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Vixen VMC 200L - Opinions?

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71 replies to this topic

#26 rmollise

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 03:10 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.

I've tried more than a few, and they are not bad telescopes, not hardly, just not substantially better than standard SCTs, and not as good--IMHO--as the Celestron Edges.  The same goes for the TAL KCTs. Which doesn't mean either one is a bad choice depending on the needs of a particular observer.


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#27 Edwin

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 03:48 PM

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

The TAL Klevtsovs, not the Vixen VMC's



#28 bottlecrusher

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:04 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. 

 

 

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.

 

Rod, I was talking to the OP.  If you buy one used and don't like it you won't loose much.  New they are expensive



#29 KevH

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:17 PM

The VMC200L is $1099.  Celestron has the c8 at $1039 though I've seen it for around $900 at some online vendors.  The Edge is 1200ish.  The Meade ACF is $999.  So, it's a little more than a standard C8 or ACF but not drastic.  I actually like the idea of a fixed mirror in the VMC but the Meade at $999 (which I've owned and highly recommend) seems like the best bang for the buck if buying new is critical.  All of them can be found much cheaper used.


Edited by KevH, 25 January 2017 - 06:21 PM.


#30 astrogeek64

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:30 PM

I got mine for $899 and free shipping.

 

I love the VMC200Ls light weight, the focuser, the carry handle and the clean look of it. It is a beautiful scope to look at. The deep space performance isn't bad at all, visually. I have as yet to do any AP with mine. 

 

What I don't like is the giant spikes that make observing any bright object interesting, in a bad way. (Forget Venus, Mars or Jupiter.)

 

For the love of God don't touch the collimation unless you absolutely have to. The collimation on mine was slightly off out of the box. The instruction manual says to adjust the primary first. In my case, this was wrong. It was the secondary. But, once I moved the primary, it took hours of near-futility to get both primary and secondary dialed back in. The good news is that once it was right, it stayed that way...... And, I sat up all night enjoying beautiful views of various globular clusters, the Blue Snowball, the Dragonfly, Andromeda, etc., etc., etc....



#31 Mordakyblu

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 04:14 PM

Mine worked fine right out of the box. I have never liked the CAT views compared to my refractors or my slow newt. But I wanted a compact scope and light weight one so I live with its limitations. All scopes are a compromise. I think it provides a good balance of of apature, weight, and length. Also I don't recall giant spikes coming off of Jupiter or Venus.

 

 


Edited by Mordakyblu, 11 September 2017 - 06:14 PM.


#32 samuelpkco

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:54 PM

perhaps an option to machine down the vanes?

I have my VC200L done years ago. Planatery views are much more pleasing.

 

IMG_2045.JPG

 

IMG_3987.JPG

 

Samuel


Edited by samuelpkco, 11 September 2017 - 07:01 PM.

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#33 astrogeek64

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 11:51 PM

perhaps an option to machine down the vanes?

I have my VC200L done years ago. Planatery views are much more pleasing.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2045.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_3987.JPG

 

Samuel

I flocked mine earlier today with the Protostar flockboard. Very easy to install. Thought about thinning the vanes as well. I'd have to find a good machine shop around here.


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#34 JKAstro

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 12:12 AM

I also purchased the VMC200L on sale last year for $900.  This week I was blessed with good seeing and had sharp 200x on the moon and my first ever looks at the Veil nebula using an ES 40mm 68 degree eyepiece.  I don't know of any other cassegrain under $1000 that can do this.  I guess a C8 with a reducer (at extra cost and fuss) can come close but I'm guessing that is a different experience than using a 2 inch eyepiece.

 

Sure, if your primary interest is planetary and double stars then buy something else.  But if you want aperture and solid collimation for frequent travel to dark sites to view DSOs it might be your best bet.

 

I think a VMC200L and 180 Maksutov mounted side by side would be a lot of fun.


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#35 samuelpkco

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 04:22 AM

 

perhaps an option to machine down the vanes?

I have my VC200L done years ago. Planatery views are much more pleasing.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2045.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_3987.JPG

 

Samuel

I flocked mine earlier today with the Protostar flockboard. Very easy to install. Thought about thinning the vanes as well. I'd have to find a good machine shop around here.

 

The VC200L & ED81S in the photo were flocked with the Protostar flockboard. Wondering if you share the same opinion as myself the contrast improvement is well worth the effort? wink.gif

 

Did you get the flockboard recently? Because I am needing some more but have been so hesitated in re-ordering from them.....

 

Thanks,

Samuel


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#36 AWATS

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 09:25 AM

Mine worked fine right out of the box. I have never liked the CAT views compared to my refractors or my slow newt. But I wanted a compact scope and light weight one so I live with its limitations. All scopes are a compromise. I think it provides a good balance of of apature, weight, and length. Also I don't recall giant spikes coming off of Jupiter or Venus.

I've never seen this either. I am still very happy with mine.



#37 astrogeek64

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 09:55 AM

 

 

perhaps an option to machine down the vanes?

