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Astro-Tech appreciation

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#1 pointedstick

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 01:22 PM

I have a humble AT80EDT, an f/6 triplet with FPL-51 glass. I love it, but aperture fever eventually set in and I began to look for a larger refractor to replace it, settling on the Explore Scientific ES102CF--the carbon fiber version. I found one in the classifieds and pounced.

 

Unfortunately the scope was disappointing, and I returned it, gaining a lot of appreciation for my little Astro-Tech in the process.

 

The AT scope's mechanics are just so much better. Its R&P focuser is way nicer than the Crayford on the older ES scope. It's smooth, doesn't slip, has plenty of travel to come to focus with all my eyepieces without needing any extension tubes, and it has nice big knobs made of anodized aluminum. The AT's dew shield is solid and snug, doesn't wobble, and the anodized aluminum lens cap goes over the dew shield. The AT's tube rings are also anodized aluminum, and the tension knobs are large and easy to use. The AT uses Vixen-style finder mounts. The ES, by contrast, uses painted stamped steel for the lens cover and tube rings, the lens cover and dew shield are wobbly and loose, and it uses those little uncommon Meade finder scopes mounts.

 

Optically, the AT seems to punch above its weight. Despite the fast focal ratio and FPl-51 glass, I can detect no CA anywhere even on high magnifications of bright targets like Venus. Views are razor sharp. The ES scope by contrast showed some CA on Venus and Jupiter despite the slower focal ratio. Views were also mushier due to some unspecified optical defect in the scope which is one of the reasons why I returned it. But still: that FPL-51 glass in the AT ain't no slouch! Another thing: internally, the ES scope had one light baffle; my AT must have about 15. The attention to detail is just pretty impressive.

 

All of this makes me want to buy another Astro-Tech telescope the next time I feel like upgrading. The 102EDL looks amazing; my only hesitation is that I'd prefer a triplet in f/5 or f/6 for a shorter tube length and to make better use of the nice eyepieces I've already bought for my 480mm focal length scope. But it seems like for that I will have to save up for a super-expensive Tele Vue, APM, CFF, or Borg, or sell a kidney to win a bidding war over a used Astro-Physics Traveler. smile.gif Would probably be cheaper to re-buy new eyepieces better suited for the 700mm focal length...

 

The bottom line is that I really like my AT scope, and I appreciate how Astronomics is able to sell telescopes that get so many things right for such competitive prices.


Edited by pointedstick, 15 September 2021 - 07:45 PM.

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#2 matt_astro_tx

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 02:10 PM

Agreed.



#3 alphatripleplus

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 04:01 PM

Have you condidered the AT115EDT or 130EDT with the appropriate AT reducer, which would get you to f/5.6?


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#4 Jaimo!

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 06:30 PM

+1

 

AT115EDT bow.gif


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#5 pointedstick

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 06:57 PM

Have you condidered the AT115EDT or 130EDT with the appropriate AT reducer, which would get you to f/5.6?

I have, but it would be quite a large, long, and heavy package. I would need to upgrade my tripod as I don't think it would be up to the task anymore. I'm trying to keep the total package (OTA+diagonal+finder+rings+mount+tripod) under 20 lbs to keep it truly grab-and-go.



#6 Brollen

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 07:21 PM

If not wedded to your 80mm consider selling it and getting the AT92 - which would tick most of your boxes. Though seemingly a modest aperture bump (a 15% increase isn’t bad) this scope comes with an acclaimed triplet design and is another winner from Astronomics.


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#7 pointedstick

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 07:32 PM

If not wedded to your 80mm consider selling it and getting the AT92 - which would tick most of your boxes. Though seemingly a modest aperture bump (a 15% increase isn’t bad) this scope comes with an acclaimed triplet design and is another winner from Astronomics.

I have indeed. Were it in stock I might have done so already. I'm kicking myself for missing the refurb focuser sale the other day. By the time I saw the email, everything was gone!



#8 alphatripleplus

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 07:57 PM

Yeah, those AT92s went fast.


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#9 havasman

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 08:40 PM

I have, but it would be quite a large, long, and heavy package. I would need to upgrade my tripod as I don't think it would be up to the task anymore. I'm trying to keep the total package (OTA+diagonal+finder+rings+mount+tripod) under 20 lbs to keep it truly grab-and-go.

The AT115EDT is not a large scope. And it is a very nice visual scope. I suggest a medium surveyors tripod from a web seller at < $100 should work well. Their 102mm doublets look really good. 

You have had the very good fortune to land for a while in New Mexico. A medium A-T refractor, 3-5 eyepieces, mount/tripod, charts & chair shouldn't be too much of a hump to take advantage of them.



#10 dagadget

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 11:40 PM

Yeah, those AT92s went fast.

I was fortunate that I had asked about the AT 92 a couple of months before and had also asked about a cover for my AT 152 when the refurb focusers came in Mike remembered my want of a AT 92 and sent me an email and also sent out the Refurb message and posted the refurbs on the web site. well I jumped all over it and got probably the first one sold. I wanted one that badly. But only Mike can answer that one. Next thing I need to find for him is a reasonable Captain America shield to go with his superman shirt. lol.gif


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#11 andysea

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 11:49 PM

My first serious refractor was the AT111EDT, it was a fantastic scope. I only used it for imaging and back then I definitely did not have the skills to take full advantage of it. Sometimes I still regret selling but aperture fever ensued and I had to have a 130mm instead :) However the 111 still has a special place among the scopes that I have owned.


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#12 laurelg9

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 08:12 AM

I have the 102ED and the 70ED, and they're both all the scope I would ever want, unless I jumped up to that 115.  They truly are amazing scopes, and I don't even need to add "for the price," because without price as any consideration, they're still amazing pieces of equipment.  


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#13 skyjim

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 08:23 AM

I have owned two different AT scopes, one was a AT6M which was a pre production sample which was an outstanding 6" MAC and the other was a AT111EDT that I purchased from Mike at Neaf a few years ago, all I can say is that the Astro Tech line keeps raising the bar. There scopes not always provide value but there performance is spot on, that 111EDT was like above and beyond as for as optics were concerned  but as usual back then I got the itch for bigger and better so I did sell it but would like to pick up another grab n go frack maybe the 80ED or the 102ED once they become available. They seem to have improved the focuser these days with a real nice R&P and the reports back from users seem always excellent.



#14 multijon

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 09:32 AM

I have the 102ED and the 70ED, and they're both all the scope I would ever want, unless I jumped up to that 115.  They truly are amazing scopes, and I don't even need to add "for the price," because without price as any consideration, they're still amazing pieces of equipment.  

Just about to purchase the 102ED - can someone tell me a bit more about its EAA performance? With and without the x0.8 reducer/flattener?




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