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Vernonscope 80mm Refractor

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#1 Steve_M_M

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 09:00 PM

I bought this on Ebay a couple weeks ago. I have never owned a Vernonscope/Brandon telescope before, but I have enjoyed the Brandon eyepieces for several decades.  So, without much research, I put a bid in an actually won the auction.  Then, I started to research the telescope  frown.gif

 

There is limited information on these 80mm scopes.  But, what I could find was in the range of not good to bad.  There seems to be several versions of this scope.  I think I have one of the early ones.  But, if I am wrong, please let me know.  I know for sure it is not one of the 1990's version that were considered very good.

 

So, the story I found online was the Vernonscope got a proto-type from Japan and was very impressed.  They ordered about 1000 of these lenses and the Japanese lens manufacturer did a bait and switch and sent lenses that in no way matched the quality of the proto-type.  Any verification of this?

 

So, here is what I found.  The telescope arrived Friday and I was excited to take it out and try it.  I mounted it on my also newly acquired Pentax MS-3 mount (shown below on Kenko Alt/Az mount) and gave it a whirl.  I was impressed!  But, I was only using the eyepieces that came with the kit I purchased and the highest power I could get was 48x.

 

These past two nights I have been out with the scope utilizing 4/5/6/7mm orthos, a 7mm Nagler, a 4.8mm Nagler, and my favorite high power eyepiece, a 2.5mm Vixen LV.  So, with these I could clearly see the issue, CA is bad, but not horrible in my old eyes.

 

The reason for my post is this....The 4.8mm Nagler was the best of the bunch to evaluate the scope.  Using Vega and Altair as my targets, inside focus was yielded a violet halo.  Outside focus was a green halo.  Why?  But, on this third night of observing with the scope I noticed something.  There is a very small area of focus between the in focus violet and the out focus green where there appears to be no CA.  Not a little.  None.  But, then again I am only at 100x.  Is this typical for these scopes?  Why does this happen?  We are talking about the finest touch of the focuser to get this area between the two.

 

Thank you for any thoughts you might have on the above questions

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Edited by Steve_M_M, 06 December 2020 - 09:08 PM.

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#2 RichA

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 09:38 PM

I bought this on Ebay a couple weeks ago. I have never owned a Vernonscope/Brandon telescope before, but I have enjoyed the Brandon eyepieces for several decades.  So, without much research, I put a bid in an actually won the auction.  Then, I started to research the telescope  frown.gif

 

There is limited information on these 80mm scopes.  But, what I could find was in the range of not good to bad.  There seems to be several versions of this scope.  I think I have one of the early ones.  But, if I am wrong, please let me know.  I know for sure it is not one of the 1990's version that were considered very good.

 

So, the story I found online was the Vernonscope got a proto-type from Japan and was very impressed.  They ordered about 1000 of these lenses and the Japanese lens manufacturer did a bait and switch and sent lenses that in no way matched the quality of the proto-type.  Any verification of this?

 

So, here is what I found.  The telescope arrived Friday and I was excited to take it out and try it.  I mounted it on my also newly acquired Pentax MS-3 mount (shown below on Kenko Alt/Az mount) and gave it a whirl.  I was impressed!  But, I was only using the eyepieces that came with the kit I purchased and the highest power I could get was 48x.

 

These past two nights I have been out with the scope utilizing 4/5/6/7mm orthos, a 7mm Nagler, a 4.8mm Nagler, and my favorite high power eyepiece, a 2.5mm Vixen LV.  So, with these I could clearly see the issue, CA is bad, but not horrible in my old eyes.

 

The reason for my post is this....The 4.8mm Nagler was the best of the bunch to evaluate the scope.  Using Vega and Altair as my targets, inside focus was yielded a violet halo.  Outside focus was a green halo.  Why?  But, on this third night of observing with the scope I noticed something.  There is a very small area of focus between the in focus violet and the out focus green where there appears to be no CA.  Not a little.  None.  But, then again I am only at 100x.  Is this typical for these scopes?  Why does this happen?  We are talking about the finest touch of the focuser to get this area between the two.

 

Thank you for any thoughts you might have on the above questions

You got a good set of eyepieces with that scope, a Clave!  I saw the ad.  I bought this scope when it came out.  A nice 80mm rich-field.  The one I bought came with a 1-1/4" diagonal that had a small lens in front of it  to suppress CA.  It worked after a fashion, but the colour optimization was definitely different from a traditional corrected achromat.  However, at lower powers the scope produced images on-par with a TeleVue Genesis I had.  The prototype  theory is plausible. The same sort of  thing happened with the later armoured 80mm "apo" where some where apos, some were not.  Trouble is, you can't  tell which is which from that line without looking through them. 

 

https://www.ebay.com...=p2047675.l2557


Edited by RichA, 06 December 2020 - 09:41 PM.


