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quick question about 70mm vs 80mm aperture

refractor equipment
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#1 Bowlerhat

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:24 AM

How significant is the difference?
let's say we're comparing the two with similar focal length and focal ratio and mechanism.

 

I'm asking because I understand jumping from 80mm to 102mm, for example, would improve the seeing significantly. However with only 1 cm difference in aperture does it really improve the view a lot? Is it worth it?

So far the answers seem a bit of mixed bag, but the 80mm favoritism is always strong.

Has anyone tried both, how's the comparison?



#2 Erik Bakker

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:07 AM

Having used both 70mm and 80mm refractors extensively, there are 2 striking influences on what can be seen with them:

 

1. optical quality (which are design AND sample related), making itself known in sharpness, contrast and steadiness of the images at higher powers

 

2. aperture, first seen in the brightness of the images, even at low powers

 

Few are of similar and consistent optical quality, even from the same manufacturer, except proven high end manufacturers like Takahashi.

 

First of all, I would pick the best sample if there is a significant difference. Only when quality has proven to be similarly high side by side, I would pick the 80mm over the 70mm.

 

Incidentally, I've also owned two very good 55mm f/8 and 70mm f/8 fluorite doublets from Celestron/Vixen over a period of many years and compared them often. While the 70mm was very goof by any standard, the 55mm was superlative in optical quality. In the end I found myself preferring the beauty and esthetics of the slightly dimmer views in the 55mm over the 70mm.

 

Nowadays, I observe with a superb 82mm ED, which gives me more detail and joy at the eyepiece than any of the others I mentioned. Confirming the superiority of a good 80mm over a ditto 70mm or 55mm.


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#3 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:34 AM

In general a 10% increase in aperture -- as going from a 70- to a 77-mm scope -- is perceptible, but only if you compare the two carefully side by side.

 

A 20% increase in aperture -- as going from a 70 to an 84, or an 80 to a 96 -- is quite obvious to an experienced user. No need to compare them side by side; you could spend an hour with one and then an hour with the other, and the two experiences would be significantly -- though perhaps subtly -- different.

 

A 30% increase in aperture -- as going from a 70 to a 91, or an 80 to a 104 -- puts you into a whole different league. Unlike the case with the 20% increase in aperture, there's nothing subtle about the difference. Certain things will be things that are quite obvious in the bigger scope that are flat-out invisible in the smaller.

 

For more info than that, you really need to try them yourself. One easy way to do that is to make masks to put over the front end of the bigger scope.


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#4 Bowlerhat

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:34 AM

I think this makes it clearer. I do think it won't be that much difference myself.

Personally, the idea of smaller scopes always been my interest, and I've read good reviews for 60-70mm(s) even.



#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 12:15 PM

How it works for me:

 

I have owned a number of ~ shorter focal length 70mm and 80mm scopes.  For all around observing, the planets, doubles, deep from both a light polluted backyard and dark skies, I find that there is a threshold, 80 mm is quite satisfying, 70mm is never quite enough.  

 

Quite why that is, obviously it's my individual experience and is based on my expectations.  And on paper, the difference doesn't seem all that great, 0,3 magnitudes and about 15% in resolution.  But it's enough, that things that are difficult in a 70mm are considerably easier in an 80mm.  And size wise, the 70mm is smaller but not a lot smaller and I use them on the same mounts so the difference in portability is essentially zero.  

 

If one has a good 80mm ed/apo, a good 70mm doesn't make much sense.  

 

Jon


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#6 pao

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 12:40 PM

For a grab ‘n go telescope the most important thing is portability and overall simplicity of use.

So, if you find a good 70 mm scope weighting less than a good 80 mm one, take the first one. You can still see so many objects that you would never have imagined. And you will soon forget all the advices about the bigger one is better...


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#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 01:04 PM

For a grab ‘n go telescope the most important thing is portability and overall simplicity of use.

So, if you find a good 70 mm scope weighting less than a good 80 mm one, take the first one. You can still see so many objects that you would never have imagined. And you will soon forget all the advices about the bigger one is better...

 

It doesn't work that way for me. 

