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#26 leveye

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 12:29 PM

 

Man on the US website all the firstscopes are sold out. Bet they are happy about that. 

The model number is FL-AR1021000EQ3.  If the first run is 852, and all those came to the USA, surely they're still available?

 

Mine shipped from a vendor in Arkansas - maybe entered at Memphis.

 

B&H lists them as In Stock, but I've gotten delays before, regardless of what a website states.

 

Still showing nothing available and sold out (direct anyways) but the one you purchased. 

 

http://explorescient...ions/firstlight


Edited by leveye, 04 December 2016 - 12:33 PM.


#27 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 12:54 PM

ES offices and distribution are based in Springdale Arkansas.

 

That's it!  Thanks for the info!



#28 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 12:58 PM

Still showing nothing available and sold out (direct anyways) but the one you purchased.

 

Agena's website has them available, but I don't know how often they update inventory status --> http://agenaastro.co...-eq3-mount.html



#29 stevew

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 02:30 PM

Explore Scientific FirstLight AR-102 

 

My $300 brand new refractor arrived this morning.  According to the info on the shipping crate, it is #7 of 852.  Shipping weight is 32 pounds.  I haven't bought a new refractor since 1988, so let's see what's in the box!

 

 

What you received for the price is unbelievable.

My first 4 inch was a Celestron/Vixen SPC102 on a Super Polaris mount about 1990, and it cost me about $1700.. 

 

Steve


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#30 Rutilus

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 02:43 PM

 

Explore Scientific FirstLight AR-102 

 

My $300 brand new refractor arrived this morning.  According to the info on the shipping crate, it is #7 of 852.  Shipping weight is 32 pounds.  I haven't bought a new refractor since 1988, so let's see what's in the box!

 

 

What you received for the price is unbelievable.

My first 4 inch was a Celestron/Vixen SPC102 on a Super Polaris mount about 1990, and it cost me about $1700.. 

 

Steve

 

Yes, very true. Back in the 1980s, I too bought a Vixen 102 on the Super Polaris mount, at the time it cost

me 12x my weekly wage, and I had to wait 9 months for delivery from Japan.

It would not surprise me if this new scope is every bit as good as my old Vixen.  The equipment and price

we pay today is quite remarkable. 



#31 CHASLX200

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 02:53 PM

 

 

Explore Scientific FirstLight AR-102 

 

My $300 brand new refractor arrived this morning.  According to the info on the shipping crate, it is #7 of 852.  Shipping weight is 32 pounds.  I haven't bought a new refractor since 1988, so let's see what's in the box!

 

 

What you received for the price is unbelievable.

My first 4 inch was a Celestron/Vixen SPC102 on a Super Polaris mount about 1990, and it cost me about $1700.. 

 

Steve

 

Yes, very true. Back in the 1980s, I too bought a Vixen 102 on the Super Polaris mount, at the time it cost

me 12x my weekly wage, and I had to wait 9 months for delivery from Japan.

It would not surprise me if this new scope is every bit as good as my old Vixen.  The equipment and price

we pay today is quite remarkable. 

 

The older SP and Vixen scopes were also made much better than the China junk that Celestron sold in 1997.  That first gen CG5 was pretty sad.


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#32 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 03:58 PM

The ES EQ3 is not a Vixen Super Polaris -- not even close to that mark.  But at $300 for the whole kit, I'm surprised that it's in the Polaris range -- except for the tripod.

 

Debbie thinks it's prettier than my Sears 6336 (but she also likes lots of patina on old brass).


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#33 Rutilus

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 04:42 PM

 

 

 

Explore Scientific FirstLight AR-102 

 

My $300 brand new refractor arrived this morning.  According to the info on the shipping crate, it is #7 of 852.  Shipping weight is 32 pounds.  I haven't bought a new refractor since 1988, so let's see what's in the box!

 

 

What you received for the price is unbelievable.

My first 4 inch was a Celestron/Vixen SPC102 on a Super Polaris mount about 1990, and it cost me about $1700.. 

 

Steve

 

Yes, very true. Back in the 1980s, I too bought a Vixen 102 on the Super Polaris mount, at the time it cost

me 12x my weekly wage, and I had to wait 9 months for delivery from Japan.

It would not surprise me if this new scope is every bit as good as my old Vixen.  The equipment and price

we pay today is quite remarkable. 

