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Adding a Red Dot Finder (RDF) to an angled Spotting Scope (Pentax PF-80ED-A) – Pictures

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#1 Castor

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:33 AM

Hi,

 

After enjoying the nice terrestrial views provided by my Tele Vue TV-60 telescope, I realized that I wanted a larger, dedicated scope for terrestrial viewing, so I recently made the leap and purchased a moderately priced Pentax PF-80ED-A Angled Spotting Scope that I plan to take on trips to mountains, active volcanoes, tropical rain forests, beaches, etc., places where waterproofing is an important feature.  While touring, I would also like to be able to use the scope at night for casual observing.

 

Aiming an angled spotting scope at terrestrial objects in broad daylight is not a problem, but star hopping with it at night without any kind of finder was tough for me, so I had to device a way to add a finder real soon.  Luckily, I was inspired by the mounting solution that Tele Vue designed for their TV-60 scope, where a finder (the Qwik Point RDF) rides on the sliding dew shield.

 

Unlike the TV-60, the dew shield of the Pentax PF-80ED Spotting Scope is not pre-drilled to accept a finder base and I was not about to start making holes in mine, so I made the choice of using plastic cable ties to attach the mounting base that comes included with the Tele Vue Qwik Point Finder as the least invasive but still sufficiently rigid mounting solution to install a lightweight, plastic RDF: A TV Qwik Point for daylight use and a Stellarvue F1 finder for astronomy.

 

After gathering and properly assembling all the parts, the finder installation on my Pentax spotting scope went ahead smoothly and I was able to successfully align both RDFs (TeleVue and Stellarvue) to aim the scope accurately on terrestrial and astronomical objects –I already tested it on both types of applications.  From now on, I can easily point my spotting scope to any object, including fast moving ones like birds, airplanes, artificial satellites, etc. and I can also share with other viewers the position of the object being observed!

 

 

If any of you have considered adding a finder to your spotting scope and have no objection about the impact on the scope aesthetics, here is a series of pictures that will show you what is needed (a dew shield parallel to the scope optical axis is a must) and how it goes together.  I have read about other spotting scope owners using plastic ties to add a finder to their scopes, but unfortunately pictures are rarely posted, I hope that you find these useful!

 

List of Parts required:

 

- Tele Vue (QBT-1006) Qwik Point Red Dot Reflex Finder with mounting base (QPA-1004) included.

 

http://www.televue.c..._page.asp?id=65

 

- 15 inch long, black plastic (Nylon) cable ties.  The ones that I used were from a pack of 3M (CT15BK50-C) 15in, 50lb that I found at my local hardware store.  Here is a link:

 

https://www.amazon.c...sr=8-8-fkmrnull

 

- Self-Adhesive Cork Pads to protect the scope from scratches and to prevent the finder base from slipping.   Same as before, I went for what was available at my local hardware store and just cut to the needed size:  ProsSource 1-inch diameter, round Cork Pads, pack of 12.  Here is a link:

 

https://www.amazon.c...sr=8-3-fkmrnull

Attached Thumbnails

  • RDFs-for-80mm-Spotting-Scope+15in-Plastic-Cable-Ties+Cork-Pads-crop-1024x614_125516.jpg
  • 3M-CT15BK50-C-black-15in-50lb-plastic-Cable-Ties-crop-600x600_154740.jpg

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#2 Castor

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:37 AM

(Continued)

 

One advantage of using the Tele Vue finder base included with the Qwik Point RDF is that it has hollow sections at the left and right sides, so it is much easier to drill holes or perforate.  I used a strong hobby knife and tapped with a hammer to open a slit just wide enough to let the plastic cable tie to go through.  Once assembled, the knot of the tie can be partially stored in the hollow sections.