#3 MisterDan

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 09:46 PM

The "best-focus" elimination of chroma sounds appropriate and is to be expected.  The slightest intra- or extra-focal defocus induces blue/violet or green/yellow chroma (respectively).  My Pentax EDHF behaves similarly.

 

Apochromats with less chromatic "spread" (i.e. "better" color correction) do not show this effect as clearly/vividly.

 

Best wishes and much enjoyment of your "new" Vernonscope!

Dan



#4 Steve_M_M

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 09:47 PM

Yes!  The eyepieces are very nice.  I actually lived only a mile from University Optics in the early 1980's.  So, I have originals of almost every eyepieces they ever sold.  But, the 32mm 1.25" Konig was one I did not have  :)


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#5 telescopeguy238

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Posted 06 December 2020 - 10:38 PM

I believe the scope you have is not one of the first 1,000 seeing is believing scopes. I had one of those scopes that I believe was number 200. It was a f5.6 lens. The focuser on mine was like the unitron super focuser. It took a 2 inch diagonal that I also brought when I bought the scope. Apochromatic was not printed on the barrel. I think yours was a later model F 6 that they were then calling apochromatic. I do think that yours is from the 1990s. Mine focused the same way. A little color on each side of focus but in focus...bam! Great Buy!


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#6 starman876

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 01:13 PM

I think I have both versions (this one and the arnored one)  and what you say about focusing could be what I missed when using the first scope. In DPAC the lines are nice and straight, but when using it I coud not get a decent image.  I will have to try using the scope again and focus more gently.  I am not sure of the age.


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#7 Terra Nova

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 01:51 PM

I’ve also always heard that there are two versions and that one was best avoided, at least for astronomizing, while the other was a good all arounder. I never knew which one tho so avoided them.


Edited by Terra Nova, 07 December 2020 - 02:05 PM.


#8 Steve_M_M

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 02:25 PM

I believe the scope you have is not one of the first 1,000 seeing is believing scopes. I had one of those scopes that I believe was number 200. It was a f5.6 lens. The focuser on mine was like the unitron super focuser. It took a 2 inch diagonal that I also brought when I bought the scope. Apochromatic was not printed on the barrel. I think yours was a later model F 6 that they were then calling apochromatic. I do think that yours is from the 1990s. Mine focused the same way. A little color on each side of focus but in focus...bam! Great Buy!

Information on the various 80mm scopes is so hard to find.  What I could find was that the 1990's version was armored.  The early versions were not, like mine, but then again most of those had the Unitron type super focuser. 



#9 Steve_M_M

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 02:27 PM

I think I have both versions (this one and the arnored one)  and what you say about focusing could be what I missed when using the first scope. In DPAC the lines are nice and straight, but when using it I coud not get a decent image.  I will have to try using the scope again and focus more gently.  I am not sure of the age.

I will be interested in hearing your impressions.  I can totally see someone viewing through this scope and never hitting that sweet spot.  It is incredibly small.



#10 Steve_M_M

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 02:29 PM

I’ve also always heard that there are two versions and that one was best avoided, at least for astronomizing, while the other was a good all arounder. I never knew which one tho so avoided them.

Once again, just anecdotal information on the internet.....on the initial order of 1000 scopes, Vernonscope started getting many returns and bad press for the lenses.  So, they started marketing the same scope to birders as a terrestrial daytime low power scope.  They look the same as the not so good initial astro scopes.
 


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#11 starman876

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 03:10 PM

Once again, just anecdotal information on the internet.....on the initial order of 1000 scopes, Vernonscope started getting many returns and bad press for the lenses.  So, they started marketing the same scope to birders as a terrestrial daytime low power scope.  They look the same as the not so good initial astro scopes.
 

I find it hard to believe that Brandon did not check the scopes out before selling them.   That is something one would think every respectable retailer would do.


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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 03:31 PM

I find it hard to believe that Brandon did not check the scopes out before selling them.   That is something one would think every respectable retailer would do.

 

I think they were in a jam..

 

I had one of version of that scope. It was called an apochromat but it had that odd color correction and actually had more CA than an ST-80.  It was supposedly F/6 but was shorter than F/5 based on comparisons with an ST-80.

 

It came with a 2 inch diagonal and a 2 inch Vernonscope eyepiece that had the field stop about halfway down the barrel. No other eyepiece would focus with the 2 inch diagonal, I had to use a 1.25 inch diagonal.

 

Mechanically it was nice.

 

I think Steve's scope is longer than mine was, maybe not.. looking at his photo I see an extra dewshield. Steve's looks like it has a 1.25 inch focuser, mine was a 2 inch.

 

Vernonscope in Hand.jpg
vernonscope 80 mm.jpg
 
Chuck Hards has it now.
 
At the time, I considered transplanting my Astro-Tech AT-72ed objective. With its slightly longer focal length it would have come to focus with the 2 inch diagonal and made a nice compact scope.
 
