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SYW / Yamamoto 108 mm / 1600 mm review

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#1 chris charen

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 04:40 AM

About a month ago I wrote about buying the above scope from my retired optics dealer. I have had it about a week now and I have spent some time giving it a good clean. It was in very good condition to start with. These SYW / Yamamoto 108/1600 scopes are the same optically as the equally rare Tasco 20-T. This version is a 'Sportmaster' they also were sold under the 'Satellite', 'Pearl' and 'Busch' names in the 70's and 80's. The lens is in mint condition and came from Horiguchi optics.
It's build and optical qualities are to say the least excellent. It has a clear aperture of 108 mm [ 4.1/4 in.] with a F/L of 14.8.
The controls are solid and smooth. It comes on a solid pedestal mount, which I prefer to a tripod mount. The 50mm / 500 mm finder with .96in. eyepieces in it self gives great images up to 80x.
CA is not an issue with normal magnifications. Above 280x - 300x some minor purple color fringing can be glimpsed on the edge of the moon but you do have to look for it. It easily would exceed my old Orion ED100 with CA correction and image quality. The scope is heavy and long, about 170lbs, and about 6ft.+ long - it is about 18-20in. longer then a 6in. F/8 refractor, but it can be broken down to 3x parts for transportation outside. The 1.25in. focuser is smooth and the image snaps into view.
Star tests are text book. Stars are pin point sharp. It takes magnifications in the 200x -300x range well. Last night the seeing was not the best and my Meade 6.7 4000 UWA, which gives 240x, gave the best images of Saturn with surface hues and ring detail easily seen. It does give that 'wow' feeling. It cost about $US1500 equivalent - but for me its priceless - I have been desiring a scope like this for 40 odd years. Not only does it give APO like images, but I also spend half my time just looking at it it - it really is a piece of industrial and optical art.

Chris

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#2 chris charen

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 04:40 AM

and

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#3 mustgobigger

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 04:45 AM

i would spend a lot of time looking at it too....very nice,

#4 chris charen

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 04:47 AM

One more

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#5 chris charen

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 06:30 AM

and focuser details.

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  • 5339550-DSCF4077 focus details.jpg


#6 Compressorguy

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 07:10 AM

Absolutely gorgeous scope charen. To acquire one in that condition is unbelievable. Looking forward to hearing more on this scope. Congratulations on your find of a life time.

#7 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 07:21 AM

That is one beautiful scope. :bigshock:

Rich (RLTYS)

#8 Nave

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:03 AM

I have telescope envy.

#9 gelkin

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:10 AM

Looks as though you just brought it home from the store. Beautiful to say the least. Congrats :bow: :bow:

#10 JWW

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 12:54 PM

Very very nice find. IF you ever get tired of it let me know. <smile> I have the SYW Palomar D=101mm F=1600mm and the optics are outstanding.

Thanks for sharing,
-JWW:

#11 gts055

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 09:20 PM

Great telescope Chris, identical to mine, except I see your pier appears to have an extension tube attached above the tray. I have two 4" Unitrons and the SYW clearly outperforms both. Enjoy the long focal length views, Mark

#12 mikey cee

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:03 PM

Chris did you not originally state that the dealer also had a genuine Tasco 20TE in the "back room"? Maybe I misunderstood your original post. Anyways here's a pick of my guidescope brackets. They are almost the same but slightly different. Really you have what appears to be a brand new scope! :shocked: You lucky ducky. :grin: Mike

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  • 5340843-Tasco 20TE April  2010 019 (Medium).jpg


#13 nightpilot

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 11:14 PM

Truly a beautiful scope. It really does look like you just brought it home new. Enjoy.

