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Vixen ED102SS and Takahashi FC100DL: Brief comparison

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#1 John Huntley

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 04:04 AM

Over the past couple of clear nights I've had both my 15 year old Vixen ED102SS F/6.5 and my new Tak FC100DL F/9 on the same mount to compare them. The targets have been Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, the Moon and some tightish double stars. This post is just a summary rather than anything in-depth on the scopes though.

While the Tak showed no CA whatsoever on anything whether in or out of focus, the Vixen did pretty well and just showed a very small splash of CA around Vega. No CA around the lunar limb, and the planets at focus and the usual ed doublet CA traces showing in the intra and extra focal image.

The star test on the Tak was pretty much identical inside and outside focus and textbook at focus. The Vixen again does quite nicely but the 1st diffraction ring is a little brighter than ideal and certainly brighter than the Tak's. Tight, uneven brightness, double stars are easier to split with the Tak because of this I think.

Both scopes showed more or less similar detail and contrast on the planets but I was conscious of having to look harder to find it with the Vixen and, as the magnification exceeded 200x the image in the Tak remained sharp and well composed while the Vixen started to lag a little. The Tak handles 200x plus pretty much as well as my (rather good) ED120 does with just slightly dimmer images. 257x and even 300x make you forget sometimes that you just have 3.9" of aperture to play with !

So the Tak FC100DL outperformed the Vixen ED102SS by a small but noticeable margin on these nights at least. The Vixen is still a lovely little refractor IMHO and it's wide field capability combined with pretty decent high power viewing will keep it in my possession  

The Tak FC100DL is my 1st Tak and my 1st refractor with a fluorite lens element and I can now understand what the owners of similar Tak models and the Vixen FL's are so enthusiastic about :)

Edited by John Huntley, 21 June 2016 - 04:10 AM.

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#2 Erik Bakker

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 07:56 AM

John, that's a good start with your first fluorite.

 

Just wait and see what happens if the seeing enter the 9/10 range OR when the skies get very dark and transparent. Magic   :bow:


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#3 Steve D.

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 08:01 AM

Congrats on acquiring your DL.   From the all reviews, it is a keeper for sure.   Hard to beat the quality view from a slow Apo refractor.


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#4 gnowellsct

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 12:16 PM

One doesn't see a lot written about the ED102SS f/6.5.  I note that even at f/9 your Tak has a minimum magnification of 22.5x and could give a three degree field of view. That's not as good as the 4.25 degrees of the Vixen, but it's still good.  

 

Another reason to hang on to the Vixen is that the used price doesn't really compensate you for the quality of the product.  

 

Greg N


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#5 BillP

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 12:25 PM

John,

 

Nice concise and to-the-point review :waytogo:



#6 GShaffer

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 01:07 PM

One doesn't see a lot written about the ED102SS f/6.5.  I note that even at f/9 your Tak has a minimum magnification of 22.5x and could give a three degree field of view. That's not as good as the 4.25 degrees of the Vixen, but it's still good.  

 

Another reason to hang on to the Vixen is that the used price doesn't really compensate you for the quality of the product.  

 

Greg N

 

No you don't....but what you do find on it is usually quite favorable. I know mine isn't going anywhere and I enjoy using it. They also rarely pop up for sale these days.


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#7 donadani

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:31 AM

Hi guys,

 

yesterday I was too lazy to build up any mount or bigger scope - but as the sky was near perfect I decided to bring out just my grab&go scope a Vixen ED102SS on a small tripod with AZ-mount.

 

First I watched as usual Jupiter at magnifications up to 180x giving a great view as seeing was really good - all the moons was solid little discs and the planet itself showed lots of details in the bands. Then slewing over to Saturn that showed Cassini surrounding the planet and faint bands on the disc.

