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Which Classic Japanese 60mm Telescopes are Worth It?

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#26 JoeInMN

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 08:57 PM

I guess that whether or not a particular scope is "worth it" depends on what "it" is... Of the 60mm thrift-store rescues that I've adopted over the past few years, the one that's emerged as the keeper thus far (admittedly it's been a low bar to clear) actually is a red-tube Tasco 59T; diamond-z Tanzutsu, bands on the dewshield, metal legs, and all. The lens appears to be toward the better end of the Tanzutsu quality scale, so I may have gotten lucky there. All the right OTA parts are metal. Liberated from its horrid altaz fork, mounted on a small but smooth GEM (also a rescue), and endowed with a cannibalized binocular eyepiece (AFOV something like 55°!), it pleases passers-by on the sidewalk with crisp views of the Moon and other bright stuff. "Classic" or not, I consider the package very much worth the total of twenty or so bucks that I laid out for it.


Edited by JoeInMN, 12 June 2019 - 08:58 PM.

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#27 Russell Smith

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:20 PM

Good night all.
I'm packing in the pentax that I can carry in one hand .
No planetary tonight for the trees.
Lunar views have been awesome.

#28 clamchip

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 09:56 PM

Here's another 60 I absolutely love (Towa) bronze tube Sears Tower from around 1961

and a Nikon from around the same time frame.

Oh, and a Astro Optical f/20

Robert

 

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Edited by clamchip, 12 June 2019 - 10:25 PM.

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#29 Russell Smith

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:01 PM

I could not turn out the light before saying ... " Robert, that f20 is just WOW"

#30 Augustus

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:29 PM

To each his/her own. I didn't grow up with a nice Japanese 60mm nor did I lust after one, but I can respect the sentimentality.

 

IMO the only Japanese-made 60mm actually worth its salt to observe with these days if you're not a beginner would probably be a Tak. 


Edited by Augustus, 12 June 2019 - 10:29 PM.


#31 AstroKerr

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:48 PM

Here's another 60 I absolutely love (Towa) bronze tube Sears Tower from around 1961

and a Nikon from around the same time frame.

Oh, and a Astro Optical f/20

Robert

 

attachicon.gif post-50896-0-74595300-1499733425_thumb.jpg

attachicon.gif post-50896-0-73874400-1519515316.jpg

attachicon.gif post-50896-0-97157400-1519515496_thumb.jpg

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Thanks, Robert, for reminding me I've barely glanced at the Goldie that came in undecided.gif

 

I like TC's list, but don't adhere to it. I like CBs choices as well. To me, they define i dunno "levels" or "classes" within which not just the objectives, but everything is as good as it gets or needs to be

 

I've found that what determines which are "worth it" to me , in my limited-but-growing experience comes down to the focusers, baffling, flocking and then to a lesser extent the prisms, diags and finders. I'm running thru 'a number' of scopes, and finding that at each level and even between levels, the objectives are generally very good. If you have one of TC's blacklistees, sometimes a spare focuser is all you need to hit that next level, for you. Or a prism / diag swap. Things in the light path affecting overall collimation other than the objective or finders or mounts - can be the determining difference. I'm not yet in 'set' collection mode - I don't like most old mounts, I don't need a mount and tripod for every tube. So, I find that where a full particular set might not be worth it to me - the OTA alone (or the mount, or the tripod) might well be. I do appreciate fine sets, however. So much that I'd rather acquire the part I truly feel is 'worth it' on it's own, and leave full sets to others.

 

Couple months ago I got a red Tasco 60 f/15 in. View was nothing to brag about. Swapped out the diag for a prism diag I got from Em - okay, now I'm happy. Be happier when I get a spare focuser with less play in it (i'm lazy some days) - the current focuser isn't horrid, but it makes a diff and needs a refurb to tighten it up. Tube would benefit from better blackening / flocking. Then it'll be "worth it". Charlie's, TC's and many others' choices by nature, by quality level or class don't need any fixin' to begin with. I don't mind swapping around or fixing (eventually) so it all works okay for me - I can buy less desireables and often u/g them to get 'the view' - but it isn't always less expensive or even smart. 

 

A voice in the back of my brain keeps saying 'pass on 60s, grab 80s+; 60s just aren't worth it' and that's not untrue from a few points of view, but still you could send zombies to eat my face and I would not relinquish my Crescent 60/910 


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#32 Terra Nova

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:18 AM

Here's another 60 I absolutely love (Towa) bronze tube Sears Tower from around 1961
 
Robert
 
attachicon.gif post-50896-0-74595300-1499733425_thumb.jpg

The little gold Sears Tower 50mm x 600mm that I gave to my grandson was the one decent Towa made scope that I could endorse.

