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Small Refractor advice

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#1 Corcaroli78

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 03:55 AM

Hi refractor forum,

 

I will have a moderated tax return (ca 700 usd) soon and i have been thinking to get a new refractor.  I currently own a Zeiss Telementor 63/840 and a Skywatcher 102 f/5 for wide field. Both stationary and not suitable for my travels.

 

I enjoy both telescopes, and I have the option to choose between a compact travel refractor or to get a better quality 102 mm f/7 ED.  I have no plans to go beyond 4 inches due to transportability 

 

Originally, for travels, I had a 90 mm mak but i realized that I am a wide field observer. I own several binoculars, but for a trip i need more than the 15x. 

 

I have been thinking in a 70 -72 mm small ED refractor that i can match with my Baader Zoom and an ES 24 68 eyepiece. I am strictly visual and I would combine it with an compact alt az mount and my photo tripod to be used also as spotter. 

 

My dilemma is if 70-72 is very close to the Telementor and also close to the 15x70 binos, but in mobility it wins. I had previously a compact 80 mm f/6 achro but it was all metal and heavy. views were not precisely remarkable, but I really enjoy the 15x70 performance , so i guess a decent 70 ED should do a similar work......question.gif

 

How has been your experience with those small 70 mm ED scopes during trips? how far have you pushed them to get decent views? 

 

Thanks for your kind advices!

 

Carlos

 

 

 


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#2 sg6

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 04:27 AM

Have the Skywatcher 72ED, nice little scope, not a lot of focus travel. Does what it says but never sure. Actually had 2.5mm skimmed off the diagonal to be a little more sure - just to get it to sit a fraction further inwards.

 

Also have the WO ZS 61 (could get the AT60ED same scope) now that I really love.

Beautiful little scope. That is mine for life, it is going nowhere, ever.

 

So if travel is the factor consider one of those.

 

If you wanted a 72ish then look at the WO ZS 73.

But if it is a travel scope then really the ZS61 is supurb. Just bought the flattener for mine. Actually second flattener - first was not adjustable, second is. So I have 2 now.

Suppose it is simply that a WO is better made.

The Skywatchers work, but I will not buy another unless there is a very good reason to.


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#3 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 04:39 AM

A decent 72mm ED... https://www.teleskop...-refractor.html

 

It is known to have been used for imaging, therefore it should excel for visual.

 

A 72mm ED with better glass... https://www.harrison...air-72-edf.html

 

This 80mm ED features fine glass, and the telescope weighs little more than a standard, 5 lb. bag of flour or sugar...

 

https://www.teleskop...--Crayford.html

 

Then, if you have some extra set aside, there are the Takahashi FC-76 fluorite instruments, and loaded with eye-candy.


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#4 Wildetelescope

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 06:58 AM

Hi refractor forum,

 

I will have a moderated tax return (ca 700 usd) soon and i have been thinking to get a new refractor.  I currently own a Zeiss Telementor 63/840 and a Skywatcher 102 f/5 for wide field. Both stationary and not suitable for my travels.

 

I enjoy both telescopes, and I have the option to choose between a compact travel refractor or to get a better quality 102 mm f/7 ED.  I have no plans to go beyond 4 inches due to transportability 

 

Originally, for travels, I had a 90 mm mak but i realized that I am a wide field observer. I own several binoculars, but for a trip i need more than the 15x. 

 

I have been thinking in a 70 -72 mm small ED refractor that i can match with my Baader Zoom and an ES 24 68 eyepiece. I am strictly visual and I would combine it with an compact alt az mount and my photo tripod to be used also as spotter. 

 

My dilemma is if 70-72 is very close to the Telementor and also close to the 15x70 binos, but in mobility it wins. I had previously a compact 80 mm f/6 achro but it was all metal and heavy. views were not precisely remarkable, but I really enjoy the 15x70 performance , so i guess a decent 70 ED should do a similar work......question.gif

 

How has been your experience with those small 70 mm ED scopes during trips? how far have you pushed them to get decent views? 

 

Thanks for your kind advices!