 

But what really impressed me most then was putting in a 31mm Nagler and just walk throught the sky... Starting around Antares with its deep red glow - going through Sagitarius with lots and lots of stars and open clusters - then up through Aquila ending in Lyra where suddenly popped M57 in the field of view inviting me just to scale magnification up again smile.gif I sat there at least for 2h lost in space wink.gif

 

This in mind this morning I looked around for some info´s about Vixens "shorty" and found this post and thought to share some experiences and pics would be a good idea wink.gif - so here some pics of the the setup:

 

 

[attachment=883870:ED102ss_5.jpg]

Scope on a little Berlebach tripod with ICS Skydob3 - the complete combo can be carried around with one hand - so real grab&go. And the the Skydob is real pleasure to use - when the scope is roughly balanced you can turn around the tube very smooth and it stays in evey position you stop it. When tightening the fixtures the view stays right where it is not drifting away as I found it with some other mounts of this type...

 

 

[attachment=883871:ED102ss_4.jpg]

Latest edition of the ED102S in white tube - nice but the black paint is not at the same quality standard as those of the older scopes... Weight of the tube with rings and Vixen style dove-tail is 3.6kg

 

 

[attachment=883872:ED102ss_6.jpg]

...Made in Japan - at least the optics smile.gif

 

 

[attachment=883873:ED102ss_3.jpg]

The lens - startest is textbook! and couldn´t be any better

 

 

[attachment=883874:ED102ss.jpg]

...older pic of the scope in "action"

 

 

Would be interesting how the scope compares directly against a Tak FC-100DC... but finally I´m really deep impressed by the power of this little fun-maker - and next to it´s optics I really like it´s "Stormtrooper" look too - if stormtroopers ever would carry a scope with them - this would be the one wink.gif

 

cs

Chris


Edited by donadani, 19 June 2017 - 08:03 AM.

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#8 donadani

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:30 AM

Best sunshine weather today, I´m on holiday and just sit on my balkony drinking some cold drinks and can´t stop playing around with this thing wink.gif

 

 

While scanning around in the neighbourhood wink.gif and hunting some planes I found some nice fir cones at the end of the garden with the sun reflecting very strong in some fresh tree gum... perfect thing to do a startest smile.gif woww this scope is so well corrected - I just took my cam and made some shots through the eypiece:

 

[attachment=883974:s_Startest_1i.jpg]

Inside focus (or was it outside???) 

 

 

[attachment=883975:s_startest2f.jpg]

at focus (or close to it) the light blurring is caused by the cam

 

 

[attachment=883976:s_startest3e.jpg]

Outside focus (well or the other way round...)

 

Magnification is only about 100x but shows absolute the same as at 250x at the night sky smile.gif Btw. the diagonal stripes are caused by the Baader Dachkant prism - nice at day but not useable at night.

 

So not very scientific - but maybe interesting... smile.gif

 

cs

Chris


Edited by donadani, 19 June 2017 - 11:39 AM.

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#9 John Huntley

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 02:38 PM

My Vixen ED102SS star tests well with very similar intra and extra focal diffraction patterns. The difference I have noticed between the Vixen star test and that delivered by the Tak FC-100DL is that, at focus, the 1st diffraction ring shown by the Vixen is a little brighter and thicker than the Taks. Now whether that is down to the difference between F/6.5 and F/9, Fluourite v's ED glass or lens figure I'm not 100% sure hmm.gif



#10 donadani

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 03:20 PM

Hi John,

 

I would rate the FC-100DL (as well as all other FC´s) for sure to be the better scope! When going up in magnification the Vixen ED clearly shows that it not really is an apo - but I think that´s clear at this f-factor and with only some FPL glas.

 

On the other hand I saw many other scopes from Vixen as well as Takahashi and others that did not show such a nice symmetrical and identical intra/extra focus pattern like this ED - if yours is that fine too - you can be really happy! I would bet not all of them are. I´m just always happy if doing a startest and find this grate of correction in the patterns and in focus a clear airy disc with diffraction ring - then you know the manufactur pushed the maximum out of the given design.

 

After taking the photos I put in a Vixen 2mm HR eyepiece and tested the same - I could see many small airydiscs at all the reflections ;) great! But here all the little discs were vey colorfull ;)

 

cs

Chris 


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#11 DaveTinning

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 03:54 PM

Great summary, John, if 2 very different, but both wonderful scopes.

 

Thanks for sharing.

