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Vixen, Celestron, Orion C102's achros from Japan

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#1 grif 678

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 06:56 PM

I would like to start a thread for owners of the Japan made, Vixen outsourced for Celestron and Orion C102's. To me one of the best 4 inch achro's ever made, especially for a F 9.8.

You can get one of these OTA's for around $300 to $400 when they are for sale, but I think the owners are keeping them. I read the reviews on Ecxelsis, and everybody gives them excellent ratings. I know that I love mine, crystal sharp images. Mine is the Celestron version, and I have it on the astro tech voyager mount with the tall vixen wooden legs. I do not have the capability now to do pictures, but maybe one day soon I can get a picture of mine on site. It has been painted a beautiful matte black, finder also. The only draw back was the black paint would scratch easily, but this matte black makes it look even better. So if you owners would like to share how your C102 does for you, I would like to hear.


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#2 Reid W

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 08:06 PM

A colleague and I were working on a double star project.

 

His Japanese C102 with a 2x barlowed Brandon 8mm gave stunning views.... every bit the equal to my 90 apo in the splits.


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#3 EverlastingSky

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Posted 21 September 2019 - 09:20 PM

I bought an old Vixen 102 f/9.8 made circa 1985 back in 2009. Flat square base finder scope attachment point dated it to this period. Took a cheap gamble to buy based on the large body of positive reviews and comments. It was mounted on the Vixen Great Polaris with wood (ash) tripod legs. Turns out this humble achromat was so impressive on the usual planetary suspects that I quickly sold off a C8 ("Ultima" model with the oversize fork) and got into refractors fully.

 

The C102 provided "behavior altering" views of Jupiter in early morning pre-dawn sessions of those years. The shocking 3D depth and globe like effect produced due to limb shading, when Jupiter is very early and very late in its apparition, was especially prominent and uncanny. Below is a doodle sketch of such with that C102. This telescope opened the door, or loosened the purse strings, on the acquisition of even better apochromatic refractors.

 

med_gallery_18615_3997_1407446645_22771.

 

med_gallery_18615_3997_1407450376_26969.

 

 

 

 


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#4 Nippon

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:01 AM

I had a C80 f/11.4 achro on a Polaris mount in the 80s. It started 30 years of respect for Vixen refractors. I have a ED103s on a Sphinx SXW today and it is a wonderful apo doublet.


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#5 JIMZ7

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 12:54 AM

Purchased in the early 1990s a Celestron  SP102 equatorial. The Super Polaris mount was wonderful. I purchased the scope for $1150 new back then & to me there was too much CA for my money. Best images was when light clouds rolled in. Seem to cut down the CA very much on the planets, moon & double stars. It was not my favorite Japan made scope. Probably should have used filters.

Jim



#6 miniqtone

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 08:03 AM

I bought an old Vixen 102 f/9.8 made circa 1985 back in 2009. Flat square base finder scope attachment point dated it to this period. Took a cheap gamble to buy based on the large body of positive reviews and comments. It was mounted on the Vixen Great Polaris with wood (ash) tripod legs. Turns out this humble achromat was so impressive on the usual planetary suspects that I quickly sold off a C8 ("Ultima" model with the oversize fork) and got into refractors fully.

 

The C102 provided "behavior altering" views of Jupiter in early morning pre-dawn sessions of those years. The shocking 3D depth and globe like effect produced due to limb shading, when Jupiter is very early and very late in its apparition, was especially prominent and uncanny. Below is a doodle sketch of such with that C102. This telescope opened the door, or loosened the purse strings, on the acquisition of even better apochromatic refractors.

 

med_gallery_18615_3997_1407446645_22771.

 

med_gallery_18615_3997_1407450376_26969.

I covet your GP mount! Mine is mounted on an old Astroview and altho it's better since I cleaned/regreased it, it is not quite adequate for a C102. I am saving for something better.

Nice sketches!


Edited by miniqtone, 22 September 2019 - 08:04 AM.

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#7 miniqtone

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 08:20 AM

My resto-mod is based around a circa 1985 Celestron/Vixen SP-C102 and retains the original objective and cell, tube and dewcap.

I'm really enjoying it so far (first light was two days ago).

 

Most of my scopes have been larger aperture reflectors and it's fun to get a decent refractor again!

 

My last 4" scope was the Edmund Palomar Junior I had as a kid in the late 1960's. I am going to dig out my notes from that time and compare the views with the "new" refractor of the same aperture. Hoping for some nostalgia!

