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Lunt dedicated (THa) or modular (MT)?

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#1 statfreak

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 04:24 AM

Hi everyone. This is my first post. I've have been reading the solar threads for a while now and am looking to purchase either a Lunt LS80 or LS100. Lunt seems to have two different model lines, the LS80THA or LS100THA dedicated PT H-Alpha scopes and their modular LS80MT and LS100MT line.

 

I'm still learning about the pros and cons of the various configurations but haven't been able to find much on the differences between these two lines. It seems to me that there must be some price to pay when solar viewing using a modular design over a dedicated scope and am hoping folks here can help me understand what I'd be losing to have the ability to use the scope at night. A 100mm refractor can be had for much less than the cost of one of these scopes so my initial inclination is to buy the THA.

 

I'd be observing only to begin with but don't want to rule out imaging in the future. I'd like to use a binoviewer. I'm leaning towards getting the LS100THA SS with the B1800, buying the DS later -- since I have a few years before the sun gets hopping again -- and building the CP fix to suppress the glow if necessary; I don't see a 100mm HRF on the Lunt site. Cost might ultimately lead me to the LS80 but that's another conversation. I do like looking at details more than the full disk. I live in the desert SW, so lots of dry, sunny days.

 

Thanks

David

 

P.S. Thoughts on a compatible binoviewer that won't break the bank? Is the Tecnosky Horizon sold on the Lunt site decent?



#2 dhkaiser

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 08:00 AM

Not sure the modular are available yet, so opinions well be sparse.



#3 MalVeauX

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 08:07 AM

Heya,

 

Get the biggest aperture you can that you can double stack if you want a great visual option. The 100mm DS with an 18mm blocking filter is an excellent life-time-option. It's a refractor so binoviewers will work just the same as with any refractor with appropriate spacing or glass path corrector. Even a basic inexpensive one will work, its more about the clear aperture sizes and what size eyepieces and other stuff that goes into choosing a more expensive one, along with the quality of the optics and collimation, etc. If you don't have a pair already, maybe consider just trying a pair of W.O. binos or Arcturus binos that are inexpensive but great for this and if you want better ones later, trade up. Basic high contrast eyepieces will do the best job (like plossls).

 

As for the upcoming modular series, that's up to you. Being able to swap out from HA to other wavelengths is great for someone imaging in several wavelengths; but then again, a 2nd scope will do that too (depending on aperture and what filters you end up wanting to use) since they're separate filters. Looks like the base scopes in the modular series are at least ED doublets. Then again, to convert between wavelengths, depending on the Lunt modular system you get into, you have to disassemble the scope (especially the larger ones with internal etalons that are not purely front mounted). That's a personal choice there. They are nice complete packages though it seems.

 

Personally I made my own modular solar scope, commercially, in the sense that you can get front mounted etalons and rear mounted filters and use any basic refractor that will be able to be excellent at night time (such as an FPL53 doublet or better) with larger aperture for use, with front mounted threaded HA etalons + blocking filter when you want to go HA solar, and with rear mounted filters for photosphere (white light) and CaK when you want to do those. Or any wavelength. With a much better base scope for use both during day and/or at night. I used an ED80 FPL53 doublet as the base scope for mine and then I have a Gband filter for photosphere, Lunt CaK filter for CaK and SM60II filters for HA with a blocking filter. Still can be used as my night time DSO imaging scope as a nice fast FPL53 doublet too with no CA.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 21 February 2020 - 10:52 AM.

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#4 bigdob24

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 09:23 AM

Welcome , as being fairly new to solar Ha viewing myself your in the right place for answers.

The modular systems just give you more options with one scope . 
I’ve got the Lunt LS100THA  DS 1800BF  and love it , going to get it out today and tomorrow as the weather is favorable.

As you live in the desert SW go big because you’re seeing will support it.

Ive had a set of Denk II for years and with the OCS that Denk sells for Lunt scopes it’s great.

Ive found that Binos provide noticeable contrast and of coarse detail.

