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Takahashi FOA-60 Owners’ Feedback

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320 replies to this topic

#1 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 08:29 AM

Ok, there are a few floating around with threads started by the owners a few months back, but not much discussion after that.

So, after a few months of ownership (and hopefully of use!) how do you find the scope? What mount / tripod combos? What eyepieces do you use? What kind of objects do you do you find it suited for? Pros / cons? Tweaks / customisations?

Inquiring minds want to know :)
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#2 BGazing

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 09:00 AM

Ok, there are a few floating around with threads started by the owners a few months back, but not much discussion after that.

So, after a few months of ownership (and hopefully of use!) how do you find the scope? What mount / tripod combos? What eyepieces do you use? What kind of objects do you do you find it suited for? Pros / cons? Tweaks / customisations?

Inquiring minds want to know :)

Just purchase it, you are delaying the inevitable.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
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#3 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 09:03 AM

Sigh, it may happen....

 

But before it does, why not start a thread, get people to share tons of photos and feedback, drool, wipe, drool some more,  learn something in the process and then yet again, spend money on more gear???


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#4 chrisastro8

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 09:13 AM

It certainly is a lovely looking scope.

I was at TNR last week and it kept looking at me from within it showcase:-)

My FS60C would get jealous though...


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#5 Tyson M

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 09:56 AM

Hello Nick,

 

You're right, the most reporting seems to be done by CN user rerun.  I have one and planning to add to his observing reporting, but an issue came up and that was put on hold.  You will have to wait a month or two to hear any from me on the observing part. All I will say is that preliminary usage has been so good, it has got me excited about observing. Daytime test was some of the best I have seen, and one night of average transparency it was putting up virtually the same details on bright extended targets like M42, just a tad dimmer than a 100mm refractor with backyard viewing in my red/white zone.

 

The scope in its basic form is extremely light and portable.  That is, with its clamshell and 4" dovetail and no extender. It is one of the most beautiful scopes I have ever seen. A pleasure to look at and admire.

 

It has a sliding dew shield, Takahashi twist locking mechanism for 1.25" eyepieces like the FC-60. 

 

A scope of this small/light size seems awkward with 2" diagonal. With the clamshell and in its basic form, it is completely unbalanced rearwards for alt az mount usage with a 2" TV Everbrite and 32 Plossl, and 1.25" diagonal, and a heavier 1.1 lbs 6mm Delos when racking the focus out the focuser.  Note: I thought SV60 EDS and AT60 deserve a 2" diagonal for normal usage, but like the TV60, this sleek FOA-60's form factor supports the 1.25".

 

This scope, because it is longer, seems like it would a bit of a hassle to use on a non tracking dsv-m style mount.  It would likely fair very well on a tracking SW Az Gti.

I have a Vamo Traveller which can easily hold it, but due to the balancing problem I stick to 1.25" diagonal and eyepieces, which it is happy.  I use a 1.25" TV Everbrite but I want to try a Baader prism one day.

 

This balancing issue can be solved by getting tube rings and 7" dovetail.   I plan to get some for K-abstec, but you need to have a minimum order of $223 US if ordering outside of Japan. Only black rings are available now, not the nice silver ones.

 

Even with the rings, I will still stick to 1.25" for this smaller scope because it seems like that's what it was made for. None of this seems to be a deal breaker at all to me.

 

Another product I think is necessary for this scope is the 1.7x extender.  It appears to screw into the focuser which then the original OTA screws into that.  This would make the scope a bit longer, but the length is no problem with tube rings.  The real issue is its bleedingly expensive. $570 US approx. 

 

The gain would be worth it though, from Takahashi America "The spacing of the doublet elements is such that the correction of the spherical abberations is similar to that found in the much larger TOA series.  This innovative design results in a Strehl ratio in excess of 96% for the base unit and over 99% with the extender."

 

Since the Vamo with phototripod combination hangs the weight of the OTA over the center of the mount, not the side like some alt az mounts, it has a high payload and would not vibrate at all with the FOA-60. 