 

Nfig2rw.jpg


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#8 John Huntley

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 06:00 PM

I had one of the Vixen SP102Ms on the Super Polaris mount and with the original Skysensor controller back around 1990. The difference was that mine was branded "Bresser" and the model was known as the Uranus. The colour scheme of the OTA was matte black rather than the gloss black of the Celestron branded versions.

 

I liked the scope a lot and regretted having to sell it when children came into our world but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

 

After a scopeless decade I managed to purchase a TAL 100 RT for around 25% of what the Vixen / Bresser had cost me and I was pleasantly surprised when I found that the TAL performed, in optical terms, as well as the Vixen / Bresser had.

 

Sorry about the photo quality but its scanned from an old 35mm print which is the only record that I have of the Vixen / Bresser Uranus:

Attached Thumbnails

  • bresseruranus.jpg

Edited by John Huntley, 22 September 2019 - 06:01 PM.

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#9 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 06:25 PM

I bought the SP C-102 a couple of years ago at the give away price of 150.00  pick up 100 or so  miles north of me. A 1988 it had lots of use over the years...some scratches on it etc. But the glass is good. I called it my everyday 4 inch refractor

 

Would love to have the SP Vixen mount  but he rides well on several mounts. Funny   as I am adding another 4 inch this is the one I would have to sell. 

 

 

the C-102   

 

then the Two Black Beauties   the taller one is the C-102   the smaller is the C-102fl

 

The C-102 on the Vixen GP2 mount

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • bigblackc102FullSizeRender (64).jpg
  • Black.Beauties2FullSizeRender (54).jpg
  • scopedollyc-102FullSizeRender.jpg

Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 22 September 2019 - 06:32 PM.

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#10 bchandler

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 05:04 PM

Does the current C-102 f/9.8 being offered by Celestron qualify for this discussion?

 

 

Steady skies,

-Bruce



#11 SeattleScott

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 05:50 PM

I’m guessing not. Those are a dime a dozen. I think the point of this post is a bit of nostalgia and celebrating the excellent Japanese optics. Any more people tend to buy Apo instead of a Japanese achro for the same price, so you don’t see a lot of high end achro anymore. Your Celestron probably isn’t far behind in performance. Not hard to make a high performing F10 lens. But doesn’t really fit with the purpose of the post.

Personally I have the current model, A105M, but I’m not talking about it as the thread seems geared towards the older models with more nostalgia.

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 23 September 2019 - 05:54 PM.

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#12 stevew

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 08:42 PM

Over the last 30 something years I have owned 3 of the Vixen/ Celestron SPC102s.

2 were excellent performers, and the 3rd was unbelievable. The image would not breakdown no matter what combination of barlows and eyepieces I threw at it.

If I remember correctly I used it up to 400x or so. I only sold it because I had purchased a 4 inch Televue. About 16 years ago I tried to sell the SPC102 with the Super Polaris mount but did not get any takers. I split it up and sold the mount to someone in Alaska, and the OTA sold to someone in California [I think]. I told the buyer about the optics, and he was skeptical of my claims but purchased it anyway. About 2 weeks after I shipped it off he called me on the phone to thank me, and to let me know how pleased he was with the scope, and that everything I told him about it was true. Absolutely an amazing lens. 

I have never looked through a Japanese Vixen refractor I didn't like.....

If your in the market for a 4 inch achromat and run across one of these Japanese 102's don't even hesitate.

 

Steve


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#13 stevew

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 08:49 PM

Does the current C-102 f/9.8 being offered by Celestron qualify for this discussion?

 

 

Steady skies,

-Bruce

While I'm sure the Chinese versions are good for the money, the Japanese Vixen version is in a different class in build quality and performance. 


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#14 bchandler

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 09:08 PM

Thanks to @SeattleScott and @stevew for their on-point replies to my post. I didn't pay enough attention to the OP when he stated he was interested in, and steering the discussion toward, the Japanese versions of the *102. 

 

(Note to self: read twice, post once!)

 

 

Steady Skies,

-Bruce


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#15 woodsman

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 10:09 PM

My resto-mod is based around a circa 1985 Celestron/Vixen SP-C102 and retains the original objective and cell, tube and dewcap.

I'm really enjoying it so far (first light was two days ago).

 

Most of my scopes have been larger aperture reflectors and it's fun to get a decent refractor again!

