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Recommendations for a Lightweight Refractor

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#1 mattiewolfhound

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 01:21 PM

I'm looking for a lightweight refractor that will work well on planetary and messier objects. Strictly visual

 

Something that will complement my Televue 85mm scope.

 

I was thinking something larger in aperture but needs to be grab-n-go. A smaller aperture that would be a good complement is also a consideration.

 

Budget is $800-$1,000 new or used.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Terrence



#2 Cajundaddy

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 01:35 PM

Hmmm, I thought a TV85 was a reasonably light refractor.  For planetary and Messier objects I would want at least 100mm ED.  AT102ED is a good option @ $600.  An 8" f/6 Dob would offer better views when seeing permits and would arguably be just as portable.


Edited by Cajundaddy, 19 May 2019 - 01:37 PM.

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#3 db2005

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 01:38 PM

Improving on a TV-85 isn't going to be easy when you want the scope to be grab-and-go, and 85 mm aperture is already surprisingly capable under dark skies. If you didn't already own a TV-85 I would suggest the Vixen SD81S. But they are too close in size. How about a Vixen FL55, or Tak FS60 for an extremely portably setup? If going up in size I how about a second-hand ED100 or ED120? Neither will be as grab-and-go friendly as your TV-85 tough, mainly because they will require a bigger mount.

 

This might be heresy in a refractor forum, but if you want to seriously improve views of faint objects and planets... how about a 6" SCT? It's compact and relatively light-weight and will likely ride well on the mount you already use.


Edited by db2005, 19 May 2019 - 01:38 PM.

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#4 ngc7319_20

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 01:51 PM

My first thought is "whats wrong with your TV85?"  May be it just needs a different mount or better eyepieces?

 

If you want significantly more capability than TV85, you are probably talking about a 5" inch APO refractor or 6" Dob.  Given the budget, i will suggest a 6" or 8" Dob.


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#5 Auburn80

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 01:55 PM

Improving on a TV-85 isn't going to be easy when you want the scope to be grab-and-go, and 85 mm aperture is already surprisingly capable under dark skies.
<snip>
This might be heresy in a refractor forum, but if you want to seriously improve views of faint objects and planets... how about a 6" SCT? It's compact and relatively light-weight and will likely ride well on the mount you already use.


I'm not a fan of SCTs but a C6 "could" be a very portable complement; especially with a reducer. I intend to try that on my C6 and see how it works with a 100-102 frac.
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#6 mattiewolfhound

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 02:18 PM

Several have asked about the TV 85 and why it is not sufficient.

 

I really enjoy the TV 85 and intend to keep it. I'm looking for something that will be a good supplemental refractor.

 

At this point, I'm focusing on a refractor, not looking at SCT.

 

Thanks so much for all your help. Please keep the ideas coming!

 

Terrence



#7 scadvice

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 02:20 PM

I had a classic C5 setup on my own tripod that would have been nice option for what your looking for.

 

In your price constrains, lighter weight and a little longer FL, I like the Access line by Stellarvue the SV102 doublet at F7 and about 9 lbs. with ring and plate. The price is at $1010. Very nice optics... out of Taiwan I believe. They check and Zygo test each of them which I personally consider a criteria.  The Access line is the only optics they have that is imported. All the rest of their scopes are US made in Auburn, California.

 

 

https://www.stellarv...ctor-telescope/

 

I just bought a Access 80mm to be a G&G plus a guide scope for the 130mm setup I have. Finally I was able to look through it last night just before the next storm came in. I'm impressed. I have a WO 66mm I wanted to compare it with... but the clouds didn't cooperate. The optic's are pretty good in the WO for a doublet however I think the Access doublet may be better.  


Edited by scadvice, 19 May 2019 - 03:40 PM.

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#8 Auburn80

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 02:50 PM

<snip>

At this point, I'm focusing on a refractor, not looking at SCT.

Thanks so much for all your help. Please keep the ideas coming!

Terrence


In that case, it depends on what you consider lightweight. IMHO, it would take a 115-120 to go noticeably deeper. For your budget, a used AT 115 or SW 120 would do but they are not "light". If you are OK with CA, an ST120 could provide a noticeable increase in aperture, in budget and pretty compact.
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#9 Cajundaddy

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 02:56 PM

Maybe something like this:

https://www.bhphotov...BwE&lsft=BI:514

 

All up weight including OTA, mount, tripod, and accessories will be 20+ lbs so I am not sure if that meets your non-specific "lightweight" criteria.  In order to compliment a TV85 for planets I would want significantly more aperture.  With aperture comes weight and bulk so it rapidly becomes less interesting as a G&G scope.  Also on my want list would be a motor drive for tracking planets at higher mag.  This too adds weight.  I see no point in getting less than 120mm for the best views of your prescribed targets.


Edited by Cajundaddy, 19 May 2019 - 02:58 PM.


#10 BillP

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 03:00 PM

I think something in the 110-120mm range would be a good supplement.  This is between 1.7x to 2x the light gathering of your 85mm - so a good extra punch over the 85 for planetary and DSO especially.  At just $800-$1000 though not sure if it is feasible and still be an Apo.  But maybe a used AT 115 EDT would come in at that price.  An EON 120 or SW 120 ED would also be good, but probably out of your price range used.  We all have different definitions of what exactly constitutes a G&G though.  The 115 EDT is certainly not tiny, but is not large either.