 

With a 2 inch Everbrite diagonal, my 80mm F/7 ED/apo weighs 7.0 lbs ready to go.  It is a simple to use as a 70mm.  For me, 7 pounds is light enough, if it weighed 4 pounds, it wouldn't make any difference in terms of it's portability.  In a scope this size, portability that depends on the mount and not the scope and I use the same mounts with 70mm and 80mm scopes.

 

5504986-Canyon de Chelley Francis.jpg
 
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#8 pao

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 01:39 PM

Of course everybody has an opinion. The OP will choose considering his/her needs and aspirations.

When I go to a dark site I just want to experience the landscapes and “slowly” enjoy the heavens at low power so the mount is not a problem. Even 0.5 kgs less is an improvement, try to tour Mauritanian Oasis or Egypt’s White Desert and than everybody can understand that portability depends on scope, not mount. And really, if you go to a dark site (of course you don’t need to go to the Sahara desert to enjoy dark skies...) even a mediocre binocular is wonderful. 



#9 KerryR

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 01:41 PM

For a grab ‘n go telescope the most important thing is portability and overall simplicity of use.

So, if you find a good 70 mm scope weighting less than a good 80 mm one, take the first one. You can still see so many objects that you would never have imagined. And you will soon forget all the advices about the bigger one is better...

This is where I'm at with my Pronto. While it's certainly grab and go, it's far, far heavier than it needs to be (though that's kind of cool in some ways), and is a little distressing to carry out the door mounted, whilst trying to keep the cats from running out the door. I was surprised to find that my recently acquired 76mm f9 Newt was far easier to carry out, despite it's added length. Because of that experience, and because the 76mm Newt proved to be optically very good despite it's low-level status, I just bought a long-focus 70mm refractor, which I haven't received yet. It'll be far lighter than the Pronto, but also far longer (and possibly optically inferior). I'll be curious to see if I find it any more comforting to get out the door on the same mount used with the Pronto, due to the reduced weight of the OTA. And, of course, it'll need to be fairly competitive with the Pronto's excellent optics to be moved into the double-star-scope niche for which I use the Pronto and 76mm Newt.


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#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 03:10 PM

Of course everybody has an opinion. The OP will choose considering his/her needs and aspirations.

When I go to a dark site I just want to experience the landscapes and “slowly” enjoy the heavens at low power so the mount is not a problem. Even 0.5 kgs less is an improvement, try to tour Mauritanian Oasis or Egypt’s White Desert and than everybody can understand that portability depends on scope, not mount. And really, if you go to a dark site (of course you don’t need to go to the Sahara desert to enjoy dark skies...) even a mediocre binocular is wonderful. 

 Some thoughts:

 

- For low power wide field, a short focal length achromat is as effective as an ed/apo and is even lighter.  In another thread here, Tony Flanders is taking his 80mm F/4.4 Orion GoScope to South America with him.  If the scope will need to go on an airplane or bus, small and compact is very important.  For car travel 80mm is fine.  The photo I posted of my wife at the Canyon de Chelly was a half-mile walk.

 

- In terms of general purpose observing, I do use my 80mm's for low power wide field viewing under dark skies but I also use them for planetary views, for double star viewing as well as terrestrial. It's at the higher magnifications where I appreciate the advantage of the extra aperture.  I lose a little field of view over a similar focal ratio 70mm but gain the resolution and depth.  

Bowlerhat knows what is important to him/her.

 

 

I'll be curious to see if I find it any more comforting to get out the door on the same mount used with the Pronto, due to the reduced weight of the OTA.

 

 

Kerry:

 

I don't know which mount you are using.  However.. I have the same problem, an indoor cat that likes to sneak out the backdoor.   I have a 80mm F/11.3 which has the same focal length as your 70mm F/13.  I find the tube length is the most important factor in the difficulty of slipping a scope out the back door.  A short scope slips out the door more easily. 

 

The tube is longer, in this case it's as long as the door is wide.  The tube can be angled to help it slip through the door but a short tube is like the Pronto just fits so much easier.  Another factor is the tripod height.  A longer focal length means that the scope needs to be mounted higher so you don't have to squat down so far when viewing objects at higher elevations.  The taller tripod height means the legs have to be spread wider so the rig is stable.  Getting those splayed legs through the door is the primary challenge.  (Note, the Newtonian, with the eyepiece at the other end of the scope, does not need to be raised.)