I just recently had an excellent day for seeing and experimented with some of my single eyepieces and for my eyes the Binos win hands down.

Several people here swear by Binos and use several different brands .

I just recently added the DS and it’s a keeper for sure , today as there isn’t much going on the surface might not even use it.

BD


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#5 rigel123

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 09:47 AM

Just did a comparison of what you get in the modular kit to the regular, non-modular 60mm scope on Lunt's website.  The one configuration of a 60mm Pressure Tuned with Crayford focuser that comes with the white light wedge, erecting diagonal, zoom eyepiece, 4" dovetail, polarizing filter, and B1200 Blocking Filter is $2490.00.  If you bought just the dedicated 60mm Lunt with B1200 Blocking Filter along with the Zoom Eyepiece, the white light wedge, the erecting diagonal, the 4" dovetail and the polarizing filter it would come to about $2322.00, so if you already have another scope to use for WL it would make sense to just go with the dedicated.  However, if you don't have another scope and aren't interested in stocking up on additional scopes, then the modular might make sense since you can use it for HA, White Light, CaK (at additional cost but would be the same if you had an additional scope) and nighttime viewing/imaging.  The 60mm is actually a 70mm when used as a WL or nighttime mode.  So purchasing two scopes:  A dedicated HA scope as well as a 70mm scope for WL/CaK and nighttime use would more than likely be more expensive than the modular system.  All depends upon what you have and how many scopes you want!

 

The work up is about the same for the larger sizes in that the modular set ups add about 7% more in cost.


Edited by rigel123, 21 February 2020 - 10:41 AM.


#6 statfreak

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 12:13 PM

MalVeauX, the new modular system does appear to have an FPL53 APO lens and I don't own another refractor so maybe the new modular would be a good choice for me. Thank you for detailing your solution. I thought that there would be some loss of Ha viewing quality but I seem to be wrong here.

  

I have some inexpensive Meade plossls and some expensive Naglers but I expect that I'll start with a pair of Lunt's zoom lens for the solar scope. Powermates might be in my future.

 

bigdob24, a used Denk II might work for me but their new 27 is a bit over my budget. The Teleview seems popular on this site as well but also gets pricey. Do you know anything about the Technosky bino Lunt is selling for $500 or should I give that one a pass?

 

For now, I'd only be using it for solar viewing and I figured that I could upgrade later on, since buying more Naglers for my SCT would be a long way off after blowing my budget on this scope, lol. 

 

rigel123 thank you for doing the comparison. I'm still trying to figure out the prices. I haven't found a page that lists the package components separately and the packages all seem to come with a B1200  -- and I want the B1800. The base non-package LS100MT is $6025 with the B1800 and the LS100THa is $5077. Both include the feathertouch. If that's an indication then it would seem to be a nominal upcharge for their new modular system but without the prices of the other components, I'm still in the dark. I'll have to talk to Faye again to find out about how they're selling the individual modular pieces. It was she who directed me to the modular system after I called to ask about the dedicated scopes.

 

 

Q: I don't see any filter on the front of the modular design. Shouldn't there be an initial filter to prevent excessive heat buildup in the OTA? Is this just me not understanding how these scopes work?


Edited by statfreak, 21 February 2020 - 12:14 PM.

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#7 rigel123

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 01:41 PM

MalVeauX, the new modular system does appear to have an FPL53 APO lens and I don't own another refractor so maybe the new modular would be a good choice for me. Thank you for detailing your solution. I thought that there would be some loss of Ha viewing quality but I seem to be wrong here.

  

I have some inexpensive Meade plossls and some expensive Naglers but I expect that I'll start with a pair of Lunt's zoom lens for the solar scope. Powermates might be in my future.

 

bigdob24, a used Denk II might work for me but their new 27 is a bit over my budget. The Teleview seems popular on this site as well but also gets pricey. Do you know anything about the Technosky bino Lunt is selling for $500 or should I give that one a pass?

