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Do I NEED a Unitron?

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#26 starman876

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 12:46 PM

Being a strictly visual and casual observer, in retrospect, I think the perfect Unitron would be the one I never had; and that would be the 4” Alt-Azimuth model (the model 150).

The Alt Az 150 mount is a beast and will handle a lot of weight. 


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#27 starman876

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 12:48 PM

As Johann notes, there's nothing inherently wrong with the 0.965 size. It's quite possible to build fine eyepieces in that size. With most modern designs, once you get below about 10mm, the field lens would fit fine in that diameter. And many fine Orthos of even longer focal lengths would fit. But there are a lot of 0.965 eyepieces with inferior designs, tiny eye lenses, short eye relief, poor quality, damage, or serious dirt issues, all of which gives them a bad reputation. 

 

For the OP, good Unitron eyepieces, especially some of the Orthos, are quite usable. I mostly get by with the gold-lettered set that came with my 142. But I would agree with Chas that if you want a wider field (which is desirable with an f15 scope), then a converter to 1.25", and something like a 32mm Televue Plossl, is a good investment to enhance the experience. Both Scopestuff and AstronomyShoppe sell converters. 

 

Chip W. 

The Zeiss and Nikon .965 orthos provide a generous wide field for a .965 eyepiece.  



#28 sdedalus83

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 12:55 PM

The Zeiss and Nikon .965 orthos provide a generous wide field for a .965 eyepiece.  

As do the Taiwanese plossls, the 25mm I have seems to have the same fov and no noticeable vignetting compared to my 26mm 1.25”. It’s much better as a maximum fov eyepiece than my 30mm Vixen kellner and they’re still available periodically.


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#29 Terra Nova

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 01:23 PM

The Alt Az 150 mount is a beast and will handle a lot of weight. 

I was thinking more of the classic 150 fork mount as opposed the the counterweighted geared head.



#30 Bonco2

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 03:52 PM

I believe the model 140 and 142 are the most practical being "mid-sized". Amazing lunar, planetary and double star performance. Takes me 3 easy set up transport trips. 1) Tripod and mount minus counter weight. 2) Counter weight  3) OTA. 

Takes about 10 minutes.

But I also set up an adjustable observing chair.  I don't use the tray between the legs because it's a pain to get  the legs  through a door. I use chains to prevent a collapse. Also it allows a set up with the legs not so spread apart yielding a taller tripod. This keeps the eyepiece at better viewing levels. The 60mm models have many virtues but at my old age the low eyepiece and finder levels are hard on my back. Their  advantage is a 1 trip setup. All Unitron telescopes are beautiful to display in ones home. Optically my Model 142 and 128 are jewels. However the first lens in the 142 was not. It was OK but I was not impressed with it's high power views of double stars. Luckily on this forum I found a replacement lens. Couldn't be happier.

Give one a try I say, a 60mm isn't so expensive if money is an issue. 

Good luck, Bill


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#31 Terra Nova

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 03:56 PM

The 3” Unitrons are nice scopes. This is what killed mine for me!

 

(1997 Takahashi FC-76 F8 Fluorite apo on a Celestron Omni CG-4 GEM)

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#32 DPT

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 04:12 PM

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and thoughts, this is what I was looking for. I think the 140/142 Unitron hits the sweet spot, again not the biggest and not the smallest.

I knew I was leaning toward a Unitron someday to complement my equipment collection, just nice to hear from others who have enjoyed the Unitron line as well. Testimonials from actual experience are the best reference for me. Unitrons are awesome classics that are still useable for pure enjoyment, a definite win from my perspective.

Just have to be patient and enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

David
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#33 Bonco2

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 04:15 PM

Nice Terra, but while it may be a classic because of age, it's not classic as far as presentation. Buying a Unitron is not to compete with more modern optics or mechanics but to enjoy or appreciate old school style and function. I love my Televue Genesis but it's not on display in the house and never will be.

Bill  


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#34 nowhere

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 04:23 PM

If you have to ask the question, here is what you need in descending order of necessity:

 

- clean air

- clean water

- good food

- clothing

- shelter

- Unitron

 

Just go for it. The only reason I don't still have one is that when I got the opportunity to buy a 100mm Skylight I couldn't have managed it without selling my 3" equatorial. I was actually keeping my eye out for a 4" Unitron or Polarex when the Skylight became available. A friend of mine and I compared that old 3" to his TeleVue and Takahashi and for lunar, planetary and double star visual use (all we did those nights besides the quick look at Orion) there wasn't too much between them, at least under the limitations of the watery, wavering sky in the Vancouver area. Those old dogs can still hunt.


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#35 Terra Nova

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 04:24 PM

Nice Terra, but while it may be a classic because of age, it's not classic as far as presentation. Buying a Unitron is not to compete with more modern optics or mechanics but to enjoy or appreciate old school style and function. I love my Televue Genesis but it's not on display in the house and never will be.

