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TV NP101is or Orion EON 104mm ED-X2 APO Triplet?

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#1 rodb

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:57 PM

Hi, all, again,

 

I'm asking this because I'm just not sure of the Orion's ultimate IQ and ergonomics compared with the TV's. I know the TV is designed and sold as much as an imager, therefore the increased cost for beefing up the focuser and positioning of the 2+2 air spaced objective (if I have that right), while retaining the same IQ specs of the original highly reviewed NP101 for visual use. Important: I am strictly a visual user!

 

I bought and now have at home the Orion on a StarSeeker goto mount from Marty of Company Seven. (You may have read some of my relevant posts on this scope in another thread.)

 

I need to make a decision "Pronto" (no pun intended) soon about switching in order to get a full refund and use that toward the TV. Marty strongly talked me out of the TV - much to my consternation - saying the three extra mm can be noticed for deep sky. Furthermore, the shorter focal length means a bit more difficult in gwetting high mags for planets. And while the TV may be slightly better than the Orion (all Marty's subjective words), it's a thousand dollars more, and so he says is not worth it.

 

But, for me the nearly 4#s lighter (with everything about 31-32#s -- though 3.5" longer) of the TV is important as a further inducement (I'm lazy) for quick G&Gs out onto my city LP balcony. It's not the weight but the clumsy weight distribution of scope and mount/tripod. I absolutely want to carry the whole thing out in one piece. See next para about taking the scope on and off the mount.

 

The Orion on the StarSeeker has the rings opening on top, rather on the side. This means there's no stabilizing cradle as the scope would come off to the side, and I'd have to be very careful in holding it. With the cradle at the bottom, as with most scope/mount configurations, the scope has a semi-secure position from which to open and close the rings. I'm probably botching up the explanation. It may be due to the StarSeeker mount's position of the dovetail, and not the scope. In any case, the way it is now, I don't feel comfortable with it. And I'm also having trouble (must be just me) inserting or sliding the heavy scope on/off the dovetail. Maybe that would be the same for the TV.

 

I now have the Orion RACI 9x50 on the EON. Do any know whether that can be put on the TV?

 

And, then for me, I'm probably caught up in the best I can afford, given I'm in my "twilight" years of contemplating the heavens. As Galileo was purported to have said at his inquisition because he insisted that the Earth goes around the sun (can you believe that idiotic dogma - and sadly still persists in some pockets today): Science tells how the heavens go; religion tells how to go to heaven. Isn't that perfect?! And since this will be my last scope, I like the "cache" of the TV, which I like to think is a notch better than the Chinese imports, however rebranded, and is bettered only by Astro-Physics and Tak, among a very small top tier - but thousands more, yet.

 

Please let me know as soon as you can, as I'm not looking forward in dealing with Marty and want to get this over with one way or the other - and there's the full refund to deal with. He's opinionated to the point of not caring what the customer wants, just stating his well-earned expert opinion

 

Opinions: So, considering all the above, and maybe other issues I haven't thought of, would you make the switch, having that sense of satisfaction that you couldn't do better on your budget and that it's your last "hurrah." My heart dueling my brain.

 

I know from reading this forum, Jon Isaacs, among some others, has practical opinions on this scope and I would love to hear what he has to say.

 

Thanks all.

 

Regards, Rod. 



#2 Erik Bakker

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:28 PM

I will comment on the 3mm aperture difference: that makes no discernible difference at the eyepiece at all. Spherical- and chromatic aberrations, along with coatings and alignment do make a difference at the eyepiece. So does the user experience when having a scope on a mount out under the stars.


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#3 rodb

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:40 PM

I will comment on the 3mm aperture difference: that makes no discernible difference at the eyepiece at all. Spherical- and chromatic aberrations, along with coatings and alignment do make a difference at the eyepiece. So does the user experience when having a scope on a mount out under the stars.

Thanks, Erik.

 

Marty says it does make a bit of a difference. I know, splitting hairs. But I'm glad to hear your opinion as it might begin to sway me to the TV. Still undecided. I need to weigh all sides of theis issue as it's a lot of extra money. As it is, the whole Orion shebang, with four TV EPs, the RACI, the sun filter, etc., is around $5550!!! Yikes. What have I done?!

