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Best Refractors You Have Used

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#26 Patricko

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 06:46 PM

1. Carton 61.7mm ~f/16.7

2. BO 90mm f/6.7 Triplet with FPL-53 and Lanthanum glass

3. 50mm f/14 Swift

4. SV80ED f/7

5. 102mm f/9.8 Celestron OMNI

 

These I have owned in the past. I currently own an Orion EON 80ED that does ok. Even my little SV50 RACI has been known to about knock me out of the observing chair on certain nights. I've found over the years it is the night and not so much the glass that matters.


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#27 Paul Morow

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 07:25 PM

The best refractors I have used over the years:

 

Zeiss (APQ 150) Images of Jupiter totally etched with impressive rich colors due to stunning contrast. Delivered great image under average seeing conditions.

 

AstroPhysics (180EDT, 180EDF, 178 f/9, 155EDT, 155EDF, 152 f/12, various 130s, 120ED, Travelers and 102 f/8) Too many individual experiences to list. Contrast, great contrast, stunning contrast and tight snap of focus. Planetary images (especially Saturn) through Thomas Backs personal 180EDT are burned into my brain forever. The banding on Saturn being much more obvious through an 130EDT than a nearby 6” f/15 Clark refractor at AstroFest 1993 pushed me to order my own 155EDT.

 

TMB (152/1200 & 175/1400, TMB130, a couple 4” f/8) Stunning planetary and lunar images with great contrast. The images are obviously as good as AstroPhysics and possibly better? Too close to call. I would definitely need more time to evaluate these wonderful refractors. The images through the TMB 152 & 175 have nearly stopped my heart and left me breathless. Those air spaced triplets are wicked good!

 

TEC (only 140s) Typical APO refractor like images that can absorb more power. I would love to view through one of the larger varieties, but the 140 is one sweet APO.

 

Takahashi (FS152, FS128, TOA130, several 4” FS, FCT, TSA) Great contrast and sharpness, enough said.

Attached Thumbnails

  • APQ150_1200.jpg
  • AstroFest_TMB.jpg
  • Jeff_Paterson_TMB175f8a.jpg

Edited by Paul Morow, 08 November 2016 - 07:26 PM.

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#28 Scott in NC

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 07:32 PM

 

TV NP101 (not my scope) - owned by a friend and I was able to run it side by side with a Tak FS102 to help him decide which one to keep.  One of the best views of the DC I have ever had in a 31mm Nagler.

 

Tak FS102 (not my scope) - owned by a friend and I was able to run it side by side with a TV NP101 to help him decide which one to keep.  Very sharp optics. 

 

*** NOTE ***  Having the opportunity to use the TV NP101 side by side with the Tak FS102 many years ago was the biggest influence towards hooking me on high quality refractors. 

 

So which one turned out to be the keeper?


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#29 joseph daukantas

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 07:36 PM

  • Have owned
  • Tak. FS152 Best scope I have ever had
  • Tak  FS128
  • Tak. FS102
  • Tak FS78 FC76 FCT76
  • Tak TOA 130
  • AP scopes
  • 155
  • 130EDT
  • Traveler
  • TV Genesis
  • SDF
  • Tec 140
  • Many, many other good refractors over the 67 years in the hobby.

Edited by joseph daukantas, 08 November 2016 - 09:46 PM.

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#30 bogg

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 07:38 PM

Best scopes I have had are;  TV85, Televue Genesis, Orion 110.  I also started with a skywatcher 100 and 80. 


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#31 Scott Beith

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 07:57 PM

 

 

TV NP101 (not my scope) - owned by a friend and I was able to run it side by side with a Tak FS102 to help him decide which one to keep.  One of the best views of the DC I have ever had in a 31mm Nagler.

 

Tak FS102 (not my scope) - owned by a friend and I was able to run it side by side with a TV NP101 to help him decide which one to keep.  Very sharp optics. 

 

*** NOTE ***  Having the opportunity to use the TV NP101 side by side with the Tak FS102 many years ago was the biggest influence towards hooking me on high quality refractors. 

 

So which one turned out to be the keeper?

 

The NP put up better views in a side by side.  Sample size of one each.  Both were incredibly good.  The NP just a little more so.


