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5" APO verses BEST 7" MAK CASS

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#126 Richard Whalen

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:33 PM

I compared my 8" f15.5 at WSP years ago with three 8" APOs. Early in the evening two of the three APOs gave better views, (I left my scope out in the sun all day uncovered for people taking photos) but after midnight when the seeing dropped well below .5 arc seconds and my scope cooled down only 1 of the APOs I would rate as very slightly better, perhaps very fine detail in Jupiters polar regions a tiny bit clearer. The other APO was a wash or perhaps a tad less sharp, the third was several steps down from my MCT and the other two APOs. We were all around 350x to 450x most of the time on Jupiter except the one APO, which struggled above 260x. Used up to 525x on Jupiter in the MCT with no hint of image breakdown or image getting to washed out or dim.

 

My MCT has no CA and less higher order abberations than any 8" APO that is F10 or faster. Also has a better figure than most. In excellent conditions 6" and 7" APOs dont come close from 20 years of comparrisions, hard to beat the resolution of a outstanding 8"  with a smaller scope with just very good optics. 

 

Where smaller APOs shine is when conditions are bad, wide field or imaging wide field is on the menu or you have temperatures dropping like a rock. If you live in an area that has generally poor conditions, get an APO. 

 

And remember, not all APOs or MCTs are created equally. There can be significant variation even from the top manufacterures within a single brand and product line. Nobody makes perfect every time, though the top guys try harder to be close more often.


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#127 Eddgie

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:59 PM

I had a few Maks that were super on the planets. I still like a well made Newt the best for high power planet work and the best bang for the buck.

Yes, if planetary performance is the ultimate application of the telescope, 99.9% of CN members would not have enough money to buy an Apo that could beat a 10" f/6 with high quality mirrors.

 

What difference is the theory of the argument if you can't actually be realized in practical application?

 

My mass produced 12" Newtonian has given me the best planetary views I have had in 30 years of observing and I have owned 6" Astro-Physics and C14.   Now the mirrors on my sample came out of the box with a level of quality I was surprised to see, so I would not say the everyone would be fortunate enough to share this experience. 

 

I have owned 5" Apo and while it is very sharp and contrasty, at very high powers, the types you can use on nights of superb seeing, the view gets far too dim The colors loose saturation, and the image gets grainy due to the very small exit pupil.   People dismiss the role of luminance on the observer's ability to resolve low contrast detail and to me, that is unfortunate.   The larger aperture produces a much brighter image (for a given power) and stimulates more cones in the observer's eye, and this is the real key to seeing low contrast planetary detail.   You have to fire as many cones as possible. 


Edited by Eddgie, 06 February 2019 - 01:00 PM.

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#128 De Lorme

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:47 PM

Eddgie,

 

That's exactly what I'm hoping the .82% more light from the 7" SW will fire more cones to get me over the thresh hold.

So far everybody's comments lean toward that way.



#129 salico

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:53 PM

Eddgie,

 

thanks for that. Encourages me to go for the Mewlon210 over the ED 120 in soso seeing...



#130 Asbytec

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 05:22 PM

"The colors loose saturation, and the image gets grainy due to the very small exit pupil. People dismiss the role of luminance on the observer's ability to resolve low contrast detail..."

Right on. It's not always about the scope itself, it's also physiology of the observer and the physics of image surface brightness. The afocal telescopic image may be just fine, but our ability to see it at small exit pupils may not be.

Edited by Asbytec, 06 February 2019 - 05:25 PM.


#131 elwaine

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 10:19 AM

@ De Lorme: So what is your own experience with your 180mm Mak?



#132 Classic8

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 09:43 PM

I have an explore scientific 120mm and a 180mm orion mak and so far prefer the mak but have not done side by side comparison yet.

#133 Richard Whalen

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 10:24 PM

At WSP one year I met Peter Ceravolo who had a HD145 MNT set up between Rolands personal 5" and 6" scopes. After several nights of comparing the 3 scopes which all were leaving my 12.5" f6 newtonian in the dust on Jupiter, I found that the HD resolved a hair more detail, or at least made it easier to see than the 5" and less than the 6". That said there was something magical about the view in the 5", the level of sharpness was off the charts, the ice cold tones etc. 

