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Vixen VMC 200L - Opinions?

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#1 cookjaiii

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 06:38 PM

I'm considering a Vixen VMC 200L.  I'm looking for more aperture than my current 5" Mak and 5" Newtonian.  I have been impressed by the quality of Vixen eyepieces, so a Vixen scope appeals to me, but I don't have any opportunity to try one.

 

Pros

faster cool-down than the Mak

more aperture than the 5"

portability

 

Cons

large central obstruction

price

(what else?)

 

I like deep sky and planet viewing.  I wonder if it would be enough of a step up to justify the purchase.  

 

Any opinions appreciated. 



#2 leveye

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 06:45 PM

For viewing I bet it's nice. For imaging I've yet to see a really amazing picture taken using one which is a bummer for I would also want to use it for that as well. All the stars look like diamonds in the center and not natural. There is one for sale on shopgoodwill.com just fyi.


Edited by leveye, 21 January 2017 - 06:46 PM.


#3 KevH

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 06:49 PM

Expect similar performance to a decent c8...

 

http://www.cloudynig...vs-celestron-8/

 

I've seen at least two other forum members who have done similar comparisons with the same results as above.



#4 Augustus

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 06:55 PM

Good for imaging but poor for visual, thanks to the 40% central obstruction and diffraction spikes. Both it and its cousins the 95 and 110 have gotten a lot of complaints for visual.


Edited by Augustus, 21 January 2017 - 07:01 PM.

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#5 Max Power

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 07:26 PM

Just average optically. Even with the open tube it takes awhile to cool down. Probably a little better than a C8 cause no front glass, but not better than a Newtonian.

Edited by Max Power, 21 January 2017 - 07:29 PM.

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#6 paulymo

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:29 PM

I started with a 95L because of Vixen's reputation and the faster cooldown claims.  Optically it was not that great and it didn't cool down fast though I didn't have a "regular" mak to compare to (but other users--even ones that like it--have said the same).  Obviously you aren't buying a 95L but my point is to be wary of the claimed "faster cooldown" from Vixen and to not assume because it is Vixen it will have good optics.  I love their eyepieces and would love to have a vintage Vixen-made refractor someday but I personally would look at other makers for a cassegrain.


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#7 cookjaiii

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 10:18 PM

Thanks for your input everyone.  I think I'll keep looking.  (That's half the fun anyway!  ;-)


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#8 rolo

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 12:44 AM

I've owned two and have looked through three in total. The optics were fine the problem with the third one (my friends) was the collimation. Lots of adjustments on this scope so if you don't know what your doing it can be difficult to dial in. Another issue is the thick secondary holder that creats an annoying (to some) spikes on brighter objects.



#9 bottlecrusher

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 06:35 AM

I have one and wrote a very simple shootout between it and a C8.  I think that the advantages are full 2" eyepieces, better focusing, mak vs SCT corrections, larger field.  The disadvantages are no visual FR, less in travel.  The VC200L is more oriented towards imaging, it is a corrected DK vs field mak.

 

Personally I think both scopes have cool down issues, the C8 is worse for sure.  VMC would be easier to fix, all it needs is some fans blowing up the back, but it would be hard put on there.  

 

IMHO, I would look for one used.  I got mine for 600.  I saw one on astromart for 475 a month or two ago.  They routinely are for sale for 600-700. 

 

I would look for one used.  Be very careful with the collimation.  It can be collimated by secondary, focuser, and main mirror.  Vixen's instructions only say to adjust the main mirror.  People like to tinker.  I have only touched the main mirror personally. There is a great explanation of collimation on this scope from a gentlemen in Australia.  He also recommends flocking and thinning the spiders.  


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#10 dweller25

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 07:35 AM

I am a visual planetary observer and had one of these scopes - it was the worst scope I have ever looked through - very low contrast indeed. I returned it.


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#11 Don Taylor

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 02:40 PM

I own one - bought used. And it had several problems - a pinched primary and quite out of collimation and the resulting views were poor.  Once corrected I would offer it's visual performance is somewhere between a well collimated C8 and a well collimated C8Edge as it has quite a flatter field than a base C8.  I am visual only and notwithstanding the theoretical loss of contrast - it appears approximately the same (to me) as in the above well collimated C8's.