 

Do you have personal experience with the TV?

 

Rod



#4 ac4lt

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:48 PM

I’m afraid I can’t give you much advice regarding the two refractors. I’ve no experience with either. However, I do have experience with Company Seven and, like you, had issues with him trying to sell me something I didn’t want. It would have saved me money, as he said, but it also wouldn’t have been capable of doing what I wanted so the cost savings was irrelevant. I think he doesn’t listen well. After twenty minutes of having him tell me that what I considered important wasn’t important, I decided to take my business elsewhere. I think he thinks he’s being helpful but in my case it was just aggravating. 

 

You aren’t going to see a practical difference in detail with a 3mm loss of aperture. If the TV is a shorter focal length then you will need a shorter focal length eyepiece to get an equiavelent field of view but you should be able to get to the same place in the end. Every TV OTA I’ve had the privilege to look through has given outstanding views. But, does it make sense to spend for an imaging scope when something else might serve as well? You’ve got ergonomic requirements that go beyond the purely optical so only you can be the judge of that.

 

Ultimately, it’s your money to spend. He can only advise but it’s your decision to make. Maybe you need to remind him of that. :)


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#5 rodb

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:05 PM

I’m afraid I can’t give you much advice regarding the two refractors. I’ve no experience with either. However, I do have experience with Company Seven and, like you, had issues with him trying to sell me something I didn’t want. It would have saved me money, as he said, but it also wouldn’t have been capable of doing what I wanted so the cost savings was irrelevant. I think he doesn’t listen well. After twenty minutes of having him tell me that what I considered important wasn’t important, I decided to take my business elsewhere. I think he thinks he’s being helpful but in my case it was just aggravating. 

 

You aren’t going to see a practical difference in detail with a 3mm loss of aperture. If the TV is a shorter focal length then you will need a shorter focal length eyepiece to get an equiavelent field of view but you should be able to get to the same place in the end. Every TV OTA I’ve had the privilege to look through has given outstanding views. But, does it make sense to spend for an imaging scope when something else might serve as well? You’ve got ergonomic requirements that go beyond the purely optical so only you can be the judge of that.

 

Ultimately, it’s your money to spend. He can only advise but it’s your decision to make. Maybe you need to remind him of that. smile.gif

ac4lt,

 

You are exactly spot on. My opinions precisely about Marty being very difficult to deal with, although he's a good guy and means well. He knows better than me (and everyone) and won't really take what I say seriously. So I have this scope, which may well be terrific, but I've still got this hankering for the prestige (and quality upgrade?) of the TV, and its better resale value, should that come to pass - and in my case, it may well. As I've done this several times before. But so have a lot of people on this site - buying and selling and trying and changing. It's our right, right?!

 

Ultimately I want to hear from others who've used this TV scope or others in their line and can tell me some definitive facts about its IQ and ergonomics.

 

Regards, Rod



#6 moshen

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:14 PM

Have you done a high power star test with your scope yet? If the optics test out great and it's an excellent sample then I'd personally be inclined to keep it. There are numerous posts about collimation and optical issues with the NP101 - I'm sure C7 will take care of you if it happens but it's more hassle.

 

It's tough to know how much (if any) weight savings there will be going to the TV just from specs alone. You'd have to have both and weigh them in person to make sure they are both configured equally. I find manufacturer specs to be off quite often.

 

The longer focal length of the Orion is a bit better for visual since you most likely won't be apt to do very low power wide-field viewing from LP skies.

 

I feel like the NP101is is an incredible amount of money to spend on a 4" scope if it's solely for visual and they do seem to drop quite a bit on resale.   The value is more there with dual-use for imaging as then it's competitive price wise with the Tak FSQ series.

 

That said, the heart wants what the heart wants.


Edited by moshen, 12 February 2018 - 02:53 PM.


#7 Pezdragon

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:16 PM

Go with your heart. I did and got the np-101 (from Company 7) and have no regrets every time I look through it with it's wonderful Petzval flat field. It's just a extremely versatile scope that I will pass on to my daughter....someday.....