I paid $100 for it with the diagonal, eyepiece, mount and a 2 inch University optics diagonal. I was pretty excited until I took a look at higher mags.
 
This was the 1980s, ED glass wasn't really around..
 
Jon

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#13 Terra Nova

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 03:43 PM

Once again, just anecdotal information on the internet.....on the initial order of 1000 scopes, Vernonscope started getting many returns and bad press for the lenses.  So, they started marketing the same scope to birders as a terrestrial daytime low power scope.  They look the same as the not so good initial astro scopes.
 

That’s the deal and that’s why I always steered clear of them. Seems a crap shoot to me unless the seller is totally up front about the optical quality.



#14 Steve_M_M

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 05:44 PM

 

I think they were in a jam..

 

I had one of version of that scope. It was called an apochromat but it had that odd color correction and actually had more CA than an ST-80.  It was supposedly F/6 but was shorter than F/5 based on comparisons with an ST-80.

 

It came with a 2 inch diagonal and a 2 inch Vernonscope eyepiece that had the field stop about halfway down the barrel. No other eyepiece would focus with the 2 inch diagonal, I had to use a 1.25 inch diagonal.

 

Mechanically it was nice.

 

I think Steve's scope is longer than mine was, maybe not.. looking at his photo I see an extra dewshield. Steve's looks like it has a 1.25 inch focuser, mine was a 2 inch.

 

 
 
 
Chuck Hards has it now.
 
At the time, I considered transplanting my Astro-Tech AT-72ed objective. With its slightly longer focal length it would have come to focus with the 2 inch diagonal and made a nice compact scope.
 
I paid $100 for it with the diagonal, eyepiece, mount and a 2 inch University optics diagonal. I was pretty excited until I took a look at higher mags.
 
This was the 1980s, ED glass wasn't really around..
 
Jon

 

It's about 12.5" from the front to the end of the ocular holder (1.25") with the focuser and draw tube fully in.  With the draw tube out, its about 15.5".  With the Astro-Tech diagonal in place, almost every eyepiece I have only comes to focus with the draw tube pushed inside the scope and the focuser knobs almost hitting the scope.  I also added a picture of the objective.  As you can see, there is no dew shield at all.  I make all my dew shields out of this..  https://www.harborfr...-mat-61241.html which works great and velcro strips to hold it.

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Edited by Steve_M_M, 07 December 2020 - 06:23 PM.

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#15 RichA

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Posted 07 December 2020 - 10:49 PM

 

I think they were in a jam..

 

I had one of version of that scope. It was called an apochromat but it had that odd color correction and actually had more CA than an ST-80.  It was supposedly F/6 but was shorter than F/5 based on comparisons with an ST-80.

 

It came with a 2 inch diagonal and a 2 inch Vernonscope eyepiece that had the field stop about halfway down the barrel. No other eyepiece would focus with the 2 inch diagonal, I had to use a 1.25 inch diagonal.

 

Mechanically it was nice.

 

I think Steve's scope is longer than mine was, maybe not.. looking at his photo I see an extra dewshield. Steve's looks like it has a 1.25 inch focuser, mine was a 2 inch.

 

 
 
 
Chuck Hards has it now.
 
At the time, I considered transplanting my Astro-Tech AT-72ed objective. With its slightly longer focal length it would have come to focus with the 2 inch diagonal and made a nice compact scope.
 
I paid $100 for it with the diagonal, eyepiece, mount and a 2 inch University optics diagonal. I was pretty excited until I took a look at higher mags.
 
This was the 1980s, ED glass wasn't really around..
 
Jon

 

I personally liked the scope.  Around the same time, thanks to a ---- Canadian dollar value, I paid $3400 Can. for a TV85 so this scope despite not being an apo,  the Vernonscope was pretty good for the price.  There were few rich field scopes around then as well, other than achromats with crude mechanics and tubes.  This scope would be terrific for a fast, small true apo as the tube assembly and focuser were decent.


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#16 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 08 December 2020 - 10:49 PM

Ah yes. The 1,600X seeing is being telescope from 1985. From what I understand the Vernonscope lens designer came up with an Apo-lens recipe which when he set up a rig to test it out, really impressed him. This is, unfortunately, one of those stories where the Vernonscope guys were so incredibly blown away by their creation, they really flounted it in the various astronomy magazines before they received the actual OTAs which were to be sold to customers.

 

From what I have read, there was a mis-communication between Vernonscope and the lens maker about the type of glass to be used that made up the objective lens elements. So when the 80mm Apo OTAs finally arrived, they were no where near what was "promised" in all of the advertisements.

 

I suppose you cannot really fault Vernonscope because they wanted to announce to the amateur astronomy community way ahead of when they should have. Once a "promise" such as the one that was made is made public, it cannot be taken back. So now, amateurs were buying something which couldn't possibly live up to what they were expecting. This does not happen that terribly often but when it does, the dissapointed buyers start demanding that "heads should roll".

