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Vixen ED80SF or AT102ED

refractor
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#1 cupton

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 09:18 PM

Been looking at a small Refractor to go with my 5” MAK and I’ve had my eye on a Vixen ED80SF. Basically I’m looking for something I can just grab and go for a quick viewing session when time is of the essence. I live in western PA where we get a lot of clouds and sometimes a break in those clouds come without warning and while waiting for my MAK to acclimate sometimes I miss that cloudless window.

I was thinking of an ED80 but have been reading good things about the AT102ED. Vixen has the ED80 package with scope, mount, case and accessories but for about the same price after putting everything together individually I could get the AT102ED and get the 22mm more in aperture. I’m strictly visual and don’t do any astrophotography. The Vixen comes with the Porta II Tall AZ mount and I could get that or the AT Voyager 2 AZ mount for the AT102ED.

What are your thoughts between the two scopes as a grab and go for visual only as a partner for my 5” Mak?

#2 Bean614

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 09:45 PM

Wrap your Mak in Reflectix insulation.   Problem solved, Zero acclimation  time (search Cass Forum  for "insulation).


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#3 gene 4181

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 11:08 PM

 Cupton , a decent 80 or even a 102 would make a nice companion to your mak .    Both are nice , you choose ,   WF -open cluster viewing or primarily  moon and planets  ?     Used AT 102  in classifieds , Olathe ,KS.  450


Edited by gene 4181, 27 November 2019 - 11:11 PM.

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#4 Jond105

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 11:49 PM

For a 5” mak I’d go with the 80. You’d get a little bit wider of a view. The AT102ED seems like a great scope, but as far as high power goes, your mak will probably match it. So I’d go with the wider scope on this one. I think though if you went with the 102ED, you’d probably replace the mak down the road, so in the end it’s still a tough call for me to recommend either with a definite answer. 


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#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 04:23 AM

For a 5” mak I’d go with the 80. You’d get a little bit wider of a view. The AT102ED seems like a great scope, but as far as high power goes, your mak will probably match it. So I’d go with the wider scope on this one. I think though if you went with the 102ED, you’d probably replace the mak down the road, so in the end it’s still a tough call for me to recommend either with a definite answer. 

 

If it were a very high quality 5 inch Mak, that would probably be true.  But I had an Orion Starmax 127 of similar vintage to Cupton's and I would put my money on the AT-102ED.  The effective aperture of the Mak is around 120mm and the CO is actually 40%, I was never happy with the sharpness and contrast of the Mak.  I suspect that if Cupton purchased the AT-102ED, the Mak would fall into disuse. 

 

That said, between the 80mm Vixen and the AT-102ED: 

 

About 12 years ago, I was given the opportunity to review the very first AT-102ED.  At the time I had a William Optics 80mm F/7 Megrez II FD, an FPL-53 doublet with a high quality build optics very similar to the Vixen.  

 

You can read the review here:  https://www.cloudyni...h-at102ed-r1690

 

After reviewing the AT-102ED, I decided to buy it. I had the AT-102ED for about 2 years and had so much fun, I decided to treat myself to a used NP-101.  During those 2 years, I almost never used the 80mm. It had better color correction but the added aperture of the 102ED more than made up for it.  The new version of the AT-102ED has a better focuser but is otherwise very similar.  

 

As far as a mount, I would go with the Vixen Portamount 2.  The Voyager 2 is very similar to the Explore Scientific Twilight 1 and for a 4 inch refractor, I find the Portamount the more stable mount. 

 

Here's an image I took "digiscoping" with the AT-102ED.  

 

6638360-Osprey 2 Bright CN.jpg

 

Jon


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#6 joseph07081

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 09:11 AM

I previously owned a Celestron C80ED ( similar specs to the Vixen 80mm) and the newest model AT102ED. I currently live north of you, but used to live in Cranberry Twp, and with the local light pollution, I find the views in the 102 much more satisfying than I did in the 80mm. The 102 is not much bigger than the 80, I found it very easy to pick up and move out the door and around the yard if needed. Visually, the 102 showed only the slightest hint of color around the brightest objects, lunar views were exquisite. 