 

When I had a Pronto, I mounted it sidesaddle, like the AT-72ED in this photo (and the WO-80mm at Canyon de Chelly.)  I just grab the tripod elevator column with one hand to carry it. 

 

AT-72 on Bogen with eyepieces CN.jpg
 
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#11 pao

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 03:17 PM

If one goes to really dark skies the real magic is low power view of the Milky Way. If you want high power views it’s much better and easier to stay in your backyard. Using a good spotting scope one can reach far far locations and will remember that experience for all your lifetime. Believe me. 


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#12 pao

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 03:23 PM

For my backyard and high power use, I’m waiting my custom made 130 mm f19 ED refractor... My mighty Kowa will come with me during my Heaven’s Desert Tour this summer. 

Clear skies to all


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#13 KerryR

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 03:43 PM

 

Kerry:

 

I don't know which mount you are using.  However.. I have the same problem, an indoor cat that likes to sneak out the backdoor.   I have a 80mm F/11.3 which has the same focal length as your 70mm F/13.  I find the tube length is the most important factor in the difficulty of slipping a scope out the back door.  A short scope slips out the door more easily. 

 

The tube is longer, in this case it's as long as the door is wide.  The tube can be angled to help it slip through the door but a short tube is like the Pronto just fits so much easier.  Another factor is the tripod height.  A longer focal length means that the scope needs to be mounted higher so you don't have to squat down so far when viewing objects at higher elevations.  The taller tripod height means the legs have to be spread wider so the rig is stable.  Getting those splayed legs through the door is the primary challenge.  (Note, the Newtonian, with the eyepiece at the other end of the scope, does not need to be raised.)

 

When I had a Pronto, I mounted it sidesaddle, like the AT-72ED in this photo (and the WO-80mm at Canyon de Chelly.)  I just grab the tripod elevator column with one hand to carry it. 

 

 
 
Jon

 

Jon:

I'm using an older Telepod tripod (2-section instead of the current 3-secetion) and a Dwarfstar head (I replaced the Telepod head because the Dwarfstar accepts other OTAs easily). So, things don't get too much more light and compact than that.

The eyepiece height thing is a real concern-- I prefer standing for grab and go observing, and I already have to squat a little, even with the center post extended all the way. I'm hoping that the balance point will move rearward when I replace the red-dot finder with a magnifying finder, and that this will put the ep up at a comfortable height. Otherwise, I'll shorten the tripod and use a 5-gal bucket as an observing seat, like I do with the XT4.5.

One of the surprises with the 76mm f9 Newt was that I found it easier to finagle out the door than the Pronto. Given that experience, it'll be interesting to see if I feel the same way about the 70mm refractor.



 



#14 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 04:08 PM

If one goes to really dark skies the real magic is low power view of the Milky Way. If you want high power views it’s much better and easier to stay in your backyard. Using a good spotting scope one can reach far far locations and will remember that experience for all your lifetime. Believe me. 

Spotting scopes offer very attractive portability per unit of aperture, combined with great ruggedness. But they have two significant drawbacks for astronomy. Most important, most spotting scopes offer straight-through viewing, and almost all the remainder come with 45-degree prisms rather than the 90-degree prisms that are standard for astronomical telescopes. That's great for terrestrial targets, but it makes it very uncomfortable to view anything that's high in the sky.

 

Second, almost all astronomical telescopes come with dovetail mounts for finders. With a spotting scope you have to rig your own finder. It's easy to find terrestrial objects by sweeping along the horizon to the correct spot, and then up or down as needed. That's much harder for astronomical targets.



#15 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 04:25 PM

If the scope will need to go on an airplane or bus, small and compact is very important.  For car travel 80mm is fine.  The photo I posted of my wife at the Canyon de Chelly was a half-mile walk.


Round about a half mile, I would find your rig annoyingly heavy. For going out to your back yard, there's little practical difference between 5, 10, or 20 pounds. For a half-mile walk, I'd rather keep it to 10 pounds or less. Since I routinely walk significant distances with my telescopes and/or carry them on bicycles, serious portability matters a lot to me. For people who never venture more than 100 yards from their cars, not so much.

