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TMB 80/600 (Matthias Wirth Version)

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I have no undisclosed interest in any of the vendors or manufacturers of this product and I purchased the scope through normal commercial channels.

For the past several years I have been searching for the “perfect” combination of telescopes for my viewing needs, a large aperture, quick set-up scope for everyday observing and a small “carry-on” APO for travel and quick looks. My primary interest is visual astronomy, frequently with a binoviewer. I have owned and used the following; Meade 8” Equatorial Starfinder, Celestron G-11, Takahashiahashi FS-78 (for travel), Takahashiahashi FS-102 and Takahashiahashi FS-128 (both on GP-DX), TMB 180 on AP 900 GTO, and Starmaster 14.5” Hybrid with GoTo and Tracking.

I believe that the search and expense may finally be over. For everyday observing I have settled on the Starmaster as a perfect blend of large aperture, super optics and easy, quick set-up.

For travel I have been searching for an APO that would fit in a 9” X 14” X 22” hard shell “carry-on” case with a Takahashi Lapidies Teegul mount and a 2” diagonal. In addition the scope had to be binoviewer friendly (reach focus without a barlow). The Takahashi FS-78 had sort of met this need for several years but had certain limitations. It had to be disassembled to fit in the case ( focuser and dew shield removed from tube) and it was not possible to reach binoviewer focus without a barlow or other corrector. The TMB 80/600 easily meets these criteria, PLUS, PLUS, PLUS.

TMB 80/600 Matthias Version

The Mathias Version TMB 80/600 may be the ultimate combination of superb optics and mechanical craftsmanship in a compact 80 mm APO available on the commercial market. The fit and finish of this scope is extraordinary. The lens is an F7.5 Triplet Flourite designed by Thomas Back. The OTA is a fully machined black anodized aluminum tube crafted by Markus Ludes’ associate Matthias Wirth coupled to the latest version of the Starlight Instruments 2 speed Feather Touch Focuser. According to Markus, only 10 (approximately) of these tubes have been produced. He told me that the scope can still be special ordered with a 2 month lead time at an approximate cost of $2500.00 depending on the exchange rate of the EURO.

Mechanics OTA

This scope was ordered and delivered “al a carte” without finder or tube ring. The scope includes a sliding dew shield, incredibly smooth Starlight Instruments Feathertouch Focuser with tension adjustment, and two internal baffles with an additional baffle built into the dew shield. The OTA design incorporates a removable, threaded extension (2.875” long) between the focuser and the main tube. With the extension removed the scope effectively becomes the “Bizzarro” version of the TMB 80 and will reach focus with a binoviewer without a barlow or other corrector. Better yet, with the extension removed and the dew shield retracted the OTA is a compact 15 1/8” long. At it’s normal operating length (with dew shield extracted and extension in place) it is only 22 3⁄4” long and weighs approximately 6 1⁄2 lbs.

There are no provisions for mounting a finder directly to the OTA. At the time that I ordered the scope I learned that Tim Povlick had designed and constructed a fully machined, black anodized perfectly matched tube ring for his TMB 80 and at the time was offering this Povlick Ring on a special order basis. I purchased the ring and it is truly a work of art, and a significant upgrade to the standard TMB ring, or for that matter, any other ring that

I have seen. It has a flat plate on top which is ideal for mounting a red dot or unit finder such as the Televue Starbeam.

One “potential” negative to the mechanical design, if there is one, is that the lens cells on TMB 80mm scopes do not provide for collimation adjustment with the usual “push/pull” system. The lens is fixed in the cell. I did examine this sample with a cheshire and the collimation appears to be dead on which I later confirmed with the “Star Test”.


The lens cell is the standard TMB 80mm Triplet designed by Thomas Back and manufactured in Russia. This lens cell can be purchased in a variety of OTA configurations, including the TMB CNC and Stellarvue versions. I was told the scope "defies its 80mm aperture. I could use way over 60X per inch and the image stayed solid, with no sign of image breakdown”. I could not have said it better.


I mount this scope on either a Takahashi EM-10 or a Takahashi Lapidies Teegul Alt/Az (for travel and quick looks). Both of these mounts provide a very stable platform for a scope of this size.

Over the past couple of months I have observed with the scope a dozen +or - times and can state that the only limiting factors with this lens are aperture and seeing. There is virtually No Spurious Color on bright objects. Under average New England skies (not often steady) the Star Test (with and without green filter) shows text book perfect identical diffraction rings both inside and outside of focus with zero color.

I usually spend a fair amount of time on Planets, but this year seeing in Southern New England has been a disaster. Recently, I did get one reasonably steady night to test the scope on Saturn. With a 5mm Takahashi LE at 120X the Cassini Division was easily seen along with three moons and some shading on the globe. With the binoviewer at the same magnification the view was pretty much the same, although significantly more comfortable and relaxed. TRAVEL:

The small size and modular nature of the OTA allows it to be stored or carried in a wide variety of cases or travel bags. This scope with Teegul Mount and 2” TV Diagonal easily fits in my rugged 22” X 14” X 9” carry-on case for airline travel and provides a compact, protective storage case for home.


Based on my personal criteria and experience this scope has so far surpassed my greatest expectations. The mechanical design, execution and optics are as good, if not better, than advertised. I believe that I will be hanging on to this little jewel of a scope for quite some time.



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