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Orion ST80 is back

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#101 BlueTrane2028

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 10:55 AM

Hi BlueTrane2028, the AWB is the scope I’m switching from to go to the ST80. I’ve owned the AWB for 6 years and I’ve fallen out of love with it for a number of reasons. Here’s why I am going from the OneSky 130 to the ST80.

1) Helical focuser, I hate it. The focuser is molded into the plastic and can’t be changed. Also, it has limited travel. Also ALSO, it’s off to the side, so large eyepieces/cameras put weird side loads on the secondary.
2) The telescoping arms for the secondary make it compact, but they can never be as rigid as a solid tube. Large eyepieces/cameras flex the arms, and the amount the arms flexes changes with altitude angle.
3) The tube is like a modern cellphone - well optimized for its intended purpose, but unable to me modified (I’m not talking about the baffles, or Teflon on the focused - I did those). The red dot finder has a semi-custom shoe and is on the secondary ring so you can’t change it to a right angle finder like I like (AND another finder would weigh to much).
4) The tube is mounted to a dovetail, not rings. You can’t add rings, because the tube is only the back half. With a dovetail and a fixed focuser, putting it on an EQ mount doesn’t work.
5) No EQ ability and a fixed-position side focuser means it doesn’t work for AP. You can’t balance the tube side to side (dovetail) or back to front (short dovetail on the back half).

As an all-in-one package, the AWB is fine for visual, but I want a scope that I can grow with. The ST80 has a cottage industry of mods and upgrades so you can learn about your scope and do more types of astronomy. If I like my ST80, I’ll be able to add additional features and acquire experience and hardware that’ll serve me well on $1,000 scopes - all for a MUCH lower entry point.

Is the AWB the most scope you can get for $200? Probably. But the compromises to fit it all into there means the scope gives up expandability and modification that would grow with the user.

Jeff

I won't heap undue praise upon the OneSky, as it definitely has a large set of compromises, but for the $100 I paid for mine off of Facebook, it's near perfect.  I have left it 100 percent stock and will likely keep it that way.

To reply to a few of your points, however:

Focuser.  It works with the eyepieces I use on it, which is mostly a set of Orion Expanses (the 9mm is branded Celestron, yes I know the Gold Lines are the same, I got them before I learned that).  24mm ES 68* is the heaviest I'd ever want to use, the focuser and truss arms seem Ok with that as well.  I used to have some Orion Stratus eyepieces... they were definitely a no go, as are my Meade 4000 8.8 and 14mm ultrawides, but I have phased them out of regular use anyways in favor of 5000 series replacements.  The Meade 5000s also work well in the OneSky along with the rest of my "A team" glass. Actually, the Orion Nebula, the OneSky and the 14mm series 5000 Meade? Bliss.  I just keep the Expanses with it as the scope literally lives in my car.  If someone steals it, at least I'm not out a fortune.

Truss arms.  My favorite scopes at the moment are both Skywatcher Flextube Dobs, so I'm very familiar with the setup.  I will say, I wish they had squeezed a third arm onto the OneSky, but so long as you aren't going past the limits of the focuser, the existing arms seem to be up to the task.  Again, I use a mostly lightweight set of eyepieces on it.  The OneSky seems to hold collimation better than my larger flextubes, for whatever that's worth.

Finder. I like red dots.  I use a Telrad with all my scopes.  The OneSky won't mount one of those conveniently, but the existing dovetail does work with the Celestron StarPointer Pro, an oft overlooked Telrad competitor.  Having owned both, I agree the Telrad is better, but the StarPointer Pro is a fine option with the limited mounting.  If you need a right angle finder, people have mounted them right at the top of the lower tube section, which doesn't alter the CG all that much.

Mount.  I dislike that it's on a table top.  I'll eventually build a tripod table for it (there's instructions out there).  Such a table would provide a great platform for any table top scope... or, I'll invest in an alt-az tripod mount.  I have ONE telescope on an EQ mount, my 90mm f/10.  I don't find them necessary for visual (obviously) and I don't do AP at all.  I'd likely invest in a completely different setup for that... which an ST-80 COULD find itself a part of.

As for portability concerns, I don't fly, ever.  As previously stated, the OneSky rarely leaves my vehicle. It's the telescope I have for when I wasn't planning on needing a telescope but find a good moment to observe.  An ST-80 could also fill that role.  I enjoy the wide fields that my OneSky provide in comparison to my 8" f/6 and 12" f/4.9, I'm open to trying something like an ST-80 to get an even wider view.

To summarize, the OneSky's compromises aren't an issue for me, except for the table top setup... my gripe there extends to all table top scopes.  It, being lighter than my previous table tops, is less of a strain on the folding table I have for it, so I can enjoy nice relatively wobble free sessions with it, but the table is yet another thing to lug around.  A tripod would probably take up less space.


And finally, I just plugged everything into Stellarium.  The ST80 will frame all of the Andromeda Galaxy where my other scopes fall a little short.  The ten thousand dollar question is, does it have enough aperture to actually see the whole thing, in a dark sky site?  Imaging is not my preference...


Edited by BlueTrane2028, 23 November 2020 - 11:03 AM.


#102 Sarkikos

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Posted 30 November 2020 - 08:42 AM

Ok so I had a brief time to test before the clouds rolled in.  I can say that this sample of the TSFLAT2 works.   The previous sample I got several months ago was defective, strong astigmatism across the entire field. Although a hassle to ship back to Germany, the folks at TS made it easy.

 

The best performance was with the APM 30mm UFF in both scopes.  The 22T4 Nagler had about 2mm of focus differences between the center and edge sharpness.  I didn't get a chance to try different spacing by lifting the eyepiece up.

 

Hope to try the 35mm Pan next

 

I must say it was nice panning with the 30mm in the ST120.  Can't wait to take it to a dark sky site

Yes, the APM 30 is supposed to have an Ultra Flat Field.  Sounds like it does.  I've ordered one, but it isn't supposed to be available until well into December or January.

 

Mike



#103 Sarkikos

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Posted 30 November 2020 - 08:43 AM

I would guess the TSFLAT2 cost a good bit vs what the ST80 cost.

It makes sense if you have several refractors so you can spread the cost.  Many times I've used an accessory in a telescope that costs much more than the telescope.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 30 November 2020 - 08:44 AM.


#104 Cali

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:16 AM

Anyone using the Orion ST80 as a finder scope? Was thinking of replacing my Orion 9x50 finder scope with one.

 

Thx!

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 01 December 2020 - 02:17 AM.


#105 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 06:56 AM

I tried using my ST80 as a finderscope on my 10" f/4.8 Dob.  But it was too heavy.  The only place I could put it on the OTA so it could balance was down near the altitude bearings, which was much too low for a comfortable view.  So off it went.  Maybe if I acquire a larger scope I'll give it another try.

 

Mike


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#106 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:02 AM

Anyone using the Orion ST80 as a finder scope? Was thinking of replacing my Orion 9x50 finder scope with one.

 

Thx!

 

- Cal

That is all i used mine for on a 6" ED.  Worked great as a finder.


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#107 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 10:41 AM

That is all i used mine for on a 6" ED.  Worked great as a finder.

Yep, a big finder is probably easier to balance on a big refractor.  Just put it down toward the focuser, and it'll help balance against the heavy objective end of the scope.  You can always shift the OTA up in the rings if you need to.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 01 December 2020 - 10:42 AM.

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#108 kklei940

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:23 PM

Yes, the APM 30 is supposed to have an Ultra Flat Field.  Sounds like it does.  I've ordered one, but it isn't supposed to be available until well into December or January.

 

Mike

I ordered one last week Monday and it was in stock. It arrived on Friday afternoon. Maybe it was one of the last ones they had available. Amazing that it was only 4 days total processing and shipping from Germany!

 

Anyway, I won't get to test it out quite yet since my 2" focuser won't be here for another few weeks yet. But since I just got the ST-80 a couple of weeks ago it should give me time to complete the usual stock performance upgrade measures, as well as remove the baffle and flock the interior. Will be excited to see how it all works out when finished!


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#109 Voyager1

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 03:56 PM

Around 20 years ago, I recall jonesing for an ST80. I'd stare at them in the Orion paper catalogs. A perfect jump up from my 10x50s. 

 

Cut to now: I've briefly owned a C6 (field of view caused me to give up; bad decision I now realize) and back in July, a Zhumell Z130 (it arrived damaged so I returned it, but I was actually not enjoying the physical movement/ergonomics of trying to track planets, which makes me apprehensive for a larger Dob in my future).

 

So now back to ST80.  Just missed buying one a few weeks ago; now they're out of stock.

 

In the meantime, a few Qs:

 

--I've heard some samples are better than others. How will I know if I got a "bad" example?  What would that look like thru the EP?
--would this scope work well with the Orion VersaGo II?  Assuming not too bad to scan at low powers, but how would it be at higher powers?  I know these don't excel at that level but I'm wondering does it need a more expensive mount with slow motion controls?  Like a TW1, AZ5 or SW Pronto...

--Or, should I get the SW ST102?  Would then getting an AT102ED be redundant? 
Is a better pairing an ST80 and the AT102ED?

 

I suppose if I could afford an AT72EDII or AT80ED, I'd just get either of those, but with 2 kids in college, not an option right now.

 

My main goal is quick peeks, short sessions, ease of use--using Eps such as X-Cel Xs or Paradigms...

 

Thanks much,
john



#110 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 04:32 PM

--Or, should I get the SW ST102?  Would then getting an AT102ED be redundant?
Is a better pairing an ST80 and the AT102ED?

 

I suppose if I could afford an AT72EDII or AT80ED, I'd just get either of those, but with 2 kids in college, not an option right now.

 

My main goal is quick peeks, short sessions, ease of use--using Eps such as X-Cel Xs or Paradigms...

 

Thanks much,
john

 

 

John:

 

I think the ST-80 is primarily a low power scope that has limited usefulness at high magnifications.  I'm not sure about good ones and bad ones, I had one that had quite a bit of astigmatism, otherwise they've all been similar and higher magnifications are dominated by chromatic aberration. 

 

For a quick look scope that's also capable of wider field views, the AT-102ED is the best combination.. and ST-80 would probably not get much use. 

 

Still looking for an ST-80?

 

Jon


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#111 Ihtegla Sar

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 04:48 PM

 

--I've heard some samples are better than others. How will I know if I got a "bad" example?  What would that look like thru the EP?

You can do a star test to see if any obvious aberrations.

 

I got a new Meade Adventure Scope (ST-80 clone) recently and have not had a chance to update the focuser so I could test out the TSFLAT, but I did do a star test and could not detect any astigmatism but did notice it's out of collimation. 

 

I also have a Meade Infinity 80mm and a Celestron f/5 102 that is basically the same scope but with 102mm of aperture.  All three were out of collimation when they arrived and with some tinkering I was able to get them collimated.  There are no collimation adjustment screws, so you basically have to loosen the focuser screws and jiggle the focuser until it's are collimated and then lock the screws down.  You can do it with a laser and a paper with a centered dot taped to the dew shield or with a Cheshire.  If you do it at night, you can run out and star test, and keep trying until you are satisfied with the results.  With my Celestron 102, I spent about half hour working on it and finally after half a dozen tries I got it to give a good star test.

 

As Jon says these aren't high power instruments but if you can get them collimated it will give better views.


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#112 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:10 PM

Yep, a big finder is probably easier to balance on a big refractor.  Just put it down toward the focuser, and it'll help balance against the heavy objective end of the scope.  You can always shift the OTA up in the rings if you need to.

 

Mike

That was the main reason i did that.


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#113 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:12 PM

John:

 

I think the ST-80 is primarily a low power scope that has limited usefulness at high magnifications.  I'm not sure about good ones and bad ones, I had one that had quite a bit of astigmatism, otherwise they've all been similar and higher magnifications are dominated by chromatic aberration. 

 

For a quick look scope that's also capable of wider field views, the AT-102ED is the best combination.. and ST-80 would probably not get much use. 

 

Still looking for an ST-80?

 

Jon

Anything over 30x was too much for mine.   But with a 2" focuser and a 21mm Ethos you really do have a super finder.


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#114 Voyager1

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:44 PM

For a quick look scope that's also capable of wider field views, the AT-102ED is the best combination.. and ST-80 would probably not get much use. 

 

I also have a Meade Infinity 80mm and a Celestron f/5 102 that is basically the same scope but with 102mm of aperture.  All three were out of collimation when they arrived and with some tinkering I was able to get them collimated.  There are no collimation adjustment screws, so you basically have to loosen the focuser screws and jiggle the focuser until it's are collimated and then lock the screws down.  As Jon says these aren't high power instruments but if you can get them collimated it will give better views.

 

Anything over 30x was too much for mine. 

 

Thanks all!  I think you've reinforced what, deep down, I know is the truth--that I really want a 72ED, 80ED, or 102ED.

 

I'd prob lean to a 72 then later get the 102, for a "both worlds vibe."    In the future, I'd like to check out a big Dob in the wild (post Covid). 

 

I'd also like to check out the upcoming AT70ED. Maybe there are some speculation posts comparing this with the 72ED...


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#115 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:52 PM

Thanks all!  I think you've reinforced what, deep down, I know is the truth--that I really want a 72ED, 80ED, or 102ED.

 

I'd prob lean to a 72 then later get the 102, for a "both worlds vibe."    In the future, I'd like to check out a big Dob in the wild (post Covid). 

 

I'd also like to check out the upcoming AT70ED. Maybe there are some speculation posts comparing this with the 72ED...

