Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Why do you regret buying a large (5”+) refractor for visual? Did you keep it?

Refractor Observing Equipment Mount Planet
  • Please log in to reply
176 replies to this topic

#1 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 05:12 PM

As a person who’s been there and done that, I would like to ask visual observers:  Why do you regret buying a large refractor and what did you do to solve the issue? Do you still have it or did you let it go? If you sold it, do you miss it?

 

- Was it because of its weight/size?

- Was it because of the size and/or cost of the mount required?

- Was it because of setup time or transport logistics?

- Was it because it was too slow to acclimatize?

- Was it because of quality issues?

- Was it because the views were disappointing or not what you expected?

- Was it because your humble (and much less expensive) SCT or Newt beat it most of the time while looking at the planets?

- Was it because of opportunity cost?  Meaning you could have spent the money on something else that would have made you happier, say a smaller refractor of much better quality for the same cost as the big one?

- Was it because the scope/mount uses too much storage space?

- Was it because the local seeing is rarely good enough for using the scope at high magnification?

- Was it because of your local weather is too uncertain most of the time to plan ahead?

- Was it because after a long day at work you were too tired to even considering setting up the beast for a quick look?

 

I could think of a hundred reasons why one could regret buying a large refractor, but I would love to hear yours.  Thanks!

 


  • teashea likes this

#2 barbie

barbie

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,826
  • Joined: 28 Jan 2013
  • Loc: Northeast Ohio

Posted 20 June 2021 - 05:30 PM

I long ago sold my big refractors for a combination of some of the reasons you cited above, but most of all, because of the heavy EQ mounts they required. They were not what I would call quick setup and observe type of instruments!! One, an 8" f15 refractor I had housed in my observatory 30 plus years ago. The others, I had to haul out and set up on their heavy, back breaking EQ mounts!! I don't miss that aspect of them but do kind of miss the views. I'm happy with my two premium small refractors now that I'm older and physically disabled.


Edited by barbie, 20 June 2021 - 05:39 PM.

  • stevew, Erik Bakker, Castor and 7 others like this

#3 otocycle

otocycle

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,465
  • Joined: 08 Jun 2005

Posted 20 June 2021 - 05:36 PM

No regrets at 5"/130mm and still have two of those, but a few 6"/150mm refractors did become an issue because of weight & size after 15 more years of aging (me...not the telescopes).   So there really wasn't any regret involved.

 

I still have one 6" refractor in the more manageable Celestron Omni XLT150 @ f/5.


  • Sarkikos, Castor, 25585 and 2 others like this

#4 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 05:41 PM

I long ago sold my big refractors for a combination of some of the reasons you cited above, but most of all, because of the heavy EQ mounts they required. They were not what I would call quick setup and observe type of instruments!! One, an 8" f15 refractor I had housed in my observatory 30 plus years ago. The others, I had to haul out and set up on their heavy, back breaking EQ mounts!! I don't miss that aspect of them but do kind of miss the views. I'm happy with my two premium small refractors now that I'm older and physically disabled.

 

 

Thank you Barbie!

 

That has been my main reason too – I suffer from back problems and it’s the weight of the big mount required plus the height that you need to raise the big (long) scope to place it on the saddle that kills you!


  • Tropobob and 25585 like this

#5 PETER DREW

PETER DREW

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,645
  • Joined: 31 May 2017

Posted 20 June 2021 - 05:45 PM

I have several 6" F5,F8 and F10 and a 8.5" F12.5.  No regrets.


  • stevew, Rollo, Castor and 2 others like this

#6 MarkGregory

MarkGregory

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,481
  • Joined: 14 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Advance, North Carolina

Posted 20 June 2021 - 05:49 PM

I am now 71 and there is no way I am interested in lugging around big heavy gear. That takes the fun out of recreational astronomy. The good thing is that if you are in an Astronomy club you can go to star parties and enjoy the views through the monster DOB’s that some members tote out to the site. Thank goodness we love to share.


Edited by MarkGregory, 21 June 2021 - 09:43 AM.

  • John Gauvreau, Castor, jcj380 and 5 others like this

#7 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 05:51 PM

No regrets at 5"/130mm and still have two of those, but a few 6"/150mm refractors did become an issue because of weight & size after 15 more years of aging (me...not the telescopes).   So there really wasn't any regret involved.

 

I still have one 6" refractor in the more manageable Celestron Omni XLT150 @ f/5.