 

For now, I'd only be using it for solar viewing and I figured that I could upgrade later on, since buying more Naglers for my SCT would be a long way off after blowing my budget on this scope, lol. 

 

rigel123 thank you for doing the comparison. I'm still trying to figure out the prices. I haven't found a page that lists the package components separately and the packages all seem to come with a B1200  -- and I want the B1800. The base non-package LS100MT is $6025 with the B1800 and the LS100THa is $5077. Both include the feathertouch. If that's an indication then it would seem to be a nominal upcharge for their new modular system but without the prices of the other components, I'm still in the dark. I'll have to talk to Faye again to find out about how they're selling the individual modular pieces. It was she who directed me to the modular system after I called to ask about the dedicated scopes.

 

 

Q: I don't see any filter on the front of the modular design. Shouldn't there be an initial filter to prevent excessive heat buildup in the OTA? Is this just me not understanding how these scopes work?

I simply went through the accessories and individual scopes to come up with the comparison.  I think these modular systems are aimed at people that would like to keep the number of scopes they have to a minimum, and if you can use one scope for multiple uses, that makes a lot of sense, particularly if you would plan to image in HA, CaK and WL, then having one scope that can do it all is definitely the most cost effective.  A 100mm scope for all three and one that could be used for DSO's makes sense, and I saw that the 100 MM is a triplet as well.  My set up for all three wavelengths is the Lunt LS60T and then my Orion ED80T for WL, CaK and DSO's for widefield.  The convenience is I can set up both scopes on a side by side bar and just move the camera from one to the other, but that also costs more due to needing a beefier mount, the side by side bar, the extra scope, rings, etc, etc.  I had the Orion ED80T long before I decided to get the Lunt.

 

BTW, Faye is great to work with!



#8 Volvonium

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 02:27 PM

One of the interesting things about the new modular scopes is that they use pretty nice glass for the objective and rather than the previous technical spec of 0.7 angstrom bandpass for single stack, they are listing 0.65 angstrom, which is a notable improvement.   I wonder how this is being accomplished?   The objectives are also clear, with multicoat on them; I no longer see ERF coatings.   

 

Perhaps the ERF is a separate screw on filter up front, rather than coating the objective.   Keeping the ERF separate and modular seems more easily serviceable-- that way any double stack front modules won't have have multiple unnecessary ERFs.


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#9 MalVeauX

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 03:14 PM

Hrm,

Something to consider... do you want to unthread/unscrew the internal HA etalon, in the field, and put in the unfiltered chamber, again, in the field, to switch wavelengths? Lots of fiddling with screws, tools and the parts, taking your scope apart. In the field. On/off mount. Swap things. Obviously I'm not certain of this, I don't have one to see how it works to take the HA system in and out of these scope systems since they're internal and not just stacked external systems. Ever lost a screw? Dropped a little bolt? Huge consideration I think.

 

Very best,



#10 statfreak

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 03:17 PM

One of the interesting things about the new modular scopes is that they use pretty nice glass for the objective and rather than the previous technical spec of 0.7 angstrom bandpass for single stack, they are listing 0.65 angstrom, which is a notable improvement.   I wonder how this is being accomplished?   The objectives are also clear, with multicoat on them; I no longer see ERF coatings.   

 

Perhaps the ERF is a separate screw on filter up front, rather than coating the objective.   Keeping the ERF separate and modular seems more easily serviceable-- that way any double stack front modules won't have have multiple unnecessary ERFs.

 

That's what I'm wondering about. The modular systems don't show any front mounting filter.

 

I must of had a touch of dyslexia before because a jump from $5077 to $6025 is hardly nominal. If Faye has more information, I'll post it here. If the new scopes are $1000 more for equivalent configurations then I'll have to take stock since I can get a second decent 4" scope for that. If the SS bandpass is improved, that sweetens the pot a bit.

 

<ADD> MalVeauX, that's a good point . The older system has thumb screws for the DS. Another thing to look into.