I have my VC200L done years ago. Planatery views are much more pleasing.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2045.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_3987.JPG

 

Samuel

I flocked mine earlier today with the Protostar flockboard. Very easy to install. Thought about thinning the vanes as well. I'd have to find a good machine shop around here.

 

The VC200L & ED81S in the photo were flocked with the Protostar flockboard. Wondering if you share the same opinion as myself the contrast improvement is well worth the effort? wink.gif

 

Did you get the flockboard recently? Because I am needing some more but have been so hesitated in re-ordering from them.....

 

Thanks,

Samuel

 

Samuel,

 

I ordered it about three months ago. It took a week to get to Virginia from Ohio. (About a ten hour drive.) You're in Australia, is that correct? As I understand it, Protostar is hit and miss. I got mine in a reasonable amount of time, others have complained of long waits/lost orders. It does appear to be a high quality product, however. Much better than the cheap, not quite black and shed prone crap sold at local hobby stores. 

 

My primary observing spot is the north side of my home, which is heavily light polluted. (I reside within sight of downtown Norfolk, Virginia.). 

 

 

Yes, I will post here after I have the opportunity to observe at a nice dark(er) site. Hopefully, that will come this Saturday as my astronomy club has an outreach event for the Girl Scouts, at an equestrian park about 20 miles out away from the city.

 

Clear Skies, my Friend!

 

Dave


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#38 Mordakyblu

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 04:12 PM

I also purchased the VMC200L on sale last year for $900.  This week I was blessed with good seeing and had sharp 200x on the moon and my first ever looks at the Veil nebula using an ES 40mm 68 degree eyepiece.  I don't know of any other cassegrain under $1000 that can do this.  I guess a C8 with a reducer (at extra cost and fuss) can come close but I'm guessing that is a different experience than using a 2 inch eyepiece.

 

Sure, if your primary interest is planetary and double stars then buy something else.  But if you want aperture and solid collimation for frequent travel to dark sites to view DSOs it might be your best bet.

 

I think a VMC200L and 180 Maksutov mounted side by side would be a lot of fun.

I'm going to setup a dual system with my Celestron/Vixen SPC102.


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#39 jjack's

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:05 AM

The loss of contrast, like in SCTs, is due to the inner primary baffle. I put some thin o-rings into the baffle and that work very well. Essentialy near the moon or a bright star.
o-ring-no1.jpg

Here the inner wall of the original primary baffle (SC5)

Edited by jjack's, 13 September 2017 - 04:24 AM.

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#40 jjack's

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:48 AM

For the story i had a VMC 200L.It give me very good planetary views just a little behind my C8 XLT.
It have some good advantage : no shifting. the focuser is well made. No dew on the Schmidt corrector smile.gif but sometime need a dew shield too when humidity is heavy, like a newton.
Its a field-maksutov-cassegrain, so i find the coma and field curvature the same as a classic SCT.
It have some primary barrel problem. difficult to collimate because when you tighten the push-pull screws you can get strong astigmatism. But you can collimate the primary when dew. A SCT cannot be collimated in dew weather because you need to remove the dew-shield and then...
The collimation don't move like a SCT.
Now i sell it because i got a good price on the second hand market for a VC 200L.
Same primary barrel problem but once collimated i have now very good airy pattern. It was undercorrected but i take off a 3mm washer behind the secondary older and spider vanes and the view is now improved. Only minor undercorrection.
The big advantage with the VC 200L over the VMC 200L is the very wide flat field. No as vigneted as the edge. The drawback is a loss of contrast because of the 42% obstruction plus spider vanes.
The C8XLT is slightly better for planetary views. You can't have your cake and eat too !

Edited by jjack's, 13 September 2017 - 04:52 AM.

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#41 astrogeek64

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:27 AM

"Inner primary baffle"? Is that the tube that passes through the primary mirror? And, where exactly did you place these O-rings?

The loss of contrast, like in SCTs, is due to the inner primary baffle. I put some thin o-rings into the baffle and that work very well. Essentialy near the moon or a bright star.
attachicon.gifo-ring-no1.jpg

Here the inner wall of the original primary baffle (SC5)



#42 Cpk133

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:11 PM

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

Do you have a link to this list?



#43 jjack's

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 02:47 AM

"Inner primary baffle"? Is that the tube that passes through the primary mirror? And, where exactly did you place these O-rings?

Yes it is. o-rings must be unpolished with fine Emery paper. do not introduce Emery in your scope !
Wash them before doing that.
O-rings must be slightly wider than the inner tube to stay into it.
Push them into the tube with an another plastic tube that fit correctly.
Don't push the first one to far into the tube to avoid vigneting or reducing the aperture.
Push just a little and look and do that again and again.
o-ring1.JPG

Edited by jjack's, 14 September 2017 - 02:48 AM.

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#44 sdufoer

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:10 AM

I use a VMC200L as part of a robotic setup on the small terrace of my flat in the center of a big city.

I have a small CCD chip (ST8XME) which I use with the f6.8 reducer.  Never looked though the telescope with an eyepiece.