 

The older SP and Vixen scopes were also made much better than the China junk that Celestron sold in 1997.  That first gen CG5 was pretty sad.

 

Yes, the early stuff was pretty dire, however I'm talking about the stuff we can buy today.  I remember when the early Chinese stuff

started to come onto the market, in country were I live, it was still very expensive to buy, not like the prices we pay today

and the quality we get. A couple of years ago I bought a Chinese made Sky-watcher 120 f/8.3 Achromat with Equatorial mount,

for well under one weeks pay packet. I fitted the scope with a 102mm aperture mask  (to match the Vixen) and the views matched

those seen in the Vixen scope. 

 

 I remember when the first  Chinese ED scopes started to show up on the market, and plenty of people on this forum doubted

that the Chinese could even make a decent ED, now on this very same forum the Chinese made ED  scopes have a very

strong following among observers who are extremely happy with their scopes. How times change.


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#34 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 05:24 PM

How times change.

 

Indeed.  As I've posted before, first the Orion 12" then the Celestron 4.5" reflectors changed my mind about China-made optics.  That's why I didn't mind taking a chance on the FL-AR102.



#35 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 06:08 PM

$410 buys a Celestron 102 XLT. 

 

It comes with a CG-4 mount with ball bearings,  a tripod with 1.75 inch diameter SS legs that is plenty sturdy for an even larger scope.  The scope is a proven 4 inch F/10 achromat..   Celestron did a good job with that scope. 

 

My point:  I wish Explore Scientific wouldn't cut so many corners,  particularity with the tripod..  That tripod is barely adequate for an 80 mm F/7 on an alt-az mount.. 

 

Jon


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#36 mclewis1

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 06:09 PM

Can you imagine the impact of a scope like this at this kind of price point 40 or 50 years ago?

 

Instead of very long fl 50 and 60mm scopes on really flimsy alt az mounts as beginner scopes this would have been a revelation.

 

We're very lucky.


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#37 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 07:28 PM

Safety Notice:  Use extreme care when removing the OTA from the mount.  The tripod is so light that the mount can fall forward before you have the OTA free of the dovetail base!  Putting a handle on the OTA would help avoid this potential mishap.

 

- I cut damping time from 4+ seconds to about 2 seconds by simply tightening the 3 top bolts.  These are not wing-nuts, they require an Allen / hex-head bit.  Instructions don't mention this, but I assume they're shipped loose to make folding & packing the tripod easier.  DO NOT OVER TORQUE -- the brackets are plastic.

 

- The Focuser:  That 5" long tube is not metal -- it's mylar over plastic, and the accessory adapter is black plastic (total length racked out is 7.25").  The metal rack is helical cut, and there's no uneven movement or slump.  Big Deal for BB -- removing the black adapter, and using the plastic T-ring gizmo, lets me fit my vintage spectros prism diagonal to this scope.  This Swiss-made prism is probably about as close to a Zeiss as I'll ever get in terms of optical quality; and, it lets me use my 35mm barreled spectros Big 3 Kellners (50, 40, & 30mm) natively with no vignetting.  I'll use the cheap bundled accessories first, but make the switch for serious observing.

 

ES-FLAR102 S11 - First Setup.jpg

 


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#38 starcanoe

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 07:42 PM

That tripod the camera is on is even wobblyer it appears...

 

PS. If that focuser tube is 7 plus inches you might not be working at full aperture...


Edited by starcanoe, 04 December 2016 - 07:46 PM.


#39 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 07:45 PM

That tripod is ME, and this rain & cold is aggravating my arthritis!  I think my new Nikon camera has motion stabilizing, but I haven't found that widget in the 2000+ menu pages...


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#40 rogeriomagellan

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 07:57 PM

Hi. I guess that there was some sort of confusion here. The First Light telescopes are sold by Explore Scientific. They've got nothing to do with Bresser. The ES FL-AR102 f/9.8 is certainly an affordable telescope but it is not like the Bresser Messier AR102 f/9.8. The main differences are that the new Bresser telescope comes with a better quality focuser (2.5"), not a rack-and-pinion focuser. And it has a handle like the ES AR102 f/6.5. 


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#41 stevew

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 08:29 PM

 

- The Focuser:  That 5" long tube is not metal -- it's mylar over plastic, and the accessory adapter is black plastic (total length racked out is 7.25").  

