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Starting thinking about getting a classic refractor

Refractor Classic
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#51 Terra Nova

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Posted 06 March 2021 - 04:59 PM

How much would one run on average? I have family in CT so that may be an option post-COVID.

The prices quoted in post #18 are accurate.



#52 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 March 2021 - 06:05 PM

If you're gonna go Unitron, this 1950s Model 142 / 75mm F15 watered my eyes:

 

Unitron 142 S12 (Complete spectros 35mm Accessories).jpg

 

At the extremes -- 80x per inch of aperture -- it lost out to my 1964 Astro Optical 76mm F16, but not by much:

 

Unitron 142 - Jupiter (GRS) 20180607V06A64R51.jpg

 

My 142 was built like a brick.  Push the spikes in the lawn, and the platform had no "give" to it.

 

In Comparison, a Jupiter shot made with my 1990s Vixen FL80S Fluorite APO:

 

Vixen FL80S - Jupiter 20180624V08AS64RG31.jpg

 

This "fast" F8 refractor grabbed a lot of detail for just 80mm aperture.  If you situation makes owning a LONG traditional refractor, mount, & tripod impractical there are alternatives that are still Classic.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 06 March 2021 - 06:16 PM.

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#53 pdxmoon

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Posted 06 March 2021 - 06:51 PM

I completely agree. It looks like you’re back to a Unitron, the epitome of the classic refractor experience. Just imagine yourself at the controls of a Unitron. And I’m sure the good folks here can point you to one. Eastern Carolina isn’t too far south from DC, and up there, it’s far from a Unitron desert!

Exactly. The modern mount talk from me and others is simply an option you have when you find that with anything but a classic Unitron you will be frustrated with the mount. Trust me, I've had every Tasco, Sears and other classic 60mm scope, and there is zero comparison to a Unitron mount. If you want the whole experience, spend the money once and buy the Unitron: 114, 140, 142, they are all wonderful. flowerred.gif


Edited by pdxmoon, 06 March 2021 - 06:52 PM.

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#54 Alanvogt

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Posted 06 March 2021 - 11:42 PM

Exactly. The modern mount talk from me and others is simply an option you have when you find that with anything but a classic Unitron you will be frustrated with the mount. Trust me, I've had every Tasco, Sears and other classic 60mm scope, and there is zero comparison to a Unitron mount. If you want the whole experience, spend the money once and buy the Unitron: 114, 140, 142, they are all wonderful. flowerred.gif

I don't agree... Though I absolutely LOVE my 4" Unitron 155, the main reason I got it was to show it off in my public sidewalk astronomy sessions. ( I have my set up and take down time to under 10 minutes!)   Anyway when I want to see the moon or planets in my own back yard I grab a Tasco.  The mounts are butter smooth and I love the classic gem experience in both 60mm and 76mm flavors. (See post #31) If I were to only have one I'd pick the76mm.  By contrast, the Unitron was over $4000,  Still worth it to me.



#55 pdxmoon

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Posted 07 March 2021 - 12:12 AM

I don't agree... Though I absolutely LOVE my 4" Unitron 155, the main reason I got it was to show it off in my public sidewalk astronomy sessions. ( I have my set up and take down time to under 10 minutes!)   Anyway when I want to see the moon or planets in my own back yard I grab a Tasco.  The mounts are butter smooth and I love the classic gem experience in both 60mm and 76mm flavors. (See post #31) If I were to only have one I'd pick the76mm.  By contrast, the Unitron was over $4000,  Still worth it to me.

First of all, how fortunate you are to have a 4" Unitron. That's awesome. However, even at ten minutes set up, no wonder you grab a Tasco for your backyard, haha! That's a lot of telescope to grab and set up. 

 

What would be great is if the OP could have both a 60mm Unitron and a 60mm Tasco to compare. Then they could decide the relative merits of one over the other. I know which one I'd choose.

 

And again--I'll bet that 152 turns heads. Any pictures you could post?


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#56 Alanvogt

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Posted 07 March 2021 - 12:44 AM

And again--I'll bet that 152 turns heads. Any pictures you could post?

Sure lots.... These have been posted before so everyone else please bear with me.

I've been doing ambush sidewalk astronomy for about 3 years now in Seattle.  Looks like this:  By the way my record for number of people standing in line is 45.
post-274698-0-07896000-1593362563_thumb.jpg

So I got to thinking "Wouldn't it be great to show off a classic Unitron with all the bells and whistles?" I always wanted on anyway. So X-mas 2019 I got a loaded 155 from Jim in RI.

Now I do this:

post-274698-0-60582700-1595748481_thumb.jpg

post-274698-0-07298600-1595748496_thumb.jpg

post-274698-0-32046500-1596094153.jpg post-274698-0-74869700-1596094135_thumb.jpg

post-274698-0-64344700-1593412598_thumb.jpg

That's me on the right!


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#57 Alanvogt

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Posted 07 March 2021 - 01:09 AM

By the way, If a good model 142 (75mm) came along I would be VERY tempted. They go for about $1000 but for me it's not the money,,, I'm just running out of room.  I need a bigger house.

family room.jpg


Edited by Alanvogt, 07 March 2021 - 01:44 AM.

