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Tak fsq85 as a visual only scope

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#1 Gavster

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 12:10 AM

I’m a visual only observer and have always assumed that the Tak fsq85 was only really for imagers. I’ve seen numerous discussions regarding how good the np101 and np127 are for visual, particularly widefield with their flat field to the edge of the field of view but rarely see any commentary on the Tak fsq85.

I really like the 85mm-95mm size range of refractors as perfect for airline travel and grab and go. And I have a number of scopes in that range - tv85, AP Stowaway 92, Baader travel companion 95mm. But I seem to be quite susceptible to noticing fc and I do see it with all the scopes to a certain extent when observing wide field.

Just over a month ago I decided to get a Tak fsq85 to see if the petzval design did give a noticeably improved star shapes at the edge of the fov on low mag widefield views. After about 10 sessions I can say that the answer is yes! I’m really impressed with the Tak and it’s become my most used scope currently due to the gorgeous aesthetic views. Even at higher mag with a 3.5mm eyepiece (130x) I have some fantastic views of Jupiter with lovely cloud banding and a fantastically clear GRS.

 

I just wanted to put this out there in case anyone is thinking about wanting a portable scope for widefield visual observing. The np101 is not as portable and needs a beefier mount so the Fsq85 hits my grab and go requirements on the button. Also the two speed focuser on the Tak is very good, much better imo than the one speed version I had on my fc100df and dl.

 

Also here are a links to a couple of observing sessions I’ve had with the Tak

https://www.cloudyni...d-night-vision/

https://www.cloudyni...olluted-garden/

 

 

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Edited by Gavster, 11 October 2019 - 02:30 AM.

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#2 213Cobra

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 02:08 AM

I have four astrographs I use strictly visually: Tak FSQ-85ED, Tak FSQ-106EDX, Tak Epsilon 160 hyperbolic newtonian and now a WO RedCat 51 v2. I prefer astrographs for visual use and the Epsilon goes back over 30 years with me. In addition to that, all my other refractors are either longer FL quads, or are flat field corrected triplets using aftermarket flatteners. I think a lot of folks would be happier with their views of the sky if they followed.

 

The common trope here that astrographs are dismissed as "just cameras" unsuited to visual is balderdash. Moreover, when you enter the Takahashi world and combine their quads with their very well-executed Extenders, you still can get magnifications at or close to longer FL scopes for engrossing, closer, scintillating examination. The unsung feature is a flat field. All the hand-wringing about field curvature vanishes. I saw this over 30 years ago comparing my Epsilon before I bought it, with ... well, everything else! It's a mystery why the old "camera" tropes linger. In most cases, the detractors have little or no actual experience with flat field quad refractors. Some that do wage arguments that are more esoteric than practical, which doesn't make them wrong by itself. Question is, what applies to you.

 

Phil


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#3 Erik Bakker

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 02:41 AM

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, especially since you have so many other capable scopes in the same aperture size.

 

I will add that in the flesh, the FSQ85 is one of the most beautiful and travel worthy telescopes I've ever seen.

 

When observing at 100x+ powers, how does it compare to your other contenders?


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#4 ullomat

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 03:03 AM

Hi,

I've had the FSQ-85 for some time as my grab'n go scope. I just went on since I wanted more aperture. The scope had a nearly perfect star test and I often used 160x and above. I was very sharp and had a good contrast. 

It is a little bit on the heavy side, but short enough to use it on small mount though. 

If the price is not an issue, I highly recommend to have a closer look at the FSQ-85 also for visual. 

 

cs,

Uli

 

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#5 Gavster

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 03:57 AM

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, especially since you have so many other capable scopes in the same aperture size.

 

I will add that in the flesh, the FSQ85 is one of the most beautiful and travel worthy telescopes I've ever seen.

 

When observing at 100x+ powers, how does it compare to your other contenders?

Well it seems a few people already know how good the fsq85 is visually smile.gif

And agreed it definitely is a beautiful scope - probably my most good looking one!!

I haven’t compared the Fsq85 for high mag planetary and lunar observing with my other similar scopes yet, however it’s something I have enjoyed doing in the past so I will have a compare at some point soon.

However, I would expect my slightly bigger aperture scopes to beat the fsq85 here, especially with less glass as well so potentially better light transmission.

In regards weight, the fsq85 is a little heavy for it size but because it’s so short, I’ve found it very easy to mount - my skywatcher azgti handles it with ease even with heavy 2 inch eyepieces.

