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#51 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 05:57 PM

I wish I could take a picture of it, but the finder eeven has baffles in it.


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#52 ltha

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 06:10 PM

Congratulations Starman, both are great scopes. I owned a Nikon 80mm in 2004 and compared it to a couple of other scopes, including a Takahashi FS-78. I can post some notes if you are interested, or wait until you form your own impressions. 



#53 ltha

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 06:25 PM

Not a great images, but.....

Attached Thumbnails

  • 45546060-83B9-474F-A07B-DD1FB77F560E.jpeg
  • 6B6F4279-1876-4F20-9500-3BE3463F2551.jpeg

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#54 Steve Allison

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 06:40 PM

Starman876-

 

A beautiful telescope with what I am sure is a gem of an object glass!

 

I was just about ready to buy that myself, being an achro fan. Let me know if you decide to sell...

 

Steve



#55 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 06:46 PM

Congratulations Starman, both are great scopes. I owned a Nikon 80mm in 2004 and compared it to a couple of other scopes, including a Takahashi FS-78. I can post some notes if you are interested, or wait until you form your own impressions. 

Thanks. Anything you had taken note of would be appreciated.



#56 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 06:46 PM

Starman876-

 

A beautiful telescope with what I am sure is a gem of an object glass!

 

I was just about ready to buy that myself, being an achro fan. Let me know if you decide to sell...

 

Steve

I will keep you in mind should I sell.  Thanks



#57 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 07:21 PM

I read some rumors that Nikon used ED glass for this model. Anyone else ever here this rumor?



#58 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 08:18 PM

Real Beauty!  Congratulations Johann!

 

These were made in the 1980s, right?  Saw a Nikon EQ refractor in Memphis, but IIRC, it had a larger finder or guide scope.  Didn't get a chance to look through it, though. 



#59 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 08:46 PM

Real Beauty!  Congratulations Johann!

 

These were made in the 1980s, right?  Saw a Nikon EQ refractor in Memphis, but IIRC, it had a larger finder or guide scope.  Didn't get a chance to look through it, though. 

I think they were made in the 70's



#60 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 08:48 PM

mt 160.jpg

 

mt 1601.jpg

 

The first picture shows how fat this scope is compared to a normal 6" newt.

 

second picture shows how beefy the focuser is.

 

I believe these scopes were meant for imaging.


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#61 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 09:11 PM

Man!  Looks SOLID -- and I love the colors, too.



#62 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 09:14 PM

I think they were made in the 70's

I went to the Memphis parties in 1986-1988, so I bet that was it.  At the time, I had no idea Nikon was even in the amateur scope market.  Whereas, the BX sold some of the Pentax J Series.



#63 rolo

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 10:07 PM

I read some rumors that Nikon used ED glass for this model. Anyone else ever here this rumor?

Wishful thinking...


Edited by rolo, 06 November 2018 - 10:08 PM.


#64 ltha

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 10:14 PM

From my notes:

 

Nikon 80mm

 

16 August 2004

 

Finally a bit of time to spend trying out the Nikon 80mm F/15. Nice looking scope, quite large for a 3" refractor and has a very substantial mount and tripod. As with most good quality refractors of the era it came in a wooden case complete with accessories: .965 accessory holder and complete sun projection screen setup. The scope is in excellent shape as far as the optics and very good w/r to overall cosmetics. Nice focuser with a “calibrated” drawtube. I took the mount apart and tried to smooth out the R/A slow motion but it is still stiff.  The finder is the smallest I have ever seen or used‑ haven’t measured it yet but it can’t be more than a 20mm objective. For planetary and lunar use‑ the reason I own this scope‑ it should be fine. Don’t want to clutter up this classic scope with a Rigel.

 

I set the scope out on the deck and assembled the sun projection screen. A bit hard to aim but the image (once I found a 1.25" extension tube) was bright and sharp. Lots of sunspot activity in evidence. Had to use both slow motions as the mount is not quite right for this latitude. Good for a crowd solar viewing.

 

Left the scope out to give it a run on the stars. Wish the planets were up, fortunately the Moon is not too long from making it’s appearance. The wimpy finder is a bit of a challenge but I managed to hit the double‑double in Lyra pretty quickly. The scope split the stars very cleanly at 100x (12mm flat‑top Brandon). I then tried a 20mm (60x) erfle and got a clear elongation but not a certain split.  A 16.3mm Galoc and a 15mm TeleVue Plossl both showed all four stars so the scope will pull them at 75 to 80x. Not bad! All four and sky in between in a 12mm Pentax SMC ortho. Next I managed to hit the Ring nebula. It was faint‑ small scope and light polluted skies - but the structure and central darkening were evident. I ran the power up to 100 and the image was larger but did not seem to have dimmed. This is not a deep sky killer but it certainly does pull things in. Can’t wait to try it on the Moon and gas giants!

