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First thoughts on the AT80ED

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#1 ravenhawk82

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 04:35 PM

I finally pulled the trigger on an AT80ED as a medium-wide field scope to compliment my much longer focal length RC. Of course, having just received a scope, I haven't yet had clear skies to put it to the test with. I am however sharing my thoughts so far as this seems like a fantastic instrument for the cost. 

Some background, I've never used an ED or Apochromatic scope before. I take pictures with an AT6RC and observe visually with an ES152 achromatic refractor. I recognize that I went backwards relative to most people's journey with astrophotography, but I've enjoyed using this to shoot medium-small DSOs over the years. I got this with a couple things in mind. It's primary role is to be my wide® field scope as I don't have anything right now with less than 1000mm of focal length that I'd want to connect a camera to. Secondary roles are as a more powerful guide scope for my RC (it really pushes the limits of my mini guide scope and ASI120 guide camera) and a portable visual scope for when I don't feel like lugging batteries and cables around. Right off the bat I'm impressed with what I got for just shy of $400. 

Out of the box, this thing feels SOLID. The retractable lens hood is smooth and firm to extend and retract and the included rings are very nice with their oversized thumbscrews. The rings themselves are foam lined inside, so no worries about marring the tube with them and rotating the tube is pretty easy when the screws are loosened. It also includes the nicest rack and pinion focuser I've ever used, having primarily relied on Crayfords. Granted the only other rack and pinion focusers I'm familiar with are all from cheaper telescopes, but I was still pleasantly surprised by how smooth this one is with no discernable backlash.

As I mentioned at the start, I haven't yet gotten a chance to test out the FK-61 ED doublet optics on stars. I did however focus on a distant tree against a very backlit overcast sky. Visually, the edges of the silhouetted tree were sharp and crisp. I couldn't make out any color fringing, which is a stark change from my ES152 and even better than some nice photographic lenses I use for daytime photography. I'm excited see what I can accomplish with this once the skies decide to be more cooperative. 

 

 

My only gripe with this scope is the lack of a finder shoe. I'm thankful that the cost is kept so low, but I'd rather pay the extra ~$15 up front than have to find one separately. Perhaps there are those who don't need a finder with this scope but I'm not one of them. If anyone else is in the same boat, I used this vixen-style finder shoe and attached it with the screws that were already present on the topside of the focuser. The fit is great and it allows me to easily mount either a right angle finderscope or my mini guidescope. AstroTech has a similar offering at a similar price that likely came from the same factory, but theirs was backordered when I was searching.
https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I'm hesitant to fully recommend it yet, having not had an actual imaging session with it, but I'm fully impressed with the build quality of what I received and its performance in my simple optical tests. I'll be sure to report back once I've had some time to take photos with this!

 

 

-Erin

 


Edited by ravenhawk82, 30 January 2021 - 07:39 PM.

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#2 alphatripleplus

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 04:38 PM

Looking forward to seeing some images with it!



#3 Spikey131

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 10:44 PM

A 56mm Plossl will magically turn your scope into a 10x80 finder.



#4 ravenhawk82

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 11:13 PM

A 56mm Plossl will magically turn your scope into a 10x80 finder.

Sounds wonderful! I have a 30mm GSO Superview that I'm excited to look through this scope with. This has been my go-to wide field eyepiece for years... There's some coma at the edges but it's the most comfortable EP to look through that I own. I've got a 20mm ES100 on backorder that I can't wait to get my hands on though :D



#5 davelpg

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Posted 31 January 2021 - 04:52 PM

My new AT80ED riding on a Stellarvue M2C mount and SS tripod.  Doesn't have a lot of miles on it yet, cloudy more than not lately, but for the few times I've had it out, I'm very satisfied with it.  Lots a luck with yours.

 

The Orion 6x30 RACI finder fit nicely on the supplied mounting shoe.

 

https://flic.kr/p/2krNtAz


Edited by davelpg, 31 January 2021 - 04:54 PM.

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#6 mikerepp

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Posted 01 February 2021 - 09:12 AM

Wonderful scope! Great build quality and superb optics!  Replaced my ST80 as my grab n go. 


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#7 ravenhawk82

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Posted 01 February 2021 - 10:58 PM

The Orion 6x30 RACI finder fit nicely on the supplied mounting shoe.

 

https://flic.kr/p/2krNtAz

Did yours come with a shoe?? Mine did not! I bought one and it was only like $14 so I'm not too bummed, but I'm surprised to hear that one was included with yours.



#8 Jeff L

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Posted 01 February 2021 - 11:05 PM

Did yours come with a shoe?? Mine did not! I bought one and it was only like $14 so I'm not too bummed, but I'm surprised to hear that one was included with yours.

My new one didn’t come with one either. 


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#9 jmccown

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Posted 01 February 2021 - 11:57 PM

I bought an AT80ED a few months ago and used it often for the recent Mars opposition. Excellent views of the god of war!

 

I've also used it on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Mercury, Venus, and several of the brighter DSOs. It's a really nice, modestly priced all-around scope. I haven't used it much yet for astrophotography, except for a couple of pics of the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction I took with my cell phone camera. I  need a better camera.

