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Questions Mak Cass diagonals

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#1 graffias79

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:59 AM

Hi, I'm planning on buying myself a Mak Cass next month and have talked myself into the Orion 150mm Mak.  This one does not come with a diagonal or finder.  I have a red dot finder which will work fine for my purposes but I have questions regarding the back end:

 

It comes threaded with SCT threads, which I take to be a good thing as there are more accessories available that can connect to this thread type.  While it does not come with a diagonal it does come with a 2" visual back and 1.25" adapter.  I assume I would be able to use my existing 1.25" diagonal with this setup in the meantime.  Is that the case?

 

I see when shopping for diagonals, there are types that are called "refractor diagonals" where they use either a 1.25" or 2" barrel to connect to the scope, and there are "SCT diagonals" where they attached directly to the SCT threads.  Can either type be used on this?  If so, wouldn't this profoundly affect where things come to focus given the extra length of using the visual back plus the refractor diagonal?

 

Ideally I would like to get the 2" refractor diagonal.  Not for using 2" eyepieces (because I know the Mak has too narrow of a field), but because I will be able to use that diagonal in the future for another telescope.  Is this a bad idea for the Mak?

 

Sorry for all the questions, I am just confused with options as this would be my first catadioptric telescope, and I am excited!

 

Oh I should mention that my goals are visual planetary and lunar, along with imaging planets and the moon using both my NexImage 5 and my Canon T2i DSLR.



#2 Nikonuser

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:11 PM

Not for using 2" eyepieces (because I know the Mak has too narrow of a field)

 

I only use 2" eyepieces so why not

 

I prefer this, it can take an adapter for a SC or be used on a refractor without the adapter

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Edited by Nikonuser, 12 January 2018 - 12:11 PM.

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#3 Nikonuser

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:12 PM

https://www.widescre...ter-2-diagonals

 

 

the other side of the Carbon Fibre diagonal has a temperature thermometer

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Nikonuser, 12 January 2018 - 12:15 PM.


#4 junomike

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:22 PM

A 2" Refractor (nose) Diagonal sounds best for future telescope use so go with something that is Dielectric. 



#5 jallbery

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:40 PM

A 2" SCT diagonal is only a good future investment if the future includes an SCT that can make use of it.

 

A 2" refractor style diagonal is only a good future investment if the future includes a refractor that make use of it.

 

Quite frankly, I don't share diagonals on my scopes.   It's just simpler to give them all their own.

 

Theoretically speaking, the best performance out of a slow focal ratio scope like a Mak is with a good prism diagonal.  In my experience, the Celestron 1.25" prism performs admirably for its rather modest price (they do make the occasional dud, but as long as you get a good one, they are generally pretty good).   If you want something better, go for the Tak or Baader prism.

 

If you want a 2" mirror refractor diagonal, there are lots of nice dielectric options.

 

Note that using the 2" visual back with a refractor style mirror diagonal will result in an increase in focal length. 



#6 graffias79

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 01:03 PM

A 2" SCT diagonal is only a good future investment if the future includes an SCT that can make use of it.

 

A 2" refractor style diagonal is only a good future investment if the future includes a refractor that make use of it.

 

...

 

Note that using the 2" visual back with a refractor style mirror diagonal will result in an increase in focal length. 

Of course, that makes sense.  I don't plan on having any more cats aside from this Mak.  I have a 10" reflector and some other nice smaller scopes.

 

Hmm this scope is said to have a focal length of f/12.  If I use the visual back and pick up say, a GSO dielectric for refractors, would that add a lot of focal length?

 

I am planning on upgrading my little 90mm f8.8 Meade achromat with a 2" focuser hence why I was looking at this option.  I think it'll do nicely with low power 2" eyepieces.



#7 jallbery

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 01:29 PM

On a typically SCT, each additional millimeter you move back the focal plane adds about 3.1mm in focal length. 

 

On a standard c8, the stock VB and 1.25 prism puts you right about at 2032; a typical SCT 2" mirror diagonal puts you at about 2100; and a 2" visual back and refractor diagonal might put you at 2150mm give or take...

 

I'm guessing Maks would have a similar factor, but I don't know the specifics.

 

On an SCT,  moving the focal plane beyond the design location also induces an over-correction of spherical aberration.  It can potentially lead to the effective stopping down of the scope as well.  