 

25 August 2004

 

I have been out the last several evenings with either the 80mm Nikon refractor or the 60mm F/20 SPI refractor viewing the Moon. The Nikon performs much like I expected- sharp and detailed Lunar images from low power to about 200x where the image starts getting too dim. Interestingly, at high power the image is still sharp, just too dim for my tastes. The Nikon mount is plenty heavy and the scope is quite stable even when focusing. Eyepieces - the 12mm Edmund was preferred to the 12mm Brandon in that it was sharper and easier to focus critically. The 8mm Brandon and RKE were pretty close and 150x is where the amount of light passed by an 80mm starts to play a role esthetically. The 16.3 and 10mm Galocs really shine in the Nikon. For me an 80 mm refractor is a joy to use but it is a lunar scope foremost and a quick view planetary scope after that. Having said that, I put the 60mm F/20 together and gave it a run last night. The Moon was a bit too far east to see from the deck so I looked at Polaris and the double-double in Lyra. With a 25mm SMC Kellner (48x) I would swear the d-d was elongated at the least and actually looked separated. It was clearly separated in a 9mm SMC ortho (133x) and a 12mm SMC (100x). I left the 9mm SMC in place and when the Moon was in good position took a peek- amazing image, I would never have guessed it was a 60mm given the level of detail in Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catherina. Proclus was sharp and it’s skewed ray system bright. Neat scope and such a classic looking thing! The tripod is a bit wimpy at full extension though the eq head is heavy enough. The finder needs work, maybe removing the reticule would help. But even with a few minor glitches it is a wonderful scope - man what Galileo would have been able to do with this scope! The mount has excellent slow motion controls, smooth and precise.

13 November 2004

 

Set up the Nikon 80mm F/15 and the Takahashi FS-78C F/8 for a comparison. I would like to keep one as a “quick grab” scope as I enjoy casual Lunar viewing from the back deck. Following the Moon as it moves through it’s monthly cycle is fast becoming a favorite form of relaxation and the easier the scope is to deal with, the more likely it will be used. In that regard, the FS is much easier to deal with and fills the role of “quick grab” scope more readily. It is far shorter in overall length, weighs a lot less and can be carried out completely set up. The Nikon tube is long enough to make carrying it out onto the deck a two-step operation: mount first and then install OTA. Neither mount is driven but both have very smooth slow motion controls. The mount on the Tak also has provisions for a drive in the event I succumb to the temptation.

 

Initial trials involved my usual daytime targets- birds, signs and fine lettering. A nearby boat dealer has several new boats on display and the California boat registration decals provide fine numbers and lettering. I set the scopes up side-by-side and dropped a Pentax SMC ortho into each, a 9mm into the Nikon (1200mm/9mm= 133x) and a 5mm (630/5= 126x) into the FS-78. The Pentax SMCs are the best orthos I have found and are the standard by which everything else is judged.

 

Boat decals- Brightness is a push though the Nikon has a smaller field of view. Both scopes yield very sharp images though heat is an issue. Each shows very sharply defined black numbers against a white background. The decals also have a blue seal with white lettering and here things get a little harder. The Nikon may have had a slight edge, hard to tell. For some reason I preferred the Nikon image. Neither scope shows any false color.

 

Telephone pole Transformer- lots of small detail against a blue sky. Focusing on a split ring attached to a cotter pin there was a slight bluish tint through the Nikon. The FS showed no color at all under the same conditions. Focus is interesting, the Tak focuser is well known of it’s smooth feel and precise focus ability. However, the Nikon focuser is darn near as nice in feel and the longer focal length allows easier focusing. The Tak is far more critical and while it does have a certain amount of “snap”, the actual point of focus is very shallow and it is very easy to pass through it. Not so with the Nikon, which has a greater depth of focus within which critical focus lies. A trick I find with achromats in locating the best focus is to use the color on either side as a guide- least color tends to coincide with the best focus.

