TV101 + 31 mm Nagler + dark skies. Man!
I spent the last couple of years pretty much only doing photography. It requires a lot of my attention as I am still learning, and a mobile setup requires me to setup and tear down every single time I am imaging. This was fine, as I would much rather do one thing really well than do a mediocre job at two things, so I decommissioned my 8" dob (my first scope) in ~2008. A couple of years ago my astrograph was a Tak Sky 90. It was a very nice setup for mono and narrowband imaging. But I eventually ran out of targets for 400mm of focal length, so I moved on to a 525/660mm focal length instrument, and I hoped to sell the Tak to help with funds. The sell was complicated, and in the end I decided to just keep the Tak and convert it into a visual setup. What I loved about the visual Tak visual setup was its compactness - even with my 5" apo and imaging gear, there was plenty of space for the Tak in my car. Because my photo rig still required some baby sitting, I found that the Tak was only used for widefield views. Of course, it's a fast small aperture doublet, so the field curvature was very obvious.
While the Tak was a lovely astrograph for my needs, I've found that I was now looking for another application - quick, casual, flat widefield views. Out with the Tak and in with something more appropriate - a TV101. Combined with the 31 mm Nagler I was floored ... by the abysmal performance. The eyepiece forum debugged the issue for me and we concluded that the views were compromised by astigmatism in my eye. Off to the eye doc I went, followed by ordering the proper Dioptrx.
This all lead to last night, a night where I really wanted to do some imaging, but clouds were approaching and I was tired. So instead, I only packed up my visual gear and drove out to my local dark site. It was nice to be set up in 1 minute, rather than the usual 1 hour when I am doing photography. And the views were just spectacular. I've always had a thing for dark nebulas, but the large ones in the summer Milky Way just never showed up well in my 8" Dob. The fast 4" Apo is the polar opposite. Dark nebulas popped right out. It was a lot of fun to aimlessly scan around the Milky Way. My personal highlights were NGC6445+6440, and the dark nebulas around M11.
I promptly removed the 9x50mm finder scope form the scope the next morning. The finder scope was a critical part of my 8" dob, but it is completely redundant now.
Thanks for all the help.