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Toa 130 or Fsq 130 or

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#1 Ken82

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 02:24 PM

So I’ve decided to get one of these scopes and I’d like some feedback if possible.

I plan to use the toa at f7.7 for galaxies and with the reducer f5.3 for wider field. This is my first question - is anyone using this scope at f5.3? How is the field and correction ? Takahashi state an imaging circle of 40mm at this f ratio so not quite full frame. I’m using a 36mm sensor but don’t mind cropping 5-10% but is that realistic ??

with the Fsq 130 I could add the extender for galaxies at f7.5 fl 980mm imaging circle 44mm. This would be slightly better ?? But is it worth the price difference of 4-5k???

any alternatives ?

If I got the toa I’d keep my Fsq 85 for widefield but if I got the Fsq 130 I could also get the reducer which would give me a similar fl to the baby Q. In which case I would sell the baby Q to part fund the price difference. 

 Any thoughts ? Anyone using the toa at f5.3??

#2 Eric H

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:59 PM

My 2 cents.

 

The TOA-35RD would make the TOA a 700mm f5.4 with a 44mm i.c.

I'd be inclined to go with the TOA as it seems a bit more versatile for my tastes and it would match up really well with 85.



#3 Suavi

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 04:30 PM

From what I've read both are superb scopes; however, depending on local seeing conditions, 130mm of aperture could limit detail on galaxies due to diffraction, even when combined with a camera with small pixels.



#4 Swanny

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 04:34 PM

I would think the TOA would have the versatility you are looking for. And something I have been thinking about that might be in your ball park.....the SVX152 is the same weight roughly as the TOA130. That is where I am leaning actually and I am a Tak Guy.

#5 dr.who

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 07:49 PM

The TOA will have the best color correction on the market. Much better than the SVX152 because of the two ED elements in it. The FSQ will have good correction but not as good as the TOA.

 

And the FSQ is double the price of the TOA. That money can be used elsewhere. And you can achieve what you want to do with the TOA as long as you have the mount to support it. At least a Losmandy GM811G, CEM60, CGX-L, or AP Mach1 class mount. If you are thinking about a mount the best in that list would be the Mach1 and the price difference between the TOA and FSQ would just about cover everything you need for the Mach1. Alternately to that the Software Bisque MyT would be another option. 


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#6 balu01

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 12:14 AM

I have both the flattener and 35RD for the scope, I think TOA is truly an outstanding telescope, FSQ130 is / was a bit pricey to me to even consider, and I always catch myself wanting to go a little deeper for better resolution with large sensor so I choose the TOA.

I am however planning to pair it with the FSQ85.  

The reducer illuminates the FF sensor perfectly. 

I use mine on an AP Mach1, which is also a purchase I will never regret.


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#7 Ken82

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 06:27 AM

Thanks all ! I’m a bit confused about the toa reducers as they appear to have a different name in the uk.

Tka31580s f5.8 toa-Rd can also be used at f5.3 with a 40mm corrected circle? It appears this is also called the toa/fs reducer in America, is that correct ?

I can also get the f5.8 645-rd reducer but this cannot be reduced to f5.3 ? Is this also called the toa-35rd ?

#8 Phil Cowell

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 08:06 PM

I have both the flattener and 35RD for the scope, I think TOA is truly an outstanding telescope, FSQ130 is / was a bit pricey to me to even consider, and I always catch myself wanting to go a little deeper for better resolution with large sensor so I choose the TOA.

I am however planning to pair it with the FSQ85.  

The reducer illuminates the FF sensor perfectly. 

I use mine on an AP Mach1, which is also a purchase I will never regret.

If you get the FSQ-85 get the EDP. It illuminates a full frame sensor.


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#9 Ken82

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 02:52 PM

How is the correction likely to be on very bright stars with these two ?
Could I expect the toa to be better at its native f7.7 but the Fsq to be better at f5 ?

Am I likely to get any star bloating of Alnitak in RAW images ?

Thanks ken

#10 Eric H

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 03:17 PM

Either scope will have excellent correction. Probably won't see any difference between the two.

 

Bloating of stars...not from the scopes, more likely to get bloating from overexposure.