 

I agree Otocycle, weight, size and one’s age definitely are factors that become an issue with big scopes, thanks!

 

I would not mind a short, lightweight 6-inch f/5 refractor!  It would be a very attractive option for visual if one could find one with ED glass at a reasonable cost. smile.gif 


  • jcj380 and 25585 like this

#8 CHASLX200

CHASLX200

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 23,267
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 20 June 2021 - 05:57 PM

Had two 6" ED scopes. Just way too many trips to set up.  They were 7 trip scopes to set up. My house is not set up for a scope like that to roll out. Otherwise i would have a 8" F/15 in a beat heart.  Other than set up i loved the scopes. But now have a 18" Dob i cal roll out all setup in one lick and get very bright 450x views of Jupiter that were getting dim at 450x with a 6".  I have no problem lifting big scopes but just a lazy viewer.


  • Rollo, Castor, sportsmed and 1 other like this

#9 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:01 PM

I am now 72 and there is no way I am interested in lugging around big heavy gear. That takes the fun out of recreational astronomy. The good thing is that if you are in an Astronomy club you can go to star parties and enjoy the views through the monster DOB’s that some members tote out to the site. Thank goodness we love to share.

Hi Mark,

 

You are right!  I too am in this hobby for recreation among other reasons, but not to turn it into another job! sweaty.gif Thanks!


  • MarkGregory, RichieNg, jcj380 and 1 other like this

#10 Kevin Barker

Kevin Barker

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 865
  • Joined: 22 Apr 2009
  • Loc: Auckland, NZ

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:07 PM

I have made a couple of big refractors over the years. A 6 inch f-12 D&G which I found to be too large to mount on the GEM I had.

It delivered wonderful images even though it was an achromat. Smooth optics, pretty good on DSO's.

 

I also made a 7 inch f-8 using a very heavy Istar R30 180 mm f-8 lens. This scope is not really suited to planetary but it is wonderful for DSO's and tight doubles. I made a Berry style mount for it which works well.

I also have a small apochromat which has a 13 cm aperture. 

 

Re the red 7 inch I do not often use it but it turns heads when at a star party. It is currently employed as a hat rack in my telescope room.

 

1st and third picture are of the Istar and the second is of the D&G. The apochromat can be seen in the first picture.

IMG_1081.jpg
IMG_0708.jpg
IMG_0788.jpg

Edited by Kevin Barker, 20 June 2021 - 06:14 PM.

  • stevew, Moravianus, MortonH and 8 others like this

#11 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:14 PM

Had two 6" ED scopes. Just way too many trips to set up.  They were 7 trip scopes to set up. My house is not set up for a scope like that to roll out. Otherwise i would have a 8" F/15 in a beat heart.  Other than set up i loved the scopes. But now have a 18" Dob i cal roll out all setup in one lick and get very bright 450x views of Jupiter that were getting dim at 450x with a 6".  I have no problem lifting big scopes but just a lazy viewer.

Thank you CHASLX200!

 

Given your extensive experience with large refractors and a myriad of telescopes/mounts I was hoping to hear your opinion, thank you!  When I sold my 6-inch f/8 achro refractor eons ago I missed the crystalline views that it provided, but not the multiple trips lugging a heavy mount, weights and telescope plus the setup and teardown process.  If only I had the space or funds to build an observatory (or even a pier) I’m sure I’d come back to the big refractors!  Unfortunately I’m not much of a Dob guy! frown.gif 


  • Rollo likes this

#12 CHASLX200

CHASLX200

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 23,267
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:22 PM

Thank you CHASLX200!

 

Given your extensive experience with large refractors and a myriad of telescopes/mounts I was hoping to hear your opinion, thank you!  When I sold my 6-inch f/8 achro refractor eons ago I missed the crystalline views that it provided, but not the multiple trips lugging a heavy mount, weights and telescope plus the setup and teardown process.  If only I had the space or funds to build an observatory (or even a pier) I’m sure I’d come back to the big refractors!  Unfortunately I’m not much of a Dob guy! frown.gif 

If i had around 60k laying around then i would build a dome and home for a 8 " F/15 ACHRO.  No way i am touching a 8" APO for $60k plus have a building built to house it.  All my high end Dobs have givien me the best views of the planets by far over any other kind of scope.  The Sky watcher 6" ED is the best bang for the buck, but needs a AP-800 size mount and high pier.  Any smaller mounts are just not up to holding it very well.


