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For Fans of the Sub-60mm Classics

Classic Equipment Optics
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#1 Bomber Bob

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 06:54 AM

Got a favorite(s) Classic Scope with an aperture less than 60mm?  Post 'em here!


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#2 Bomber Bob

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 06:56 AM

While the Monolux 4348 (T 50 F12) got me interested in this class of small scopes, the SPI 523 (40 F20) and Swift 838 (50 F14) showed me what these could do; and, my TAK FC-50 (50 F8) put the icing on the cake!

 

Monolux 4348 Restore S04 (SVBONY 70mm DVT).jpg SPI 523 S07 - Official Photo (Left Side).jpg Swift 838 S10.jpg Takahashi FC-50 S12 (VersaGo Left ZOOM).jpg


Edited by Bomber Bob, 28 April 2021 - 07:02 AM.

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#3 Kokatha man

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 07:37 AM

Yerp Bob! - a thread subject that  I can actually respond to with total relevance, albeit rehashed somewhat lol.gif - the little Pentax 50/600mm in original form before I mounted it on a proper-height tripod for much more ergonomic use: these are pretty sharp little fellas! waytogo.gif

 

Just to rehash further...bought it for approx. $40US from a little secondhand store in Adelaide where it was still in the plastic bag in as new condition inside the dilapidated box...the store-owner getting it along with a lot of photographic gear from a deceased estate.

 

AsahiPentax50mm.jpg

 

  


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#4 Garyth64

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 08:26 AM

Here's my Swift 838:

 

838 setup 4.jpg

838 setup 3.jpg

838 setup 5.jpg

 


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#5 Garyth64

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 08:31 AM

My Tasco 66TE.

 

I put a part of a 1-1/4" UO focuser that fit perfectly into the tube.

 

66TE with UO focuser.jpg

 

Here's it on a Sears 6305a mount.

 

66TE on 6305a mount.jpg

 

Here's the scope as a finder on a Tasco 10TE:

 

66TE on 10TE.jpg

 

 


Edited by Garyth64, 28 April 2021 - 09:20 AM.

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#6 Garyth64

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 08:34 AM

This is a little Tasco 4VTE, that I adapted to use 1-1/4" eyepieces.  I eliminated the variable power focuser, and had to shorten the tube.

 

4 VTE finder 2.jpg

(sorry for the foot)

 

Here's the little scope as a finder on a Tasco 10TE:

 

4VTE on 10TE.jpg


Edited by Garyth64, 28 April 2021 - 09:19 AM.

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#7 mpsteidle

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 09:05 AM

It's wild that the whole scope is barely any wider than the eyepiece.

Also nice foot.



#8 Terra Nova

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 11:19 AM

Only one (<60mm) I ever had. (Now it’s my grandson’s.) it’s a restored Sears Tower 50mm F12 made by Towa. I’m not a Towa fan generally, but this little scope has a very good objective. Other than than, my main response to a sub-60 is “Whats the point?” I just don’t get it. 60mm scopes are plenty easy to handle so I just don’t see the point in going any smaller.

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#9 Lappe Lad

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 01:15 PM

For the budding enthusiast of yesteryear, the sub-60s, being less expensive, might have made the difference between getting a telescope and not getting one at all. I'll admit, however, for today's enthusiast, there doesn't seem to be any practical advantage.  For myself: nostalgia and the hard-to-define pleasure of exploring the limits of tiny apertures and being often surprised?

 

Robert


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#10 Kasmos

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 01:31 PM

Other than than, my main response to a sub-60 is “Whats the point?” I just don’t get it. 60mm scopes are plenty easy to handle so I just don’t see the point in going any smaller.

I pretty much agree. I can understand folks here wanting to playing with them for fun and novelty but there's been more than a few nights where I've thought, as the power goes up, even a 60mm goes dim too fast.


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#11 clamchip

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 01:53 PM

They are so cute!

Here's a Meade model 165 50mm f/12

It's always Good Seeing with a 50 !

Robert

 

post-50896-0-78700300-1524269765.jpg


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#12 Bomber Bob

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 01:53 PM

For the budding enthusiast of yesteryear, the sub-60s, being less expensive, might have made the difference between getting a telescope and not getting one at all. I'll admit, however, for today's enthusiast, there doesn't seem to be any practical advantage.  For myself: nostalgia and the hard-to-define pleasure of exploring the limits of tiny apertures and being often surprised?