 

Concerning mounts, I used both scopes on my first generation Astro-Tech Voyager. The 80mm had considerably less vibration than the 102 due to the shorter moment arm. Vibrations settled almost instantly with the 80, the 102 settled after a few seconds. Since I find vibration to be a major irritant, I purchased a Stellarvue M2C mount for the 102. I find this to be a solid mount, but it is a bigger mount and a bit heavier to move around on my CG5 class tripod. 

 

I recently sold my AT102ED to take advantage of the recent sale on Stellarvue SV102A Access telescopes. I only did this because of the slightly better glass in the SV102A. For visual use, I found the views between both scopes to be excellent, but since I am venturing into astrophotography, I wanted the slightly better glass. The C80ED was sold to fund a 73ED scope for wider fields and to use as my astrophotography learning tool. I currently have a Meade 80mm Adventure scope with an upgraded 2" focuser on my Voyager mount to cover wide field grab-n-go duties. 


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#7 russell23

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 09:49 AM

Been looking at a small Refractor to go with my 5” MAK and I’ve had my eye on a Vixen ED80SF. Basically I’m looking for something I can just grab and go for a quick viewing session when time is of the essence. I live in western PA where we get a lot of clouds and sometimes a break in those clouds come without warning and while waiting for my MAK to acclimate sometimes I miss that cloudless window.

I was thinking of an ED80 but have been reading good things about the AT102ED. Vixen has the ED80 package with scope, mount, case and accessories but for about the same price after putting everything together individually I could get the AT102ED and get the 22mm more in aperture. I’m strictly visual and don’t do any astrophotography. The Vixen comes with the Porta II Tall AZ mount and I could get that or the AT Voyager 2 AZ mount for the AT102ED.

What are your thoughts between the two scopes as a grab and go for visual only as a partner for my 5” Mak?

Over the past year and a half I have purchased the following:

 

61mm f/5.9 Williams optics APO

80mm f/7 SV Access

102mm f/7 AT ED APO

102mm f/7 SV Access

 

I also have the 120mm f/7.5 SW APO.

 

In my opinion the 102mm f/7 provides the best balance of aperture/portability.    The 80mm f/7 had spectacular optics, but there were times when the exit pupil became dim before I got to the level of resolution I desired.  Definitely the same with the 61mm APO.   The 102mm keeps a large enough exit pupil at magnifications I like for my higher magnification/resolution views of deep sky objects.  

 

The 102mm f/7 can be G&G depending upon your set-up and needs.  If I wanted to I could throw a couple eyepieces in coat pockets and grab my mount with the 102mm f/7 and be out and set up in one trip.  With the 120mm f/7.5, the scope and mount must go out separately and I need anti-vibration pads, but it is still quick to set up - just cannot be done in one trip.

 

In reality, I don't ever do one trip out the door.  I take out the mount, then carry out the OTA, then bring out my eyepiece case, then the stack of 2x10" boards I use to adjust seating height on the bench seat I use for observing. 


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#8 cupton

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 10:36 AM

Thank you all. There is certainly a lot to chew on here so I will look it all over a little later and gain more knowledge from you all. I appreciate it! Happy a thanksgiving and clear skies! Except for me of course.

#9 Bomber Bob

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 11:12 AM

Here's a visual -- Vixen FL80S F8 to AT102ED:

 

AT102ED S02 (Vixen FL80S Sizes).jpg


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#10 Spikey131

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 01:23 PM

Like many, I have a 3" and 4" refractor (TV 76, NP101).

 

The main reason I have a TV76 is because it fits in a backpack and will go under an airplane seat.  At home, it is not much easier to set up than the NP101 for grab and go.  I personally do not try to squeeze any mounted telescope through a doorway, so I carry the scope and mount separately.  Sort of grab and go, go back and grab an go again.