Dave


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#12 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 12:58 AM

Over the past couple of clear nights I've had both my 15 year old Vixen ED102SS F/6.5 and my new Tak FC100DL F/9 on the same mount to compare them. The targets have been Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, the Moon and some tightish double stars. This post is just a summary rather than anything in-depth on the scopes though.

While the Tak showed no CA whatsoever on anything whether in or out of focus, the Vixen did pretty well and just showed a very small splash of CA around Vega. No CA around the lunar limb, and the planets at focus and the usual ed doublet CA traces showing in the intra and extra focal image.

The star test on the Tak was pretty much identical inside and outside focus and textbook at focus. The Vixen again does quite nicely but the 1st diffraction ring is a little brighter than ideal and certainly brighter than the Tak's. Tight, uneven brightness, double stars are easier to split with the Tak because of this I think.

Both scopes showed more or less similar detail and contrast on the planets but I was conscious of having to look harder to find it with the Vixen and, as the magnification exceeded 200x the image in the Tak remained sharp and well composed while the Vixen started to lag a little. The Tak handles 200x plus pretty much as well as my (rather good) ED120 does with just slightly dimmer images. 257x and even 300x make you forget sometimes that you just have 3.9" of aperture to play with !

So the Tak FC100DL outperformed the Vixen ED102SS by a small but noticeable margin on these nights at least. The Vixen is still a lovely little refractor IMHO and it's wide field capability combined with pretty decent high power viewing will keep it in my possession  

The Tak FC100DL is my 1st Tak and my 1st refractor with a fluorite lens element and I can now understand what the owners of similar Tak models and the Vixen FL's are so enthusiastic about smile.gif

 

 

Good job John.


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#13 25585

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 06:00 AM

Over the past couple of clear nights I've had both my 15 year old Vixen ED102SS F/6.5 and my new Tak FC100DL F/9 on the same mount to compare them. The targets have been Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, the Moon and some tightish double stars. This post is just a summary rather than anything in-depth on the scopes though.

While the Tak showed no CA whatsoever on anything whether in or out of focus, the Vixen did pretty well and just showed a very small splash of CA around Vega. No CA around the lunar limb, and the planets at focus and the usual ed doublet CA traces showing in the intra and extra focal image.

The star test on the Tak was pretty much identical inside and outside focus and textbook at focus. The Vixen again does quite nicely but the 1st diffraction ring is a little brighter than ideal and certainly brighter than the Tak's. Tight, uneven brightness, double stars are easier to split with the Tak because of this I think.

Both scopes showed more or less similar detail and contrast on the planets but I was conscious of having to look harder to find it with the Vixen and, as the magnification exceeded 200x the image in the Tak remained sharp and well composed while the Vixen started to lag a little. The Tak handles 200x plus pretty much as well as my (rather good) ED120 does with just slightly dimmer images. 257x and even 300x make you forget sometimes that you just have 3.9" of aperture to play with !

So the Tak FC100DL outperformed the Vixen ED102SS by a small but noticeable margin on these nights at least. The Vixen is still a lovely little refractor IMHO and it's wide field capability combined with pretty decent high power viewing will keep it in my possession  

The Tak FC100DL is my 1st Tak and my 1st refractor with a fluorite lens element and I can now understand what the owners of similar Tak models and the Vixen FL's are so enthusiastic about smile.gif

Interesting that even without too much in-depth comparison there was a noticable difference. If a Sky Watcher ED100 pro was also compared, it might be the winner. Or at leasr runner-up equal. They are very good, also 900mm F9 like your FC100DL.



#14 Tropobob

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 02:41 AM

Interesting that even without too much in-depth comparison there was a noticable difference. If a Sky Watcher ED100 pro was also compared, it might be the winner. Or at leasr runner-up equal. They are very good, also 900mm F9 like your FC100DL.

I had an Orion ED80mm, which is basically the same as the Skywatcher 80mm.  I really liked that scope. Some years later, I bought an Orion 80mm triplet and it outperformed the ED in every way. I thought I would keep the 80mm ED, but could not find any niche where the ED was better, so I sold it. 

 

I have recently purchased a previously-owned Vixen ED81mm at a great price. On planets, it is better than the triplet, however on starfields and DSOs the triplet may be better. I will have to test further to verify this. 