 

Of the 3 I preferred the 5", but Roland would not part with it so I ended up selling my tectron dob next to last day and twisting Peter's arm to sell me the HD145 which I believe was the first one produced. He relented and sold it to me.

 

Granted, the differences in all 3 scopes was very subtle, but noticable by any experienced observer with a good eye. All were excellent, just a tad different. Im guessing that 5" AP had the best optics and of the two AP's the best color correction. On Saturn the differences were even less, was hard to choose one over the others. Seeing conditions were less than .5 arc seconds.


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#134 Magnetic Field

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 02:12 AM

"The colors loose saturation, and the image gets grainy due to the very small exit pupil. People dismiss the role of luminance on the observer's ability to resolve low contrast detail..."

Right on. It's not always about the scope itself, it's also physiology of the observer and the physics of image surface brightness. The afocal telescopic image may be just fine, but our ability to see it at small exit pupils may not be.

I was surprised by that but I think I can see colour in my Vixen VMC 110L (110mm aperture). Under moments of good seeing the bands of Jupiter look or better to say have a reddish-brown hue or such.

 

I often wonder if a say a 80mm apochromat would be able to let the owner grasp colour perception on Jupiter.

 

In terms of aperture: people don't forget that you need bigger an aperture (at least 6") if you suffer from eye floaters (as I do). I cannot go up in size for various reasons.



#135 beanerds

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 05:26 AM

Great thread , I have to put my 5c in , can't help myself so here goes .

4 years ago I owned a good / very good 127mm ( full 5 inch ) f7.5 triplet APO and Takahashi M210 , I know a M210 is not a Mak but it's in the ballpark .

In Darwin being the tropics ( -12 deg south ) we have 6 months of ' Wet ' and 6 months of ' Dry ' . When you get good nights during the dry season they are , bar none the best observing nights I have ever seen anywhere , I can see where CHASLX200 is coming from living in Florida .

I used a good iOptron IEQ45 mount under both and found that what most are saying here ,,,, there is no substitute for aperture , a very good 5 inch won't compete with a Very good 7-8 inch compound scope ,, never ! .

My M210 would take over 800x on these nights on all objects where the 5 inch topped out at 500x where dimmness set in and nothing is gained . This was using a friends Nagler zoom as he has a NP127 that we compared to my 127mm triplet many times but that's another story . But , not to say 500x is nothing , 100x/inch is awesome performance in anyones language .

Here is a cell phone shot of saturn ( if you ain't seen it already ) at 806x in my M210 on one of these nights , seen detail was much better . I could have gone much higher but my 3mm Radian is my smallest eyepiece .

Beanerds

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Edited by beanerds, 09 May 2019 - 05:47 AM.

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#136 Asbytec

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 07:27 AM

In my experience through a 6", seeing color on Jove is a mixed bag. Some of the major belts show some hues, yet seeing color in Jove is about discerning softer hues near grey scale. It's something we can learn to see, and when we do Jove explodes with detail. Jove is not a coloring book with hard lines and well defined color, it's a myriad and puzzle of soft low contrast hues waiting to be seen. All one or two notches from grey scale. We need good scotopic vision to get there.

Saturn seems to hold magnification and smaller exit pupils a little better. Mars even more so. Both can survive exit pupil dimming and provide higher contrast detail to the eye. Jupiter's softer contrast detail not as much. It's not the scope, the great image is what it is on the focal plane at all magnifications. It's the same great image we saw at lower magnification. The fault lay with our physology and image surface brightness (exit pupil) when the image "breaks down". It's our physiology that breaks down as bright low contrast detail fades at high magnification.

Edited by Asbytec, 09 May 2019 - 07:35 AM.

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#137 Simon B

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 10:24 AM

My M210 would take over 800x

 

jawdrop.gif



#138 Richard Whalen

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 11:22 AM

I believe it! Once at WSP on a perfect night I stuck in two 2x barlows and a 3.8 smc ortho when on a bright star. No image breakdown in my 8" f15.5.

 

As far as color, beyond the observers eyesight I think seeing and transparency has a lot to do with it. I Have seen a lot of nights with my 75mm f16 where Jupiter shows just hints of tones, but on a few excellent nights much more colors for a 3".


Edited by Richard Whalen, 09 May 2019 - 11:23 AM.


#139 Astrojedi

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 03:07 PM

I compared my 8" f15.5 at WSP years ago with three 8" APOs. Early in the evening two of the three APOs gave better views, (I left my scope out in the sun all day uncovered for people taking photos) but after midnight when the seeing dropped well below .5 arc seconds and my scope cooled down only 1 of the APOs I would rate as very slightly better, perhaps very fine detail in Jupiters polar regions a tiny bit clearer. The other APO was a wash or perhaps a tad less sharp, the third was several steps down from my MCT and the other two APOs. We were all around 350x to 450x most of the time on Jupiter except the one APO, which struggled above 260x. Used up to 525x on Jupiter in the MCT with no hint of image breakdown or image getting to washed out or dim.

 

My MCT has no CA and less higher order abberations than any 8" APO that is F10 or faster. Also has a better figure than most. In excellent conditions 6" and 7" APOs dont come close from 20 years of comparrisions, hard to beat the resolution of a outstanding 8"  with a smaller scope with just very good optics. 

 

Where smaller APOs shine is when conditions are bad, wide field or imaging wide field is on the menu or you have temperatures dropping like a rock. If you live in an area that has generally poor conditions, get an APO. 

 

And remember, not all APOs or MCTs are created equally. There can be significant variation even from the top manufacterures within a single brand and product line. Nobody makes perfect every time, though the top guys try harder to be close more often.

 

Richard nails it in this post. I will go further as to say that if you can typically do 300x from where you are (i.e. have decent seeing) there is no debate. Go with the MCT.

 

I once tried a 180mm mak just out of curiosity and compared it to my 5" APO and my C8 EdgeHD. I sold both the MCT and the APO... here is why

 

I am close the CA coast and my seeing is usually good but my transparency sucks. Over a few days of observing both the MCT and the SCT usually outperformed the APO on Moon and the planets. Note that all the scopes had very good star tests... by my estimate easily 1/6 wave or better.

 

The APO did have a very crisp contrasty view but the Cats showed more detail on the Moon and planets and more color saturation which made a big difference... On DSOs there was no contest.. the EdgeHD 8 was much better than both the the APO and the Mak.

 

So for me the only advantage a 5" APO provided was a sightly larger FoV - but that is better served with smaller APOs and from my light polluted backyard not much of concern.

 

The Mak was heavier than the EdgeHD 8 and provided no advantage in observing... maybe slightly higher contrast which was negated by the 8" SCTs larger aperture. 

 

I regularly observe the Moon at 500-600x with my EdgeHD 8 and the image is incredibly sharp. Even in then poor seeing it behaves a refractor in that the image does not soften but rather "waves" of poor seeing pass over the object. Of the 5+ EdgeHDs I have looked through all have easily taken 500x of magnification no image breakdown. I am convinced that the quality control of the EdgeHDs is much better than even the newer SCTs which are also very good. 

 

The Achilles heel of Cats (and larger aperture scopes in general) is time to cool down and poor seeing - this is exactly the area where small refractors <5" excel.


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#140 Asbytec

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 06:14 PM

...100x/inch is awesome performance in anyones language .

Here is a cell phone shot of saturn ( if you ain't seen it already ) at 806x in my M210 on one of these nights , seen detail was much better . I could have gone much higher but my 3mm Radian is my smallest eyepiece .

Beanerds

Yes, 100x per inch is awesome performance. Absolutely no doubt. I can read through the not as sharp cell phone image and tell you had a great view. I've done Saturn at a little over 50x per inch, but never tried much higher. But, I have done "ludicrous" or "empty" magnification at 100x per inch for a look see at Arcturus' diffraction pattern in near dead calm seeing. It looks the same as it did at 300x only larger. I guess that means there was no image breakdown at least on Arcturus'. For most aberration and obstruction effects, we should start to see "image breakdown" - if any - once we can begin to resolve the Airy pattern closer to 1mm exit pupil or about 200x in a 200mm aperture. 