#8 bobhen

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:38 PM

For “general visual use” I would pick a Takahashi 100 DF, DC or DL (whichever fits your needs) in a heartbeat.

 

Killer optics
Lightweight
Quick cool down
3 different models
The DF can be outfitted for imaging.

 

Bob


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#9 coopman

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:39 PM

I always take my refractors off of the mount with the rings & dovetail still attached to the tube. Why would you take the tube out of the rings? Do you have a case to store the tube assembly in, but it won't fit in there with the rings still on it?
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#10 moshen

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 03:05 PM

If the real goal is to take the entire setup in one trip - you might not really gain in that ability until you size down to 80mm. I have one of the lightest 4" around and a light alt-az mount setup with a carbon fiber tripod. It's not hard weight wise to carry it in one go but I still prefer two trips because of the awkwardness of weight distribution, length of OTA banging into stuff, tripod legs, etc. I feel only going to 80mm will make the one trip thing much easier. What I get over the 80mm in light gathering makes the two trip worth it.

 

You have to make a second trip anyway for EP case, maybe have the scope in a small bag to let you do both in second trip?

 

Like the poster above I also attach on the dovetail not on the rings. The dovetail catch on the bottom side gives it a supporting area to help with the weight when attaching.


Edited by moshen, 12 February 2018 - 03:24 PM.

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#11 skyward_eyes

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 03:38 PM

The NP-101is while designed for imaging is a spectacular visual instrument for both low power as well as high power viewing. The fact that it is a Petzval design also provide a flat field which is a nice added bonus as well. Also, when it comes to weight 4lbs can make a difference, especially for rigidity of the mount and balancing. 

 

When talking about light loss we are talking something like 6% difference between the 104 and 101. This is nothing to worry about in reality so I wouldn't fret over such a simple thing. 

 

In the end this is your money and your time. You need to find what best suits your observing needs and desires. But from personal experience, the NP-101 is one of the finest refractors available. 


Edited by skyward_eyes, 12 February 2018 - 03:39 PM.

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#12 rodb

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:37 PM

Have you done a high power star test with your scope yet?

-- No, but got "first light" literally on the sun. Bad seeing, even with the scope out for an hour, but left the front end covered, so tube currents, I guess. Saw a few spots in a small cluster using only the 35mm Panoptic - 19x. No test at all. Also viewed a building across the street with chicken wire fencing on top of the roof - just above my eye level. In those decent few moments, the fence was razor sharp but that's no star test, either.

 

If the optics test out great and it's an excellent sample then I'd personally be inclined to keep it. There are numerous posts about collimation and optical issues with the NP101 - I'm sure C7 will take care of you if it happens but it's more hassle.

-- Didn't know about optical/collimation issues with the TV. I'd thought the QC was exemplary. Disappointing. Hmm.

 

It's tough to know how much (if any) weight savings there will be going to the TV just from specs alone. You'd have to have both and weigh them in person to make sure they are both configured equally. I find manufacturer specs to be off quite often.

-- Interesting because Marty says the same thing, so he weighs all the relevant products he sells.

 

The longer focal length of the Orion is a bit better for visual since you most likely won't be apt to do very low power wide-field viewing from LP skies.

-- With the 35mm Panoptic, the EON provides 3.39 degrees true field. That's plenty for Pleiades and other wide open clusters, I'd think. The scope's 650mm @f6.25.

 

I feel like the NP101is is an incredible amount of money to spend on a 4" scope if it's solely for visual and they do seem to drop quite a bit on resale.   The value is more there with dual-use for imaging as then it's competitive price wise with the Tak FSQ series

--Hmm. That's another reason I'm considering the TV is precisely because I thought the reseale would be better than the Chinese. Another myth debunked.

 

 

That said, the heart wants what the heart wants.

-- Geesh. You're not helping my heart, only my **** brain.

 

But really value your comments.

 

Rod.



