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Orion Starblast 62mm

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#1 McLovin

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 09:20 PM

Are these scopes any good? I am ready for an upgrade and I travel to North Dakota (dark skies) on business once a month. The idea of bringing a scope and tripod with me is very appealing.
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#2 McLovin

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 02:30 PM

I am a little surprised at the total lack of user info on this unit. I cant find a single review of the optics any where online. The reviews on the Orion page are entirely vague and useless. Aside from that it is as if the whole world has shunned this telescope.

#3 caheaton

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 02:47 PM

Here's a link that offers a bit of info on this scope.  I've been eyeing it myself, but can't quite bring myself to pull the trigger.  For me, pros are it's light weight and flat fields, cons are the relatively small aperture and single speed focuser.



#4 mikegro

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 12:08 AM

Interesting.  One of the flaws I see is the lack of a 2" focuser and it's only a single-speed.  That 45 degree diagonal would probably not be good for astronomy either.  There's probably some CA since it's not an apochromat but I don't see any specific posts about it.  Looks like there was a discussion about this in another thread a while back:  http://www.cloudynig...-refractor-yet/

 

I'd also seriously consider the AT72ED for about the same price; or if you have a flexible budget perhaps the SV60 would be worth a look.

 

-Mike


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#5 caheaton

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 12:56 AM

Seems I forgot my link in the previous post.  Here 'tis

http://www.astromart...ified_id=779484



#6 Binojunky

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 11:56 AM

I have one, its been used mainly for day time viewing, its a Petzvel design, lovely quality, comes with a high end 45 degree dielectric diagonal and two eyepieces plus a hard case, a SV 60 will cost you $200 more, a TV 60 $400+ more, depends on your budget but remember its only 62mm , DA.



#7 aa6ww

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Posted 31 December 2014 - 08:10 AM

It seems like a very nice well thought out compact refractor. 62mm is plenty of aperture to observe the moon and an entire assortment of deep space objects including the entire messier 110 objects under dark skies. Remember Jay Reynolds Freeman's big accomplishment of completing the entire Herschel 400 using a 55mm Vixen Refractor.


Whoever put this package together knew what they are doing. You just cant push the magnification high enough to where a micro focuser would make any difference. The smart idea here is that it comes with a crayford focuser, so you can adjust that focuser to be as glassy smooth as you want to support any 1.25" diagonal and eyepieces you can install on it. You'll never miss a micro focuser, and the extra weight and bulk of one of them on such a compact scope would make it heavier and bulky.

62mm at F 8.4 should give you excellent color correction, about as good as a 4" F/13 classic refractor. Images of the moon should be clear and sharp, and at 520mm FL, you should be able to squeeze out 110x with for example a quality 4.7mm Exploor Scientific eye-piece, for looking at close up features of the moon, or maybe trying to get Saturn large enough to appreciate the rings or Jupiter large enough to see some if its bands.

But that much magnification isn't necessary at all, that would be more like approaching the ceiling of its limits, maybe a little more, maybe a little less depending on what your looking at and the seeing conditions.

I would think this scope would be nice at the lower magnifications, at 50x or less, where you can appreciate asterisms, open clusters, even a few of the larger galaxies like Andromeda, The Sombrero Galaxy or even M81 and M82 side by side.

Orion seems to be selling this as more of a terrestrial telescope, since it comes with an erect imaging diagonal. That may work for astronomical use, but a 90 deg star diagonal may be a better option and easier on your neck also for astronomical observing. A few high quality 1.25" eyepieces would enhance your night time observing also. You should be able to squeeze out just over 3 degrees actual field of view out of this scope with a 24mm 68 deg Panoptic or 24mm ES 68 deg eyepiece also.

Don't forget that this scope would also work well as a solar scope for white light solar observing, or even with a Coronado 40mm H-alpha filter or maybe a 50mm Lunt or even a even a 60mm H-alpha filter if you have the interest and money for one of these.

I wonder if people are just purchasing the Orion ST-80 over this scope as an entire package with a carry case and tube rings, finderscope, 90 deg star diagonal and dovetail at half the price, which may be why there's not much written on it. This scope seems to be a tiny EON, based on how well its made and its higher quality overall built vs the ST-80.

I had a William optics 66mm scope similar to one of these but I never gave it enough attention so I gave it to a girl at my job who loved it. During that time, I was more hung up on 2" accessories, but now I have an entire collection of 1.25" ES eyepeices, so a tiny scope like this seems kinda fun.

...Ralph
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#8 Binojunky

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Posted 31 December 2014 - 11:12 AM

It seems like a very nice well thought out compact refractor. 62mm is plenty of aperture to observe the moon and an entire assortment of deep space objects including the entire messier 110 objects under dark skies. Remember Jay Reynolds Freeman's big accomplishment of completing the entire Herschel 400 using a 55mm Vixen Refractor.