 

This is an extremely hard lesson for telescope manufacturers to learn!

 

Clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan



#17 Dave Trott

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Posted 09 December 2020 - 10:25 AM

I had one like that and it is shown in this video: https://youtu.be/LWpKv_padMU . I did my best to describe the very unusual chromatic behavior as you got close to focus. I have never seen another scope that behaved in that way. One thing people seem to forget is how ultra-compact it is. You can compress it into a very small package. 

 

- Dave



#18 Steve_M_M

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Posted 09 December 2020 - 12:58 PM

I had one like that and it is shown in this video: https://youtu.be/LWpKv_padMU . I did my best to describe the very unusual chromatic behavior as you got close to focus. I have never seen another scope that behaved in that way. One thing people seem to forget is how ultra-compact it is. You can compress it into a very small package. 

 

- Dave

Interesting!  Your video documents exactly what I am seeing.  I agree this telescopes performs well when you know what to look for.

 

Dave, do you know when these 1.25" versions were made?  Are they after the first batch of 2" focuser models?


Edited by Steve_M_M, 09 December 2020 - 02:53 PM.


#19 RichA

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Posted 09 December 2020 - 02:33 PM

Ah yes. The 1,600X seeing is being telescope from 1985. From what I understand the Vernonscope lens designer came up with an Apo-lens recipe which when he set up a rig to test it out, really impressed him. This is, unfortunately, one of those stories where the Vernonscope guys were so incredibly blown away by their creation, they really flounted it in the various astronomy magazines before they received the actual OTAs which were to be sold to customers.

 

From what I have read, there was a mis-communication between Vernonscope and the lens maker about the type of glass to be used that made up the objective lens elements. So when the 80mm Apo OTAs finally arrived, they were no where near what was "promised" in all of the advertisements.

 

I suppose you cannot really fault Vernonscope because they wanted to announce to the amateur astronomy community way ahead of when they should have. Once a "promise" such as the one that was made is made public, it cannot be taken back. So now, amateurs were buying something which couldn't possibly live up to what they were expecting. This does not happen that terribly often but when it does, the dissapointed buyers start demanding that "heads should roll".

 

This is an extremely hard lesson for telescope manufacturers to learn!

 

Clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan

1600x or 500x per inch is insane, but there is a point at which an image will breakdown, but that is far above the so-called max per inch magnification that is useful. 



#20 Darren Drake

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Posted 10 December 2020 - 11:54 AM

I had one of these scopes briefly .  While nice it was no apo.  Here's an old  article that helps shed light on this story..

https://www.cloudyni...ter-birder-r879


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#21 telescopeguy238

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Posted 10 December 2020 - 12:20 PM

I believe the scope you have is not one of the first 1,000 seeing is believing scopes. I had one of those scopes that I believe was number 200. It was a f5.6 lens. The focuser on mine was like the unitron super focuser. It took a 2 inch diagonal that I also brought when I bought the scope. Apochromatic was not printed on the barrel. I think yours was a later model F 6 that they were then calling apochromatic. I do think that yours is from the 1990s. Mine focused the same way. A little color on each side of focus but in focus...bam! Great Buy!

My mistake. Mine was a F6.25 scope. 500mm FL



#22 Steve_M_M

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Posted 10 December 2020 - 05:08 PM

Does anyone have an idea of when the 2" focuser models like Jon's were made and when the 1.25" models like mine and Dave's were made?



#23 MisterDan

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Posted 10 December 2020 - 05:53 PM

VERNONscope ad copy from early 1986 notes that both 1.25-inch and 2-inch formats of the 80mm f/6.25 were available concurrently.  Verbiage implies that they shared the same optics/specifications.

 

VERNONscope called each version an Apochromat.

 

The "Seeing is Believing" model included the 2-inch drawtube and focuser.  The sale package ($395) included the "Seeing is Believing" scope, 2-inch diagonal, and 32mm (60-degree) eyepiece.

 

The 1.25-inch format version - to my knowledge - did not have its own nickname.

 

I don't have access to earlier (ca. 1985) ad copy, so I can't verify if the 1.25-inch version was always concurrent, or if it was introduced a little later than the 2-incher.  It was definitely advertised concurrently as early as March 1986.

 

Best wishes.

Dan


Edited by MisterDan, 10 December 2020 - 05:54 PM.

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#24 Steve_M_M

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Posted 10 December 2020 - 06:28 PM

Perfect!  I am glad my model is not the seeing is believing 1800x model.   LOL

 

Thanks everyone for the help.



#25 Darren Drake

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Posted 10 December 2020 - 09:33 PM

Here's the pic of that classic infamous add that was missing from the 2005 article..

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