2900

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gatorengineer
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Reged: 02/28/05

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Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: Mike Clemens]
      #5821901 - 04/25/13 11:56 AM

If your looking at a chinese scope why not an explore 127.... you will find stellar reviews on that scope as well?

There is no particular magic to a TMB scope as its a TMB design, as are some William Optics scopes...


Otherwise you are comparing an apple and a basketball.....


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jrbarnett
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Re: TEC 140 or TMB130ss new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5821914 - 04/25/13 12:03 PM

I don't think the TEC would be happy on the CT alt-az mount. The TEC is VERY front heavy and long to boot. It will sit way back in the saddle, and put the eyepiece in a bad position, as well as potentially being interfered with by tripod legs.

If you don't plan on getting a beefier mount if you get the TEC, I would go with the shorter TMB I think, though it's $4k rather than $2.9k as far as I know.

As far as what you'll see between the two, it really depends on whether the target and magnification chosen are capable of highlighting a detectable difference. DSO viewing with a 3mm exit pupil will be similar in each scope. Planetary observing under steady skies at high magnification may favor the larger TEC. Under so-so seeing, maybe not as much.

I know that you've narrowed your search down to these two, but unless you really don't want to go down the path of re-evaluating your options, I'd be curious as to what other scopes you considered and decided not to pursue. I ask because there are an ever-increasing number of choices it seems, and it's possible that there are refractors much less costly than either the TMB or TEC that, for visual use, would serve you just as well, and certainly live more happily on your existing mounts.

For example, I really like this one:

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4688_TS-120-900mm-...

Synta FPL-53 120mm f/7.5 doublet optics that cool quickly in a quality Long Perng tube assembly with a nice 3" focuser, with a hard case and rings. It will be a lighter, better balanced (front to rear) scope than either triplet. Because you're not in Europe, you don't pay the tax (VAT) so it's 19% lower priced for you. It works out to be around $1800 plus shipping. In the US it will be rare because the rebrander is a German company. It will actually be more "exotic" than the TEC or TMB.

The visual difference between this scope and the TEC will be easier to spot, but the visual difference between this scope and the TMB will be just as hard to detect as the visual difference between the TMB and the TEC. But I have a solution for that. Read on...

You liked the TMB, in part, because you had a $2.9k price level in mind. Say you picked up the TS120ED for $1.8k. That's a $1.1k savings.

120mm is less than 130mm and a lot less than 140mm. But for $0.8k (leaving you with $300 out of your $2.9k TMB budget) you could pick up an orange tubed C8 from Highpoint Scientific, giving you a great combination of wide and crisp with the 120mm and narrow and deep with the C8, and best of all either or both will ride happily on your existing mounts.

http://www.highpointscientific.com/product/11069-OTA/Celestron-C8-SCT-OTA-Ora...

Your largest aperture would be 8" and you would also have a large refractor in the stable, and still be a few hundred dollars ahead of the game and many thousands of dollars richer than if you went with the TEC.

There are so many options today at every budget, sometimes it pays to think in terms of multiple OTAs to achieve different goals within a given budget.

In any case, best of luck with your scope hunt.

- Jim


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