 

Birds - Being a casual bird watcher means that any “quick grab” scope is forced to do double duty as a birding scope. Either of these would be fine though the Tak has better color correction. There are a number of European Starlings around presently arrayed in winter plumage: beautiful iridescent black against a deep blue sky. Through the Nikon there is a blue fringe outlining the body, nothing offensive but present. The Tak is much better but is not free of color either. It is harder to see but it is there if one looks carefully. I know my FS 152 exhibits a tad of false color on very bright objects- Venus and Sirius come to mind, so there is only so much color correction one can wring out of a doublet. Once again, I preferred the image in the Nikon as it seemed a tad sharper. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and this comp can continue under clear skies!

 

15 November 2004

 

Takahashi v Nikon comparison continues. Conditions are unstable with lots of sky fog brightness given faint cloud cover and Santa Ana conditions today. Once again it is the Pentax SMC orthos, in all of the following a 5mm in the Takahashi ( 630/5= 126x) and a 9mm in the Nikon (1200/9= 133x)

 

Polaris- both easily show Polaris and it’s companion star. Neither seems to have an advantage in either the split or background darkness.

 

Double-Double- Slight advantage to the Nikon. Issues with vibration in longer tube especially due to traffic and deck shake. The Nikon gives a cleaner split, more than one would expect from the very slight advantage in power. The dark sky between the stars is cleaner in the Nikon though background darkness is a push.

 

Albireo - Color is very nice in both. I can detect no advantage in either. The Tak does seem to display a nicer diffraction ring around the gold component. In the Nikon the ring is not quite as sharp but still there.

 

Once again the Tak is far easier to deal with. The Tak finder is much better; the Nikon finder is so small as to be almost a joke, though it sure is sharp! Each mount has it’s own personality, the Nikon is a bit more coarse in movements, the “Tak” is prone to over-shooting it’s targets as though the mount wants to keep on moving. Focusing- tonight it is the Tak that seems to hit clean focus easiest- maybe due to the vibration issue.

 

Got up at 4:00AM for a spell with Saturn, which is nearly at zenith in Gemini. The conditions are now very still as a thin layer of fog has settled in. Even Sirius is almost completely still- wish I’d set up the Portaball!!

 

Comfort is better with the Tak as it is shorter in length and therefore easier to hit the eyepiece. Plus the mount is adjustable for latitude and set on Polaris which the Nikon misses just enough to require two adjustments while tracking. Images are very close:

Nikon- with a 9mm SMC ortho the image is so close to that in the Tak that I cannot call it. The Nikon does not snap into focus like the Tak. At first I thought the Tak was sharper but after careful comparisons it is a dead heat. The Tak hits focus with it’s characteristic snap but once there the images are essentially the same- Cassinis clear in both ansae, harder at the front of the ring, color variation in the “B” and “A” rings and the south equatorial belt olive-brown against the globe. One advantage of the Nikon is the ability to hit higher power- the image was sharp with 7mm (170x), a 6mm (200x) and a 5mm (240x) SMC orthos. The image was still very sharp at 240x but starting to dim. Out of curiosity I dropped in the TMB 4mm mono (300x) and though the image was really too dim to be pleasing, it was holding up well as far as sharpness. An excellent lens.

 

With the Tak power capped at 126x with the SMCs so I pulled out the TMB 4mm (160x)- excellent image, so good I was going to call it for the Tak. Then I pointed the Nikon back to Saturn, dropped in a 6mm TMB (200x) and there was an equally clear though larger image! An 8mm TMB (150x)n and it was back to a dead with heat both scopes turning in rock solid, razor sharp images at 50x per inch. Interestingly a generic “Circle T” 4mm ortho I picked up for $20 was turning in an essentially identical image and at times seemed better that the TMB! Maybe a larger scope would yield different results but these were a tie in the Tak FS-78.

M42- very nice view of the nebula though the hazy conditions dimmed things and somewhat limited the visibility of the gas cloud. The trapezium four pinpoints in both scope and try as I might I could not pull the E&F components, excellent as both scopes are.

 

Conclusion - both are excellent scopes though very different expressions of the 3" refractor. Images in each scope are sharp and show the excellent contrast refractors are famous for. Neither scope displays any color in focus on astro targets though both did on terrestrial objects. Since the idea is to have a quick grab scope for lunar and occasional planetary use, the Tak is my first choice as it is smaller, lighter, easier to haul out and has an equally fine image. Given the Taks physical advantages and ability to pull excellent low power wide field images, it best matches my current needs though I prefer the Nikon for it’s absolutely excellent optics and classic refractor looks.