#13 rodb

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:45 PM

If the real goal is to take the entire setup in one trip - you might not really gain in that ability until you size down to 80mm. I have one of the lightest 4" around and a light alt-az mount setup with a carbon fiber tripod. It's not hard weight wise to carry it in one go but I still prefer two trips because of the awkwardness of weight distribution, length of OTA banging into stuff, tripod legs, etc. I feel only going to 80mm will make the one trip thing much easier. What I get over the 80mm in light gathering makes the two trip worth it.

 

You have to make a second trip anyway for EP case, maybe have the scope in a small bag to let you do both in second trip?

 

Like the poster above I also attach on the dovetail not on the rings. The dovetail catch on the bottom side gives it a supporting area to help with the weight when attaching.

It's not the two trips, per se. It's taking the OTA off the mount and then reattaching it in the dark, and reversing when finished. I want to avoid that. So when viewing the sun and other stuff this afternoon, as I said in another post, I did carry it out all in one piece. No problems, being careful. The sliding glass balcony door is very wide, allowing the scope with tripod half extended to go right through. So that's how I'll do it. I know I'm taking a chance but life's a chance.

 

Taking EPs in a second trip is, as I said, no issue.

 

And to the other poster and you, I'd thought maybe dismounting the scope might be easier using the rings, rather than the dovetail, which I'm having a bit of a problem juggling that awkward weight distribution of the OTA.

 

Moshen, thanks again.



#14 rodb

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 04:54 PM

For “general visual use” I would pick a Takahashi 100 DF, DC or DL (whichever fits your needs) in a heartbeat.

 

Killer optics
Lightweight
Quick cool down
3 different models
The DF can be outfitted for imaging.

 

Bob

Yeah, I'd love it. But it's way too expensive for me, considering the added expense of accessories also. As it is, I'm way over my so-called retirement budget for the rig I've bought. And since I'm buying from Company Seven, despite Marty's annoying habits, I don't think he sells Taks. He won't even give his opinions on stuff he doesn't sell. As you all probably know, even if only from my posts about C-7, they test everything before selling it. So that for me is worth all the other hassles. And it's only a short drive there from my home to pick up everything and I'll know it's all in working order. His prices for Orion products, for example, are straight out of their online catalog, no discounts, but worth it all for that great service. And if Orion has a sale, he charges that, too.

 

Rod



#15 rodb

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:03 PM

The NP-101is while designed for imaging is a spectacular visual instrument for both low power as well as high power viewing. The fact that it is a Petzval design also provide a flat field which is a nice added bonus as well. Also, when it comes to weight 4lbs can make a difference, especially for rigidity of the mount and balancing. 

 

When talking about light loss we are talking something like 6% difference between the 104 and 101. This is nothing to worry about in reality so I wouldn't fret over such a simple thing. 

 

In the end this is your money and your time. You need to find what best suits your observing needs and desires. But from personal experience, the NP-101 is one of the finest refractors available. 

Sky-Eyes,

 

Thanks, that's what I was hoping to hear.

 

I see you're a vendor. I mean no disrespect, but does that in any way color your opinion. But I don't really see how, in that you're way "out" there and I'm way "in" here grin.gif. And so I buy from C-7 as I say (ad nauseum).

 

Does the 4-element design slow the cooling down process, being the two lens groups are air spaced as well (if I have that right)? And does that design cause additional light loss from those surfaces?

 

Please let me know about those issues. That would help my decision for all that extra money.

 

Thanks a lot, Rod 



#16 Passerine

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:17 PM

Rod,

For visual use, perhaps the biggest difference between these two scopes is that the NP101is, due to its Petzval design, would have sharper stars all the way out to the very edge of the field of view, and this will be most evident with low power, wide field eyepieces.  In addition, the Tele Vue also has a wider maximum field to begin with, so that makes it the better instrument for low power, "panoramic" viewing.  Since you already have the Orion scope, you might try this right now with your lowest power eyepiece:  Dial in the stars as sharp as possible in the center field and then see if you notice they are softer at the edge.  Probably the same thing will not happen in the NP101, plus the field would be noticeably wider with the NP101.

 

Dave



#17 Lola Bruce

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:31 PM

One more for the Takahashi. Plus it's about half the price.

For “general visual use” I would pick a Takahashi 100 DF, DC or DL (whichever fits your needs) in a heartbeat.