#11 Ken82

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 01:47 PM

Would it be fair to say the Fsq 130 is a riskier purchase than the toa ? I mean it’s not very well known or tested yet. Or maybe better to say the technology has been successful in the Fsq 106 so it is already proven ? Id just like some thoughts on this before buying either.
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#12 Seiko4169

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 02:11 PM

The FSQ 130 is Takahashi's flagship / pinnacle refractor astrograph. I really don't think there is  better in the range for wide field astrophotography. The TOA is a more versatile instrument especially if you factor in visual viewing. Then the longer focal length and only 3 lens design helps eak out the very best for visual viewing. The 5 lens arrangement in the FSQ 130 however according to Takahashi's website data isn't very far behind (if at all). The FSQ 130 is better in terms of spot size, image circle and flat field. Bolt on the super reducer and you're in a different league for faster images compared with the TOA.

 

If you're intended image targets are wide field centric, you want the fastest image speed, a beefier focuser, a more portable package and don't mind the huge price difference the FSQ 130 is simply stunning if not overkill for most.

 

If you want a little bit of visual use, a more rounded performer the TOA 130 is a fantastic scope and the price (for the standard focuser) is actually quite modest. There is a nasty jump in price if you jump to the 4" focuser on the TOA and even then it's not a patch on the FSQ130 5" focuser.

 

When I first started inquiring about the FSQ range someone mentioned I should really be sure of my needs as it is a one trick pony. I think this is the truest statement and far outweighs concerns over spot sizes or mtf curves etc. Just make sure you actually want to image or view wide field views if you go for the FSQ and short-ish focal length. I've used the TSA, TOA and FSQ range for many a year now. All have visually shown stunning views and all have shown me to be the weak link in AP.

 

They all have their respective strengths and weaknesses.


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#13 Ken82

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 03:37 PM

Thanks seiko4169 !

My intended use would be purely imaging so the visual advantage of the toa would be lost for me.

I would mainly use the Fsq 130 at f5 and the toa with reducer at f5.4 but I would also use the toa on occasion at f7.7 for smaller objects. I know the Fsq can also be used with a focal extension at f7.7 but would this be comparable to the Toa ?? It’s only a 2” push fit which concerns me.

Of course a big advantage of the Fsq is the ability to reduce to f3.4

#14 Esso2112

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 06:12 PM

The TOA is an awesome visual scope and I have seen some great images from them as well. The FSQ’s are wonderful imaging scopes. I have the Baby-Q and with the reducer it produces great images on an APS sized chip. Visually, it is very good as well. 

 

I have the “predecessor” of the FSQ-130, which is the FCT-125 with original reducer. On a 35mm chip, it produces a flat field and at f4.5 takes in a large portion of the sky (3.7 x 2.5 degrees). The FCT-125 is also an excellent visual scope at it’s native f5.6.

 

If it were me, and the cost difference didn’t matter, I would go with the FSQ-130 for imaging over the TOA and not look back. 



#15 213Cobra

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 09:14 PM

>>..When I first started inquiring about the FSQ range someone mentioned I should really be sure of my needs as it is a one trick pony.<<

 

As a 30+ years visual user of Takahashi astrographs, I disagree. You should be sure of your needs; but FSQs are not one-trick ponies. I view these various Tak astrographs as the most versatile scopes, corrected reflectors or refractors. The flat field is a great and under-appreciated advantage. You get intrinsic wide field views. And Takahashi's extenders are optically superb, a longer focal length foundation for your eyepieces. The short, balanced tubes are easy to handle, contributing to mount stability. And views are exemplary. Now it's true that an FSQ-130 is nearly twice the money over a TOA-130, so when both options are optically and mechanically beyond reproach, cost can be a deciding factor alone. If you're going all-AP and can afford it, go FSQ. If visual is in the mix, nothing about the FSQ should dissuade you. I'm all-visual and the "one-more-scope" will be the FSQ-130 or its then-equivalent when I'm ready to buy.

 

Phil


Edited by 213Cobra, 21 February 2019 - 10:19 AM.

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#16 dr.who

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 11:40 PM

Well... Not quite Phil. They really are AP scopes not visual. Visual is possible with them but there are constraints and extra costs.