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#65 starman876

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 10:44 PM

From my notes:

 

Nikon 80mm

 

16 August 2004

 

Finally a bit of time to spend trying out the Nikon 80mm F/15. Nice looking scope, quite large for a 3" refractor and has a very substantial mount and tripod. As with most good quality refractors of the era it came in a wooden case complete with accessories: .965 accessory holder and complete sun projection screen setup. The scope is in excellent shape as far as the optics and very good w/r to overall cosmetics. Nice focuser with a “calibrated” drawtube. I took the mount apart and tried to smooth out the R/A slow motion but it is still stiff.  The finder is the smallest I have ever seen or used‑ haven’t measured it yet but it can’t be more than a 20mm objective. For planetary and lunar use‑ the reason I own this scope‑ it should be fine. Don’t want to clutter up this classic scope with a Rigel.

 

I set the scope out on the deck and assembled the sun projection screen. A bit hard to aim but the image (once I found a 1.25" extension tube) was bright and sharp. Lots of sunspot activity in evidence. Had to use both slow motions as the mount is not quite right for this latitude. Good for a crowd solar viewing.

 

Left the scope out to give it a run on the stars. Wish the planets were up, fortunately the Moon is not too long from making it’s appearance. The wimpy finder is a bit of a challenge but I managed to hit the double‑double in Lyra pretty quickly. The scope split the stars very cleanly at 100x (12mm flat‑top Brandon). I then tried a 20mm (60x) erfle and got a clear elongation but not a certain split.  A 16.3mm Galoc and a 15mm TeleVue Plossl both showed all four stars so the scope will pull them at 75 to 80x. Not bad! All four and sky in between in a 12mm Pentax SMC ortho. Next I managed to hit the Ring nebula. It was faint‑ small scope and light polluted skies - but the structure and central darkening were evident. I ran the power up to 100 and the image was larger but did not seem to have dimmed. This is not a deep sky killer but it certainly does pull things in. Can’t wait to try it on the Moon and gas giants!

 

25 August 2004

 

I have been out the last several evenings with either the 80mm Nikon refractor or the 60mm F/20 SPI refractor viewing the Moon. The Nikon performs much like I expected- sharp and detailed Lunar images from low power to about 200x where the image starts getting too dim. Interestingly, at high power the image is still sharp, just too dim for my tastes. The Nikon mount is plenty heavy and the scope is quite stable even when focusing. Eyepieces - the 12mm Edmund was preferred to the 12mm Brandon in that it was sharper and easier to focus critically. The 8mm Brandon and RKE were pretty close and 150x is where the amount of light passed by an 80mm starts to play a role esthetically. The 16.3 and 10mm Galocs really shine in the Nikon. For me an 80 mm refractor is a joy to use but it is a lunar scope foremost and a quick view planetary scope after that. Having said that, I put the 60mm F/20 together and gave it a run last night. The Moon was a bit too far east to see from the deck so I looked at Polaris and the double-double in Lyra. With a 25mm SMC Kellner (48x) I would swear the d-d was elongated at the least and actually looked separated. It was clearly separated in a 9mm SMC ortho (133x) and a 12mm SMC (100x). I left the 9mm SMC in place and when the Moon was in good position took a peek- amazing image, I would never have guessed it was a 60mm given the level of detail in Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catherina. Proclus was sharp and it’s skewed ray system bright. Neat scope and such a classic looking thing! The tripod is a bit wimpy at full extension though the eq head is heavy enough. The finder needs work, maybe removing the reticule would help. But even with a few minor glitches it is a wonderful scope - man what Galileo would have been able to do with this scope! The mount has excellent slow motion controls, smooth and precise.

13 November 2004

 

Set up the Nikon 80mm F/15 and the Takahashi FS-78C F/8 for a comparison. I would like to keep one as a “quick grab” scope as I enjoy casual Lunar viewing from the back deck. Following the Moon as it moves through it’s monthly cycle is fast becoming a favorite form of relaxation and the easier the scope is to deal with, the more likely it will be used. In that regard, the FS is much easier to deal with and fills the role of “quick grab” scope more readily. It is far shorter in overall length, weighs a lot less and can be carried out completely set up. The Nikon tube is long enough to make carrying it out onto the deck a two-step operation: mount first and then install OTA. Neither mount is driven but both have very smooth slow motion controls. The mount on the Tak also has provisions for a drive in the event I succumb to the temptation.

