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In Defense of Towa

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#26 Martin

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 12:59 PM

My very first telescope, a Tasco 11TR was a Towa make. It was the red tube 11TR from around 1993. Not a great mount as it did have some wiggles but the optics seemed fairly good to this first timer.  I used that scope any night that it was clear for the first 6 months or so. I found nebulae, cluster, double stars and of course the planets. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever bought. I was often in the backyard until 2AM or later in the mornings if it was a weekend. I was amazed at what I could see. Then I remember reading an article in Astronomy magazine that said if you upgrade the eyepieces in these department store or entry level telescopes, you will be surprised at how much of a difference it makes. So, I purchased a couple of Orion .965 Orthos and a Orion barlow that I saw in Orion's magazine. Once I got those it was like a veil had been lifted. Jupiter suddenly looked so much better than it did with the original eyepieces that came with the scope. It was amazing. Not to say that the images were bad with the original eyepieces, I was actually kind of happy with the scope as it was. But these new eyepieces just made it even better. Everything was brighter and more detailed.  

So that was my first experience with a Towa and because it was my first scope, I will always remember it fondly. I am sure there are some bad samples out there but even so, you can still have  a lot of fun with one, even if it doesn't have great optics. Some upgraded eyepieces can make a lot of difference.

 

Martin


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#27 Bonco2

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 03:45 PM

I'm wondering if I'm seeing things. I'm much newer at this than a lot of you. Based on this thread I got out my Sears/Circle T 60mm f/11 to see what I could see in the Trapezium tonight. We had been looking at the Orion Nebula through a friend's 8" Dobsonian with beautiful views.

 

I could easily see three and maybe four stars with the HM 6mm eyepiece. That is a hard eyepiece to use but it worked tonight. I tried the Barlow with the Ke 20mm - nice view but I think the HM 6mm is better. 

 

For fun I also tried the HM 6mm with the Barlow. As I understand it that should be well beyond the practical power of this telescope. True that the stars are not pinpoints with that set up, but I think I could see the shape of the six Trapezium stars. Is this wishful thinking for this scope, or does that sound right? 

A good 60mm in the right conditions could show 4 in the Trapezium, however the dimmest of the 4 can be tough. However your observation you described ..." but I think I could see the shape of the six Trapezium stars"... is highly unlikely.

Bill 


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#28 deSitter

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 07:40 PM

My very first telescope, a Tasco 11TR was a Towa make. It was the red tube 11TR from around 1993. Not a great mount as it did have some wiggles but the optics seemed fairly good to this first timer.  I used that scope any night that it was clear for the first 6 months or so. I found nebulae, cluster, double stars and of course the planets. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever bought. I was often in the backyard until 2AM or later in the mornings if it was a weekend. I was amazed at what I could see. Then I remember reading an article in Astronomy magazine that said if you upgrade the eyepieces in these department store or entry level telescopes, you will be surprised at how much of a difference it makes. So, I purchased a couple of Orion .965 Orthos and a Orion barlow that I saw in Orion's magazine. Once I got those it was like a veil had been lifted. Jupiter suddenly looked so much better than it did with the original eyepieces that came with the scope. It was amazing. Not to say that the images were bad with the original eyepieces, I was actually kind of happy with the scope as it was. But these new eyepieces just made it even better. Everything was brighter and more detailed.  

So that was my first experience with a Towa and because it was my first scope, I will always remember it fondly. I am sure there are some bad samples out there but even so, you can still have  a lot of fun with one, even if it doesn't have great optics. Some upgraded eyepieces can make a lot of difference.

 

Martin

Yes!

 

-drl


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#29 Dave1066

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 01:11 PM

 

I'm wondering if I'm seeing things. I'm much newer at this than a lot of you. Based on this thread I got out my Sears/Circle T 60mm f/11 to see what I could see in the Trapezium tonight. We had been looking at the Orion Nebula through a friend's 8" Dobsonian with beautiful views.

 

I could easily see three and maybe four stars with the HM 6mm eyepiece. That is a hard eyepiece to use but it worked tonight. I tried the Barlow with the Ke 20mm - nice view but I think the HM 6mm is better. 