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Edited by terraclarke, 13 June 2019 - 07:22 AM.

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#33 Garyth64

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:41 AM

My best and favorite 60mm scopes, that I now have, are (in no order):

 

Tasco 7TE-2, 60mm x 910.  The RAO lens is excellent.

Shrine Manon, 60mm x 700mm. Excellent lens

Unitron 114.  Excellent lens.  (the 128 I had was also excellent.)

 

The old 12TE-2's, and the Sears 6305a, had very good lenses.


Edited by Garyth64, 13 June 2019 - 07:44 AM.


#34 Chuck Hards

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:48 AM

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

 

I have the Astro R-61D, two SPI 60x1200mm, two Stellar 60x1200mm, one Goto 60x1200mm.   I'd say I see a 60mm f/20 come up about once a year, the trick is finding them before someone else does.

 

I would have no problem choosing the Astro over a short 60mm Tak apo, unless my goal was wide-field scanning, and then the choice is based on focal length rather than flourite.  ;)


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#35 rcwolpert

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:59 AM

Which of those f/20’s are your favorite?



#36 Chuck Hards

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:11 AM

Which of those f/20’s are your favorite?

The Astro, with the Goto a close second.  The SPI's are just RA clones, but the native brand has some niceties that the clones don't.  The Goto has terrific contrast and that magnificent mount going for it.

 

The Stellar f/20's are Towas and a notch below the others, I could do without them if pushed.


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#37 Terra Nova

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 09:00 AM

I have the Astro R-61D, two SPI 60x1200mm, two Stellar 60x1200mm, one Goto 60x1200mm.   I'd say I see a 60mm f/20 come up about once a year, the trick is finding them before someone else does.

 

I would have no problem choosing the Astro over a short 60mm Tak apo, unless my goal was wide-field scanning, and then the choice is based on focal length rather than flourite.  wink.gif

Which 60mm Tak apo are you speaking of and how many have you actually compared it to? The older Takahashi FC60 is a fluorite doublet with 500mm focal length (f/8.3) and is a truly amazing optic (I have one); it beats ANY 60mm achromat I have ever looked through. The newer FS-60Q (‘f/10’) is a whole different animal. It’s actually the FS-60CB (native f/5.9) with a 1.7X focal extender.

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Edited by terraclarke, 13 June 2019 - 09:07 AM.

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#38 Chuck Hards

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 09:05 AM

Very nice scope, Terra!  waytogo.gif


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#39 rcwolpert

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 11:35 AM

The Astro, with the Goto a close second.  The SPI's are just RA clones, but the native brand has some niceties that the clones don't.  The Goto has terrific contrast and that magnificent mount going for it.

 

The Stellar f/20's are Towas and a notch below the others, I could do without them if pushed.

That’s the order I would have laid bets on.


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#40 clamchip

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 04:00 PM

Here's another fine 60mm, a Skyline.

Note the tiny eyepieces.

Again a beautiful lens, and I like the iron alt/az mounting.

Robert

 

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#41 rolo

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 05:49 PM

This is one the worth its...its a 65mm thofrown.gif

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Edited by rolo, 13 June 2019 - 05:49 PM.

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#42 Russell Smith

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 05:59 PM

Rolo, give me a heads up before your next garage sale. ;)
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#43 Russell Smith

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 06:01 PM

Here's another fine 60mm, a Skyline.

Note the tiny eyepieces.

Again a beautiful lens, and I like the iron alt/az mounting.

Robert

 

attachicon.gif post-50896-14074175902125_thumb.jpg

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I was hoping this thread would show some unique and fine scopes. 

Mission accomplished. 



#44 clamchip

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:02 PM

How about a Goto school telescope model 60-AL

These are pretty rare here being made for the Japanese school system.

The objective and eyepieces are as expected superb.

Note the dovetail clamping system for the tube-to-mount.

Excellent mounting too.

The paint and finish is original.

The focusing knob is not original, I found a temporary replacement that threads

on for now.

Robert

 

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Edited by clamchip, 13 June 2019 - 08:11 PM.

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#45 Russell Smith

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 09:09 PM

How about a Goto school telescope model 60-AL

These are pretty rare here being made for the Japanese school system.

The objective and eyepieces are as expected superb.

Note the dovetail clamping system for the tube-to-mount.

Excellent mounting too.

The paint and finish is original.

The focusing knob is not original, I found a temporary replacement that threads

on for now.

Robert

 

attachicon.gif post-50896-14073038887466_thumb.jpg

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I'm finding it difficult to look away. 

Sweet.


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#46 Astrolite

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 10:52 PM

How about a Goto school telescope model 60-AL

These are pretty rare here being made for the Japanese school system.

The objective and eyepieces are as expected superb.

Note the dovetail clamping system for the tube-to-mount.

Excellent mounting too.

The paint and finish is original.

The focusing knob is not original, I found a temporary replacement that threads

on for now.

Robert

 

attachicon.gif post-50896-14073038887466_thumb.jpg

attachicon.gif post-50896-14073038883852_thumb.jpg

attachicon.gif post-50896-14073038883176_thumb.jpg

attachicon.gif post-50896-14073038882149_thumb.jpg

attachicon.gif post-50896-14074302996228_thumb.jpg

You know you probably have enough of the original knob there to get a replacement 3D printed. Or maybe have someone turn a new aluminium one on a lathe.


Edited by Astrolite, 13 June 2019 - 10:54 PM.


#47 Kasmos

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 02:54 AM

This is one the worth its...its a 65mm thofrown.gif

In the opening post I was going to say up to 65mm are OK to include. waytogo.gif


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#48 beanerds

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 03:09 AM

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



Yes the Lafayette 60mm EQ f11 after restoration , mine is almost perfect in every way .

Beanerds.

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#49 Kasmos

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 04:13 AM

In April I did some daylight side by side testing.

Partly because the weather has been crummy and it's easier to set up and switch the EPs, mounts, etc. in daylight. 

Target-2.jpg

The target was a perforated plate at the end of the power pole boards.

It's about 200' away and I'd guess the plates are about 4"x 5" in size.

They have some writing and numbers stamped on them that's really hard to make out.

This photo was taken on a different and sunnier day.

 

May-Ken-Sol.jpg

First up was the trusty Mayflower 814 (SYW), the Kenko TA-710, and the Soligor (1000mm).

The Mayflower bested them both easily. The Kenko scored lowest and put up what I think was a below average image.

It was first light for the Soligor and there was something peculiar going on.

The image just didn't live up to my expectations and while focusing, it seemed inconsistent across the field.

I tried flipping the crown, but It looked worse so I put it back and rotated the elements about 90°.

That seemed to have improved it some but it will need more testing, examining, and maybe re-spacing.

 

May-Uni.jpg

Next up was the Mayflower vs. the Unitron 114.

They were a close match in sharpness but the Mayflower had a noticeably brighter more pleasing image.

I will confess that I have yet to clean the objective on the Unitron, but it's not too dirty, so once again I was surprised by my test. 

Uni-May.jpg

The whole package of the Unitron is much more robust by comparison and the controls are more precise, but the little Mayflower

more than stood its ground! It's focuser feels solid and is also one of the best of my 60mm telescopes.

 

Test-EPs.jpg

Here's the EPs and diagonals used. To make sure it was fair I switched back and forth with all of the components.

It sort of became a test for the EPs too. Based on the different focal lengths I could come close in magnifications with each scope.

One surprise is that the 20mm Ramsdens worked pretty good compared to the other EPs used.

Another was that the Mayflower didn't seem to care what EP it used whereas the the Unitron seemed to come more alive

using the two Celestron Kellners. Some other 60s were set up later that day but I'll get to that in another post.

Lastly, all of the telescopes tested that day seemed to love the Celestron (DK) 12mm Ortho.


Edited by Kasmos, 14 June 2019 - 04:16 AM.

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#50 rcwolpert

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 07:29 AM

Great test report!  I’m not surprised that the Mayflower came out at the top of the other scopes. After selling all my other refractors, it is the two Mayflowers that remain with me. That decision was based solely on optical performance. Otherwise I would have had the Swift 831 or the Unitron or one of the other scopes sitting here in front of me instead of the Mayflower, because they were absolutely beautiful to look at.

 

Note: I gave my Mayflower 814 to a good friend who is building a home down here in Florida very close to me, so I can still use it any time I want.  The Mayflower family poses below.

 

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Edited by rcwolpert, 14 June 2019 - 07:36 AM.

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