 

There have been several other reports of pinched primary mirrors received on new scopes some years ago. Obviously, since I bought used and was at least the 3rd owner I have no way of determining if mine was improperly assembled at the factory.

 

Collimation can be tedious - although other scope designs can be equally so (such as the GSO R-C's), however collimation is quite stable once properly done.  C8's and similar have user collimation adjustments for the secondary only, whereas the VMC200L has focuser, primary, and secondary.  The good news is that you can collimate everything - the bad news is you can get it hopelessly out of collimation if you don't know what you are doing and don't approach it carefully and methodically.

 

If properly collimated and presuming the primary is not over constrained then I think the result is a good scope.   


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#12 kcb

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 11:16 PM

I have the vmc200l as a complimentary scope to my apm 152 f/8 e. d doublet apochromat on a dual axis mount,it is best to collimate only the primary  as long as all else is good, with the use of my vintage televue 20mm nagler 2'' and 13mm ethos the views are wider than a regular cat,with those nice eyepieces and well collimated, deep sky observing is very good and planetary good , nice flat field across the 2'' focuser, perfect collimation is a must with this scope, once done it holds solid , certainly not a planetary scope choice but I do find visual observing of galaxies and planetary/emission nebula to be quite satisfactory !


Edited by kcb, 22 January 2017 - 11:44 PM.


#13 rmollise

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 11:00 AM

I've often thought about one (or a TAL KCT)....but was always prevented by one thing:

 

Performance comparable to a standard C8 or M8, but for a higher price.


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#14 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 08:35 PM

I've often thought about one (or a TAL KCT)....but was always prevented by one thing:

 

Performance comparable to a standard C8 or M8, but for a higher price.

Yes, but it's not just anyone who can pay more money for the same level of performance. ;)


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#15 bottlecrusher

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 10:11 PM

I've often thought about one (or a TAL KCT)....but was always prevented by one thing:

 

Performance comparable to a standard C8 or M8, but for a higher price.

This is why I'm saying get one used.  They sell used about the same as a C8. 



#16 Fomalhaut

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 06:21 AM

Extract from Mr. Hiroshi Yoshida's 2010 list of planetary performance:

Vixen VMC200 scored -> 60 points
Tak TSA102 -> 67
Celestron C8 -> 70
Intes-Micro 7" MC -> 73
Tak Mewlon180 -> 74

Chris

Edited by Fomalhaut, 24 January 2017 - 06:24 AM.

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#17 Andreas-TAL

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 02:41 PM

I've often thought about one (or a TAL KCT)....but was always prevented by one thing:

 

Performance comparable to a standard C8 or M8, but for a higher price.

Hi, hi ... I know what you mean, but I can´t agree  ;) ...

I bought my 10" Klevtsov (a new one and with quite good optics) directly in Russia and payed in total 1.900€ (all expenses paid) - about the same (or a little cheaper) compared with 9-11" SC´s in 2010.

 

I think the real bargain you´d got with Klevtsov-type telescope are some additional advantages. But they are only "advantages" if you require them, otherwise they are only gimmicks, nice but needless.

 

* The quite fast thermal balance - but only if its not permanently mounted outside.

* The sturdy tube and firm collimation - but only if you have to transport the tube quite often.

* The loss of dew problems - but only if you live in areas the dew point is critical.

* The compact design - but only if your mount needs such a design, or you have to store the telescope afterwards.

 

BUT - if you are in a situation (by the way: that´s my situation) - you´re driving to observation places by car, with your telescope stored inside the house and with big day-night temperature gradients (in Central Europe) and using a CEM60 mount with this 15-16kg payload, it´s definitely one of the most suitable telescopes I ever owned.

 

OF COURSE - I own a 7" STF Maksutov too (better optics) and I´m doing the better planetary observations with the Mirage, but I have to wait twice the time for thermal balancing, have to stop observation 60-90 minutes earlier due to dew at the Maksutov lens and have to collimate the Mirage regularly.

 

SO - what´s the better telescope? No decision making (in general) possible.  Sometimes the Klevtsov, sometimes the Mirage, sometimes my APOLAR ...

 

Andreas


Edited by Andreas-TAL, 24 January 2017 - 02:42 PM.


