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Esprit 120 vs TSA120?

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#1 NHRob

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 02:15 PM

Looking to make a jump up in quality from my old C6R.    For visual use only, I want to get premium quality optics this time.

I have my eye on the 120 - 130mm range, with plans for binoviewing.

 

I have my eye on these:

TSA120

Esprit120 

Stellarvue 130

WP FLT132

 

My budget is $3-4K ... depending.  I don't want to upgrade again.

 

The TSA120 vs Esprit120 is interesting.  Anyone know how they compare?   The Esprit is much less expensive, counting what you get.

The Tak is much lighter though.

 

The SW120ED gets good marks but, I want better build quality.

 

Any other good options?

Thank you.

 

 

 


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#2 Eric H

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 02:33 PM

Tak and don't look back.


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#3 BravoFoxtrot

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 02:45 PM

I also vetted the TSA-120 vs. the SW Esprit and went with the Esprit.  I've owned Taks before and they have been mostly excellent, so the TSA-120 made a lot of sense.  It's also much smaller and seems easier to mount than the Esprit.  However, the sale price of the Esprit pushed it into the lead.  Once I added up all of the accessories I would want for the TSA-120, the Esprit cost considerably less.  Even when I added the mount, the total cost was still less.  Optically, there is likely more sample variation with SW, but the sample I received appears to be excellent.  Even if there was a difference optically, I suspect it would be minute and only noticed when compared side by side.      

 

I've also enjoyed Stellarvue's premium scopes and thought they were great.  I have no experience with WO products outside of a diagonal many moons ago.  It's really hard to go wrong with any of the options you listed.  

 

Good luck!  These are fun decisions to make.  


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#4 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 02:46 PM

I've tried none of the above, but I've been mulling the same idea so I can give my 2 cents.

 

For me the purpose would be to get a moderately sized refractor that will be easy for quick looks and for hitting the road with relatively little fuss.

 

My only foray into large refractors was a 6" F8 triplet, and while I enjoyed using it, it was a lot of messing around for 6" of aperture. I concluded that for that amount of effort, I'd rather use my 12.5" reflector.

 

That has led me to the belief that somewhere in the 120-140mm range is the spot I want to be. You get the benefits of a sharp and easy to use package, without the massive size and weight that a 6" gets you.

 

The Skywatcher esprit puts me off a tad because of the weight. It seems it's built heavily for imagers, and I'm strictly visual.

 

The Skywatcher 120ed varies in price a lot, and I've looked at getting one from the UK, but the poor mechanics has me thinking twice. There's other versions packaged with better focusers and sliding dew shields.

 

The Takahashi TSA 120 looks pretty sweet. The optical reputation is obviously excellent, and the weight is very reasonable. Looks like it is about the same as my Televue 101. The only real sticking points on that one is that refuse to pay U.S. domestic prices, so I'd be looking at shipping from either Japan or Hong Kong. In addition to the shipping lottery, there's the question of a gray market scope and warranty. I'd assume I'd have to deal with Takahashi in Japan if I had an issue.

 

Outside of these I have also looked at the 125mm F7.8 that Telescope Service has. Other companies do different packages, different focusers, and some do minimum strehl guarantees, but the price is a good bit higher (e.g., Stellarview did it for awhile, and Altair astro now).

 

Final considerations are a APM 140 doublet, or to push the budget and look at a used TEC 140.

 

Both look to be close in size and weight, and I think for me both are pushing it a little too far. I saw a TEC 140 at a star party and was surprised by how large the OTA was.

 

So, still in several minds, but leaning TSA 120 (if that's allowed).

 

Anyway, that was a bit of a screed, but I'm interested in hearing others though process on this.


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#5 samovu

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 02:50 PM

Welcome, Tofuu!

I agree with Eric. If you only want to cry once, as they say, and you can afford the Tak, go for it. Now if you’d said that AP was your goal, then the Esprit comes equipped and that would be the better choice, especially with a fixed budget. I’ve read lots of good things about the Esprit line but have never personally experienced one. I have, among others, Takahashi scopes, arguably the best you can get.

Cheers,
John

#6 NHRob

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 02:52 PM

I'm looking through pricing right now.  Too bad Tak never seems to have a sale.



#7 samovu

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 02:56 PM

If you’d consider used, that’s a good option. All of my Taks were bought “second hand”. And not one was disappointing. When it comes to premium scopes like AP, Tec and others, owners typically treat them very well..... and so do most scope owners, just to be clear.

Cheers,
John
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#8 Eddgie

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 03:00 PM

If you are going to binoview, an important element in your decision might be whether you want to be able to get the binoviewers to work at native focal length (no Barlow or GPS).  I was not able to do that with my Skywatcher or Orion 120ED scopes.  Both were models without the sliding dew shield, so perhaps later models would differ.