Bruce


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#18 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:44 PM

Marty says it does make a bit of a difference. I know, splitting hairs. But I'm glad to hear your opinion as it might begin to sway me to the TV. Still undecided. I need to weigh all sides of theis issue as it's a lot of extra money. As it is, the whole Orion shebang, with four TV EPs, the RACI, the sun filter, etc., is around $5550!!! Yikes. What have I done?!

Have you star tested the Orion? Have you done so with a 30% central obstruction? Until you have, you have nothing but emotionalism to go on. That never ends well. You are, as they say, the perfect candidate for a fleece job.


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#19 jay.i

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:57 PM

 

Marty says it does make a bit of a difference. I know, splitting hairs. But I'm glad to hear your opinion as it might begin to sway me to the TV. Still undecided. I need to weigh all sides of theis issue as it's a lot of extra money. As it is, the whole Orion shebang, with four TV EPs, the RACI, the sun filter, etc., is around $5550!!! Yikes. What have I done?!

Have you star tested the Orion? Have you done so with a 30% central obstruction? Until you have, you have nothing but emotionalism to go on. That never ends well. You are, as they say, the perfect candidate for a fleece job.

 

Emotion gets the best of us when we spend thousands of dollars sometimes. I agonized over whether or not to return my Borg 90FL within the 30 day window and the choice was not purely logical. There was some emotion there too, some subjective preference. Even if OP hasn't star tested the optics, other things can seem more appealing like the resale value, or the excellent support, or a better focuser, or a lighter weight. The optics aren't the only thing that matters, though I would argue they are the most important. Still, great/decent optics can be outweighed by the aforementioned things, at least for me.



#20 jay.i

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:17 PM

Personally I would ask the vendor to max out the return window, citing a lack of confidence and a desire to truly understand and test the product. Then I would look through the scope with as many decent eyepieces and a decent mirror diagonal (so as not to add CA) as I can before the return window is up (the used market is your friend here). If the scope didn't impress me with sharpness, contrast, and color-free views (ideally a good star test too), or had too many cons like long cooldowns and heavy weight requiring a sturdy mount, I would return it (ideally 10-15% restocking fee or less).

 

Then, I would look for a used NP-101 with the dual speed focuser or an FC-100DF (has 2" back and large focuser unlike the DC) with the dual speed MEF-3 focuser. The NP-101 will give you amazingly flat views at a short, wide focal length, and works best under at least dark-ish skies due to its super-flat widefield prowess. The FC-100DF will give you excellent planetary and lunar views, with infamous contrast due to the fluorite element at the rear of the doublet lens. The Tak will cool down maybe a little faster than the dual-doublet TV, and the Tak is a lot lighter at 8lbs versus almost 11lbs for the TV. The TV is slightly shorter with a retracting dew shield, while the FC-100DF has the fixed dew shield. Neither are airline carry-on portable. The FC-100DF can fit into a properly sized case with the focuser and dew shield removed, put elsewhere in the case; this may be possible with the NP-101's focuser as well. Both scopes will hold their resale value fairly well, better than most Chinese scopes (not always the case, and the Orion ED-X2 seems awesome), but TV will give you better customer support than Tak, and TV doesn't nickel and dime you with tons of adapters like you will find with Tak if you decide to try imaging with one.

 

If you have access to semi-dark skies regularly (like Bortle 5 or under) I think the NP-101 would be the better choice, whereas the FC-100DF will work well under any skies and still can get quite wide with a 40XW/41Pan giving a 3.8deg TFOV at 19x and a 5.4mm exit pupil. This eyepiece would almost be too much for the TV, giving a 7.5mm exit pupil at 14x with a 5 degree field of view. Personally I think this is binocular territory. The Tak will own the TV for planetary work but the TV will be no slouch - you will just need a tele-extender like a Powermate or Barlow for high magnifications, unless you have very short focal length eyepieces as well (like 2.5mm for 216x!). For my skies and my usual targets, the Tak makes more sense than the TV. If I had even Bortle 6 skies I'd heavily consider the TV instead since I could get some decent sky darkness with those lovely flat wide fields.

