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Equipment Discussions >> Classic Telescopes

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starman876
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Reged: 04/28/08

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Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes
      #6345508 - 01/30/14 04:14 PM

I thought we should do the inverse of is bigger better. Now let's find out why we prefer a smaller scope most of the time versus that big light bucket. I know it is ease of use. But what is it about that smaller scopes optics you like so much.

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rdandrea
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/13/10

Loc: Colorado, USA DM59ra
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #6345523 - 01/30/14 04:25 PM

Takes me three trips out the door to use my bigger scopes. One trip to use the smaller scopes. Consequently, unless I need the big scope for something specific, I am much more likely to drag out a small scope.

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choran
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: rdandrea]
      #6345566 - 01/30/14 04:45 PM

My experience with very small scopes is extremely limited, but so far it seems to me that they darken the sky better than larger ones. They certainly have their obvious limits, but I happen to like the view characterized by a very dark sky and tiny pinpoint stars. I would not want to have a very small scope as my only one, but they definitely have a purpose. It's just a very pretty, sort of intimate, view. Not to mention the ease to setup and transport. The only problem I've encountered are the very small finders typically involved. I view through my left eye, so most are awkwardly positioned for me.

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amicus sidera
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: rdandrea]
      #6345572 - 01/30/14 04:47 PM

Bigger scopes usually have smaller fields of view, are more affected (aesthetically, at least) by poor seeing, take longer to acclimate to the outside air temperature, are heavier and generally more unwieldy.

Beyond a certain point, light grasp and resolution aren't everything; small can be (and often is) beautiful-er.


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starman876
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Loc: VA
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6345598 - 01/30/14 05:00 PM

Now these answers are much more freindly to deal with
seems you guys really like your small scopes and I can understand why. I really enjoy taking a quality scope to view with outside with one hand. And those small scopes do provide you with beautiful pin point stars.


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patg43
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Reged: 12/20/13

Loc: Union, Washington
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #6345604 - 01/30/14 05:04 PM

We like the planetary detail through the baby refractor. It is stunning!

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wfj
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Reged: 01/10/08

Loc: California, Santa Cruz County
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #6345627 - 01/30/14 05:10 PM

Smaller scopes are better to travel with.

My daughter went to French Polynesia last semester and had a scope weight budget of 6 pounds for telescope, eyepieces, mount and tripod. Couldn't even take a 6" mirror alone for that.

She then came back and we went for MAVEN's launch at Canaveral - we were viewing the launch from the NASA Causeway at 40x. No way security would let us truck in her SCT with fork and locking triangle tripod


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CharlieB
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/11/07

Loc: Southern NH
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #6345711 - 01/30/14 06:07 PM

There is something very pleasing to my eye when I see a nice double star with almost planetary-like Airy disks surrounded by perfect diffraction rings. Eps Lyrae though a very good 50mm scope is gorgeous. Albireo is stupendous. You just don't get the same kind of view from a larger scope with more resolution.

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Geo31
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Reged: 01/28/13

Loc: Kingwood, TX
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: CharlieB]
      #6345727 - 01/30/14 06:16 PM

Questar über alles...

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Geo31
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Reged: 01/28/13

Loc: Kingwood, TX
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: Geo31]
      #6345731 - 01/30/14 06:18 PM

I don't know about you, but every night I'd sure like to look through the 82" I looked through on Sunday night.

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John_Gillies
Vendor - Earthwin Optical
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Reged: 04/23/03

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: Geo31]
      #6345795 - 01/30/14 06:52 PM

As much as I like having a 102 on top of the 14" for wide field views, I just can't get into a small scope set-up. I'd much rather set up the 15X70 binoculars on a tripod and use two eyes. I've always been amazed at how much one can find with reasonable size binos, and how quickly!

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SpooPoker
sage
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Reged: 06/04/13

Loc: North Bay CA
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: John_Gillies]
      #6345877 - 01/30/14 07:38 PM

It would not surprise me if, on average, smaller telescopes were optically of better quality than their larger brethren.

Beyond that, usability / portability is a small scope's main advantage. That and they are better catered for 1 - 2" seeing conditions.


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rolo
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Reged: 01/14/07

Loc: GA, USA
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: starman876]
      #6345968 - 01/30/14 08:32 PM

...not much you can do with three to four inches. I have never seen a small refactor outperferform a larger quality scope....ever!

