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Are you a Vixen Fluorite/ED fan?

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#51 rolo

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 07:10 AM

Hi Ron,

 

I enjoyed your comment, and it really hit home. Astronomy is a very personal adventure, and yet for me it is not only the many nights I have been out alone at the eyepiece marveling at the night sky, but also the memories of sharing the adventure with friends, family, and strangers. The C102F has been a part of so many shared experiences that I have lost track, and just looking at it takes me back to so many memories. One was the night a friend and his wife flew up and she looked at Saturn for the first time through the Celestron. She actually gasped at the image! Another was the last minute decision to haul it along for the total eclipse last July. It did double duty with my good friend Andy Sedlacek doing sky tours at night, then as a solar scope with a Herschel wedge during the day. My friends Oleg (from Ukraine) and Sasha  (Russian astrophysicist at the eyepiece) enjoying a look at the sun.

 

larry

Larry, I'm glad you still have it and have put it to good use! I don't remember if it was the f/9 or f/8.8 version.



#52 peleuba

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 09:56 AM

One was the night a friend and his wife flew up and she looked at Saturn for the first time through the Celestron. She actually gasped at the image! 

 

This is the exact reason its my favorite 4" refractor -  I had this same experience in, I think, 1986.  Saturn was in Sagittarius, so low for me, and a friends father had a Vixen Fluorite - it was the best view of Saturn up to that point I've had.


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#53 jjack's

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 10:46 AM

Traveler : fluorite were recently used in blue-ray and dvd drivers devices. So the price was growing up quickly. Today drivers devices in computers are less used and fluorite objectives reappears in the market. But now we have more astro photograhers than visual refractor observers and a triplet objective with FPL 51 or 53 is better corrected than a doublet fluorite objective at the same focal lens for the new ccd wide bandpass cameras.


Edited by jjack's, 30 March 2018 - 10:48 AM.

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#54 ltha

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 06:43 PM

Hey Rolo, to be honest I do not recall either, but i took this a few minutes ago - it looks like the 8.8 version:

 

 

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#55 GShaffer

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 09:12 PM

Yup I have the original Vixen FL102F f/9 and its 920mm FL.....


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#56 peleuba

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 09:33 AM

So, after the last month of desperately searching for a 102mm Vixen Fluorite, I ended up with several.  In the past, I have restored (optically, mechanically, cosmetically) and tested but have never really held onto them as I always enjoyed viewing with more aperture.  One thing that I have always taken note of is the consistency of the venerable Vixen Fluorite.  Every single sample has been quite good to excellent.  These two are no different:

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Edited by peleuba, 02 May 2018 - 09:38 AM.

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#57 gnowellsct

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 09:40 AM

Lots of folks upgrade the focuser so every once in a while you'll see a 2" Vixen focuser for sale.

I sold my focuser but the reason was it wasn't a two inch.  That was back in the early 00s.  Vixen ED102SS.  I still have it.  A real workhorse.


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#58 gnowellsct

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 09:43 AM

The C102s are tricky because there's the regular and the C102F version, you have to be careful when buying used not to get the wrong one.  That said, you *hardly ever* see the C102F going used and the ED102SS, which for a time was fairly common both used and new, has virtually disappeared, I think because people realize they're too good to sell.  Greg N


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#59 gnowellsct

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 09:46 AM

Not making any association with yesterday's vs today's, I was a fan of the yesterday's before today's but I love them both the samesmile.gif

I could be wrong but I think the 81s is headed for a reputation as strong as the old C102F.  


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#60 peleuba

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 10:01 AM

The C102s are tricky because there's the regular and the C102F version, you have to be careful when buying used not to get the wrong one.  That said, you *hardly ever* see the C102F going used and the ED102SS, which for a time was fairly common both used and new, has virtually disappeared, I think because people realize they're too good to sell.  Greg N

 

Yes, agree.  The C102F is quite a bit shorter in length then the C102.  I've seen them together, and I was surprised at the diff.  And, of course, the badging on the beauty ring/retaining ring tells the story - the word Fluorite is prominent on the C102F.  

 

Yes, these are hard to find...  I've got two now and will sell one!

 

There are small differences in the test pictures that I posted above.  But when outside, the differences are indistinguishable.  Last night, while comparing the two, I always came away with liking the one I just viewed through...


Edited by peleuba, 02 May 2018 - 10:02 AM.

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#61 moshen

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 02:00 PM

So, after the last month of desperately searching for a 102mm Vixen Fluorite, I ended up with several.  In the past, I have restored (optically, mechanically, cosmetically) and tested but have never really held onto them as I always enjoyed viewing with more aperture.  One thing that I have always taken note of is the consistency of the venerable Vixen Fluorite.  Every single sample has been quite good to excellent.  These two are no different:

 

Very cool Paul, nice testing.

I'd be interested in your reasoning for coming back again after selling in the past. Especially since you have a nice scope in similar aperture.