#8 elwaine

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 01:43 PM

Well... it's not quite a simple as deciding between a 1.25" vs a 2" diagonal.

 

I agree that a 2" refractor/nose diagonal will work just fine. But as you already know, Maks have a narrow field of view to begin with. You already understand that the more you extend the light path, the greater will be the increase in the actual working focal length of your Mak; and, consequently, the narrower your field of view will be. That doesn't matter much for viewing the planets (unless you like seeing some of the moons of Jupiter in addition to the planet). But it might matter when viewing the Moon... at least it does to me. 

 

Your Mak has a nominal focal ratio of f/12. The same as my 150mm TEC Mak. That equates to a focal length of 1,800mm. However, that is probably based on using a 1.25" diagonal attached directly to the visual back via the SCT threads. And a 1.25" diagonal has a significantly shorter light path than a 2" diagonal.

 

E.g., as I initially configured my Mak with a 2" Baader click lock visual back and a 2" Baader BBHS mirror diagonal, I measured my focal length to be very close to 2,250mm. So my nominal f/12 Mak operated at f/15.

 

As measured from the SCT threads on my Mak, the Baader click lock adds approximately 20mm to the light path and the Baader 2" BBHS mirror diagonal adds an additional 120mm (IIRC) to the light path.

 

I then switched to a 2" Baader Zeiss prism diagonal, which has a 10mm shorter light path than the mirror diagonal, and that brought the FL down to ~2100mm (f/14). 

 

When I get a bino-viewer, I will buy what I should have bought in the first place: a Baader T2 Zeiss prism diagonal and a short SCT/T-2 adapter to attach it directly to the 2" SCT threads on the back of my Mak. -- That will shorten my light path, as currently configured, by ~ 30mm. Doing so will get me a lot closer to the nominal f/12 (1800mm fl) of my Mak.

 

Keep in mind that YMMV, but in my experience, I prefer the Baader BBHS mirror diagonal over the A-P 2" Maxbright diagonal, and I prefer the Baader Prism diagonal over the Mirror diagonal. To me, there is a bit more contrast and less light scatter with the prism diagonal. Others may disagree.

 

So... my suggestion to you is to get a Baader T-2 90° Prism Star Diagonal Body with Carl Zeiss Spec Prism and BBHS Coating. You can get a number of different adapters to configure that diagonal to work with your Mak or with refractors, or with bino-viewers. (Agena Astro has the diagonal and adapters and will be able to help in the selection of what is needed.)

 

Just my $.02.


Edited by elwaine, 12 January 2018 - 01:58 PM.

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#9 graffias79

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:05 PM

Good gravy that thing is nearly $275 and it's just the body!  They couldn't toss in something to screw it to the scope?!

 

I guess I never specified that my budget is closer to GSO and Celestron than it is to Zeiss and TEC!



#10 elwaine

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 03:13 PM

Good gravy that thing is nearly $275 and it's just the body!  They couldn't toss in something to screw it to the scope?!

 

I guess I never specified that my budget is closer to GSO and Celestron than it is to Zeiss and TEC!

 

Sorry. I didn't mean to spend your money. Just file it away (like I do). I keep a wish list of things I want to buy "when I get rich(er)." smile.gif


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#11 Spikey131

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:51 PM

Good gravy that thing is nearly $275 and it's just the body!  They couldn't toss in something to screw it to the scope?!

 

I guess I never specified that my budget is closer to GSO and Celestron than it is to Zeiss and TEC!

Just get yourself a decent dielectric 2" diagonal (like this one on sale:  https://www.highpoin...2-by-high-point ).

 

I think you will want a 2" to maximize your field of view.  

 

You can do this on the cheap with a 55mm Plossl or spend $$$$ on a 31mm Nagler, but I think you will want to avail yourself of the widest field possible.



#12 elwaine

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 08:40 PM

 

I think you will want a 2" to maximize your field of view.  

 

 

Not necessarily. That’s what I was getting at. If the OP uses a conventional visual back with a 2” diagonal and a 2” eyepiece, he will significantly increase his effective focal length and decrease his f.o.v. accordingly. The OP would need to do the math, but he may be able to get as wide a f.o.v. using a 1.25” eyepiece with a 1.25” diagonal attached directly to the SCT threads. And that is a lot less expensive than going with 2” eyepieces and a 2” diagonal.