 

Carlos

I like my Astro tech 80 mm EDT.  Visually it is quite good.  It is about 15 inches with the dew shield retracted.  Minimal (to my eye) false color on Sirius at 200x or so.  Will blow away your short achromat.  Contrast will be comparable to the telementor, with more light gathering.  My buddy has a telementor and those are NICE scopes.   The case is small enough to go in an overhead airplane bin.  

 

Jmd


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#5 cookjaiii

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Posted 13 February 2020 - 07:48 AM

A 70 monocular and a 70mm binocular will not give you the same experience by a long shot.  From my reading here on CN and eleswhere, the binocular will appear about 40% better.  https://www.cloudyni...r-vs-binocular/    

 

Research the the field of offerings and choose the lightest and most compact.  I would go for larger aperture and ED glass, but that might be tough given your budget.

 

Borgs are lightweight, but are on the expensive side.

 

Good luck.


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#6 Jaimo!

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 11:18 AM

Carlos, 

For a new small refractor, I would currently consider Astro-Tech's ED offerings:

For visual these scope puch above their weight class, there are a number of reviews and threads on these scope on CloudyNights, and as of the time writing this there is 1x 102mm ED that is a demo and listed for $100 off...

 

I own and earlier version of the AT102ED, in my humble opinion, it is a great visual and my most frequently used scope.... a great "all rounder".  I believe the last batch had dew shields without the logo, but this has been fixed in the current offerings.

 

Good luck and enjoy shopping for your scope,

Jamie

 

Edit:  I also have an older William Optics 66SD, f/5.9.  For visual observing, I find this scope a little lacking and always wanting a little more reach.  But the 80mm and 102mm, in my opinion, able to cover more observing situations, meaning much more flexible scopes. 


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#7 Baatar

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 11:31 AM

+1  for SW72ED, good quality and cheaper than the competition.  At least, works for me.

 

I also have Baader zoom and ES68 24mm, as you, and both are awesome on SW72ED.  I use these combos all the time.  I also use Morpheus 6.5 or Delos 6 for high-ish power, including with barlow for highest power (scope limit is around x150, but can go higher if sky allows), works very well.

 

Actually, I posted my setup today in this thread (post 779):  https://www.cloudyni...-part-8/page-32


Edited by Baatar, 14 February 2020 - 11:38 AM.

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#8 aeajr

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 01:50 PM

Carlos, 

For a new small refractor, I would currently consider Astro-Tech's ED offerings:

For visual these scope puch above their weight class, there are a number of reviews and threads on these scope on CloudyNights, and as of the time writing this there is 1x 102mm ED that is a demo and listed for $100 off...

 

I own and earlier version of the AT102ED, in my humble opinion, it is a great visual and my most frequently used scope.... a great "all rounder".  I believe the last batch had dew shields without the logo, but this has been fixed in the current offerings.

 

Good luck and enjoy shopping for your scope,

Jamie

 

Edit:  I also have an older William Optics 66SD, f/5.9.  For visual observing, I find this scope a little lacking and always wanting a little more reach.  But the 80mm and 102mm, in my opinion, able to cover more observing situations, meaning much more flexible scopes. 

I don't own the AT ED scopes but have friends who do and they love them. 


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#9 NYJohn S

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 02:09 PM

I have the AT102ED the SV80A and just got the AT72EDII. I've only had a few nights under the stars with the 72EDII but from what I see it has great optics. I have been using it as a spotter during the day and it's great for that. From what I see so far, for a lightweight travel setup a 72mm F6 scope is very nice.

 

The AT102ED is best if that was going to be your only scope. That seems to be that size where you really start to see some nice detail and I wouldn't want to be without one.

 

Having all 3, I feel like the 80MM F7 is stuck in the middle. A little easier to setup compared to the 102 but you see so much less I don't feel satisfied. The 72mm is just a very light, one hand grab and go that can ride on a lightweight photo tripod. It seems to fill that small travel / grab-n-go spot better than the 80. I don't feel it gives up much in light grasp compared to the 80 but I haven't done a side by side with them yet.

 

If the SW72ED is similar to the AT72EDII I think you'll be happy with it. The AT102ED or a similar 102mm F7 scope is a great choice too if it's not too big for you. I travel with mine in a small RV but I wouldn't want to hike with it or anything like that. It needs a more substantial mount which has to be taken into consideration.

