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80mm long FL refractor -- choose but choose wisely

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#1 castorpolu11

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 12:53 AM

Of the following three options, which would you choose and why:

 

1. Vixen made FirstScope 80mm in excellent shape

2. https://www.firstlig...-refractor.html

3. https://www.vixenopt...ope-p/26062.htm

 

If you wish to select an option not listed it has to be 80mm and no shorter than f/11 and cost no more than $700!


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#2 drd715

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 01:56 AM

TS-102ED F-11 


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#3 Jethro7

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 02:03 AM

Hello Castorpolu11,

Add  second vote for a TS-102ED F/11, one of my favorite all time scopes.I admit, that I  have an attraction for long focal lengh scopes. Well if you must have a 80mm I would choose Option 3, simply because I am familiar with this nice little scope.  Option 2, I am unfamiliar with Scopetech but they have a STL 80A Maxi at F/15, this is interesting. Option 1, often on first scopes, there is a lot of cost cutting features involved to keep the prices low to attract beginners and novices. Option 3, will have better optics and a better focuser.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 10 January 2021 - 02:55 AM.

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#4 Redbetter

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 02:48 AM

You might want to give folks an idea of your intended uses of the scope (visual, imaging, planets, lunar DSO's, etc.)  Does your budget include the mount, do you already have the mount, etc.?

 

Are you choosing f/11 or greater for some specific reason?  I can see doing so for an achro, but ED doublets can produce much better color correction than an f/11 achro, and do so in shorter ratios.

 

With your criteria I would be seeking a scope that has a 2" focuser, and with a baffle design that was intended for 2".  That will provide the most versatile instrument for larger DSO's if you choose to use a 2" diagonal and possibly 2" eyepieces down the road.  You can always stick to 1.25" with a 2" focuser if you want.  

 

I have an inexpensive $10 garage sale Celestron LT80 (900mm focal length) that had a problematic semi-stripped plastic focuser with built-in finder.  The optics turned out to be good, so I reconfigured the OTA with a 2" GSO 2-speed focuser on deep discount, moved the baffle back, changed the way the tube mounted, and added an RDF.  Mated with a 55 Plossl the scope can provide 2.9 deg true field of view, which works well for star hopping paired only with an RDF.  By comparison in 1.25" only about 1.7 deg of field is possible--manageable for me, but less than ideal.


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#5 rob1986

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 02:58 AM

there is a lot of praise here for the doublet on that celestron. Im gettig a new one with plans to mod it as time goes by
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#6 Astrojensen

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 03:39 AM

Of the following three options, which would you choose and why:

 

1. Vixen made FirstScope 80mm in excellent shape

2. https://www.firstlig...-refractor.html

3. https://www.vixenopt...ope-p/26062.htm

 

If you wish to select an option not listed it has to be 80mm and no shorter than f/11 and cost no more than $700!

If you absolutely want a long focal length achromat, then the longer the better. One of my first scopes was an 80mm f/15 Vixen achromat and it has VERY good optics. Thus you should definitely go for at least #2 on your list and preferably this one instead:  https://www.firstlig...-refractor.html

 

However, if your budget is around $700, then go for the 102/1122mm ED, as has been suggested. It is WAY more powerful than the 80mm f/15 and not a lot bigger or heavier. I can attest that it still gives that "long refractor feeling". As it has a sliding dew shield and a removable extension tube, it can get much shorter than the classic 80mm f/15, making it much easier to transport. It is overwhelmingly the better choice. 

 

 https://www.teleskop...ularauszug.html

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#7 LDW47

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 08:51 AM

The late 80’s - mid 90’s C80, f11.4 for the price is unbelievable in performance, every time ! They usually run around $150, you get a lot for that price.


Edited by LDW47, 10 January 2021 - 08:52 AM.