Edited by statfreak, 21 February 2020 - 03:32 PM.


#11 hopskipson

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 03:22 PM

I’m guessing these modular scopes are great for someone who travels with their scope. You can pack them into a smaller case and have day and night capabilities.

#12 statfreak

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 03:45 PM

While I might take the scope to outreach events or with me in the suv for some occasional travel, I won't be setting it up in the bush. Still, I like the idea of using the same scope for night viewing.

 

White light viewing/imaging won't be interesting for a while because there aren't any spots. To be honest, I don't really expect to buy a CaK filter although one never knows.

 

Those factors and price lean towards the older dedicated scope. There is also the unknown factor as no one yet seems to know how these new scopes will perform. 



#13 statfreak

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 05:43 PM

Okay, here's the scoop from Benjamin at Lunt.

 

Although the dedicated scopes show that they are in stock, they aren't. They are phasing them out for the modular design which they hope to start shipping around April (but no promises). When they fill the last existing orders for older stock there may still be a few units available but he doesn't know right now. He is positive that the LS100s are all gone.

 

  • Yes, they will be more expensive (My $1000 difference above is typical).
  • They don't need a front filter as heat buildup isn't a problem for the 80mm and 100mm scopes.
  • The new scopes will ship with thumbscrews installed and set screws on the side -- they are designing the components to be swapped in the field.
  • The B1200 limitation for the packages can be swapped out for a B1800 or B3400 over the phone but not on the website for now.
  • The DS module for BOTH the LS80 and LS100 will use the SAME DS as the old (current) LS80. Yes, the new LS100 will be using the smaller LS80 DS. The replacements will look a bit different but will have the same functionality and quality. So if you have an LS80 DS and buy an LS100MT, the DS will work. It obviously figures that:
  • The old LS100THa DS will NOT work on the new LS100MT.
  • The spec indicating 0.65A for the SS is not a change. He said that all of the older models were set at about 0.65A but that sometimes the spec was listed as 0.7A. So no quality improvement here.

Hope this is helpful.

 


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#14 MalVeauX

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 05:48 PM

Looks like they are gearing up to have total packages as the solar maximum returns, at premium prices, that can suddenly be slashed for mega sales for the maximum... and out of stock for years! lol.gif flowerred.gif  Better get 'em before 2024...

 

I like the approach; I'm all about modular. Solarmax 3 is doing that too. Lunt is offering a way better package with actual support and additional parts available. Nice to see competition and new things finally happening in our niche little sector of Astronomy. Support wins though. The fact that you cannot source anything SM3 except for the packages is a real downer to me. Lunt has everything pretty much singled out which is much nicer. I just wish they had more front mounted options.

 

That said, I wouldn't want to open the scope, thumbscrews or not, and swap out internal filter systems, in the field, to jumble filters to change wavelengths on a single scope. Just personal preference. I would much rather only be dealing with front mounted and rear mounted filters for an arrangement like that so that there's less stuff to go wrong (like dropping a thumbscrew in the grass). Even then, I guess I just favor having two setups for this... an HA setup and a Photosphere (WL)/CAK setup with rear mounted filters since there's zero need to have anything dedicated to those and both are just rear mounted insertable filters that are completely self contained without any extra stuff needed with any small refractor. Then you can swap between views by just moving to the other scope, rather than disassembling things. But I do totally appreciate how someone might want one scope and are ok with just swapping things in the field.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 21 February 2020 - 05:53 PM.


#15 rigel123

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 05:53 PM

I also noted that the new 100 is a triplet where the older one is a doublet.  Marketing wise it appears they are looking at taking away the stigma I have seen raised about spending so much money on a scope that is only good for one thing, which is probably a smart move in this small market.


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#16 MalVeauX

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 06:07 PM

I also noted that the new 100 is a triplet where the older one is a doublet.  Marketing wise it appears they are looking at taking away the stigma I have seen raised about spending so much money on a scope that is only good for one thing, which is probably a smart move in this small market.