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#32 Darren Drake

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 09:46 PM

A 9 inch classic refractor owned by the Peoria Astronomical Society on a golf course in the late 80s showed me an amazing view of saturn. It was the first time I ever saw the Enke division with certainly. Was seen with a binoviewer and it made quite an impression.
Also Thommas Backs personal 7 inch f/7 AP gave me an amazing view of Jupiter at astrofest in great seeing. The impression that scope gave is still burned in memory.

Edited by Darren Drake, 09 November 2016 - 01:09 AM.

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#33 Bomber Bob

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 11:56 PM

Best refractors I've owned (so far):

 

- D&G 5" F10

- Edmund 4" F15

- Sears (Astro Optical) 76mm F15

- CZJ Telementor 2

- Goto-Hy-Score 452

- Monolux (Hiyoshi) 4380

- Tasco (Vixen) 9VR

 

Most of these I currently own.  I'm still assessing my Unitron 152.


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#34 Kevin Barker

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 12:55 AM

Top 10, * I own scope ** I used to own scope, *** someone else owns it, rough rankings....based on optics, mechanics and useability. No particular order. The two APQ's were the best followed by the AP and the AS80/840. Then the Tak and then Telementor and As63, then homemade ota's D&G and Istar,

 

AP 180 f-9 (friends)***   

Zeiss APQ130 *    

Zeiss APQ 100/1000 **   

Tak FS102 ***    

Zeiss AS80/840 *    

D&G 127 f-15 ***   

D&G 152 f-12**    

Zeiss Telementor 2 **    

Zeiss AS 63/840 **    

Istar 180/1440 *     


Edited by Kevin Barker, 09 November 2016 - 12:56 AM.

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#35 gunfighter48

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 01:45 AM

The best refractor is the TS Photoline APO 130mm F/7 that I bought a few months ago. Superb views!!!!!!!!!

 

My ES 104 APO is great for the money and size. It's my grab and go scope.

 

I had a ES AR152 Achro that gave me great views. It had some CA but not much and it didn't bother me in the least. It just got to be too much for my Osteoarthritis so I downsized to the TS 130mm. 


Edited by gunfighter48, 09 November 2016 - 01:45 AM.

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#36 CHASLX200

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 06:23 AM

I have had too many best. I would lump all of my Taks as being the best while a Meade 7" ED being a hunk of junk.  I would say two FS78's were my all time best and two FS102's and a 128.  All could handle 100x +.  The China scopes i have had were not so good.


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#37 Illinois

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 07:56 AM

I have Orion 80ED for 8 years and I like it very much! Double-double stars in Lyra at 120 power is no problem and sharp pinpoint stars. I take it for travel. Refractor made me hook then bought Orion 100ED F9 and its nice scope then I bought ES 127 ED and I am not happy with sliding dew and focuser. I am save money to buy 6 inch F8 in future!


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#38 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 10:03 AM

APM/TMB 115 f/7 LZOS "Classic" - Hands down the best best best scope I have owned and used.  I still regret needing to sell it.

 

SV152 f/8 LZOS  (Same lens as APM/TMB 152 LZOS).  A close second to the above APM/TMB 115 and the reason I had to sell the 115.  

 

SV80ST


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#39 Sarkikos

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 11:52 AM

The best refractors I have used?  Considering the philosophy that the best telescope is the one you use the most, I'd have to say the best refractors I've ever used are my ST80, C80ED and ST120.  

 

Unless you want to consider finders, as well.  Then my very best refractors would be the Orion 70mm Multi-Use and the Orion 6x30 RACI.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 09 November 2016 - 02:16 PM.

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#40 Element79

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 12:17 PM

As I browse through this thread I see many manufacturers, many of whom I hugely admire, but no mention whatsoever of Vixen!  They do make wonderful refractors!  I have owed three of them and still have one of them.  The first was an 80mm f/11.3 and it showed some CA.  The second was a 101mm f/9.8 and it showed a LOT of CA.  But both lenses were made wonderfully and accurately and it's not the glass's problem when the light goes astray!

I now own a Vixen 100ED and I am a happy camper.  No CA and great resolution and all from a moderately priced telescope.


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#41 BillP

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 01:12 PM

As I browse through this thread I see many manufacturers, many of whom I hugely admire, but no mention whatsoever of Vixen!  They do make wonderful refractors! 

 

Take a look at my post #5 as I mention 2.  The Vixen 81S I currently own is a superlative optical performer.