I found the back focus on the FSQ-85 very limiting and even more so with the FSQ-106 for visual. My Tele Vue binoviewer will come to focus with a 1.25x GPC using the Baader T2 system in my TOA-130 and 150 as well as my TSA-120 with no problem. It was just barely out of focus in the 85 and nowhere near it in the 106. Meaning I needed a 1.7 or higher GPC which is contraindicated for binoviewing since the goal is to be as close to native magnification as possible. IE: with a 1.25x GPC my 24mm Panoptics became 19.2mm. With a 1.7x they would jump up to 14.1mm! If you don’t binoview then this doesn’t matter.

I was also very concerned with how close the 4th element was to where the diagonal would go as with a careless mistake the glass could be damaged. This was a big worry for me.

And I had problems with both using a 2” diagonal and a couple of Ethos eyepieces. I could have spent the money for the specific adapter and/diagonal for both so it would work but why should I need to when the TOA’s and TSA have zero issues? And also do very well at AP to boot.

The focuser on both FSQ’s is not great with heavier loads (documented extensively here) for AP so I used Feathertouch focuser’s which were no problems. This is an issue for AP and maybe Tak has since corrected it but it was a problem up until last year. Also I can’t speak for the 130 as no one I am aware of has raised this as an issue.

I will stipulate that both make great flat field visual scopes but they really aren’t meant to be used visually and there are much better and safer options out there that also work well visually and for AP. Like the Tele Vue NP101is. Or the TSA or TOA lines.
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#17 aa6ww

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 03:35 AM

Astrograph refractors like the FSQ-130 make the absolute sharpest visual refractors you could ever imagine. 

I've had both FS-102's and TSA-102's and my friends FSQ-106 was always just a tad sharper visually, always across the entire field of view. 

 

I have no doubt the FSQ-130 will also be slightly sharper then even the T0A-130 when you really push the optics. I had a TOA-130 for about 7 years. It is an excellent refractor for 130mm, but everything now is excellent at least visually in the 130mm Arena.

 

A few years back, I did several side by sides with my TOA and a friends Orion EON 130, and after a full night of observing, there was no notable difference between the two scopes on everything we looked at though there was no Moon, Jupiter or Saturn to look at. 

The Orion has a much better 3" focuser, much better in every way.

 

You can never go wrong buying a Tak, especially if you can afford whatever you want. Just don't expect it to visually perform any better then your friends AT-130EDT  especially if your eyes are 50 years old or older.

 

...Ralph



#18 aa6ww

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 03:51 AM

The Problem with your FSQ was not with the scope, the problem was how you tried to make it do things it was not designed to do,  ie, trying to make us perform using a binoviewer or trying to use visual backs and diagonals not designed to use with that scope for visual work. 

 

The FSQ uses a dedicated Diagonal made exclusively for that particular scope. Unless you use that diagonal, you will always have issues with focus. My friends FSQ never had focus issues with any eyepiece he ever used, including when he used his extender. Most of his eyepeices were Ethos, and some Naglers. He had parts of his scope stolen once, including his dedicated diagonal. Nothing we tried worked well when trying to use any other diagonal or any adapters we could come up with. Until he bought another dedicated diagonal, his scope was not usable visually.

 

You should "Never" have issues worrying about your diagonal bumping into the rear flattner on the FSQ if you use the diagonal designed for the FSQ. Its a screw on type like the SCT dedicated diagonals, that don't have a tube that pushes into the back of the focuser.

 

Again, the issues with your FSQ were issues created by not using the correct visual adapters and diagonals designed for your FSQ. 

 

...Ralph

 

 

Well... Not quite Phil. They really are AP scopes not visual. Visual is possible with them but there are constraints and extra costs.

I found the back focus on the FSQ-85 very limiting and even more so with the FSQ-106 for visual. My Tele Vue binoviewer will come to focus with a 1.25x GPC using the Baader T2 system in my TOA-130 and 150 as well as my TSA-120 with no problem. It was just barely out of focus in the 85 and nowhere near it in the 106. Meaning I needed a 1.7 or higher GPC which is contraindicated for binoviewing since the goal is to be as close to native magnification as possible. IE: with a 1.25x GPC my 24mm Panoptics became 19.2mm. With a 1.7x they would jump up to 14.1mm! If you don’t binoview then this doesn’t matter.