In fact this telescope was my only option.  It's very, very compact, it keeps its collimation, no mirror flip or flop thanks to the crayford focuser, and pretty fast with the reducer.  The telescope has a few centimeters of marge left and right due to the small nature of the teracce and I still can observe in a significant portion of the sky.  It's the perfect companion for robotic observing.  And it's cheap.

 

I also tried a C8, but I had dew problems and the mirror flop.  A VC200l was too long.



#45 jjack's

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:56 PM

As you can see i put o-rings into the inner primary baffle of the VC 200L.
I miss only two at the end.

IMG_3554.JPG

Now the wall is grey were i miss two rings before the end of the tube.
The wall is very dark were the o-rings are, just after the corrector.

IMG_3555.JPG

O-rings have an inner diametre of 47mm and 2mm thick. So 51mm external diametre.
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#46 astrogeek64

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 11:05 AM

As you can see i put o-rings into the inner primary baffle of the VC 200L.
I miss only two at the end.

attachicon.gifIMG_3554.JPG

Now the wall is grey were i miss two rings before the end of the tube.
The wall is very dark were the o-rings are, just after the corrector.

attachicon.gifIMG_3555.JPG

O-rings have an inner diametre of 47mm and 2mm thick. So 51mm external diametre.

Righteous! So, basically you used the O-rings as baffles. Okay, this is my next project.



#47 astrogeek64

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 12:09 AM

 

 

perhaps an option to machine down the vanes?

I have my VC200L done years ago. Planatery views are much more pleasing.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2045.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_3987.JPG

 

Samuel

I flocked mine earlier today with the Protostar flockboard. Very easy to install. Thought about thinning the vanes as well. I'd have to find a good machine shop around here.

 

The VC200L & ED81S in the photo were flocked with the Protostar flockboard. Wondering if you share the same opinion as myself the contrast improvement is well worth the effort? wink.gif

 

Did you get the flockboard recently? Because I am needing some more but have been so hesitated in re-ordering from them.....

 

Thanks,

Samuel

 

Samuel,

 

Well, we had our public event and it was wonderful. The flocking appears to have made a respectable improvement in the contrast so, I'm happy about that. One of the club members commented he was impressed with the color in the bands on Saturn. This was with my Tele-vue 8mm Radian eyepiece. (240x Mag.) I'd say this is very good performance.

 

Next up, I'm buying some O-rings..........

 

Dave


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#48 samuelpkco

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:27 AM

 

 

 

perhaps an option to machine down the vanes?

I have my VC200L done years ago. Planatery views are much more pleasing.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2045.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_3987.JPG

 

Samuel

I flocked mine earlier today with the Protostar flockboard. Very easy to install. Thought about thinning the vanes as well. I'd have to find a good machine shop around here.

 

The VC200L & ED81S in the photo were flocked with the Protostar flockboard. Wondering if you share the same opinion as myself the contrast improvement is well worth the effort? wink.gif

 

Did you get the flockboard recently? Because I am needing some more but have been so hesitated in re-ordering from them.....

 

Thanks,

Samuel

 

Samuel,

 

I ordered it about three months ago. It took a week to get to Virginia from Ohio. (About a ten hour drive.) You're in Australia, is that correct? As I understand it, Protostar is hit and miss. I got mine in a reasonable amount of time, others have complained of long waits/lost orders. It does appear to be a high quality product, however. Much better than the cheap, not quite black and shed prone crap sold at local hobby stores. 

 

My primary observing spot is the north side of my home, which is heavily light polluted. (I reside within sight of downtown Norfolk, Virginia.). 

 

 

Yes, I will post here after I have the opportunity to observe at a nice dark(er) site. Hopefully, that will come this Saturday as my astronomy club has an outreach event for the Girl Scouts, at an equestrian park about 20 miles out away from the city.

 

Clear Skies, my Friend!

 

Dave

 

Dave, I might give it another try with Protostar, I have another OTA to flock....

Based on my experience, albeit a limited one, the flockboard shows its effectiveness in light polluted sites with DSOs. The more stray light is likely to enter the OTA, the more it would potentially benefit from flocking.

In my urban site situation, I find the flocked scopes give a deeper background in the eyepiece. I have flocked an Newtonian, refractors and this VC200L. All results are consistent.

 

However, bright targets like the moon always benefit from it regardless of light pollution.

People from a dark site have reported flocking returns marginal benefit on DSOs.

 

Wondering if you would find the same?

 

Samuel


Edited by samuelpkco, 17 September 2017 - 02:22 AM.


#49 astrogeek64

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 12:05 PM

As you can see i put o-rings into the inner primary baffle of the VC 200L.
I miss only two at the end.

attachicon.gifIMG_3554.JPG

Now the wall is grey were i miss two rings before the end of the tube.
The wall is very dark were the o-rings are, just after the corrector.

attachicon.gifIMG_3555.JPG

O-rings have an inner diametre of 47mm and 2mm thick. So 51mm external diametre.

How did you install these? 



#50 jjack's

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 05:36 PM

With a plastic tube. Medicine tube for example or anything that fit into the baffle tube.

Gutter drainpipe can work. You push the o-ring with the pipe.

Don't use metal pipe.


Edited by jjack's, 17 September 2017 - 05:38 PM.

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