 

I know this because my Vamo barely budges with a Vixen ED100Sf at 100mm f9 (maybe half a second vibration with focusing none while panning around), which I might have to sell if I want that extender (which I do).

 

With the extender this 60mm telescope should take the highest magnifications per aperture around.  It will likely compete with my ED100Sf for usage, and they are both @ 900mm focal length.

 

The larger 100mm Vixen would likely stomp on it for compact clusters like M38, M37, M35, and especially globs, but everything else (planets, galaxies, brighter extended nebula) should be similar. Planetary nebula isn't spectacular with a 100mm scope.

 

Here are some useful data/pictures.

 

Regards,

 

image006.jpg

 

image007.jpg

  

FOA-60 System Chart.png

 

20190225_194515.jpg


Edited by Tyson M, 10 March 2019 - 10:18 AM.

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#6 HydrogenAlpha

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 10:02 AM

The FS60CB I had was unbelievably sharp. I can only imagine how the FOA-60 fares. Only one way to find out perhaps? :p


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#7 Phil Cowell

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 11:15 AM

The FS60CB I had was unbelievably sharp. I can only imagine how the FOA-60 fares. Only one way to find out perhaps? tongue2.gif

Have the FS60Q and the FOA60Q. There is a very noticeable difference between the two.


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#8 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 11:33 AM

Tyson,

 

Thanks for the wealth of information. Some comments / questions:

 

- Balancing issue - you can use a 7” dovetail as is but I assume it interferes with the focusing knob? I like the KAstek rings and I know about the order limit from past interaction with them, so I would probably combine the rings with something else. But, are they really necessary in 1.25” diagonal mode? Meaning, you still have balancing problems??? I’d prefer to keep the clamshell to be honest...

 

- 2” diagonal - I would use one at a dark site with this scope and say my Vixen LVW42 for enjoying huge swaths of sky. Only reason to use a 2” diagonal. In such a case I would mount the scope on my DM-4. Balancing would not be an issue on that mount with this scope irrespective of placement and eyepieces I plan to use.

 

- at home or solely for doubles - A Pan 24mm for star hopping and a 5mm eyepiece in the 62-70 AFOV category with sufficient eye relief for doubles. Floaters get in the way if I go lower exit pupil wise. 1.25” diagonal, plus a simple red dot finder. I need to consider another mount perhaps. Something between the DM-4 and the DSV-M. There are a couple of weird options on AliExpress I find interesting, one of them being this one.

 

- Extender - would make the scope a bit ungainly, despite improving the optical figure to an extend. Since there are comfortable eyepieces to get to 0.4-0.5mm exit pupil, I would rather avoid this accessory. I have the AP Barcon with its removable element which I can add to the diagonal and get to 1.5x if needed for whatever reason.

 

- Focuser - how does the focuser feel? Do you feel it insufficient with heavy eyepieces? I am asking , because with binoviewers, it would make a great lunar scope. Of course, for the crazy ones, a 2” feather touch focuser with a custom made adapter would solve any such issues. Still, would like to know how the focuser behaves with a binoviewer and eyepieces totaling 2.2 pounds, plus diagonal (say a Baader T2 BBHS I have lying around)...



#9 Phil Cowell

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 12:20 PM

This is what I use on the FS-60.

https://optcorp.com/...-ocular-adapter



#10 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 12:39 PM

Phil,

That threads on the focuser drawtube I take it?

Hmmm, perhaps a Baader clicklock then (I have a certain weakness for them)...

#11 nicknacknock

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 12:45 PM

Yep, M64 clicklock does exist and cheaper than the Tak adapter :)
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#12 Tyson M

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 12:57 PM

Tyson,

 

Thanks for the wealth of information. Some comments / questions:

 

- Balancing issue - you can use a 7” dovetail as is but I assume it interferes with the focusing knob? I like the KAstek rings and I know about the order limit from past interaction with them, so I would probably combine the rings with something else. But, are they really necessary in 1.25” diagonal mode? Meaning, you still have balancing problems??? I’d prefer to keep the clamshell to be honest...

