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What are the most UNDERRATED scopes out there?

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#26 DAVIDG

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 09:39 AM

"Whatever the Coulters were, it is good to see David G with all his optical skills and knowledge is using it, enjoying it, getting good views pretty much just as it was.  And that seems like a very good thing.. The ability to enjoy and appreciate a scope for what it is... that's what it is all about."

 

   Jon and All,

      As I have said many times if you know the quality of the optics you have and enjoy the views it is fine with me.  I knew exactly what I was getting when I purchased my Coulter 13.1 back in the late 80's.

    My preaching on testing optics and optical quality is for those that believe they are getting super great optics and take what the manufactures state on faith. That is were I'm trying to educate the readers since a fair amount of  commercial  telescopes don't live up to the  hype when tested. I have seen this lead to amateurs using a telescope for decades believing the image was as good as it gets only to  discover they had 1/2 wave optics and when they viewed with true 1/8 wave ones were amazed at what they can see.

   So in this thread I believe some of  that is what causes some of these telescope to be thought of as underrated, at the start and then when placed in the hands of educated user, they perform very well because the expectation are in line with how the telescope should perform.

 

                     - Dave 


Edited by DAVIDG, 03 May 2021 - 02:16 PM.

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#27 Bonco2

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 03:34 PM

Selling my old 6 inch f/8 AP triplet was the biggest mistake I've made with my classics. I owned it when the ED's came out and the new ED owners demeaned (under rated) it because it had some CA. In hind site the CA while there was unobtrusive and everything else optically was  beautifully excellent. Performed exceptionally at 100X per inch on Jupiter and its moons.

Bill


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#28 starman876

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 03:38 PM

Selling my old 6 inch f/8 AP triplet was the biggest mistake I've made with my classics. I owned it when the ED's came out and the new ED owners demeaned (under rated) it because it had some CA. In hind site the CA while there was unobtrusive and everything else optically was  beautifully excellent. Performed exceptionally at 100X per inch on Jupiter and its moons.

Bill

That is an excellent scope.  Have had it many times to 500x and it took it without issue.  In the seeing conditions I have that is exceptional.   


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#29 Bonco2

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 04:00 PM

That is an excellent scope.  Have had it many times to 500x and it took it without issue.  In the seeing conditions I have that is exceptional.   

I sold mine to a guy that sold it to the Naval Observatory in Wash. DC. Hopefully its being put to good use for public viewing. If so I'm not so sad I sold it.


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#30 starman876

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 06:19 PM

I sold mine to a guy that sold it to the Naval Observatory in Wash. DC. Hopefully its being put to good use for public viewing. If so I'm not so sad I sold it.

I can understand why you are sad.  Maybe you will find another one someday


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#31 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 06:59 PM

Yes   Let's hope to find one someday....One of those  Under rated      6 inch pre ED AP's


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#32 ccwemyss

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 07:43 PM

Yes, in the Astro-Physics universe, the 6" NASA glass scopes are looked down upon.

 

They do not have perfect color for full frame astrophotography and are too slow for ultra wide fields. They were not polished to perfection using the interferometer (unless they went back to have the inferior coatings polished off). The anodizing on the cell fades, and it isn't collimatable. Their tubes are crude irrigation pipe instead of precision machined, with a plain straight dew shield. The paint job is rough and inconsistent in thickness, with primer color showing through in places. No flashy decals to tell the world what it is (in fact, no identification at all, unless you look for the signature on the edge of the glass). They have a single, thick baffle instead of uncountable precision-machined knife edges. The interior blacking is plain spray paint, and not evenly applied, sometimes with white overspray leaking in at the focuser end. The plain R&P focuser is single speed, and the threads aren't compatible with anything. 

 

Clearly an inferior product. 

 

Unless you've actually used one. 

 

Chip W. 


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#33 starman876

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 08:30 PM

Yes, in the Astro-Physics universe, the 6" NASA glass scopes are looked down upon.