Whoever put this package together knew what they are doing. You just cant push the magnification high enough to where a micro focuser would make any difference. The smart idea here is that it comes with a crayford focuser, so you can adjust that focuser to be as glassy smooth as you want to support any 1.25" diagonal and eyepieces you can install on it. You'll never miss a micro focuser, and the extra weight and bulk of one of them on such a compact scope would make it heavier and bulky.

62mm at F 8.4 should give you excellent color correction, about as good as a 4" F/13 classic refractor. Images of the moon should be clear and sharp, and at 520mm FL, you should be able to squeeze out 110x with for example a quality 4.7mm Exploor Scientific eye-piece, for looking at close up features of the moon, or maybe trying to get Saturn large enough to appreciate the rings or Jupiter large enough to see some if its bands.

But that much magnification isn't necessary at all, that would be more like approaching the ceiling of its limits, maybe a little more, maybe a little less depending on what your looking at and the seeing conditions.

I would think this scope would be nice at the lower magnifications, at 50x or less, where you can appreciate asterisms, open clusters, even a few of the larger galaxies like Andromeda, The Sombrero Galaxy or even M81 and M82 side by side.

Orion seems to be selling this as more of a terrestrial telescope, since it comes with an erect imaging diagonal. That may work for astronomical use, but a 90 deg star diagonal may be a better option and easier on your neck also for astronomical observing. A few high quality 1.25" eyepieces would enhance your night time observing also. You should be able to squeeze out just over 3 degrees actual field of view out of this scope with a 24mm 68 deg Panoptic or 24mm ES 68 deg eyepiece also.

Don't forget that this scope would also work well as a solar scope for white light solar observing, or even with a Coronado 40mm H-alpha filter or maybe a 50mm Lunt or even a even a 60mm H-alpha filter if you have the interest and money for one of these.

I wonder if people are just purchasing the Orion ST-80 over this scope as an entire package with a carry case and tube rings, finderscope, 90 deg star diagonal and dovetail at half the price, which may be why there's not much written on it. This scope seems to be a tiny EON, based on how well its made and its higher quality overall built vs the ST-80.

I had a William optics 66mm scope similar to one of these but I never gave it enough attention so I gave it to a girl at my job who loved it. During that time, I was more hung up on 2" accessories, but now I have an entire collection of 1.25" ES eyepeices, so a tiny scope like this seems kinda fun.

...Ralph

I forgot to add its  Made in Taiwan, the construction and finish is the same as the early WO scopes, rather sexy :lol: , DA.



#9 caheaton

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Posted 03 January 2015 - 09:47 PM

If anyone's interested, Amazon has these on sale for $280

 

Wow...Price jumped up to 399 shortly after I placed my order!

 

Good deals on Amazon of late.  The C5 dipped down to $323 shortly after Christmas...almost bit but decided I didn't really need it.


Edited by caheaton, 03 January 2015 - 10:30 PM.


#10 mikee

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Posted 03 January 2015 - 10:55 PM

I saw it at $280 and now back at $399 too!   



#11 caheaton

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 12:22 AM

I went ahead and grabbed one to use for imaging on a SmartEQ Pro.  I was wavering for a week between the AT72 or the Starblast, but finally decided to go with the Starblast.  It's 2 pounds lighter, which was the big deciding factor.  The slower focal ratio I can likely make up for by using a focal reducer.  The AT72 just felt too close in size to me ES80.  Later if (when) I decide to upgrade to a heaver duty mount (that can autoguide) I figure I can always use the Starblast as a guide scope.


Edited by caheaton, 04 January 2015 - 12:23 AM.


#12 mikee

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 11:42 AM

I saw it again for $279 and grabbed it - it's back up to $399 again.     Any idea if the dovetail can rotate to support a side mounted mount (e.g. Dwarfstar, etc)?  It doesn't mention it in the specs that the focuser is rotatable.     Right now I have a Manfrotto HDV502AH so it's fine as is but was thinking of maybe selling that and getting a Dwarfstar for a super light travel setup.



#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 01:40 PM

Interesting.  One of the flaws I see is the lack of a 2" focuser and it's only a single-speed.  That 45 degree diagonal would probably not be good for astronomy either.  There's probably some CA since it's not an apochromat but I don't see any specific posts about it.  Looks like there was a discussion about this in another thread a while back:  http://www.cloudynig...-refractor-yet/

 

I'd also seriously consider the AT72ED for about the same price; or if you have a flexible budget perhaps the SV60 would be worth a look.

 

-Mike

 

Mike:

 

It never made much sense to me.  