 

I'm curious because soon I'll have what I consider too many scopes in the aperture class (my very good Tak FC-100DF will be redundant if I get new Stowaway) and I definitely don't want to sell anything I will regret later.


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#62 peleuba

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 02:37 PM

Very cool Paul, nice testing.

I'd be interested in your reasoning for coming back again after selling in the past. Especially since you have a nice scope in similar aperture.

 

I'm curious because soon I'll have what I consider too many scopes in the aperture class (my very good Tak FC-100DF will be redundant if I get new Stowaway) and I definitely don't want to sell anything I will regret later.

 

Thanks Moshen.  The Vixen Fluorite showed me my best views of the planets in the late 1980's.  They are very good lenses and a very nice design - the mating glass is no longer available because its not considered "eco-friendly".

 

The VX102FL/C102FL are universally praised but I like it more for sentimental reasons then anything.  Though these give up nothing in performance to the current ED and FL based doublets.  The white-tubed Orion branded F/9 version is my old telescope that I purchased from Orion back in June of 2000.  I subsequently sold it to a friend who used it sparingly over the last 18 years.  I purchased it back after pleading with him to sell.  Its a wonderful lens.  See the Roddier test below.

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#63 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 03:04 PM

So, after the last month of desperately searching for a 102mm Vixen Fluorite, I ended up with several.  In the past, I have restored (optically, mechanically, cosmetically) and tested but have never really held onto them as I always enjoyed viewing with more aperture.  One thing that I have always taken note of is the consistency of the venerable Vixen Fluorite.  Every single sample has been quite good to excellent.  These two are no different:

Paul

 

 

Congrats all around. Funny how i thought I would it would take me forever to get a 102fluorite  and it only took a few months    and now  two have found their way to you.   I myself would still like to add the Vixen 102fl in white to go with my C-102fl     Enjoy the views   as you know more than most  these are keepers.  Barry


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#64 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 03:06 PM

Yes, agree.  The C102F is quite a bit shorter in length then the C102.  I've seen them together, and I was surprised at the diff.  And, of course, the badging on the beauty ring/retaining ring tells the story - the word Fluorite is prominent on the C102F.  

 

Yes, these are hard to find...  I've got two now and will sell one!

 

There are small differences in the test pictures that I posted above.  But when outside, the differences are indistinguishable.  Last night, while comparing the two, I always came away with liking the one I just viewed through...

The C-102fl  and its big brother the C-102

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#65 NHRob

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 05:44 PM

Has anyone compared the newer Vixen ED103S against their classic FL102S?

Just curious .....



#66 gnowellsct

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 06:06 PM

I own the ED102SS and the 81s but when I bought it they said it was the " new glass" so I don't know if that makes it an SD81s or an 81sSf or whatever.  Anyhow real punch in a 3 inch aperture.  The ED102SS f/6.5 has done well in any of the comparisons I've put it up against.  When you compare it to the SV4 LOMO 102 f/6.4, the LOMO seems to have deeper colors and richness compared to the Vixen in daytime use.  At night the differences are harder to pick out on celestial objects, particularly star fields.  But even on planets not so sure.  

 

My 81 is great "as sold" so I would have to say that the focuser does not need replacing, and have no intention to replace it, but I can't help but thinking if I got a 103 as a lifetime sole-use refractor I'd want it to have an FT on it at some point.  

 

I've put pictures of these scopes up all over the place these past few weeks so I'll refrain from doing so here.  I do think Vixen pays attention to its product quality and that its attention shows not just in its refractors but all its scopes.


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#67 NHRob

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 06:14 PM

I kind of like the look of the Vixen scopes ... white, somewhat Spartan, very functional.

It seems their optics are very nice as well.


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#68 gnowellsct

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 07:44 PM

I kind of like the look of the Vixen scopes ... white, somewhat Spartan, very functional.

It seems their optics are very nice as well.

 

 

 

They are nice.  The images are good to excellent.  They do things to cut costs.  No sliding dew shield.  The lens cell--at least on my ED102ss--has no collimation screws that I could see. I took it to a friend's house--our local refractor maven, and he looked at the cell and suggested we leave it alone.  So I sent my optics to Japan once to be cleaned, due to mold between the lenses.  So you know it's air spaced!  I COULDN'T BELIEVE THEY MARKETED THE F/6.5 ED102SS WITH ONLY A 1.25 INCH FOCUSER.  From what I understand, there was some kind of adapter out there, but I called several dealers and contacted Vixen in Japan and couldn't locate one.  That's why my scope has a Moonlite.  Vixen has now moved into the era of the two inch eyepiece and they put out a nice dual speed focuser.  But of course it's an economy model in comparison to an FT.

 

I will say, though, that one of the advantages of economizing on the focuser is a big savings in weight.

 

I think the Vixen focal length range is also a product of their desire to deliver quality and keep costs in check.  Short focal lengths are expensive to produce, you have more degrees of freedom at f/7.5 to f/8.5.  So that's the range they seem to be concentrating in.  

