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TEC 7 Mak First Light

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#1 ryderc1

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 03:55 PM

On Tuesday I received one of twelve 7" TEC Mak's that Yuri announced he would produce about a year ago. The scope is an 180mm f/15 with quartz primary. Fit and finish is typical TEC high quality. The scope weighed in at a mere 15.6 pounds with mounting plate and 2" diagonal and is 21" long with about another 9" added by the dewshield.

After an 11-month wait I was anxious to use the scope as well as to compare it to my excellent sample FS-128 refractor. I live just west of Boston which is situated right under the Jet Stream and clear,steady nights are few and far between. So when the local forecast showed clear skies for last night I decided the time was right (or at least as right as it was going to be).

Last night was one of the coldest ones I've observed in.  At 6:30 when I started it was 23 degrees and the temp. had dropped to 9 degrees at 11:15 when I stopped.  The TEC 7 had been out cooling for at least 3 hours before I used it and was set up next to the FS-128 for comparisons. I used a 24 Pan in the TEC most of the time for 113X. I also used a 20XW and 32 Brandon. I mostly used 7 and 10 XW's in the Tak to best match powers between the two scopes.

The Moon was well positioned in the East/Southeast about 65-70 degrees above the horizon when I first viewed it. Views through the TEC were jawdropping. I don't recall seeing so much fine detail through another scope except for my former 14.5" Starmaster on one night of exceptional seeing a few years ago when I was viewing at over 500X. Despite not being able to go much higher than about 135x last night, craters were razor sharp at 110x. The terraced walls on one side of Copernicus were sharply delineated. Ejecta and mountain ranges stood out in 3-D with incredible clarity. The views remained steady for several seconds at a time and then would soften slightly and then return to sharpness again. Use of the fan didn't seem to make a difference one way or the other.

In the Tak the views were very similar but not quite as resolved as in the TEC. And the color tone, while white by anyone's standard, didn't quite match the clinical white tone through the TEC. As a side note, I always felt the TEC 6's I owned were superb lunar scopes for some reason. The TEC 7 falls into the same category but takes the view quality to an even higher level.

My vote went to the TEC for lunar performance.

Next was Jupiter viewing at about 10PM. Views through both scopes were excellent but, again, best views were around 110-120x. Here the TEC edged out the Tak again on raw resolution during steady moments. But the Tak held steady views longer than the TEC.  My guess is that the seeing had deteriorated slightly from earlier in the night and/or heat from my neighbor's house may have been interfering at times because both scopes showed intermittent softness more than when the Moon was the target. A Jupiter shadow transit (I assume one of the smaller moons due to the small shadow size) showed the shadow as tiny but razor sharp. But as the moon approached the planet's disk it looked more pin point sharp in the FS-128 before being obscurred by Jupiter's surface. As on the Moon, the color tone in the TEC was ever so slightly cooler and completely color neutral.

My vote for Jupiter performance was a draw.

M42 was my last main target around 10:45. The E star was visible in each scope. The main differences were that nebulosity took on the slightly green cast in the TEC but remained grey/black in the Tak and stars were more pinpoint in the Tak. I attribute both of these findings to aperture difference. Rigel and the companion star were seen with clean separation but were brighter in the TEC.

My vote for overall M42 performance went to the Tak.

I did some quick star tests of the TEC throughout the night. They confirmed the scope's collimation is spot on. The rings were a bit "busy" due to less than ideal conditions last night as expected. And also as expected from a quality mirror system there was no CA. Rings of white stars out of focus were pure white with no trace of color on either side of focus.

Based on last night I was very impressed with the TEC. I was particularly impressed/relieved to experience how well it seemed to handle the cold and falling temperature without even the need to run the fan. It's small and light and rode perfectly on my Teegul mount with a very comfortable viewing position. The micrometer focuser was smooth and there was zero image shift.  It's a killer lunar scope and my hunch is that on a better night with steadier skies it would leave little room for lunar and planetary improvement for its aperture and would handily outperform the Tak on those targets. Stars would also tighten up under better sky conditions. The Tak may produce tighter stars and be more enjoyable overall more often because of its lesser aperture being able to better handle typical sky conditions in my area. But on good and better nights I think the TEC will really excel. I feel very fortunate being one of the recipients of this one-time production scope. I hope some of the other recipients will chime in with their impressions.

Sorry for the absence of photos. I guess they can't be uploaded from a tablet.
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#2 Erik Bakker

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 04:00 PM

Nice first light report. The best Maks are killer lunar scopes indeed.

Would love to hear how the TEC 7 and FS128 compare during better seeing.
Or how there performance evolve when you take them both out of your warm house and start observing in the cold. In my moist sea climate, it can be very risky to put a scope outside for 3 hours before one starts observing :foreheadslap:


#3 BWAZ

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 04:16 PM

Very interesting and informative shootout, thanks for sharing!

#4 Jeff B

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 05:02 PM

Great read Charles. I'm awaiting my notification from Yuri.

Yeah, I liked my TEC 6 so much I couldn't resist the TEC 7.