 

- 2” diagonal - I would use one at a dark site with this scope and say my Vixen LVW42 for enjoying huge swaths of sky. Only reason to use a 2” diagonal. In such a case I would mount the scope on my DM-4. Balancing would not be an issue on that mount with this scope irrespective of placement and eyepieces I plan to use.

 

- at home or solely for doubles - A Pan 24mm for star hopping and a 5mm eyepiece in the 62-70 AFOV category with sufficient eye relief for doubles. Floaters get in the way if I go lower exit pupil wise. 1.25” diagonal, plus a simple red dot finder. I need to consider another mount perhaps. Something between the DM-4 and the DSV-M. There are a couple of weird options on AliExpress I find interesting, one of them being this one.

 

- Extender - would make the scope a bit ungainly, despite improving the optical figure to an extend. Since there are comfortable eyepieces to get to 0.4-0.5mm exit pupil, I would rather avoid this accessory. I have the AP Barcon with its removable element which I can add to the diagonal and get to 1.5x if needed for whatever reason.

 

- Focuser - how does the focuser feel? Do you feel it insufficient with heavy eyepieces? I am asking , because with binoviewers, it would make a great lunar scope. Of course, for the crazy ones, a 2” feather touch focuser with a custom made adapter would solve any such issues. Still, would like to know how the focuser behaves with a binoviewer and eyepieces totaling 2.2 pounds, plus diagonal (say a Baader T2 BBHS I have lying around)...

I do not have the rings yet so I cant answer that question about hitting the focus knob.  I have had scopes in the past where it has done so, but I just put the focus knob slightly underneath the dovetail. It works just fine.

 

I would not recommend the clamshell with any side mounted arrangement unless you're using plossl, tak abbes, or delites and 1.25 diagonal. On a EQ mount, sure. But not alt az. 

 

You can't balance the scope as there too much weight rearwards, which gets worse the higher in the sky you look or the further you rack out the focuser (like low power eyepieces), so you need excessive tension on the alt knob.  My Vamo tension knob can barely handle a 6mm 1.1 lbs Delos.  Perhaps you can try to put ungainly weighted magnets on the dewshield to try this out but the single screw into the bottom of the clamshell into a 4" ADM dovetail is not very secure and the moment arm of the scope can unscrew it slightly leaving a loosely threaded connection.  I put a soft washer under the clamshell and tightened the M6 screw as tight as possible to try to eliminate this risk.

 

The focuser can handle the 2" diagonal and eyepiece arrangement.  Ideally more so with the clicklock. PM Kunama. He had or has one, with the Baader click lock train and rings / dovetail arrangement.

 

With rings, clicklock, the scope can likely handle your 42mm comfortably.

 

Edit:  perhaps I still would use the 4" ADM dovetail (rather than a 7" specifically) still with the tube rings, as it has a single slot. Assuming the rings fit comfortably.


Edited by Tyson M, 10 March 2019 - 01:18 PM.

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#13 213Cobra

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 02:08 PM

Not that I see any problems with my other scopes, but the FOA-60Q is nevertheless startling in its visual perfection. I have the FOA-60Q and the FS-60Q, both of which I appreciate equally for different reasons, and both of which are persuasive of the beauty and utility of a 60mm scope.

 

I have not yet bothered to decouple the FOA 1.7X extender to view sans-Q at f/8.8. I have my FS-60Q at f/10 for that. The big advantage of the Q versions of these scopes being further correction and flat fields. I especially appreciate the latter as all my refractor astrographs are flat field quads and my triplets are run with TSFlat2.

 

I use the FOA-60Q with the Tak clamshell on a dovetail. My travel and g&g tripod/mount is Gitzo Series 5 carbon fiber tri on which is mounted a Sergio Bonilla SB Alt-Az dual scope head. Otherwise the FOA is over-mounted on my DM-6 / Berlebach Planet, or on my vintage Takahashi EM-100 GEM. Stable.