It's certainly true that if you use the same mount with all your small refractors, they will all be roughly equally portable. But if you use the smallest and lightest mount that's adequate for the scope, the weight and length of the telescope are very important indeed, since they determine the weight and size of the necessary mount.

My 4.5-pound photo tripod is an almost perfect fit for my 2.5-pound 80-mm f/4.4 achromat, but it's marginal for my 4-pound 70-mm Ranger, and it would be barely usable with Jon's 7-pound 80-mm f/7 APO.

Which raises the point that there's a rather weak correlation between a telescope's aperture and its size and weight. My 80-mm GoScope weighs much less than my 70-mm Ranger -- which is itself quite light as high-quality 70-mm refractors go. And the optical tube of the well-respected Meade Infinity 102 refractor surely weighs much less than Jon's 80-mm APO.

 

Length often matters as much as or more than weight. A 5-pound 80-mm f/11 refractor demands much more from a mount than a 7-pound 80-mm f/7 refractor because the telescope's moment arm is longer, and the tripod needs to be raised higher.

 

In general, scopes that are designed for serious astrophotography tend to be somewhat overbuilt for visual observing.


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#16 pao

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 04:26 PM

Spotting scopes offer very attractive portability per unit of aperture, combined with great ruggedness. But they have two significant drawbacks for astronomy. Most important, most spotting scopes offer straight-through viewing, and almost all the remainder come with 45-degree prisms rather than the 90-degree prisms that are standard for astronomical telescopes. That's great for terrestrial targets, but it makes it very uncomfortable to view anything that's high in the sky.

 

Second, almost all astronomical telescopes come with dovetail mounts for finders. With a spotting scope you have to rig your own finder. It's easy to find terrestrial objects by sweeping along the horizon to the correct spot, and then up or down as needed. That's much harder for astronomical targets.

Agree Tony, we all know very well the limitations of spotting scopes. But again: try to go to Chinguetti Oasis in Mauritania (just to make an example of a perfect, remote and stunning dark site location) with an astronomical telescope, mount, eyepieces, tripod, etc... Check the weight.... Then go there with a spotting scope, zoom eyepiece and a tripod. Total weight 3.5 kgs. What would you choose? Remember how difficult is reaching such remoteness...

For low power view of the Milky Way I don’t need a finder, I don’t need a heavy tripod. Only good and light optics. And when you go to a site like the above with ZERO light pollution, ZERO humidity, ZERO turbulence, I can guarantee that you will immediately forget comfort of view, 90 degree mirrors, dovetail mount, etc, and you will only think to enjoy the wonderful views of the heavens!


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#17 davidparks

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 04:39 PM

For visual, 80 should provide a slighter brighter, when compared side by side than the 70 (focal length/ratio being similar)

For imaging, I would think the difference is negated by just increasing exposure... very slightly.

 

For imaging, theoretically you should be able to get very slightly more detail in the 80 because of the larger aperture, given the same pixel size camera.

 

you can run the numbers in any of the online calculators, like astronomy.tools , using the exact focal length/aperture, since “similar focal length/ratio” will only get you generalized answers...   in general, i would prefer the slightly smaller 70 for the benefit of weight/size reduction, all else being “similar”


Edited by davidparks, 17 June 2019 - 04:40 PM.


#18 CHASLX200

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 05:47 PM

I have a  SW72mm ED.  There is not a big jump from 70 to 80mm.  I also have a 90mm so there is a pretty big jump from 70 to 90mm.



#19 CHASLX200

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 05:50 PM

210yo0i.jpg  Here is the 72mm next to the W/O 90mm.  So a 80mm will be in the middle size wise if it is around F/6.


Edited by CHASLX200, 17 June 2019 - 05:50 PM.


#20 Bowlerhat

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 06:09 PM

Yes, but that's quite a weight difference too I assume. I think I agree on portability point that'd been brought up here. Surely 80mm is the standard but if it's not that much different isn't it better go with a smaller scope? I'm just thinking how much am I missing by losing 10mm, or is it worth the weight tradeoff.