  • 25585 likes this

#13 CHASLX200

CHASLX200

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 23,267
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:22 PM

Thank you CHASLX200!

 

Given your extensive experience with large refractors and a myriad of telescopes/mounts I was hoping to hear your opinion, thank you!  When I sold my 6-inch f/8 achro refractor eons ago I missed the crystalline views that it provided, but not the multiple trips lugging a heavy mount, weights and telescope plus the setup and teardown process.  If only I had the space or funds to build an observatory (or even a pier) I’m sure I’d come back to the big refractors!  Unfortunately I’m not much of a Dob guy! frown.gif 

If i had around 60k laying around then i would build a dome and home for a 8 " F/15 ACHRO.  No way i am touching a 8" APO for $60k plus have a building built to house it.  All my high end Dobs have givien me the best views of the planets by far over any other kind of scope.  The Sky watcher 6" ED is the best bang for the buck, but needs a AP-800 size mount and high pier.  Any smaller mounts are just not up to holding it very well.


  • 25585 likes this

#14 CHASLX200

CHASLX200

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 23,267
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:22 PM

Thank you CHASLX200!

 

Given your extensive experience with large refractors and a myriad of telescopes/mounts I was hoping to hear your opinion, thank you!  When I sold my 6-inch f/8 achro refractor eons ago I missed the crystalline views that it provided, but not the multiple trips lugging a heavy mount, weights and telescope plus the setup and teardown process.  If only I had the space or funds to build an observatory (or even a pier) I’m sure I’d come back to the big refractors!  Unfortunately I’m not much of a Dob guy! frown.gif 

If i had around 60k laying around then i would build a dome and home for a 8 " F/15 ACHRO.  No way i am touching a 8" APO for $60k plus have a building built to house it.  All my high end Dobs have givien me the best views of the planets by far over any other kind of scope.  The Sky watcher 6" ED is the best bang for the buck, but needs a AP-800 size mount and high pier.  Any smaller mounts are just not up to holding it very well. I had to have a much taller pier than seen in this pic.

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_0564.jpg

Edited by CHASLX200, 20 June 2021 - 06:23 PM.

  • Castor, Terra Nova and 25585 like this

#15 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:23 PM

I have made a couple of big refractors over the years. A 6 inch f-12 D&G which I found to be too large to mount on the GEM I had.

It delivered wonderful images even though it was an achromat. Smooth optics, pretty good on DSO's.

 

I also made a 7 inch f-8 using a very heavy Istar R30 180 mm f-8 lens. This scope is not really suited to planetary but it is wonderful for DSO's and tight doubles. I made a Berry style mount for it which works well.

I also have a small apochromat which has a 13 cm aperture. 

 

Re the red 7 inch I do not often use it but it turns heads when at a star party. It is currently employed as a hat rack in my telescope room.

 

1st and third picture are of the Istar and the second is of the D&G. The apochromat can be seen in the first picture.

Hi Kevin,

 

I deeply admire Amateur Telescope Makers, for me you are like the professional mountaineers that climb Mt. Everest or K2! bow.gif  Yours are impressive scopes, no wonder they turn heads, thanks for the pictures!



#16 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:34 PM

If i had around 60k laying around then i would build a dome and home for a 8 " F/15 ACHRO.  No way i am touching a 8" APO for $60k plus have a building built to house it.  All my high end Dobs have givien me the best views of the planets by far over any other kind of scope.  The Sky watcher 6" ED is the best bang for the buck, but needs a AP-800 size mount and high pier.  Any smaller mounts are just not up to holding it very well. I had to have a much taller pier than seen in this pic.

Yes, like I mentioned it to Barbie when I concurred with her, the issue is not only the telescope, but the HD mount that it requires and how tall the scope needs to be lifted to (hence the mount extension or high pier) unless you don’t mind observing sitting on the wet grass! fingertap.gif 

 

 

That’s a really nice picture of your former Sky Watcher 6” ED on the Astro-Physics AP-800 mount! wink.gif  


Edited by Castor, 20 June 2021 - 06:39 PM.

  • 25585 likes this

#17 CHASLX200

CHASLX200

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 23,267
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:44 PM

Yes, like I mentioned it to Barbie when I concurred with her, the issue is not only the telescope, but the HD mount that it requires and how tall the scope needs to be lifted to (hence the mount extension or high pier) unless you don’t mind observing sitting on the wet grass! fingertap.gif 

 

 

That’s a really nice picture of your former Sky Watcher 6” ED on the Astro-Physics AP-800 mount! wink.gif  

I bought it at a bad time with my sister going downhill and later passed away and just sold everything about 2 years ago. It gave great 450x views of Jupiter. Sure don't need a APO costing 5 times as much to get a good image.