Once you start slapping the power up on the ST80 stars start to look yellow since color correction is really bad with such a fast achro. A used 80mm ED can do much more.


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#116 tony_spina

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:53 PM

Around 20 years ago, I recall jonesing for an ST80. I'd stare at them in the Orion paper catalogs. A perfect jump up from my 10x50s. 

 

Cut to now: I've briefly owned a C6 (field of view caused me to give up; bad decision I now realize) and back in July, a Zhumell Z130 (it arrived damaged so I returned it, but I was actually not enjoying the physical movement/ergonomics of trying to track planets, which makes me apprehensive for a larger Dob in my future).

 

So now back to ST80.  Just missed buying one a few weeks ago; now they're out of stock.

 

In the meantime, a few Qs:

 

--I've heard some samples are better than others. How will I know if I got a "bad" example?  What would that look like thru the EP?
--would this scope work well with the Orion VersaGo II?  Assuming not too bad to scan at low powers, but how would it be at higher powers?  I know these don't excel at that level but I'm wondering does it need a more expensive mount with slow motion controls?  Like a TW1, AZ5 or SW Pronto...

--Or, should I get the SW ST102?  Would then getting an AT102ED be redundant? 
Is a better pairing an ST80 and the AT102ED?

 

I suppose if I could afford an AT72EDII or AT80ED, I'd just get either of those, but with 2 kids in college, not an option right now.

 

My main goal is quick peeks, short sessions, ease of use--using Eps such as X-Cel Xs or Paradigms...

 

Thanks much,
john

An Orion VersaGo II  will work perfectly fine with an ST80 or an ST120 


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#117 BlueTrane2028

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 07:57 PM

Just bought a Celestron clone a couple hours ago, mounted on rings and a basic EQ mount. Going to need to be exhaustively cleaned but was cheap enough, interested in how it’s going to perform.

It’s even smaller than I imagined. Haha.

Cue jokes.

Edited by BlueTrane2028, 01 December 2020 - 07:58 PM.

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#118 hcf

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 10:17 PM

--would this scope work well with the Orion VersaGo II?  Assuming not too bad to scan at low powers, but how would it be at higher powers?  I know these don't excel at that level but I'm wondering does it need a more expensive mount with slow motion controls?  Like a TW1, AZ5 or SW Pronto...

At the lower end, EQ mounts do offer slow motion controls. I use one of these $100 mounts (now $130) with my Meade Adventure 80.

 

https://www.cloudyni...nano-eq-thread/


Edited by hcf, 01 December 2020 - 10:18 PM.

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#119 Cali

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Posted 02 December 2020 - 07:13 AM

Just bought a Celestron clone a couple hours ago, mounted on rings and a basic EQ mount. Going to need to be exhaustively cleaned but was cheap enough, interested in how it’s going to perform.

It’s even smaller than I imagined. Haha.

Cue jokes.

A horse walks into a bar ....

 

 

- Cal



#120 CHASLX200

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:12 PM

I just jumped on a used ST80 that Rolo had for sale.


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#121 LDW47

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:46 PM

A horse walks into a bar ....

 

 

- Cal

Finish the joke for * sakes, don’t leave us all in suspense !   LOL !



#122 LDW47

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:47 PM

An Orion VersaGo II  will work perfectly fine with an ST80 or an ST120 

A Porta II will be even better !


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#123 LDW47

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:50 PM

You can do a star test to see if any obvious aberrations.

 

I got a new Meade Adventure Scope (ST-80 clone) recently and have not had a chance to update the focuser so I could test out the TSFLAT, but I did do a star test and could not detect any astigmatism but did notice it's out of collimation. 

 

I also have a Meade Infinity 80mm and a Celestron f/5 102 that is basically the same scope but with 102mm of aperture.  All three were out of collimation when they arrived and with some tinkering I was able to get them collimated.  There are no collimation adjustment screws, so you basically have to loosen the focuser screws and jiggle the focuser until it's are collimated and then lock the screws down.  You can do it with a laser and a paper with a centered dot taped to the dew shield or with a Cheshire.  If you do it at night, you can run out and star test, and keep trying until you are satisfied with the results.  With my Celestron 102, I spent about half hour working on it and finally after half a dozen tries I got it to give a good star test.

 

As Jon says these aren't high power instruments but if you can get them collimated it will give better views.

Collimated ? What do you mean collimated, an ST 80 of any brand ?



#124 LDW47

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:53 PM

I just jumped on a used ST80 that Rolo had for sale.

Added another finder ?



#125 CHASLX200

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:57 PM

Added another finder ?

A finder for what?




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