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Upgrade? ES 152 acro to an ES 127 triplet, any advice?

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#1 tomwall

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 03:28 PM

I have an opportunity to move from an ES 152 acro to an ES 127 triplet. I'm going to stay only visual. 

Is the trade off between size and optical clarity worth it? Price isn't a factor. Both scopes are very sharp. 

 

Thanks,

Tom



#2 starbob1

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 03:40 PM

For me a good ES127 would beat out any ES 152 acro on color and sharpness and contrast.


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#3 bobhen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 03:56 PM

If you lean toward deep sky observing over lunar/planetary observing, then I would say no.

 

If, however, you are more of a lunar/planetary observer then I would suggest a refractor of higher quality than an ES 127 triplet refractor, even if it is somewhat smaller than the ES 152mm achromat.

 

If you are a lunar/planetary observer and your budget cannot accommodate a higher quality refractor, then you can always get an inexpensive Dobsonian and have the mirror custom refigured by someone like Zambuto Optical. A Zambuto mirror will make most any lunar/planetary observer happy.

 

Bob


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#4 tomwall

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 04:01 PM

Do you think those things would compensate for the loss of one inch of lens size? I know the 152 (6") shows me so much more than my 102 (4").



#5 tomwall

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 04:11 PM

Hi Bob,

Yes, I do lean more towards DSOs. For Moon and planetary stuff, I mostly use my ETX90 (f13.5). Great optics!

 

I would actually love to do a dob again, but that crouch kills my back. I used to so enjoy star hopping too.

 

The views on the 152 acro get a bit soft, if I push the mag too high. I could push the mag higher on the 127 triplet. Does anyone think that would factor in as a compensating factor?

 

Tom


Edited by tomwall, 19 February 2018 - 06:36 PM.


#6 photoracer18

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 04:29 PM

Most APOs work much better at higher power than achromats simply because more of the light stays in focus. But you would still be giving away light grasp. I have owned both 6" F15 achromats and 6" doublet and triplet APOs and I prefer the APOs if the same size. But when giving away light grasp you will have to decide. Right now I am too old to handle a 6" OTA so I have down sized to 5" refractors, but if I was going to buy one for visual I would likely get an APM 152 ED these days. You don't need a triplet for visual use as they don't cool down as fast as a doublet.


Edited by photoracer18, 19 February 2018 - 05:24 PM.

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#7 havasman

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 04:44 PM

If you lean toward deep sky observing over lunar/planetary observing, then I would say no.

waytogo.gif


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#8 junomike

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 04:48 PM

For DSO's the 152mm will be noticeable over the 127mm however IMO a better choice strictly for DSO's would be a 150mm F5 as it allows more FOV.


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#9 JakeJ

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 05:19 PM

For me a good ES127 would beat out any ES 152 acro on color and sharpness and contrast.

Problem is that a good ES127 is hard to find.  Every one I have seen was horrible.


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#10 Richard Whalen

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 05:38 PM

As others have said, for dso's I would stick to the 6". Being a simi apo will not make up for the light grasp lost.


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#11 Joe G

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 05:43 PM

I used to own the ES 152 achro.  I thought it was okay on stuff that a 6" is good for.  Open clusters, a few globs, some faint fuzzies that were still faint.  On the moon and planets I thought there was just way too much chromatic aberration to make it worthwhile, largely because I think the planets and the moon are geared for a decent size APO refractor. 

 

Currently I own a few refractors (likely will be slimmed down).  I own the SW 150 APO, a WO FLT 132 APO, and a Tak FSQ 106 (old version).

 

Last Thursday I went camping for one night in Joshua Tree and set up the WO 132 and the FSQ 106 using the FSQ at its native FL of 530mm.  I also had a 16 reflector setup. 

 

My daughter and her boyfriend preferred the reflector and the larger APO.  The widefield view of the FSQ didn't appeal to them as much as the better light grasp of the WO 132.  They both thought that you could see the faint fuzzies good enough in the WO 132 although they didn't disagree that they could see a little more in the 16".  My point is that is going from 5" to 16",  Faint fuzzies are still for the most part fuzzy, although globs really shine in a large reflector.

 

When I owned the ES AR 152 I did side by side with the SW 150 APO.  The APO was clearly better, especially on the planets and the moon.  Stars looked better too.  Although dim open clusters were a draw to some extent.

