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Talk me into or out of the Takahashi FC100-DF

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#76 rkelley8493

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:17 AM

funnypost.gif  I am so happy there are Dobs in the world as they provide an endless source of entertaining humor lol.gif

Haha lol.gif  

I had a Dob once.. and sold a Dob once Rim_Shot.gif


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#77 mikeDnight

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:20 PM

I have a 10" Dob but I rarely use it. My Tak FC100DC is the scope I nearly always go for and it never disappoints. The 10" F6.3 Dob leaves me cold by comparison. 

 

And as regards clamshell vs rings, well the clamshell is better as the scope can be adjusted for balance with minimal effort. The shell holds the tube rigidly and it makes the scope look like a classy Takahashi, not a mutt. You wouldn't after all buy a Ferrari and put Micra wheels on it, or would you?


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#78 rkelley8493

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:39 PM

I have a 10" Dob but I rarely use it. My Tak FC100DC is the scope I nearly always go for and it never disappoints. The 10" F6.3 Dob leaves me cold by comparison. 

 

And as regards clamshell vs rings, well the clamshell is better as the scope can be adjusted for balance with minimal effort. The shell holds the tube rigidly and it makes the scope look like a classy Takahashi, not a mutt. You wouldn't after all buy a Ferrari and put Micra wheels on it, or would you?

Thanks! That's a very good analogy waytogo.gif


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#79 25585

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 02:49 PM

I had a Tak DL clamshell once, took one look, risk assessed the Tak in it, and bought rings. When I bought my TSA120, I ordered rings the same day. 

 

I had no trouble selling the clamshell, so you could try one, & get rings later. 



#80 Ihtegla Sar

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 03:37 PM

I have a 10" Dob but I rarely use it. My Tak FC100DC is the scope I nearly always go for and it never disappoints. The 10" F6.3 Dob leaves me cold by comparison. 

 

And as regards clamshell vs rings, well the clamshell is better as the scope can be adjusted for balance with minimal effort. The shell holds the tube rigidly and it makes the scope look like a classy Takahashi, not a mutt. You wouldn't after all buy a Ferrari and put Micra wheels on it, or would you?

I have a 12" f/5 dob and in general I feel the same way you do about the DL vs the 12" dob, except the difference in aperture cannot always be ignored.  So, when looking at faint objects I find the relative brightness of the 12" compelling but other than brightness, the views are definitely crisper and more pleasing in the Tak.  

 

But I typically use the dob for trips to dark skies.  I have only had the DL out to dark skies once when I first bought it.  Mostly I use it in town where skies are Bortle 7ish.  After seeing your sketches of DSOs with the DC, I may have to take the Tak out to dark skies more often.  


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#81 YAOG

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:03 PM

Would the clam shell be necessary for mounting the scope to the TeleVue Gibraltar HD4 mount?

Yes, you need something to hold the tube to attach it to the Gibraltar saddle. The Gibraltar mounts are very expensive for pure PUSH-TO mode mounts, smooth but no slow-motion controls so it takes some getting used to. I also found that the Gibraltar mounts are a lot easier to use with the addition of a D/V saddle clamp like from ADM or Losmandy to clamp the OTA dovetail into. Balance is critical with these friction mounts. I also did not like the fact that there is a pretty large circle of sky at and around zenith you can not observe. 

 

For the cost of a Gibraltar and saddle I would rather see you buy a better ALT/AZ mount. For the same money you could buy a Stellarvue M2C and add internal encoder and a Nexus II to help guide you around the sky.  Or you could buy an iOptron AZ Mount Pro with full GOTO capability. Trust me, I owned a couple of TeleVue saddle mounts and while used them back in the day there are a lot of better more usable ALT/AZ mounts on the market today.


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#82 rkelley8493

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:10 PM

Yes, you need something to hold the tube to attach it to the Gibraltar saddle. The Gibraltar mounts are very expensive for pure PUSH-TO mode mounts, smooth but no slow-motion controls so it takes some getting used to. I also found that the Gibraltar mounts are a lot easier to use with the addition of a D/V saddle clamp like from ADM or Losmandy to clamp the OTA dovetail into. Balance is critical with these friction mounts. I also did not like the fact that there is a pretty large circle of sky at and around zenith you can not observe. 