 

Robert

I enjoy The Challenge:  How small before I can't see something?  Like... Great Red Spot, Saturn's rings, largest craterlets in Plato, etc...  And, good old fashioned how well is dinker-lens A vs, dinker-lens B?  And, for the differences in the views.

 

But yeah, forget 60mm!  I keep the C80 on the Mizar SP out in the shed often now, for quick views (especially the morning planets).  The sub-60s on an EQ are only slightly easier to deploy & use.

 

It's always Good Seeing with a 50 !

 

As usual Robert, I agree.  Last Night, I would've been disappointed with an 80mm or larger frac -- as in, Why did I haul this out on a scuzzy night??  But with the Jaegers 50 F12, there were things worth seeing...  (Hey!  Who said that I had to make sense?!  Y'all should know me better than that by now.)

 

Another reason to use 60mm & sub-60s:  Training your eye + brain to pick out fine detail.  I could use just my Tak FC-50 these days, but the longish 50mm achros offer additional / different challenges.  IIRC, ~ 1978 Astronomy magazine had an illustrated (of course!) article on observing with 60mm refractors, and that reinforced my own experiences up to that time.  In fact, after 1000s of hours with my Tasco (T) 80mm F15, my first sessions with the D&G 5" F10 were too much of a good thing -- overwhelming detail.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 28 April 2021 - 02:06 PM.

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#13 Matty S

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 02:14 PM

They are so cute!

Here's a Meade model 165 50mm f/12

It's always Good Seeing with a 50 !

Robert

 

attachicon.gifpost-50896-0-78700300-1524269765.jpg

Agreed; it's the cuteness factor that gets me with small scopes - though it quickly diminishes with optical quality.

I like the fact that with many of these older scopes the manufacturing process was maintained throughout despite the fact that the physical dimensions dwindled.

Takahashi is a good example of this type of process and I would not hesitate to jump on a 50mm or smaller Tak given the opportunity. grin.gif


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#14 Bomber Bob

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 02:20 PM

I would not hesitate to jump on a 50mm or smaller Tak given the opportunity

 

They are Schweet....  I passed on a CZJ 50mm + cell years ago -- seemed over-priced.  But, you never know...


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#15 Pete W

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 02:23 PM

IAnother reason to use 60mm & sub-60s:  Training your eye + brain to pick out fine detail. 

 

Agreed!  Learning to observe with a small scope will develop the skills so you can really appreciate what a larger aperture will show you.


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#16 PawPaw

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 04:25 PM

Here is my Sub-60mm acquisition last year.  Not only does it have the cuteness factor but it likely piqued the interest of a few Japanese students to discover:

 

"Space....the final frontier.....to boldly go where no one has gone before"

 

I can imagine a student racing home and asking their parents for a telescope and then being excited to go back to school to see the shiny white 50mm Goto during science class.  

 

Don

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#17 Tiredeyes

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 06:24 PM

For those times when a giant 50mm scope is just too big - how about a sweet pre-1956 42mm 127?  About as easy to setup as it comes and provides surprisingly good views.

 

127a.JPG

127b.JPG

 


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#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 08:25 PM

Other than than, my main response to a sub-60 is “Whats the point?” I just don’t get it. 60mm scopes are plenty easy to handle so I just don’t see the point in going any smaller.

 

That same logic can be applied to any aperture.  Why go smaller than 80mm?  My 80mm's all easier to use than my 60mm F/15. 

 

That said, I only have one classic scope under 60mm, a 30x40 Erbco.  I bought is a number of years ago on Craigslist from the original owner who had gotten it for his 8th birthday in 1956, he was born in 1948 just like I was.  It's not a very good scope.  Pirate style focusing.. 

 

Odd Pentax CN.jpg
 
Lots of nice scopes in the photos..  Mine has a good story but that's where it ends.
 
Jon

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#19 Steve Allison

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Posted 28 April 2021 - 11:17 PM

Why use a sub 60mm refractor? In addition to the excellent reasons already given, our tiddlers  can provide interesting effects at the eyepiece. The moon can display a "3D" effect at low power, and the large Airy disks resulting from the small apertures can add beauty when viewing the brighter doubles.

 

And again, seeing what our diminutive optical marvels can reveal can be a lot of fun, especially after using larger optics.


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#20 GreyDay

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 04:44 AM

my main response to a sub-60 is “Whats the point?” I just don’t get it. 60mm scopes are plenty easy to handle so I just don’t see the point in going any smaller.