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#58 Bomber Bob

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Posted 07 March 2021 - 09:47 AM

I bet we have the OP's head spinning!

 

I'll try to be brief:

 

- Tons of Classic Refractor choices.

- How often do you want to use the scope?

- How much time & effort with set-up & take-down is practical for you?

- Storage Space?  Stairs?  Other obstacles?  Health / physical limitations?

- Lots of us started with a 60mm F12 / F15 on an alt/az or EQ mount.  We want to see more, and go to 3" or 4" F15 kits.  So, if I were you, I'd start this insanity with a 3" F15 EQ.  Use it for a while.  Then you'll have a better feel for your Next Classic...

- Most of us find that buying just 1 old refractor isn't enough.


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#59 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 07 March 2021 - 10:27 AM

I bet we have the OP's head spinning!

 

I'll try to be brief:

 

- Tons of Classic Refractor choices.

- How often do you want to use the scope?

- How much time & effort with set-up & take-down is practical for you?

- Storage Space?  Stairs?  Other obstacles?  Health / physical limitations?

- Lots of us started with a 60mm F12 / F15 on an alt/az or EQ mount.  We want to see more, and go to 3" or 4" F15 kits.  So, if I were you, I'd start this insanity with a 3" F15 EQ.  Use it for a while.  Then you'll have a better feel for your Next Classic...

- Most of us find that buying just 1 old refractor isn't enough.

I currently go out to the backyard pretty much every clear night, so I’d probably use it half of the time (the other half would be my modern 102mm refractor).

I’m open to a more involved set up, I’m currently spoiled as I keep my scope right next to the french doors on to my patio. My current set up including aligning StarSense is about 5 minutes.

For storage space I’ve got a bonus room upstairs and a guest bedroom on the first level. No other issues in terms of hefting around a scope.

I am very open to a 60 or 80mm on either mount. I’ve never used a GEM but want to learn, my only issue is Polaris is obstructed by the house.


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#60 BMW YMIR

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Posted 10 March 2021 - 08:42 PM

Cannot go wrong with vintage Tasco or Unitron and remember Polarex. Unitron is ART...... and their are other beautiful vintage scopes and for the most part give excellent images.

#61 BMW YMIR

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Posted 11 March 2021 - 12:16 AM

Wooden tripods add to the classic beauty...... but can be annoying, sliding, flipping out one way or another and pinching your fingers. That can cause colorful language. Most importantly they limit your tube travel. I am a pedestal person. Put a Unitron on a pedestal and worship it.
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#62 BMW YMIR

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Posted 11 March 2021 - 11:32 AM

Hey....... this is directed to Bomber Bob..... you fly????? Long time friend of mine.... owned two T-34s and my favorite..... T-28 carrier model. Off the Lexington. He flies for American, 777. Lots of good memories up there. He has a C8.... 73 ish. Love the classic look. I have a 5 and 8......... BUT.... they are not Unitron!!!! Oh, forgot, I like Mayflower and their mounts. Look to the skies..... keep looking to the skies....
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#63 Bomber Bob

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Posted 11 March 2021 - 12:13 PM

Hey....... this is directed to Bomber Bob..... you fly????? Long time friend of mine.... owned two T-34s and my favorite..... T-28 carrier model. Off the Lexington. He flies for American, 777. Lots of good memories up there. He has a C8.... 73 ish. Love the classic look. I have a 5 and 8......... BUT.... they are not Unitron!!!! Oh, forgot, I like Mayflower and their mounts. Look to the skies..... keep looking to the skies....

I haven't flown since my USAF retirement -- 17 years in May...  Where did those years go??  I was a BUFF (B-52) Driver, then flew C-130s in the Reserves.  Sure do miss it!!


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#64 Terra Nova

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Posted 11 March 2021 - 08:53 PM

I currently go out to the backyard pretty much every clear night, so I’d probably use it half of the time (the other half would be my modern 102mm refractor).

I’m open to a more involved set up, I’m currently spoiled as I keep my scope right next to the french doors on to my patio. My current set up including aligning StarSense is about 5 minutes.

For storage space I’ve got a bonus room upstairs and a guest bedroom on the first level. No other issues in terms of hefting around a scope.

I am very open to a 60 or 80mm on either mount. I’ve never used a GEM but want to learn, my only issue is Polaris is obstructed by the house.

If you are open to a 60mm or an 80mm and also open to a more complicated setup, then I would say, by all means, look for a nice 75 to 80mm long achromat on a German equatorial mount. There is a huge difference in stepping up from a 60mm to a ~3” scope. I would recommend, (in staying within your stated bounds of $500), look for a Sears 6339 or 6344 (made by RAO and SYW respectively), or a Tasco 10TE (RAO), or a similar Mayflower or Selsi. Put an add in the classifieds. You will get a very nice scope within your price range. You’re a user, not a collector, so stay away from Unitron.


Edited by Terra Nova, 11 March 2021 - 08:54 PM.

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