 

I think a 102, if you decided on that, would make your 85 fall into dis-use or relegate it to just a travel scope.  I have a 102 and an 81.  The 102 is just as easy to take out on a moment's notice so the 81 really is used mostly as a daytime scope or for vacations/travel.

 

If you wanted to go smaller then I'd say something like the AT72 or SW72 would be good candidates.  They will punch close to an 80mm and are much smaller.  Really nice for travel too being they are so small.  Realize though that these little scopes are f/6 and under so better corrected eyepieces are in order.


Edited by BillP, 19 May 2019 - 03:03 PM.

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#11 Nippon

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 03:12 PM

I went from a TV 85 to a Vixen ED103s and found the gain in performance to be significant. The Vixen 103 is much larger physically but oddly only slightly heavier. Like Bill said I did not find the 103 to be any more of a hassle to set up than the 85 so I sold the 85. 


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#12 Spikey131

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 03:19 PM

Used Sky-Watcher 120.


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#13 russell23

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 03:28 PM

Several have asked about the TV 85 and why it is not sufficient.

 

I really enjoy the TV 85 and intend to keep it. I'm looking for something that will be a good supplemental refractor.

 

At this point, I'm focusing on a refractor, not looking at SCT.

 

Thanks so much for all your help. Please keep the ideas coming!

 

Terrence

I would say the AT102 when it comes in stock or the Stellarvue 102 Access.  The Access is a little over your budget, but if one appears in the certified pre-owned it will be in budget. 



#14 gwlee

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 04:15 PM

We can’t provide a meaningful answer to your question without knowing what your $ budget includes, the mount you intend to use, and the maximum weight that you consider to be “grab and go.”

 

I can’t think of any refractor on any adequate mount that would be sufficiently grab-and-go to suit me and also be significantly better than your TV85 on planets. For many, a merely adequate scope intended for planets and the brighter Ms starts around 150mm, which is why people are suggesting various reflectors. 

 

If your weight budget is large enough, and your TV85 is over mounted on your existing mount, so all your budget can be put towards the OTA, something like a used AT115 or SW120 are possibilities. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by gwlee, 19 May 2019 - 04:30 PM.


#15 25585

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 04:53 PM

There are lighter 80-90s than the 85, the Vixen 80mm case in point.

 

Smaller aperture and shorter, you might get a pre-owned TV 76, but the SW 72 ED gets good reviews.

 

For larger aperture, again as has been said, the Vixen ED100, if you find a SS version, that wold be ideal.    



#16 mattiewolfhound

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 04:58 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. This is very helpful to me.

 

My budget is for OTA and rings only. I already have the tripod and mount, so that is a start.

 

It seems like the consensus so far would be a Skywatcher 120 Pro ED. 

 

Sounds like a used one might be in my budget. Could not find one on Cloudy Nights or Astromart. 

 

Any ideas where I might find it?

 

Terrence


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#17 Cajundaddy

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 05:24 PM

See post #9


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#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 05:31 PM

The scope that came to my mind was a used Skywatcher 120 ED.. I had an Orion Eon 120, same optics.  Definitely will provide an upgrade in performance over the TV-85.  

 

I see these sometimes for slightly under $1000.  The one Cajundaddy pointed to looks good to me.

 

https://www.bhphotov...BwE&lsft=BI:514

 

Jon


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#19 Heywood

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 07:00 PM

Several have asked about the TV 85 and why it is not sufficient.

 

I really enjoy the TV 85 and intend to keep it. I'm looking for something that will be a good supplemental refractor.

 

At this point, I'm focusing on a refractor, not looking at SCT.

 

Thanks so much for all your help. Please keep the ideas coming!

 

Terrence

 

Sell the 85 and get a new Sky-Watcher 120ED with full warranty. 


Edited by Heywood, 19 May 2019 - 07:01 PM.


#20 BillP

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 07:50 PM

The scope that came to my mind was a used Skywatcher 120 ED..

 

Do you know if the Orion or SW are collimatable?



#21 mkothe

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 08:26 PM

I agree a 4” might not be much of an upgrade, but if you want, you could consider a CF KSON 102 f/6 ED. It’s under 6 pounds and 20” collapsed and I use it as my travel scope. Fits nicely in a Swissgear rolling duffel for airline travel. Probably a step down optically from the 85 (only FPL-51 glass), but overall pretty nice. Here it is in my travel bag with SW AZ-GTi mount, diagonal, finder, 2 eyepieces and a Barlow. Only available used.

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#22 starman876

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 09:57 PM

Lot of good suggestions.  However, like stated before without knowing the budget it is hard to recommend a scope that you will actually buy.



#23 mattiewolfhound

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 10:01 PM

My budget is $800-$1, 000 for ota and rings.



#24 Lookitup

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 11:05 PM

Here's another option. Used ED100 with Feathertouch or Moonlite focuser. Very easy to carry out the door and the F9 is great for planets. I use my Orion and also a Tak FC100df equally. If the need for upgrade arises, the FT focuser moves to the new scope.  CS

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#25 SeattleScott

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:12 AM

The 120EDs come up fairly regularly in the classifieds, often for $900-1000. Personally it isn’t what I would consider GNG. For me GNG would be something more like your TV85, or maybe maxing out at the Vixen ED103S (have that one) or the Access 102. But while an a ED103S would make a detectable difference in the views, yeah it’s probably too close to the TV85.

Scott


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