Attached Thumbnails

  • TeleVue-QPA-1004-QwikPoint-Finder-Adapter-Bar-crop-640x384_130734.jpg
  • TeleVue-QwikPoint-Finder-Adapter-Bar+Cable-Ties-640x384_144223.jpg
  • TeleVue-QwikPoint-Finder-Adapter-Bar+Cable-Ties-crop-480x480_143830.jpg

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#3 Castor

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:39 AM

(Continued)

 

To avoid scratching the scope and to prevent the finder base from slipping without having to use double-sided tape (that can leave adhesive residue on the scope), I added self-adhesive cork pads to the bottom of the finder base.  Please note in the picture below how the knots of the cable ties just fit right in the hollow sections of the Qwik Point base, making them less visible.

Attached Thumbnails

  • TeleVue-QwikPoint-Finder-Adapter-Bar+Cork+Cable-Ties-crop-480x480_145102.jpg
  • 15in-Plastic-Cable-Ties+TV-QwikPoint-Adapter-for-80mm-Spottin-Scope-crop-781x600_145622.jpg

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#4 Castor

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:42 AM

(Continued)

 

Picture of the Tele Vue Qwik Point finder base firmly attached (by stretching the plastic cable ties to go as tightly as possible) to the sliding dew shield of the Pentax PF-80ED-A.  Notice that when mounting it, the ties avoided going over the printed logo to prevent marring the nice finish.  The scope as shown in the picture is mounted on a Manfrotto 501HDV fluid head.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A-Spotting-Scope+Cable-Ties+QwikPoint-finder-base-crop-480x480_161309.jpg
  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A-Spotting-Scope+Cable-Ties+QwikPoint-finder-base-1495x897_161244.jpg

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#5 Castor

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:43 AM

(Continued)

 

Once the mounting base is attached, the Red Dot Finder slides on it and is fixed in position with a Philips screw driver (also needed for the red dot adjustment).  Here is a picture of the Pentax PF-80ED-A Angled Spotting Scope with the Tele Vue Qwik Point Red Dot Finder attached and a Pentax 20mm XW eyepiece.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A-Spotting-Scope+TV-QwikPoint-RDF-1600x960_163246.jpg

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#6 Castor

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:45 AM

(Continued)

 

Pictures of the rear and front view of the Pentax PF-80ED-A Spotting Scope with a Tele Vue Qwik Point RDF and Pentax 20mm XW eyepiece.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A-Spotting-Scope+TeleView-QwikPoint-RDF-rear-view-crop-989x989_162835.jpg
  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A-Spotting-Scope+TV-QwikPoint-RDF-front-view-crop-989x989_163612.jpg

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#7 Castor

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:46 AM

(Continued)

 

Picture with a side-view of the Pentax PF-80ED-A Spotting Scope with the Tele Vue Qwik Point RDF and Pentax 20mm XW eyepiece.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80-ED-A-Spotting-Scope+TeleVue-QwikPoint-RDF-1600x960_162143.jpg

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#8 Castor

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:48 AM

(Continued - last)

 

Picture of the Pentax PF-80ED-A Spotting Scope with the Tele Vue Qwik Point RDF and Pentax 20mm XW eyepiece.  The scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 475B photo tripod with 501HDV fluid head.

 

Thanks for reading!

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A-Spotting-Scope+TV-QwikPoint-RDF-810x1350_164148.jpg

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#9 avid_dk

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 11:07 AM

Excellent idea and implementation to say nothing of the great pictorial.  I will be doing the same to my Vortex Razor HD. 


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#10 Castor

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 12:07 PM

Excellent idea and implementation to say nothing of the great pictorial.  I will be doing the same to my Vortex Razor HD. 