Edited by rolo (01/30/14 09:13 PM)


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Mr Greybush
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/16/13

Loc: Virginia
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: rolo]
      #6345975 - 01/30/14 08:35 PM



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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: SpooPoker]
      #6346053 - 01/30/14 09:19 PM

Some interesting comments.. I don't think of small scopes being better than large scope or large scopes being better than small scopes, I think that small scopes are better suited for certain tasks, large scopes are better suited for certain other tasks. One of my little saying: Small scopes for large objects, large scopes for small objects...

I do spend a lot of time looking through my smaller scopes, my two favorites are an 80mm F/7 apo and a 101mm F/5.4 apo made by Televue. This pair is pretty much big brother and little brother, both have very good, color free optics, both have focal lengths about 550mm and are capable of fields of view in excess of 4 degrees.. the 80mm is smaller and handier, the 101mm is a bit bigger and more capable and optically more perfect. Both perform admirably, for their apertures, at low magnifications and high, cool quickly and are easier to setup... they represent less effort in preparation...

There are small scopes that are a real hassle to setup and use...There are small scopes that do not provide wide fields of view, the classic 3 inch F/16 refractor with the 0.965 inch focuser is good for about 1.0 degrees....

A few comments:

- The darkness of the background sky is determined by the exit pupil and is pretty much independent of aperture. Smaller scopes are generally worked closer to the limit so small exit pupils are more commonly used.

- I find double stars are quite wonderful in all scopes. Some pairs are better suited for smaller scopes, some pairs are better suited for larger scopes. The mention was made of the double-double (2.3 arc-seconds) in a 50mm, this is the Dawes limit for a 50mm. A very similar view to this would be a 0.46 arc-second double in a 250mm scope. The conditions required for such a split are not so common but when every thing comes together, such splits are very memorable and every bit as pristine and perfect as the wider split in the smaller scope.

- Seeing and small scopes. Small scopes are less affected by poor seeing because they are less capable. But 1-2 arc-second seeing definitely favors a relatively large scope, something on the order of 12 inches, for planetary viewing.

Something else: Small scopes are easier to push to the limit. Objects at the limit are larger, easier to find and working at the limit does not require such favorable conditions.

Another of my little sayings:

I like small scopes, I like big scopes.. both are good.

Jon


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actionhac
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Reged: 08/09/08

Loc: Seattle
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: Mr Greybush]
      #6346057 - 01/30/14 09:20 PM Attachment (6 downloads)

Yes smaller is better this lens has my helper exhausted!

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youngamateur42
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Reged: 11/21/12

Loc: La Verne, CA
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: actionhac]
      #6346087 - 01/30/14 09:37 PM

While my little 70mm is no classic, I can say I have seen so much through it. The trained eye can reveal much detail in smaller scopes, more than you would think. My 70 is nice because it weights about 6.5 pounds, so at end of the night it's a quick teardown. The views are of course aesthetically pleasing, the long focal length provides a contrasty. These statements could be made about most of the small 60-80mm range classics, I'm just using mine as an example.

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fjs
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 03/25/13

Loc: Olympic Peninsula, USA
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: actionhac]
      #6346118 - 01/30/14 09:50 PM

Robert, I love all your shop assistants, and medical helpers!

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KWB
Postmaster
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Reged: 09/30/06

Loc: Westminster,Co Elev.5400 feet
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: rolo]
      #6346119 - 01/30/14 09:52 PM

Quote:

...not much you can do with three to four inches. I have never seen a small refactor outperferform a larger quality scope....ever!



I firmly believe in different size and design telescopes for different tasks.

For scanning a star rich constellation like Scorpius at low power using Nagler type eyepieces,an 80mm telescope operating at F/6 of F/7 would be my tool of choice. If that were my main target for the evening,a 10 inch Dobsonian wouldn't even be close to coming out of the house.

IMO no one telescope or just one telescope design/type can cover all the bases for my viewing.


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rcwolpert
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/13/12

Loc: San Jose, CA
Re: Are smaller scopes better than bigger scopes new [Re: youngamateur42]
      #6346127 - 01/30/14 09:57 PM

Yes, at times. On the 14th I had quadruple bypass heart surgery. Tonight, 16 days later, I was able to place my 4" Vixen f/6.5 on the Losmandy mount (that stays outside), and enjoy a few minutes with Jupiter before clouds rolled in. The 10 lbs of the Vixen is the most I'm allowed to lift at this time. It great to have a few small scopes around. They certainly have their place.

- Bob


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