 

For fun I also tried the HM 6mm with the Barlow. As I understand it that should be well beyond the practical power of this telescope. True that the stars are not pinpoints with that set up, but I think I could see the shape of the six Trapezium stars. Is this wishful thinking for this scope, or does that sound right? 

A good 60mm in the right conditions could show 4 in the Trapezium, however the dimmest of the 4 can be tough. However your observation you described ..." but I think I could see the shape of the six Trapezium stars"... is highly unlikely.

Bill 

 

My 60mm Skylight, shows 4 stars in the Trapezium easily, at any magnification, in fair to good seeing conditions ( Pickering Scale number 6 ). I have never failed to see 4 stars in the trapezium with this telescope. But then mine has Carton lenses.  


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#30 photiost

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 07:10 PM

The Towa 60mm refractor I got when I was 12 years old showed me the rings of Saturn the moons of Jupiter and the countless craters on the moon.

 

That telescope was used every clear night and it was what started me on this wonderful journey. 

 

Only good memories !!

.

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Towa 60mm f15 - 900mm fl.jpg

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#31 clamchip

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 09:19 PM

The Towa 339 sure is a beautiful instrument, look in here:

https://www.cloudyni...se/?hl=towa 339

 

Robert 


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#32 Tenacious

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 09:55 AM

 

My very first telescope, a Tasco 11TR was a Towa make. It was the red tube 11TR from around 1993. Not a great mount as it did have some wiggles but the optics seemed fairly good to this first timer.  I used that scope any night that it was clear for the first 6 months or so. I found nebulae, cluster, double stars and of course the planets. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever bought. I was often in the backyard until 2AM or later in the mornings if it was a weekend. I was amazed at what I could see. Then I remember reading an article in Astronomy magazine that said if you upgrade the eyepieces in these department store or entry level telescopes, you will be surprised at how much of a difference it makes. So, I purchased a couple of Orion .965 Orthos and a Orion barlow that I saw in Orion's magazine. Once I got those it was like a veil had been lifted. Jupiter suddenly looked so much better than it did with the original eyepieces that came with the scope. It was amazing. Not to say that the images were bad with the original eyepieces, I was actually kind of happy with the scope as it was. But these new eyepieces just made it even better. Everything was brighter and more detailed.  

So that was my first experience with a Towa and because it was my first scope, I will always remember it fondly. I am sure there are some bad samples out there but even so, you can still have  a lot of fun with one, even if it doesn't have great optics. Some upgraded eyepieces can make a lot of difference.

 

Martin

Yes!

 

-drl

 

+1    My first telescope, too.  I found a Celestron 12.5mm Orthoscopic (0.965" barrel) and others that were so much better than the stock EPs.  Made a big difference.  I replaced the finder with a rifle scope (Tasco brand, IIRC) that I had laying around, another big improvement.   I saw a lot and learned a lot.  A good friend still has it.


Edited by Tenacious, 20 February 2018 - 09:58 AM.

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#33 Chuck Hards

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 09:58 AM

The Towa 60mm refractor I got when I was 12 years old showed me the rings of Saturn the moons of Jupiter and the countless craters on the moon.

 

That telescope was used every clear night and it was what started me on this wonderful journey. 

 

Only good memories !!

.

I have the S&S version of that scope.  Frustrating because the "live" eyepiece is the straight-through one, not an angled one- there is no prism in the turret.  Haven't tried it yet.



#34 Terra Nova

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:41 AM

 

The Towa 60mm refractor I got when I was 12 years old showed me the rings of Saturn the moons of Jupiter and the countless craters on the moon.

 

That telescope was used every clear night and it was what started me on this wonderful journey. 

 

Only good memories !!

.

I have the S&S version of that scope.  Frustrating because the "live" eyepiece is the straight-through one, not an angled one- there is no prism in the turret.  Haven't tried it yet.

 

Sounds like another Towa-Festivus miracle! Good thing you made this thread Chuck! It’s perfect for the airing of grievances! And now for the feats of strength..... :lol:  



#35 photiost

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:47 AM

 Funny, when you're 12 yrs old you can stand on your head and it's still fun ...  

 

I believe these were meant for terrestrial use.