Jeff

#5 Bill Barlow

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 07:53 PM

Thanks for the Tec review and comparison with your FS128. Having two high quality telescopes like that must be a treat. I have owned a few Intes-Micro MCT's up to 7" and I can attest to their excellent lunar views. I hope to own another one someday as have had some sellers remorse.

Did you get a chance to view Jupiter that night with both scopes? I'm glad you went out last night as a major snowstorm is bearing down on southern New England for Saturday and Sunday.

Bill

#6 ryderc1

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 09:34 AM

Thanks for the Tec review and comparison with your FS128. Having two high quality telescopes like that must be a treat. I have owned a few Intes-Micro MCT's up to 7" and I can attest to their excellent lunar views. I hope to own another one someday as have had some sellers remorse.



Did you get a chance to view Jupiter that night with both scopes? I'm glad you went out last night as a major snowstorm is bearing down on southern New England for Saturday and Sunday.

Bill


Bill- Yes, I observed Jupiter briefly through both scopes (comments above).
But by the time it had cleared my neighbor's house and become viewable sky conditions had deteriorated somewhat as had I (from cold temp.'s)!
Charlie

#7 dweller25

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 10:59 AM

I have done the same shootout between my Intes Micro 715 and Tak FS-128 and found the same results as the OP. Two very fine scopes.

#8 Eddgie

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 12:48 PM

I bet the differnce is even greater when the seeing allows you to use more power.

TEC builds great telescopes. I am sure that this is about as good as telescopes get from a quality and build standpoint.

Congratulations, and I hope you have a lot of great observing with it.
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#9 spencerj

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 04:50 PM

I think a 7" MCT hits a bit of a sweet spot. It is not too big so you don't run into the accelerating cost and weight and cool down of an 8"-10" MCT, but it does have a clear performance advantage of a 6" MCT. I love my M703, but a TEC 7 . . . yeah . . . I am not envious at all.

#10 contrailmaker

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 05:11 PM

Congrats on acquiring what is sure to become prized collector's item. Great to hear how it performs.

Now.....PICTURES PLEASE :rules:

CM

#11 TG

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 08:18 PM

Pics or it didn't happen. :grin:

#12 ryderc1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:09 PM

OK, here's the proof... :-)

First, the business end:

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  • 6258013-TEC 7 corrector.JPG

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#13 ryderc1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:11 PM

Next, the scope with dewshield attached:

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  • 6258017-TEC 7 Full.JPG

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#14 ryderc1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:12 PM

The rear with micrometer focuser and 2" visual back:

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  • 6258023-TEC 7 Rear.JPG

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#15 ryderc1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:15 PM

And the metal corrector cover (same design as used on TEC apo's):

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  • 6258029-TEC7End cap.JPG

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#16 spencerj

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:55 PM

:goodjob:
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#17 TG

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:07 PM

:bow:

That sure is one fine instrument. I'm suprised at its length, almost looks like a shorter Newt.

Tanveer.

#18 payner

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 05:03 PM

Beautifully crafted telescope. You'll have a lot of great moments at the eyepiece with it ... planets, double stars ....

Best,
Randy

#19 rainycityastro

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 05:23 PM

Beautiful scope! Looks identical to my tec6 other than the much improved dewshield and dewcap.

Do you know what kind of coatings tec is using on this mirror?

#20 ryderc1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:43 PM

I don't know what type of coatings Yuri used on the quartz mirror. He said he'd send me a spec. sheet for the scope soon. Maybe that will indicate the type of coatings used.

I owned three different TEC 6's at various times and one (an earlier one of the 50 produced) delivered a distinctly yellowish cast on lunar and planetary views. It turned out to have Beryl coatings that Yuri had used on a few of the scopes. The coatings were supposed to increase planetary contrast but at the expense of a neutral color rendition. I didn't care for the result.

The TEC 7 views are color neutral and lunar views were spectacular the only night I've been able to use the scope so far, despite mediocre seeing conditions.

#21 Paul G

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:01 PM

OK, here's the proof... :-)

First, the business end:


Sweet! Congrats!

#22 Bill Barlow

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:49 PM

Thanks for the pictures..beautiful MCT! Would love to take a look through the eyepiece. Enjoy! By the way, how does one get on the TEC list for when Yuri is going to build a set of MCT's?

Bill

#23 Moonglum

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 11:08 PM

What an incredibly exciting scope to show up on your doorstep. I'd like to ask about the ring mounts in your picture- I don't know what else to call them. I bet they shave off about 3 pounds over a standard, all-the-way-around ringset. But are they adjustable, or do they even need to be, if you say loaded up with binoviewers and a pair of heavy eye-pieces, can the partial rings and plate assembly be slid or remounted closer towards the backend?
If you are binoviewing with it you might want to buy a shorter visual back. Baader still sells one I think.
I still can't get over the weight, or rather, lack of weight. You could easily mount it on a inexpensive Macrostar and heavy wood surveyor's tripod. Total weight in the low 40's- move it around in the backyard.

Kirk

#24 A6Q6

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 11:23 PM

Beautiful! Thanks for the pictures.

#25 pop

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 03:12 PM

May I post my TEC-7 pic here?

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  • 6260308-tec7_01.jpg

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