 

If you don't mind having to use some form of GPS or Barlow though, then this post does not matter.



#9 barbarosa

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 03:18 PM

Something to consider. 

 

Tak owners and would be owners speak nothing but good about the scope, except possibly the pricing. It has a great rep and the odds are you too will find it a superior scope.

 

Esprit owners largely agree that the Esprit is a great scope.

 

SV owners say the same about their scopes.

 

No doubt some Tasco owners feel the same way, but we can offer sympathy and otherwise ignore them.

 

My prediction is that you will enjoy any of the top three brands and that the only complaint you might make is the cost or availability of accessories.

 

When I decided to buy a second refractor to complement a TV-85 I asked people who had experience and judgement and they suggested Tak, SV, Esprit, and an ES APO. I felt the Tak was too costly, for SV it came down to price and what was available, I called ES and they offered a refurbished 127 at a good price. In the end it was down to SV and the Esprit. Had I gone up to Auburn it might have been an SV but from all that I could learn any difference in the view was likely to be imaginary.

 

The Esprit comes with a high quality dedicated field flattener, There is no available SW reducer-flattener. However Starizona and SW both say that a Starizona reducer is about ready to market a reducer-flatteners for the Esprit line.



#10 Steve Allison

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 03:52 PM

Buy a Tak or you will always wonder...



#11 Kunama

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 04:12 PM

Looking to make a jump up in quality from my old C6R.    For visual use only, I want to get premium quality optics this time.

I have my eye on the 120 - 130mm range, with plans for binoviewing.

 

I have my eye on these:

TSA120

Esprit120 

Stellarvue 130

WP FLT132

 

My budget is $3-4K ... depending.  I don't want to upgrade again.

 

The TSA120 vs Esprit120 is interesting.  Anyone know how they compare?   The Esprit is much less expensive, counting what you get.

The Tak is much lighter though.

 

The SW120ED gets good marks but, I want better build quality.

 

Any other good options?

Thank you.

What are the targets you mostly view..... if planets and the Moon then the 120 size is fine, if DSOs then any extra aperture will be nice to have especially if you plan to binoview DSO.

Having said that, some of those scopes will be able to be used at native focal length with a binoviewer which is an advantage to some.  The TSA120 for example has 227.5mm of back focus.

 

However, binoviewers introduce optical effects so it is actually desirable to include a corrector like the Roland Christen designed Baader GPCs into the light path to address this.

My scopes (Tak TSA and APM SD140F7) can be used without correctors but the image at higher magnifications is definitely better when the GPC 1.25X is installed in the top of the Zeiss T2 prism before my Zeiss binoviewer.

 

Of the scopes in your list I would probably go with either the TSA120 or the FLT132 for visual with binoviewers.  I have only looked through two SW Esprits, both gave very fine views, whether they have enough back focus I don't know.... 


Edited by Kunama, 09 October 2019 - 06:15 PM.


#12 ris242

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:25 PM

Too bad Tak never seems to have a sale.

 

Doesn't have to with the fanboy base it has. smile.gif

 

I myself can't justify one, based on usage/investment and quality of night skys.
If I had 300 clear nights a year, maybe it would be worth considering.


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#13 waso29

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:46 PM

I'm looking through pricing right now.  Too bad Tak never seems to have a sale.

https://www.cloudyni...-3#entry9488879

 

back in 2017, was a great tak sale..

 

in early 2000s, tak had sale on FS models.



#14 Haydon

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:54 PM

If weight and mounting are of any consideration the TSA is significantly lighter.  Having had experience with a 130mm that was the weight of the Esprit and the TSA, between the two the TSA was easier to handle, load onto the mount and was more stable on the mount.  Weight may not be a concern to you though.  I'd be curious of the build quality and function of the Esprit focuser.  The focuser on the TSA falls way behind a FT, so if the Esprit's focuser is of any comparison to the FT then that may be a factor to consider.



#15 NHRob

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 09:16 PM

Sometimes mass is your friend. While heavier on the mount, it is more resistant to incidental jiggles and vibrations prone to normal observing sessions.
Just like sometimes a heavier binoculars are easier to hold steady than a lightweight pair.

#16 ken30809

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 10:42 PM

I've owned a few Taks (doublets) and they are fine scopes. I'm sure the triplets must be awesome. Great optics.

 

But check out the cost of accessories (checked out today). They must use better pot metal for these brackets and stuff.

 

Takahashi Tube Holder - 148.00  (normally called rings)
Takahashi 7 X 50 finderscope - 326.00
Takahashi LED illuminater for 7 X 50 finderscope - 110.00
Takahashi 50mm Finderscope bracket - 88.00 (to hold your $326 finderscope)
Takahashi 2” Eyepiece adapter - 177.00
Takahashi 2” Extension tube = 163.00

 

1012.00 in basic accessories which doesn’t include focal reducer / field flattener that I owned in early 2005 or so. Cost about $450.

 

Now add the price of that beautiful scope. I'd get the Tak if I could afford it. Good luck and let us know what you decide.


Edited by ken30809, 09 October 2019 - 10:51 PM.


#17 Kunama

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 11:04 PM

I've owned a few Taks (doublets) and they are fine scopes. I'm sure the triplets must be awesome. Great optics.

 

But check out the cost of accessories (checked out today). They must use better pot metal for these brackets and stuff.

 

Takahashi Tube Holder - 148.00  (normally called rings)
Takahashi 7 X 50 finderscope - 326.00
Takahashi LED illuminater for 7 X 50 finderscope - 110.00
Takahashi 50mm Finderscope bracket - 88.00 (to hold your $326 finderscope)
Takahashi 2” Eyepiece adapter - 177.00
Takahashi 2” Extension tube = 163.00

 

1012.00 in basic accessories which doesn’t include focal reducer / field flattener that I owned in early 2005 or so. Cost about $450.

 

Now add the price of that beautiful scope. I'd get the Tak if I could afford it. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

Admittedly the parts aren’t cheap though perhaps you have should noted that the 2” and the 1.25” adapter and the extension tube are included as standard parts with the TSA120 and the finder and illuminator are far better quality than what you get thrown in with other brands..... I would venture that optics in the 7x50 finder are more than a match for most small refractors...


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#18 ken30809

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 11:21 PM

Admittedly the parts aren’t cheap though perhaps you have should noted that the 2” and the 1.25” adapter and the extension tube are included as standard parts with the TSA120 and the finder and illuminator are far better quality than what you get thrown in with other brands..... I would venture that optics in the 7x50 finder are more than a match for most small refractors...

Granted - here's what's included for the total price of $4430 USD. How do you mount this on your mount when it arrives? Duct tape? I'm just pointing out to some newbies to think before they commit. Logical

 

Takahashi TSA-120 f/7.5 APO Triplet Refractor Telescope OTA

    2.7" Rack & Pinion Focuser

    Two 72 mm Extension Tubes

    2" and 1.25" Compression Ring Adapters

    Quick Release Bracket for Finder

    Metal Focuser Rear Cover and 2" Sleeve


Edited by ken30809, 09 October 2019 - 11:22 PM.


#19 Kunama

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 11:25 PM

Duct tape should be fine, I suggest about 4 layers to be sure......cool.gif

 

 

Surprisingly you US guys don't get a great deal on Takahashi, I would have thought that a big market would mean better prices but you can buy the complete setup including finder, illuminator and clamshell here in Australia for $820 USD less than what you guys are fleeced..... undecided.gif


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#20 ken30809

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 11:31 PM

Duct tape should be fine, I suggest about 4 layers to be sure......cool.gif

 

 

Surprisingly you US guys don't get a great deal on Takahashi, I would have thought that a big market would mean better prices but you can buy the complete setup including finder, illuminator and clamshell here in Australia for $820 USD less than what you guys are fleeced..... undecided.gif

That might explain it. But as I said earlier, I'd buy the TSA120 and pay the extra if I could afford it. Clear skies to you out there.



#21 NHRob

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 04:52 AM

Ken,

How is your SV125 Access?



#22 bobhen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 06:21 AM

You state that you want “premium optics”. And you "don’t want to upgrade again".

 

Then you state the Esprit is “much less” expensive than the TSA 120.

 

Do you think you can get premium optics (or premium anything) for about half price?

 

There are only 2 things you need to ask…

1. Do you want the best lens with no money in your pocket?  OR…

2. Do you want a decent telescope with some pennies leftover?

 

There is no right or wrong answer. Your selection just depends on what you value.

 

However… What you CANNOT have are both the penny and the cake too.

 

Bob


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#23 RAKing

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 07:48 AM

If you want premium optics and you don't want to upgrade again, just go ahead and buy the TSA-120.

 

You will never have to ask yourself, "What if...."

 

Cheers,

 

Ron


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#24 25585

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 08:03 AM

Wanting a 120 to 130 triplet, I chose a TSA120.

 

I already owned an Equinox 120, the deluxe SW120ED Pro, great scope still have it. So an Esprit, with optician-checked optics (from First Light Optics) was tempting.

 

But that checking, though a great option, was what made me choose a Tak. Takahashi triplets don't need checking for factory faults. They are well boxed and protected, my 120 Equinox, bought new was fine, but its box and transport case were not. Didn't want that experience over again. (Seriously Sky-Watcher, 3 tough boxes and some stryrofoam won't break you!)

 

My TSA120 has the assurance of top range optics, and no worries about its internal construction. True I paid for that, but peace of mind makes it worth the extra.  


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#25 NHRob

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 08:32 AM

The arguments for TSA120 are become more convincing.   

My wallet is getting scared!    : )


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