I was also very concerned with how close the 4th element was to where the diagonal would go as with a careless mistake the glass could be damaged. This was a big worry for me.

And I had problems with both using a 2” diagonal and a couple of Ethos eyepieces. I could have spent the money for the specific adapter and/diagonal for both so it would work but why should I need to when the TOA’s and TSA have zero issues? And also do very well at AP to boot.

The focuser on both FSQ’s is not great with heavier loads (documented extensively here) for AP so I used Feathertouch focuser’s which were no problems. This is an issue for AP and maybe Tak has since corrected it but it was a problem up until last year. Also I can’t speak for the 130 as no one I am aware of has raised this as an issue.

I will stipulate that both make great flat field visual scopes but they really aren’t meant to be used visually and there are much better and safer options out there that also work well visually and for AP. Like the Tele Vue NP101is. Or the TSA or TOA lines.


Edited by aa6ww, 21 February 2019 - 04:09 AM.


#19 Seiko4169

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 07:04 AM

Well the OP has made it clear visual use considerations are not relevant to his decision so I’d politely suggest we all leave the debate between the TOA and FSQ visual strengths to another topic noting I agree with both elements of the previous posts advantages and disadvantages of the 2 scopes.

 

In terms of AP and back to my point about a 1 trick pony, the FSQ does wide field AP better than the TOA. It’s the main trick (and it plays it brilliantly) and if your targets are wide field centric and you want to image at fast speeds the FSQ easily beats the TOA.

 

To make the comparison and choice a little tougher I would be choosing between the TOA150 and FSQ130.

 

Now the extra resolution and reach of the TOA150 shows it’s stuff and if you have the mount to handle the 150 it really is a scope to consider.

 

 

This assumes your not phased at the price points both scopes operate at.

 



#20 213Cobra

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 11:38 AM

Certainly some FSQ owners into AP report focuser difficulties. Others don't. I don't know why some people have trouble and others successfully image (and view) with the stock focusers. Every Takahashi scope I've seen has been mechanically consistent and I grant their idiosyncrasies are consistent too. My experience is that if the user masters the device, problems are scarce and easily addressable.

 

Bino viewing is a minority undertaking in the general realm of amateur astronomy. It's a fine thing for those that wish to do it, but I don't make the assumption it drives a telescope purchase for most people in our hobby. And yet I've seen people use bino viewers with FSQs. It's not pertinent to me as I don't have binocular vision. But as Ralph pointed out, used visually FSQs show a sharp image beyond reproach.

 

I have a reasonably extensive array of eyepieces. The only one that is problematic wrt focus has been the 17mm Ethos, reason being its field stop is negative by almost 4/10ths of an inch. Half of my telescopes don't have sufficient infocus for the system to reach focus with that eyepiece and others similarly constructed. I sold that eyepiece but IIRC I could use it in the FSQ85 by removing the CAA. And come to think of it, the Baader and Leica zooms aren't usable with some of my scopes for the same reason. It's OK -- not every eyepiece has to match up to every scope. I haven't had any problem using either Takahashi nor Maxbright diagonals with either of my FSQs and most of my eyepieces.

 

Safety is a balanced, easy-to-handle scope. FSQs excel in this respect. There are some costs involved using FSQs visually if your eyepiece collection requires additional extension tubes or the dedicated diagonal. My point is that given the cost of these scopes to begin with, those extra costs are relatively minor and the flat field, ultra-sharp view is worth it.

 

I've been using a Takahashi Epsilon 160 astrograph visually for over 30 years. From the very first day I've been hearing the trope that it's "not meant to be used visually." Funny, it puts a beautiful image on my retina. Back then, Takahashi supplied it with ocular adapters and two eyepieces. What were they for? Stellarvue and TS state their SVQ scopes can give excellent visual service. Televue sells 4" and 5" Petzvals to both crowds. One has to add flatteners to triplets to get them to perform for AP. What's wrong with a little added cost for some visual uses for flat field quads?