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#42 donadani

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 01:15 PM

Have a FL102S - great, great scope! :)


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#43 Mitrovarr

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 01:16 PM

Antares 102mm F/15 achromat. Tried a 3mm EP on it last night on Delta Cygni. Airy disks were big, but image was surprisingly not broken down. Also tried it on Mars, and it didn't lose any detail vs. a 7mm Nagler (same detail was present but at a larger image scale.)
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#44 Bakes

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 01:23 PM

The largest refractor I have observed with would be the 20" Clark at Van Vleck Observatory.

 

The 13" Schupmann at Stellafane was the largest color-free scope.

 

My Vixen C102 is sufficiently good that I have never desired to replace it. It remains the best refractor I have owned. (I have had more than a few department store telescopes.)


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#45 Sarkikos

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 01:54 PM

The largest refractor I have observed with was the 8" f/15 Alvan Clark on the roof of the Science Center in Baltimore.  We looked at a few objects.  I recall Jupiter and Albireo.  We did not see any more surface detail on Jupiter than I could see at home through my Z8 f/6 Dob.

 

Mike


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#46 t.r.

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 02:06 PM

 

As I browse through this thread I see many manufacturers, many of whom I hugely admire, but no mention whatsoever of Vixen!  They do make wonderful refractors! 

 

Take a look at my post #5 as I mention 2.  The Vixen 81S I currently own is a superlative optical performer.

 

My listed C80SS was Vixen made. ;)


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#47 KevH

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 02:17 PM



As I browse through this thread I see many manufacturers, many of whom I hugely admire, but no mention whatsoever of Vixen! They do make wonderful refractors!


Take a look at my post #5 as I mention 2. The Vixen 81S I currently own is a superlative optical performer.
My listed C80SS was Vixen made. ;)

I listed a Vixen ED81S among my best in a prior post.
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#48 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 03:21 PM

I'm not an exclusive refractor guy, but I have had several that stood out:

 

Tasco 6TE: I started out with this one. It introduced me to solar projection, Saturn's rings, Jupiter's larger belts, and some larger clusters.

 

Cheapo Japanese 60mm, 700mm fl: Mainly my first spotting scope, using a hybrid diagonal at the focus tube, and a second diagonal at right angles. With a Jaegers 32mm surplus eyepiece I identified my first flamingo at a German, North Sea wildlife refuge.

 

Pentax 80mm, 900mm fl: The scope that showed just how lousy my Astroscan and C8 were. It also gave me a lifetime memory of Eta Carinae from the summit of Haleakala.

 

C102, 1000mm fl: No-one less than Walter Scott Houston looked at it at Stellafane and pronounced it sub-optimal, because it failed even to make the Sidgewick standard. It had other issues. This was a Halley scope, and it came with a depression in the center of the rear element. It ran out of gas at 200x. Eventually, I sent it to D&G Optical for refiguring. I got it back, and found it sharp at 240x. Noticeable chromatic aberration. Sold it.

 

C80ED: This one most people know about, and the optics run out of gas above 225x. Why above? Because 225 is as high as a Baader zoom and a 3x Barlow will go.

 

SW120 Pro-ED: Venus at 150x was color free. The moon at 360x has some chromatic aberration. This scope has done very well on a variety of objects, including Mars, where I saw the "canals" for the first time, and clouds over where Olympus Mons should be.

 

I have looked through a lot of other refractors, including 6" Astro Physics (EDT) and Lunt scopes, and a 130mm EDF. The comparison with the 130mm was instructive. It taught me that my 120mm isn't going anywhere.


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#49 Scott in NC

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 06:26 PM

My FS-102 and FS-128.  Those two are followed closely behind by my SV80S, SV80L, and SV90TBV fluorite (and only because they've got less aperture, not because of lesser optical quality).


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#50 Nick Will

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 07:00 PM

Zeiss Telementor ll:  My jaw hit the deck when I first looked at Jupiter thru this 62mm wonder. The detail though dim, was sharp and abundant. Totally spoiled me for premium optics. Reluctantly let it go soon after I bought a.......

 

TMB CNC Classic 105/650 LZOS: An exquisite example of mechanical & optical art. The stars come out at night just to look at it. 


Edited by Nick Will, 09 November 2016 - 07:02 PM.

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