 

I think 90mm/102mm is not really ideal with grab and go when 60-70mm are much lighter. You'd need bigger, stationary mounts for those anyway.



#21 JIMZ7

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 06:20 PM

I once spent almost 2 hours comparing a Celestron China made 70mm f/13 refractor to a Celestron/Vixen Japan "Premium"  80mm f/11.4 refractor.

Side by side looking at my picks of sky objects. Conclusion I couldn't find any difference. I was quite shocked. I kept the Japan scope because it had beautiful "teakwood" legs. Other than that it was a draw.

Jim


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#22 CHASLX200

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 06:27 PM

Yes, but that's quite a weight difference too I assume. I think I agree on portability point that'd been brought up here. Surely 80mm is the standard but if it's not that much different isn't it better go with a smaller scope? I'm just thinking how much am I missing by losing 10mm, or is it worth the weight tradeoff.

 

I think 90mm/102mm is not really ideal with grab and go when 60-70mm are much lighter. You'd need bigger, stationary mounts for those anyway.

My W/O 90mm F/6.2 is a easy grab and go on a GP mount or LX70.  I can carry the whole thing out very easy. The SW72mmED is F/5.6 i think and it much lighter than the W/O.

 

The 90mm W/O is built like a tank and kinda heavy.



#23 starman876

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:52 PM

you should check out  TV pronto. 

 

https://astromart.co...ronto-refractor

 

Nice small scope and very portable.  Also, the Takahashi sky 90 is about the smallest scope in that size with outstanding optics. 

 

https://www.cloudyni...i-sky90-ii-nsv/


Edited by starman876, 17 June 2019 - 08:27 PM.


#24 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 05:23 AM

Surely 80mm is the standard but if it's not that much different isn't it better go with a smaller scope? I'm just thinking how much am I missing by losing 10mm, or is it worth the weight tradeoff.


It really depends precisely why you care about portability. Everyone here will agree that any adult of normal strength can carry all but the heaviest of 80-mm refractors, complete with all but the heaviest mounts, in one hand. If all you care about is taking the telescope outside to your backyard, packing it in a car, or carrying it 100 yards from a car to an observing site, then there's no point in getting anything more portable.

If you plan to travel by public transportation (most definitely including airplanes!), or for significant distances by foot or bicycle, then yes there likely is a reason to think carefully about ultra-portability.

For the record, the rig that I plan to take to South America to observe the forthcoming total eclipse, and to make a full survey of the far-southern sky, weighs 13.5 pounds, or 6 kilos. That includes a camera and binoculars. Strip out the camera, binoculars, and solar filters, and use a smaller tripod, and I could reduce that to 9 pounds, or 4 kg. This rig is based around the optical tube of the 80-mm f/4.4 Orion GoScope TableTop Refractor.

 

As for aperture, beware of assuming that "almost the same" is transitive! Yes, a 70-mm refractor is almost the same as an 80-mm refractor. Likewise, a 60-mm refractor is almost the same as a 70-mm refractor. But it is absolutely not true that a 60-mm refractor is almost the same as an 80-mm refractor! On the contrary, the views through an 80-mm refractor are much brighter and more detailed than the views through a comparable 60-mm refractor.

 

The elephant in the room throughout this discussion is what I like to call the "cuteness factor." Some telescopes are just irresistibly cute, regardless of their actual size, weight, and usefulness. My 80-mm GoScope is irresistibly cute. The classic 90-mm Questar is irresistibly cute -- considerably cuter than its knock-off, the ETX-90, though that scope is pretty cute too. The TeleVue TV60 is irresistibly cute. Many spotting scopes are irresistibly cute. Even the 4.5-inch StarBlast is arguably irresistibly cute, although it weighs and bulks more than many telescopes that don't seem awkward and ungainly.


Edited by Tony Flanders, 18 June 2019 - 05:25 AM.

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#25 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 05:40 AM

Tony Flanders

First and foremost observing love: naked eye.
Second, binoculars.
Last but not least, telescopes.
And I sometimes dabble with cameras.

 

 

Oh how much more fun this industry would be if most others had this much astro wisdom.

---daniel


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