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Which Classic Japanese 60mm Telescopes are Worth It?

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#1 Kasmos

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 12:53 PM

I'm starting this topic as a spin off of the 60mm Crayford focuser thread, so it's another chance to vent your opinions.

 

When I say worth it?, I mean worth buying, collecting, using, or spending time and or money modifying them.

 

I think we should limit the conversation to 60mm Japanese made achromats since that's what shows up the most in ads and everyone knows that a Zeiss is a different animal.

 

I have my opinions, but for starters I'll say, if I knew then what I (think), I know now, I'd limit the ones I bought to makes of known quality and only have 3-5 based on their focal lengths, rarity/uniqueness. I also have sort of been on a personal quest to see which ones perform the best.

 

Those things said, I don't completely understand why some seem to chase after every low priced Towa (Sears, Tasco, Jason, etc), that comes along. I do understand it if you had one as a first scope.

 

Maybe Terra can (copy), repost her comments from the Crayford thread as they were also a good starting point.

 

I also know there's a number of people who think all of them are worthless, or maybe only good for being a finder or guide scope.

 

Since it adds interest, post photos of your hits and maybe your misses.

 

p.s. if this topic seems redundant to you, ignore it and it will go away.

 

 

 

 


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#2 Russell Smith

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 01:02 PM

My grab and go scope is a 60x800 pentax. 

It has become the standard I use to judge others.

 

I saw my first DSO with a Mayflower 814 (APL)

 

Both awesome 60mm scopes I feel.


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#3 Pete W

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 02:29 PM

I do understand it if you had one as a first scope.

For me, you hit the nail on the head.  I fondly remember learning the sky and honing my observation skills on my Jason 311 Constellation from my less-than-dark backyard as a kid.   I've been observing with much larger scopes for the last 40 years, so reconnecting with the sky with a small scope is a new way to see the old sky.  

 

I'm not that interested in scrutinizing the optical quality of the scopes.   If the sky is clear I'm trying to track down DSOs or doubles; I'm not comparing out-of-focus star images or comparing images from different scopes.  My Jason Towa 313 is a fun scope to use and I've been pleasantly surprised with what I can see with it.  It's not a Takahashi, but it doesn't have to be. 


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#4 rolo

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 02:41 PM

Worth it? From a sentimental point all of them cause they remind you of your childhood no matter how bad they were. From a monetary point only a handful like Unitron and Takahashi and the likes.


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#5 terraclarke

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 02:42 PM

Here is my earlier post concerning the topic in the previous thread:

 

I like my few fine old 60mm scopes but I would never set out to build one or really even restore one and I definitely would not want a pile of them to contend with. I see no point! There are enough really good, complete ones in really good condition, by really good, well known, respected makers out there if one takes the time to look. Just don’t jump on old beat up junk scopes or every old beater that you see just because it’s available. You will just wind up with a bunch of krap that at some point you will be dying to get rid of (perhaps literally).

Ones to particularly stay away from in my book: anything made by Tanzanutu or Towa; also red Tascos and most Bushnells; anything with a plastic dew shield, bands or stripes around the dew shield, or an overly short, fat dew shield. Those are warning signs of junk scopes. Also, metal legs on old scopes are a sign of an inferior product!

Scopes to look for: RAO, APL, HOC, Hino, SYW, Carton (most, not all), Vixen (most not all), Unitron (especially straight/block letter models), Zeiss, Goto, and Takahashi.

Above all, just because it came from Japan doesn’t necessarily make it good! What your parents told you about things ‘made in Japan’ was not all untrue.


Edited by terraclarke, 12 June 2019 - 04:43 PM.

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#6 Bonco2

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 03:29 PM

Two excellent 60mm scopes:

Unitron model 128. It's among  the more expensive but for a good reason. The OTA is better than most and the mount is a dream.

Lafayette equatorial. Not frequently offered but they usually sell at a low price. Nice 6X30 finder, excellent focuser. The equatorial mount is simple put perfectly matched to the OTA, functions flawlessly and is very steady. 

 

Other than .965 eyepieces, these two leave nothing else to be desired for the 60mm venue.

Sorry my pictures have been lost on a failed hard drive.

Bill


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#7 Russell Smith

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 03:33 PM

Here's my 128 unitron. 

 

 

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#8 Astrolite

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 04:59 PM

Being a relatively new collector I must admit it was very tempting to grab up everything that came along that seemed like a good deal. I now own several too many Towa 60mm telescopes. My keepers, however, are the Tasco 7TE-5, Pentax J60 and I have high hopes for an HOC Monolux 4380 that needs a lot of restoration work.

 

IMG_2950rc.jpg

 

P1030198rc.jpg

 


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#9 rcwolpert

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 05:16 PM

For any 60mm telescope I’d make sure that it has at least a 900mm fl. Having said that, I’ve never seen a Mayflower or Swift that hasn’t been absolutely excellent. I’ve sold my Unitron and may other 60mm telescopes, but couldn’t let go of the Mayflower, which outperformed them all.


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#10 starman876

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 05:27 PM

I thought the 60mm F20 scopes were well worth it.  About as APO like as an achromat can get.