 

Initial trials involved my usual daytime targets- birds, signs and fine lettering. A nearby boat dealer has several new boats on display and the California boat registration decals provide fine numbers and lettering. I set the scopes up side-by-side and dropped a Pentax SMC ortho into each, a 9mm into the Nikon (1200mm/9mm= 133x) and a 5mm (630/5= 126x) into the FS-78. The Pentax SMCs are the best orthos I have found and are the standard by which everything else is judged.

 

Boat decals- Brightness is a push though the Nikon has a smaller field of view. Both scopes yield very sharp images though heat is an issue. Each shows very sharply defined black numbers against a white background. The decals also have a blue seal with white lettering and here things get a little harder. The Nikon may have had a slight edge, hard to tell. For some reason I preferred the Nikon image. Neither scope shows any false color.

 

Telephone pole Transformer- lots of small detail against a blue sky. Focusing on a split ring attached to a cotter pin there was a slight bluish tint through the Nikon. The FS showed no color at all under the same conditions. Focus is interesting, the Tak focuser is well known of it’s smooth feel and precise focus ability. However, the Nikon focuser is darn near as nice in feel and the longer focal length allows easier focusing. The Tak is far more critical and while it does have a certain amount of “snap”, the actual point of focus is very shallow and it is very easy to pass through it. Not so with the Nikon, which has a greater depth of focus within which critical focus lies. A trick I find with achromats in locating the best focus is to use the color on either side as a guide- least color tends to coincide with the best focus.

 

Birds - Being a casual bird watcher means that any “quick grab” scope is forced to do double duty as a birding scope. Either of these would be fine though the Tak has better color correction. There are a number of European Starlings around presently arrayed in winter plumage: beautiful iridescent black against a deep blue sky. Through the Nikon there is a blue fringe outlining the body, nothing offensive but present. The Tak is much better but is not free of color either. It is harder to see but it is there if one looks carefully. I know my FS 152 exhibits a tad of false color on very bright objects- Venus and Sirius come to mind, so there is only so much color correction one can wring out of a doublet. Once again, I preferred the image in the Nikon as it seemed a tad sharper. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and this comp can continue under clear skies!

 

15 November 2004

 

Takahashi v Nikon comparison continues. Conditions are unstable with lots of sky fog brightness given faint cloud cover and Santa Ana conditions today. Once again it is the Pentax SMC orthos, in all of the following a 5mm in the Takahashi ( 630/5= 126x) and a 9mm in the Nikon (1200/9= 133x)

 

Polaris- both easily show Polaris and it’s companion star. Neither seems to have an advantage in either the split or background darkness.

 

Double-Double- Slight advantage to the Nikon. Issues with vibration in longer tube especially due to traffic and deck shake. The Nikon gives a cleaner split, more than one would expect from the very slight advantage in power. The dark sky between the stars is cleaner in the Nikon though background darkness is a push.

 

Albireo - Color is very nice in both. I can detect no advantage in either. The Tak does seem to display a nicer diffraction ring around the gold component. In the Nikon the ring is not quite as sharp but still there.

 

Once again the Tak is far easier to deal with. The Tak finder is much better; the Nikon finder is so small as to be almost a joke, though it sure is sharp! Each mount has it’s own personality, the Nikon is a bit more coarse in movements, the “Tak” is prone to over-shooting it’s targets as though the mount wants to keep on moving. Focusing- tonight it is the Tak that seems to hit clean focus easiest- maybe due to the vibration issue.

 

Got up at 4:00AM for a spell with Saturn, which is nearly at zenith in Gemini. The conditions are now very still as a thin layer of fog has settled in. Even Sirius is almost completely still- wish I’d set up the Portaball!!

 

Comfort is better with the Tak as it is shorter in length and therefore easier to hit the eyepiece. Plus the mount is adjustable for latitude and set on Polaris which the Nikon misses just enough to require two adjustments while tracking. Images are very close:

Nikon- with a 9mm SMC ortho the image is so close to that in the Tak that I cannot call it. The Nikon does not snap into focus like the Tak. At first I thought the Tak was sharper but after careful comparisons it is a dead heat. The Tak hits focus with it’s characteristic snap but once there the images are essentially the same- Cassinis clear in both ansae, harder at the front of the ring, color variation in the “B” and “A” rings and the south equatorial belt olive-brown against the globe. One advantage of the Nikon is the ability to hit higher power- the image was sharp with 7mm (170x), a 6mm (200x) and a 5mm (240x) SMC orthos. The image was still very sharp at 240x but starting to dim. Out of curiosity I dropped in the TMB 4mm mono (300x) and though the image was really too dim to be pleasing, it was holding up well as far as sharpness. An excellent lens.