 

It's a 62mm achromat with some sort of a 4 lens system that would seem to be a focal reducer/field flattener but at 13 inches and F/8.4, that doesn't quite make sense, not sure what is going on inside, it's almost like it has focal extender rather than a focal reducer.  With the relatively long focal length and 1.25 inch focuser, it's limited to a 3 degree field of view, something a small scope like this could excel at.  I would imagine the color correction is decent but the CA visible, based on the F/8.4 focal ratio it has a chromatic ratio of 3.4, it would similar to an 80mm F/11 which will definitely show CA on objects like Venus, the planets, as well as during the day at higher magnifications..  

 

It's lighter than the AT-72ED but the cost is about the same and the AT-72 is almost certainly a better all around performer.. 

 

:shrug:

 

Jon



#14 caheaton

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 04:53 PM

From what I've seen, I'm pretty sure the dove tail does not rotate.  Jon, I agree the AT72 is a better scope and if the Starblast had been 399 then the choice would have been clear...go with the AT72.  But for 279 the choice becomes fuzzier, especially with my existing scope stable.  If it doesn't work out, I can still pick up an AT72 at a future date, but I wanted to give this little guy a try.  It's light weight just allows it to work in a lot of situations (XHD tripod, SmartEQ mount, as a guide scope, etc).  



#15 MitchisMitch

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 06:37 PM

Mclovin I also travel to ND for work. Usually Minot or Watford. If I already had a #1 scope and some extra $$, this might be my first choice for a travel scope.

#16 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 08:37 PM

From what I've seen, I'm pretty sure the dove tail does not rotate.  Jon, I agree the AT72 is a better scope and if the Starblast had been 399 then the choice would have been clear...go with the AT72.  But for 279 the choice becomes fuzzier, especially with my existing scope stable.  If it doesn't work out, I can still pick up an AT72 at a future date, but I wanted to give this little guy a try.  It's light weight just allows it to work in a lot of situations (XHD tripod, SmartEQ mount, as a guide scope, etc).  

 

There is a healthy used market for AT-72EDs, they're about $300... I got mine for $250.. 

 

Jon

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#17 mikee

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 08:30 AM

Playing devils advocate here but the used price doesn't change that they weight 2 pounds more then the Starblast which for many use cases is significant.     Another *feature* on the StarBlast is that it only has a 1.25" focuser so I won't be tempted to put my 35mm Panoptic in it and end up buying a bigger mount and then a bigger tripod and then a bigger car and then a bigger house :p   


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#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 10:11 AM

Playing devils advocate here but the used price doesn't change that they weight 2 pounds more then the Starblast which for many use cases is significant.     Another *feature* on the StarBlast is that it only has a 1.25" focuser so I won't be tempted to put my 35mm Panoptic in it and end up buying a bigger mount and then a bigger tripod and then a bigger car and then a bigger house :p   

 

In that same vein, the smaller aperture and less perfect optics means one is less likely to waste time viewing the planets and splitting double stars.. :)

 

At the Starblast's full, $400 price, the scope I would consider for comparison is the 65mm Celestron Regal M2.  It's a ED birding scope so it's waterproof, rugged and durable as well as having the good color correction.  It's slightly lighter than the Starblast and somewhat more expensive, $469 versus $400.  It's a correct image design but it uses Porro prisms rather than roof/Amici prisms so there should be no spiking typical of roof prisms.  One big plus is that while it comes with typical zoom, it accepts standard 1.25 inch eyepieces so it offers the promise of providing quite wide fields of view as well as high magnifications (for a 65mm with it's ED optics.)

 

Jon



#19 mikee

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 10:26 AM

Haha - 

 

 

Playing devils advocate here but the used price doesn't change that they weight 2 pounds more then the Starblast which for many use cases is significant.     Another *feature* on the StarBlast is that it only has a 1.25" focuser so I won't be tempted to put my 35mm Panoptic in it and end up buying a bigger mount and then a bigger tripod and then a bigger car and then a bigger house :p   

 

In that same vein, the smaller aperture and less perfect optics means one is less likely to waste time viewing the planets and splitting double stars.. :)

 

Jon

 

Haha  - Touche!

 

My $279 priced Starblast gets here tomorrow so I'll give a full report if the snow, clouds, rain, high winds ever stop...   I've owned both a ZS66 and a SV66 which other then 6mm aperture are pretty much the same scope as the AT72ED so at least I'll have some vague memories to compare to  :grin:



#20 Binojunky

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 11:42 AM

 

Playing devils advocate here but the used price doesn't change that they weight 2 pounds more then the Starblast which for many use cases is significant.     Another *feature* on the StarBlast is that it only has a 1.25" focuser so I won't be tempted to put my 35mm Panoptic in it and end up buying a bigger mount and then a bigger tripod and then a bigger car and then a bigger house :p   

 

In that same vein, the smaller aperture and less perfect optics means one is less likely to waste time viewing the planets and splitting double stars.. :)

 

At the Starblast's full, $400 price, the scope I would consider for comparison is the 65mm Celestron Regal M2.  It's a ED birding scope so it's waterproof, rugged and durable as well as having the good color correction.  It's slightly lighter than the Starblast and somewhat more expensive, $469 versus $400.  It's a correct image design but it uses Porro prisms rather than roof/Amici prisms so there should be no spiking typical of roof prisms.  One big plus is that while it comes with typical zoom, it accepts standard 1.25 inch eyepieces so it offers the promise of providing quite wide fields of view as well as high magnifications (for a 65mm with it's ED optics.)