#14 chris charen

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 01:06 AM

Thanks for the comments. Even my wife thinks it looks great ! gt5555 - yes I have seen photos of your version - the one I have does have the pier extension which adds another 12in. The top of the scope in the first picture is over 7ft. tall and when pointing to the zenith is nearly 9ft. tall - certainly not 'grap and go' ! My optic's dealer also has a Polerax / Unitron 4in. [102mm] 160 version for sale which is only in 'average' condition. I decided to get the this one as it was in much better condition plus I prefer the pier mount and it was 6mm larger. My dealer also has a Tasco 20-T but he is keeping that as its it's his retirement scope. I had it up to 300x last night and the image remained perfect with no zonal errors and the image remained flat and distortion free. The Tasco 20-T version's came with eyepieces that gave it 400x magnification - I will see if it can handle that when the seeing permits. I recently sold my Equinox [EON] ED120 to help finace this scope and I do not regret this one bit, with a scope like this ones gets an 'emotional' attachment, something I did not get with the ED120, even thought it was a great scope. As you would expect this is my 'lifetime' scope. About 30 years ago I had a 3in. SYW but this version leaves it for dead. You really have to see the scope up close to appreciate its size, design and build quality. The chrome is in excellent condition, the scope is perfectly balanced, everything works with machine precision and it looks like a piece of optical art. I will post more info when I have spent more time behind the scope.

Chris

#15 clintwhitman

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 07:20 AM

Chris Kudos on a WONDERFUL FIND!! Thanks for sharing the information and report. It amazes me the high serial number as I don't think they made to many of these at least you sure don't see that many. You mentioned the Horiguchi optics Company, I have seen this company mentioned before by Galakuma / Hiroshi. He said their lenses may have been the ones we find that bare the HOC trade mark. This is something I still have not found a definitive answer to. What is your take on this?
Again enjoy the beautiful SYW it is a very rare bird!!
(aveman

#16 Bonco

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 03:57 PM

Those tall finder mounts are very functional, gets your head away from the eyepieces and OTA when viewing thru the finder. Awesome telescope.
Bill

#17 chris charen

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:30 PM

Hi all - Clint, unsure of the connection with HOC. Most of the info I have gained is on the CN forums. There is not a lot of info on these scopes. There a few basic reviews on a French site I have seen. Galakuma / Hiroshi had written that the lens was made by Horiguchi optics which was the same as an early product of Takahashi seisakusyo. The lens I have is very well figured with excellent light transmission and no ghosting. CA is very minimal. It has the collimating lens cell. I have not even touched the lens and never will - just blown some very light dust off.
I have noticed the rear baffle does vignette a few mm's - presumably to reduce any lens edge distortions.
This is more noticeable when the focuser is extended right out. I use a diagonal which reduces the travel out so it is not a real issue. I am aware the Japanese observers tend to use their refractors 'straight through'.
It does need hi quality eyepieces to maximize its abilities I have a few older Japanese Celestron Ultima Possl's which are nice but I will build up a collection of Televue's as well.
Every morning I say good morning to it and then I look it for 5 minutes - my wife think's I am mad !


Chris

#18 mikey cee

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:09 PM

Chris there are a few on these forums that think we aren't only mad but also crazy. Like I've said too bad they have nothing worth a hoot to look thru or to look at!! :grin: Mike

#19 mikey cee

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:16 PM

Chris here is a pick of my 108mm lens. The dew cap is a slip fit with green felt and is 6-1/8" in diameter. Show us a pic of your lens and cell too if you would please. Thanks. ;) Mike

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  • 5344291-Tasco 20 TE Scope April  2010 001 (Medium).jpg


#20 chris charen

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 10:37 PM

Hi Mike similar to yours

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#21 chris charen

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 10:40 PM

and proud 5'ft.10" owner. [Photo taken by bewildered wife Karen].

Chris

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#22 amicus sidera

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 10:42 PM

Chris, congratulations on a wonderful find! It is indeed a superb instrument, and is certainly a worthy complement to your home.

#23 MacScope

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 08:42 AM

Wonderful scope.

#24 tim53

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 08:51 AM

man, I wish you could get piers like that easily. Or maybe the legs, so I could make a pier and adapter cap to put my Japanese refractors on.

I prefer the piers, though I've never had a refractor come with one. It just seems "tidier" on a pier, with less to bump into in the dark!

[threadjack]
Anyone have experience with these people? Epsilon piers Their piers look most like what you might find with one of the Japanese refractors, except perhaps for the size, I suppose (I've never seen one, though).[/threadjack]

-Tim.

#25 Napersky

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 02:59 PM

Truly awesome!

Here is the mystery that attaches to your scope. It sure looks identical to Mikey Cee's Tasco 20TE which we know was made by Royal Astro. What then is the connection with SYW? Perhaps their scopes were Royal Astro rebrands?

Mark


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