As a follow-up on 1980s Mizar, Takahashi, & Vixen scopes:
- Fluorites: Optically, the only difference I've seen (so far) between Tak & Vixen are more degrees of kind, and subjective, than objective. IOW: Equivalent optical quality. As with a lot of fracs, there are some I like for some views of specific objects. Objectively, both yield near-perfect DPAC patterns on my rig.
- Achromatics: Haven't tested any Tak achros. Mizar & Vixen are also more / less equivalent, depending on the particular model. But, if there's a better 80mm F11 than the C80P, I haven't used it yet. Excellent DPAC patterns from both. Gotta give kudos to Mizar for the F7 GT-80S for resolution (perfect star tests) and false-color control in a relatively fast achromatic doublet. I love the beautiful Airy Disks. (Who cares if the star colors are 100% accurate?)
- Reflectors: Again, no Tak yet for comparisons. But, I've been very impressed by the 100mm to 114mm Newtonians from both Mizar & Vixen -- lots of capability in highly portable scopes. I made some very good Jupiter & Saturn images with a C114, and I expect similar results from my F8 Mizar Comet.
HARDWARE... No doubt in my mind that Mizar took some design cues from Tak: I've seen several early 1980s Tak FS Series that look near identical to my GT-80S -- lens cell shape, dewshield size & shape, and the way the focuser has an external flange that threads onto the tube (with a microscopic grub screw that goes through the flange to lock it in place). All 3 are quality instruments -- no plastics. In general, the Vixen OTAs are the lightest for aperture & length -- I really appreciate that when moving rigs around the yard. Tak is by far the heaviest. Mizar... well, it depends.
FOCUSERS... All 3 use rack & pinion units in cast aluminum housings. All are adequate to great. My Vixen scopes are F10 or higher, with a more forgiving focal range; the precision requirements aren't as high as for the faster Mizar & Tak. The GT-80S unit is the best. When making large movements, it feels almost fluid (lower resistance); then, feels like it shifts to a lower gear for fine focusing -- essential when attempting higher magnifications with an F7 refractor. Conversely, the F8 Comet takes more effort than the F10 C114 to nail focus -- it could really use a GT-style focuser! Honestly, my 2 Tak fluorites are somewhere between the GT-80 & C102 -- takes practice & patience.
FIT & FINISH... No complaints with any of these. Obvious craftsmanship and attention to detail in all the Mizar, Tak, & Vixen scopes I've used. Just me, but I like the unusual colors of the Mizars -- hard to miss!
EQ MOUNTS... Tak by a mile, but they are heavy boogers! I think the Mizar & Vixen Super Polaris models are comparable for quality & capability. I haven't had a chance to do Side-By-Sides between them, but IMO, the Mizar MMD System looks clunkier than similar Vixen controllers. Based on what I read on CN & elsewhere, both brands are acceptable analog tracking platforms, and perform as designed -- primarily for visual use.
PRICES... Mizar & Vixen are comparable -- each OTA was $200 or less. IMO, on the used market, you can get a lot of scope for your money from any of these 3. Yes, there is a Tak Premium -- especially for accessories -- but the performance justifies the expense.
I've had an easier time finding spare parts & accessories for the Vixen scopes than Mizar or Tak, but I think that has to do a lot with markets & timing (I have no luck / bad luck). Clock Drives can be very hard to locate -- pretty typical I think for vintage gear.
Edited by Bomber Bob, 27 August 2021 - 08:13 PM.