That is very true, but that said, a triplet is not better at narrowband than an achromatic doublet is in all wavelengths. So there's still always compromise. A better nighttime scope, for sure, even a low tier triplet (I doubt they're FPL53 lanthium triplets at this price) is better than a fast achromatic doublet is for that; but at the cost of potentially not being the best for the non-HA wavelengths... like CaK. But I'm just splitting hairs for most imaging applications I'm sure.

 

Very best,


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#17 statfreak

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 06:12 PM

All good points but I wish the new LS100 wasn't $1000+ more for the same setup. My timing seems to have been off; they just brought the modular scope web pages online on Monday. So I'll either have to pony up the extra bucks or buy a used scope or look to snag one of the LS80s if any are still left.



#18 Volvonium

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 06:20 PM

That's good information, thank you for contacting Lunt, statfreak!  I was about to message them on their Facebook page when I saw your post.

 

The decision to go without an ERF up front is an interesting one.  That would certainly open up the possibility of using the telescope at night time... but I wonder why they even added front ERF coatings in the first place?   

 

Their very first scopes, like the LS60T, did not have ERF up front, but they started using front ERF from around 2009 onwards through 2020.   Something had to have prompted Lunt to have ERF coatings on the front objective for over 10 years, compared with their original design.   I recently bought an old LS60T CaK which has no front ERF, but has a pretty nice little doublet up front that works well for night time visual use.   Part of the reason I picked up the old LS60T CaK was to play around with its modularity, so I had a good chuckle to see them announce these scopes not a moment after.

 

I think modularity is a good direction and it reduces the number of part numbers they have to keep on hand.  It's like the F-35 of telescopes.  One would hope cost per unit will eventually go down lol.


Edited by Volvonium, 21 February 2020 - 06:22 PM.


#19 statfreak

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 06:58 PM

Can anyone weigh in on the new LS100 using the LS80 DS? Aside from the company's reason of saving money and using fewer parts, does anyone think that the older unit will end up being superior or will the smaller second etalon not make a significant difference?



#20 MalVeauX

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 07:02 PM

Depends on light cone size/shape where that 2nd etalon is placed, and its relative sweet spot to that size/shape to determine if the size reduction matters.

 

Very best,



#21 Volvonium

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 07:11 PM

Without having tried a lunt 100 or lunt 80 internal DS, I had suspected that the various internal DS2 units used similarly sized etalons, and in layman's terms, "simply" had different housings that contained apropriately positioned corrective lenses to alter the size of the light cone that enters it.  



#22 sunnyday

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 10:18 PM

https://www.cloudyni...ar#entry9995453

 

if it can help.

the lunt company to start this tread


Edited by sunnyday, 21 February 2020 - 10:20 PM.

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#23 George9

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 10:48 PM

Without having tried a lunt 100 or lunt 80 internal DS, I had suspected that the various internal DS2 units used similarly sized etalons, and in layman's terms, "simply" had different housings that contained apropriately positioned corrective lenses to alter the size of the light cone that enters it.  

 

My understanding was that the DSII etalons were the same size, with different housings and lenses. But I cannot find a definite answer. Moot point now.

 

The modular design would have saved me one scope in carryon to Wyoming in 2017. Brought an LS80 and a 92mm nighttime scope. With the modular, I would have just brought the 80.

 

You don't take the thumb screws out, you just loosen them, so swapping is easy. Feels like swapping a diagonal in and out. I sometimes remove my DSII in the field, mainly because I move the DSII to double stack a Solar Spectrum.

 

The weight of the new LS80 still seems light enough.

 

Other than the price, for me it would be an easy decision to go for the new one.

 

To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if the LS100 DSII performance actually improves a bit in the new version.

 

George


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#24 Highburymark

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Posted 22 February 2020 - 12:13 PM

I wonder if this means they’ve been able to reduce the glow on the internal double stacked 80 and 100? It seems as if the etalons are the same, but have they been able to improve the compatibility of the two units to produce a blacker background sky?


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