 

With the Tak power capped at 126x with the SMCs so I pulled out the TMB 4mm (160x)- excellent image, so good I was going to call it for the Tak. Then I pointed the Nikon back to Saturn, dropped in a 6mm TMB (200x) and there was an equally clear though larger image! An 8mm TMB (150x)n and it was back to a dead with heat both scopes turning in rock solid, razor sharp images at 50x per inch. Interestingly a generic “Circle T” 4mm ortho I picked up for $20 was turning in an essentially identical image and at times seemed better that the TMB! Maybe a larger scope would yield different results but these were a tie in the Tak FS-78.

M42- very nice view of the nebula though the hazy conditions dimmed things and somewhat limited the visibility of the gas cloud. The trapezium four pinpoints in both scope and try as I might I could not pull the E&F components, excellent as both scopes are.

 

Conclusion - both are excellent scopes though very different expressions of the 3" refractor. Images in each scope are sharp and show the excellent contrast refractors are famous for. Neither scope displays any color in focus on astro targets though both did on terrestrial objects. Since the idea is to have a quick grab scope for lunar and occasional planetary use, the Tak is my first choice as it is smaller, lighter, easier to haul out and has an equally fine image. Given the Taks physical advantages and ability to pull excellent low power wide field images, it best matches my current needs though I prefer the Nikon for it’s absolutely excellent optics and classic refractor looks.

Thanks



#66 terraclarke

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 11:46 AM

Congratulations J, on both! They are quite lovely and sure to be excellent performers.


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#67 starman876

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 12:23 PM

I have yet to test them. Hopefully, the quality we expect from such names will stay true
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#68 starman876

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 03:33 PM

All the Nikon eyepieces came in yesterday so the scope is all back together.  Now to find a mount.  


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#69 G-Tower

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 09:18 PM

I had one of those many years ago. You did well keeping it all together! 



#70 starman876

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 10:36 PM

I had one of those many years ago. You did well keeping it all together! 

you throw enough money at any project you can do anything well.   The trick is making sure that you can recoup this money later if needed.  This hobby should not be  a money loosing habit.gramps.gif


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#71 starman876

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Posted 12 November 2018 - 08:53 AM

From my notes:

 

Nikon 80mm

 

16 August 2004

 

Finally a bit of time to spend trying out the Nikon 80mm F/15. Nice looking scope, quite large for a 3" refractor and has a very substantial mount and tripod. As with most good quality refractors of the era it came in a wooden case complete with accessories: .965 accessory holder and complete sun projection screen setup. The scope is in excellent shape as far as the optics and very good w/r to overall cosmetics. Nice focuser with a “calibrated” drawtube. I took the mount apart and tried to smooth out the R/A slow motion but it is still stiff.  The finder is the smallest I have ever seen or used‑ haven’t measured it yet but it can’t be more than a 20mm objective. For planetary and lunar use‑ the reason I own this scope‑ it should be fine. Don’t want to clutter up this classic scope with a Rigel.

 

I set the scope out on the deck and assembled the sun projection screen. A bit hard to aim but the image (once I found a 1.25" extension tube) was bright and sharp. Lots of sunspot activity in evidence. Had to use both slow motions as the mount is not quite right for this latitude. Good for a crowd solar viewing.

 

Left the scope out to give it a run on the stars. Wish the planets were up, fortunately the Moon is not too long from making it’s appearance. The wimpy finder is a bit of a challenge but I managed to hit the double‑double in Lyra pretty quickly. The scope split the stars very cleanly at 100x (12mm flat‑top Brandon). I then tried a 20mm (60x) erfle and got a clear elongation but not a certain split.  A 16.3mm Galoc and a 15mm TeleVue Plossl both showed all four stars so the scope will pull them at 75 to 80x. Not bad! All four and sky in between in a 12mm Pentax SMC ortho. Next I managed to hit the Ring nebula. It was faint‑ small scope and light polluted skies - but the structure and central darkening were evident. I ran the power up to 100 and the image was larger but did not seem to have dimmed. This is not a deep sky killer but it certainly does pull things in. Can’t wait to try it on the Moon and gas giants!

 

25 August 2004

 

I have been out the last several evenings with either the 80mm Nikon refractor or the 60mm F/20 SPI refractor viewing the Moon. The Nikon performs much like I expected- sharp and detailed Lunar images from low power to about 200x where the image starts getting too dim. Interestingly, at high power the image is still sharp, just too dim for my tastes. The Nikon mount is plenty heavy and the scope is quite stable even when focusing. Eyepieces - the 12mm Edmund was preferred to the 12mm Brandon in that it was sharper and easier to focus critically. The 8mm Brandon and RKE were pretty close and 150x is where the amount of light passed by an 80mm starts to play a role esthetically. The 16.3 and 10mm Galocs really shine in the Nikon. For me an 80 mm refractor is a joy to use but it is a lunar scope foremost and a quick view planetary scope after that. Having said that, I put the 60mm F/20 together and gave it a run last night. The Moon was a bit too far east to see from the deck so I looked at Polaris and the double-double in Lyra. With a 25mm SMC Kellner (48x) I would swear the d-d was elongated at the least and actually looked separated. It was clearly separated in a 9mm SMC ortho (133x) and a 12mm SMC (100x). I left the 9mm SMC in place and when the Moon was in good position took a peek- amazing image, I would never have guessed it was a 60mm given the level of detail in Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catherina. Proclus was sharp and it’s skewed ray system bright. Neat scope and such a classic looking thing! The tripod is a bit wimpy at full extension though the eq head is heavy enough. The finder needs work, maybe removing the reticule would help. But even with a few minor glitches it is a wonderful scope - man what Galileo would have been able to do with this scope! The mount has excellent slow motion controls, smooth and precise.

13 November 2004

 

Set up the Nikon 80mm F/15 and the Takahashi FS-78C F/8 for a comparison. I would like to keep one as a “quick grab” scope as I enjoy casual Lunar viewing from the back deck. Following the Moon as it moves through it’s monthly cycle is fast becoming a favorite form of relaxation and the easier the scope is to deal with, the more likely it will be used. In that regard, the FS is much easier to deal with and fills the role of “quick grab” scope more readily. It is far shorter in overall length, weighs a lot less and can be carried out completely set up. The Nikon tube is long enough to make carrying it out onto the deck a two-step operation: mount first and then install OTA. Neither mount is driven but both have very smooth slow motion controls. The mount on the Tak also has provisions for a drive in the event I succumb to the temptation.

 

Initial trials involved my usual daytime targets- birds, signs and fine lettering. A nearby boat dealer has several new boats on display and the California boat registration decals provide fine numbers and lettering. I set the scopes up side-by-side and dropped a Pentax SMC ortho into each, a 9mm into the Nikon (1200mm/9mm= 133x) and a 5mm (630/5= 126x) into the FS-78. The Pentax SMCs are the best orthos I have found and are the standard by which everything else is judged.

 

Boat decals- Brightness is a push though the Nikon has a smaller field of view. Both scopes yield very sharp images though heat is an issue. Each shows very sharply defined black numbers against a white background. The decals also have a blue seal with white lettering and here things get a little harder. The Nikon may have had a slight edge, hard to tell. For some reason I preferred the Nikon image. Neither scope shows any false color.

 

Telephone pole Transformer- lots of small detail against a blue sky. Focusing on a split ring attached to a cotter pin there was a slight bluish tint through the Nikon. The FS showed no color at all under the same conditions. Focus is interesting, the Tak focuser is well known of it’s smooth feel and precise focus ability. However, the Nikon focuser is darn near as nice in feel and the longer focal length allows easier focusing. The Tak is far more critical and while it does have a certain amount of “snap”, the actual point of focus is very shallow and it is very easy to pass through it. Not so with the Nikon, which has a greater depth of focus within which critical focus lies. A trick I find with achromats in locating the best focus is to use the color on either side as a guide- least color tends to coincide with the best focus.

 

Birds - Being a casual bird watcher means that any “quick grab” scope is forced to do double duty as a birding scope. Either of these would be fine though the Tak has better color correction. There are a number of European Starlings around presently arrayed in winter plumage: beautiful iridescent black against a deep blue sky. Through the Nikon there is a blue fringe outlining the body, nothing offensive but present. The Tak is much better but is not free of color either. It is harder to see but it is there if one looks carefully. I know my FS 152 exhibits a tad of false color on very bright objects- Venus and Sirius come to mind, so there is only so much color correction one can wring out of a doublet. Once again, I preferred the image in the Nikon as it seemed a tad sharper. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and this comp can continue under clear skies!

 

15 November 2004

 

Takahashi v Nikon comparison continues. Conditions are unstable with lots of sky fog brightness given faint cloud cover and Santa Ana conditions today. Once again it is the Pentax SMC orthos, in all of the following a 5mm in the Takahashi ( 630/5= 126x) and a 9mm in the Nikon (1200/9= 133x)

 

Polaris- both easily show Polaris and it’s companion star. Neither seems to have an advantage in either the split or background darkness.