 

So, having used a basic ED, and as much I liked it; I have found that premium offerings do really perform better.   



#15 db2005

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 03:19 AM

Interesting that even without too much in-depth comparison there was a noticable difference. If a Sky Watcher ED100 pro was also compared, it might be the winner. Or at leasr runner-up equal. They are very good, also 900mm F9 like your FC100DL.

I have owned a Skywatcher ED100 Pro for several years and I lately acquired a Tak FC-100 and have done some comparisons of the scopes under the skies.

 

While there is probably a bit of variation between samples of the ED100 and I do like the ED100 a lot, I must say in my experience there really isn't much of a contest between the two scopes. The FC-100 simply wins hands-down and with a considerable margin on most parameters: Contrast, resolution, control of CA and SA are in a different league in the FC-100.

 

The ED100's greatest strength is it value for money where it's really hard to beat (costing something like 25% of a similar sized Tak), but it is really not as optically refined as the Tak. I personally found the difference particularly noticeable when observing double stars. In the ED100, flaring around stars seems to make the separation more difficult and is visually less clean and pleasing, but in the FC-100 everything resolves to textbook-perfect airy discs with no flaring, no CA, and no discernible SA. My Vixen SD81S is quite close in performance to my FC-100 (except, of course, for the smaller aperture), albeit with slightly more CA and SA (the instrumental words being slightly). So yes, I agree that premium offerings really perform better.

 

I am really not bashing the ED100. I have used mine for several years, and I still admire the level of performance it provides in a very moderately-priced entry-level package. In a historical perspective, the ED100 is easily a solid bargain and easy to recommend. But in my experience it is not in the same league as the premium offerings.


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#16 gnowellsct

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 09:10 AM

Hi guys,

 

yesterday I was too lazy to build up any mount or bigger scope - but as the sky was near perfect I decided to bring out just my grab&go scope a Vixen ED102SS on a small tripod with AZ-mount.

 

First I watched as usual Jupiter at magnifications up to 180x giving a great view as seeing was really good - all the moons was solid little discs and the planet itself showed lots of details in the bands. Then slewing over to Saturn that showed Cassini surrounding the planet and faint bands on the disc.

 

But what really impressed me most then was putting in a 31mm Nagler and just walk throught the sky... Starting around Antares with its deep red glow - going through Sagitarius with lots and lots of stars and open clusters - then up through Aquila ending in Lyra where suddenly popped M57 in the field of view inviting me just to scale magnification up again smile.gif I sat there at least for 2h lost in space wink.gif

 

This in mind this morning I looked around for some info´s about Vixens "shorty" and found this post and thought to share some experiences and pics would be a good idea wink.gif - so here some pics of the the setup:

 

 

attachicon.gif ED102ss_5.jpg

Scope on a little Berlebach tripod with ICS Skydob3 - the complete combo can be carried around with one hand - so real grab&go. And the the Skydob is real pleasure to use - when the scope is roughly balanced you can turn around the tube very smooth and it stays in evey position you stop it. When tightening the fixtures the view stays right where it is not drifting away as I found it with some other mounts of this type...

 

 

attachicon.gif ED102ss_4.jpg

Latest edition of the ED102S in white tube - nice but the black paint is not at the same quality standard as those of the older scopes... Weight of the tube with rings and Vixen style dove-tail is 3.6kg

 

 

attachicon.gif ED102ss_6.jpg

...Made in Japan - at least the optics smile.gif

 

 

attachicon.gif ED102ss_3.jpg

The lens - startest is textbook! and couldn´t be any better

 

 

attachicon.gif ED102ss.jpg

...older pic of the scope in "action"

 

 

Would be interesting how the scope compares directly against a Tak FC-100DC... but finally I´m really deep impressed by the power of this little fun-maker - and next to it´s optics I really like it´s "Stormtrooper" look too - if stormtroopers ever would carry a scope with them - this would be the one wink.gif

 

cs

Chris

Am I the only person who can't see these attachments?  Did Chris exceed 500 kb cap per post?  



#17 donadani

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 12:24 PM

No - pics were delete by myself.




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