 

So, any scope that can produce great images at 1mm exit pupil will continue to provide good afocal images well above that. It really becomes a matter of image surface brightness, exit pupil, and system throughput. And possibly our own sensitivity to light and color.  At higher magnification the image itself does not break down anymore than it already has, there is nothing inherent with magnification (save for eyepiece quality, maybe) that causes the telescope's image, per se, to break down. It's the same image we viewed at lower power. What changes is the larger of often dimmer afocal image on the observer's eye. The physiology of our hi res acuity begins to break down as we fall out of scoptopic or mesopic vision. 


Edited by Asbytec, 09 May 2019 - 06:29 PM.


#141 NHRob

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 06:29 PM

I believe it! Once at WSP on a perfect night I stuck in two 2x barlows and a 3.8 smc ortho when on a bright star. No image breakdown in my 8" f15.5.

 

As far as color, beyond the observers eyesight I think seeing and transparency has a lot to do with it. I Have seen a lot of nights with my 75mm f16 where Jupiter shows just hints of tones, but on a few excellent nights much more colors for a 3".

Richard,

  What did you ever do with your HD145?



#142 Bomber Bob

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 06:29 PM

Since my skies here are mediocre I just look at open clusters the moon and planets...

 

With your seeing, I think the 5" APO will give you better views of the Moon & planets than a 7" Mak.  My APM 152ED shows more fine lunar / planetary detail than my 8" Field Maksutov (Vixen VMC200L).

 

However, the 8" Mak is my first choice for galaxies, tight globular clusters, and diffuse nebulae.   And, it's so much easier to set up / take down than the 152 -- it's going to get used much more often.  My 152 has to ride on a heavy 1" shaft vintage mount.  My VMC200L rides well on my Takahashi EM-1S + tripod; and, I can carry the whole rig around my back yard to dodge trees.

 

VMC200L S06- EM-1S Mount.jpg

 

If you're gonna go with a CAT, I'd get the largest aperture you can afford, and deal with in the dark!


Edited by Bomber Bob, 09 May 2019 - 06:41 PM.

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#143 CHASLX200

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 06:56 PM

I believe it! Once at WSP on a perfect night I stuck in two 2x barlows and a 3.8 smc ortho when on a bright star. No image breakdown in my 8" f15.5.

 

As far as color, beyond the observers eyesight I think seeing and transparency has a lot to do with it. I Have seen a lot of nights with my 75mm f16 where Jupiter shows just hints of tones, but on a few excellent nights much more colors for a 3".

I had a nite that was dead still and used over 1150x on a Starmaster 14.5" Zambuto. If the seeing is gone the limit of power is crazy if the scope is super.



#144 NHRob

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 07:29 PM

I had 1 magic night years ago with my 10" f/6 Zambuto and had it at 1400X, stacking Barlows.   It actually started softening a bit at 1000X but was quite useable at 1400X.



#145 elwaine

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 07:39 PM

 

If the choice were between a 7” Mak and a high quality 5” refractor (say a Tak TOA 130) where I live (again WHERE I LIVE and with MY conditions) I would pick the refractor without question.

 

Bob

 

I love to read Bob's posts because he is very knowledgeable AND very honest.

 

I had a TEC 6" Mak and an A-P 130mm Starfire at the same time. Where I live (in S. Florida), I preferred the 6" Mak on the Moon, and the 130mm refractor on all other objects. But the differences between the two were not striking. Not to my old eyes, anyway.

 

I now have a 180mm TEC Mak, but no longer have the 5" refractor so I never compared the two side by side.  My own thoughts on the 5" frac vs a 7" Mak:

1) Cool down time is a non-issue with the Mak (even when I bring it to New England in the late Autumn/early winter) as I use an insulation jacket on the OTA.

2) The views in the 7" Mak are superior to those in the 6" Mak, so for MY use (primarily the Moon, Planets, globular clusters and double stars) I do not miss the 130mm refractor. -- For wide angle views, my 92mm Stowaway fits the bill and is a nice complement to the 180mm Mak.

 

If I was limited to only one telescope - a 130mm premium refractor or a 180mm premium Mak - I really don't know which one I'd chose.


Edited by elwaine, 10 May 2019 - 06:47 AM.

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#146 luxo II

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 02:05 AM

...any scope that can produce great images at 1mm exit pupil will continue to provide good afocal images well above that. It really becomes a matter of image surface brightness, exit pupil,

Er no... that’s a gross oversimplification that ignores the MTF of the optics.