  • Castor and 25585 like this

#18 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:52 PM

I bought it at a bad time with my sister going downhill and later passed away and just sold everything about 2 years ago. It gave great 450x views of Jupiter. Sure don't need a APO costing 5 times as much to get a good image.

I’m sorry to hear about your sister, R.I.P.!  I’ve been intermittently in and out of the hobby and during those times I have not followed the forum, but I seem to recall some of your comments about selling everything.  That’s a shame, but one must do what is necessary! frown.gif 


  • 25585 likes this

#19 drd715

drd715

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 905
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Fort Lauderdale

Posted 20 June 2021 - 06:55 PM

I have and have had various refractors from 90mm to 152mm. The  OTA's have not been a problem,  even the 152ed scope is  not too bad to handle. The EQ mounts required for these longer big scopes can be a pita to setup. Usually I only setup the EQ mount for multi day events and darker site star camping. The  big scopes on a alt/az non goto aren't too bad for non goto lower power use.  I  think the sweet spot for visual is probably the 127mm/130mm size. Longer Focal ratio for me.  A 127ed F-8 or the 130mm F9.25 triplet would be sweet.  70 years old, but still able to lift things - I have thought of making up a balance beam liffter crane to place that heavy EQ head on its mount tripod as it is nearly shoulder high (with CGEM-DXand12" extention for the 152F-8).  For the days I want a quick look I'm using a 102mm ed refractor F-11 on a simple UA mount.  And Binoculars for wide viewing. 


  • Rollo, payner and Castor like this

#20 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 07:17 PM

I have and have had various refractors from 90mm to 152mm. The  OTA's have not been a problem,  even the 152ed scope is  not too bad to handle. The EQ mounts required for these longer big scopes can be a pita to setup. Usually I only setup the EQ mount for multi day events and darker site star camping. The  big scopes on a alt/az non goto aren't too bad for non goto lower power use.  I  think the sweet spot for visual is probably the 127mm/130mm size. Longer Focal ratio for me.  A 127ed F-8 or the 130mm F9.25 triplet would be sweet.  70 years old, but still able to lift things - I have thought of making up a balance beam liffter crane to place that heavy EQ head on its mount tripod as it is nearly shoulder high (with CGEM-DXand12" extention for the 152F-8).  For the days I want a quick look I'm using a 102mm ed refractor F-11 on a simple UA mount.  And Binoculars for wide viewing. 

Thanks drd715,

 

Yes, it seems that all comes down to the big, heavy mount required to support the telescope!  On my first 6-inch achro I used an Atlas EQ mount with the 8” extension and with my latter 6-inch ED I required a G-11 EQ Mount with the 12” extension.  I use Alt-Az mounts only with my small scopes, not with the big ones because by then you usually require counterweights or another scope to balance the mount and that kind of nullifies their advantage.

 

I’m glad that you are enjoying your 6-inch f/8 ED refractor at age 70 and still going strong! waytogo.gif 



#21 Echolight

Echolight

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,582
  • Joined: 01 May 2020
  • Loc: Texas

Posted 20 June 2021 - 08:45 PM

I don't regret my 6 inch f8 achromat for a second. It's everything I hoped it would be. Big sharp views. Minimal setup time. Zero acclimation. No maintenance or collimation. 
I use it on a tall manual alt/az mount, and push 375x on the terminator of the Moon. Very nice on DSO's too.
217B8029-590D-4063-A7E2-A5780DA227EF.jpeg

 

After the big achro, I did buy a small apo that was a little underwhelming. The big achro whoops it on the planets. But the 4 degree TFOV was nice.


Edited by Echolight, 20 June 2021 - 08:56 PM.

  • Rollo, Castor and therealdmt like this

#22 Castor

Castor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1,640
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 20 June 2021 - 09:39 PM

I have several 6" F5,F8 and F10 and a 8.5" F12.5.  No regrets.

 

 

I don't regret my 6 inch f8 achromat for a second. It's everything I hoped it would be. Big sharp views. Minimal setup time. Zero acclimation. No maintenance or collimation. 
I use it on a tall manual alt/az mount, and push 375x on the terminator of the Moon. Very nice on DSO's too.