 

For the cost of a Gibraltar and saddle I would rather see you buy a better ALT/AZ mount. For the same money you could buy a Stellarvue M2C and add internal encoder and a Nexus II to help guide you around the sky.  Or you could buy an iOptron AZ Mount Pro with full GOTO capability. Trust me, I owned a couple of TeleVue saddle mounts and while used them back in the day there are a lot of better more usable ALT/AZ mounts on the market today.

Thanks for the wealth of information Chip! This is exactly why I am taking my time... The Stellarvue M2C mount is actually on my wish list, and so is the iOptron AZ Pro laugh.gif  I like the fact that no external power supply is needed for the AZ Pro. One less thing to setup and break down, and that's one of the main features I am looking for, quick grab & go package.



#83 213Cobra

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:27 PM

What do people think they are mounting -- the 40" Yerkes refractor? There is zero difference in risk to your Tak between rings and clamshell clamping. But the clamshell is more convenient, and for a Takahashi, it just looks the part. I have clamshell clamps on my two 60mm and 85mm Taks. My Epsilon 160 reflector has original Takahashi rings, but then it has a 7" diameter tube so rings are what Takahashi makes for all the Epsilons. My FSQ-106ED happened to come with white enameled rings on a Losmandy plate, so they don't look out of place with the scope, but I added the clamshell on another delta plate. Guess which one I use more? That's right -- clamshell. Rings or clamshell will hold the scope, so it doesn't really matter but if you're asking which to go with, then clamshell is my answer.

 

Phil


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#84 YAOG

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:31 PM

Elegant Tak clamshells are not! My household plumbing has nicer neater pipe clamps, even for outside!

 

I mount my finder scope rings on top of 2 of its OTA rings, joined by a short bar.

 

But the single thumbscrew lock is my main dislike. Just as when we fly or motor sport or go on a roller coaster, we wear multi-fastening & securing harness or frames due to extreme angles & motion, so telescopes need more than a single fastener for security when moving their tubes in rings, however broad, or changing eyepieces/accessories at steep angles.

 

Tak OTAs are so beautifully elegant, they need securer and slimmer rings to compliment their appearance and protect them from the pull of gravity.

I don't know what your background is but the Takahashi clamshells are in fact an elegant efficient design for visual observers. The Takahashi clamshells are fairly simple and clean working perfectly with the Takahashi design language seen throughout their history from finder stalks to mount head designs Takahashi is very consistent.

 

If we go back and consider where this comes from the Takahashi design aesthetic, indeed much of the Japanese design language comes from the limitations and treaty based limitations placed on post war Japan. You may not know how severe the terms of both the German and Japanese surrender documents were to businesses and manufacturing after the second world war given the failures of the first world war's limitations and rise of Germany's shadow manufacturing with Russia but that's a story for a different group. Anyway there was little Japan and German companies could manufacture post WWII but the result in Japan (and also in Germany) was a cooperative network of smaller companies working in many narrower manufacturing areas including ceramics, glass, small metal foundries, electronics and many others based on pre-war cultural traditions which honored craftsmanship and traditional methods like Sake making.   

 

Interestingly enough TeleVue's design language was also founded in America's greatest generation post war enthusiasm and can do spirit still surging from post war production and new social pressures of women having been in the workplace and not going back and the crazy idea that we could go to the Moon. Nagler contributed to this effort and once out and needing to pay the bills used his experience to form TeleVue and the simple lean cylindrical forms which are easily produced by advanced automated machines. Who doesn't love the gorgeous CNC'd clamshells from TeleVue as used on TV refractors since the beginning? The diecast, machined and polished focusers, smooth polished clamshells and dew shields were the icing on the cake of pretty good optics for the times, I know they helped sell me on the TV85 I owned until recently. But the TeleVue design language is an American language which comes from having more sophisticated machinery and a 15-20 year manufacturing lead advantage over the Japanese who were limited to sand casting their telescope furniture. 