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#8 castorpolu11

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:05 AM

Hey folks, thanks for the discussion. I like to explore the potential of all kinds of scopes and I enjoy reading about your experiences with them too. I want to say, in a spirit of camaraderie and in positivity:

 

Who said I was trying to decide? laugh.gif  I'm asking YOU to decide. The purpose of the question was to have a fun discussion about a certain kind of refractor. Just for fun or to share personal experience of why you'd choose one over the other. Assume you have a competent mount and full enough knowledge of the characteristics of different variations of refractors. Of course a person who could choose any scope in the price range might elect to target a 102ED for the advantages that come along with it. Just for fun pretend that option is off the table -- not because we don't know we might want the 102 but just for the fun of discussing long fl 80mm! 

 

I love seeing those comments speaking for the C80! Keep em coming and share your experiences if you're into this sort of thing. I'll start a 100mm range fun choice thread another time! 


Edited by castorpolu11, 10 January 2021 - 09:07 AM.


#9 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:07 AM

I have the Vixen 80L and I can confirm it has outstanding optics. 240x is no problem. Of course, it is limited by the 80mm aperture. Prices are low. I only paid 60€ for mine.
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#10 LDW47

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:12 AM

Its funny this thread, as with most, the initial scope size specified (80mm) is soon forgotten and other sizes take over very quickly ! Kind of takes the fun, the interest out of it fast, nothing new though.



#11 castorpolu11

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:15 AM

The f/15 scopetech is sure pretty! I didn't include it in the three I proposed since to me it would just be a clear winner compared to the others listed. In terms of new options, it appears to be a one of a kind!


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#12 castorpolu11

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:16 AM

Its funny this thread, as with most, the initial scope size specified (80mm) is soon forgotten and other sizes take over very quickly ! Kind of takes the fun, the interest out of it fast, nothing new though.

I think people assume that if someone is asking a question they're trying to make a purchasing decision and may not know much about what they're asking. I appreciate that folks are trying to be helpful. I could have said more in the original post but I also wanted to keep it brief so it was easy to engage. Next time I'll say slightly more to set up the kind of discussion I think would be fun to have. 

 

That said, I agree, gotta stick to the 80mm! Bring it 


Edited by castorpolu11, 10 January 2021 - 09:18 AM.


#13 castorpolu11

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:20 AM

The late 80’s - mid 90’s C80, f11.4 for the price is unbelievable in performance, every time ! They usually run around $150, you get a lot for that price.

Do you have any experience comparing the difference between a vixen made C80 and the later Chinese versions of the firstscope? Of course it's assumed that the Japanese scopes are superior but I'd love to hear from someone who has used both and can comment on the differences first hand. 


Edited by castorpolu11, 10 January 2021 - 10:31 AM.


#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:29 AM

I've owned numerous 80 mm F/11.3 achromats.. I've owned Vixens, Celestron-Vixens, Celestrons made in China, Meade-Mizars, Meade Towas.. I once had seven 80 mm F/11s at the same time. My favorites are the Meade-Mizars.  These are good scopes but the inherent chromatic aberration is visible as it should be. These are scopes slightly better than the Sidgwick standard.

 

I like them because they're an affordable and reasonably versatile option compared to an 80 mm ED doublet. None of them were ever as sharp or contrasty as my 80 mm F/7 Williams optic FPL-53 doublet. Nor did the provide the 4.75 degree field of the F/7 doublet. 

 

But with a 2 inch focuser a 2.9 degree field is possible and while not the double star-planetary of the William Optics doublet, for the money, they're a nice balance, that is if you're paying $200 or less. (Mizar-Meade with 2 inch focuser)

 

Meade 310 2 inch focuser.jpg
 
 

So in my mind, I agree with what both Red and Thomas have said. If you want a really good 80 mm slower focal ratio scope, it will have to be at least F/15, these scopes are nearly the Conrady standard of the focal ratio being 5 times the aperture in inches.

 

These scopes offer a very "apo" like view with very little CA visible. The choices are basically classic refractors made at least 40 years ago.. many of these will be 76 mm x 1200 mm. And not all of them were good.. The classics forum is the place to discuss scopes like These.