 

The FOA focuser is smooth with plenty of range. The only mods I've added are the MEF-3 micro-focuser, and the FQR-1 quick-change finder mount. I mostly use a 2" diagonal with the FOA, which accommodates 2" nicely, to freely switch between TV Delites, a zoom (which just feels more stable in 2" diagonals), and a couple of 2" long-FL eyepieces. My FS-60Q is kept to 1-1/4". When I have the FOA-60Q out, I go looking for everything available to it. It's only 60mm, but from planets to the Pleiades to M42 to doubles, viewing is indiscriminately fabulous, even under my light-polluted Los Angeles sky. The moon is mesmerizing through it. Sometimes it's fun to have my FOA-60Q and FSQ-106ED dual mounted on the Bonilla head, for the differing apertures and f/15, f/5 alternatives. I also have a dual-dovetail platform on the EM-100 GEM to do the same thing.

 

My telescope apertures top out at a self-imposed limit of 160mm (reflector). I have scopes at 60mm, 80mm, 85mm, 106mm and 160mm. It's as easy to take out an 80mm LOMO or 85mm Baby-Q as it is to observe with the FOA-60Q, so why have it? Sometimes under seeing or light polluted conditions, less aperture is a practical advantage but there are satisfying aesthetic differences in the views and ergonomics of my various telescopes. That's reason enough for me.

 

The FS-60Q appeared as good as it gets until I added the FOA-60Q. You can buy more aperture, but not more visual perfection. If you buy an FOA, seriously consider adding the 1.7X dedicated extender, or just buy the FOA-60Q at the start and get it over with like I did.

 

Phil


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#14 Phil Cowell

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 03:12 PM

Phil,

That threads on the focuser drawtube I take it?

Hmmm, perhaps a Baader clicklock then (I have a certain weakness for them)...

Yes they seem to not be very common.


Edited by Phil Cowell, 10 March 2019 - 03:16 PM.


#15 rerun

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 04:47 PM

I own the FOA60 for a while and made a lot of observing with this little scope.  I use the takahashi clamp what works perfect for me.  The ultimate grab n go equipment is the FOA60 on my calumet tripod and a Berlebach viedeohead. With this equipment I even could make observation at zenith with my heavy Panoptic 27mm eyepiece. The focuser is the best of all my three Takahashi ' s . I did a lot of double star observation with fine Separation of the doubles and great colours. I saw nearly all Messierobject I could see in the time I own it. Moon and planets are great at high powers like 4,5mm Baader Morpheus eyepiece. That is my high magnification eyepiece for the FOA. 117x is around two times aperture and the little TAK take this easy. A Hyperion 8-24mm zoom eyepiece and a barlow 2,25 could be the only eyepiece for the FOA reaching magnification from 22x to 151x .
A 11mm Nagler eyepiece is for great FoV ,M42 ,M35 for example  looking good in this ep.
And the last eyepiece is a baader eudiascopic 35mm eyepiece. A fullmoon gives a very fine view or M45 .
The sharpness is very good on this little scope and it is always a surprise how many objects are visible in a 60mm scope .
With a binoviewer I use the FOA60 only on my AYO mount for the berlebach viedeohead it is to difficult to hold it. But with 2 " diagonal my 1 1/4 " baader prism and all my eyepieces the videohead works fine. The focuser don't touch a piece of the mount . Finding the focus with 4,5mm eyepiece is easy and the focuser hold focus while observation.
After many many obsevation even  the luna eclipse I can say a great little scope that shows much more than you expected. And your observing time will go up.

Clear skies Markus

 


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#16 Doug D.

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 05:28 PM

I'm one of the silent FOA-60Q owners - purchased my scope late last year and aside from some initial testing have not used it since.  But I do have my reasons...  I bought the scope to have fun with when I travel with family in the summer and as a scope to challenge myself with around the house when I don't have the time or inclination to take out and set-up anything more substantial.  I've also been slowly adding gear and making some tweaks to the scope in advance of this summer.  These include, in no particular order:

 

1.  Taking the advice of another CN member (Kunama), I picked up an M47>T2 adapter to mount a Zeiss spec Baader prism diagonal using a quick-change adapter.  I will use a spare 1.25" Baader cliclock eyepiece holder with the diagonal from my Mark V binoviewer.  It is a nice, clean and compact arrangement.  BTW, I don't think I'll use a bionviewer with this scope, especially when I travel. It is clear to me that with a focal length of 901mm, the scope is going to be a challenge to balance as is, so I'm not going to mess with changing out my heavy (esp. 2") ep's and/or binoviewer. However, given that others have been asking in this thread - I did try it with my Baader Maxbright BV and Pan 24's and the focuser handled the weight (I don't recall trying it with the much heavier Mark V).  Balancing the scope was the bigger problem.