Thank you, I’m glad that you liked it! smile.gif

 

Be advised that the Tele Vue Qwik Point Red Dot Finder is too bright for most Astronomy applications, so getting an additional plastic RDF with gentler illumination is highly recommended –you can still use the Qwik Point for terrestrial use.  My favorite lightweight RDF is the Stellarvue F1 finder because of the large viewing window, the no-tools hand knobs for adjustment and the fully dimmable red LED, but other options from Baader, Antares, Celestron and Orion to mention a few also do a decent job for astro.  Here is a link for the Stellarvue and the Antares:

 

https://optcorp.com/...-red-dot-finder

 

https://agenaastro.c...dot-finder.html

 

Here are a few pictures comparing sizes of plastic RDFs that I posted after I purchased them for my TV-60 scope:

https://www.cloudyni...point-pictures/

 

Good luck adapting a finder for your Vortex Razor HD!


Edited by Castor, 16 February 2019 - 12:08 PM.


#11 Erik Bakker

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 02:40 PM

How do you experience the views and compare them to those of your TV-76/60?


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#12 Castor

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 04:21 AM

Hi Erik,

 

I’m having a great time using my new spotting scope for terrestrial viewing –day and night.  The views using Pentax XW eyepieces are crystal clear (contrasty), bright and sharp!  Stellar images in my sample are not as clean as in my astronomical telescopes, though.  But I’m no expert at evaluating optics so that’s as far as I’ll go.

 

I just haven’t had much time to compare it side-by-side to my other refractors, but naturally the Pentax PF-80ED-A provides brighter images and with more resolution than my TV-60 and considering that both scopes weight about the same when setup for observing, the Pentax gets the nod for terrestrial use all the time.  I have not compared the PF-80ED-A to the TV-76 because I always preferred the TV-60 for terrestrial for its lighter weight and convenience.

 

I enjoyed the experience of using the Pentax PF-80ED-A for terrestrial viewing so much (I can use all my 1.25” XW, Radian, Panoptic and Nagler eyepieces with it) that a few days later (this week) I purchased the smaller Pentax PF-65ED-A to be able to take it to places where I wouldn’t expose my beloved TV-60 –I see it as an insurance policy.  IMHO the TV-60 has superior optics to my PF-65ED-A, no question about it.

 

I always wanted to have a nice quality spotting scope for terrestrial observing (I can’t afford the Alpha spotters) and I believe the duo of Pentax spotting scopes fulfil my basic needs in that regard!

 

Erik, thank you for sharing the pictures and inspiring comments of your experiences using your premium spotting scope! waytogo.gif 


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#13 Erik Bakker

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 11:28 AM

Seems like these Pentax ED's are wonderful new additions to your stable Castor!

 

Very convenient that you can use them with your 1 1/4" astronomical eyepieces as well. That's a bridge to far with my ED82 spotting scope. But it's native eyepieces are too. Use that scope a lot, day and night.


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#14 Castor

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 11:50 PM

Thank you Erik, yes they are wonderful new additions because they allow me to explore our own world (Earth) up close without worrying about unnecessarily exposing my astro telescopes to the elements, I simply can’t afford to replace them!

 

The ability to use regular astronomical eyepieces was one my reasons to go with Pentax –I know the Celestron Regal line of spotters also work with astro eyepieces, but since I already own a set of Pentax 1.25” eyepieces I preferred to err on the safe side.

 

Your Nikon ED82 spotting scope is what dreams are made of and I’m sure their eyepieces are a great match for their quality, I hope it continues to give you endless days and nights of enjoyment! smile.gif 



#15 GalaxyPiper

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:39 PM

Very interesting!  belushi.gif


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#16 Castor

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 07:19 PM

A few red dot finder (RDF) options compatible with the Tele Vue Qwik Point finder base for adding to a spotting scope:

 

Besides the Qwik Point, other plastic RDFs that can be used with the Tele Vue Qwik Point finder base on a spotting scope are the Antares RDF, the Baader Sky Surfer III, the Celestron Star Pointer and Star Pointer Pro, the Orion EZ Finder II and the Stellarvue F1, just to mention a few.

