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Vintage Brands Still Going or New Companies?

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#1 Bomber Bob

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 09:53 AM

Maybe our CNers in Japan will chime in:  Is the Kenko making & selling new scopes & gear the same Kenko from the Golden Age of Japanese imports?

 

I kept seeing these new scopes & stuff on eBay.  I did some looking, saw something I liked, and it's on its way from Japan to The Swamp...  [Yes!  I'm down-sizing.  That personal policy only applies to Classic Astronomical Telescopes!]

 

I know DK / KD (Dai-ichi Kogaku) is still cranking out scopes (including a Towa 339 based on original hardware plans & castings), but how about Kenko, Goto, etc.?

 

IME, the Kenko gear from the 1980s was as good as the Vixen gear.  Soon, I'll know if brand new Kenko is at that same standard.

 

[Gratuitous photo of a 1980s Kenko 125C + KES EQ Mount]:

 

K125 A02 - Complete Kit.jpg


Edited by Bomber Bob, 09 June 2020 - 09:55 AM.

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#2 Terra Nova

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 03:09 PM

I'm pretty sure that Goto (now Goto Inc. of Tokyo) is exclusively in the planetarium business and has been for some time. They did put out some high end scopes in the 80s but they ended that a few years later to go exclusively toward planetaria. I don't think that's changed. Kenko imports the telescope stuff they put their name on from Synta in PRC. They have their own brand of the Skywatcher Star Adventurer. I don't know if they are still making camera lenses, filters, etc.



#3 photoracer18

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 05:04 PM

Kenko is still making camera things like tele-converters and filters and such. No telescopes these days.



#4 Bomber Bob

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Posted 14 June 2020 - 07:24 PM

Vendor in Japan messaged me that shipping times are much longer than usual due to CV-19... oh, well.

 

Here's what I'm waiting on:

 

Kenko KDS 12160 AZ A02.jpg

 

Kenko KDS 12160 should be good for my smallest fracs, C90, & Chromatar 60


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#5 mattyfatz

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 08:51 AM

Thank Kenko mount was sold in the stars for a while. You might be able to find a used one.



#6 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 10:41 AM

Seller didn't understand my reply to his message, and cancelled the order!

 

Not a terrible thing, as there are / were satin black and bronze versions...  The latter look really sharp!



#7 Terra Nova

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 02:46 PM

Seller didn't understand my reply to his message, and cancelled the order!

 

Not a terrible thing, as there are / were satin black and bronze versions...  The latter look really sharp!

They are nice looking. Balance might be an issue with a scope weighing more than four or five pounds. They would be great for an ST80. I assume it mounts with a 3/8-16 stud? I wonder if it's made in Japan or outsourced to China? I know some of the little  red star tracker mounts that Kenko sells are made in China.



#8 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 03:24 PM

Pretty sure these AZ mounts are made in China (saw HUTECH mentioned by one Japanese Seller), as are the Kenko-branded new telescopes...

 

- Sky Explorer SE102 -->  https://www.ebay.com...163ce7cd00ba831

 

I saw a 152mm Newtonian, but didn't bookmark it.  So... is this "new" Kenko based in Japan, & selling China-made scopes; or, is it all based in China, and using a respected vintage brand??

 

Balance might be an issue with a scope weighing more than four or five pounds.

 

Yeah, it's only 7" tall, and I saw one ad that listed 5 pounds as the max load on it.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 15 June 2020 - 03:27 PM.

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#9 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 09:28 PM

For my downsizing needs, I was purposely searching for a SCT, nice and portable, light-weigth and easy on the Hernia and the back, etc.

 

I looked at kinds of different MacCass's but realized I would be getting someone which is inherintely heavy and require long cool-down periods. Also, their long focal lengths would limit me to med-high and high powers not to mention a small true of field, not to mention that pound-for-pound Mac-Cass'scan be heavier.

 

Believe me, I searched for quite sometime. A while a back gentelmen had a mint C5+, with custom built two arm fork equatorial and since he worked at Celestron he was basically able to hand-pick the best parts. It was an amazing system with really good optics. Believe me, I was serioulsy thinking about but the cost, for me at least, was too much.