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#11 rcwolpert

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 05:54 PM

I thought the 60mm F20 scopes were well worth it.  About as APO like as an achromat can get.

 

 

Agreed. My 60mm f/20 Royal Astro is the one scope I probably should have kept and not sold.


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#12 CharlieB

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:32 PM

I don't have that many 60mm scopes.  An Astro Optical S-5, three older Tasco 60/910s, a pair of 7TE-5s, a SkyChief Junior and and older Monolux branded Asahi Pentax.  The S-5 and the Monolux/Asahi are the picks of the litter.  Most often, I'm out with a 50mm scope and when the weather is really great, the Swift 831.


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#13 Russell Smith

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:43 PM

CharlieB,
If you don't mind me asking, how many telescopes are in your stable?
Curiosity is killing me.

Edited by Russell Smith, 12 June 2019 - 06:44 PM.


#14 CharlieB

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:49 PM

At last count, there were 52, but a few of them don't merit listing.  I've given away a fair number, too.  I have no idea how I managed to gather so many.


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#15 CharlieB

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:50 PM

Most of them are small and gotten fairly cheaply, some of them not so cheaply, some rather dearly.



#16 starman876

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:51 PM

At last count, there were 52, but a few of them don't merit listing.  I've given away a fair number, too.  I have no idea how I managed to gather so many.

I bet you bought them one at a timesmirk.gif



#17 starman876

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:56 PM

Agreed. My 60mm f/20 Royal Astro is the one scope I probably should have kept and not sold.

I still have mine but that could change in the near future.  They are great scopes so it will be hard to part with.  I already have enough regrets about scopes I have sold.


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#18 CharlieB

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:56 PM

Can't afford to buy them any other way. A few were given to me by great CN'ers.



#19 Russell Smith

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:02 PM

Ok. Back to our regularly scheduled thread.
( thank you for the criterion eyepieces)

52? You da man!
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#20 Kasmos

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:03 PM

Being a relatively new collector I must admit it was very tempting to grab up everything that came along that seemed like a good deal. I now own several too many Towa 60mm telescopes. My keepers, however, are the Tasco 7TE-5, Pentax J60 and I have high hopes for an HOC Monolux 4380 that needs a lot of restoration work.

 

attachicon.gif IMG_2950rc.jpg

 

attachicon.gif P1030198rc.jpg

The good deal temptation is hard to fight, especially on older kits in great condition, but afterwards reality sets in, especially when you find yourself surrounded with scopes that don't merit use when you have much better ones to choose from.

 

 waytogo.gif Nobody will ever give you any flak for keeping those two.


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#21 Chuck Hards

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:08 PM

Agreed. My 60mm f/20 Royal Astro is the one scope I probably should have kept and not sold.

 

Mine will be one of the last to go, and may end up in my daughter's house but probably at the estate sale.    

 

It's not a lot of aperture, but at f/20, a 60mm is at it's best.  Virtually color-free, and you can get decent magnifications with longer FL eyepieces.  The contrast is excellent, the central field of best definition is wide.   Hands-down the best white-light solar viewing I've ever had with only 60mm of aperture.


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#22 starman876

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:38 PM

Mine will be one of the last to go, and may end up in my daughter's house but probably at the estate sale.    

 

It's not a lot of aperture, but at f/20, a 60mm is at it's best.  Virtually color-free, and you can get decent magnifications with longer FL eyepieces.  The contrast is excellent, the central field of best definition is wide.   Hands-down the best white-light solar viewing I've ever had with only 60mm of aperture.

Not sure how many of the F20 scopes there are out there.  You do not see them pop up for sale very often.


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#23 ccwemyss

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:51 PM

At last count, there were 52, but a few of them don't merit listing.  I've given away a fair number, too.  I have no idea how I managed to gather so many.

A reporter once asked the owner of Powell's "City of Books" how he grew a bookstore to the size of an entire city block. His answer, was, 

 

"Buy two, sell one?"

 

Of the 60mm scopes I've tested, the HOC (Monolux, Mayflower) have been stunning. I don't have any AOC 60s to compare against. The APLs are also good, but maybe not quite as sharp. The 67 Unitron 114 is decent, but the 59 model is close to the HOC. The ATCOs are also very sharp. For my students, the Unitron 114 mounts are wonderful. Very simple to set up, solid, smooth, and intuitive to use. 

 

Chip W. 


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#24 Russell Smith

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:52 PM

F20, I just wish I knew someone so I could have a look.

 

 

I was warned that many scopes with fine optics would have .....something that held them back.?

 

It's true. 

 

All that said. I really love having a few quality vintage (60mm ) instruments around and used.


Edited by Russell Smith, 12 June 2019 - 07:54 PM.


#25 clamchip

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:01 PM

My introduction to 60mm telescope years ago was a Tasco 7TE-5 (Astro Optical)

Perfect lens, and the construction of the whole kit is amazing.

I've since paid attention to 60's that come along and enjoy them very much.

Here's one that surprised me totally, a Meade 291 (Towa) phenomenal lens.

Your probably wondering why 'Meade' is in a odd place on the tube, I rotated the

tube to put the finder on the right.

Robert  

 

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post-50896-0-13470900-1519237263.jpg


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