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#36 Chuck Hards

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 01:22 PM

I'm sure that's what the designers had in mind.  



#37 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 01:38 PM

Funny, when you're 12 yrs old you can stand on your head and it's still fun ... 

 

I believe these were meant for terrestrial use.

I'm sure that's what the designers had in mind.  

 

 

Chuck:

 

I seems odd to me that someone would design a telescope with the idea that the user stand on their head.    :lol:

 

Jon


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#38 Terra Nova

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 03:01 PM

waytogo.gif waytogo.gif  ^

 

:rofl:



#39 Chuck Hards

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 03:06 PM

 

Funny, when you're 12 yrs old you can stand on your head and it's still fun ... 

 

I believe these were meant for terrestrial use.

I'm sure that's what the designers had in mind.  

 

 

Chuck:

 

I seems odd to me that someone would design a telescope with the idea that the user stand on their head.    lol.gif

 

Jon

 

 

Yet, here we are with these things.  wink.gif

 

I really liked that little turret when I first saw it, until I realized it was for straight-through viewing, and was entirely made of plastic.  Also the eyepieces thread-in, aren't standard.  This one goes in the "toy" telescope category.  The objective deserves better eyepieces.



#40 Bomber Bob

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 07:11 PM

Testing this Pentax J60 has me thinking about my Bushnell Banner 1000 80mm.  Honestly, the J60 is a better refractor than the 1000, though the latter looks just like it.  My Tasco-branded Towa 339 had better contrast & resolution than the Bushnell.  It was an OK scope that looked better on display than out under the stars.



#41 Chuck Hards

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 09:40 PM

Well, sometimes I get a pleasant surprise. 

 

Tonight I tested one of my 80mm Towas, a very beat-up Meade that came my way.  It is restorable and I've kind of worked on it whenever a needed part came along, or I got a bright idea.  The EQ-3 mount also came with the 120VAC motor drive.  The glass is in good condition.

 

I put it up to the flat and turned the Ronchi on it.  133lpi.   This objective is not bad!  With three bands showing, nice and straight, regular.  There was a bit of turned edge evident.  I made sure the lens was loose in the cell and tested it at three rotational orientations.  The turned edge is real, but not severe enough to condemn the lens.  You could mask it off if it bothered you, and have essentially a perfect achromat.

 

Still can't get decent photos but will keep trying.

 

I have the Orion version as well, in excellent (showroom new) condition.  I'll test that one in coming days.  But so far the news is good.

 

Here is the objective, in front of the 8" test flat.  Nice, collimateable cell. 

80mm Towa 002.jpg

 

The focuser had problems so it got a new pinion shaft & knobs donated from a recently-made Meade.  They mate up pretty well.  This one has a brass thread-on 1.25" eyepiece holder.

80mm Towa 001.jpg


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#42 Bomber Bob

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 09:54 PM

See?  I told y'all -- the 339 was Towa's flagship scope.  (And based on reports, the white tube 11T wasn't far behind, if at all.)


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#43 clamchip

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:14 PM

I've seen it with my own eyeball, the Towa 339 rocks the universe!

 

post-50896-1407427716982_thumb.jpg

 


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#44 droid

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 04:03 AM

The widger scope is a Towa, in its original form , it was, well, not good at all, but thats because some one took it apart and well just through everything haphazardly in. Carol bless her heart, shipped it all the way from cal. 

 

The lens after several attempts at indexing the lenses , now has the tightest, pin point stars I've ever seen from a Towa. 

 

So wonder if that might be part of the reason Towa has a bad name???



#45 Kasmos

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 05:22 AM

The widger scope is a Towa, in its original form , it was, well, not good at all, but thats because some one took it apart and well just through everything haphazardly in. Carol bless her heart, shipped it all the way from cal. 

 

The lens after several attempts at indexing the lenses , now has the tightest, pin point stars I've ever seen from a Towa. 

 

So wonder if that might be part of the reason Towa has a bad name???

Curious about indexing. How many degrees would you suggest rotating the lens each time looking for a sweet spot?