 

I have done extensive side-by-side with my 6" APO and 5" APO.  Certainly the 6" outperforms the 5".  But is isn't earth shattering.  The moon and planets are so bright that they look great in either scope and significantly better than the achromat.

 

Frankly, I think the 5" APO is in the sweet spot of price/performance.  Certainly better/brighter than a 4".  The move to 6" isn't as great both visually and mathematically of course.  That is APO to APO.

 

Personally I would prefer a 5" APO to a 6" achromat.  The faint stuff isn't just that less faint to me for the extra inch.  The APO puts up better views of the planets, the moon, and I like the star color better to boot.

 

I know some people love their ES 127s.  I have looked through a friend's and it seemed fine.  Didn't do a side by side with him on it.

 

So my two cents favors 1" less aperture that puts the light where you want it to be.  If deep sky faint fuzzies are your calling, buy a cheap 8"+ reflector which will blow way a 5" or 6" APO.

 

 

 


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#12 tomwall

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 05:45 PM

Photoracer18:

I'm 64 and hoisting heavy scopes is one of my concerns too. The ES top handle is a great help. I really worry when I mount my 10" SCT alone. Would your advice concerning an ED scope for grasp still apply to a good acro?

 

Mike:

Would your preference for a larger lens still apply to a 152 (f6.5)?

 

Jake:

Thank you. I've looked through many other types of scopes, but only one higher end refractor. I need richer friends, I guess. :-)

 

Tom



#13 droe

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 06:06 PM

If price is not object and weight is a consideration, go for the ES 127mm FCD100 Carbon Fiber. The CF is a bit lighter and the sharpness of the FCD100 is amazing.


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#14 tomwall

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 06:25 PM

So Joe, if I have an SCT 8 and 10, I'm already seeing DSOs better than the extra sharpness that an APO 127 would give me?

There wouldn't be some magical moment of visual clarity with an APO 127? 

 

Thanks,

Tom



#15 tomwall

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 06:34 PM

droe,

:-):-):-)

Perhaps that was an over statement on my part. I can sell my 152 and some other stuff and make enough to buy this second hand 127 triplet. It's like that Bible story where the man sells all he has to buy one jewel of great price. I can only dream about some of these scopes people talk about on here.

 

Tom



#16 droe

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 08:04 PM

The best scope I've ever used is my own eyes. They're a bit blurry now but I can still see my old friends in the sky. They are light weight, binos, portable, self cleaning, free and they're connected to a big heavy mount that runs not on electricity but Coney dogs.


Edited by droe, 19 February 2018 - 08:04 PM.

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#17 Joe G

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 09:24 PM

So Joe, if I have an SCT 8 and 10, I'm already seeing DSOs better than the extra sharpness that an APO 127 would give me?

There wouldn't be some magical moment of visual clarity with an APO 127? 

 

Thanks,

Tom

Tom, I am not sure I am exactly understanding your question but I will take a stab at it.  I'll generalize in terms or APO vs Achro while acknowledging that not all scopes are equal within their class.

 

My first scope was an Orion 12" Intelliscope.  I bought it because my 5th grade daughter had a night time science fair at her school and some guys had a huge 30" and a 12" reflector set up.  The 30" was pointed at M42 and you could see all the gas and color.  I think the 12" was aimed at Saturn.  I was immediately hooked and bought the Orion 12".  I just had a blast from my light polluted backyard.

 

So I learned more and thought I would try out astrophotography because I liked photography in general.  So I bought a used Atlas mount and a cheap Orion Express 80mm achromat.  When I received the refractor I aimed it at some trees during the day and there was purple everywhere.  I was a little flabbergasted at all the color.  I am not sure I even tried to take pictures with it.  A few weeks later WO offered an "Apograde" TMB designed fluorite (actually FPL 53) doublet lens cell which would screw into the existing Orion Express tube.  No color.  Just a huge improvement and I used that as my first imaging scope and still own it today.  It has great build quality and has the same type of tube as the much larger Orion 120ED scopes.

