Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Are you content with your refractor?

  • Please log in to reply
279 replies to this topic

#26 sickfish



  • *****
  • Posts: 8,556
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Watertown Ma. Cape Coral Fl.

Posted 07 December 2019 - 10:40 AM

All I have is a ES AR102, ST80 and Celestron 70mm F10.

 have no high end APOs. I really enjoy the 102. The ST80 is the ST80, love it.

The 70mm works good on planets

You use what you got I guess and I really don't want a APO yet.

Edited by sickfish, 07 December 2019 - 10:41 AM.

  • Scott Beith and erin like this

#27 t.r.


    Fly Me to the Moon

  • ****-
  • Posts: 6,168
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2008
  • Loc: 1123,6536,5321

Posted 07 December 2019 - 10:41 AM

You kind of covered the gamut there Daniel, however your “Holy Grail” only grazed the target. I believe most refractor aficionados are simply trying to achieve perfection...much like the Japanese Samurai! It is spiritual as much as an application in creating the perfect sword in which to execute their craft. At least it is to me.
  • Scott Beith, peleuba, RAKing and 4 others like this

#28 Dynan



  • *****
  • Posts: 3,838
  • Joined: 11 Mar 2018
  • Loc: NOLA

Posted 07 December 2019 - 10:42 AM

My ES ED127CF-FDC100 has supplanted my other two scopes, an 8SE and a C11.


Compared to the C11, which I just sold, it is so... civilized...no mirror flop, easy to cover, consistent. Nothing wrong with the C11, but I didn't need pixel scale below seeing and tracking. I can image anything I like...(with an immanent foray into mosaics).


Coupled with a Moonlite CFL using auto-focus for the first time last outing, I was in heaven.


Downsizing all the extraneous gear now.

  • Scott Beith likes this

#29 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs


  • *****
  • Posts: 85,689
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 07 December 2019 - 10:42 AM



That suit is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!



Love’n the suit that’s freaking hysterical.  


I know both of you are into fashion.  This coat and tie are available but hard to find.  I think they're only available in one store, actually a small chain, you may have one in your town.. 


If you want one, they're $23 at Walmart... 


We had just finished a day of shopping for a new coat, pants, a couple of shirts and ties, new shoes.  I realized I needed a new belt and it was late so Walmart was the only option. When I spotted this coat and in my size, it just seemed perfect. 



  • russell23, PirateMike, SeaBee1 and 1 other like this

#30 OldManSky



  • *****
  • Posts: 4,289
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Valley Center, CA USA

Posted 07 December 2019 - 10:43 AM

I currently have one refractor, a William Optics GT71 FPL53 triplet. I’m more than content with it, and honestly can’t see myself selling it ever.

I am planning a larger (100 to 130mm) imaging refractor, since I’ll soon have a new mount that can handle that size, but that will be an addition, not a replacement. 

What I don’t have is a suit like Jon. And probably never will...:)

#31 frito


    Vendor - M51 Astro

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 1,496
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Fremont, CA

Posted 07 December 2019 - 10:50 AM

I'm quite content with my WO FLT 110. my other refractor the AT65EDQ will likely get replaced by something better next year however lol.  

  • Scott Beith and John O'Grady like this

#32 martinl


    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 300
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2006
  • Loc: Sweden

Posted 07 December 2019 - 11:09 AM

I’ve had my TV85 for almost 11 years. It may not be the absolute best in any one category, but it is very good in all. Very good optics, build quality, compactness, cool down, ease of adding accessories etc. Oh, and it’s white, so it goes with all my outfits. 


The key, I think, to be happy with something long-term is to strive for a good balance between all qualities and to as far as possible avoid any weaknesses that may start to annoy you over time.

  • Scott Beith, Jon Isaacs, SkyRanger and 2 others like this

#33 MrRoberts


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 729
  • Joined: 20 Jun 2016
  • Loc: Barrington, Illinois (60010)

Posted 07 December 2019 - 11:17 AM

I also flipped ota's until I found the 2 I like the best and have since been very content with (Esprits 80 & 120). Although I am waiting for my CEM40 to put my 120 on I suspect that I will need to also get a 

CEM60 for it and use the CEM40 with the C-8/E. I am going to mount the 80mm on my CEM25P. The AZM Pro is mostly for outreach programs.

And have also been very happy with my C-8/E.

Had to sell my Obsession 15" due to size/weight/stairs/age. May one day purchase a 12.5 dob from Dave K.

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_0609-2.jpg
  • IMG_0591-2.jpg

  • Scott Beith, BKBrown, ken30809 and 1 other like this

#34 Ken Sturrock

Ken Sturrock

    Cardinal Ximenez (No one expects the Spanish Inquisition)

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 8,891
  • Joined: 26 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 07 December 2019 - 11:23 AM

A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but high above the busy streets, on the twelfth floor of the Woodland Hills Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions --- Daniel Mounsey, Telescope Enthusiast

  • Daniel Mounsey, Paul G, Scott Beith and 5 others like this

#35 Astroman007


    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,415
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2017
  • Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada

Posted 07 December 2019 - 11:28 AM

I love my refractor, yes. Doesn't mean that I don't want another, but the one I have is a keeper and getting another, while a dream, is not a pressing priority at the moment.

I could even say that I am satisfied with what I have.

  • Daniel Mounsey, Scott Beith and Creedence like this

#36 CounterWeight


    Star walker

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,039
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: PDX, OR.

Posted 07 December 2019 - 11:30 AM

I just like seeing what the different scopes can do in my skies. I guess I'm content doing that. My two recent additions the SW 80 triplet and the SW 150 doublet each occupy their own niche. The FS-128 has become what I call my reference scope.  Most of my decisions driven by economics and availability.  I find it hard to resist the curiosity when something new comes out I am interested in trying, I have to sell to buy so the scope shuffle starts there... and continues until money is doing the shuffle between my bank and a scope store... and then the scope arrives and does the shimmy sham in my yard or elsewhere under a clear sky.



My version of dancing with the stars...

Edited by CounterWeight, 07 December 2019 - 11:32 AM.

  • ryderc1, Heywood, SeaBee1 and 1 other like this

#37 punk35



  • *****
  • Posts: 1,446
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Adrian Michigan

Posted 07 December 2019 - 11:30 AM

I’m very happy with my refractor. Since I’m a very casual observer, sometimes not getting out for months at a time, my AT102ED does everything I want it to when I do have time for observing. My previous C4R was also satisfactory for my observing habits and schedule. If I had not been fortunate to get an unexpected bonus from a job that allowed me to purchase the AT102ED, I would still be happily using the C4R as my only telescope. 

  • Daniel Mounsey, Scott Beith, Jon Isaacs and 5 others like this

#38 j.gardavsky



  • *****
  • Posts: 1,452
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2019
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 07 December 2019 - 11:44 AM

Hello Jon,


that suit is to be taken quite seriously as a top fashion!


Back to the refractors

Besides the Leica APO Televid, I have only an aged 6" F/5 Sky-Watcher (Synta) achro refractor, and been always quite happy with it.

However, I must admit that the accessories, like zenith diagonal prism, precise focuser, filter wheel, and matched eyepieces, make quite a difference, pulling out difficult DSOs into the visibility, like in my recent report


And not only the DSOs, but also the Moon or planets.




  • Daniel Mounsey, Scott Beith, BKBrown and 2 others like this

#39 Cotts


    Just Wondering

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 10,430
  • Joined: 10 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Madoc, Ontario

Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:10 PM

I have been perfectly content with the all of the following:  Scopes still in my possession bolded... 


60mm, f/11 achro (my first telescope, a birthday gift in 1960, ) 

100mm f/5 Televue Genesis APO.

80mm f/6 WO Fluorite Doublet APO

60mm f/? WO Achromat

200mm f/9 LZOS Achromat

150mm f/8 Celestron Achromat

152mm f/8 TMB APO

150mm f/5.9 Canadian Telescopes Achromat

140mm f/7 TEC APO

150mm f/8 Astrophysics triplet APO (1988 vintage)

65mm f/6 AstroTech Quadruple APO 

80mm f/5 Meade Achromat 

160mm f/7 TEC  APO 



  • Scott Beith, RogerLaureys, m9x18 and 5 others like this

#40 cupton


    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 214
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2019
  • Loc: Marshall Township, PA

Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:10 PM

My Vixen ED80 hasn’t even seen 1st light yet, so I’m happy with it. For now! In fact I like the Porta II Mount it’s on right now so much and how easy it is to move around I’m looking to mount my 5” Mak on it for these cold winter months.
  • Scott Beith, Jon Isaacs and Bomber Bob like this

#41 John Huntley

John Huntley


  • ***--
  • Posts: 2,633
  • Joined: 16 Jul 2006
  • Loc: SW England

Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:14 PM

I have 4 refractors. I have owned my Vixen ED102SS and my Skywatcher ED120 for many years now and I'm very happy with them.


More recently I've been able to acquire two premium level refractors in the shape of the Takahashi FC-100DL (bought new) and a pre-owned (but very tidy) TMB/LZOS 130mm F/9.2 triplet. Together those two cost me about 5x as much as the Vixen and Skywatcher had cost which I purchased those around a decade ago (both pre-owned).


Having the chance to observe with the top end optics of the Tak and LZOS has been a great experience and both scopes have performed superbly, as I hoped and expected them to.


What I will say though is that neither of these excellent and expensive refractors has been a game changer in terms of my enjoyment of the hobby. I feel lucky to have the chance to own them but I'm sure now that I would have enjoyed astronomy just as much using the old Vixen and Skywatcher ED doublets and my trusty 13 year old 12 inch dobsonian.


The twist is that I've had to own the much more expensive scopes to realise just how good the much less expensive ones actually are.

Edited by John Huntley, 07 December 2019 - 12:17 PM.

  • Scott Beith, GlenM, m9x18 and 11 others like this

#42 nva


    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 224
  • Joined: 01 Sep 2018

Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:14 PM

I have a 127mm apo that I cannot complain about. I think my terminal refractor would be ~140mm and about f/7 for size and weight, mag and exit pupil for how and what I like to look at. Sometimes I think about selling all my scopes and buying a premium one but then I remember Mars is coming and memories of Jupiter steady at 400x (1mm exit pupil) with my dob keep that at bay.

Edited by nva, 07 December 2019 - 12:21 PM.

#43 LDW47



  • *****
  • Posts: 4,104
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2012
  • Loc: North Bay,Ontario,Canada

Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:21 PM




I am constantly changing my refractors so they match my wardrobe.  I just got a new suit (see below, shield your eyes)  I need to find a scope that is a good match.  waytogo.gif


The important issues out of the way... 


I am generally content with my refractors.  I am not quick to buy and when I find one that suits my needs, I keep it.   I've had my 80mm WO Megrez II FD for about 15 years, I have had my NP-101 for about 10 years.  The AT-80LE is a recent, probably 4 years ago.  


The one good quality scope that I have bought and sold and bought again is the Orion 120mm Eon.  I bought my first one about 5 years ago as a backyard refractor with more zoot than the NP-101 on the planets and double stars. It did the job very well but it was in competition with my 10 inch Dob for that role.  The Eon was handier and had far fewer thermal issues but the Dob split the tighter doubles and the better planetary, when everything was right.  It just seemed like I wasn't using the Eon, I needed shelf space.  I sold it.  It took a while several starts and stops but finally I found a serious buyer who has been very happy with the scope. 


But soon enough I started to regret having sold it.  That never happens to me, but it did this time. It was there in the back of my mind... For the backyard stuff, the Eon really is the right refractor..  So then, earlier this years, there was some scope swapping between a couple of CN mods/admins and ex's that resulted in a surplus 120mm Eon needing a new home.  


So that new home was me.. This time, I'm keeping it. 


The new Eon: 


The New Suit:
What do you think?  A good match?  smile.gif
(When my 12 year old grandson saw that picture, someone said, 
"Not many can pull off wearing a suit like that but Jon can."
The grandson said:
"Yes, Grampa Jon can pull it off and he should pull it off."
I thought to myself, man, that is a perfect comeback.. I would have been proud of it myself.)


The picture of a perfect, modern gentleman !  LOL !

  • Jon Isaacs likes this

#44 Tyson M

Tyson M


  • *****
  • Posts: 4,759
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:43 PM

I will preface this by answering this question bluntly-  I have enjoyed trying new gear.  I like really short focal lengths, really long focal lengths, and everything in between.  It is part of the hobby that brought me joy so far, albeit expensive over time so I am slowing down.


Also, I will note that having multiple refractors can also make sense, as they can be very different tools in a decent aperture spread, based on eyepieces and mounting solutions.


There is a propensity to want to collect refractors, just for being drawn to various functional equipment with some overlap in usage and liking all of them, and not wanting to sell them.  No logic or critical analysis here, just pride of ownership and enjoying time under the stars with each refractor.


But let's dig deeper.


What does it mean to be content?  This is particularly important for people without larger budgets and can only afford one refractor, and want an apo.  Let's face it, they aren't cheap- if you told someone who isn't in the hobby pricing on various apos, even achros.  You get a much better bang for your buck going the newtonian route.


Subjectivity comes into play.  But for each person, I suspect it involves having a refractor that fits your observing habits with your equipment, which results in an optic that brings you joy and you use it lots.


Apo refractors typically excel in star aesthetics, wide field viewing, amazing for lunar and solar viewing, put up great planetary viewing for a select few planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus).  Little fussing with the set up because of no collimation.   Another large aspect of contentment involve having good build quality and mechanics, like the focuser or with some people, a sliding dew shield, ect.


But in the smaller sizes they fit on the smallest mounts, transport very easy on road trips even in small cars, cool down very fast.  Very light weight so they can be used when there are lifting constraints. 


This points to having them dominating in grab and go observing.  This means more time under the stars, which brings all of us joy.  After all, the best scope is the one you use. 


Getting a refractor that checks all of these boxes will lead to the most contentment, especially those with limited budgets and can only chose one.  Hence, the healthy preowned market.


I am young enough to get to enjoy this hobby for decades longer.  I will likely start a collection of the simple sake of enjoying various designs.


But for now with a limited budget and time for observing at this stage in my life, I seem to be completely content with one of my refractors.  I can't think of how it can be improved in any way.  That means other scope choices should be based on complimenting it, unless I am going the illogical collector route. 


In time, I will eventually be down that path anyways(but not right now). 



Edited by Tyson M, 07 December 2019 - 12:55 PM.

  • Scott Beith, Scott in NC, m9x18 and 7 others like this




  • *****
  • Posts: 1,360
  • Joined: 31 May 2017

Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:47 PM

I have several refractors up to 8.5", some with good glass. Apart from my 6" Ha solar telescope they are my least used items. Nothing wrong with them and I like them but somehow, having several large other types I just don't get along with small telescopes any more.

#46 Astro-Master


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 982
  • Joined: 09 May 2016
  • Loc: San Diego County,Ca.

Posted 07 December 2019 - 01:04 PM

I'm real happy with my Stellarvue 105T F/7 with a Feathertouch focuser.  Double stars are beautiful in that scope, even when the seeing is only fair.  Its my grab & go scope, first I grab the CG5 mount, then I go back and grab the scope.


I often though of getting a bigger refractor also, maybe a 120mm ED Doublet, but the focusers on most all of the scopes from China have problems.


I missed my chance on getting a Stellarvue 125mm Access ED with a good 2.5" rack & pinion focuser.  They discontinued them before I could get the money for one.


I really don't like the looks of the SW 120 ED, I think it looks cheap, I like a white tube and black rings & focuser.  I'm not in a hurry to buy anything now anyway, I'll just wait and keep my powder dry. 

  • stevew and Jdrasberry like this

#47 Mr. Mike

Mr. Mike


  • *****
  • Posts: 2,250
  • Joined: 08 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Churchville, NY

Posted 07 December 2019 - 01:06 PM

Very pleased with my one and only 102mm Triplet from Explore Scientific.  Its just the "lowly" FCD1 glass but being a triplet has made it false-color free.  I got a good one as they say.  Its just really good and has given me many fun nights out there.  Sure, I want to add something larger like a dob or maybe a Mak-Cass at some point but no rush.  Im having fun as it is. wink.gif

Edited by Mr. Mike, 07 December 2019 - 01:06 PM.

  • Jon Isaacs, Midnight Skies, 25585 and 1 other like this

#48 barbie



  • *****
  • Posts: 1,248
  • Joined: 28 Jan 2013
  • Loc: Northeast Ohio

Posted 07 December 2019 - 01:12 PM

I'm quite content with my Taks, focusers and all!!
  • Scott Beith, CounterWeight, Defenderslideguitar and 2 others like this

#49 bobhen



  • *****
  • Posts: 4,284
  • Joined: 25 Jun 2005

Posted 07 December 2019 - 01:24 PM

Had a 6” AP apo for 22 years.  When I downsized, I purchased a Tak TSA 120, which I have now owned for 10 years. With those scopes, there’s no need to get anything else.



  • Scott Beith, Heywood, SkyRanger and 2 others like this

#50 desertlens


    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,680
  • Joined: 06 Dec 2010
  • Loc: 36°N 105°W

Posted 07 December 2019 - 01:39 PM

I'm so contented with this one that I can't really justify a triplet at 4 inches.



SV102 Access #0046

  • Scott Beith, Scott in NC, Mr. Mike and 7 others like this

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics