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The C5 Spotter Dilemma

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#1 KarlL

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 08:55 PM

I have my name down for a current production C90, to ride on a Manfrotto 502AH head & 028B tripod. I’m now wondering whether I should instead get in line for for the C5 spotter. The Manfrotto combination would take either one easily, and I’d get more light with the C5 than the C90, but is that enough? How well does the C5 stack up against the C90? Just as sharp (I’ve have had four Synata 90MM Maks, and three were winners)? I had a C6 a few years ago that wasn’t the best, and it frequently lost collimation. Either scope would be primarily planetary, Lunar, and Solar. I believe the C5 has special coatings while the C90 does not. Lastly, the C90 is affordable & pretty justifiable price-wise. The C5 is a big stretch. Is the steep price tag because it is marketed as a spotter?

 

Opinions? Experience?



#2 ShaulaB

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 09:00 PM

If you enjoy Solar System objects, try the larger aperture. With the current situation, if you don't like it, you can re-sell it on CN Classifieds with not much loss of $.
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#3 elwaine

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Posted 27 October 2020 - 11:31 PM

It’s not just about “getting more light” with a C5 (or any 127mm aperture vs any 90mm aperture). Resolution also increases with aperture. So you will be able to resolve more detail in the C5. As for cost, have you considered buying second hand scopes on the after market (here on CN and on Astromart)? IIRC, the C5 spotter comes with an erect image 45 degree diagonal which, IMO only, is better for terrestrial use than for visual astronomy. (A 90 degree diagonal is more comfortable to use, especially when viewing close to the zenith.) Otherwise the C5 spotter is basically just a C5.

 

Another option, if you like the Mak design (which rarely if ever needs to have collimating adjustments), is to get a used ETX 125mm, de-fork it, and use it with your current mount and tripod. There are also several other 5” Maks that come up for resale on a fairly regular basis.


Edited by elwaine, 27 October 2020 - 11:35 PM.

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#4 stevew

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 01:04 AM

 Lastly, the C90 is affordable & pretty justifiable price-wise. The C5 is a big stretch.

 

Opinions? Experience?

The C5 is a great little compact scope, and will show more detail on everything than a 90mm, but get the scope that best fits your budget.



#5 bandazar

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 02:20 AM

I'm not a big fan of the c90 as a night sky telescope... makes more sense to get a refractor at that size.  The only reason to get the c90 is if you cannot stand the color in an achro, and yet need that super portability at a certain price.   As a spotter the c90 is maybe a little bit better though, because the c5's focal length can sometimes be an issue for wide panning. 


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#6 epee

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:45 AM

Get the C5. You'll be happier with it. Portability is close enough that you won't feel the difference and the C5's capability as a Lunar and Planetary scope is far better.



#7 jallbery

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:13 AM

Is the steep price tag because it is marketed as a spotter?

The C5 spotter is expensive because it comes with a case and a lifetime warranty (vs 2 years for the 5SE).

 

If your primary use is astronomy, look around for a used Omni XLT 127 or 5SE OTA.  Optically, it's the same scope.

 

Sometimes dealers have the 5SE OTA for sale separately.

 

I don't have experience with the the current c90, but I have both a Synta 127mm Mak and a C5.   I'm going to sell the Mak.  The C5 doesn't have the flaring with off-axis objects that seems to trouble the Mak (and the C6, for that matter).  The C5 has a slight advantage in effective aperture, and if the Mak has any advantage in sharpness, it is negligible.  In addition, the C5 weighs noticeably less and the OTA is shorter.


Edited by jallbery, 28 October 2020 - 10:22 AM.


#8 jallbery

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:23 AM

  As a spotter the c90 is maybe a little bit better though, because the c5's focal length can sometimes be an issue for wide panning. 

The c90 and the C5 have the same listed focal length.


Edited by jallbery, 28 October 2020 - 10:24 AM.


#9 KarlL

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:26 AM

I just stumbled across a C5 spotter for a price that’s very hard to beat. Ten years-old & never used. It’s out of state, so I have to rely on pictures. It looks good. Anything I should beware of due to its age & long period of nonuse? I have far more experience with Maks than Cats.


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#10 Bill Barlow

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:27 AM

I would get the C5 as others have said for more light grasp and resolution.  But have you considered the 102mm MAK?  Cheaper than the C5 new and a little better than the 90mm MAK.  The 127mm MAK will weigh about two pounds more than the C5 so not quite as good a fit for the mount you want to use.

