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Looking for some options in the $1,500 to $2,000 range

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#1 Lunartic

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:01 AM

Hi all,

Looking to get back into the hobby but this time around I’d like to keep portability in mind. I do a lot of camping especially up in the Adirondacks. I have about a 5 minute walk through the woods on a nice path down to a river where I have wide open dark skies. I’d like to take advantage of this. Never could do so with a dob.

These days I’m enjoying just sweeping over the sky with some nice wide field views, moon and planets. Doubles as well. Would like to eventually add a binoviewer.

Any experienced refractor guys able to throw me a few suggestions?

Many thanks,
Chris

#2 rustynpp

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:11 AM

Hi there - are the mount and tripod included in that budget, or is that just for the OTA?

 

I wouldn't want to walk through the woods with everything I need to observe with my 100mm f7, but I would be more inclined to do so with my 80mm f7.5, mostly owing to the smaller mount and tripod.


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#3 sw196060

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:16 AM

A 6” f/8 dob wouldn't be bad to carry.
Otherwise I think an 80mm apo would work.

#4 MarkGregory

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:19 AM

Look at the 72mm, 80mm scopes from Astro-Tech for good deals on smaller aperture scopes with great optics and mechanical features. If you are willing to go on the expensive end, I suggest the Tele Vue TV-85. It may cost more, but is of heirloom quality and a joy to use. 


Edited by MarkGregory, 11 July 2020 - 12:22 PM.

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#5 Lunartic

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:26 AM

I do have extra hands along with me to help carry compliments of my wife and kids.

I must say I’m looking at refractors for the true grab and go nature. Don’t really feel like messing around with substantial cooling times and mirror alignment. Been there, done that. I guess I’m getting lazy in my middle age.

As for price, I can go up a bit for the “complete package” including mount. But not much! I’m purely visual right now so I’m not looking for any fancy computerized mounts at this time.

#6 havasman

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:26 AM

Look at the 72mm, 80mm scopes from Astro-Tech for good deals on smaller aperture scopes with great optics and mechanical features. 

+1


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#7 SeattleScott

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:27 AM

My 4” refractor and mount are about 28lbs and go in a padded bag. Eyepieces in a hip pack. A five minute walk through woods wouldn’t be fun, but doable. 80-90mm might be better.
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#8 coopman

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 10:00 AM

The nice little 60mm or 72mm Astro-Tech refractors can be held in the palm of your hand.  These are a heck of a lot of fun for wide field scanning.  Check them out at Astronomics.com. 



#9 MrRoberts

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 10:02 AM

How about the WO Z-73. About 7 lbs. Add a 1.25" dia and a couple of ep's and your only at 8-8.5 lbs plus mount.

Pic is my Esprit 80 on the TWL 1. I have walked this setup for 1-1.5 miles (I'm 68)

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#10 Hesiod

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 10:18 AM

Well, "travel Dobs" are especially easy to carry, and a 20cm one would turn into a sort of laptop case.

Anyway, among other kind of telescopes the small refractors are obviously the most convenient choice for wide-field observations, unless want to go for an astronomical bino: those are quite compact, but heavy.

 

As for refractors, the big deal is mounting them: a 60-mm sized one works very well on small photographic tripods and could be fitted entirely in your backpack

gallery_215679_8115_1637704.jpg

 

The aperture is small but if the sky is dark enough will have a lot of fun.

 

As for 100mm ones, a 5 minutes stroll is not an insurmountable obstacle but a very rough ground would call for a great deal of care.

A 100mm f/7-ish is overall quite compact, and it is easy to walk in its bag or case (unless, of course, you need the hands to descend the track!), and probably could carry the mount as well in the same time:

gallery_215679_8115_79883.jpg

The bag with the telescope, eyepieces, etc is rather light, while carrying the mount on shoulders makes much easier the job.

In my opinion eq mounts are more handy for high power observations, but to stay within the budget I would rather suggest a good alt/az and a Berlebach Report tripod (those are easier to carry than stock astronomical tripods, and much sturdier than the basic compact ones).

 

The refractor may come with a stardiagonal, but it is not clear to me if the budget has to include even the eyepieces



#11 SeattleScott

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 11:06 AM

I do have extra hands along with me to help carry compliments of my wife and kids.

I must say I’m looking at refractors for the true grab and go nature. Don’t really feel like messing around with substantial cooling times and mirror alignment. Been there, done that. I guess I’m getting lazy in my middle age.

As for price, I can go up a bit for the “complete package” including mount. But not much! I’m purely visual right now so I’m not looking for any fancy computerized mounts at this time.

Oh well extra hands makes a difference. One person carrying scope, one person carrying mount, the kids can carry eyepieces. In that case I would seriously consider a 4” refractor. Maybe on a M2 mount. The Vixen SD115 is particularly light for a 4.5” high quality Apo and on sale for $500 off. A little over budget and doesn’t include mount but it would be pretty sweet. Probably over $2500 including a suitable mount. Otherwise there are some good Chinese 102mm F7 FPL53 doublets out there that should be around $1500 or less including mount.

Vixen is basically the cheapest way to get consistent outstanding optics, if you buy their flagship Japanese models. Otherwise you are looking at Chinese economy models that are more hit and miss. Still very good these days though. Normally I might suggest the Vixen 103 at $2000, right at the top of your range. But the 103 for $2000 doesn’t make a lot of sense when you can get the 115 on sale for 2200. The advantage of the 103 is it is a bit more portable, and it is so well balanced I could see it working on a $200 mount like Twilight I or GSO Skyview. Granted I haven’t tried those combinations myself, but the moment arm is so short it seems like it could work.

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 11 July 2020 - 11:18 AM.


#12 bobhen

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 11:40 AM

Lots of choices but I think I would…

 

Run an ad for a used Tele Vue 85 or a nice Takahashi 76 and mount the scope on something like the Stellarvue M001V alt/az mount. And then pick the best photo tripod that meets your stability and portability needs.

 

The M001V mount holds 9 pounds, mounts to any photo tripod and runs around $150.

 

Both of the above are nice for wildlife spotting as well.

 

There are also some nice zoom eyepieces available that you might want to consider.

 

Keep in mind that if you aren’t really aggressive with keeping the weight down, that 5-minute walk will get mighty long.

 

Bob



#13 MalVeauX

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 11:40 AM

Heya,

 

Portal II Tall:

 

https://agenaastro.c...-tall-plus.html

 

102mm F7 ED frac (FCD100 & Lanthum):

 

https://www.astronom...-7-doublet.html

 

110mm F7 ED frac:

 

https://www.teleskop...rd-Focuser.html

 

Very best,




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