 

2 very different options both nice depending on what you will use if for. Here's a photo of the AT72EDII. I was using it today as a spotter. 

 

AT72EDII 1800px SM CR

 


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#10 LDW47

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 03:26 PM

There is a lot of choices out there, don’t be afraid to go used for less but whatever you buy make sure it has a 2” focuser. Most do but some don’t, especially used !  The difference in weight between a 70mm and 80mm is not a lot, I like my 80mm SW Equinox with the FPL53 for those special gng nites when its black and you want to be at your dark site(s) !  Clear Skies !  PS: The 2” wide field views are out of this world, way out beyond the atmosphere !


Edited by LDW47, 14 February 2020 - 03:33 PM.

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#11 NYJohn S

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 03:37 PM

I forgot to mention I had the AT72EDII up to 108x to split Castor. I could see it can go higher than that under good conditions. I believe 143x is supposed to be the highest useful magnification. 


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#12 Corcaroli78

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 05:18 PM

I have the AT102ED the SV80A and just got the AT72EDII. I've only had a few nights under the stars with the 72EDII but from what I see it has great optics. I have been using it as a spotter during the day and it's great for that. From what I see so far, for a lightweight travel setup a 72mm F6 scope is very nice.

 

The AT102ED is best if that was going to be your only scope. That seems to be that size where you really start to see some nice detail and I wouldn't want to be without one.

 

Having all 3, I feel like the 80MM F7 is stuck in the middle. A little easier to setup compared to the 102 but you see so much less I don't feel satisfied. The 72mm is just a very light, one hand grab and go that can ride on a lightweight photo tripod. It seems to fill that small travel / grab-n-go spot better than the 80. I don't feel it gives up much in light grasp compared to the 80 but I haven't done a side by side with them yet.

 

If the SW72ED is similar to the AT72EDII I think you'll be happy with it. The AT102ED or a similar 102mm F7 scope is a great choice too if it's not too big for you. I travel with mine in a small RV but I wouldn't want to hike with it or anything like that. It needs a more substantial mount which has to be taken into consideration.

 

2 very different options both nice depending on what you will use if for. Here's a photo of the AT72EDII. I was using it today as a spotter. 

 

Hi NYJohn S,

 

Many thanks for the kind advice, i see in your signature you have the entire range that i was considering; 72, 80 and 102mm

 

My plan last year was to get the 102, but i had the opportunity to get a Telementor, and i parked the 102 for a while.  I travelled with a 80 mm and was too much for the backpack or my airplane baggage. the AT72EDII or the similar TS 72 ED (found here in Europe) seems to be a minimalistic solution for my requirements, not redundant with the 60 mm Telementor as I can not travel with it!

 

At some point I will get the 102 (which i really wish to own) and i will use the Telementor mount which is very solid. That is a pitty we can not get the AT here in Europe...

 

Carlos


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#13 gwlee

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 05:30 PM

Hi refractor forum,

 

I will have a moderated tax return (ca 700 usd) soon and i have been thinking to get a new refractor.  I currently own a Zeiss Telementor 63/840 and a Skywatcher 102 f/5 for wide field. Both stationary and not suitable for my travels.

 

I enjoy both telescopes, and I have the option to choose between a compact travel refractor or to get a better quality 102 mm f/7 ED.  I have no plans to go beyond 4 inches due to transportability 

 

Originally, for travels, I had a 90 mm mak but i realized that I am a wide field observer. I own several binoculars, but for a trip i need more than the 15x. 

 

I have been thinking in a 70 -72 mm small ED refractor that i can match with my Baader Zoom and an ES 24 68 eyepiece. I am strictly visual and I would combine it with an compact alt az mount and my photo tripod to be used also as spotter. 

 

My dilemma is if 70-72 is very close to the Telementor and also close to the 15x70 binos, but in mobility it wins. I had previously a compact 80 mm f/6 achro but it was all metal and heavy. views were not precisely remarkable, but I really enjoy the 15x70 performance , so i guess a decent 70 ED should do a similar work......question.gif

 

How has been your experience with those small 70 mm ED scopes during trips? how far have you pushed them to get decent views? 

