Something has been made clear to me, and that's that many people here use refractors for all sorts of reasons. Some like the portability, some like the high contrast, some like the nostalgia, some like the ease of use. What makes you like or love refractors? What do you use them for? Do you keep coming back to them? Does apo fever make you toss and turn in your sleep? Let's hear your refractor stories!!
I will get it started, but it's a long one so strap in. I have always been engrossed with space and spaceflight and have wanted to go up there since I was a little boy. I dabbled very lightly in astronomy throughout my childhood but never got into it. Fast forward to my mid-20s and I had just gotten an important certification for my job field, the most recognized one there is. It took a lot of studying but it earned me 20 comp credits for finishing my B.S. degree and opened a lot of doors for me. I decided to treat myself and started thinking of what to buy. I have lots of tech gadgets like speakers, headphones, amps/DACs, gaming PC, high refresh rate IPS monitor, self-built mechanical keyboard, home servers, mirrorless cameras, etc... gadgets didn't really seem to fit the bill. I wanted to jump into something I had put off for a while, or something I didn't know I wanted. Well, I found it: astronomy.
I did probably 100-150 hours of reading and talking to people online about various telescopes and mounts and eyepieces and cameras and all that jazz. I wanted to do astrophotography. I could have gone with an 8" newt on top of my Atlas Pro, but I was drawn to refractors. Chief among the reasons were the low maintenance and ease of use (ideally you never have to collimate one), fairly quick thermal acclimation and no real problems with tube currents, and of course, the stunning image quality afforded by a decent ED objective. I ended up choosing a new Sky-Watcher ProED 120mm from High Point. It arrived in a single layer box which had evidently been dropped, one corner was loose, mud on that corner, and the top of the box was saggy like it had been sitting out in the rain. I was upset. Thankfully, High Point was very receptive to my concerns as a newbie and helped me get resources to judge the collimation. The tube seemed to be fine, the focuser was grindy until I just pulled on it to the side and then it was smooth, and thankfully, the optics seemed to be collimated with perfectly concentric rings. I still considered sending it back to them, as something could go wrong with it in the future and I'll never know... but they gave me a substantial retroactive discount and doubled the warranty period just in case something happened. I was very happy with this course of action and I can't thank High Point enough for being willing to go the extra mile for a frantic customer.
I ended up selling that SW120ED over the holidays last year (wanted something smaller to use at home, didn't have my current M2C setup), to a family friend who wanted a scope for her husband. I sold an AYO II and bought an Oberwerk Wooden Surveyor Tripod for her too. It's such a good-looking setup! Since then I have acquired many refractors and none of anything else: Bosma Omega 80ED, AT72EDII, TV-85, TMB105, and FC-76DC. I can't get enough of the high contrast, high sharpness optics in a convenient form factor. My AT72EDII was a little grab and go for me over the cold Minnesota winter, and I had my best view of M45 to date in that little guy with a 13Ethos. The TV-85 almost got sold but I may actually be keeping it due to its durability (I feel like I couldn't break it if I tried) and sharp optics. The TMB105 has the cleanest colors I've ever seen, but it's quite a heavy OTA for only 4" of aperture, and it will probably be sold to fund a later purchase. The FC-76DC was inherited (for a price of course) from an upstanding CN member who wasn't using it anymore and wanted it to go to a good home - I can attest to it having maybe unbeatable sharpness from any refractor I've used, and with a 2" FeatherTouch focuser it's simply a joy to use and looks amazing - but it, too, may have to move to a new home for a future purchase.
The ease of use, portability, and pure clean and sharp optics just intoxicate me. I love looking through good optics. Without any aberrations in the view, it really is like extending your own vision. I have on occasion had the sensation that I am a lot closer to my target than I really am (terrestrial objects, the moon) and that feeling of super crisp high power vision is, for lack of a better word, addictive. I will continue to choose refractors for my high speed low drag astronomical viewing experiences. I love them.