 

You honestly can't go wrong with either of these scopes. I would feel lucky to own either one.


Edited by jay.i, 12 February 2018 - 06:20 PM.


#21 sydney

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:20 PM

If this is the same scope as the Orion, it gets a pretty good review here:

 

https://www.primaluc...fractor-review/

 

 



#22 moshen

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:20 PM

Perhaps someone with an NP101is can weigh it with clamshell & cap and report back to compare with the Orion with rings & cap. I have a feeling Orions spec is with rings included since that ships standard with the OTA & the NP101is does not comes with rings or clamshell and partly why it specs lighter.

 

You really have to weigh in person and compare that way - the reported specs as I said are not going to be consistent with configuration and even then they can be off.

 

That way you can at least have facts to value the weight part of it.

 

Brand value and cachet and all that is a personal weighting and only you can answer that.



#23 bobhen

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:48 PM

 

For “general visual use” I would pick a Takahashi 100 DF, DC or DL (whichever fits your needs) in a heartbeat.

 

Killer optics
Lightweight
Quick cool down
3 different models
The DF can be outfitted for imaging.

 

Bob

Yeah, I'd love it. But it's way too expensive for me, considering the added expense of accessories also. As it is, I'm way over my so-called retirement budget for the rig I've bought. And since I'm buying from Company Seven, despite Marty's annoying habits, I don't think he sells Taks. He won't even give his opinions on stuff he doesn't sell. As you all probably know, even if only from my posts about C-7, they test everything before selling it. So that for me is worth all the other hassles. And it's only a short drive there from my home to pick up everything and I'll know it's all in working order. His prices for Orion products, for example, are straight out of their online catalog, no discounts, but worth it all for that great service. And if Orion has a sale, he charges that, too.

 

Rod

 

The TV 101is starts around $4,000 and weighs 10.5 pounds

 

The Tak 100 DF starts at around $2,500 and weighs 6.1 pounds

 

Your call

 

Bob


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#24 rodb

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:51 PM

 

 

Marty says it does make a bit of a difference. I know, splitting hairs. But I'm glad to hear your opinion as it might begin to sway me to the TV. Still undecided. I need to weigh all sides of theis issue as it's a lot of extra money. As it is, the whole Orion shebang, with four TV EPs, the RACI, the sun filter, etc., is around $5550!!! Yikes. What have I done?!

Have you star tested the Orion? Have you done so with a 30% central obstruction? Until you have, you have nothing but emotionalism to go on. That never ends well. You are, as they say, the perfect candidate for a fleece job.

 

Emotion gets the best of us when we spend thousands of dollars sometimes. I agonized over whether or not to return my Borg 90FL within the 30 day window and the choice was not purely logical. There was some emotion there too, some subjective preference. Even if OP hasn't star tested the optics, other things can seem more appealing like the resale value, or the excellent support, or a better focuser, or a lighter weight. The optics aren't the only thing that matters, though I would argue they are the most important. Still, great/decent optics can be outweighed by the aforementioned things, at least for me.

 

Jay,

 

Thanks for your sentiments.

 

To Peter B: You say I'm the perfect candidate for a fleece job. Who is fleecing me?! I don't appreciate your accusation or your denigrating, barely hidden superior tone. Wisdom is the antithesis of superiority.



#25 astrophile

astrophile

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 706
  • Joined: 30 Jun 2013
  • Loc: NoVA Yellow Zone

Posted 12 February 2018 - 06:58 PM

Here's another opinion just to help you out 😉 But it's my honest one... as a former NP101 owner.

First, on aperture. I would challenge anyone, shy maybe of Stephen J. O'Meara, to identify a difference in view between 104mm vs. 101.5. Please.

That said, optical quality being equal (and I have no idea about the Orion), I'd stick with the Orion. 3.5" of added length is going to degrade mounted portability more than a couple of pounds. Plus, as others have said, the NP-101 will shine visually under dark skies. If your yard is under even moderate LP, not as much.

So in fact, unless you find the EON's optics less than excellent, or relish the widest flattest field available, I think the Orion is the better choice.
  • Jayo likes this


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