I’ve seen plenty of 8” SCT that look ok at 200X but there is no way they can usefully go to 400-450X. Yet I know of two 7” maks that regularly handle 400X on moon/planets and the image is fine, side by side with the SCTs concerned. One fellow has bought and sold no less than 8 SCTs trying find a good one to rival those maks.

Likewise I’ve tried a Mewlon 250 last Saturday night ... owner thought it was doing well at 300X on Jupiter. I just didn’t have the heart to suggest he look through my MK91 just a few yards away, which was at 650X.

I’m beginning to think I need a bodyguard when I take the MK91 for a club meet.

Edited by luxo II, 10 May 2019 - 02:11 AM.


#147 Ian Robinson

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 03:22 AM

Apples to oranges .

A 7" anything will out perform anything that's only 5".

Will go deeper photographically and visually.
Will show more detail.
Everything will be brighter.

#148 Asbytec

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 04:51 AM

Er no... that’s a gross oversimplification that ignores the MTF of the optics.

I’ve seen plenty of 8” SCT that look ok at 200X but there is no way they can usefully go to 400-450X. 

I am not sure what you mean by ignoring the MTF of the optics. Please elaborate. I was simply referring to visually resolving the Airy pattern where aberration might be present in the diffraction rings and on the scale of small planetary detail that may be affected at a magnification we can see it. Most of the damage is done near 0.4 to 0.5 spatial frequency. That's about 1.4" arc or less in an 8" aperture. This is /about/ where the bright tow contrast detail cut off is on the MTF with 0.3 to 0.4D obstruction (roughly corresponding to the D - CO rule of thumb).

 

https://www.telescop...obstruction.htm

 

What prevented the image from going to 400 - 450x? Was it low contrast planetary detail was not "sharp" or was the image dim? Or both?

 

You were less than 0.4mm exit pupil on your MK91. The Mewlon was at 0.8mm and I'd guess could probably take a little more up to about 400x without too much trouble. I normally operate around 0.6mm exit pupil (240x) as equal or less than 0.5mm (>300x) is too dim to see finer detail. Though the major belts, zones and polar caps are still visible in color. The limb is still "sharp", just no small, bright, low contrast detail. The same bright low contrast detail I see at 240x in a 6" obstructed aperture that I know is present in the telescope's image (cuz I've seen it). Saturn's limb is still sharp at 0.5mm exit pupil and maybe smaller, Mars is still sharp at 0.4mm and smaller with great detail. So, loss of contrast, sharpness, and surface brightness is not the optic (in this and similar cases), it's the image on the retina. 

 

When folks talk about image breakdown, I wish we'd be more specific about what is meant. Is it poor optics that might become apparent as we magnify images or are we losing afocal image surface brightness of an otherwise wonderful image? Or any other meaning of the term. 


Edited by Asbytec, 10 May 2019 - 05:09 AM.


#149 Erik Bakker

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 06:36 AM

Apples to oranges .

A 7" anything will out perform anything that's only 5".

Will go deeper photographically and visually.
Will show more detail.
Everything will be brighter.

That's an oversimplification in my book.

 

Coming from both a perfect Questar 7 and A-P EDF130, the Q7 won on anything smallish deep sky, planetary or lunar. On double stars, I personally preferred the less bright first ring the good APO put up. Although the bigger Mak resolved a smaller Airy disk.

 

On cool down, the APO was much faster in showing something near the best of its ability. And reigned on wider fields by a big margin.

 

For the record, I am mainly a visual observer.



#150 Magnetic Field

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 06:43 AM

That's an oversimplification in my book.

 

Coming from both a perfect Questar 7 and A-P EDF130, the Q7 won on anything smallish deep sky, planetary or lunar. On double stars, I personally preferred the less bright first ring the good APO put up. Although the bigger Mak resolved a smaller Airy disk.

 

On cool down, the APO was much faster in showing something near the best of its ability. And reigned on wider fields by a big margin.

 

For the record, I am mainly a visual observer.

But your Questar*** can resolve doubles your AP EDF 130 has never split before.

 

***Questar has probably near perfect optics. When I hear Questar I always think this an outlier and cannot be used as a reference to mass produced SCTs or Maks etc. On the other site: nothing prevents mass producers of astronomical  telescopes to up their game.




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