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Definition of a “classic scope” ?

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#1 luxo II

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 05:26 AM

Sure it’s often instinctively obvious when a scope is a “classic” but then something pops up that makes me wonder what is, or isn’t ?

I have fond memories of using a beautiful 4.25” refractor made by Thomas Cooke in 1880, on a superb bronze mount with clockwork drive, fully functional and optically superb. A real classic in every respect.

A few weeks ago a friend set up a Vixen 60mm f/15 achro on the observing field. A classic scope, and a very nice reminder of how good an achromatic refractor could be.

Yet that scope is not on anyone’s radar as a “classic”, at least on CN. But I see on CN so many cheap department-store 60mm refractors are considered “classics”, even though 50 years ago they were considered rubbish, and even now you can still find the same for sale for $20, mass produced in China.

While Vixen is still very much alive, it doesn’t make those scopes anymore. Conversely many companies that made fine scopes are long gone, yet not recognised as “classics”.

So what makes a “classic”. “Classic” ? Black and white paint job ? Spindly wooden tripod and a hopelessly inadequate EQ mount, in black lacquer ?

How old does a Celestron SCT have to be to qualify (apparently pre 1980) ? Do any Meade SCTs qualify (apparently not) ? Does.a 1957 Questar qualify (apparently not) ?

Why are Unitrons classics, despite rather poor quality control of their objectives ?

Are Intes maks “classics” (apparently not) ?

But Zeiss... that I understand ...

Edited by luxo II, 18 April 2019 - 05:46 AM.

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#2 CHASLX200

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:13 AM

I say anything before 1980.


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#3 luxo II

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:28 AM

M’kay... you’ve just eliminated half the Unitron/Polarex scopes made... and that doesn’t explain why a Celestron SCT or Zeiss Telementor or 180 mak is collectible (the latter being circa $10k).

Edited by luxo II, 18 April 2019 - 06:32 AM.

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#4 ngc7319_20

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:33 AM

So what makes a “classic”. “Classic” ? Black and white paint job ? Spindly wooden tripod and a hopelessly inadequate EQ mount, in black lacquer ?

How old does a Celestron SCT have to be to qualify (apparently pre 1980) ? Do any Meade SCTs qualify (apparently not) ? Does.a 1957 Questar qualify (apparently not) ?

Why are Unitrons classics, despite rather poor quality control of their objectives ?
 

Classic:

 

1) Highly regarded at present day, and

2) Model no longer made  (I think if you can just go buy a new one, then its not classic)
 

Unitron: because some had great optics...  Don't ask me about the side-by-side comparo I once did between an AP 105 Traveler and Unitron 102 on mars.... shocked.gif


Edited by ngc7319_20, 18 April 2019 - 06:40 AM.

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#5 luxo II

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:35 AM

But a Celestron 8” SCT fails all those criteria ... it always was an ugly compromise optically and mechanically, quality on par with “Ford”, and it’s stil in production.

And the department-store 60mm refractors ? “Great optics”... oh really ?

Edited by luxo II, 18 April 2019 - 06:40 AM.


#6 Stellar1

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:49 AM

I’d like to think Starmasters are classic, or am I just saying that cause I have one?



#7 rolo

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:49 AM

Not this topic again please...BeatingADeadHorse.gif BeatingADeadHorse.gif bombdrop.gif bombdrop.gif

 

 

Classic Telescopes

Telescopes from an era gone by. The place to discuss older telescopes. Antiques, flea market finds, and scopes from grandpa's attic. From the 1780's to the mid-1990's - refractors, reflectors, and early SCT's. Discussing all aspects of restoring, collecting, and observing with older scopes. Discussion of 25-year-old scopes still in production is OK but please don't post newer examples of those, except for actual side-by-side comparisons to demonstrate detail changes.


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#8 DLuders

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 07:03 AM

@ Rolo:  Not to quibble, but Galileo's classic telescope (made in 1610) falls outside of your "1780s to mid-1990s" timeframe:   https://www.universe...s-telescope/   gramps.gif 


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#9 luxo II

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 07:05 AM

Kaboom, consider myself duly chastised.

Thank you, rolo. No need to shout, I suggest.
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#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 07:51 AM

Kaboom, consider myself duly chastised.

Thank you, rolo. No need to shout, I suggest.

 

:waytogo:

 

I have participated in this forum since 2004.  This question of what a classic scope is has been discussed many, many times with a variety or results. One of the most recent discussions resulted in the update that Rolo posted.  Previously it had read 1980 instead of 1995.  15 years ago it read 1980 so the update seemed in order.  

 

Cloudy Nights is about being inclusive, it is about community.  That means the least restrictive definition possible. That brings in more members.  

 

My preferred definition:  If you think it's a classic, it's a classic. 

 

When I joined, SCTs from the 70s were not considered classics and I did not consider them classics.  But today, they are clearly classics.  That didn't happen in a vacuum, it happened slowly but like a slow freight train, there was no stopping it.  And I changed.  I think older SCTs are definitely classics.