 

My last 4" scope was the Edmund Palomar Junior I had as a kid in the late 1960's. I am going to dig out my notes from that time and compare the views with the "new" refractor of the same aperture. Hoping for some nostalgia!

 

Nfig2rw.jpg

Holy Crap, usually I'm not big on red, but that is one of the most fantastic looking scopes I've ever seen. In a word, magnificent!!  


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#16 Marco1968

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 03:17 PM

Grettings,

 

by chance I noted this old thread and thought to contribute with a picture of my Vixen 102M riding on SP mount.

 

This is a early one, with collimable lens cell and the doublet showing prominent Newton's rings. According to the Italian fellow astronomer that sold this 102M to me 4 years ago, these early Vixens' lenses were made by Carton.

 

The SP mount came from England to my home 3 years ago, equipped with AR motor and aluminum tripod and having silk-smooth movements.

 

Over the time I managed to add a much better looking classic wooden tripod and a fully functional Sky Sensor 2000 PC with 2 MT-4 motors.

 

Together with my Vixen 102M, they are my favourite setup for accurate goto and tracking as well as comfortable visual observing.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Marco

Attached Thumbnails

  • Vixen_SP.jpg

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#17 stevew

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 08:17 PM

That's one great looking scope Marco. Hang on to it..

I'm sure it will give you decades of pleasure.


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#18 Bomber Bob

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 10:05 PM

That's one great looking scope Marco. Hang on to it..

I'm sure it will give you decades of pleasure.

Beautiful Classic Kit, Marco!  By all means, hold on to it for dear life!


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#19 Rutilus

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 05:48 AM

Grettings,

 

by chance I noted this old thread and thought to contribute with a picture of my Vixen 102M riding on SP mount.

 

This is a early one, with collimable lens cell and the doublet showing prominent Newton's rings. According to the Italian fellow astronomer that sold this 102M to me 4 years ago, these early Vixens' lenses were made by Carton.

 

The SP mount came from England to my home 3 years ago, equipped with AR motor and aluminum tripod and having silk-smooth movements.

 

Over the time I managed to add a much better looking classic wooden tripod and a fully functional Sky Sensor 2000 PC with 2 MT-4 motors.

 

Together with my Vixen 102M, they are my favourite setup for accurate goto and tracking as well as comfortable visual observing.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Marco

I purchased one of the Vixen 102M scopes when they first came out in the 1980's, very good scope.

My scope had noticeable Newton rings and also a single coating of MgF2 on the lens.

My Carton 100mm f/13 also has the newton rings and the single coated lens.

 

One year I took a photo of the moon by holding a Chinese made medium format camera to the eyepiece,

it won picture of the month, in a national photography magazine. 


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#20 beanerds

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 07:10 AM

Does the current C-102 f/9.8 being offered by Celestron qualify for this discussion?

 

 

Steady skies,

-Bruce

As said , probably no , nothing wrong with these new 102mm f9.8 's its just not the same scope .

 

Beanerds.

 

ps . when I find an old photo or 2 of the origonal C102 that I had and stupidly sold ,,,, I will post .


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#21 25585

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 08:11 AM

Grettings,

 

by chance I noted this old thread and thought to contribute with a picture of my Vixen 102M riding on SP mount.

 

This is a early one, with collimable lens cell and the doublet showing prominent Newton's rings. According to the Italian fellow astronomer that sold this 102M to me 4 years ago, these early Vixens' lenses were made by Carton.

 

The SP mount came from England to my home 3 years ago, equipped with AR motor and aluminum tripod and having silk-smooth movements.

 

Over the time I managed to add a much better looking classic wooden tripod and a fully functional Sky Sensor 2000 PC with 2 MT-4 motors.

 

Together with my Vixen 102M, they are my favourite setup for accurate goto and tracking as well as comfortable visual observing.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Marco

Same as mine, except mine has black plastic focuser knobs.


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#22 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 10:45 AM

beautiful refractor..... That is my favorite color scheme    Vixen in white with the Vixen gray/green trim

 

and you have it on the matching color Vixen gray/green mount with wooden legs   just gorgeous


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#23 Marco1968

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 01:36 PM

Thank you all very much for your kind messages and the likes, these make me feel really welcome and proud of the old Vixen :)

Hey, it seems that the white paint of the old refractor just turned to pale red... maybe he is a bit shy for the compliments???

All the Best,

Marco
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