 

I used the scope a little for visual, but frankly used the 12 reflector because it was so much superior.  The planets looked better.  Of course deep sky was so much better.  I think the only thing you could say is the moon looked just fine in the 80mm and the 80mm focal length framed the double cluster and the Pleiades nicely (among a few other widefield targets).  Jupiter and Saturn were okay but dim.

 

My next purchases were still mostly photographically related but were reflectors basically because an 8" F4 reflector is much cheaper than most decent APOs over 100mm.  I had fun with it (it was an 8"F4 GSO).  Again used it visually but the awkwardness of a GEM mounted 8" is still not the best situation for eyepiece control.  The 12" dob still ruled.  I also bought a used Tak FSQ (the old fluorite version) for AP.  Again used it visually and from a light polluted backyard it was good for the planets and bright open star clusters but not enough aperture for other stuff.  And yes it does make a great widefield scope for viewing the wide open sky from a dark site.  Most people always talk about the Televue NP 101 for widefield, but the Tak does a great job there as well.  And it works fine for the planets and moon.

 

After awhile I gave up astrophotography for a few years (restarted when the ASI 1600 came out).  But I caught a little bit of "refractoritis."  I still had the 80mm and the Tak, but there was just not enough aperture to really see some other "things."  For instance, M13 through 100mm does not thrill me.  Not from my backyard.  Not from a dark site.  I really didn't want to spend the big bucks and a friend suggested the ES AR 152 so I bought one used on CNs.  I looked at the typical open clusters, M31, globs, the moon, the planets, etc.  But it left me lacking on the stuff I think a 6" should do which is show sharp views of the planets and the moon (and other stuff too).  I guess if I want a refractor, I want the view of Saturrn and Jupiter to be awesome.  I don't want obvious color on the limb of the moon and the craters.  Yes it was hard to tell the difference between the 6" achromat and 6" APO on some dim open clusters.  Sure the APO showed a few more dim stars, but nothing that was Wow between the two on these types of objects.  But on the planets and the moon it was a huge difference.  On double stars such as Castor, Albireo, Almaach, Rigel etc the APO was much better in terms of sharpness and color rendition.  So after acquiring the 6" APO I quickly sold the Achro.  Please don't get me wrong, the 6" achro is not a bad scope, especially for the price.  Amazing really.  But it is far from APO performance (and many here on CNs claim it to be close?).

 

A year or two later, I was perusing CNs classifieds and there was a WO FLT 132mm for sale at what seemed to be a very good price.  It came with two rotolock focusers.  After selling the second focuser I think the net price was less than $1500.  Not that relevant, but I wanted another larger refractor for visual if I was using the other for astrophotography.  So a "130mm" refractor has 69% more light grasp than a 100mm refractor.  That's a decent amount at this size.  A 150mm only has 33% more light grasp than a 130mm.  So not as big of a step. So this is where I think the 130mm APOs shine, especially now that there are decent priced ES 127s and AT 130s out there.  On the used market these scopes are less than $1500, often close to $1000 for a 5" APO.  So the price versus the 6" achro has now narrowed in the last couple of years.

 

But it is not just price.  5" shows just a tad less brightness on deep sky things.  On the planets and the moon I think it is a toss up.  That is APO versus APO.  I think when you compare the better color correction, etc of a 5" APO versus a 6" achro, the APO wins.  I don't think M31 looks any better in a 6" achro than a 5" APO.  I don't think most open clusters and globs look better in the larger achro.  Yes the 5" is smaller, but it puts its light where it is supposed to be which makes a difference even on dim stuff.  Now if it was a 4" APO versus a 6" achro, that's a 125% difference in light gathering.  That likely will allow you to resolve stars in M13 that might be fuzzy in the 4".  It likely will resolve more detail on most deep sky objects.  But the difference between 5" and 6" is just too close in my opinion to not go for the smaller APO.  And the moon, the planets, and other stuff is simply going to look better despite less aperture.

 

Of course going above 5" or 6" in a refractor just gets crazy expensive.  My reason for pointing out the much larger 16" reflector is it is a light bucket.  It has over 10x the light gathering of a 5" scope.  So, of course, galaxies, globs look so much better in the larger reflector.  Depending upon the optics, thermal cool down and the seeing the 16" will blow away the resolution of a 5" or 6" refractor.  Same goes for a 10" or 12" reflector and those are fairly cheap price wise.