 

2.  I've outfitted the scope with K-Astec rings and Vixen style dovetail (took awhile to order and receive from Japan) and I tried a couple of different mounts including a DM-4 and an Altair Astro Mini-Alt/Az  (same as SV's M1V).  I felt neither were ideal for this scope, although for very different reasons. 

 

3.  I'm now waiting on a Berlebach Report 312 for legs - granted, not very compact for travel but it is relatively light and I only need to get it in the back of the car or out the door around the house.  And I do like wood for its damping quality and "set-up in the house to please the resident decorator" aesthetics. I am also waiting on an AOK Swiss VAMO Traveler, which I was thinking might be a great choice for this scope - so I was pleased to read Tyson's report above. It also gives me some encouragement to stay the course even with the uncertain availability of the VAMO. As long as it arrives before the summer I can be patient.  In addition to the Alt/Az I have a Vixen AP mount that I use mostly for solar with a TV76 but it is clear to me that this mount would be perfect (and very travel friendly) for the FOA-60Q as well. So, when the urge moves me, I will give it a ride on the motorized mount - thinking, for example, about logging quality time with the moon and sketching.

 

4.  I've also decided to go with 1.25" ep's that have decent eye relief, can be changed out without major rebalancing issues at different focal lengths.  I'm going to start with 3 travel friendly DeLites that I trust will match the optical quality of the Tak well enough. I've been patiently monitoring Amart and the CN classifieds - I've snagged a 7mm and an 18.2mm so far and will stop with a 13mm DeLite for now (might add more later if I feel I need to). I've got other ep's already in my ep box that I can also test and use as reference standards.

 

5. Other small tweaks include a finder mounting base that I got off of Aliexpress, it does the trick for me and matches up with the K-Astec vibe. I plan to use this scope with a laser pointer finder when location permits.  Given the narrow field of view with the Q I think a finder is important but I don't want the added bulk and neck strain of a finder scope.

 

It is a shame to let this thing sit around the house and not get any exercise - same is true for my FOA-60Q....!  However, I will be out there checking out clusters, doubles and the lunar surface soon enough.  Then I can hopefully contribute something worthwhile about the FOA-60Q's performance to you fine folks. In the meantime, thought you might like my take on how I plan to use.....


Edited by Doug D., 10 March 2019 - 05:37 PM.

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#17 25585

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 10:32 PM

A pair must make a perfect bino scope, anyone tried that?  



#18 nicknacknock

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 12:25 AM

Tyson (Tyson M):

 

I still can’t get my head around the balancing issue. The Tak clamshell has sufficient holes on which to use hex screws to secure a dovetail. I assume you are using the VUP4 dovetail which can be secured with two screws, so why secure it with one screw only? Use two screws in slots marked “C” and slide the dovetail back. Option 2 is the VUP7 to have even more dovetail available at the back end of the scope.

 

Phil (213Cobra):

 

Was not sure if one of the Tak micro-focusers would fit! Glad to know that the MEF-3 fits. Added to the list as I generally prefer a two speed focuser! I will keep it in mind the the extender, but I want a grab ‘n go scope and the additional Q module adds to the overall length quite a bit. Out of academic curiosity, what’s the length of the scope with the Q module installed, draw tube racked in and dew shield retracted? 

 

I also have one of the new Stowaways which I could take out, but it does not fit my definition of grab ‘n run basically. I wish to return to the 60mm Telescope Club and to have the option of a very easy scope setup to observe with.