 

They do not have perfect color for full frame astrophotography and are too slow for ultra wide fields. They were not polished to perfection using the interferometer (unless they went back to have the inferior coatings polished off). The anodizing on the cell fades, and it isn't collimatable. Their tubes are crude irrigation pipe instead of precision machined, with a plain straight dew shield. The paint job is rough and inconsistent in thickness, with primer color showing through in places. No flashy decals to tell the world what it is (in fact, no identification at all, unless you look for the signature on the edge of the glass). They have a single, thick baffle instead of uncountable precision-machined knife edges. The interior blacking is plain spray paint, and not evenly applied, sometimes with white overspray leaking in at the focuser end. The plain R&P focuser is single speed, and the threads aren't compatible with anything. 

 

Clearly an inferior product. 

 

Unless you've actually used one. 

 

Chip W. 

Wow, I should sell mine right away. I hope I do not have to take too much of a loss on it.


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#34 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 08:46 PM

I will be saving up some cash in case someday you ever do get ready to sell one of those early no frills or decals AP 6 inchers.....


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#35 Lappe Lad

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 09:22 PM

I don't know......

I'd  vote for the C-80 because I myself think the views are better than expected  but others have talked about how good it was before I ever had my first one.....

 

I  would have to say    the Edmund Voyager  63mm scope still shocks me with that great lens                  "with a top quality cemented doublet objective, designed by Dr. David Rank, who also designed the RKE eyepieces."

 

so that would be my contribution

I consider it a personal disgrace of mine to have snubbed my nose at the Edmund Voyager back in the day, thinking it was more of a toy than a legit performer. Recently, I've read abundant praise for this little guy and realize (too late) what joy I would have had - all for a reasonable price, in a configuration that appealed to my viewing habits.

Underrated by me at one time, for sure. 

 

 

Robert


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#36 DouglasPaul

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 09:29 PM

I'm thinking many will disagree but the old Japanese 80mm f15 telescopes like Towa, Tasco and many others branded with other names are under rated. The OTA's and optics were very good at a good price. . But the mounts kept them out of the "great" category. Find a good one, mount it on something solid and you have a fine telescope at a bargain price.

Bill 

I have the 17T and TR, both 80mm. I think the mounts are pretty good compared to some of the comparable Chinese models I've used. The mounts are bigger and heavier than the 60mm's sported under the same name.


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#37 Stevencbradley

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 12:47 AM

Thanks for this thread. I love to learn about the scopes of my young life. I got my first scope when I was about 10(?) From Edmund. I think I saved up allowance or lawnmowing money. It was a non-achromat (memories are a bit elusive here) kit. Cardboard tube, lenses, ways to assemble. It was supposed to give me 75X if it was pushed. It was...shall we say, "colorful." What I have said was my "first" scope, a 3" Edmund reflector, I *think* I got when I was 12 or 13, for Christmas. Many of these classics came into existence when I was a child and a young man. I'm 76 now, and this is seriously nostalgic. And cool.
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#38 Kasmos

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 02:38 AM

Yes, in the Astro-Physics universe, the 6" NASA glass scopes are looked down upon.

 

They do not have perfect color for full frame astrophotography and are too slow for ultra wide fields. They were not polished to perfection using the interferometer (unless they went back to have the inferior coatings polished off). The anodizing on the cell fades, and it isn't collimatable. Their tubes are crude irrigation pipe instead of precision machined, with a plain straight dew shield. The paint job is rough and inconsistent in thickness, with primer color showing through in places. No flashy decals to tell the world what it is (in fact, no identification at all, unless you look for the signature on the edge of the glass). They have a single, thick baffle instead of uncountable precision-machined knife edges. The interior blacking is plain spray paint, and not evenly applied, sometimes with white overspray leaking in at the focuser end. The plain R&P focuser is single speed, and the threads aren't compatible with anything. 

 

Clearly an inferior product. 

 

Unless you've actually used one. 

 

Chip W. 

You got me at crude.... I think I'm in love!


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#39 Allanbarth1

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 08:15 AM

I'll nominate one of each type of scope I have experience with. I've never owned a Cassegrain or Maksuov. (yet)

 

In the reflector category I nominate the 114mm. Six years ago I found a complete near perfect older Mead 114mm F8 on C/L locally for $75 Came with a complete EQ mount, tripod, ep's and manual. Seemed like a good deal so I picked it up. I immediately sold the mount and tripod for $75 so I broke even. I used that to fund the purchase of a ep adaptor so 1.25" ep's can be used. I bought Celestron 32mm & 15mm Omni Plossls. The few dollars left bought the necessary bits I didn't have to build a Dob mount. It's a great  scope. Rock steady views. Comfortable ep height. Light weight and easy set up. Minimal cool down time. Easily able to be transported to a dark site. Puts up nice views. I feel these 114mm reflectors are completely looked over, even though so many of us have or have had one.