 

I also like the way it is solidly built. I've had no problems with it. It's a good match for a Twilight I mount.

 

Enjoy!


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#10 Mitrovarr

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 12:01 AM

I'm really enjoying mine. The build quality is a lot better than I was expecting, and it also beats my existing scopes of similar aperture (ST80 and C90) by a lot more than I expected. The widefield capabilities are great. I've been using it with a 30mm ES82 and it is absolutely fantastic for a lot of large objects. It's probably the best scope for the Pleiades I've ever tried - they are sharp and beautiful and it frames them well.


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#11 stevew

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 01:28 AM

Sounds wonderful! I have a 30mm GSO Superview that I'm excited to look through this scope with. This has been my go-to wide field eyepiece for years... There's some coma at the edges but it's the most comfortable EP to look through that I own.

Most likely it's field curvature not coma. It's typical of an F-7 doublet.
 



#12 stevew

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 01:37 AM

A 56mm Plossl will magically turn your scope into a 10x80 finder.

It will indeed, but it will have an 8 mm exit pupil, so the view would be like using a 70mm scope.

I'd say stick with a 40 mm eyepiece, or even a 32 mm for the brightest view.
 


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#13 castorpolu11

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 03:15 AM

My new AT80ED riding on a Stellarvue M2C mount and SS tripod.  Doesn't have a lot of miles on it yet, cloudy more than not lately, but for the few times I've had it out, I'm very satisfied with it.  Lots a luck with yours.

 

The Orion 6x30 RACI finder fit nicely on the supplied mounting shoe.

 

https://flic.kr/p/2krNtAz

Same mount and new scope for me! I've got them both on an oberwerk TR3 tripod and I had it all out tonight for the first time. Although the clouds were rolling too much to get much of a look at anything, I was able to test out the setup for stability and it was completely solid. No vibration or noticeable movement whatsoever with an APM Hyperwide 13mm. 


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#14 davelpg

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 09:40 AM

Did yours come with a shoe?? Mine did not! I bought one and it was only like $14 so I'm not too bummed, but I'm surprised to hear that one was included with yours.

Mine did come with a shoe. I heard that others did not.  My SWAG -- shoe supply ran out. 


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#15 duck2k

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 11:47 AM

I just got mine last week, and after a first light I love that scope! Solid build, great optics. Split a couple of stars during the session. Saw the E star in the Trapezeum. I used both 24mm Pan, and my 6.5 Morph.


Edited by duck2k, 02 February 2021 - 11:50 AM.

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#16 duck2k

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 01:06 PM

Did yours come with a shoe?? Mine did not! I bought one and it was only like $14 so I'm not too bummed, but I'm surprised to hear that one was included with yours.

Mine did not either. I had one handy though.

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#17 Mitrovarr

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 01:09 PM

Mine did come with a shoe. I heard that others did not. My SWAG -- shoe supply ran out.


Seems likely as Astronomics lists them as being on back order.

It doesn't say they include a shoe, so I guess it's fair. Thankfully it's not the worst scope to use without a finder until one can be sourced.
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#18 mtminnesota

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 02:17 PM

I was similarly impressed with my AT80ED, it's just a great scope for the money and does a few things we'll.  I used a 40mm Meade Plossl (~$40) as a finder, it worked perfectly well for me.



#19 ravenhawk82

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Posted 03 February 2021 - 12:16 AM

Seems likely as Astronomics lists them as being on back order.

It doesn't say they include a shoe, so I guess it's fair. Thankfully it's not the worst scope to use without a finder until one can be sourced.

Yeah, I wasn't expecting a shoe. There wasn't one attached in the display photos and the included items didn't list it, so I assumed (in my case correctly) that it didn't come with one and purchased one when I bought it. It's still a fantastic scope for the money, I'm just surprised to hear that some people had one included! I have a Zhumell 50mm finder that's been tossed around between various scopes I've owned over the last decade that fit it just fine. 

My local forecast still expects rain and clouds for another week at least... Hopefully I'll get a chance to try this thing out and have some pretty photos to show for it soon!



#20 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 03 February 2021 - 03:31 AM

Most likely it's field curvature not coma. It's typical of an F-7 doublet.
 

 

I have the 30mm GSO Superview and have used it in my 80mm F/7 William Optics FD, it's mostly off-axis astigmatism with some field curvature.

 

Jon



#21 Mitrovarr

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Posted 10 February 2021 - 01:49 AM

I got to try out my new AT80ED under dark skies!

 

I was actually really impressed. It gathers more light and produces brighter images than I expected. It's a great open cluster scope. It did great on the Pleiades, M 36/37/38, the Beehive, and any other double cluster I could remember the position of. It did fantastically on the Orion as well, and a few other smaller nebulae I tested it on. I also saw Andromeda and Triangulum, and M81/M82.

 

I even got to see M46, M47, and NGC 2423 all in the same field.

 

It continues to be surprisingly better than I expected it to be.


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