 

I will confess that I thought f/6 is the cat's meow and that the whole point of a refractor is ultra short focal length.  Now I own an f/6.3 and an f/6.4 and an f/6.5, and my feelings have matured.  I really like the f/7.7 81mm, and I was happy with the fields of view offered by the "narrow field" Tak FS128 at f/8.1.  So when I had a chance to pick between f/6.0 and f/6.9 for my 92mm CFF, I went with f/6.9.    This is a way of saying that I think f/7 to f/8 is about the place to be with a refractor.  And that's where Vixen is.  

 

Greg N


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#69 GOLGO13

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 01:04 PM

DSC 0152

 

A rare beast. The 130mm Vixen. The moonlite focuser really makes it a nice scope. I have moonlites on all my Vixen's.

 

My health has been a bit wonky lately, but I'm working on it. So recently the only scope I've been using is my TV60. I'd like to get the beast out again soon.


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#70 gnowellsct

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 01:09 PM

 

 

 

A rare beast. The 130mm Vixen. The moonlite focuser really makes it a nice scope. I have moonlites on all my Vixen's.

 

My health has been a bit wonky lately, but I'm working on it. So recently the only scope I've been using is my TV60. I'd like to get the beast out again soon.

 

Holy Smokes!  That is rare.


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#71 donadani

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 02:06 PM

Had the ED-102SS, ED-102S, ED-130SS but all gone - the only one that stays was the first one that was here: FL-102S - great scope!

 

Second best 102S and SS - first for wide fields - second for high mags - both optical perfect manufactured with some rest of color, S of course better then SS but the SS is very nice for it´s compactness.

 

Never saw the newer 103S personally but guess you won´t see a big difference against the FL - but I´m sure there´s a small one left speaking for the FL - it´s hard to beat a well corrected f/9 fluorite doublet! :)

 

cs

Chris



#72 gnowellsct

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 03:20 PM

 

 

I think the Vixen focal length range is also a product of their desire to deliver quality and keep costs in check.  Short focal lengths are expensive to produce, you have more degrees of freedom at f/7.5 to f/8.5.  So that's the range they seem to be concentrating in.  

 

 

Greg N

We have indirect confirmation of this issue...Astronomics posted in another thread that they have fluorite designs but don't have optics makers willing to work with fluorite.  This came up in a discussion of the AT 92 mm  f/5.5 which is having some production delays due to being unable to get the Strehl above .94.  (They would like to get to .95)

 

My thought about this is that (a) it would be a coup for Astronomics to produce a 92 mm under $2k with a Strehl above .95 for all units.  My other thought is that Vixen has been in the biz a long time and seems to have made the determination that barring the appearance of some miracle glass they get the best return to manufacturing and design dollar and most satisfied customers at f/7.5 to f/8.5, and even f/7.5 I'm not so sure, the 81s is f/7.7 and that strikes me as a tweak someone made to get below some threshold in terms of some kind of aberration.  Some of these upper end places have taken a look at the f/5 range and decided not to go there, and AP hasn't gone there lately.  All things considered it might be easier to get there with a Petzval, but going that way one ends up with a longer tube, which reduces the claim to airplane Nirvana. 

 

If they settled in at f/6.5 and put in a couple of end caps to cover holes when the optical cell  is unscrewed, they would have their portability.  Greg N

 

Greg N



#73 NHRob

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 03:25 PM

I like longer focal length for visual.  I had a Jaegers 6"f/15 back in the day and it was a joy to use.


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#74 John Huntley

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 04:26 PM

....  I COULDN'T BELIEVE THEY MARKETED THE F/6.5 ED102SS WITH ONLY A 1.25 INCH FOCUSER.  From what I understand, there was some kind of adapter out there, but I called several dealers and contacted Vixen in Japan and couldn't locate one.  That's why my scope has a Moonlite.  Vixen has now moved into the era of the two inch eyepiece and they put out a nice dual speed focuser.  But of course it's an economy model in comparison to an FT....

 

My ED102SS had a Vixen 2" adapter on the focuser when I aquired it. The small set screws used did mark my diagonal barrels a lot though !

 

The scope also came with an optional 1.25" visual back plus a matching 60mm drawtube. When properly adjusted the stock Vixen R&P focuser worked very smoothly on this scope.

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#75 gnowellsct

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 04:32 PM

My ED102SS had a Vixen 2" adapter on the focuser when I aquired it. The small set screws used did mark my diagonal barrels a lot though !

 

The scope also came with an optional 1.25" visual back plus a matching 60mm drawtube. When properly adjusted the stock Vixen R&P focuser worked very smoothly on this scope.

It's one of those mystery things.  There is an adapter that lets you mount a Vixen drive on a Super Polaris Dec axis.  Try to find one.  I think Vixen is a little tight with the after market parts sales.


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