 

Jon


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#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:36 AM

The late 80’s - mid 90’s C80, f11.4 for the price is unbelievable in performance, every time ! They usually run around $150, you get a lot for that price.

:waytogo:

 

I bought one of the Vixen-Celestrons 80 mm F/11.3s on Craigslist for $50. The seller wanted it out of his garage so badly that when I told him it would be 3 or 4 hours before I was free to pick it up, he said he'd deliver it and he did. 

 

2050739-Celestron 80mm.jpg
 
I liked the Mizar-Meade's better mechanically and optically But the Vixen-Celestrons were the best looking.
 
Jon

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#16 LDW47

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:36 AM

I think people assume that if someone is asking a question they're trying to make a purchasing decision and may not know much about what they're asking. I appreciate that folks are trying to be helpful. I could have said more in the original post but I also wanted to keep it brief so it was easy to engage. Next time I'll say slightly more to set up the kind of discussion I think would be fun to have. 

 

That said, I agree, gotta stick to the 80mm! Bring it 

From my experience, you can explain all you want, it won’t help it will just spiral to the far reaches of the universe, lol !


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#17 LDW47

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:40 AM

Do you have any experience comparing the difference between a vixen made C80 and the later Chinese versions of the firstscope? Of course it's assumed that the Japanese scopes are superior btu I'd love to hear from someone who has used both and can comment on the differences first hand. 

Not really but I did have the late 90’s Chinese made Celestron 102HD model and it was almost as good but not quite. Ed Ting liked it as well, I think there was an 80mm HD model as well ?



#18 CHASLX200

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:43 AM

I've owned numerous 80 mm F/11.3 achromats.. I've owned Vixens, Celestron-Vixens, Celestrons made in China, Meade-Mizars, Meade Towas.. I once had seven 80 mm F/11s at the same time. My favorites are the Meade-Mizars.  These are good scopes but the inherent chromatic aberration is visible as it should be. These are scopes slightly better than the Sidgwick standard.

 

I like them because they're an affordable and reasonably versatile option compared to an 80 mm ED doublet. None of them were ever as sharp or contrasty as my 80 mm F/7 Williams optic FPL-53 doublet. Nor did the provide the 4.75 degree field of the F/7 doublet. 

 

But with a 2 inch focuser a 2.9 degree field is possible and while not the double star-planetary of the William Optics doublet, for the money, they're a nice balance, that is if you're paying $200 or less. (Mizar-Meade with 2 inch focuser)

 

 
 
 

So in my mind, I agree with what both Red and Thomas have said. If you want a really good 80 mm slower focal ratio scope, it will have to be at least F/15, these scopes are nearly the Conrady standard of the focal ratio being 5 times the aperture in inches.

 

These scopes offer a very "apo" like view with very little CA visible. The choices are basically classic refractors made at least 40 years ago.. many of these will be 76 mm x 1200 mm. And not all of them were good.. The classics forum is the place to discuss scopes like These.

 

Jon

I had that same Meade blue tube back in 1986 and it was great. I would pick any of the Vixen or Meade 80mm scopes from the mid 80's into the 90's for a 80mm at F/11 or slower.  The China made versions around 1996- 98 were a big step down.


Edited by CHASLX200, 10 January 2021 - 09:45 AM.

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#19 LDW47

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:46 AM

 

waytogo.gif

 

I bought one of the Vixen-Celestrons 80 mm F/11.3s on Craigslist for $50. The seller wanted it out of his garage so badly that when I told him it would be 3 or 4 hours before I was free to pick it up, he said he'd deliver it and he did. 

 

 
 
I liked the Mizar-Meade's better mechanically and optically But the Vixen-Celestrons were the best looking.
 
Jon

 

As with many others I changed to a 2” GSO single speed Crayford focuser for less than $150, it sure increased the capabilities. No doubt there are other brands out there equal but for the $ they are hard to beat.



#20 LDW47

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:49 AM

I had that same Meade blue tube back in 1986 and it was great. I would pick any of the Vixen or Meade 80mm scopes from the mid 80's into the 90's for a 80mm at F/11 or slower.  The China made versions around 1996- 98 were a big step down.