 

Bill



#11 Bill Barlow

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:28 AM

I just stumbled across a C5 spotter for a price that’s very hard to beat. Ten years-old & never used. It’s out of state, so I have to rely on pictures. It looks good. Anything I should beware of due to its age & long period of nonuse? I have far more experience with Maks than Cats.

I would ask the seller if I could return it for a refund if I didn’t like it.  Ten years is a long time not being used.

 

Bill



#12 KarlL

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 11:05 AM

I should have mentioned that I have to downsize because we’re moving into an apartment next year. An apartment-friendly rig that maximizes portability with aperture is the goal. The 502AH head will counterbalance 8.8Lbs, so the C5 works in that regard. At the asking price for the C5 from the seller I’ve found, it’s not much more than a new C90. I think I’m leaning toward the C5.



#13 KarlL

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 11:07 AM

Bill -

 

You have a good point; it’s a long time to be unused. Sounds like it was purchased & forgotten or was received as a gift & never bothered with.



#14 Sammy

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 11:27 AM

I regret selling my c5.....

#15 KarlL

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:05 PM

Sammy -

 

What did you like about it?



#16 jelloptic

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 08:42 PM

Get the C5, but not the spotter version; see Larry's advice in post #3.  I've had a C-90 OTA for 30+ years, but once I got a used C-5 OTA, the C-90 took a back seat.  Similar weight, easily portable & can be used on a medium-duty photo-tripod for general scanning about.  Superior performance to the C-90.

 

kbl


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#17 Sammy

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 09:40 PM

Sammy -

What did you like about it?


Light weight, compact, easy to handle..... With a 6.3fr was a great AP scope

#18 Starhawk

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 02:22 AM

I did this same step years ago- a C5 is a massive and obvious upgrade from a C90- you'll get an all new night sky to explore.

 

-Rich



#19 epee

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 07:47 AM

You will want a dew/lens shield for either of them, so figure that into your weight calculations.

 

A ten year old C5, depending on how it was stored, might have some haze on the inside of the corrector plate due to outgassing. It is not hard or dangerous to remove clean and replace the corrector, as long as you allow time to be careful and do the job correctly. The alignment/orientation of the corrector must be maintained. It is also a good time to insure that the corrector is centered in the cell.



#20 Binojunky

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 02:08 PM

Have the C90 got a C5 and looked at a Mak about the same size ,127 I think, the Mak was heavy, returned , the C5 a lot lighter, mine was the spotter version, as I had a 90 degree diagonal and I also mounted a Rigel Quickfinder on  it the scope was fine for astro use, Dave.



#21 KarlL

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 02:08 PM

epee -

 

Excellent point re outgassing. The pic I saw of the corrector looked perfect.

 

I haven’t heard from the seller, and it’s been a few days. I’m not optimistic at this point.



#22 KarlL

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 06:08 PM

I spoke too soon; the transaction is nearly complete! I should have it in a few days.

 

it will provisionally ride my reinforced Twilight I until I purchase the appropriate tripod for the fluid head. The Classifieds have come through again! I got a very good price, especially considering how hard it is right now to buy any scopes. I was very fortunate.

 

I appreciate everyone’s input & encouragement. I hope it is optically better than my C6 of a couple of years ago.


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#23 elwaine

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 09:00 PM

Great news. You made a wise choice. Have fun!



#24 Jeff Lee

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 09:40 PM

I bought a used C5 spotter, one fantastic scope. Enjoy yours.



#25 epee

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 08:44 AM

I spoke too soon; the transaction is nearly complete! I should have it in a few days.

 

it will provisionally ride my reinforced Twilight I until I purchase the appropriate tripod for the fluid head. The Classifieds have come through again! I got a very good price, especially considering how hard it is right now to buy any scopes. I was very fortunate.

 

I appreciate everyone’s input & encouragement. I hope it is optically better than my C6 of a couple of years ago.

My C5 plays quite well atop my un-reinforced Twilight 1. The slow-motion controls are great at the levels of magnification the scope is capable of. Just sayin'....wink.gif

 

 

Collimate it using higher magnification than you reasonably expect to use and it will pleasantly surprise you. For comfort, I use a pinhole in aluminum foil covering an led flashlight. Place it about 30' away. Once you have that concentric at x400, you can check it on a star.

 

I found mine to hold up very well compared to my 12" Dob in a side-by-side comparison on Saturn. The big guy won of course. The C5 didn't show as many moons, but the resolution was like comparing an old standard-def TV to a 1020-HD; not as crisp and lacking some almost unnoticeable detail, but well worth viewing. Not bad for a scope with less than half the aperture and probably 1/25 the bulk.


Edited by epee, 30 October 2020 - 08:56 AM.

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