Edited by Allanbarth1, 05 May 2021 - 08:14 AM.

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#40 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 08:34 AM

My refractor nomination is the Explore Scientific AR102. I got the package ES was offering 5 years ago with the Twilight 1 mount for about $300 or so during the holiday sale at Highpoint Scientific. Came with a straight through 50mm finder with rings. 2 speed aluminum 2" crayford focuser with calibrations on top of the focuser tube. 1.25" compression ring adaptor, a 2" mirror diagonal. Vixen dovetail bar with mounting rings and handle. The lens cell can be collimated if ever needed. Another great deal in my opinion. It has everything needed in one package less the eyepiece. Everything is quality made and had held up well over the last 5 years. There was quite a bit of chatter about these and the package a few years back. I know that dozens were purchased because so many places had them on back order more than once. I've used this scope just as much as the 114. I think that a 102mm is a sweet spot in aperture and portability. I enjoy using my AR102. When I don't have any itinerary for the night this is the scope I grab. I use it as an all around scope. I'm happy with the views it shows me. The chromatic aberration isn't bad at all. At F6.5 its a fine sky sweeper and always puts a smile on my face when I use it. I've seen some poo-poo the AR102 but it seems that they own $3000 ED's and APO's and compare it to those and that isn't fair to either scope.

 

The AR-102 is not a classic so I don't know how long this will remain.

At $300 it was a deal, I bought one.

Currently it's $550.. The Astro-Tech AT 102ED is $600.  I've owned both of them.. the AT-102ED is a much better scope in every respect.

Jon

 



#41 Terra Nova

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 08:39 AM

 

 

In the reflector category I nominate the 114mm. Six years ago I found a complete near perfect older Mead 114mm F8 on C/L locally for $75 Came with a complete EQ mount, tripod, ep's and manual. Seemed like a good deal so I picked it up. I immediately sold the mount and tripod for $75 so I broke even. I used that to fund the purchase of a ep adaptor so 1.25" ep's can be used. I bought Celestron 32mm & 15mm Omni Plossls. The few dollars left bought the necessary bits I didn't have to build a Dob mount. It's a great  scope. Rock steady views. Comfortable ep height. Light weight and easy set up. Minimal cool down time. Easily able to be transported to a dark site. Puts up nice views. I feel these 114mm reflectors are completely looked over, even though so many of us have or have had one.

 

 

The old Meade Polaris 114mm F8 Newt I used to have (pictured at the top of this thread) was also converted to use 1.25” eyepieces. When I had that scope, I had a set of four Orion Expanse eyepieces (60° AFOV) from 20mm to 6mm that I always thought worked perfectly with the scope.


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#42 bobhen

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 07:02 AM

Another vote for the pre ED AP apos…

 

At F9 my 1989 AP 152mm was long but surprisingly lightweight. Fantastic detailed views of Jupiter including the Shoemaker-Levy comet impacts and some of my best views of Mars were with that scope.

 

A couple more nominations…

 

"Compared to today’s apos" from “high-end” producers, the Tele Vue Genesis F5 and the University Optics 80mm Kit Scope might be looked down upon but both were/are great scopes with “sharp optics”. The only plastic on the UO 80mm were the focuser knobs. And, of course, the TV Genesis offers those flat, wide field views. 

 

Bob


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#43 Allanbarth1

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 08:19 AM

The AR-102 is not a classic so I don't know how long this will remain.


 

I removed that paragraph. It slipped my mind we are talking overlooked classics. Thanks for pointing that out.

Sorry all.



#44 Nippon

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 08:57 AM

I had a Celestron branded Vixen R150ss. I bought it in the 90s and it was named by Celestron an SP C6. For what you would think was basically a 6" f/5 Newtonian light bucket it had very well figured optics and performed well on everything from DSOs to planets and double stars. It is #1 on my list of scopes I should never have sold.


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#45 JamesDuffey

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 10:47 AM

I am not sure I would put the large Coulter Odyssey scopes in the underrated category. Reasonably priced ones sell quickly on the used scope market, which is an indication of how they are valued. I guess there may be a difference between underrated and under valued though. It also seems a favorite of flippers. It is not unusual to see a 13.1” for sale in one venue  at a reasonable (low) price, say $250, get snapped up quickly and then see it for sale a few months later in a different venue at a higher price, say $400 or more. You see a lot of 13.1” and 17.5” truss scopes whose mirrors almost certainly started life in a red or blue tube.  On the other hand, there is an 8” Odyssey for sale on Craig’s List for $800 that has languished there.

 

I think that most people rate these scopes fairly and know what they are getting optically and ergonomically if they buy one used. In a sense, they are the British sport cars of the telescope world. I think that most buyers with serious observing intentions come to the harsh realization of what they are giving up for the low price when they shop for eyepieces to do the fast f/4.5 scope justice. A scope that fast should really have a coma corrector and probably a 2” focuser. Acceptable 2” eyepieces  are not cheap either. It is easy to exceed the price of the scope with these three items. 

 

I must admit I scan the ads for affordable used Odysseys near me. Unfortunately,  or fortunately, I have not found one. The used “modern” Dobsonians  in the 8” and even 10” size are not that much more expensive than the Odyssey’s though, and probably provide a better observing experience.

 

I guess I will add a Meade Polaris to the things I look out for in the ads.  


Edited by JamesDuffey, 05 May 2021 - 10:50 AM.

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#46 starman876

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 12:38 PM

I am not sure I would put the large Coulter Odyssey scopes in the underrated category. Reasonably priced ones sell quickly on the used scope market, which is an indication of how they are valued. I guess there may be a difference between underrated and under valued though. It also seems a favorite of flippers. It is not unusual to see a 13.1” for sale in one venue  at a reasonable (low) price, say $250, get snapped up quickly and then see it for sale a few months later in a different venue at a higher price, say $400 or more. You see a lot of 13.1” and 17.5” truss scopes whose mirrors almost certainly started life in a red or blue tube.  On the other hand, there is an 8” Odyssey for sale on Craig’s List for $800 that has languished there.

 

I think that most people rate these scopes fairly and know what they are getting optically and ergonomically if they buy one used. In a sense, they are the British sport cars of the telescope world. I think that most buyers with serious observing intentions come to the harsh realization of what they are giving up for the low price when they shop for eyepieces to do the fast f/4.5 scope justice. A scope that fast should really have a coma corrector and probably a 2” focuser. Acceptable 2” eyepieces  are not cheap either. It is easy to exceed the price of the scope with these three items. 

 

I must admit I scan the ads for affordable used Odysseys near me. Unfortunately,  or fortunately, I have not found one. The used “modern” Dobsonians  in the 8” and even 10” size are not that much more expensive than the Odyssey’s though, and probably provide a better observing experience.

 

I guess I will add a Meade Polaris to the things I look out for in the ads.  

The 13.1 I had was a great scope.  Was a great high power scope. Some had great mirrors.


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#47 ryanr256

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 02:13 PM

How about the Edmund 4 inch f/15, any iteration?

Somewhat overshadowed by the other manufacturer's offerings at the time, but at least in my opinion, it performs very well.

-Bob
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#48 JamesDuffey

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 03:16 PM

The 13.1 I had was a great scope.  Was a great high power scope. Some had great mirrors.

Yes, it was a good scope and well thought of by many, even today; that was why I said I didn’t think it was an underrated classic.


Edited by JamesDuffey, 05 May 2021 - 03:17 PM.


#49 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 04:56 PM

How about the Edmund 4 inch f/15, any iteration?

Somewhat overshadowed by the other manufacturer's offerings at the time, but at least in my opinion, it performs very well.

-Bob

IMO & IME, both the 3" & 4" F15 Edmund refractors are underrated, and underappreciated.  But, letting too many people find that out could raise the prices, so let's not share this info too much, Okay?!


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#50 photiost

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 06:51 PM

I have to agree the 13.1 is one scope that was underrated.

 

The sample that our member has shows very good images.




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