Bill  

It did make a lovely display Bill. I enjoyed looking at it standing in the corner of my dining room for a good many years, but the last few, that’s all it did was take up the corner. I simply quit using it because the Tak was easier to take out and set up, the field was potentially much wider, the color correction better and the views noticeably sharper and brighter. The Unitron had great optics but the Tak’s were better, even to a casual viewer. And yes, when not in use, the Tak is in its case on a shelf in the telescope vault (and so is the Genesis). Lovely as the Model 142 was to look, at I just couldn’t justify keeping close to $2000 of telescope solely as a static display.

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Edited by Terra Nova, 04 June 2021 - 05:36 PM.

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#36 starman876

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 05:38 PM

The 3” Unitrons are nice scopes. This is what killed mine for me!

 

(1997 Takahashi FC-76 F8 Fluorite apo on a Celestron Omni CG-4 GEM)

that's not even fair. That combo is awesome.  Well maybe an EM11 mount would improve it.


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#37 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 06:07 PM

Just have to be patient and enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

 

It is.  I don't think you'll regret buying or not buying -- IF you take your time.  At some point... Johann will unleash a flood from his Unitron Reservoir...  Be Calm, but Be Vigilant.


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#38 CHASLX200

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 06:10 PM

As Johann notes, there's nothing inherently wrong with the 0.965 size. It's quite possible to build fine eyepieces in that size. With most modern designs, once you get below about 10mm, the field lens would fit fine in that diameter. And many fine Orthos of even longer focal lengths would fit. But there are a lot of 0.965 eyepieces with inferior designs, tiny eye lenses, short eye relief, poor quality, damage, or serious dirt issues, all of which gives them a bad reputation. 

 

For the OP, good Unitron eyepieces, especially some of the Orthos, are quite usable. I mostly get by with the gold-lettered set that came with my 142. But I would agree with Chas that if you want a wider field (which is desirable with an f15 scope), then a converter to 1.25", and something like a 32mm Televue Plossl, is a good investment to enhance the experience. Both Scopestuff and AstronomyShoppe sell converters. 

 

Chip W. 

After having Radians and Delites i could never go back to the straw like .965OD" stuff. I have glasses so around 20mm ER is what i like best and a 60 degree FOV is fine with me. But once you get down to around 45 degree's i will pass.

 

I think the Unitrons are the best looking scopes made pre 1980's.  I would rather look at one than thru it. My mint 1960 M152 looked so good in the living room and did great on the planets and deep sky.  So if one ever pops up local and does not have a fogged up lens and chalked up black paint then jump as soon as you can stan. Once you get into a 5" size you need much higher ceilings to show it off and the mount is not so easy to set up.  It is a many trip scope to set up and 3 times the size of a 4" and is around 220lbs or around there vs around a 100lbs for a 4".

 

A 6" forget it unless you have a house made for it as it is like 880lbs.


Edited by CHASLX200, 04 June 2021 - 06:14 PM.


#39 CHASLX200

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 06:13 PM

The 3” Unitrons are nice scopes. This is what killed mine for me!

 

(1997 Takahashi FC-76 F8 Fluorite apo on a Celestron Omni CG-4 GEM)

Once you go Tak you don't go back. But still say a pre 1972 3" decked out Photo EQ Unitron is much more pretty than a Tak. While the Image in a Tak is crazy sharp a super well made long Achro can get you about dead even but in a much longer tube.


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#40 starman876

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 10:35 PM

After having Radians and Delites i could never go back to the straw like .965OD" stuff. I have glasses so around 20mm ER is what i like best and a 60 degree FOV is fine with me. But once you get down to around 45 degree's i will pass.

 

I think the Unitrons are the best looking scopes made pre 1980's.  I would rather look at one than thru it. My mint 1960 M152 looked so good in the living room and did great on the planets and deep sky.  So if one ever pops up local and does not have a fogged up lens and chalked up black paint then jump as soon as you can stan. Once you get into a 5" size you need much higher ceilings to show it off and the mount is not so easy to set up.  It is a many trip scope to set up and 3 times the size of a 4" and is around 220lbs or around there vs around a 100lbs for a 4".

 

A 6" forget it unless you have a house made for it as it is like 880lbs.

sounds like you never have tried some really good .965" eyepieces.  Maybe someday you will


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#41 starman876

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Posted 04 June 2021 - 10:36 PM

Once you go Tak you don't go back. But still say a pre 1972 3" decked out Photo EQ Unitron is much more pretty than a Tak. While the Image in a Tak is crazy sharp a super well made long Achro can get you about dead even but in a much longer tube.

you should have kept your taks.