 

But you have a 5" Mak.  The only advantage I can see for you from either of these refractors is a wider FOV.  Neither is more portable, smaller or lighter.  Wider FOV is a good reason to consider a refractor, and for that the 80mm might be a better choice.


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#11 cupton

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 11:03 PM

Ok so after reading through everything posted here and doing some thinking about what I actually want to do with the scope and after pricing it all out between the ED80 and AT102ED I did end up purchasing the Vixen ED80SF with Porta II Tall Mount. With the Vixen package of scope, case, finder, diagonal, and mount it just ended up being a better option for me.

I love my current Mak on its EQ-3 Mount for the moon and planets. I always felt I got one of the good ones with that scope back when I got it in 2001 so I wasn’t looking to replace it. Just looking to get something to compliment it that I could bring outside quickly for wide views of the sky and put in the car and not have to move around a heavy EQ Mount. Always wanted a smaller refractor and I figured now was the time.

Thank you all for your advice, opinions and pictures! Looking forward to this week when my new scope is delivered.
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#12 Jond105

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 11:30 PM

Congrats and good choice. Hope you like it. 


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#13 Erik Bakker

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 04:45 AM

Congratulations on getting the Vixen ED80 with Porta II mount. I think you'll love it.

Your 5" Mak may start to see less use though wink.gif


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#14 cupton

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 09:01 AM

Dumb sidebar question to my refractor question. This is my 1st refractors (not counting the FedMart Tasco from 35 years ago) and also my first option to use 2” EP’s. Any real benefit to jump to 2” for the non AP type such as myself? My Mak is 1.25 only and I use Orion Plossls in 32, 25, 15, 10 and 6.5mm. Also have a WO Swan 20mm and a Vixen LV Zoom. I was looking for a little more eye relief than what my Plossls give me in the higher powers. Lots out there to choose from but not sure if I would benefit by jumping to the 2” for the ED80 and not being able to use them in my Mak. Oh I forgot to mention that I use a Tak prism diagonal as well so if I don’t like the flip mirror the ES80 comes with I have that option. Love the Tak in my Mak. Hey that rhymed!

Does that make sense? Sorry if not. I’m literally sitting in the woods freezing my butt off as I type this and my fingers aren’t working too well. Opening day here in PA!

#15 Jond105

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 09:18 AM

Dumb sidebar question to my refractor question. This is my 1st refractors (not counting the FedMart Tasco from 35 years ago) and also my first option to use 2” EP’s. Any real benefit to jump to 2” for the non AP type such as myself? My Mak is 1.25 only and I use Orion Plossls in 32, 25, 15, 10 and 6.5mm. Also have a WO Swan 20mm and a Vixen LV Zoom. I was looking for a little more eye relief than what my Plossls give me in the higher powers. Lots out there to choose from but not sure if I would benefit by jumping to the 2” for the ED80 and not being able to use them in my Mak. Oh I forgot to mention that I use a Tak prism diagonal as well so if I don’t like the flip mirror the ES80 comes with I have that option. Love the Tak in my Mak. Hey that rhymed!

Does that make sense? Sorry if not. I’m literally sitting in the woods freezing my butt off as I type this and my fingers aren’t working too well. Opening day here in PA!

I like 2” wide field eyepieces. You may not see a reason for one, though your scope would be an excellent scope to try out 2” wide field eyepieces. I’m not saying go out and spend now, but down the road maybe pick up bits and pieces off classifieds to try out. Either you’ll enjoy the widefield or like some, maybe not so much. Just my thoughts. 


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#16 emflocater

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 09:22 AM

Ok so after reading through everything posted here and doing some thinking about what I actually want to do with the scope and after pricing it all out between the ED80 and AT102ED I did end up purchasing the Vixen ED80SF with Porta II Tall Mount. With the Vixen package of scope, case, finder, diagonal, and mount it just ended up being a better option for me.