 

Jon


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#11 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 08:01 AM

If we didn't have some date-range qualifiers as to what defines a classic telescope, everyone would post whatever conforms to their personal paradigm and soon the forum would be choked with just about everything.   Much discussion went into the forum definition so please don't think it capricious or arbitrary.

 

If your personal favorite doesn't fit here because it might be a bit recent by our standards, by all means post about it in Refractors, Reflectors, or CATS & Casses.  


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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 08:10 AM

If we didn't have some date-range qualifiers as to what defines a classic telescope, everyone would post whatever conforms to their personal paradigm and soon the forum would be choked with just about everything.   Much discussion went into the forum definition so please don't think it capricious or arbitrary.

 

If your personal favorite doesn't fit here because it might be a bit recent by our standards, by all means post about it in Refractors, Reflectors, or CATS & Casses.  

:waytogo:  

 

With the new 1995 date, the next big hurdle is going to be GOTO scopes.  Is a Meade LX-200 a classic?   And Dobs, is a 1995 Obsession a classic?

 

My own feeling is that there are versions of these scopes available today that are relatively unchanged from the 1995 version. If one has a question about either of these scopes, others forums will provide better help.

 

Jon


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#13 rolo

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:05 AM

@ Rolo:  Not to quibble, but Galileo's classic telescope (made in 1610) falls outside of your "1780s to mid-1990s" timeframe:   https://www.universe...s-telescope/   gramps.gif

This is not my time frame, its CN definition of what Defines a classic. Which BTW, I don't totally agree with.bombdrop.gif


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#14 rolo

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:08 AM

Kaboom, consider myself duly chastised.

Thank you, rolo. No need to shout, I suggest.

Nobody is shouting....Pay attention what I wrote is a copy of what's at the beginning of this forum. 


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#15 rolo

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:09 AM

waytogo.gif  

 

With the new 1995 date, the next big hurdle is going to be GOTO scopes.  Is a Meade LX-200 a classic?   And Dobs, is a 1995 Obsession a classic?

 

My own feeling is that there are versions of these scopes available today that are relatively unchanged from the 1995 version. If one has a question about either of these scopes, others forums will provide better help.

 

Jon

It should be devided  between classics and antiques. 


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#16 Tenacious

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:18 AM


 

"..Cloudy Nights is about being inclusive, it is about community..."

 

+1.   While I appreciate the definition and guidelines concerning the hardware, the patience, kindness, and tolerance (and knowledge) modeled by many here is what keeps me coming back. 


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#17 rolo

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:23 AM

I think the mods are pretty flexible with us here. A good thing.



#18 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:24 AM

Nostalgia plays a big part in this aspect of the hobby, but it can't be quantified so is intentionally left out of the forum description.   

 

It does, however, explain why we include so many of the "budget" model Japanese scopes.  The optics weren't great in many cases, but they gave many of us our first decent views of the moon, planets, and brighter DSOs.  If those memories are in line with the forum date range, then of course we can post about those more intangible experiences & telescope qualities.

 

Not to sell them short, many of those imported Japanese scopes also had excellent optics, easily as good as anything top-notch made today, when measuring the figure on the glass.  


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#19 terraclarke

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:31 AM

Didn’t we just do this last month? (Yet again!) ;)


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#20 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:38 AM

To me this subject has been done to death, and no completely satisfactory definition has ever been given. bangbang.gif


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#21 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:38 AM

Didn’t we just do this last month? (Yet again!) wink.gif

Yep, and I'm sure we'll keep doing it, as more folks discover our little corner of CN.  One of the better fora, IMO.  ;)


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#22 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:39 AM

To me this subject has been done to death, and no completely satisfactory definition has ever been given. bangbang.gif

We'll never satisfy everyone, Rich, unfortunately.  But as it stands now, the definition is pretty clear and easy to understand, and at least we are raising the end date range as time passes.


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#23 starman876

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 01:27 PM

Anything made before anyone here complains it is not old enough should qualify

#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 02:18 PM

Nostalgia plays a big part in this aspect of the hobby, but it can't be quantified so is intentionally left out of the forum description.   

 

It does, however, explain why we include so many of the "budget" model Japanese scopes.  The optics weren't great in many cases, but they gave many of us our first decent views of the moon, planets, and brighter DSOs.  If those memories are in line with the forum date range, then of course we can post about those more intangible experiences & telescope qualities.

 

Not to sell them short, many of those imported Japanese scopes also had excellent optics, easily as good as anything top-notch made today, when measuring the figure on the glass.  

 

waytogo.gif

 

A classic need not be optically perfect or even very good. Plenty of classic cars were not really very good cars but they are definitely classics..

 

The good thing about CN, if the thread is uninteresting or about a scope you feel is not a classic, there's no need to read it, there's plenty of other threads to read. Someone else might find it interesting, enjoyable...

 

For example, I've been called a classic. I'm certainly old enough. 

 

"That Jon, he's a classic Pain in the Rear."  wink.gif

 

Jon


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#25 Don W

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 03:42 PM

Anything made before the oldest member of this section was born. How's that?


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