 

After decades with a flat field reflector, when I added refractors I planned on an FSQ but I but started with a LOMO triplet to see what all the fuss was about. It was a Stellarvue implementation of the LOMO cell, with a Feather Touch focuser. Nice. That's a great 80/480 but to get it to perform visually like the FSQs I subsequently added, it took a TSFlat2 to make the LOMO right with the world (and my eyes). I have two LOMOs and they really are stellar but if I had to pare down to one refractor companion with my Epsilon, it would be an FSQ. I also have FS60Q and FOA60Q. Both can be used in doublet configuration -- but they are so much better as quads I never do it. They aren't technically FSQs but fields are flat and views are shhhhhharp! Quads for visual, baby! OK, the FSQ130 is a quint but it thinks it's a quad.

 

I agree that from a cost standpoint, the correct comparative choice is between FSQ130 and TOA150. There's certainly value to the extra 20mm. Perhaps the TOA would win the argument if permanently mounted. For a set-up/take-down user however, of that duo FSQ is the practical choice and it will get used more often.

 

Phil



#21 dr.who

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 12:15 AM

The Problem with your FSQ was not with the scope, the problem was how you tried to make it do things it was not designed to do,  ie, trying to make us perform using a binoviewer or trying to use visual backs and diagonals not designed to use with that scope for visual work. 

 

The FSQ uses a dedicated Diagonal made exclusively for that particular scope. Unless you use that diagonal, you will always have issues with focus. My friends FSQ never had focus issues with any eyepiece he ever used, including when he used his extender. Most of his eyepeices were Ethos, and some Naglers. He had parts of his scope stolen once, including his dedicated diagonal. Nothing we tried worked well when trying to use any other diagonal or any adapters we could come up with. Until he bought another dedicated diagonal, his scope was not usable visually.

 

You should "Never" have issues worrying about your diagonal bumping into the rear flattner on the FSQ if you use the diagonal designed for the FSQ. Its a screw on type like the SCT dedicated diagonals, that don't have a tube that pushes into the back of the focuser.

 

Again, the issues with your FSQ were issues created by not using the correct visual adapters and diagonals designed for your FSQ. 

 

...Ralph

And there in lies the rub, Ralph. And proves my point. Astrograph that can, with some special gear and fiddling, be used visually. 

 

Well the OP has made it clear visual use considerations are not relevant to his decision so I’d politely suggest we all leave the debate between the TOA and FSQ visual strengths to another topic noting I agree with both elements of the previous posts advantages and disadvantages of the 2 scopes.

 

In terms of AP and back to my point about a 1 trick pony, the FSQ does wide field AP better than the TOA. It’s the main trick (and it plays it brilliantly) and if your targets are wide field centric and you want to image at fast speeds the FSQ easily beats the TOA.

 

To make the comparison and choice a little tougher I would be choosing between the TOA150 and FSQ130.

 

Now the extra resolution and reach of the TOA150 shows it’s stuff and if you have the mount to handle the 150 it really is a scope to consider.

 

 

This assumes your not phased at the price points both scopes operate at.

 

Yikes! I didn’t realize he was AP only! In light of that the best choice is the FSQ, Likely with a replacement focuser.



#22 dr.who

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 12:18 AM

Phil - it is likely because of bigger/heavier imaging systems. A small DSLR or OSC CCD isn’t going to stress the focuser. In my case I had a big mono CCD. If I remember correctly that was the case with others who reported the problem too. 



#23 edif300

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 03:26 AM

My FSQ-106ED's focuser is fully stressed..... but by nonstoping making images.

 

BTW, FSQ-130ED has 5" focuser and is as solid (or more) as the TOA-130NFB's 4" focuser. If you don't check it.... therefore ... are they asking about the 130ED?


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#24 edif300

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 03:33 AM

If a galaxies are the 50% (or above) of all the targets I would go to 1000mm fl with  the TOA-67FL. Using TOA-35RD then you get more fov and faster system.

Also, if your observation is located in light polluted site... then also would go for f7.7.


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#25 Swanny

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 06:08 AM

I think the image train weight is the main determining factor of succesfully using the stock focuser. I have a 367c with no filterwheel and have had zero issues with the focuser and image sharpness corner to corner.


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