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TAK / Vixen, FS / FC / AX / SD, Old / New - Good Grief!

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#1 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 04:26 PM

2021 is my official USAFR Retirement Year, and I'm gonna celebrate it with a 4" APO...

 

The question is, which one?

 

VINTAGE FLUORITE:

 

- Tak FS-102

- Celestron (V) C102F

- Vixen FL102S

 

NEW Taks:

 

- FS-100DF

- FS-100DZ

 

https://www.landseas...&min=0&max=4159

 

NEW Vixens:

 

- AX103S

- SD103S

- SD115S

 

https://www.vixenopt...ope-p/26144.htm

https://www.vixenopt...tor-p/26147.htm

https://www.vixenopt...tor-p/26148.htm

 

Whichever one will take over being my workhorse refractor.  98% visual, mostly urban observing traditional objects.  I'm inclined towards used / vintage (obviously - look at my Signature!), but there are at least 5 brand new APOs that I'll consider.

 

If you own / have owned one or more of the above, what's your opinion?  If you've done Side-By-Sides with 2 or more, I'd like to read those!



#2 25585

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 04:37 PM

2021 is my official USAFR Retirement Year, and I'm gonna celebrate it with a 4" APO...

 

The question is, which one?

 

VINTAGE FLUORITE:

 

- Tak FS-102

- Celestron (V) C102F

- Vixen FL102S

 

NEW Taks:

 

- FC-100DF

- FC-100DZ

 

https://www.landseas...&min=0&max=4159

 

NEW Vixens:

 

- AX103S

- SD103S

- SD115S

 

https://www.vixenopt...ope-p/26144.htm

https://www.vixenopt...tor-p/26147.htm

https://www.vixenopt...tor-p/26148.htm

 

Whichever one will take over being my workhorse refractor.  98% visual, mostly urban observing traditional objects.  I'm inclined towards used / vintage (obviously - look at my Signature!), but there are at least 5 brand new APOs that I'll consider.

 

If you own / have owned one or more of the above, what's your opinion?  If you've done Side-By-Sides with 2 or more, I'd like to read those!

2nd hand Tak TSA-102 missed. The one to look for if you want a triplet.

 

I bought a Tak FC-100DL as a retirement present for myself. 900mm F9, Fluorite, zero CA. DZs are said to be good.

 

The Vixen AX103 triplet has always intrigued me. 


Edited by 25585, 04 December 2020 - 04:38 PM.

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#3 SeattleScott

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 04:59 PM

I got the Vixen ED103S because it is much cheaper than Tak after you include $500 for Tak accessories, and they are optically excellent, as well as pretty light weight for a high end 4” Apo.

If cost is no object, I suppose get a Tak. Fluorite has to be a little better, right?

Scott
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#4 RogerLaureys

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:08 PM

Don't think about it:  Takahashi FC-100 DZ  Best views in a 4" I ever had.


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#5 drd715

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:46 PM

I see you put the vixen 115 in the mix. It does look good (except for the price).  Might as well get the 120mm Tak. A gut wrenching decision. Consider getting the most solid and smooth focuser possible. While the optics are critical , a really nice focuser is a joy to use.


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#6 samovu

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:00 PM

Congratulations on your upcoming retirement and thank you for your service, Bomber Bob!
 

Since you’ve mentioned being included towards vintage, IMO, you should get an FS-102 or an FC-100 (original issue). I have both and they are great performers. New 4” Takahashi offerings may have improved coatings or may weigh less, but there’s something to be said about vintage Taks. I also have some examples of current model Taks and think that new or old, you’ll be happy with one. 
 

Cheers,

John


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#7 SeattleScott

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:08 PM

I see you put the vixen 115 in the mix. It does look good (except for the price). Might as well get the 120mm Tak. A gut wrenching decision. Consider getting the most solid and smooth focuser possible. While the optics are critical , a really nice focuser is a joy to use.

Huh? The Vixen is $2700. The Tak is $4,430. And more like $5k when you add a tube clamp and finderscope, which are already included in the price of the Vixen. The Tak is nearly double the cost. Granted it is a bit more aperture and it is probably a little nicer scope. But you talk like there is hardly any difference in price, which isn’t the case at all.

