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Critique of Classic 80mm F15's

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#26 Grahaml

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 03:37 AM

Had a mizzar  80  mm  on a alt/az  , optically    I thought the scope was great  , I do remember   a night  with   some  zeiss orthos that was just  superb .

The mount and tripod were pretty ordinary  though .



#27 bremms

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 07:23 AM

Bob,

Good points. Me thinks the Royal Astro 76mm is in another league. Seems their optical quality control was better than Tasco, Towa etc. However I bet there are some out there that are good optical performers.

Bill

The RA Sears I had about five to tenyears ago had a superb lens. I tweaked a lot of the so so mechanics ( hated the slop in the focuser) and it made it much more usable. Sold it as I found it ia PITA to set up and use compared to other scopes the same size.


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#28 oldmanastro

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 08:12 AM

I happen to own a Sears 4454 (AKA Towa 339). It was rescued from the original owner who used once or twice and then kept it for many years in its big wooden box. The box is bigger than that of my Sears 76mm f/16. The telescope needed a lot of TLC before first light including the repair of the declination slow motion control . After cleaning everything and collimating the objective the time finally arrived for first light. I placed the 76mm beside it for comparison. Star tests revealed that the Towa optics were very good but the Astro Optical optics of the 76mm were better. I like the 80mm f/15 4454 Sears a lot but even in the equatorial mount you can see that quality is not the same as in the Astro Optical made telescopes. Now, why that wooden box is so big? 

 

Clear Skies!

 

Guido


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#29 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 09:04 AM

The RA Sears I had about five to tenyears ago had a superb lens. I tweaked a lot of the so so mechanics ( hated the slop in the focuser) and it made it much more usable. Sold it as I found it ia PITA to set up and use compared to other scopes the same size.

 

It seems like 10 or 20 years ago, classic refractors were very common on Craigslist and other such places. Now, I never see them..  I had a few Sears 76 mm F/16s. I remember the seemingly high contrast images, very nice. However my most vivid memories are of the mount and the difficulty finding anything.

 

For me it was an educational experience.. "This is how they used to do. I sure glad today's scopes are easier to use."

 

Jon



#30 CharlieB

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 10:29 AM

Folks, the topic is about critiquing 80mm scopes.  There are other topics for showing off scopes.  Thanks.


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#31 photiost

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 05:52 PM

In the "true"  80mm class one of my old favorites is the Vixen/Celestron SPC80 ... so many wonderful views with that one.

 

Also my W/O Zenithstar II 80mm ED and Celestron 80mm ED is no slouch either !!

 

I have a 339 version that gives nice views no complaints, but it's no match for the scopes mentioned above.

 

waytogo.gif


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#32 rcwolpert

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 08:03 PM

My 1969 80mm f/15 Mayflower 816 has always been my refractor for optical excellence. Beautiful APL optics! I’ve used it for all my double star measurements, preferring it even over much larger scopes. This scope is made for observing and not just collecting or displaying. Hence the finder upgrade and the oak eyepiece tray that makes the mount rock solid.
 

gallery_211497_4490_829952.jpg


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#33 clamchip

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 08:12 PM

I thought today it would be interesting to DPAC my 2 Towa 80's.

I'm not sure if the DPAC will reveal anything, I have a feeling the Towa's will pass

just fine with nice straight lines.

If theres anything the Towa's lack, making them not major league players, its probably

the polish and not the figure. Mass production can be cruel.

I also was thinking if the element spacing is off, I'll see this in the test, this would explain

the less than top tier performance. The plastic ring spacer used on these lenses is

not the most precision way to space lenses, and every time I put one together I find 

myself hopelessly trying to center the ring.

I  was upstairs a short time ago and looked in my closet and I could make out the two

Towa's, yes there they are I can just make out the distinctive focusers through the

dense forest.

Getting my hands on them is going to require a Saturday, I think.

 

Robert


Edited by clamchip, 21 January 2020 - 08:13 PM.


#34 Bonco2

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 09:05 PM

HA!

Robert, looking forward to you results.

Bill


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#35 Bomber Bob

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 09:25 PM

Y'all got me thinking... so all y'all are to blame:  With my DPAC rig, and my decades of experience, I could find the optimal element spacing for a Towa 339 objective, ditch the vinyl ring, & replace it with 3 traditional foil spacers.  I'm certain that would improve its performance; but, I agree with Robert, that the result still wouldn't be up to Royal levels, as these lenses weren't as finely made -- quantity vs. quality.


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#36 Chuck Hards

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 09:38 PM

I was thinking of testing an 80mm Towa against the 80mm HOC.  If I do, I'll post the pics.  


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#37 Senex Bibax

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 07:29 AM

Given my age and eyesight, I doubt I would notice any difference. Probably true for many on this board. I'm lucky enough to own a Royal 76mm (Sears 6339) but my other refractors are Towa 60mm, and to me they are sharp as a tack.

 

Y'all got me thinking... so all y'all are to blame:  With my DPAC rig, and my decades of experience, I could find the optimal element spacing for a Towa 339 objective, ditch the vinyl ring, & replace it with 3 traditional foil spacers.  I'm certain that would improve its performance; but, I agree with Robert, that the result still wouldn't be up to Royal levels, as these lenses weren't as finely made -- quantity vs. quality.



#38 Bomber Bob

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 01:05 PM

My 1978 Towa 339 had an excellent lens.  My 1964 Sears (Royal) has an outstanding lens.  Lots of folks on this forum would be content with the views in either 3" F15 refractor.

 

For new CSNs (Classic Scope Nutz), we're not bashing Towa-made scopes, we're just giving y'all our honest opinions, so y'all can make informed choices.  Are there good to excellent Towa refractors out there?  Yes.  But your odds of getting an excellent 3" F15 refractor are better with some of the other makers.

 

IME, the Towa refractors from the mid-1960s & earlier are excellent.  I think Towa sourced from some of the same lens-makers as the better brands back then.


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#39 aa6ww

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 05:59 PM

My Towa 339 is the only classic scope that survived my downsizing last year. Its too fun to consider selling and probably would cost as much to ship as it would to sell. The long tube works very well for star splitting, and just general back yard observing.
A few years back, I upgraded my scope with a 2" focuser. I may have to upgrade my single speed GSO focuser with their load bearing 10:1 focuser to support my heavy 2" 100 deg eyepieces. Unfortunately, the focuser would cost more then the value of the scope.
Regardless, its a fun all nighter when the skies are clear, and I can humble myself using my small aperture 80mm refractor with excellent optics. I'm looking forward to spring and summer clear skies using this, now that I have a GoTo mount that will bring astronomy back to my washed out skies.
The scope is a featherweight on my AVX mount resting on my tall G11 Tripod. The combo is needed for the long 1200FL refractor.

....Ralph

Attached Thumbnails

  • 80mm F_15 on Gll with AVX mount_Close up.jpg

Edited by aa6ww, 22 January 2020 - 06:00 PM.

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#40 Bonco2

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 07:38 PM

Ralph,
What a wonderful upgrade, seems you're very satisfied with the original objective. My Tasco 10K now with Carton lens on my Unitron 142 mount is a pleasure to use especially on double stars and planetary. I use a .965 to 1.25 adapter to use my more modern eyepieces. Works well while not optimal as your setup.
Bill

#41 clamchip

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 07:50 PM

I use a hybrid prism diagonal to enjoy all my 1.25" eyepieces.

Robert 

 

post-50896-14074277178267_thumb.jpg


Edited by clamchip, 23 January 2020 - 10:33 AM.

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#42 photiost

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 06:17 PM

I use a hybrid prism diagonal to enjoy all my 1.25" eyepieces.

Robert 

 

attachicon.gifpost-50896-14074277178267_thumb.jpg

 

waytogo.gif

 

Yup, I have the same Parks hybrid and I think its one of the better ones out there. 


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#43 clamchip

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 11:04 PM

I have a couple classic 80mm's I can post.

Now these are really not what we are talking about, the Towa's in particular.

The Vixen is extremely nice but the Edmund 3 inch is better.

The beautiful Scope (Astro Optical) model 2515.

Bausch and Lomb 80mm is all one could wish for, even without anti reflection coatings its

super sharp but the brass optical tube is very heavy.

Robert

 

post-50896-0-04926900-1515860722.jpg

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post-50896-0-81324300-1522546776.jpg


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#44 Chuck Hards

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 11:11 PM

I love the Dr. Seuss yoke on the B&L!


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#45 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 05:42 PM

lovely 1959 Unitron 140

the Sears rao 6336 on the pedestal...

..the Unitron 140  added a 1950's 142 mount  it is sweet... 

  the  Sears 6336   great optics  but the pedestal is sometimes difficult  so to the extent the pedestal is rare it is cool to the extent that it is extremely stable it is great       but  fitted     with rings  on different mounts  it is great and easier     Always keeping the 140    the 6336 could go despite its superior optics only  if right older Tak 76 came along   I suppose the vixen 80fl would be superfluous at that point as well......

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Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 25 January 2020 - 06:03 PM.

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#46 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 06:05 PM

Sears 6336 on pedestal  was I guess easer to handle before I got one

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Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 25 January 2020 - 06:11 PM.

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#47 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 06:06 PM

The Uitron 140

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  • Unitron140BelleandBuddyIMG_2012.jpg

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#48 stmarch

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 07:08 PM

My Mizar Kiaser 80mm classic is solid on the original beefy GEM mount. It gives up terrific planatary views.

Have thread on here about my restore of this telescope classic.

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#49 aa6ww

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 03:43 PM

Although I've had my Towa 80mm F/15 for at least 6 years, I've had a whole years with my Towa 80mm F/15 and my Celestron AVX GoTo mount resting on my G11 Tripod. This is really just a fun package to take out and enjoy. It doesn't mater that it isn't my largest refractor or most expensive refractor, its just fun. It doesn't have to be compared to anything else, it just has to be my 80mm F/15, sporting its long slender tube and excellent optics including my 2" focuser.

 

The GoTo mount really compliments this scope since I also have Starsense and GPS active on my mount also. Now that I have a full database of double stars to choose from, plus the mount can accept coordinate inputs, everything I want to see is at my fingertips. 

The tall tripod makes standing or sitting pretty fun also since sometimes I prefer standing when observing with friends.

 

I probably would have sold this refractor if I didn't purchase a GoTo mount. For years I struggled with locating double stars, though I have been fascinated by them for decades. The GoTo system allows me to locate and enjoy double stars, and the way this refractor presents beautiful crisp stars against black background skies makes this scope my preferred light weight star splitter. 

 

Because of my backyard light pollution, GoTo feature brings back the fun of backyard observing, and stars come though just fine, even in my Bortle Class 7 skies.

 

Note: this photo was taken back in the Winter, 2019.

 

...Ralph

Attached Thumbnails

  • 80 on AVx_ss.jpg

Edited by aa6ww, 19 November 2020 - 03:45 PM.

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#50 Jim Curry

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 07:02 AM

My 3" Unitron was a great scope and probably my favorite of the 60, 3" and 4" Unitron scopes I've had (have).

75mm.jpg

 

My two longer Zeiss 80's I believe are better optics.  I can bring them up to 200x on an average night and they just sit there with steady, detailed images assuming floaters have sunk.

 

IMG_2253.JPG


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