The biggest appeal / advantage of the F11 refractor vs an F/7 if both glass types are the same, are the back ground skies. It's an immediate difference you don't have to wonder about if you see them both looking at the same object side by side.
Nothing wrong with an F/7 ED view, not by a long shot, but the same object in an F/11 or longer scope is going to show you the same object with darker back ground skies, so you get more contrast on the object. Deep space objects just stand out more in the long tube refractor, planets have more contrast, its just a win win situation. Its an immediate difference you notice. The natural light baffle of the long tube is whats doing this, just less stray light gets to the eyepiece when you go longer. The quality of "Everything" you look at in a longer tube refractor, with the same glass as a shorter tube refractor, will be better!
The longer focal length scope doesn't even need ED glass to show this improvement. My AstroTech 102ED F/7 will show a lighter back ground sky when compared to my friends 102 F/11 Non ED refractor in the same skies. The F11 is considerably darker and objects just stand out more. Its not a slight difference, its a considerable difference in back ground skies.
Focusing is another big advantage of the longer tube refractors. Focusing isn't so hair trigger, you don't have to be dead on accurate to find that one sweet spot you need to achieve focus. In short FL refractors, people talk about "Snap Focus," that one spot when focusing is dead on. APO guys act like "Snap Focusing" is something that only comes from APO refactors and that everyone wants that.
The reality is you get that "Snap" because you have one tiny spot on your focuser where you achieve that focal point. The shorter the focal length, the more important that sweet spot becomes, the more you need to find that "Snap". Its also more important as magnification increases. Its also more obvious when seeing conditions are better because your not fighting atmospheric turbulence which is the downside of bad seeing conditions. Its also the downside when focal lengths are shorter. Focusing is more difficult when your focal length is shorter. We know this because we rack our focusers in and out and in and out and in and out with our shorty refractors till we find that sweet spot.
Shorter focal length scopes made micro focusers popular, because its more challanging to find that one tiny sweet spot to achieve focus.
In longer focal length scopes, you have more depth of focus, so focusing on an objects is easier. I've said this in other threads. The Classic refractor group knows all about all of this already.
As focal length increases on "Refractors" you don't just have one tiny sweet spot to focus, you have a range where the scope stays in focus. Focusing is just easier, I call it "relaxed or lazy focus." Wind turbulence or atmospheric conditions don't disrupt focusing so much as with shorter focal length refractors. This makes the scope easier to focus and just as important, "hold focus" in less than perfect conditions. These effects are more obvious as focal lengths increase. as you move toward F/15 focal lengths and longer.
My eyes generally focus different then my friends eyes when we are out observing. On shorter focal length scopes, I have to refocus the same object a friend may have just looked at. We all do this. On longer focal length scopes, sometimes we both say the focus is dead on, with both of our eyes on the same object because of that "range" where your scope is focused, its not just a sweet spot, its a range. You can actually move the focus slightly in either direction and you will notice you are still in focus.
This helps again, in less then perfect conditions. The focus isn't so effected by turbulence. It also helps as your eyes get older or as your observing session is longer and our eyes get more tired, since our ability to focus isn't what is use to be.
One other note also, is that a 102 F/11 is not a narrow field of view telescope, as some have mentioned out here. Like any scope, if you limit your eyepiece selection to narrow field eyepieces, then blame your eyepieces on your narrow field of view not your scope.
1100mm F/L with a 41 Panoptic gives you 2.6 degs actual field of view. Few objects are going to need more field of view to observe then this. Of course there are objects like the North America Nebula, or the entire Veil nebula which will require more field of view to see in its entirety, or Markarians chain, to name 3 examples. Basically the entire messier catalog can easier fit into this range, including the M31, since visually, you cant see the fine edges of that galaxy in a 4" scope.
. This scope to me is really the "Planet Hunter" the Non ED version of this scope claims to be. At least for a 4" refractor. Planets require a decent amount of magnification to really be appreciated. The ED glass will help considerably on Jupiter for color correction and sharpness and contrast. Its also just easier also to observe planets with longer focal length telescopes. You can hit higher magnifications without adding barlows, which to me is a huge advantage since you are trying to ring out every bit of sharpness and contrast you can, and adding more glass to the light path is never a good thing when you don't need to.
Once you start pushing your focal length out to F/11 and above in refractors in this aperture size, especially with ED glass, those of us who have owned and experienced longer tube refractors, F/11. F/13, F/15 and above, no longer make color correction the topic. The other real advantages of what longer focal length scopes are know for, starts to shine brighter. The overall quality of the entire view in the eyepiece becomes more the focal point, not just the color correction.
Like every scope, this scope has its limitations also. Overall. its just nice to see another great idea put into a nice scope that is relatively affordable.