Ed Ting recommended the Chinese models, mine performed almost as well, again for the price ($165) you get a performer, a surprising deal !



#21 CHASLX200

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:56 AM

Ed Ting recommended the Chinese models, mine performed almost as well, again for the price ($165) you get a performer, a surprising deal !

Mine were junk. I am really talking more about the mounts as i had the very first made CG5 and 4's in 1997 that had the smaller tripod legs. Mounts were a big step down from the SP mount and Polaris. My 102HD OTA was ok, but not built as good as my Vixens were.  



#22 LDW47

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 10:08 AM

Mine were junk. I am really talking more about the mounts as i had the very first made CG5 and 4's in 1997 that had the smaller tripod legs. Mounts were a big step down from the SP mount and Polaris. My 102HD OTA was ok, but not built as good as my Vixens were.  

I don’t question the mounts, I use mine on AZ4’s and now Porta II’s.



#23 castorpolu11

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 12:38 PM

 

waytogo.gif

 

I bought one of the Vixen-Celestrons 80 mm F/11.3s on Craigslist for $50. The seller wanted it out of his garage so badly that when I told him it would be 3 or 4 hours before I was free to pick it up, he said he'd deliver it and he did. 

 

 
 
I liked the Mizar-Meade's better mechanically and optically But the Vixen-Celestrons were the best looking.
 
Jon

 

Thanks Jon, great looking scopes! Have you ever used a Chinese made C80 for comparison? Excluding mount issues, what were the differences you noticed?



#24 rob1986

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 02:03 PM

I'll have a new one this week hopefully, weather just made a turn for the better, even sirius is hardly twinkling. If anyone has a list of visual targets let me know. best from the ecliptic down to -30 or so, and say from mars (~2 h?) out to 7. andromeda is out my back and but we've got horrendous light polution up to 25 degrees there. jupiter is on the target list as well, but I'm not hopefull.

(atm i only have the included kelners, it'll take months to get my plossls and swa and uwa's from the states in.)

Edited by rob1986, 10 January 2021 - 02:07 PM.


#25 paul m schofield

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 05:12 PM

My first 80mm scope was a Stellarvue 80mm D/9 achromat. It was one of the early models with a fixed dewshield and 2" R&P focuser. Not quite real long focus at f/9.4, 750mm focal length, but what a great performer. It was well made and gave excellent views with very little CA. Star colors were just a touch yellow compared to an APO but star images and collimation were spot on, sharp with good contrast. I sold it to get more aperture... a big mistake. 

 

My second 80mm was an early made-in-China Celestron First Scope, f/11.4. Views were very good with great contrast, good baffling, and a smooth tight 1.25" focuser with 6" of travel. Images of Jupiter under steady skies showed multiple belts, barges, faint festoons and sharp moon transit shadows. Star images like the Double-Double in Lyra were easy and clean splits. Star clusters were wonderful under dark skies. this model had a plastic lens cell but performed very well. I lined the dewshield with felt for extra contrast. I sold this one only after buying my third 80mm and comparing them side by side.

 

My third 80mm was an even earlier made-in-Japan Celestron/Vixen First Scope, f/11.4. It was mostly identical to the Chinese model but the quality was noticeably better. The lens cell is metal, the1.25" focuser also has 6" of travel but has additional baffling in it. It is very smooth and tight. The star images are just a little cleaner and the views of Jupiter had a bit sharper detail, not a lot, but noticeable. I am keeping this one no matter what else I get. I paid around $150 for this one, about $125 for the Chinese one on the CN classifieds. You can't go wrong with these or the Meades like Jon mentioned. These are all pretty well-made scopes that can take a lot of use and keep performing. A ScopeTech 80mm f/15 would be an interesting comparison. 

 

Vote with your wallet here. A used older Japanese First Scope is hard to beat. You can get one for not that much and save your money for a nice 102mm ED f/11.

 

Paul  


Edited by paul m schofield, 10 January 2021 - 06:00 PM.

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