 

I read many amateurs reviews and other than a few bad ones, many C5+ optics were very well built and had amazing optics. I had set my sights on a JSO, 1980's vintage that an aquaintance of mine was selling it on consignment. Only problem was that the mount and tripod means rather smallish compared to the OTA.

 

Since I was unable to purchase this one I didn't to take a shot in the dark. I placed an ad on CN stating that I had some TV high-end optics which all have 2" barrels and would be willing to trade for a C5+. The next day somebody answered my ad and said that he had a "complete C5+ unused and gathering dust.

 

Long story short, we ended up trading my 2" accessores (which I would no longer to use since I was down-sizing to a 1.25" format). In return I received a complete C5+ sytem with single fork EQ mount, Wedge with latitude adjuster, field tripod, dec motor, light shield/dew shield, hand controller, visual back, WO 1.25" dielectric star diagonal, 24 Pan, 8 X 50 Meade finder, full aperture white light solar filter, front end cap, counter weight system and a case for the OTA.


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#10 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 09:47 PM

...I accidently hit the return button.

 

The point I am trying to make is that you will not get that can't of deal from a place that manufactures telescope and various other things. Telecope shops don't usually sell a telescope with a package so extensive, I will say that we both got a good deal. I like the idea of owning a vintage scope and where the optics are in such good conditiom. And being in such good condition make it all that more inpressive,

 

Thanks for listening to my rant,

Clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#11 Terra Nova

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 10:01 PM

Thanks for listening to my rant,

Clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan

Not a rant at all! Good story and good advice. Sounds like you got a great deal on a scope that perfectly fits your current needs. Congratulations! I've always heard very good things about those white and black, one armed C+s. I really wanted one when they first came out. 



#12 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 11:39 PM

Dear Terra Nova, I too remember the 1990's Celestron C5+.

 

The first time I saw a C5+ I was reading Astronomy Magazine, sitting in my chair and monitoring Computer Monitors which were connected to an IBM 4381 Model 92A mainframe. I was mainframe computer operator at the time and working for a computer which proccessed payroll for about 104 hospitals and long-term care facilities. Yeah, I remember. I believe that it was early 1993.

 

There was something about that little which made it very appealing. So for the next 29 years that C5+ was always in the backof my mind.

 

When I got the e-mail from the gentlement from which I got my "New" C5+. I couldn't believe my good fortune. It was Nov. 2019 and it was literally the next day that I posted my ad for traiding my eyepieces.

 

So, new telescopes can be very exciting with all of the cutting edge, state of the art Optics, Mount, electronics etc.,etc.

 

But there something about those vintage scopes. Espescially when you where old enough to see and remember those ads. So, problem is that you couldn't afford it at that time because you were starting a family. Time goes on, things and people change, the kids grow up and you too get older. But you never forgot that C5+.

 

Finally comes a time when you are a middle-aged, divorced male. With age come all sorts of health problem and you find that you can no longer lift and physically move that BIG scope. Then it happens, you are hit with the realization that if you still want to do Astronomy, you must make drastic changes. You reluctantly find something smaller, lighter and more portable. You have a few opportunity to do some limited observing and you realize that "hey, these optics are quite good".

 

So yeah, at my age I made the leap to a more manageble observing system and found out, this old vintage SCT is pretty good after-all. I'm glad I made the change which fits my new life style.

 

Clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#13 Terra Nova

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 09:28 AM

All so true RMTM! I love smaller scopes, and much more so now that I have gotten older! My dream scope when I was young was a 4" F15 Unitron equatorial model but no way could I ever afford it at that point in my life. Then In the late '80s or around 1990 when the Sky and Tel feature ad changed from Unitron to TeleVue, I heart drifted towards a TV Genesis, but with two girls to raise and school, there was still no way. Twenty years later and things have changed for me as well. Divorced, and kids grown, I was ready acquiring telescopes I had previously dreamed of owning and a 4" Unitron Eq. Model came my way! It was huge and I loved it but it was such a chore for me to set up and take down that I seldom used it. After a couple of years I let it go.

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#14 Terra Nova

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 09:29 AM

Now I have a twenty-five y.o. TeleVue Genesis SDF on a TV Gibralter Mount and it's an optical and ergonomic dream! My favorite refractor bar none!

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#15 CharlieB

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 12:42 PM

Let's keep on the topic, please.  Thank you.