Ahh.... Now we are seeing why it's only $300.

Is the diagonal metal at least?

Is the tripod tall enough to view the zenith from a seated position?

Hopefully the optics are where most of the manufacturing cost goes.

Let us know what you think when you get a chance to use it.


Edited by stevew, 04 December 2016 - 09:43 PM.

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#42 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 10:43 PM

Is the diagonal metal at least?

 

Only the barrel, the body is plastic.  (But some of my better vintage prism diagonals have plastic housings.  It's the ES mirror that looks cheap.)

Is the tripod tall enough to view the zenith from a seated position?

 

I'm about 6' tall.  With the scope balanced, the eyepiece height is near ideal for me to sit comfortably and observe -- it wouldn't be if the scope was F15 vs. F10.

 

Hopefully the optics are where most of the manufacturing cost goes.

 

Me, too.  That's the approach Criterion took with the vintage Dynascope.


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#43 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 10:45 PM

Hi. I guess that there was some sort of confusion here. The First Light telescopes are sold by Explore Scientific. They've got nothing to do with Bresser. The ES FL-AR102 f/9.8 is certainly an affordable telescope but it is not like the Bresser Messier AR102 f/9.8. The main differences are that the new Bresser telescope comes with a better quality focuser (2.5"), not a rack-and-pinion focuser. And it has a handle like the ES AR102 f/6.5. 

Don't Bresser & ES get their scopes from the same maker in China?  (But even if they do, Bresser probably sets higher requirements, based on the posts I've read on CN.)

 

Back in the 60s & 70s, Towa would make bottom-rung kits for one brand / model, and better quality kits for another.  As a result, there are lots of Circle T scopes still around, but it definitely tarnished the mark.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 04 December 2016 - 10:48 PM.

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#44 Zamboni

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 11:13 PM

Yeah, Bresser and Explore are both subsidiaries of Jinghua Optical Company.

#45 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 11:28 PM

I thought the Bresser family regained control of the company, and they buy from JOC, but are still based in Germany -- and set their own contract standards.  I'll check on that.  Or, maybe our European CNers will clarify.

 

I'm not a lawyer, but the Company Profile reads like Bresser is independent / not a subsidiary of JOC --> http://www.bresser.d...mpany-profile/ 


Edited by Bomber Bob, 04 December 2016 - 11:34 PM.

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#46 walt99

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 12:58 AM

Here's a nice looking set of wood legs for $38 plus $12 shipping ;

 

You've got to do something about them things . . .

 

http://www.cloudynig...ripod-assembly/

 

Happy skies,  Walt



#47 G.Richard

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 06:30 AM

I thought the Bresser family regained control of the company, and they buy from JOC, but are still based in Germany -- and set their own contract standards.  I'll check on that.  Or, maybe our European CNers will clarify.

 

I'm not a lawyer, but the Company Profile reads like Bresser is independent / not a subsidiary of JOC --> http://www.bresser.d...mpany-profile/ 

After reading your link Bob I think you might be right.  That would explain why the first run of the new ES ED102 FCD100 scopes were sold through Bresser and not through ES.  


Edited by G.Richard, 05 December 2016 - 06:31 AM.


#48 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 07:54 AM

Thanks Walt, but if I decide to keep this scope, I'll put the mount head on this vintage Filo Tecnica surveyor tripod -- it carried a Unitron 152 OTA & mount, so this much lighter load should be very stable.

 

Filo Tripod S02.jpg Filo Tripod S06.jpg

 

 


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#49 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 08:18 AM

When the skies do clear, here are my baseline 4" refractors for comparisons with the FL-AR102:

 

JaegerMeister 4 - VersaGo 2 AZM S01.jpg Edmund 4 - OTA Done (Mounted) S04.jpg

 

I designed & assembled the Jaegers from a 1970s lens and a bunch of parts donated by CNers (what a great group of folks).  I bought the complete 1950s Edmund kit for $600 from Joe Sunseri [starbird] on the CN Classifieds (Best Buy I've Ever Made on a telescope.)


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#50 ftwskies

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 11:14 AM

I'm kinda rooting for the Edmund.  Can I say that here?  :lol:

 

I've never really tried to compare two telescopes before.  What targets and criteria do you plan to use?


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