There are people in other forums with 24" Dobs on easy to move trolleys who look at anything sub 18" and say the same thing. Patrick Moore was Britains number one "Aperture Zealot" who told a nation that "anything smaller than a 6" reflector or 4" refractor would be useless for any kind of meaningful astronomy" (Galileo just shrugged "yeah... whatever")

 

i do get it though, why a 50 when a 60 will do.. but why a 60 when an 80.. why an 80 and so on. You can only relate this to how much aperture do you need and how much can you carry, everybody has a different answer.

 

For me, sub 60's are a challenge, how much can i see, can i split that double, but if i don't take on that challenge i may as well just use the biggest telescope i could mount and carry. Using small scopes taught me a lot, patience at the eyepiece, averted vision, which ep gives me the best chance of picking out detail. If i'd just given up like "nah.. i can't see it... Patrick was right" I'd only own a huge dob on a trolley. Then i'd be unhappy, sub 60's are small, you can store them in drawers or cupboards, or under the bed! how am i going to hide a huge dob from the wife? smile.gif

 

My favourite sub 60 at the moment (still got the Eikow to refurbish and the Zeiss 50/540E to mount) is my Skybolt 50x500 (RAO)

 

Skybolt 50x500-1
Skybolt 50x500-2
Skybolt 50x500-3

Edited by GreyDay, 29 April 2021 - 05:17 AM.

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#21 Diego

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 07:48 AM

Not sure if this 40mm Tasco/Zeus Optics spotting scope counts as a classic...it does seem to have the requested age.

IMG-20210406-WA0020_69.jpeg

Don't worry, I'm not viewing through the screen mesh 😉

I found it fairly cheap and took the plunge. As it comes from the factory, it's not very well suited for astronomy. The fov is only about half a degree at the highest mag of 45x. Also, the zooming eyepiece is not that great; view is a little dim and considerable CA.

However removing the zoom mechanism and using it with a 1.25" eyepiece the view is not that bad (atm mods in the planning)

Why something this small? Well I usually don't have good enough seeing to use my G&G 5" mak. Anything over 100x is meh 😕

So instead of dragging the heavier scope and gear outside, this 40 mm is extremely light and permanently set up on a camera tripod. Taking a quick peek early in the morning before leaving for work takes a matter of seconds.

But most of all, I love the challenge in viewing with the tiny aperture. It's surprising how much you can actually see. The following article got me inspired to use small scopes and so far I'm thrilled.

https://skyandtelesc...ing-simplified/

Getting time at the eyepiece is what makes me happy, and not worrying about how much more could I see with a bigger telescope

Edited by Diego, 29 April 2021 - 06:00 PM.

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#22 photiost

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 01:29 PM

Skyline (KD) 40mm @  f/20

.

 

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#23 grif 678

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 02:11 PM

I really like my Helleyscope 40mm, real well built with nice quality lenses. Zooms from 8X to 30X.


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#24 mpsteidle

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 02:12 PM

Skyline (KD) 40mm @  f/20

.

As a Cincinnati local, this scope is calling my name!


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#25 Terra Nova

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Posted 29 April 2021 - 02:46 PM

Only one (<60mm) I ever had. (Now it’s my grandson’s.) it’s a restored Sears Tower 50mm F12 made by Towa. I’m not a Towa fan generally, but this little scope has a very good objective. Other than that, my main response to a sub-60 is “Whats the point?” I just don’t get it. 60mm scopes are plenty easy to handle so I just don’t see the point in going any smaller.

Before others read to much into my above response, I can see that I need to clarify it. I was speaking from a point of introspection rather than prescribing what I think others should or shouldn’t do, hence my use of first person pronouns rather than second. I get it that a lot of folks very much enjoy collecting and using smaller 40mm to 50mm refractors and I think that’s great. My point was that, I’ve had a 50mm F12 refractor that was optically quite good. Other than confirming that to myself and acknowledging it to others (that 50mm refractors can perform well and yield good results within the defraction limits of their aperture), I didn’t see any point in keeping it and was happy to give it to my grandson on his ninth birthday. It was just as easy for me to use one of my 60mm refractors, and one of them would show me more. For me, using the 50mm scope didn’t challenge me or offer me a unique experience, but I do get that. I think we all have upper and lower thresholds in terms of the minimum and maximum apertures we find practical and useful. Size matters after all. My lower limit is 60mm as determined from that experience. So please, don’t shoot the messenger. I wasn’t speaking critically of anyone other than myself.


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