 

Here are two pictures comparing three popular RDFs that can be used with the Tele Vue Qwik Point base, from left to right: Tele Vue Qwik Point, older Celestron Star Pointer (same design as the current Orion EZ Finder II and the Antares RDF) and Stellarvue F1.

Attached Thumbnails

  • TV-Qwik_Point+Cel-Star_Pointer+Stellarvue-F1-RDF-crop-1200x586_151510.jpg
  • TV-Qwik_Point+Cel-Star_Pointer+Stellarvue-F1-RDF-crop-1280x500_150312.jpg


#17 Castor

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 07:26 PM

The 80mm Pentax ED Spotting Scope configured for Astronomical observing:

 

One of my favorite lightweight red dot finders is the Stellarvue F1, because of its large viewing window, the fully dimmable red dot and the hand knobs for adjustment and setup.  Some CN members have commented that the Baader Sky Surfer III is even better, so it’s worth mentioning here even if I haven’t tried one.  For doing Astronomical observing with my Pentax spotting scope I just slide-in my Stellarvue F1 RDF on the Tele Vue Qwik Point finder base, tighten two hand knobs and I’m ready to go.  Here is a series of pictures that shows the scope in this configuration:

 

Picture of side view of the Pentax PF-80ED-A Angled Spotting Scope with Tele Vue Qwik Point finder base, Stellarvue F1 RDF and Pentax XL 8-24mm zoom eyepiece.  The scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 501HDV fluid head.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A+XL Zoom Ep+Stellarvue-F1 RDF-1200x720_131118.jpg


#18 Castor

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 07:27 PM

(Continued)

 

Picture of front view of the Pentax PF-80ED-A Angled Spotting Scope with Tele Vue Qwik Point finder base, Stellarvue F1 RDF and Pentax XL 8-24mm zoom eyepiece.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A+XL Zoom Ep+Stellarvue-F1 RDF-885x1475_131343.jpg


#19 Castor

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 07:28 PM

(Continued)

 

Picture of side view of the Pentax PF-80ED-A Angled Spotting Scope with Tele Vue Qwik Point finder base, Stellarvue F1 RDF and Pentax XL 8-24mm zoom eyepiece.  The scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 501HDV fluid head.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A+XL Zoom Ep+Stellarvue-F1 RDF-1333x800_130321.jpg


#20 Castor

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 07:29 PM

(Continued)

 

Picture of rear view of the Pentax PF-80ED-A Angled Spotting Scope with Tele Vue Qwik Point finder base, Stellarvue F1 RDF and Pentax XL 8-24mm zoom eyepiece.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A+XL Zoom Ep+Stellarvue-F1 RDF-1550x930_130700.jpg


#21 Castor

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 07:31 PM

(Continued - last)

 

Picture of side view of the Pentax PF-80ED-A Angled Spotting Scope with Tele Vue Qwik Point finder base, Stellarvue F1 RDF and Pentax XL 8-24mm zoom eyepiece.  The scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 028B photo tripod with 501HDV fluid head.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Pentax-PF-80ED-A+XL Zoom Ep+Stellarvue-F1 RDF-726x1210_132657.jpg


#22 GalaxyPiper

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 11:27 AM

I like PENTAX,

No...I LOVE PENTAX, and I'm glad they have made a resurgence in the market place.

This is a very nice scope, but soo darned expensive, floating around $900.00 to $1200.00 depending on the vendor and accessories.

Is this where we are now, it seems everything is very expensive anymore, and Pentax is Japanese so I know the Tariffs are not really affecting this.

So I have to ask...is it really worth it? The optical glass is premium and the ocular eye pieces are premium as well.

I hope someone (if they haven't already) will do a comparison and review between other terrestrial spotting scopes on the market right now.

Here's your opportunity Castor (nudge, nudge...)

And yes, glass is way mo better than plastic lenses, by far...as my eye's get older, I need to have the best views possible, so yeah, I would probably pay that, maybe someday, right now I have a lot of money going in other places.

Don't we all...


Edited by GalaxyPiper, 24 October 2019 - 11:28 AM.

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#23 Castor

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 08:43 PM

I like PENTAX,

No...I LOVE PENTAX, and I'm glad they have made a resurgence in the market place.

This is a very nice scope, but soo darned expensive, floating around $900.00 to $1200.00 depending on the vendor and accessories.

Is this where we are now, it seems everything is very expensive anymore, and Pentax is Japanese so I know the Tariffs are not really affecting this.

So I have to ask...is it really worth it? The optical glass is premium and the ocular eye pieces are premium as well.

I hope someone (if they haven't already) will do a comparison and review between other terrestrial spotting scopes on the market right now.

Here's your opportunity Castor (nudge, nudge...)

And yes, glass is way mo better than plastic lenses, by far...as my eye's get older, I need to have the best views possible, so yeah, I would probably pay that, maybe someday, right now I have a lot of money going in other places.

Don't we all...

 

Hi GalaxyPiper, thank you for your comments!

 

I like Pentax Eyepieces and telescopes too and although they are expensive, I think their products are worth it!

 

After many years in the hobby I have learned that it’s best to invest in good quality products and cry once, even if it takes time to save enough money to afford it, of course within the limits of one’s budget.  When I was looking to purchase my ideal spotting scope, I could not afford to buy the Pentax PF-80ED-A with its zoom XL eyepiece, so I purchased the body and started using it with my own Pentax XW eyepieces, they make a great combination.   Many months later I was able to get the Pentax XL 8-24mm zoom eyepiece for it and I couldn’t be happier!

 

Sometime later, I still wanted a larger spotting scope for doing terrestrial viewing in low-light conditions (at dusk and at night), only this time the larger Pentax PF-100ED was way over my budget so I compromised and purchased a Celestron Regal M2 100ED.  The first time that I used it in daylight for viewing at dry tree branches against a bright sky I was disappointed with the amount of chromatic aberration visible as a red tinge –this is not caused by the included eyepiece, it is also visible using other eyepieces –that doesn’t happen with the Pentax PF-80ED-A.  When I compared it to the PF-80ED-A during the day, the images looked less sharp through the Celestron, the edges of the objects do not look as crisp as they do through the Pentax.  When I compared both scopes at night viewing terrestrial objects, the images through the Celestron were just slightly brighter than in the Pentax, certainly not what you would expect from the jump from an 80mm scope to a 100mm scope.  I had previously read a user comment that performed a flashlight test to his Regal M2 100ED scope and he found out that the clear aperture of his scope is considerable less than the advertised 100mm, closer to 90mm.  To make things worse, even when the Celestron Regal scopes accept regular 1.25” astronomical eyepieces, their locking mechanism uses an o-ring that grabs the eyepiece so tight (like air tight) that makes swapping eyepieces a royal pain, unlike the Pentax that uses a smooth collet locking mechanism.  So for practical purposes with the Celestron Regal M2 100ED I’m stuck on using one eyepiece, either a zoom or a fixed FL.  Knowing all this, given the chance to go back, would I buy the Pentax PF-100ED instead of the Regal M2 100ED?  Probably not, I just don’t have the funds to buy one and my limited terrestrial use of the scope is not reason enough for the expenditure.  If an angled Pentax PF-100ED existed, then I would probably find a way to justify it because it would also be used for Astronomical observing, but alas even after all these years since their introduction Pentax has not offered an angled version of their 100ED spotting scope!

 

Here is what I posted about the Celestron Regal M2 100ED:

 

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/658328-celestron-52306-regal-m2-100ed-spotting-scope-caveats/

 

This is as far as I am willing to go comparing scopes, I’m not an expert on telescopes and my limited English is not good enough for expressing the fine nuances that set apart acceptable optics from real good ones, even when most of the time I’m able to discern the difference!

 

Clear skies,


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