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Questar v. Takahashi

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#1 RMay

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 01:00 PM

For my next scope I am considering either a Questar Five/Seven or a Takahashi APO 150, on the recommendation of a friend who is a serious observer and has used both the Seven and the 150 and prefers the 150 due to optics and cool-down times.

If you’ve used either or both of these scopes, I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Thanks,

Ron

Edited by RMay, 18 October 2019 - 01:00 PM.


#2 bobhen

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 02:17 PM

Ron,

 

I’ve owned over 20 telescopes including a couple 6” AP triplet refractors and some large SCTs and Newtonians (never a Q7) and recently downsized to a couple of Taks, a TSA 120 and Mewlon because of size and weight etc.

 

The scopes you list are all really great so it just depends on your needs, goals, conditions and observing style.

 

Do you want to image (planets deep sky?) or just visual or both?
If imaging is something you want to do, the Tak 150 for deep sky and the Q7 for the moon and planets might be a consideration, with the Tak 150 a better “general” imaging and visual choice.

 

Do you have to set up or do you have an observatory or garage where you can just wheel out a scope and start observing?
If you have to set up and portability or weight is an issue then a Q5, Q7 or Tak 130 might be considerations.

 

Do you have to bring the scope outside from a warm house or can you leave it in a garage or observatory?
If you have to bring a scope outside from a warm house the Tak 150 will be better as the Q7 can take some time to acclimate. The Tak isn’t as fast as other 6” refractors but refractors have advantages with acclimation. You will also get better images with a refactor “while it is acclimating” than with a Maksutov or Cassegrain.

 

What do you like to observe? Everything or is there a special category of objects like deep sky or the sun or the moon?
The Tak 150 ( or any 6" high quality apo refractor) is hard to beat as a high quality, general “do it all” observing tool. Add a camera or image intensifier to the back, if you want to go really deep.

 

Will you be able to you handle the weight of a Q7 or Tak 150 as you age or is that irrelevant?
As we age telescopes get heavier so depending on your age a Q5 or Tak 130 might be the better long-term solution.

 

Have fun choosing and using.

 

Bob



#3 Optics Patent

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 03:55 PM

My thought is that The Seven (apparently like the Tak) is not a portable telescope.  Either a fixed location, or a smooth roll-out/roll-in (like I have) is the only realistic way to avoid back injury or scope damage from repeated docking and undocking.

The anticipated Q5 would be entirely portable, at about 20 pounds plus a sturdy tripod.

Otherwise, in weighing Q vs. T, the f7 T would seem to get the comparative advantage for deep sky objects, and the Q for planetary.

 

(I presume that the thermal equilibration advantage for a refractor is due to the optical mass being all "out there" with a surface exposed to ambient, while the Mak has the mirror in an enclosed chamber).


Edited by Optics Patent, 18 October 2019 - 03:57 PM.

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#4 RMay

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 11:20 AM

I think you guys are asking some very insightful and thoughtful questions.

We are moving shortly to a new home and I actually don’t know how the visibility/viewing will be at the new place, although the skies are darker than where we live now. I’m beginning to think that a Five will be my best option because, a) I have long appreciated the portability of a scope (and in fact I’ve always said that a telescope is only as good as how convenient it is to use), and, b) in 20 years that scope will be alone because I know I won’t be around, or if I am I’ll be in a corner drooling onto a star chart, so yes, weight matters, too.

For the most part, It will be used for visual observing, and I will want to take the scope with me, so I’m beginning to think the Five will be my best bet…

👍👍👍

Ron

#5 Erik Bakker

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 12:05 PM

Having had a Classic fork mounted Questar 7, a Tak FS102 and A-P EDF 130 triplet for many years and being familiar with the TOA130, here's my take as a visual observer.

 

If temperature swings between storing and observing or during observing are mild, a Questar 7 excels for the moon, Mars and Saturn for visual observing in the 120-300x range. A Q5 will not best that. It is the most portable of these 3 but still not available on the market yet. At this time, no fork mounted version will be available soon. They start with the OTA when it enters the market. And much heavier than a Q 3.5 anyway.

 

A TOA150 on a proper equatorial is readily available with a reasonable short delivery time. And both a MUCH heavier beast AND a superb performer, also helped by mild temperature swings. On Jupiter, the TOA150 will have an edge and will be the far better allround visual observer's scope, excelling at anything in the 25x-300x range and besting them all on low contrast color shades on Jupiter.

 

The Q7 with it's 2800mm native focal length will achieve high magnifications most effortlessly of these scopes and has unreal portability for a 7" long focus high performance equatorially mounted instrument.

The fork mounted Q7 is very comfortable to observe the moon and planets, but less so for observing near the polar region on the Northern Hemisphere.

 

Photographically, the TOA150 rules them all, excepts perhaps on high magnification planetary and lunar  imaging. But it is a much more substantial instrument when properly mounted on an equatorial like the Tak EM400.

 

It comes down to personal preferences and local sky conditions to choose the one which suits upon best.

 

All that said, some of my most memorable observing hours on the best of nights of the moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars were behind my Questar 7 in scopes the 5"-8" aperture range. It definitely outperformed my A-P EDF130 on these objects and will be much better than the Q5 on those nights. I expect the TOA150 to be generally either very close or better than the Q7 on these best of nights. And is less affected by seeing on the lesser nights, both because of it's smaller aperture AND lack of central obstruction. Though in Florida that would be less of an issue.


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#6 Codbear

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 01:05 PM

Not much to add to Ben's, Bob's and Erik's very thorough analysis other than my personal experience with both a 1986 Classic Q7 setup as well as my current 2 year old Titanium Astro Q7.

 

I had a Classic Q7 setup such as Ben described. Without wheels it is extremely difficult to set and take down. With that said, in 50 years of observing the single best view of Saturn I have ever seen was through my Classic Q7 with binoviewers at about 350x.

 

My Astro 7 only weighs 19 lbs and I am able to mount it fairly easily due to its short barrel length, something that cannot be said for my TEC180 (for me at least).

 

In a shootout with my 180 on the Moon, the Astro 7 fell just a bit short of the 180, which is to be expected given that the 180 has 7" of unobstructed glass. What was surprising was how close the Astro 7 came to the 180...very close, yet the 7 is so much more portable.

 

Sorting out what is a priority for you will be the key to a successful decision. Enjoy both the process and whichever scope you ultimately decide upon.

 

Sam


Edited by Codbear, 19 October 2019 - 01:06 PM.

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#7 Toxo144

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 02:40 PM

Ron,

 

Your choice here is between scopes that are all FANTASTIC.  The "unknown" factor here is the Questar 5, which is not yet in production.  Given how long it takes Questar to do their R&D and get production up and running, at my age I wouldn't hold my breath!  And in the case of the Questar 7, they rarely become available on the used market.  Optimistically I would estimate at least 8 months - and probably more - between the time you order a Q7 and delivery.  I don't know how readily available the large aperture Taks are, but I'd wager the wait times are more reasonable.

 

Full disclosure here - I own an "unmounted" Q7 Titanium Classic.  It gives views lunar and planetary that easily compete with the very best refractors on the market, and the scope can be easily managed (honestly, the Atlas EQ mount is harder on my back than the Q7 will ever be!!).  It gives very good views of a number of DSO's, and with a 24 or 32 mm eyepiece in the native port or a 2" diagonal/eyepiece through the axial port it yields a surprisingly large FOV given the native FL.  BUT - a larger aperture Tak (or any large ap refractor) will be more versatile, even if it is a royal pain to move around, mount and dismount. And (sorry, all you Questar fanatics) for objects like the double cluster, the stars are simply more pleasing and pinpoint in a great refractor like the AP or the Tak, and the image is brighter.  But for a large refractor, this "versatility" comes at a price in terms of portability.

 

I'd also add that if astrophotography is even a remote consideration, get the Tak.  Q7 is fine for lunar and planetary, but for deep space objects if there is a bright star even CLOSE to the FOV then you'll be dealing with annoying light rings that are VERY hard to process out. 

 

I hope this, along with the other advice offered here, helps.  You will be happy with ANY of these scopes.  If visual lunar/planetary and bright DSO's are your thing, I'd say you can't go wrong with either.  ALL these scopes make anybody drool when they see them.  But my gut tells me that, if you are on this forum, that the Q7 - either astro or classic, unmounted - might be the best "fit" for you. 

 

Best wishes with whatever you decide.  Let us know how it turns out!

 

Cheers and Clears,

 

Toxo.  



#8 Optics Patent

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 09:21 PM

As far as the Q5, my best assumption in the absence of a factory announcement is that the OTA is a year away and the mount another year.

That has been the situation for a while and may well be for some time.
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#9 RichA

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 10:40 PM

My thought is that The Seven (apparently like the Tak) is not a portable telescope.  Either a fixed location, or a smooth roll-out/roll-in (like I have) is the only realistic way to avoid back injury or scope damage from repeated docking and undocking.

The anticipated Q5 would be entirely portable, at about 20 pounds plus a sturdy tripod.

Otherwise, in weighing Q vs. T, the f7 T would seem to get the comparative advantage for deep sky objects, and the Q for planetary.

 

(I presume that the thermal equilibration advantage for a refractor is due to the optical mass being all "out there" with a surface exposed to ambient, while the Mak has the mirror in an enclosed chamber).

Try using an older Meade 12" LX200 at 75lbs.  This is when you long for the days of a C14 with its "minor" 50lb weight which can be demounted from the forks.



#10 Steve C.

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Posted 27 October 2019 - 02:11 PM

Yep, what's portable changes as one gets older.  Grab 'N Go becomes Grab 'N Groan.


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#11 ehallspqr

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 04:01 AM

Anticipated Q5: portable and convenient to setup, very highest quality lifetime scope, razor sharp contrasty APO Refractor like image, primarily a planetary and moon scope but should provide enough light grasp for brighter deep sky object viewing, priced comparable to a high quality 5” refractor like Tak, AP, Ziess etc, USA made & Questar Customer service is excellent in the industry.

 

Been using a 5” Meade ETX series Forkmounted Goto Mak for several years now. It’s a great do-it-all little telescope that is portable and convenient to use. Nice refractor like views in a much more compact, easier to handle package. Used a Q7 and several 5-6” refractors setups like AP and Tak. Love the views through the big Questar and any high quality APO refractor but as others have mentioned these are neither quick to setup, nor very portable.

 

If you get an opportunity, there are several Chinese made 125mm Maks sold under different names like Skywatcher or Orion. Also the Meade ETX125 is a good one to checkout. Intes Micro 125mm is a Russian Mak that gets rave reviews. Any of these would give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the upcoming Q5. The Questar 5” should be a notch or two above these in terms of build and image quality, but of course a much higher prices point




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