 

BTW, one does not have to spend $275 for the Baader T2 prism. Baader makes a T2 mirror diagonal that is a lot less $$ than the prism version. And there are 1.25” prism diagonals that perform quite nicely and cost less than $100.

.



#13 Richard Whalen

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:44 PM

In my MCT I prefer a mirror diagonal as my Ziess prism ads a bit of correction that it doesnt need. For your 6", I would first determine what eyepieces you will be using, for low power wider field look at telescope baffle size. If you have say a 28mm baffle, look at eyepieces with baffles no larger than say 30mm otherwise you will see light drop off towards the edges of the fov. 

 

You might find you are limited to something like a 24mm wide field eyepiece or 26mm Nagler or smaller. Then decide on diagonal.


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#14 Spikey131

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:58 PM

 

 

I think you will want a 2" to maximize your field of view.  

 

 

Not necessarily. That’s what I was getting at. If the OP uses a conventional visual back with a 2” diagonal and a 2” eyepiece, he will significantly increase his effective focal length and decrease his f.o.v. accordingly. The OP would need to do the math, but he may be able to get as wide a f.o.v. using a 1.25” eyepiece with a 1.25” diagonal attached directly to the SCT threads. And that is a lot less expensive than going with 2” eyepieces and a 2” diagonal.

 

BTW, one does not have to spend $275 for the Baader T2 prism. Baader makes a T2 mirror diagonal that is a lot less $$ than the prism version. And there are 1.25” prism diagonals that perform quite nicely and cost less than $100.

.

 

Using your numbers, an 1800mm FL 150mm diameter scope, with a 32mm Plossl (maximum field stop in a 1 1/4" eyepiece),  will yield a true FOV of 0.97 degrees.

 

A 2250 mm FL 150 diameter scope with a 55mm Plossl (maximum field stop in a 2" eyepiece) will yield a true FOV of 1.2 degrees.

 

So a 2" diagonal will "necessarily" provide a wider FOV.

 

If he chooses an SCT diagonal which screws directly to the scope such as this relatively inexpensive option ( https://www.highpoin...2-by-high-point ), he will shorten his FL and make an even wider FOV.


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#15 SeattleScott

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:48 PM

And he also plans to share the diagonal at this point with his refractor so the 2" max FOV seems in order. But food for thought, later on he could keep a diagonal he gets now on the frac and get a Baader T2 for the Mak.

No one has mentioned the mount yet. With an EQ mount a refractor diagonal is nice because you can easily rotate it to a more comfortable position. With an alt az mount either one works fine. The type that can switch between sct or refractor could be helpful in long run, but if you are swapping between scopes, I wouldn't bother converting it back and forth between sct and refractor style just to save 50mm of FL. I would just leave it as a refractor diagonal. And if you got a second diagonal later you could get an sct style and put the one you get now on the frac. If it doesn't cost any more for the convertible diagonal, why not? But if it does, why bother? Seems like a gimmick rather than a truly practical feature.

Scott

#16 graffias79

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 12:13 AM

Oh I am enjoying the thoughtful replies, thanks all! To answer a question, I'll be mounting this primarily on my CG-5 GT.

Edited by graffias79, 13 January 2018 - 12:13 AM.


#17 Hesiod

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 06:19 AM

IME "SCT-type" stardiagonals can be effectively exploited even with GEMs.

And if get a Baader model can stil replace the "SCT" adapter with a 2" nose (may need an adapter ring if choose a 2" model, so this must be checked in advance; while 1.25" ones have a T2 female thread, and I use my Baader prisms both with 1.25" or 2" adapters, and as "SCT diagonals").

An SCT diagonal provides a strogner linkage than that provided by some 1.25" eyepiece holders (e.g. standard VB of C8), while do not see much advantage over 2" models under this regard, while it may allow you to slightly reduce the increase of focal lenght.

Going down the 2" path offers more options in term of long-focal eyepieces, which is IMHO more useful because of the exit-pupil issues than because of the tfov matter (a f/12 telescope with a 55mm EP is not "dim" at all...).