If cost is no object, sure, get the Tak. But there is a considerable difference in price.

Edit: price check. The 120 with tube holder and 50mm finderscope (using the cheaper black finderscope bracket) comes to $5,349. So almost exactly twice as much, and that doesn’t include a diagonal like Vixen (ok the Vixen flip diagonal isn’t great anyway) and I’m not sure it includes a mounting plate or dovetail. So over $900 in accessories and the scope still isn’t ready to use.

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 04 December 2020 - 06:30 PM.

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#8 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:10 PM

Thinking Out Loud:  I've been reading CN on all these 4" APOs for months - my brain is about to Blue Screen!

 

Okay, Vintage:  With used stuff, you don't know how it's been treated / maintained.  I've been lucky; and, we have Sellers like Koji that can be trusted.  I've read so much positive press on the old FS-102.  The Vixen 102Fs also get lots of praise, and the FL80S that I bought from Koji was Outstanding.  Something about Fluorite...

 

For NEW, I'm liking these 2...

 

AX103S -- quad-element, and a few reports of alignment issues due to shipping.  

 

FC-100DZ -- glowing reports; but, a few back-focus issues.  BUT, it's Fluorite, AND... 97.6% Strehl.

 

I lurv my Tiny Tak (1984 FC-50), but Tak's accessory prices chap my hide.  $360 for a 6x30 Finder & Bracket... that is crazier than I am.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 04 December 2020 - 06:19 PM.


#9 SeattleScott

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:26 PM

Don’t forget the $180 tube clamp! Do you need a $60 Vixen dovetail with that?

How do you feel about putting Orion rings and dovetail and finderscope on a Tak? Maybe paint them Tak colors?

Personally I don’t really get the AX103S. An F8 quad. What’s the point? I guess you are supposed to get the .67x reducer and use it for AP. I mean I like Vixen, just look at my signature. Just never understood this one. For visual I would rather have the 115mm.

Scott

Edited by SeattleScott, 04 December 2020 - 06:43 PM.


#10 Howard Gao

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:34 PM

No 1 - TSA-102 if you can find a good used one.

No 2 - FC-100 DZ


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#11 Howard Gao

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:38 PM

 

FC-100DZ -- glowing reports; but, a few back-focus issues.  BUT, it's Fluorite, AND... 97.6% Strehl..

Takahashi actually doesn’t provide any strehl report but I heard the minimum standard from the factory is 0.95. Each scope was assembled and star tested carefully so it’s all good.



#12 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:45 PM

Don’t forget the $180 tube clamp!

How do you feel about putting Orion rings and dovetail and finderscope on a Tak? Maybe paint them Tak colors?

Personally I don’t really get the AX103S. An F8 quad. What’s the point? I guess you are supposed to get the .67x reducer and use it for AP. I mean I like Vixen, just look at my signature. Just never understood this one. For visual I would rather have the 115mm.

Scott

Honestly, I don't like using a short cradle on a 4" refractor, even if it is up to Tak Standards.  For weight & balance, I prefer a pair of rings with at least an 8" spread.  I've standardized all my 4" & smaller fracs with SVBONY 200mm aluminum dovetails -- the underside slots keep bolt-heads out of the way on the ADM & other brackets:

 

Celestron C-80P S23 - Mizar SP (LS Full).jpg

 

IOW:  I don't have a problem putting non-Tak accessories on a Tak.  I put an RDF on my FC-50.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 04 December 2020 - 06:55 PM.

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#13 SeattleScott

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:46 PM

Takahashi actually doesn’t provide any strehl report but I heard the minimum standard from the factory is 0.95. Each scope was assembled and star tested carefully so it’s all good.

My general impression looking at reviews of people who have had their scopes tested is that Vixen seems to typically run 96-97% and Tak maybe 97-98%. But that’s just my general impression. No empirical evidence to support it.

Scott

#14 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:46 PM

Takahashi actually doesn’t provide any strehl report but I heard the minimum standard from the factory is 0.95. Each scope was assembled and star tested carefully so it’s all good.

It's published here:   https://www.landseas...-refractor.html



#15 SeattleScott

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:48 PM

It's published here: https://www.landseas...-refractor.html

That sounds like polychromatic strehl.