 

Jon

 

Jon, I have both the Orion 62mm Starblast and the Celestron Regal M2, the Orion is a far more competent scope for higher magnifcation night sky  once you replace the supplied diagonal which is 45degree unit with a 90degree one, the Celestron  which uses a two speed focuser will not handle higher magnifications as well as the Orion. You can improve it by replacing the stock zoom eyepiece with other types. Price wise it seems the Orion can be bought for less than the Celestron Regal, however if you are looking for a scope that is mainly for daytime use and weather proof the Celestron Regal is an excellent buy for the money, DA.



#21 kmparsons

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:00 PM

As the author of one of the "vague and useless" reviews of this scope at the Orion site, let me try to be a bit more specific: This is an excellent travel scope, easily portable with diagonal and eyepieces in your carry-on luggage. The optics are very sharp with a flat field and very little CA--at least to my eyes. It is excellent for lunar observation with copious detail and vivid contrast. It also excels on brighter deep sky objects, such as the Perseus Double Cluster. The stars in open clusters are pinpoint across the field. I find the 520 mm focal length to be a convenient middle range between the very short and the very long. The single-speed focuser is very smooth and you should not have any trouble achieving perfect focus even at higher magnifications. The coatings on the objective are highly effective. The objective nearly disappears when you look straight down the tube, which is also well baffled. I prefer to use a 90 degree dielectric diagonal rather than the 45 degree one supplied with the scope. The scope comes with a very sturdy case and some good accessories. I paid $399 for it, and definitely consider it worthwhile.At $280 I would consider it a steal. BTW, it also fits perfectly on the Orion XHD photo tripod, for convenient viewing.  


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#22 Binojunky

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:29 PM

As the author of one of the "vague and useless" reviews of this scope at the Orion site, let me try to be a bit more specific: This is an excellent travel scope, easily portable with diagonal and eyepieces in your carry-on luggage. The optics are very sharp with a flat field and very little CA--at least to my eyes. It is excellent for lunar observation with copious detail and vivid contrast. It also excels on brighter deep sky objects, such as the Perseus Double Cluster. The stars in open clusters are pinpoint across the field. I find the 520 mm focal length to be a convenient middle range between the very short and the very long. The single-speed focuser is very smooth and you should not have any trouble achieving perfect focus even at higher magnifications. The coatings on the objective are highly effective. The objective nearly disappears when you look straight down the tube, which is also well baffled. I prefer to use a 90 degree dielectric diagonal rather than the 45 degree one supplied with the scope. The scope comes with a very sturdy case and some good accessories. I paid $399 for it, and definitely consider it worthwhile.At $280 I would consider it a steal. BTW, it also fits perfectly on the Orion XHD photo tripod, for convenient viewing.  

+1 , DA.



#23 mikee

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:39 PM

Thanks Keith - very helpful.



#24 caheaton

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 01:52 PM

Thank you from here too.  I plan to use mine on a SmartEQ for imaging, but I also own the XHD tripod and will use it on there as well for quick looks and for travel when space is limited.  (My main travel scopes in the past have been the ETX80 and the 100mm F/6...both a bit too large sometimes to pack such on my trip last winter to an island in the Gulf where the ferry limited how much could be brought...so I limited myself to bino's...next time I'll be bringing this little guy for a closer look at Omega Centauri!) 



#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 04:26 PM

 

Jon, I have both the Orion 62mm Starblast and the Celestron Regal M2, the Orion is a far more competent scope for higher magnifcation night sky  once you replace the supplied diagonal which is 45degree unit with a 90degree one, the Celestron  which uses a two speed focuser will not handle higher magnifications as well as the Orion. You can improve it by replacing the stock zoom eyepiece with other types. Price wise it seems the Orion can be bought for less than the Celestron Regal, however if you are looking for a scope that is mainly for daytime use and weather proof the Celestron Regal is an excellent buy for the money, DA.

 

I am interested in how the Regal performs with standard astronomy eyepieces.. How does it compare to the Orion?  I was figuring both scopes would be used with eyepieces other than those supplied.

 

Jon




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