 

From a design perspective Takahashi clamshells are very elegant and match the cast and machined focusers, finder stalks and mounts. Remember, when Takahashi designed their telescope mounting system there were no CNC machines available to make them and there was no standard for dovetails yet. The single piece tube designed for and mounted on a Takahashi mount is very elegant, designed to perfectly support the appropriate series telescope and allow the optical tube to slide fore ad aft to maintain mount balance using a single adjuster. There is no need to use wider support for a Takahashi telescope tube the tubes are stiff enough to support their weight and their intended optical payload without tube distortion and flexure. Part of the weight advantage Takahashi is known for comes from understanding the way materials work and also where one of the distinctions is made within the Takahashi telescope lines. While all Takahashi apos optically can be used for imaging the specialty Takahashi telescopes, those designed specifically with imaging in mind use larger, heavier tubes and focusers to fully support potential imaging payloads and offer mounting rings with longer distance to support the telescope tube and heavier payloads. If you are casually imaging there is no advantage to using split rings over a single dovetail.  

 

Mounting a magnified optical finder on a top dovetail can work if the OTA is a smaller shorter optic and the mount is kept to a lower height. I do this with my 80mm f/6 apo but for everything else I only put a 1:1 holo finder like a QuickFinder on top. When the main refractor optic is a longer focal length the required height of the mount for comfortable eyepiece viewing is fairly high and a top mounted finder will have a very long distance to the observer and becomes a problem which is why most refractors offer finders at the back of the optical tube and on the focuser near the primary eyepiece. 

 

Last time I checked telescopes don't experience these sorts of forces and being made of metal cylindrical they have a big advantage over humans, they are not very squishy and can take advantage of their dimensional stiffness using a simple compression tube to hold them very securely in the 1G environments they are expected to survive in. If you have a fear or history of dropping your scopes this is not the fault of Takahashi's or any other maker's single clamshell system which is perfectly safe when used as intended. I mean nobody is cranking up their mount slew speeds to see when the scope flies off and given the size of the fasteners used on the Takahashi clamshell the mount would have to be spinning at incredible speeds to develop enough energy to strain a Takahashi clamshell. There are several M8 fasteners holding the clamshell to the dovetail and I think that single bolt is an M10 for the clamshell tensioner. A medium quality class 8.8 M10 fastener is good for at least 115,000 PSI and if you use the minimum threaded area of an M10 fastener this gives you about 10,000+ pounds before the bolt will shear and given the relatively low mass involved of these doublets how fast would a mount have to be slewing at to break a 10,000 pound bolt?

 

Knowing this I think we're safe, just don't slew you scope so fast. My advice to protect your Takahashi telescope from the awesome force of gravity is just don't drop it between the case and saddle and I'm pretty sure you are good to go. 


Edited by YAOG, 13 January 2020 - 08:08 PM.

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#85 25585

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:54 PM

I love the TV clamshells. Have one each for my Pronto, 85 & Genesis. They loosen but do not open, and look svelte on TV's cream coloured tubes. 

 

The Tak clamshells are an anachromism. I guess they look Sky-Watcher refinement enough to go with the white mounts. But not with Tak OTA tubes.

 

Whatever, I chose not to risk my expensive refractors with the crude post-war era make-do design Takahashi stick to.  



#86 John Huntley

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:00 PM

funnypost.gif  I am so happy there are Dobs in the world as they provide an endless source of entertaining humor lol.gif

My 12 inch dob does a lot of things that my Tak FC-100DL cannot Bill smile.gif

 

That does put a smile on my face because I get the best of both worlds  laugh.gif

 

I'm another Tak clamp user here. The longer DL clamp armed with a decent quality dovetail bar does a great (and safe) job of holding the scope to the mount. I would love to see some photos of 25585's Tak DL with it's rings and bars though - I've heard SO much about them grin.gif

 

Anyway, here is my DL safely fixed to the Ercole mount:

takercole01.JPG


Edited by John Huntley, 13 January 2020 - 08:08 PM.

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#87 YAOG

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:25 PM

I love the TV clamshells. Have one each for my Pronto, 85 & Genesis. They loosen but do not open, and look svelte on TV's cream coloured tubes. 

 

The Tak clamshells are an anachromism. I guess they look Sky-Watcher refinement enough to go with the white mounts. But not with Tak OTA tubes.

 

Whatever, I chose not to risk my expensive refractors with the crude post-war era make-do design Takahashi stick to.  

It is a wonder that so many people have been risking their Takahashi telescopes for four or five decades and nobody has managed to have their single fastener Takahashi clamshells fly open or burst into flames so far, go figure.

 

By definition things like the Takahashi clamshells have become anachronisms because they have worked so well for so long and suited the application so well there was little to improve upon. The Takahashi clamshell design is a lot like another astronomy hobby anachronism, the Losmandy GM8 and G11 mounts. These are the oldest, longest continuous production mounts in the industry going unchanged for nearly 30 years and can keep up with the best of them, mine still guides at well under 0.5 arcseconds RMS.

 

Nothing wrong with owning and using an anachronism, we should all be so lucky. 


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#88 Ihtegla Sar

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:47 PM

My 12 inch dob does a lot of things that my Tak FC-100DL cannot Bill smile.gif

That does put a smile on my face because I get the best of both worlds laugh.gif

I'm another Tak clamp user here. The longer DL clamp armed with a decent quality dovetail bar does a great (and safe) job of holding the scope to the mount. I would love to see some photos of 25585's Tak DL with it's rings and bars though - I've heard SO much about them grin.gif

Anyway, here is my DL safely fixed to the Ercole mount:
takercole01.JPG


I forget that the first run DLs had black focusers. Mine is second run, so the focuser is dual speed Tak green, matching the clamshell. The finder bracket is also a matching Tak green. That color matching scheme is possibly one reason why I think the Tak clamshell looks so good on my DL.
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#89 25585

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 09:10 PM

My 12 inch dob does a lot of things that my Tak FC-100DL cannot Bill smile.gif

 

That does put a smile on my face because I get the best of both worlds  laugh.gif

 

I'm another Tak clamp user here. The longer DL clamp armed with a decent quality dovetail bar does a great (and safe) job of holding the scope to the mount. I would love to see some photos of 25585's Tak DL with it's rings and bars though - I've heard SO much about them grin.gif

 

Anyway, here is my DL safely fixed to the Ercole mount:

attachicon.giftakercole01.JPG

I did used to on SGL, back when I was a member of that other esteemed community. 

 

But it's time for some new ones, and my other scopes too. All the downsizing hassle is why I don't do many photos here.

 

I always like belt and braces security, layered security. Though 1 thumbscrew may be enough, it may not on that one occasion....  Taks are not cheap, DLs only number 200, replacement may not be an option.      


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#90 rkelley8493

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 09:35 PM

I don't know what your background is but the Takahashi clamshells are in fact an elegant efficient design for visual observers. The Takahashi clamshells are fairly simple and clean working perfectly with the Takahashi design language seen throughout their history from finder stalks to mount head designs Takahashi is very consistent.

 

If we go back and consider where this comes from the Takahashi design aesthetic, indeed much of the Japanese design language comes from the limitations and treaty based limitations placed on post war Japan. You may not know how severe the terms of both the German and Japanese surrender documents were to businesses and manufacturing after the second world war given the failures of the first world war's limitations and rise of Germany's shadow manufacturing with Russia but that's a story for a different group. Anyway there was little Japan and German companies could manufacture post WWII but the result in Japan (and also in Germany) was a cooperative network of smaller companies working in many narrower manufacturing areas including ceramics, glass, small metal foundries, electronics and many others based on pre-war cultural traditions which honored craftsmanship and traditional methods like Sake making.   

 

Interestingly enough TeleVue's design language was also founded in America's greatest generation post war enthusiasm and can do spirit still surging from post war production and new social pressures of women having been in the workplace and not going back and the crazy idea that we could go to the Moon. Nagler contributed to this effort and once out and needing to pay the bills used his experience to form TeleVue and the simple lean cylindrical forms which are easily produced by advanced automated machines. Who doesn't love the gorgeous CNC'd clamshells from TeleVue as used on TV refractors since the beginning? The diecast, machined and polished focusers, smooth polished clamshells and dew shields were the icing on the cake of pretty good optics for the times, I know they helped sell me on the TV85 I owned until recently. But the TeleVue design language is an American language which comes from having more sophisticated machinery and a 15-20 year manufacturing lead advantage over the Japanese who were limited to sand casting their telescope furniture. 

 

From a design perspective Takahashi clamshells are very elegant and match the cast and machined focusers, finder stalks and mounts. Remember, when Takahashi designed their telescope mounting system there were no CNC machines available to make them and there was no standard for dovetails yet. The single piece tube designed for and mounted on a Takahashi mount is very elegant, designed to perfectly support the appropriate series telescope and allow the optical tube to slide fore ad aft to maintain mount balance using a single adjuster. There is no need to use wider support for a Takahashi telescope tube the tubes are stiff enough to support their weight and their intended optical payload without tube distortion and flexure. Part of the weight advantage Takahashi is known for comes from understanding the way materials work and also where one of the distinctions is made within the Takahashi telescope lines. While all Takahashi apos optically can be used for imaging the specialty Takahashi telescopes, those designed specifically with imaging in mind use larger, heavier tubes and focusers to fully support potential imaging payloads and offer mounting rings with longer distance to support the telescope tube and heavier payloads. If you are casually imaging there is no advantage to using split rings over a single dovetail.  

 

Mounting a magnified optical finder on a top dovetail can work if the OTA is a smaller shorter optic and the mount is kept to a lower height. I do this with my 80mm f/6 apo but for everything else I only put a 1:1 holo finder like a QuickFinder on top. When the main refractor optic is a longer focal length the required height of the mount for comfortable eyepiece viewing is fairly high and a top mounted finder will have a very long distance to the observer and becomes a problem which is why most refractors offer finders at the back of the optical tube and on the focuser near the primary eyepiece. 

 

Last time I checked telescopes don't experience these sorts of forces and being made of metal cylindrical they have a big advantage over humans, they are not very squishy and can take advantage of their dimensional stiffness using a simple compression tube to hold them very securely in the 1G environments they are expected to survive in. If you have a fear or history of dropping your scopes this is not the fault of Takahashi's or any other maker's single clamshell system which is perfectly safe when used as intended. I mean nobody is cranking up their mount slew speeds to see when the scope flies off and given the size of the fasteners used on the Takahashi clamshell the mount would have to be spinning at incredible speeds to develop enough energy to strain a Takahashi clamshell. There are several M8 fasteners holding the clamshell to the dovetail and I think that single bolt is an M10 for the clamshell tensioner. A medium quality class 8.8 M10 fastener is good for at least 115,000 PSI and if you use the minimum threaded area of an M10 fastener this gives you about 10,000+ pounds before the bolt will shear and given the relatively low mass involved of these doublets how fast would a mount have to be slewing at to break a 10,000 pound bolt?

 

Knowing this I think we're safe, just don't slew you scope so fast. My advice to protect your Takahashi telescope from the awesome force of gravity is just don't drop it between the case and saddle and I'm pretty sure you are good to go. 

That is very informative and insightful. I found this video on how Takahashi makes there scopes, but it's in Japanese. Most of it translates to English, but it's not perfect. However, the making process speaks for itself.

 

https://www.youtube....Bh53dyI&t=1103s

 

 

On a side note, I think I would end up going with the clamshell, even though the rings may be more pleasing to my eyes. But I think mikeDknight said it best earlier:

 

"The shell holds the tube rigidly and it makes the scope look like a classy Takahashi, not a mutt. You wouldn't after all buy a Ferrari and put Micra wheels on it, or would you?"


Edited by rkelley8493, 13 January 2020 - 09:40 PM.

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#91 YAOG

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:56 PM

That is very informative and insightful. I found this video on how Takahashi makes there scopes, but it's in Japanese. Most of it translates to English, but it's not perfect. However, the making process speaks for itself.

 

https://www.youtube....Bh53dyI&t=1103s

 

 

On a side note, I think I would end up going with the clamshell, even though the rings may be more pleasing to my eyes. But I think mikeDknight said it best earlier:

 

"The shell holds the tube rigidly and it makes the scope look like a classy Takahashi, not a mutt. You wouldn't after all buy a Ferrari and put Micra wheels on it, or would you?"

Oh, I forgot about this, I thought everybody had seen it. I got the link from Tami, pretty cool.


Edited by YAOG, 13 January 2020 - 10:56 PM.

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#92 25585

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:14 AM

That is very informative and insightful. I found this video on how Takahashi makes there scopes, but it's in Japanese. Most of it translates to English, but it's not perfect. However, the making process speaks for itself.

 

https://www.youtube....Bh53dyI&t=1103s

 

 

On a side note, I think I would end up going with the clamshell, even though the rings may be more pleasing to my eyes. But I think mikeDknight said it best earlier:

 

"The shell holds the tube rigidly and it makes the scope look like a classy Takahashi, not a mutt. You wouldn't after all buy a Ferrari and put Micra wheels on it, or would you?"

The Tak clamshell looks like Lada wheels on a Lamborghini! 

 

But its buyers risk, money, taste shrug.gif



#93 rkelley8493

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:07 AM

The Tak clamshell looks like Lada wheels on a Lamborghini! 

 

But its buyers risk, money, taste shrug.gif

Or availability lol.gif  The Parallax Rings are custom order.. Takahashi Clamshell is in stock & ready to ship.


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#94 rkelley8493

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:37 PM

Thanks to everyone for all the helpful responses waytogo.gif  I decided to go through with placing an order for the FC-100DF optical tube, Takahashi Clamshell ring, and Losmandy 7" dovetail.

Shout out to the guys at Woodland Hills [telescopes.net] for being very helpful applause.gif   Daniel called me this morning and helped me pick the correct clam shell for this model and let me know it would be shipping out today laugh.gif  

I think I'll wait until the scope comes to decide if I want the other items on my Wish List. Those items are the Feather Touch Micro-Pinion Assembly, Takahashi 6x30 Finder Scope, and the Baader ClickLock visual back.

The mounts I am considering are the Vixen Porta II, Stellarvue M2C, TeleVue Gibraltar HD4 [I heard some negative comments about it, but it's a really good looking mount, so I kept it on the bottom of the wish list], iOptron AZ Pro, and the Losmandy AZ8 Dual Saddle. Can anyone recommend on those or know any better ones [under $1000]? I am leaning towards the Stellarvue M2C. I really like the iOptron AZ Pro, but it looks kind of bulky for a "grab & go" mount, plus the Stellarvue is about half the price question.gif


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#95 mikeDnight

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:57 PM

The Tak clamshell looks like Lada wheels on a Lamborghini! 

 

But its buyers risk, money, taste shrug.gif

 

Steady on now - you'll be accusing Tak clam shells as being equivalent to Skoda next. lol.gif

 

I remember watching a video a few years back that showed how Takahashi made its castings. The lone Japanese craftsman had this skill down to a fine art, and it was something to be very proud of. So if I were to rate the Takahashi clam shell in car terms, I'd have to say its the Rolls Royce of refractor tube holders. I know some of the Chinese castings have fractured on some of their mounts, leaving a question mark over the quality of the material used and the skill of the caster. But the Japanese are in a whole different league. And what about Vixen, with their cast aluminium rings holding their FL 102 F9 flagship? The FL102 was a significantly heftier beast than the FC100DL, yet I've heard of no FL102 falling to its death. These Vixen scopes are still going strong along with their castings, three decades on.

The Paralax rings look a bit like those brightly coloured anodized aluminium beakers we had in school dining rooms here in the UK. They made the water they contained taste metallic and they looked very 1970's,  (probably because it was the 1970's), but some people liked them. There's no accounting for taste! grin.gif


Edited by mikeDnight, 14 January 2020 - 05:31 PM.

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#96 YAOG

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 04:24 PM



Thanks to everyone for all the helpful responses waytogo.gif  I decided to go through with placing an order for the FC-100DF optical tube, Takahashi Clamshell ring, and Losmandy 7" dovetail.

Shout out to the guys at Woodland Hills [telescopes.net] for being very helpful applause.gif   Daniel called me this morning and helped me pick the correct clam shell for this model and let me know it would be shipping out today laugh.gif  

I think I'll wait until the scope comes to decide if I want the other items on my Wish List. Those items are the Feather Touch Micro-Pinion Assembly, Takahashi 6x30 Finder Scope, and the Baader ClickLock visual back.

The mounts I am considering are the Vixen Porta II, Stellarvue M2C, TeleVue Gibraltar HD4 [I heard some negative comments about it, but it's a really good looking mount, so I kept it on the bottom of the wish list], iOptron AZ Pro, and the Losmandy AZ8 Dual Saddle. Can anyone recommend on those or know any better ones [under $1000]? I am leaning towards the Stellarvue M2C. I really like the iOptron AZ Pro, but it looks kind of bulky for a "grab & go" mount, plus the Stellarvue is about half the price question.gif

Did you get the Takahashi clamshell specific Losmandy adapter ring? My advice is to use a good quality non-Takahashi 50mm finder optic in the Takahashi 9x50 finder stalk. A 50mm RACI (Right Angle Correct Image) finder is much more neck and back friendly than any straight through finder. The Takahashi finders are high quality but priced like all Takahashi optics, higher than anybody else. You can afford to buy a good quality RACI finder and you will still save a significant amount of money. The Takahashi 6x30 is about $160, the same price as the optically excellent Stellarvue 50mm 9x50 RACI. The only other RACI that comes close to the sharpness and image quality of the Stellarvue 9x50 RACI is the Explore Scientific 9x50 finder and it is nearly the same cost as a Takahashi 9x50 straight through! 

 

I am not a fan of the Portas, I have one out in the garage on the aluminum tripod. The aluminum tripod is not good, the head itself is pretty smooth but really needs to be kept very well balanced. As I mentioned I recently sold both TeleVue Gibraltar mounts and the very pretty matching TeleVue wood tripods due to their limited access around the zenith and the need to add an accessory handle and saddle clamp to an already higher priced mount. I'm a hardcore Losmandy mount owner twice over but IMO the AZ8 is overkill being much larger and heavier than needed for these light scopes, maybe for a couple of 130mm or 152mm scopes.

 

The remaining ALT/AZ mounts on your short list are very different mounts. I really like them both but for a lightweight mount the Stellarvue is very hard to beat. The Stellarvue M2C is light and compact for transport or storage, I mean collapse the legs and stick it in a tall tripod bag put in closet or trunk. The MC2 can also have the excellent Astro Devices encoders installed internally, as in no external stuff cluttering up the mount. When used with a Nexus DSC or Nexus II you can easily be guided to an object using Skysafari app on a smartphone or tablet or the onboard Nexus DSC display, fabulous to use. 

 

The iOptron AZ Pro is a full on GOTO mount with impressive capabilities but is not intended to be used as a PUSH-TO operation mount like the M2C. The iOptron is better used with the computer in control of where the scope is going optionally with Skysafari or planetarium  app on your smartphone of your choice. You can loosen the clutches and move the scope but if this is what you want to do you are paying for a GOTO system when you do not need to. Please know the iOptron is a fine GOTO AZ mount with many outstanding features but PUSH-TO operation is not what it does. The iOptron is also not as handy and needs some extra time to get setup then let the internal control system initialize.

 

The iOptron is impressive to see and use in operation but in use it is much more involved than the simple Stellarvue M2C mount. 


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#97 Ihtegla Sar

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 05:00 PM

It's not a cheap solution but if you want the traditional Takahashi 6 by 30 finder for your DF, then this is what I use to get right angle views in the finder when needed.  

 

https://www.teleskop...her-D-26mm.html

 

Although since I use my Tak mostly for planetary viewing and the planets have been low on the horizon, I have frequently been using the finder in its native straight through configuration.


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#98 mikeDnight

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 05:39 PM

Or you could use a TeleVue Starbeam, which has a flip mirror for viewing directly overhead. I love those!

 

You could attach one to your clamshell. smile.gif


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#99 YAOG

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 06:04 PM

It's not a cheap solution but if you want the traditional Takahashi 6 by 30 finder for your DF, then this is what I use to get right angle views in the finder when needed.  

 

https://www.teleskop...her-D-26mm.html

 

Although since I use my Tak mostly for planetary viewing and the planets have been low on the horizon, I have frequently been using the finder in its native straight through configuration.

Whoa, $120 bucks to avoid buying a better non-Tak finder? YIKES! 


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#100 YAOG

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 06:11 PM

Or you could use a TeleVue Starbeam, which has a flip mirror for viewing directly overhead. I love those!

 

You could attach one to your clamshell. smile.gif

As much as I like the Starbeam mounted on my TV85 using any optical or 1:1 projected finder mounted on the clamshell would often put the finder at an inaccessible location or positioned too far from the finder to reach focus or see the projected reticle. A RACI finder near the primary scope eyepiece minimizes movement needed to use the finder reducing strain and improving efficiency of motion conserving energy and Advil / Motrin needed. waytogo.gif  


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