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#6 Erik Bakker

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 04:30 AM

Perhaps even more important is how much joy a scope brings under the stars.

No scope can do everything well, but in this subjective category, I think a Tak FSQ85 will rank very high.


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#7 Gavster

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 04:53 AM

Perhaps even more important is how much joy a scope brings under the stars.

No scope can do everything well, but in this subjective category, I think a Tak FSQ85 will rank very high.

I agree - the fsq85 is giving me a lot of joy, more than any of my other refractors have done I think (even my Tec160fl). Another (very different) scope that gives me a similar level of joy is my c11 shocked.gif  Astronomy has been full of surprises for me but lots of fun.


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#8 213Cobra

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 01:46 PM

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, especially since you have so many other capable scopes in the same aperture size.

 

I will add that in the flesh, the FSQ85 is one of the most beautiful and travel worthy telescopes I've ever seen.

 

When observing at 100x+ powers, how does it compare to your other contenders?

A Takahashi TOE 2.5mm eyepiece yields 180x from the 450mm FL FSQ-85. A TOE 3.3mm eyepiece yields 181x from my LOMO 80/600. F/5.3 against f/7.5. As another reference, the TOE 2.5 in my f/6 LOMO 80/480 yields 192x. I use TSFlat2 with the LOMOs. The Tak FSQ gives up nothing to the LOMOs in sharpness. The LOMO objectives definitely have a stark, sparkling coldness to their image compared to the slightly warmer FSQ. The f/7.5 LOMO particularly holds a slight contrast edge over the FSQ, but the FSQ shows more color subtlety, especially noticeable on Jupiter. The LOMO 80/480 has the LOMO's icy image but doesn't have the slight contrast advantage over the FSQ that the f/7.5 LOMO can exhibit. The FSQ shows more color gradients than the similar size LOMOs.

 

The Tak FOA-60Q, being f/15 and Takahashi's most perfect optic to date shows a more definitive contrast advantage over the FSQ, but with a clear loss of resolution and light gathering due to 25mm less aperture. A hypothetical f/15 FOA-85Q would be a stunner, but sans the FSQ's wide field views. You can get to a similar, effective f/15.88 endpoint by adding Takahashi's excellent 1.5X ED Extender and a 2X Barlow to the FSQ-85, and even with all that glass, the image quality will more than surprise you. Not that I do that for any reason other than to see how all that glass holds up. Today we have practical, short FL eyepieces available that aren't an insurmountable challenge to use.  So on nights of great seeing I do use the FSQ with its 1.5x Extender + a TOE or Nagler 2.5mm eyepiece for 270x, 80x/inch. The exit pupil falls below my usual preferred low limit of 0.4mm, but if the sky is stable and transparent and if my floaters are unusually settled -- it can be worth pushing the scope that far. Similarly the FSQ-106 with its 1.6X Extender and a 2.5mm eyepiece gets to the same sub-0.4mm exit pupil and ~80x per inch for an occasionally useful 339x. Most of the time I am not using any of my 80mm and larger scopes north of ~200X in my location. The f/7.5 LOMO shows a trace more definition in the bands of Jupiter; the f/5.3 FSQ shows more subtle color gradients. The f/6 LOMO's differences with the f/5.3 FSQ are even slighter -- really too slight to bother with. You can perhaps be happy with somewhat more prosaic eyepieces with the f/7.5 LOMO or something similar from today's f/8 refractor market, but that is less of a travel scope dimensionally. The FSQ has its weight more evenly distributed than a triplet, so for its mass it is friendlier to smaller mounts than you expect. No one is going to be disappointed by the image quality obtained through an FSQ-85 used visually.

 

Phil


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#9 25585

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 01:59 PM

Oh dear, Takitis flaring up again. 

 

My first refractor and forever scope is a TV Genesis, Petzval quad. A smaller version is a most enticing thought. I may see what the larger 90mm WO Redcat is like. But I have the correct extender for Tak's baby Q already, that being the Q1.6x which is also the one for my FC100DL.        



#10 db2005

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 02:00 PM

I have been wondering about the FSQ85's performance as a purely visual scope, so it's great to know that someone has actually done it with success. Thanks for sharing!

 

I am very impressed with the performance of my fluorite FC-76 DCU + EX-CQ (a 1.7x optically matched extender) which is effectively a quadruplet operating at f/12.6. The field is flat and with quite astonishing color-correction and impressive performance for a 3" scope. My experience has made me reconsider the conventional advice of using doublets for visual use and triplets only for photographic use. I was worried that the extra lens elements would cause problems with acclimatization compared with my Vixen SD81S ED doublet, but so far this problem has proven to be a non-issue. When winter comes I'll know for sure.


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#11 213Cobra

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 04:44 PM

>>But I have the correct extender for Tak's baby Q already, that being the Q1.6x...<<

 

The Tak Extender ED 1.5X is optimum for the FSQ-85, the TSA-120 and the TOAs. The QX 1.6X is for the FS and FC scopes. The Extender TOA 1.6X is also for the TOA models. The Extender QE 1.6X is for the FSQ-106EDX. All this is openly specified.

 

These various extenders and scopes tolerate some mixing and matching but results vary, as do individuals' acuity for seeing them. The QX is fairly general purpose with spacing and configuration options. It's easy to remember: 1.5 for 85; 1.6 for 106.

 

Phil


Edited by 213Cobra, 11 October 2019 - 06:09 PM.

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#12 Gavster

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 05:29 PM

Oh dear, Takitis flaring up again. 

 

My first refractor and forever scope is a TV Genesis, Petzval quad. A smaller version is a most enticing thought. I may see what the larger 90mm WO Redcat is like. But I have the correct extender for Tak's baby Q already, that being the Q1.6x which is also the one for my FC100DL.        

Not Takitis at all - I’ve sold 2 Taks in the past month! This is just an honest assessment from comparing several scopes of similar aperture. The fsq85 may be an acquired taste for visual but imo it’s a fantastic visual scope.


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#13 213Cobra

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 05:52 PM

I have been wondering about the FSQ85's performance as a purely visual scope, so it's great to know that someone has actually done it with success. Thanks for sharing!

 

I am very impressed with the performance of my fluorite FC-76 DCU + EX-CQ (a 1.7x optically matched extender) which is effectively a quadruplet operating at f/12.6. The field is flat and with quite astonishing color-correction and impressive performance for a 3" scope. My experience has made me reconsider the conventional advice of using doublets for visual use and triplets only for photographic use. I was worried that the extra lens elements would cause problems with acclimatization compared with my Vixen SD81S ED doublet, but so far this problem has proven to be a non-issue. When winter comes I'll know for sure.

Look through a Tak FOA60Q or even the FS60Q  and any doublet or triplet 60, and you will see that a quad done right isn't limiting. And as for triplets visually, my two LOMOs show more acutely-incisive definition than any similar-size-and-speed doublets I've ever looked through. But sure, in a slower scope, doublets made to a standard obviate the the triplet's contribution to visual acuity. So, sure, f/9 - f/20 that third piece of glass can become a liability. Also I don't see any thermal adjustment differences between my triplets and quads in SoCal winters going from 70° down to 30 or 34°. It takes what it takes. Can't say about doublets or more extreme differences further north, but this always seems an exaggerated problem to me for visual. I get that for AP it can cut into extended data gathering. 

 

Phil


Edited by 213Cobra, 12 October 2019 - 01:39 AM.

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#14 edif300

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 02:37 AM

Try with TOA-130NFB and TOA-67FL flowerred.gif



#15 sydney

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 09:38 PM

I’m a visual only observer and have always assumed that the Tak fsq85 was only really for imagers. 

I always have a scope for visual out with me while I’m imaging.  I found that the Tak FSQ106 is an exceptional scope for visual observing.  In addition to the flat field it has exceptional contrast, color correction, and handles magnification with ease.  Despite its weight, it is nice and stout and very steady on a GP class mount.

 

I just received my Stowaway, but haven’t had the skies to really try it out. Have you directly compared your Stowaway to the other scopes? 



#16 Gavster

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:25 AM

I always have a scope for visual out with me while I’m imaging.  I found that the Tak FSQ106 is an exceptional scope for visual observing.  In addition to the flat field it has exceptional contrast, color correction, and handles magnification with ease.  Despite its weight, it is nice and stout and very steady on a GP class mount.

 

I just received my Stowaway, but haven’t had the skies to really try it out. Have you directly compared your Stowaway to the other scopes? 

Yes, there are some comparisons in this thread.

 

https://www.cloudyni...stowaway/page-3



#17 213Cobra

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:57 AM

I always have a scope for visual out with me while I’m imaging.  I found that the Tak FSQ106 is an exceptional scope for visual observing.  In addition to the flat field it has exceptional contrast, color correction, and handles magnification with ease.  Despite its weight, it is nice and stout and very steady on a GP class mount.

 

I just received my Stowaway, but haven’t had the skies to really try it out. Have you directly compared your Stowaway to the other scopes? 

Absolutely. The FSQ-106xxx is sensationally capable as a ~4" visual refactor. Certainly enough so that no other 4" interests me. And its mass is distributed fairly evenly over a short, fat tube, so it is less challenging to smaller mounts. I can use it on my G&G mount/tri with no problems whatsoever.

 

Phil


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#18 25585

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 08:13 AM

>>But I have the correct extender for Tak's baby Q already, that being the Q1.6x...<<

 

The Tak Extender ED 1.5X is optimum for the FSQ-85, the TSA-120 and the TOAs. The QX 1.6X is for the FS and FC scopes. The Extender TOA 1.6X is also for the TOA models. The Extender QE 1.6X is for the FSQ-106EDX. All this is openly specified.

 

These various extenders and scopes tolerate some mixing and matching but results vary, as do individuals' acuity for seeing them. The QX is fairly general purpose with spacing and configuration options. It's easy to remember: 1.5 for 85; 1.6 for 106.

 

Phil

Thanks, I was going from memory. I have an ED1.5x as well for my TSA 120, got mixed up.



#19 25585

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 08:17 AM

Not Takitis at all - I’ve sold 2 Taks in the past month! This is just an honest assessment from comparing several scopes of similar aperture. The fsq85 may be an acquired taste for visual but imo it’s a fantastic visual scope.

My Takitis!

 

What did you sell?



#20 Gavster

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:52 PM

My Takitis!

 

What did you sell?

Ah ok. I’ve just sold an fc100df (having sold an fc100dl a couple of years ago). I also sold an Epsilon 130d. I just find for the widefield observing that I do a petzval is much better than a doublet or triplet.


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#21 BravoFoxtrot

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 03:20 PM

Ah ok. I’ve just sold an fc100df (having sold an fc100dl a couple of years ago). I also sold an Epsilon 130d. I just find for the widefield observing that I do a petzval is much better than a doublet or triplet.

 

As I’ve unexpectedly found out, these Petzvals do well at a lot more than widefield.  I was splitting doubles and cranking exit pupils last week with my NP101 and it was very fun.  People assume (me included) that these are widefield or imaging scopes only.  They may require premium EP’s and may not get to high magnification without ultra short FL EP’s (and maybe a Barlow), but when you do get there, they never seem to fail to impress. 


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#22 25585

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 05:37 PM

The FSQ85 seems ideal as a travel scope, is cheaper than a NP101. Good mounting on a TV Gibraltar, being short I expect. How long is the OE drawtube of the cheaper model?     


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#23 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 08:27 AM

With regard to the babyQ in particular, it works absolutely amazing as a visual scope. I was shocked to be quite truthful.  

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#24 waso29

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 01:47 AM

took advantage of crisp clear night for casual shootout between fsq85 and friend's newly acquired AP 92 Stowaway.

it was actually 1st light for the AP.

 

AP 92 612mm + 30XW/ ES 4.7 + AP Maxbright mirror diagonal on Vixen APZ.

FSQ85 450mm + 18.2/ 7 Delite + Q1.6x + Tak prism diagonal on AT Voyager.

 

Jupiter:

Fortunately seeing was very good and the red spot was in transit right after sunset.

With Jove in such low position and right above the heated old Meigs Field terminal,

we were pleasantly surprised to cleanly see GRS and candy striped cloud bands.

 

Saturn:

Even at such small image scale, cassini and planet's shadow on the rings looked etched.  

It truly looked like a sticker.

 

Moon:

Arago lunar domes were a treat to see.

 

We also glanced at Andromeda, Double Cluster, Pleiades.

Since we were observing in the city, did not have any nice milky way star fields to take advantage of fsq flat field.

Besides the slight magnification in AP, both scopes provided satisfyingly good views in small package.

 

As a visual grab-n-go package, the silky smooth FT focuser, the beautifully finished svelte tube, all neatly packed in practical carrying case give AP the edge.

I was pleasantly surprised fsq85 kept up with the stowaway, and it was nice to have fsq85 take a break from imaging duties.

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  • IMG_0042 fsq85 vs 92stowaway.JPG

Edited by waso29, 19 October 2019 - 02:07 AM.

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#25 Steve Allison

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 03:59 PM

Are you saying both telescopes provided exactly the same image quality on every target? A comparison of the image in each telescope on each specific object would be helpful...


Edited by Steve Allison, 19 October 2019 - 04:00 PM.



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