#18 jjack's

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 03:36 PM

Andreas you are right exept he VMC 200L is not a klevtov but a field- maksutov Cassegrain.I have the VMC 200L and a C8 XLT, so i can tell about them.

Yes there is some differences appear between them. SCT + : a lot of accessories come to focus, mirrors stay clean and Fastar f2 possibility, Corrector reducer focus with any star diagonal, no diamond shaped stars. Planetary views maybe slightly better (very slightly)

VMC200L + No dew on the corrector, no shifting, corrector usable but only with straight view, larger view without vigneting.

About the same time to cool down and the same amount of coma and field curvature.

The great advantage with the VMC is : you can collimate it when dew weather. It is imposible to collimate a SCT when cooled because when you take off the dew shield, the dew is coming instantaneously on the Schmidt corrector.

Collimating the VMC can cause troubles because of the primary Mirror cell. Collimate it at the zenith with the push screws, then just apply the pull screws on the barell without tightening.

Don't tighten these screws or you get bad astigmatism. There is the secret to get beautifull images with your VMC or VC 200L.


Edited by jjack's, 24 January 2017 - 03:37 PM.


#19 Andreas-TAL

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 04:29 PM

Hi!

Another user with "European weather" conditions - nice to read something from France.

Yes, I know the differences of both systems quite well. Some time ago we had a interesting discussion about Klevtsov and Vixen VM©'s here.

http://www.cloudynig...7-vixen-vmc200l

Usually my "biggest" problem here in Lower Bavaria with the SC compared to the Klevtsov (or in general with subaperture Maksutovs) was, that in some nights the surrounding temperature decreased as fast as the SC tube cooled down. Crazy effect: Delta T (Celsius) didn't get smaller. Often - not until midnight (few hours later) - tube currents became less influence and then: Dew was coming ... Uugh!

Quite interesting: It looks like the corrector unit within a Klevtsov doesn't take as much time for thermal equilibrium as the VMC corrector. Don't know why, but it's often reported.

Andreas


Edited by Andreas-TAL, 24 January 2017 - 04:34 PM.


#20 samuelpkco

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 03:55 AM

As an owner of the VC200L, I love it. I was willing to spend time and effort to bring out the best of the VC200L.

 

IMO, either this or the VMC200L they are really "love it" or "hate it" scopes...

They have unique strengths for those who can take advantage of their designs. More so for imaging on the VC. To some, its a very unique astrograph!

 

But the drawbacks, both VC & VMC, in general make them less suitable for the unprepared person.

Especially for someone mainly looking for a scope for visual use.

 

Most people would be disappointed on the Vixens out of the box.

 

Some pros/cons, together with some modifications made, were discussed here:

http://www.cloudynig...-vmc200l/page-2

 

clear skies,

Samuel


Edited by samuelpkco, 25 January 2017 - 03:56 AM.

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#21 Edwin

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 10:30 AM

@ Fomalhaut,

 

Do you have a link to the list of mr. Yoshida? Sounds like an interesting list, but if I google for it, I cannot find it. Thanks!



#22 rmollise

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 11:12 AM

 

I've often thought about one (or a TAL KCT)....but was always prevented by one thing:

 

Performance comparable to a standard C8 or M8, but for a higher price.

Yes, but it's not just anyone who can pay more money for the same level of performance. ;)

 

 

I could pay it, but as I said in my post, that's one of the things that prevented me from doing so. ;)


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#23 rmollise

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 11:12 AM

 

I've often thought about one (or a TAL KCT)....but was always prevented by one thing:

 

Performance comparable to a standard C8 or M8, but for a higher price.

This is why I'm saying get one used.  They sell used about the same as a C8. 

 

 

If the performance were markedly better, I would. But it's not...and I don't like those fat diffraction spikes...so I guess I never will.



#24 Edwin

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 02:10 PM

@ Uncle Rod,

Try one, you only live once and won't be dissappointed. It is something different then the usual Celestrons and Meades and that is (for me) part of the magic. The recent versions have curved spidervanes so no diffraction spikes.


Edited by Edwin, 25 January 2017 - 02:11 PM.


#25 Gofr

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 02:40 PM

Curved spider vanes on the recent versions? I have yet to see those. Only ever seen the VMC95 and VMC110 with curved vanes.


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