Scott

#16 csauer52

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:48 PM

FSQ106


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#17 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:52 PM

My general impression looking at reviews of people who have had their scopes tested is that Vixen seems to typically run 96-97% and Tak maybe 97-98%. But that’s just my general impression. No empirical evidence to support it.

Scott

I can't measure Strehl on my DPAC rig, but comparing the 2 used fluorites I had at the time, the Tak FC-50 had a cleaner & more precise 3 & 5 Bar Pattern than the Vixen FL80S.  Wasn't a huge difference, and both fluorites give Outstanding views.

 

I bought the FC-50 as a cheap way to assess Tak fluorite quality -- almost as a personal joke as a Tiny Tak.  But Jupiter, Saturn, & Mars at 150x rivaled my near-perfect Astro Optical 76mm F15.  The 3" shows more fine detail; but, the Tak had a starkness to the views -- so sharp they're harsh.  Tough to describe, but obvious at the eyepiece.


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#18 drd715

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:56 PM

Huh? The Vixen is $2700. The Tak is $4,430. And more like $5k when you add a tube clamp and finderscope, which are already included in the price of the Vixen. The Tak is nearly double the cost. Granted it is a bit more aperture and it is probably a little nicer scope. But you talk like there is hardly any difference in price, which isn’t the case at all.

If cost is no object, sure, get the Tak. But there is a considerable difference in price.

Edit: price check. The 120 with tube holder and 50mm finderscope (using the cheaper black finderscope bracket) comes to $5,349. So almost exactly twice as much, and that doesn’t include a diagonal like Vixen (ok the Vixen flip diagonal isn’t great anyway) and I’m not sure it includes a mounting plate or dovetail. So over $900 in accessories and the scope still isn’t ready to use.

Scott

Yea I was just messing around with fecitious 120 tak comment (althoughthe115 is interesting) . I'm still having fun with the inexpensive F-11 102mm ED I have. The 90mm Fluorite I have puts up the best star test for a doublet I have ever seen.  There definitely is something about  Fluorite crystal scopes.


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#19 Howard Gao

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:56 PM

It's published here:   https://www.landseas...-refractor.html

Each scope is different and that’s the number by design, not a guarantee.



#20 SeattleScott

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:02 PM

Each scope is different and that’s the number by design, not a guarantee.

Not necessarily. Polychromatic Strehl should be very consistent as it primarily has to do with the glass types used. But polychromatic Strehl isn’t the same as Strehl, which will show sample variation (within a small range for a company like Tak).

Scott

#21 helpwanted

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:17 PM

Takahashi actually doesn’t provide any strehl report but I heard the minimum standard from the factory is 0.95. Each scope was assembled and star tested carefully so it’s all good.

They posted the strehl on this scope on their website 



#22 BRCoz

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:19 PM

When I retired from my first wife I bought a FS102.  I went with a RDF.  TAK parts are $$$$$$$.

 

A new TAK would be nice if you can't find a in great shape FS102.

 

 

Enjoy what you get.  


Edited by BRCoz, 04 December 2020 - 07:19 PM.


#23 John Huntley

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:28 PM

I bought a Tak FC100-DL 4 years ago. I've been really pleased with it. A definite cut above my Vixen ED102SS as I had hoped it would be. If the FC100-DZ had been on the market 4 years ago I would have bought that.

 

I might also have gone for the Tak TSA 102 if one had been available back then.

 

I do like Vixen's (I've not owned an FL though) but I think the Tak FC100's are just a touch better.

 

Enjoy your retirement - I'm sure you have earned it smile.gif 


Edited by John Huntley, 04 December 2020 - 07:29 PM.

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#24 Howard Gao

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:54 PM

Not necessarily. Polychromatic Strehl should be very consistent as it primarily has to do with the glass types used. But polychromatic Strehl isn’t the same as Strehl, which will show sample variation (within a small range for a company like Tak).

Scott

Thanks for pointing this out. I'm referring to the actual strehl which can be tested for each scope.



#25 SeattleScott

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:57 PM

They posted the strehl on this scope on their website

Their quoted Strehl talks about Strehl across the spectrum, as in polychromatic Strehl.

Scott


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