I love my current Mak on its EQ-3 Mount for the moon and planets. I always felt I got one of the good ones with that scope back when I got it in 2001 so I wasn’t looking to replace it. Just looking to get something to compliment it that I could bring outside quickly for wide views of the sky and put in the car and not have to move around a heavy EQ Mount. Always wanted a smaller refractor and I figured now was the time.

Thank you all for your advice, opinions and pictures! Looking forward to this week when my new scope is delivered.

I have the Vixen ED80SF Scope and you will NEVER regret that purchase. An incredible scope and bang for the buck. I don't think I ever ran across one bad review for the views this scope produces!!

Cheers

Don


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#17 NYJohn S

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 09:22 AM

I've been following along and thought if you really wanted to keep the Mak you should get the ED80 so congratulations. I have the SV80A, AT102ED and my Daughter has the Celestron 127 Mak. If you got the AT102ED I think the Mak wouldn't have come out much anymore. The ED80 will compliment it without competing with it so it's a better choice from that standpoint. I would definitely get a 2" diagonal and at least one 2" eyepiece. That's the beauty of the 80, It can go wide for larger objects and scanning around. 

 

Enjoy the new scope!

John


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#18 cupton

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 09:34 AM

I have the Vixen ED80SF Scope and you will NEVER regret that purchase. An incredible scope and bang for the buck. I don't think I ever ran across one bad review for the views this scope produces!!
Cheers
Don

It was a tough choice for sure. So many good reviews on both I was considering. In the end, I’m sure there will be more scopes in the arsenal but for now I thought the ED80 was the best choice for me. Plus that 5 year warranty isn’t to shabby.

Edited by cupton, 30 November 2019 - 09:35 AM.

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#19 cupton

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 09:39 AM

I've been following along and thought if you really wanted to keep the Mak you should get the ED80 so congratulations. I have the SV80A, AT102ED and my Daughter has the Celestron 127 Mak. If you got the AT102ED I think the Mak wouldn't have come out much anymore. The ED80 will compliment it without competing with it so it's a better choice from that standpoint. I would definitely get a 2" diagonal and at least one 2" eyepiece. That's the beauty of the 80, It can go wide for larger objects and scanning around.

Enjoy the new scope!
John

Thanks, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. “Compliment it without competing with it”. Well put!

#20 Spikey131

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 04:50 PM

I use 2" EPs with my 3" refractor frequently.  You are getting this scope for wide views.  

 

Add an ES 30 82 degree or 35 Panoptic, and take a look at the whole Veil nebula at a dark site.


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#21 Erik Bakker

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 09:30 AM

2” eyepieces in your scope are like enjoying fresh air coming in through an open window. If you enjoy the fresh air, opening up the window further will bring in more fresh air smile.gif


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#22 Erik Bakker

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 09:35 AM

I will always remember the first  time I could observe all 3 of the brightest stars in the belt of Orion in one field with room to spare in my first 2” eyepiece. The deep sky will take on a whole new appearance through 2” widefield eyepieces. And one of incredible beauty for sure.


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#23 cupton

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 10:53 AM

Thanks all. Sounds like down the road I’ll be getting that WO 2” diagonal I was looking at and a couple EP’s to go along with it. I’ll start with one low and one high power. This won’t be for a while though. I’ll keep an eye out for sales as well as the CN classifieds. For now I’ll enjoy my ED80 with my current set of EP’s.

#24 Erik Bakker

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 11:15 AM

For medium to high powers, 1 1/4” is fine of course.


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#25 cupton

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 11:40 AM

For medium to high powers, 1 1/4” is fine of course.

Yep, I see this now. I was looking at the ES 82 line just now they jump up to 2” 18mm and up. I’m in no rush here for 2” EP’s so I’ll study up more. Thank you!


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