As for the fov, even if a 2" stardiagonal will increase* the effective focal lenght of the system, you should be able to attain a somewhat larger tfov; however, depending on the optical tube design, you may notice aberrations which could be corrected in the 1.25" format (e.g. in my C8 there is clearly noticeable coma with a 2" EP, so I usually prefer to stick to 1.25" sets)

 

 

 

*it may be of some importance to know whether the declared focal lenght of the MCT is meant with or without stardiagonal: just to make 2 examples, my C8 has a 2030mm or so f.l. WITH 1,25" diagonal (and likely a bit less at prime focus), while my Alter500 has a 1270mm f.l. AT PRIME FOCUS, while the focal lenght is increased to a value close to 1500mm with a 2" SCT-type mirror, and to 1400mm with a 1,25" prism through 2" VB (maybe some millimeters may be gained with a 1.25", SCT-type prism, but have not measured yet).



#18 elwaine

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:29 AM

 

 

 

I think you will want a 2" to maximize your field of view.  

 

 

Not necessarily. That’s what I was getting at. If the OP uses a conventional visual back with a 2” diagonal and a 2” eyepiece, he will significantly increase his effective focal length and decrease his f.o.v. accordingly. The OP would need to do the math, but he may be able to get as wide a f.o.v. using a 1.25” eyepiece with a 1.25” diagonal attached directly to the SCT threads. And that is a lot less expensive than going with 2” eyepieces and a 2” diagonal.

 

BTW, one does not have to spend $275 for the Baader T2 prism. Baader makes a T2 mirror diagonal that is a lot less $$ than the prism version. And there are 1.25” prism diagonals that perform quite nicely and cost less than $100.

.

 

Using your numbers, an 1800mm FL 150mm diameter scope, with a 32mm Plossl (maximum field stop in a 1 1/4" eyepiece),  will yield a true FOV of 0.97 degrees.

 

A 2250 mm FL 150 diameter scope with a 55mm Plossl (maximum field stop in a 2" eyepiece) will yield a true FOV of 1.2 degrees.

 

So a 2" diagonal will "necessarily" provide a wider FOV.

 

If he chooses an SCT diagonal which screws directly to the scope such as this relatively inexpensive option ( https://www.highpoin...2-by-high-point ), he will shorten his FL and make an even wider FOV.

 

You are 100% correct. I stand corrected. Thank you!



#19 SeattleScott

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 10:50 AM

I concur a SCT diagonal can be used on an EQ mount. You just need to keep the mount lower so you can reach the eyepiece easier. Personally I would lean towards refractor diagonal for a Mak on an EQ mount to give a bit more flexibility for mounting height or those cases where the eyepiece ends up in a particularly akward position, plus it is helpful if you ate trying to share the views with small children. The penalty in focal length just isn't that much to gain a little flexibility. In this case he wants to share the diagonal with his refractor so it seems like a no brainer to get a refractor diagonal, or at least a convertible one if price is similar. 

 

Scott


Edited by SeattleScott, 13 January 2018 - 10:51 AM.


#20 Richard Whalen

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:15 AM

 

 

 

I think you will want a 2" to maximize your field of view.  

 

 

Not necessarily. That’s what I was getting at. If the OP uses a conventional visual back with a 2” diagonal and a 2” eyepiece, he will significantly increase his effective focal length and decrease his f.o.v. accordingly. The OP would need to do the math, but he may be able to get as wide a f.o.v. using a 1.25” eyepiece with a 1.25” diagonal attached directly to the SCT threads. And that is a lot less expensive than going with 2” eyepieces and a 2” diagonal.

 

BTW, one does not have to spend $275 for the Baader T2 prism. Baader makes a T2 mirror diagonal that is a lot less $$ than the prism version. And there are 1.25” prism diagonals that perform quite nicely and cost less than $100.

.

 

Using your numbers, an 1800mm FL 150mm diameter scope, with a 32mm Plossl (maximum field stop in a 1 1/4" eyepiece),  will yield a true FOV of 0.97 degrees.

 

A 2250 mm FL 150 diameter scope with a 55mm Plossl (maximum field stop in a 2" eyepiece) will yield a true FOV of 1.2 degrees.

 

So a 2" diagonal will "necessarily" provide a wider FOV.

 

If he chooses an SCT diagonal which screws directly to the scope such as this relatively inexpensive option ( https://www.highpoin...2-by-high-point ), he will shorten his FL and make an even wider FOV.