 

Thanks for your kind advices!

 

Carlos

I am pleased with the optical and mechanical performance of my AT72ED2. I use mine between 16x and 62x. Can’t say how high the magnification can be pushed though because I don’t care to view through less than a 1mm exit with any scope. Occasionally, i have barlowed this scope to 120x, and it seemed to work fine. 


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#14 Corcaroli78

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 05:44 PM

I am pleased with the optical and mechanical performance of my AT72ED2. I use mine between 16x and 62x. Can’t say how high the magnification can be pushed though because I don’t care to view through less than a 1mm exit with any scope. Occasionally, i have barlowed this scope to 120x, and it seemed to work fine. 

Thanks gwlee, 

 

I think that the performance is perfect for a dedicated travel scope!! 120x seems a lot for a 72 mm. I have done that with the Zeiss 63 mm and its close to its limit. 

 

My experience with an 80 mm was not so nice, contrast was not good, it was heavy and had CA at 80x.  i think i will go in the direction of the 72ED.  For sentimental reasons,  i can not get rid of the 102 f/5 (was a gift) otherwise it should have been replaced by the 102 f/7...

 

Thanks again 

 

Carlos



#15 Wildetelescope

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 07:02 PM

Thanks gwlee, 

 

I think that the performance is perfect for a dedicated travel scope!! 120x seems a lot for a 72 mm. I have done that with the Zeiss 63 mm and its close to its limit. 

 

My experience with an 80 mm was not so nice, contrast was not good, it was heavy and had CA at 80x.  i think i will go in the direction of the 72ED.  For sentimental reasons,  i can not get rid of the 102 f/5 (was a gift) otherwise it should have been replaced by the 102 f/7...

 

Thanks again 

 

Carlos

I have had excellent views of Jupiter at 150x in my friends telementor.  Certainly I was not resolving anymore, but I found the image scale pleasing and the contrast as sharp as a tack.  

 

Jmd 



#16 gwlee

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 07:55 PM

Thanks gwlee,

I think that the performance is perfect for a dedicated travel scope!! 120x seems a lot for a 72 mm. I have done that with the Zeiss 63 mm and its close to its limit.

My experience with an 80 mm was not so nice, contrast was not good, it was heavy and had CA at 80x. i think i will go in the direction of the 72ED. For sentimental reasons, i can not get rid of the 102 f/5 (was a gift) otherwise it should have been replaced by the 102 f/7...

Thanks again

Carlos



#17 gwlee

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 08:21 PM

Thanks gwlee, 

 

I think that the performance is perfect for a dedicated travel scope!! 120x seems a lot for a 72 mm. I have done that with the Zeiss 63 mm and its close to its limit. 

 

My experience with an 80 mm was not so nice, contrast was not good, it was heavy and had CA at 80x.  i think i will go in the direction of the 72ED.  For sentimental reasons,  i can not get rid of the 102 f/5 (was a gift) otherwise it should have been replaced by the 102 f/7...

 

Thanks again 

 

Carlos

Carlos,

Regarding weight:

 

Ready to observe with rings, 7” Vixen rail, AT red dot finder, 2” 90 degree Baader AMICI prism diagonal, and 27mm Panoptic EP the scope weighs a measured 7#. This EP provides 16x, 4.5mm exit pupil, and 4 degree FOV. Note: this is my heaviest configuration for this scope, which requires about a 7” rail to balance on the mount, and the focuser needs to be rotated a few degrees off horizontal so the focuser knob clears the rail. At this magnification, the Finder isn’t necessary.  The AMICI prism gives a correct image. 

 

With a 7mm Delite, the scope weighs about 1/2 less. This EP gives 62x, 1.2mm exit pupil, and 1 degree FOV. It’s my high power configuration for this scope. 

 

Mounted on UA DwarfStar mount (out of production) and a Bogen 3021 aluminum photo tripod, the complete rig weighs less than 14#. With this tripod and mount, I consider it a bit under mounted at 62x for all around use at home, but acceptable for a travel scope or for times when maximum portability is required. 

 

Gary
 


Edited by gwlee, 14 February 2020 - 08:37 PM.



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