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#16 Bomber Bob

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 03:32 PM

Thank You, CharlieB!  I tried to buy a Kenko AZ mount, and the Japan-based Seller cancelled the order.  So, Charlie to the rescue.  The model he sent is better-suited to my short scopes than the one I didn't get.  (I'll get some pix added when it's cooler than camera-melting HOT outside.)  I already have it on the Meade #884 Deluxe Tripod -- the one I modified to use with my Questar.  On the 884, I can use the Kenko as alt-azimuth; or, extend the latitude rod, and convert to EQ mode -- nice!

 

Let's see what y'all think...

 

Kenko KDS AZ S01 - Meade 884 (Tak FC-50) AZ.jpg Kenko KDS AZ S02 - Meade 884 (Tak FC-50) AZ.jpg Kenko KDS AZ S03 - Meade 884 (Tak FC-50) AZ.jpg Kenko KDS AZ S05 - Meade 884 (Tak FC-50) EQ.jpg

 

Not only did Charlie give me the mount, he also included 2 (optional?) matching Extender Bars that stretch out those axes for my longer short scopes.

 

Thanks Again, Charlie!  You made an old B.U.F.F. Guy blush (and that takes a lot!)...  [B.U.F.F. = Big Ugly Fat... Fella -- 100% accurate acronym for a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber!] ... 'cause ya gotta be tough to fly The Heavies!

 

Sky Testing tonight looks iffy.  Daylight testing:  It feels heavier than it really is.  Solid.  Well-made.  Smoother than my restored Orion VersaGo 2.  The tension knobs come off, and I see stainless steel disks, rather than vinyl.  Pretty sure it'll be a better mount for my small scopes than the Vixen; but, it was designed for 80mm F11 refractors -- and could carry a well-balanced 90mm F10.

 

THE REALLY BIG QUESTION:  Is this a Kenko / Japan product (even if actually made in China)?  Or, is this an all-China brand & product?


Edited by Bomber Bob, 19 June 2020 - 05:36 PM.

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#17 Steve_M_M

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 12:23 PM

Thanks for the great images BB!

 

How was the testing?  From what I have read online, the white version of the KDS is an upgraded version over the green/tan version.  The green/tan version was restricted by its design and could not point more than 45 degrees or so up.  The white version changed the mounting for the scope to be on top and eliminated this issue.  Great news is that with your setup, this will not be an issue  smile.gif  I am still in favor of the original version and wonder why production of that stopped?

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Edited by Steve_M_M, 20 June 2020 - 12:33 PM.

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#18 Bomber Bob

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 12:55 PM

Thanks Steve!  What Spotter is that??

 

I got in about an hour with the KDS last night:   https://www.cloudyni...7#entry10275473

 

Overall, I'm very happy with it -->  Thank You Very Much CharlieB!!!  Compact, solid, smooth, and super-easy to use.  All I need are some 6" to 8" long flexible cable slo-mos with 8mm sockets -- gets kinda cramped at the knobs.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 20 June 2020 - 12:56 PM.


#19 Steve_M_M

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 07:40 PM

That is a Kowa TSN-1.  It, and the TSN-3 are great Astro spotters.  Kowa is another Japanese company that’s been around a long time. 


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#20 Bomber Bob

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 09:27 AM

Kenko KDS II - Breakdown:

 

Kenko KDS Restore T01 - Front Side.jpg Kenko KDS Restore T02 - Back Side.jpg Kenko KDS Restore T03 - Friction Knob (AZ).jpg Kenko KDS Restore T04 - Friction Knob (ALT).jpg Kenko KDS Restore T05 - AZ Gearing.jpg Kenko KDS Restore T06 - New Controls.jpg

 

All metal components -- no plastic in here!  Worm is better made than either of my Mizar EQs.  Overall, a compact rugged mount that could last for decades, that's easy to clean & maintain, too.

 

Yes!!  Ol' BB likes this KDS II.  What does this newish mount have to do with my old scopes?  Glad you asked:  I have 4 months of hot sweltering nights ahead of me, where I'm not gonna want to drag out ANY scope - new or old.  This KDS on the Meade 884, plus one of my small old scopes, will get used often -- and I'm glad that it's a quality build.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 25 June 2020 - 11:28 AM.

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