 

Double-Double- Slight advantage to the Nikon. Issues with vibration in longer tube especially due to traffic and deck shake. The Nikon gives a cleaner split, more than one would expect from the very slight advantage in power. The dark sky between the stars is cleaner in the Nikon though background darkness is a push.

 

Albireo - Color is very nice in both. I can detect no advantage in either. The Tak does seem to display a nicer diffraction ring around the gold component. In the Nikon the ring is not quite as sharp but still there.

 

Once again the Tak is far easier to deal with. The Tak finder is much better; the Nikon finder is so small as to be almost a joke, though it sure is sharp! Each mount has it’s own personality, the Nikon is a bit more coarse in movements, the “Tak” is prone to over-shooting it’s targets as though the mount wants to keep on moving. Focusing- tonight it is the Tak that seems to hit clean focus easiest- maybe due to the vibration issue.

 

Got up at 4:00AM for a spell with Saturn, which is nearly at zenith in Gemini. The conditions are now very still as a thin layer of fog has settled in. Even Sirius is almost completely still- wish I’d set up the Portaball!!

 

Comfort is better with the Tak as it is shorter in length and therefore easier to hit the eyepiece. Plus the mount is adjustable for latitude and set on Polaris which the Nikon misses just enough to require two adjustments while tracking. Images are very close:

Nikon- with a 9mm SMC ortho the image is so close to that in the Tak that I cannot call it. The Nikon does not snap into focus like the Tak. At first I thought the Tak was sharper but after careful comparisons it is a dead heat. The Tak hits focus with it’s characteristic snap but once there the images are essentially the same- Cassinis clear in both ansae, harder at the front of the ring, color variation in the “B” and “A” rings and the south equatorial belt olive-brown against the globe. One advantage of the Nikon is the ability to hit higher power- the image was sharp with 7mm (170x), a 6mm (200x) and a 5mm (240x) SMC orthos. The image was still very sharp at 240x but starting to dim. Out of curiosity I dropped in the TMB 4mm mono (300x) and though the image was really too dim to be pleasing, it was holding up well as far as sharpness. An excellent lens.

 

With the Tak power capped at 126x with the SMCs so I pulled out the TMB 4mm (160x)- excellent image, so good I was going to call it for the Tak. Then I pointed the Nikon back to Saturn, dropped in a 6mm TMB (200x) and there was an equally clear though larger image! An 8mm TMB (150x)n and it was back to a dead with heat both scopes turning in rock solid, razor sharp images at 50x per inch. Interestingly a generic “Circle T” 4mm ortho I picked up for $20 was turning in an essentially identical image and at times seemed better that the TMB! Maybe a larger scope would yield different results but these were a tie in the Tak FS-78.

M42- very nice view of the nebula though the hazy conditions dimmed things and somewhat limited the visibility of the gas cloud. The trapezium four pinpoints in both scope and try as I might I could not pull the E&F components, excellent as both scopes are.

 

Conclusion - both are excellent scopes though very different expressions of the 3" refractor. Images in each scope are sharp and show the excellent contrast refractors are famous for. Neither scope displays any color in focus on astro targets though both did on terrestrial objects. Since the idea is to have a quick grab scope for lunar and occasional planetary use, the Tak is my first choice as it is smaller, lighter, easier to haul out and has an equally fine image. Given the Taks physical advantages and ability to pull excellent low power wide field images, it best matches my current needs though I prefer the Nikon for it’s absolutely excellent optics and classic refractor looks.

I read your comments again and I must say these are excellent notes. Very detailed.  A very good comparison between some excellent scopes.  Considering I have the same scopes maybe someday I will put them both through the same paces.  


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#72 Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 06:44 PM

Picked this up at the post office today...

 

Takahashi FC-50 P01.jpg

 

Takahashi FC-50 P02.jpg


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#73 Esso2112

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 06:45 PM

I love the smell of bubble wrap in the afternoon. FC-50 hiding in there?



#74 Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 06:45 PM

Unrolled all that foam...

 

Takahashi FC-50 P03.jpg

 

Takahashi FC-50 P04.jpg


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#75 Bomber Bob

Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 06:46 PM

And found an absolute gem...

 

Takahashi FC-50 P06.jpg

 

Takahashi FC-50 P07.jpg


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