 

Markus (rerun):

 

I have read your previous posts on the scope plenty of times ;) This little scope was mentioned mostly by you and Matt (Kunama). My plan is a Pan 24, an eyepiece in the 10-12mm range and another one in the 4.5-6mm range. Floaters being what they are, they restrict my useful exit pupil to around 0.4mm. 

 

I have the perfect tripod for this scope, the issue is finding an appropriate mount solely for 1.25” setup. I linked above to a candidate mount from AliExpress. Quite compact and fits my thinking of minimizing overall size.

 

Doug (Doug D):

 

I ordered the same Tak finder base a couple of years ago but then moved on to another arrangement, but for the FOA it is the perfect solution, so thanks for dropping the link!

 

I take it your objection to the DM-4 is that it is too much for this scope? Also, I am waiting for Kunama (Matt, where are you mate?) to drop in with plenty of photos and a lengthy discussion of adapters (hopefully!) as I want to explore options :)


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#19 rerun

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 01:36 AM

Nick, 

the Pan 24 will be similar to the Pan27 I own. But most of the time I use my 11mm ep and the 4,5mm ep. The mount from Ali Express looks very interesting. I would like to hear how it works while observing. Yes it is very small.

 

I use the TAK finder because I like starhopping and a finder works best for me. My case allows to let the finder mounted on the scope so I don't need a special finder base.And I don 't have to adjust the finder before every observation.

 

You will have a lot of fun with this little scope.

 

Clear skies Markus 



#20 rerun

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 01:43 AM

Here some more pictures. I have a second smaller case for the scope. This is how small can you get.And a pictures of the scope with mounted finder in case.

 

 

 
Clear skies Markus 

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#21 nicknacknock

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 01:53 AM

Markus,

 

Straight through viewing with finderscopes is something that my neck hates. I’ll probably use a 6x30 RACI finderscope (one of my gripes with Takahashi is that they don’t make RACIs, which would probably sell like hot cakes).

 

Re Pan 24, with such focal length it doesn’t make much difference in terms of true field of view to a Pan27 to me to justify switching to a 2“ diagonal at home. At a dark site, a different story though!

 

There is an option to use a T2 diagonal mirror for example with 35mm clear aperture, fit it with a T2 to 2” adapter or a Baader T2 to 2” Clicklock and slot in an eyepiece to use at a field stop of 35mm without much of a weight penalty for the extra field stop. Old school Erfle eyepieces should do fairly well ;)

 

Question: In Alt Az mode, side saddle mounted, does the dovetail bump the focusing knob or there is sufficient clearance?



#22 213Cobra

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 02:21 AM

>>Out of academic curiosity, what’s the length of the <FOA-60Q> with the Q module installed, draw tube racked in and dew shield retracted?<<

 

With the 2" eyepiece/accessories holder left on the drawtube, stowed length is 20-15/16".

 

If you stow with the 2" holder unscrewed from the drawtube and removed, length is 19-3/8"

 

Phil


Edited by 213Cobra, 11 March 2019 - 03:42 AM.

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#23 rerun

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 03:24 AM

Nick,

 

The baader clicklock is great . My 2" diagonal is from baader with clicklock and the baader 1 1/4 "prism has something similar.

That 's why i love to use this prism.

 

About the Alt Az mount I only have the Big AYO mount . There the focus knob don't touch the dovetail. On my Vixen GPD the same. But I don't have a small Alt Az mount so I use my berlebach videohead ,top mounted without problems. On my berlebach castor 2 mount on  berlebach uni tripod it touched the legs of the tripod while observing in high positions.But I solld this mount .

 

Clear skies Markus 



#24 nicknacknock

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 03:30 AM

Hmmm, I do have a Baader M48x0,75 Clicklock in my storage unit. All it takes is a M47x0.75 to M48x0.75 adapter which Rafael at RAF Cameras could make...



#25 nicknacknock

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 03:35 AM

Markus,

 

I found your thread with the AYO. You have the scope mounted but with the focuser pointing to the sky. I was wondering if  when rotated to have the focuser parallel to the ground, the focusing knob bumps the dovetail....




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