 

But with my daughter and her boyfriend in Joshua Tree, we aimed all three scopes at the same target and went back and forth between them.  It is amazing what you can see in a 5" scope.  Yes the detail doesn't rival the 16" reflector.  But I'd almost say that the difference between 4" and 5" showed so much more on the margin than from the 16" versus the 5".  For instance, I could see the two blobs in M51 in the 5".  They weren't obvious in the 4".  In the 16" you could see more details as expected.  But the 5" was still a nice view of a faint fuzzy whereas the 4" wasn't.  Again ithe 4" made for a really nice widefield scope though where it shines for visual.

 

So given what I have said, I think 5" APOs are very nice scopes, especially for the price.  I don't think the extra inch on an achro provides enough where aperture rules and loses a lot more where focusing all colors on a plane rules.

 

And yes if you have larger aperture SCTs they will show more on the deep stuff than a smaller refractor.  The only difference between similarly sized reflectors is the FOV, cool down, and all the other issues of different types of scopes.

 

Just my 2 cents.


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#18 tomwall

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 10:32 PM

Joe,

I'm leaning to the APO too. It does seem that what someone looks for in observing changes over time. I'm spending less time with my 10" SCT and more with my ETX 90mm. At f13.5 the precision and pin point perfection of the star fields I can grasp is quite lovely. I'm thinking that the APO will give me that and not sacrifice how deep in magnitude I can go.

 

Thanks,

Tom



#19 Jacques

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 10:45 AM

Joe said: "Yes the 5" is smaller, but it puts its light where it is supposed to be which makes a difference even on dim stuff".

 

This is spot on. I owned an ED 120 for some years. It quite easily bested my 6" achromat in resolving globular clusters and fainter open star clusters. Heck, even my 4" ED has more or less the same resolving power on these targets where mid to high magnifications are applied. Before I get hit by a ton of bricks I hasten to say that my 6" achromat sample has only fair spherical correction. In comparison to a 5" apo it is a little better on nebulae and galaxies though and it splits closer doubles. On these last targets chroma and only fair SC don't seem to cut into the resolving power too much.    


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#20 dr.who

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:07 AM

A long time ago I had a chance to use both the 152 Achro and 127 APO side by side. I ended up sticking with the APO. Here is my writeup on the experience:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-5-apo-6-achro/


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#21 tomwall

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 01:01 PM

Dr. Who,

Thanks for the feedback. I read your review prior to my initial posting. It was very helpful. I think my take-away concerning the ES 127 triplet will be the same as yours, "at the end of the day it gives those views that get you off the couch and under the stars".

 

Tom



#22 SeattleScott

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 04:06 PM

The 5” apo will be more versatile and a bit lighter. There are things the 6” will do better, like big open cluster. But with the apo you get more mag for planets, globs, planetary nebulae, double stars, etc. You don’t give up much on open clusters to get the greater versatility. And I suspect it will leave your ETX90 in the dust on planets.

Scott
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#23 De Lorme

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 04:20 PM

There's a big difference between the FCD1{FPL51} and the FCD100{FPL53}.  



#24 Ken Ross

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:39 PM

I’m just trading a 102 FCD1 CF for a 102 FCD100 CF. 



#25 galaxyman

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 12:43 AM

Hi Bob,

Yes, I do lean more towards DSOs. For Moon and planetary stuff, I mostly use my ETX90 (f13.5). Great optics!

 

I would actually love to do a dob again, but that crouch kills my back. I used to so enjoy star hopping too.

 

The views on the 152 acro get a bit soft, if I push the mag too high. I could push the mag higher on the 127 triplet. Does anyone think that would factor in as a compensating factor?

 

Tom

Tom, I reviewed the ES 6" f/6.5 achro a few years back here on CN. At a good dark location the scope performed wonderfully, and was side by side with a 6" APO. On most DSO's the views were very close using similar magnifications. Only when the scopes were really pushed the APO showed it's worth on DSO's. 

One thing is make sure the scope is well collimated. 

On all DSO's the 6" achro will outperform the 127mm APO, IF the optics are good. Mine (now owned by another club member) is quite good. Current owner (like me a devoted DSO observer and big dob owner) is quite pleased with the views.

For the APO to outperform the 6" achro on DSO's the aperture gap must be closer.


Karl

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