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4" vs. 5" APOs Under Bortle 6 - 7 Skies

equipment observing refractor LP
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#26 Tyson M

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 05:09 PM

In my red white zone, 100mm is where I want to be minimum. 120-130apo was more enjoyable still. I had the 6"achro but happier I went the apo route albeit smaller aperture.

 

YMMV


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#27 Tyson M

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 05:10 PM

I literally just moved up to a 120 from a 106, as in the is still on its way. I was deciding between 120 and 150, but after considering mounting, the 120 won. Im not expecting a world of a better view, but 14mm is 14mm. Taking into account the 120 is the same weight as the 106, only longer, i don't see it being used any less, and quite possibly more if the view is more pleasing!

If you bought a SW120ED, you made a good move from that AT106, if your mount can handle it.


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#28 Tyson M

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 05:16 PM

The Tak TSA 102 I used to own was the best 4" refractor I have ever seen.  Optically it was essentially perfect.  I used it on a heavy Alt-Az mount on a solid tripod.  My current AP130 outperforms that TSA 102 on everything.  Always. Under any sky conditions including my suburban backyard.  It is a better planetary scope, better double star scope, better DSO scope . . .   

 

My AP130 is an EDFS model from around 2003.  The OTA weighs about 15lbs and at F6 it is not super long.  Pretty reasonable scope to handle.  I use it on a heavy Alt-Az mount on a solid tripod.  Like the TSA 102, it is a 2-trip, out-the-door setup.  So basically the same effort to use as the TSA 102.  It travels with the same effort and only slightly larger footprint than the TSA 102.  Everyone's situation is different, but for me handling a 5" refractor was really close to a 4" refractor.  The view through the eyepiece is not as close.  Optical quality being equal and hassle factor under control, aperture is your friend.

My experiences mirror this.  I had a perfect TSA which is an exquisite scope.  Best lunar views I ever had. But I found I wanted more aperture still for all around usage, as it was just a 100mm.

 

Enter the NP127.  Now we are talking.  I still havent had much good lunar sessions with it but on deep sky I can already say I am enjoying it more.  It is virtually the same length just a bit heavier, but a lot more aperture and both ride on the same mount.  A portable 120-130mm class scope is quite possibly the perfect compromise for refractors.  That is, on everything except for price (besides the ubiquitous 120ED). 

You will want a larger dob or SCT (fainter galaxies or planetary nebula) but for all around usage, the 5" refractors are hard to beat.   

4" is still the maximum I would consider as grab and go, as you can get away with lighter mounting requirements.


Edited by Tyson M, 16 July 2019 - 05:17 PM.


#29 RAKing

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 05:31 PM

Aperture still rules for me.  I live just west of Washington, DC and I can easily tell the difference between my 100 and 120mm refractors.  The 120mm scopes work like "smallish" 5-inchers and I would definitely go for the bigger scope if your mount is up to the job.

 

Cheers,

 

Ron



#30 Lookitup

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 07:23 PM

Enjoyed the SW120 and ED115s, but in my humid sky conditions, mostly ended up using the much lighter Tak FC100df. SW120's bigger exit pupil and less floaters, allowed higher mag. planetary views and I detected more backgound stars. The moon showed a tiny bit more detail too, if sky allowed.

Most of the time planets are limited to x200, where the FC showed the same amount of detail and is my favorite for double stars. The slight differences just weren't enough to justify keeping the non Tak's. I would go at least with SVX125D or TEC140 on your capable mount. For light weight, super fast cooling and awesome optics the Tak wins IMO. CS Pete

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  • FC100dM1V.jpg

Edited by Lookitup, 16 July 2019 - 10:09 PM.



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