 

I doubt you can use a 55mm plossl to good effect in a 6" MCT f12. Going to have significant light drop off and vignetting. So the effective fov will be much smaller than 1.2 degrees. I cant use one in my 8", the widest fov I get is with a 31mm Nagler which has a 42mm field stop and has a slight light drop off at the edge of the fov. The 55 has a 46mm field stop.



#21 jallbery

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:27 AM

If you need to reposition an SCT diagonal, you simply slightly loosen the collar, reposition the diagonal, and then retighten.  It's not really that much harder than a clicklock.   I've done it that way for years (on equatorial forks and GEMs).  Even on alt-az, if using a long eyepiece or barlow and needing to lower the height of the eyepiece for comfortable viewing.

 

If you have SCT threads and want the option to use 2" eyepieces AND want to keep the light path as short as possible, you can screw a Baader diagonal straight onto the SCT using their SCT lock ring:

https://agenaastro.c...nal-to-sct.html

 

The inexpensive 2" mirror diagonal that Celestron sells with its 2" eyepiece kit also has SCT threads (it comes with both a refractor nose and an SCT nose) and could be attached with the SCT lock ring the same way.  These diagonals were being sold without the kit on eBay for a very reasonable price (under $60), but I can't seem to find any for sale at present.


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#22 jallbery

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:49 AM

I doubt you can use a 55mm plossl to good effect in a 6" MCT f12. Going to have significant light drop off and vignetting. So the effective fov will be much smaller than 1.2 degrees. I cant use one in my 8", the widest fov I get is with a 31mm Nagler which has a 42mm field stop and has a slight light drop off at the edge of the fov. The 55 has a 46mm field stop.

 

 

The Meade 56mm Plossl is pretty good and can be purchased for the bargain price of $60.  For a scope that could be operating close to F/15, I'd get one to get the brighter exit pupil for detecting faint objects.  Who cares if it vignettes.  You'll get what ever field the scope can deliver.  At F/12 or slower,  I'd rather have a 2" 55-56mm with a fuzzy fade-to-black fieldstop than a 40mm 1.25" plossl with a crisp fieldstop, dimmer field, and smaller TFoV.

 

It's not just about wide.  The vignetting doesn't hurt anything.



#23 Spikey131

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 01:23 PM

 

I doubt you can use a 55mm plossl to good effect in a 6" MCT f12. Going to have significant light drop off and vignetting. So the effective fov will be much smaller than 1.2 degrees. I cant use one in my 8", the widest fov I get is with a 31mm Nagler which has a 42mm field stop and has a slight light drop off at the edge of the fov. The 55 has a 46mm field stop.

 

 

The Meade 56mm Plossl is pretty good and can be purchased for the bargain price of $60.  For a scope that could be operating close to F/15, I'd get one to get the brighter exit pupil for detecting faint objects.  Who cares if it vignettes.  You'll get what ever field the scope can deliver.  At F/12 or slower,  I'd rather have a 2" 55-56mm with a fuzzy fade-to-black fieldstop than a 40mm 1.25" plossl with a crisp fieldstop, dimmer field, and smaller TFoV.

 

It's not just about wide.  The vignetting doesn't hurt anything.

 

In fact, a benefit of the longer light path with the 2” diagonal is that the cone of light widens and you see less vignetting.  I don’t appreciate any vignetting with a 55mm Plössl in my C8.

 

I also agree that it doesn’t really matter anyway.



#24 SeattleScott

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:31 PM

My 6” Mak has a baffle tube about the same diameter as a C8 and I don’t notice vignetting with my 42lvw (46.5mm field stop). Not all maks have as large of a baffle tube so YMMV.

Scott

#25 Richard Whalen

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 04:34 PM

Actually a 40mm 1.25 eyepiece in a 1.25" diagonal will yield only about 5x more in magnification than a 2" 56mm in a 2" diagonal. 3.3 mm exit pupil verses 3.6mm, not much difference for the added weight, and unless you have observe from a dark sky site you wont notice a difference. I have a 56mm 2" Meade, not an eyepiece Im impressed with to be honest. My old 60mm kellner does a better job, as does my 48mm Brandon in my refractors. Its a newer one, made in china bought at B&H last year.




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