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#42 LukaszLu

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 07:04 AM

There is not much I can say about the joy of lookin *through* Unitron because I only have one scope, which turned out to have a faulty lens that I finally broke, trying to save it. However, I can promise you that looking *at* Unitron is a real treat. For now I have to be content with it, but it doesn't bother me at all. Compared to a dozen or so other Japanese "classics" I have collected, Unitron is distinguished by a design that somehow combines the features of old telescopes from the 1940s with high-class modern scientific equipment. Being able to look at it every day - is a great satisfaction if someone is sensitive to aesthetic issues. Yes - such people need Unitron :-)


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#43 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 08:19 AM

sounds like you never have tried some really good .965" eyepieces.  Maybe someday you will

I use my spectros, Tani, Vixen, & Zeiss .965" eyepieces all the time.  Exceptional contrast, resolution, & flat edge-to-edge fields are the reasons!

 

However, I can promise you that looking *at* Unitron is a real treat.

 

It is.  So is my Tinsley 6 Cass.  The mirrors in it aren't Tinsley; but, my understanding is that Tinsley didn't always produce the very best optics.  It's the style & mechanics that make mine worthy as a Display Scope.  Ditto for my Mogey 3.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 05 June 2021 - 08:23 AM.

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#44 LukaszLu

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 09:03 AM

It is.  So is my Tinsley 6 Cass.  The mirrors in it aren't Tinsley; but, my understanding is that Tinsley didn't always produce the very best optics.  It's the style & mechanics that make mine worthy as a Display Scope.  Ditto for my Mogey 3.

You mean the red one? The pure beauty...!


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#45 AstroKerr

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 09:50 AM

Do I NEED a Unitron?

 

Yes.

 

You could live without one, but life would be empty-yet-filled-with-regret-and-frustration. A Zomboid existence, devoid of colour and joy - "Mirkworld", not just "Mirkwood". You'd watch the Others look thru their Unitrons and know in your deepest soul that you were the wrong kind of 'special'... You would dwindle, diminish until you were too weak to expire and lie against a rotting tree, dessicating slowly as the galaxy spun on...

 

Avoid that! Avoid it! Jump on a Nice Unitron and feel the rush - the power - the joy! 

 

You've made it this far - do. not. fail. now!


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#46 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 09:51 AM

You mean the red one? The pure beauty...!

Thanks!  Yes, that's it.  The whole Tinsley Restore Saga is here:   https://www.cloudyni...egrain-restore/


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#47 Terra Nova

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 10:41 AM

I use my spectros, Tani, Vixen, & Zeiss .965" eyepieces all the time.  Exceptional contrast, resolution, & flat edge-to-edge fields are the reasons!

Like telescopes and mounts, I’ve also been going through my eyepieces which had gotten out of hand. I’ve really cleaned out my 0.965” EPs. I sold the Zeiss, Tani, and Vixen sets. I’ve kept a full RAO set and a full Unitron set and a couple of odds and ends. That’s about it for the little boys.


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#48 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 10:48 AM

Like telescopes and mounts, I’ve also been going through my eyepieces which had gotten out of hand. I’ve really cleaned out my 0.965” EPs. I sold the Zeiss, Tani, and Vixen sets. I’ve kept a full RAO set and a full Unitron set and a couple of odds and ends. That’s about it for the little boys.

Dang!  When did you sell your Zeiss??  Those are the .965" that I'm on the look-out for now...

 

On Topic:  I've owned 2 Unitron eyepiece bundles, and both were superior to the majority of bundles from other Japanese imports -- EXCEPT Goto & Nikon (which most likely used the same glass source in the 1950s).  But, you gotta clean 'em!  The most mold I've seen is within / between eyepiece lens elements, rather than objectives.  With the AO & SYW bundles, there's usually at least 2 that stand out.  For a couple of years, I used a humble AO HM12 for eyepiece projection imaging -- FLAT field with no additional CA.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 05 June 2021 - 10:52 AM.


#49 Terra Nova

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 10:52 AM

Dang!  When did you sell your Zeiss??  Those are the .965" that I'm on the look-out for now...

I sold the whole set last Fall. Around the time I sold the T1. Then I sold the mount and tripod. The only thing Zeiss I have left is my lovely Zeiss 10x50 Dekarem binocs. I still wound not mind getting a hold of the vintage Zeiss West 15x60s!

I found I preferred my 1.25” Circle T orthos to the 0.965” Zeiss. 


Edited by Terra Nova, 05 June 2021 - 10:54 AM.

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#50 Wisconsin Steve

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 10:53 AM

With Unitrons it's all about the mounts and the "look". If you ever have a chance to see the mounts in person they are really something special! Here is a pic of a 128, two 142s and a 152. This was a haul I made from a seller in Milwaukee a few years back. No OTAs, just what is shown.

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