That’s the spirit of things, we should all be so lucky! waytogo.gif

 

Sometimes it takes good physical condition to achieve big things, but more often than not it also requires a certain mental attitude, will power and character to be successful.  As long as there are people like you willing to carry the torch, hopefully manufactures will keep making and improving the big refractors for the future generations to enjoy.  Keep up the good work! grouphug.gif 


  • Rollo, therealdmt and 25585 like this

#23 teashea

teashea

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,965
  • Joined: 20 Dec 2020
  • Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

Posted 20 June 2021 - 09:57 PM

As a person who’s been there and done that, I would like to ask visual observers:  Why do you regret buying a large refractor and what did you do to solve the issue? Do you still have it or did you let it go? If you sold it, do you miss it?

 

- Was it because of its weight/size?

- Was it because of the size and/or cost of the mount required?

- Was it because of setup time or transport logistics?

- Was it because it was too slow to acclimatize?

- Was it because of quality issues?

- Was it because the views were disappointing or not what you expected?

- Was it because your humble (and much less expensive) SCT or Newt beat it most of the time while looking at the planets?

- Was it because of opportunity cost?  Meaning you could have spent the money on something else that would have made you happier, say a smaller refractor of much better quality for the same cost as the big one?

- Was it because the scope/mount uses too much storage space?

- Was it because the local seeing is rarely good enough for using the scope at high magnification?

- Was it because of your local weather is too uncertain most of the time to plan ahead?

- Was it because after a long day at work you were too tired to even considering setting up the beast for a quick look?

 

I could think of a hundred reasons why one could regret buying a large refractor, but I would love to hear yours.  Thanks!

I have a Takahashi TSA 120 and I do not regret having it.  Quite the opposite.  It is a nice size and is not too heavy to use easily.  I will say that I use my smaller Tak's more but the view through the TSA120 is quite satisfying.  The real issue is the mount.  Be sure to get an adequate mount.  So many people on CN undermount their telescopes - a terrible mistake.  

 

176658278_10222081006348570_1771322819377535271_n.jpg


  • doctordub, Castor, rerun and 2 others like this

#24 Echolight

Echolight

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,582
  • Joined: 01 May 2020
  • Loc: Texas

Posted 20 June 2021 - 10:45 PM

That’s the spirit of things, we should all be so lucky! waytogo.gif

 

Sometimes it takes good physical condition to achieve big things, but more often than not it also requires a certain mental attitude, will power and character to be successful.  As long as there are people like you willing to carry the torch, hopefully manufactures will keep making and improving the big refractors for the future generations to enjoy.  Keep up the good work! grouphug.gif 

It's not an expensive or fragile scope. So I don't mind storing it outside near my observing area. I think this is the key to it getting a lot of use. On a fairly light but sturdy alt/az mount it's easy. I drive it like I stole it.

Does the SCT beat it? Who knows. I never use the SCT.

93620E8B-DA3E-4280-BDF8-43CC02FBFB83.jpeg


  • doctordub, payner, Starman81 and 4 others like this

#25 areyoukiddingme

areyoukiddingme

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,685
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2012

Posted 20 June 2021 - 11:06 PM

I had a 6" F8 triplet for a couple years. It was fun to try out, but I sold it off because in the grand scheme of things, 6" is a small telescope, and the amount of work to get it someplace dark was typically a bit more hassle than my 16" dob.

 

I also didn't like the length necessitating an extension for my mount, and even then a chair that goes very low to the ground was needed.

 

For me it's not the weight, as I'm happy to lug around quite a lot, and will eventually go for a portable 20-22". But if I'm going to do all this work to observe, then I'm almost always going to side with more aperture.

 

My experience tells me that the sweet spot for me on a refractor is somewhere in the 120-140mm class, and probably closer to the 120 end. Beyond that point, I'd rather just switch to a bigger reflector. Or even better, pair up my 12.5" Portaball with a 92mm Stowaway.

 

With that pair, I really do not need a mid-sized apo. It would just be nice to have for those times when I want a simpler set up, or feel like a change.

 

Even then I really second guess that as a motivation. I now have a superb 8" F7 in a solid tube. My thinking is that I might prefer to get a lightweight (ultra-light?) structure for the 8" reflector over a medium sized refractor. The substrate is quartz, and it is up and running faster than my 80mm refractor.


  • Jon Isaacs and teashea like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Refractor, Observing, Equipment, Mount, Planet



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics