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Uncommon (and Downright Weird) Vintage CATs

cassegrain catadioptric classic equipment Maksutov SCT
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#1 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 04:04 PM

This thread is for vintage catadioptrics from smaller companies, ATM kits, and anywhere else y'all have found them.  I've owned several, but this midget MCT got me thinking about these scopes...

 

1960s Chromatar 60 (Hutson Corporation, Texas):

 

Chromatar 60 S01 - Uncased.jpg Chromatar 60 S04 - Eyepiece End.jpg Chromatar 60 S06 - Corrector End (Dust).jpg Chromatar 60 S07 - Caps Removed.jpg Chromatar 60 S09 - Eyepiece Removed.jpg

 

This MCT spotter is in overall excellent condition.  Eyepieces thread in, were made in Japan, and are among the prettiest I've seen.  Focus is similar to a C90:  The front section rotates.  The rear section has a relatively large 45* prism system.  There's a standard 1/4-20 threaded hole in the base behind the mirror cell for mounting on a photo tripod.  The case is fancy:  Exterior is furniture-grade brown Naugahyde faux leather; interior is a color-coordinated soft felt-like fabric; the deep pocket on the right is for the scope;  the left side probably held a tabletop tripod, and it has 2 padded pouches for eyepieces / accessories.

 

I just got the scope today, so my first views are terrestrial.  Fields are brighter than I expected for an MCT.  Eye-relief (w/o my reading glasses) is at least 30mm -- a good thing for a spotting scope.  Optics & mechanics are much better than average for a 60mm spotter.  I will be testing it against my outstanding Takahashi FC-50 F8 fluorite APO as soon as the weather cooperates.


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#2 walter a

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 05:07 PM

Here is one I had offered to me a few years ago that I took a pass on. I think it was a atm

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#3 davidmcgo

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 05:37 PM

Wollensak Mirroscope

 

2” 20x Maksutov Gregorian for upright image with no prism.  Small apparent field of view under 2 degrees but sharp and free of chromatic aberration but a bit of reduced contrast due to the secondary obstruction.

 

Dave

 

3B214BC5-C5A3-412B-B381-218522DF80A8.jpeg

 

C625B4D3-8A48-4CF8-BE7F-4722C699A2F8.jpeg

 

 


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#4 davidmcgo

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 05:52 PM

That Chromatar looks really cool, and there is no way I could have ever passed on the one Walter_A posted, it looks way too cool, like something Dr Morbius would have had on Altair 4!

 

Dave


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#5 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 09:58 PM

Think about the typical spotting scopes of the 1960s...  40 / 50 / 60mm refractors with lens assemblies for zoom & correct orientation.  I'm sure this Chromatar cost more than those types, but I gotta give a hat's-off for the originality & quality of this MCT.



#6 Steve_M_M

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Posted 06 June 2020 - 10:15 PM

The Chromatar is really awesome and quite unique.  I have never seen one before.  My contribution to this thread is the PZO 50x70mm designed in 1958.  I have owned two of these.  The first I purchased in early 2000's and was filled with spiderwebs.   I destroyed it trying to open it up.  The 2nd I still have, purchased around 2010.  https://www.cloudyni...utov-telescope/

 

 

 

classifieds-33796-0-56442000-1499384165_


Edited by Steve_M_M, 06 June 2020 - 10:22 PM.

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#7 Bomber Bob

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 12:09 PM

I doubt that I'll ever forget this Big Oddball:  Mystery 150mm F23 Mak-Cass

 

MM150 AS02 - Complete OTA.jpg

 

Because of the focuser, the eBay Ad was titled:  Vintage-Used-Old-Silver-Homemade-Unitron-D-75mm-F-1200mm-Telescope-Lens-Optics ...  Even this old Refractor Fan recognized it was some kind of Maksutov, and I bid accordingly for a 6" MCT, and won it.

 

What the MM6 really was:  A fine example of an ATM effort using unknown "Mak Kit" optics.  The machining by its Builder was admirable, but...  they never made any baffles for it.  A real head-scratcher!   My first work on the MM6 corrected that oversight, and the view quality shot up astronomically.  For the exterior, I went pretty radical for an old guy:

 

MM6_S50 - Official Glamour Shot 6.jpg

 

How good was the MM6?  Glad you asked!  Bear in mind that my sketch skills are pre-K at best, and this comparison with my outstanding Edmund 4" F15 refractor is impressive:

 

ESC4_MM6 - Jupiter Sketches 20170430 T02.jpg


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#8 Bomber Bob

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 12:23 PM

I'm calling this Kenko 125mm F8 Corrected Dall-Kirkham Cassegrain uncommon because they aren't many in the USA.  They do seem to be popular in Italy, and maybe our CNers there will chime in:  Did Kenko have a very good dealer / distribution network in Europe?

 

K125 A01 - Complete Kit.jpg

 

I got this one complete with the original KES (Kenko Equatorial System) mount, but missing the tripod legs.  The set in the photo are Japan-made from the 1960s -- about 30 years before the K125C.  The mount was over-sized for this lightweight CAT, and somewhere between the Vixen Polaris & Super Polaris EQs in size & capabilities.

 

At the time, I had a white C5 Spotter, and the 125C routinely out-performed the C5 on lunar/planetary.  I later invested in a Vixen VMC200L primarily because of the very good views in the 125C.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 07 June 2020 - 12:33 PM.

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#9 Augustus

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 03:47 PM

The Chromatar is really awesome and quite unique.  I have never seen one before.  My contribution to this thread is the PZO 50x70mm designed in 1958.  I have owned two of these.  The first I purchased in early 2000's and was filled with spiderwebs.   I destroyed it trying to open it up.  The 2nd I still have, purchased around 2010.  https://www.cloudyni...utov-telescope/

 

 

 

classifieds-33796-0-56442000-1499384165_

I had a PZO. Fun little scopes.


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#10 tim53

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 05:01 PM

Here is one I had offered to me a few years ago that I took a pass on. I think it was a atm

 

that looks pretty nice, actually.  A 6"?


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#11 walter a

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 09:44 PM

It was offered to me by a gentleman in his 70's in 2015 so I am a little foggy on the specs. But I clearly remember the asking  price of 800 dollars.


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#12 Bomber Bob

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Posted 11 June 2020 - 05:04 PM

My rinky-dinky Chromatar 60 went up a bunch of notches today on my CSI (Classic Scope Index):

 

Chromatar 60 S11 - Vixen 36mm Adapter on VG2.jpg Chromatar 60 S12 - Vixen 36mm Adapter on VG2.jpg Chromatar 60 S13 - Vixen 36mm Adapter on VG2.jpg

 

1st:  That's a Vixen 36mm to 1.25" accessory adapter in place of the solid & heavy brushed & anodized aluminum eyepiece (vintage Japanese);

2nd:  The 1/4-20 standard thread socket is placed such that you can't scratch the base paint putting it on a Vixen dovetail or camera tripod;

3rd:  It's built like a mini-bazooka; and, the Secondary Spot is on the inside face of the thick corrector (didn't Questar start out that way?);

4th:  It appears to be sealed very well (maybe typical for a CAT spotter?) -- the optics I can see without taking it apart look immaculate.

 

That's a newish Edmund RKE 21.5mm eyepiece in the holder.  I quickly ran through about a half-dozen of my 1.25" eyepieces, and all reached infinity focus with room the spare.  The RKEs have Huge eye-relief, but even the short Orthos are at an eye-saving gap.

 

Besides How will it do tonight? my other question is Who made it?  The only JAPAN mark I've found is on the inside lip of the 22.5x eyepiece housing.  Hard for me to believe that Hutson made it in Texas 50+ years ago, but I wouldn't mind being corrected on that.  It would be super-cool if Cumberland made the optics -- see how they stack up against my '58 Questar...

 

BIF:  I'll measure the FL of the eyepiece, and get the scope's FL.  Looking at the eye lens, I'm guessing about 20mm for a 450mm / F7.5 Mak-Cass -- the corrector's thickness & steep curves seem to agree with that, but we'll see...

 

I get 24mm for the 22.5x eyepiece, or a system Focal Length = 540mm -- an F9 scope.  A bit "faster" than my C5, and much faster than my F14.4 Questar.

 

Based on what I can see of it, it uses a Schmidt Prism, and the exit face is 38mm wide.  Edmund's 25mm wide TechSpec is $174 for one, so 60's prism may be worth twice what I paid for the scope -- Nice!


Edited by Bomber Bob, 11 June 2020 - 06:01 PM.

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#13 madeline

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Posted 12 June 2020 - 12:40 PM

Bob, what other eyepieces came with this if any?    Have you had a chance to try it out at night observing?




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