#46 droid

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:56 AM

I marked my starting point and each index after about a quarter of an inch, take it out look at stars, redo. As an aside, if you believe some one took it apart , make sure the two lenses are put together correctly, 


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#47 Chuck Hards

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:16 AM

 

The lens after several attempts at indexing the lenses , now has the tightest, pin point stars I've ever seen from a Towa. 

 

So wonder if that might be part of the reason Towa has a bad name???

 

I can't speak for anyone but myself.  I formed my opinion based solely on DPAC testing of some two-dozen or so 60mm objectives, along with a handful of 40mm and about a dozen 50mm, sometimes paired with  observational star-testing to see what the various testing defects do to the Airy disk.  Rotational adjustment is always part of my testing.

 

Rotation can help eliminate wedge but it won't eliminate gross zonal errors or a rough surface.  Usually the changes are subtle.

 

I'm looking forward to testing my Orion Towa 80mm, after the good results with the Meade.  Makes me think Towa sourced the 80mm objectives from someplace other than the 60mm and under.

 

It could also be a case of sub-80mm scopes just not bringing in enough money to hand-figure each lens.  The small ones were probably all just machine polished and left at that while the 80mm might have had some hand figuring done.  Who knows?


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#48 Terra Nova

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 08:49 AM

 

 

The lens after several attempts at indexing the lenses , now has the tightest, pin point stars I've ever seen from a Towa. 

 

So wonder if that might be part of the reason Towa has a bad name???

 

I can't speak for anyone but myself.  I formed my opinion based solely on DPAC testing of some two-dozen or so 60mm objectives, along with a handful of 40mm and about a dozen 50mm, sometimes paired with  observational star-testing to see what the various testing defects do to the Airy disk.  Rotational adjustment is always part of my testing.

 

Rotation can help eliminate wedge but it won't eliminate gross zonal errors or a rough surface.  Usually the changes are subtle.

 

I'm looking forward to testing my Orion Towa 80mm, after the good results with the Meade.  Makes me think Towa sourced the 80mm objectives from someplace other than the 60mm and under.

 

It could also be a case of sub-80mm scopes just not bringing in enough money to hand-figure each lens.  The small ones were probably all just machine polished and left at that while the 80mm might have had some hand figuring done.  Who knows?

 

That doesn’t explain the good (older) 50mm x 600mm Towas. Admittedly the 60mm Towas are horrible but I have a 50mm that is quite good.



#49 clamchip

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:25 AM

but...but...but... my Jimi Hendrix Special (Meade 291) has a awesome lens!

 

post-50896-0-39733100-1493422989.jpg

 

 


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#50 Chuck Hards

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 10:02 AM

 

 

 

The lens after several attempts at indexing the lenses , now has the tightest, pin point stars I've ever seen from a Towa. 

 

So wonder if that might be part of the reason Towa has a bad name???

 

I can't speak for anyone but myself.  I formed my opinion based solely on DPAC testing of some two-dozen or so 60mm objectives, along with a handful of 40mm and about a dozen 50mm, sometimes paired with  observational star-testing to see what the various testing defects do to the Airy disk.  Rotational adjustment is always part of my testing.

 

Rotation can help eliminate wedge but it won't eliminate gross zonal errors or a rough surface.  Usually the changes are subtle.

 

I'm looking forward to testing my Orion Towa 80mm, after the good results with the Meade.  Makes me think Towa sourced the 80mm objectives from someplace other than the 60mm and under.

 

It could also be a case of sub-80mm scopes just not bringing in enough money to hand-figure each lens.  The small ones were probably all just machine polished and left at that while the 80mm might have had some hand figuring done.  Who knows?

 

That doesn’t explain the good (older) 50mm x 600mm Towas. Admittedly the 60mm Towas are horrible but I have a 50mm that is quite good.

 

 

Actually it can explain it.  Just random chance alone would probably generate some good ones, over the tens of thousands made.  I have a few good 50mm and 60mm myself, it's just that they are few, and far-between.

 

I haven't tested a large enough sample of "old" Towas yet, to begin to form an opinion.  Also some of these brands we have just assumed are old Towa, without positive ID.  I would love to eventually be able to say something like "Towas made before 19XX have a much better chance of being good optically".  We are seeing some anecdotal evidence to this effect, but still need to do the tests with a decent-sized sample.


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