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Noobb Wide field refractor recommendation - spend my $$

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#1 Jim Cauthen

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 10:23 PM

I’m looking for a refractor recommendation for astrophotography (not visual). Here’s a bit of my history, as well as what I’m thinking; I’d love to hear some of y’alls input.

 

I currently own a Celestron 9.25” SCT scope that I run with a .63x reducer, giving me a focal length of 1480mm. It lives on a EQ6-R Pro. I’ve mated it up with a ZWO ASI1600mm pro, and can also throw a Canon 5D mk IV on it too. It is great for galaxies and planetary stuff, but working with larger objects would require some crazy mosaic skills with a massive time investment, so that’s out.

 

What I’m wanting is a wider field to be able to capture some of the larger targets out there; North American, Andromeda, California, Heart, Soul, The Veil, etc. So after using Stellarium and putting some of the wider field scopes into the equipment profiles, as well as my cameras, I’ve narrowed it down to wanting around a 350-400mm view when paired between the 1600 & 5D.

 

Here’s what I’m looking at so so far:

WO GT71 triplet f/5.9 - 420mm (reduced to 336)
WO Zenithstar 73 doublet f/5.9 - 430mm
WO Zenithstar 61 doublet f/5.9 - 360mm
Meade 70 series 6000 quad f/5.0 - 350mm

 

They all fit into my rough budget (including accessories), but I’m still not certain between them, or even if I’ve totally overlooked another gem out there. What would YOU buy in the $1,100 range, and why?



#2 D_talley

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 10:38 PM

I would look at the Astrotech AT65EDQ scope.  One just sold on Classifieds for around $500.  I use one and like the wide flat field it gives me.


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#3 DSOs4Me

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:12 AM

Stellarvue SV70T - Just my 2 cents


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#4 Jim Cauthen

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 01:21 AM

I would look at the Astrotech AT65EDQ scope.  One just sold on Classifieds for around $500.  I use one and like the wide flat field it gives me.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll do some research and see what I can find on it.
 



#5 Jim Cauthen

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 01:24 AM

Stellarvue SV70T - Just my 2 cents

I'll look more into this one - I remember looking at it before, but not sure why it didn't make the list... Highpoint has a package deal for the OTA & flattener/reducer that's not too bad, right at the top of the budget but manageable. I see you own this one, what are some of the selling points that you've found with it?



#6 DSOs4Me

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 02:16 AM

I'll look more into this one - I remember looking at it before, but not sure why it didn't make the list... Highpoint has a package deal for the OTA & flattener/reducer that's not too bad, right at the top of the budget but manageable. I see you own this one, what are some of the selling points that you've found with it?

I use it with the reducer / flattener. I get great wide field photography with it. Quality scope and I always get great support from the guys at Stellarvue.


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#7 B 26354

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:10 AM

I love my SV70T / SFFR-70APO combo. For me, its a lifetime keeper. Problem is, they are now out of production, and production of its replacement -- the hand-figured SVX070T -- is "predicted" for March of this year.

 

https://www.stellarv...plet-refractor/

 

Built to extraordinarily-high standards in the USA, hand-figured optics, and the best customer service. If I were you, I'd pre-order it directly from Stellarvue today. No matter how long you have to wait for it, you'll be happy that you did.

 

On the other hand, there is a used SV70T on Astromart:

 

https://astromart.co...e-sv70t-sn-0076


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#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 02:11 PM

If you want hand figured optics you need to buy a premium Dob. There is some speculation about what SV might be referring to as hand figuring, but no one grinds refractor lenses by hand anymore. I am sure SV is hands on with optimizing the spacing and rotation of the lenses. These will supposedly be made to extremely high spec though, but they will also be quite expensive.

Scott
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#9 B 26354

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 02:39 PM

If you want hand figured optics you need to buy a premium Dob. There is some speculation about what SV might be referring to as hand figuring, but no one grinds refractor lenses by hand anymore. I am sure SV is hands on with optimizing the spacing and rotation of the lenses. These will supposedly be made to extremely high spec though, but they will also be quite expensive.

Scott

Stellarvue SVX080T-25SV Premier Apochromatic Triplet Refractor

 

https://www.stellarv...plet-refractor/

 

From the website's PRODUCT DESCRIPTION:

 

"SVX series optics are rated at .98 - .996 Strehl with excellent optical correction for aberrations commonly seen in mass produced optics. To attain this level of optical accuracy it is usually necessary for us to go beyond machine polishing. Special tools are made and experienced opticians hand figure objectives here in our optical shop in Auburn California."



#10 Jim Cauthen

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 04:37 PM

I love my SV70T / SFFR-70APO combo. For me, its a lifetime keeper. Problem is, they are now out of production, and production of its replacement -- the hand-figured SVX070T -- is "predicted" for March of this year.

 

https://www.stellarv...plet-refractor/

 

Built to extraordinarily-high standards in the USA, hand-figured optics, and the best customer service. If I were you, I'd pre-order it directly from Stellarvue today. No matter how long you have to wait for it, you'll be happy that you did.

 

On the other hand, there is a used SV70T on Astromart:

 

https://astromart.co...e-sv70t-sn-0076

Thanks for the backing of this scope, it does look like a great fit into what i'm looking for. Highpoint has it listed as a package deal with the field flattener for a fair price, so I may lean that way, but I'll also research the upcoming model too.

 

 

If you want hand figured optics you need to buy a premium Dob. There is some speculation about what SV might be referring to as hand figuring, but no one grinds refractor lenses by hand anymore. I am sure SV is hands on with optimizing the spacing and rotation of the lenses. These will supposedly be made to extremely high spec though, but they will also be quite expensive.

Scott

if I were sticking with visual use, I'd consider a DOB again, but for astrophotography the dob just isn't truly built to meet what I'm looking for in this particular case. The 'hand figuring' isn't something I've looked at as a major selling piont more as the company reputation and user reviews - a scope can look great on paper but be not-so-great in the hands of one of us, so I'm lean on the user experiences a lot more than the flashy adds.
 



#11 SonnyE

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:13 PM

Back when I was gearing up, I picked my target, then picked my telescope to take me there.

It was funny, I started looking at Celeston's big 47" long X 6" refractor, but wound up down at my 80 mm ED80T CF. (I do my research before I buy.)

I like to think in ways of use. So the ED80T CF gives me the sky at night, and distant subjects during the day. wink.gif  (different camera)

 

Widefield wise, if I hang my DSLR on it, I get great big widefield views. But hang my Atik Infinity on it and grab many of the smaller  Nebula's I wanted to target. So in my experiences, get a photographic quality telescope, ED Triplet or Quadruplet.

Then the sensor used determines the FOV you'll have to work with.

For example: I can get a tiny Ring Nebula with my DSLR, but a nice big Ring Nebula with Astro Camera's.

So there's my 2 cents from the shade tree...


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#12 B 26354

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 06:23 PM

Highpoint has it listed as a package deal with the field flattener for a fair price, so I may lean that way, but I'll also research the upcoming model too.

 

You also said that in your post #5... but I searched their site, and couldn't find it. Do you have a link?

 

I originally got my SV70T from them a year ago, but I got the FF/FR (and some other things) straight from Stellarvue.



#13 johnsoda

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 06:31 PM

I love my SV70T / SFFR-70APO combo. For me, its a lifetime keeper. Problem is, they are now out of production, and production of its replacement -- the hand-figured SVX070T -- is "predicted" for March of this year.

 

https://www.stellarv...plet-refractor/

 

Built to extraordinarily-high standards in the USA, hand-figured optics, and the best customer service. If I were you, I'd pre-order it directly from Stellarvue today. No matter how long you have to wait for it, you'll be happy that you did.

 

On the other hand, there is a used SV70T on Astromart:

 

https://astromart.co...e-sv70t-sn-0076

Another vote for the SV70T.  The new Premier version is SVX70T, which has a guaranteed Strehl of 0.98, but production is halted (temporarily, we hope).  Funny thing is that I have the SV70T (no “X”), and its Strehl is 0.96, so I never really thought it was worth it to get the SVX.  I do have the SVX130T, though.  Anyway, the SV70T is a great scope, and I’ve had great support from Stellarvue, but I’m sure there are lot of other great options.  See my Astrobin for some images done with it.


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#14 johnsoda

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 06:38 PM

Another vote for the SV70T.  The new Premier version is SVX70T, which has a guaranteed Strehl of 0.98, but production is halted (temporarily, we hope).  Funny thing is that I have the SV70T (no “X”), and its Strehl is 0.96, so I never really thought it was worth it to get the SVX.  I do have the SVX130T, though.  Anyway, the SV70T is a great scope, and I’ve had great support from Stellarvue, but I’m sure there are lot of other great options.  See my Astrobin for some images done with it.

Big brother and little brother:

 

ACF5055C-AC5F-4486-BE69-3B658B5B631B.jpeg


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#15 B 26354

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 06:46 PM

I have the SV70T (no “X”), and its Strehl is 0.96, so I never really thought it was worth it to get the SVX.

Measured Strehl on my SV70T is 0.985   woot.gif


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#16 johnsoda

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 06:48 PM

Measured Strehl on my SV70T is 0.985   woot.gif

You got a SVX70T at a lower cost.


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#17 Jim Cauthen

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 06:54 PM

You also said that in your post #5... but I searched their site, and couldn't find it. Do you have a link?

 

I originally got my SV70T from them a year ago, but I got the FF/FR (and some other things) straight from Stellarvue.

https://www.highpoin...ystem-sv070t-is


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#18 OldManSky

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:04 PM

I've been extremely pleased with my WO GT-71 purchase back in October.  With the flattener/reducer at 336mm FL, you get a wonderfully wide field, pinpoint stars all the way out, and that terrific FPL-53 triplet performance.  Not to mention the usual WO fit/finish/build. 

Love it.

 

 

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#19 johnsoda

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:09 PM

I've been extremely pleased with my WO GT-71 purchase back in October.  With the flattener/reducer at 336mm FL, you get a wonderfully wide field, pinpoint stars all the way out, and that terrific FPL-53 triplet performance.  Not to mention the usual WO fit/finish/build. 

Love it.

Nice looking system.  One of the frustrations with astronomy is that it’s not like you can go to Walmart and look at all these systems and compare.  I guess that’s what makes this forum fun.  I doubt there are many forums discussing whether Cheerios is better than Cocoa Puffs.


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#20 Jim Cauthen

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:12 PM

I've been extremely pleased with my WO GT-71 purchase back in October.  With the flattener/reducer at 336mm FL, you get a wonderfully wide field, pinpoint stars all the way out, and that terrific FPL-53 triplet performance.  Not to mention the usual WO fit/finish/build. 

Love it.

Thanks for the info - you also answered one of my other questions about this scope with your photo (Can the ZWO EAF work on this scope?).  I like the home made pier setup you're rocking there, I'm also in the process of figuring out how to build one myself


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#21 Jim Cauthen

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:13 PM

Nice looking system.  One of the frustrations with astronomy is that it’s not like you can go to Walmart and look at all these systems and compare.  I guess that’s what makes this forum fun.  I doubt there are many forums discussing whether Cheerios is better than Cocoa Puffs.

The chocolate and peanut butter cheerios are pretty good ;)


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#22 SeattleScott

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:53 PM

Stellarvue SVX080T-25SV Premier Apochromatic Triplet Refractor

https://www.stellarv...plet-refractor/

From the website's PRODUCT DESCRIPTION:

"SVX series optics are rated at .98 - .996 Strehl with excellent optical correction for aberrations commonly seen in mass produced optics. To attain this level of optical accuracy it is usually necessary for us to go beyond machine polishing. Special tools are made and experienced opticians hand figure objectives here in our optical shop in Auburn California."

Yes I know they make that claim, although Roland specifically says nobody is grinding glass by hand anymore. There was a thread some time ago speculating what SV might be referring to. But it is highly unlikely they are grinding the mirror by hand. Maybe they polish it up a little by hand? Don’t know. When a computer can grind a lens to 1/30th PV on a bad day, there just isn’t a need to do it by hand.

My understanding is what separates the premium brands is the amount of time the lenses spend in the polishing machine, and the manipulation of the spacing and alignment and orientation of the lenses. As well as the glass type and grade of glass. Not a person grinding a mirror by hand from start to finish.

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 13 January 2020 - 08:05 PM.

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#23 OldManSky

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:24 PM

Thanks for the info - you also answered one of my other questions about this scope with your photo (Can the ZWO EAF work on this scope?).  I like the home made pier setup you're rocking there, I'm also in the process of figuring out how to build one myself

The EAF bolts right on.  No modifications required to scope, focuser, or EAF mounting bracket.

Glad you like the pier -- that was home pier #1.  It was more than adequate for the CEM25 and its load -- in fact I was extremely pleased with it, and it went up quick, easy, and cheap!

Build thread here:

https://www.cloudyni...k-pier-planted/

 

I'm not on home pier #2.  This one is full-poured concrete, will have (if I ever finish it) a flip-top building around it, and it houses a CEM60 with a heavier imaging load.  Build thread is here:

https://www.cloudyni...y-is-under-way/

 

Don't be put off by the quicker, easier, cheaper concrete block pier.  I used it happily for 9+ months, and it was very sturdy and solid, wonderful for imaging!

Good luck with your refractor choice!


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#24 Jim Cauthen

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 09:15 PM

The EAF bolts right on.  No modifications required to scope, focuser, or EAF mounting bracket.

Glad you like the pier -- that was home pier #1.  It was more than adequate for the CEM25 and its load -- in fact I was extremely pleased with it, and it went up quick, easy, and cheap!

Build thread here:

https://www.cloudyni...k-pier-planted/

 

I'm not on home pier #2.  This one is full-poured concrete, will have (if I ever finish it) a flip-top building around it, and it houses a CEM60 with a heavier imaging load.  Build thread is here:

https://www.cloudyni...y-is-under-way/

 

Don't be put off by the quicker, easier, cheaper concrete block pier.  I used it happily for 9+ months, and it was very sturdy and solid, wonderful for imaging!

Good luck with your refractor choice!

Thanks for the reading material! The cinder-block route is what I'm leaning towards, still researching a good mount plate for my EQ6-R, but I may do some side research about the rotor solution too.  Luckilly this side of the project has another month or so of nasty weather before I'll start it =P
 




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