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60/700 refractor - just for beginners?

Beginner Equipment Eyepieces Observing Optics Refractor
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#1 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 10:34 AM

Hello folks,

 

I just bought an old refractor telescope and thought I'd write a little about it.

 

A long time ago, exactly such a model was my very first telescope in the 90s.

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_06.jpg

 

The refractor comes complete with a tripod, finder scope, star diagonal, eyepieces and even a star map. Everything in a plastic case. What more do you need? wink.gif

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_05.jpg

 

 

I bought the refractor used just for fun. It must been in the attic with the previous owner for 20 years! The telescope has really hardly been used. Unfortunately I forgot why I don't like used items: The smell is really bad. I had to clean EVERYTHING first and the thing still smells! Well, hopefully the smell will soon disappear.

 

When assembled, the telescope with tripod weighs 2.200g. It is a lightweight. In comparison, the 102 ED it is a heavyweight. grin.gif

 

 

The Astrolon 60/700 is a bit wobbly with the azimuthal mounting AZ-2, but ok. The finder scope is surprisingly showing a correct image. But the view is a bit cloudy. 

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_10a.jpg

 

 

The eyepieces are a disappointment for me. blurry, poor coating and pronounced distortions. Especially with the 9mm.  It's not fun to look through it. The eyecups cannot be pulled down either. You need to upgrade the eyepieces!

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_12.jpg

 

The star diagonal is very cheap too. It has a very small opening. You need to upgrade the diagonal!

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_02.jpg

 

A magnification of over 60x makes the picture very dark.
The supplied 9mm (77x EP = 0.7) and 4mm (175x EP = 0.3) are practically unusable because the exit pupil is simply too small. At least for my taste. :-)

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_11.jpg

I didn't change the exposure time for the pictures in order to visualize the darkening more strongly.

 

You just have to replace the star diagonal and the eyepieces! With a 32mm (21.8x EP = 2.75) or 25mm (28x EP = 2.14) looking through is a lot more fun!

The gain in field of view is enormous!

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_09.jpg

 

 

I looked at the moon with the telescope this morning. It was quite low (11°) and was slightly covered by clouds. Maybe it was because of that but I did not see any chromatic aberrations! I was amazed and a little shocked. As soon as the cloudy sky in Hamburg allows it again, I will try to take photos of the moon.

 

It is also strange that panels have been installed in the interior. I suppose to prevent reflections. I've never seen it like this before.

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_01.jpg

 

 

I would describe the coating as very poor. I couldn't take a picture where the coating is visible. It's not really visible on the eyepieces either.

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_03.jpg

 

 

Nevertheless, I am happy to have used the opportunity to get the telescope – Even though it needs a little upgrade before it starts to get fun. Fortunately, I am well equipped and can replace the less good components.

 

 

Would I give the telescope away as a beginner's telescope? I think it depends on the person. The focal length of 700 mm could be a bit too much challenging for a 5 year old. But a 10 year old would certainly be fine with it. Only the supplied eyepieces were not that great, even for beginners. But nowadays you can upgrade everything at a moderate price.

 

Thank you for your attention


Edited by Skywatcher Simon, 21 October 2021 - 03:26 AM.

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#2 therealdmt

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 10:48 AM

Nice use of photos to explain your story.

 

What do you attribute the improvement with the new diagonal to? Were they the same size?


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#3 Couder

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 10:51 AM

I have many scopes. I keep 2 small scopes in the workshop on a dolly - I can wheel them out, no need to use clock drive. One has permanently attached solar filter, the other is for planets. I use them to see if the seeing is good enough to get a bigger one out. If there are no sunspots, I just roll it back inside. So yes, even some of us with big scopes use 60MM scopes.


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#4 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 11:04 AM

Nice use of photos to explain your story.

 

What do you attribute the improvement with the new diagonal to? Were they the same size?

Both diagonals are 1.25 ".

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_12.jpg

 

 

The Svbony simply has a larger light passage. 16mm for the original and 30mm for the Svbony.

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_14.jpg

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_13.jpg

 

This makes a difference in the field of view with wide-angled eyepieces like the 32mm 1.25 ".


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#5 sevenofnine

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:33 PM

I had an old Tasco that was probably top of the line in it's day (which isn't saying much grin.gif) that still lives on today. Telescope.gif

 

I gave it to my step-son and he gave it to his son. It is very well used by many in my/their circle of friends. The nice thing about it is nobody really cares about scratches and dings. It had plenty when I got it back in '78. It shows "colorful" lunar, planetary and star images. The big wooden case is a nice touch. It says instrument more than it really is but the set-up time builds the anticipation of one. At one star party it got a longer line than the Big Dob. Maybe it had something to do with the ladder? Inexpensive scopes from the past are fun and any improvement is a big improvement! waytogo.gif


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#6 vtornado

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 07:54 PM

Observe with what you have.

 

We are spoiled in the golden days of astro.

The "rich" kid on the block in my day had a 4.25 inch reflector.

I had a 60mm.  (Although the yoke mount drove me crazy).

 

The true revolution is the amount of information available.

I could check out a book on the stars from the library and I had a cardboard planisphere.

Now we have this site, and maps on the internet for free.

Ones that have real time alt-az.  and thousands of stars, not just the main ones.


Edited by vtornado, 20 October 2021 - 07:55 PM.

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#7 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 02:23 AM

Last night I went briefly to the roof and discovered the moon behind the clouds.  I grabbed the Astrolon 60/700 and was able to take a good look at the moon.

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_15.jpg

 

 

For a short time it was free of clouds and I had a clear view.

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_20.jpg

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_21.jpg

The moon pictures are not edited.

 

 

I'm speechless. the combination of 60mm aperture and 700mm focal length (f11.6) actually did not show any chromatic aberrations. Despite the full moon!

 

I also saw Jupiter briefly. Seemed darker than with my Svbony 102 ED. Bands of clouds could not be seen. But maybe it was also because of the cloudy sky in Hamburg.

 

Astrolon_60_700_review_18.jpg

 

 

I tried to take photos through the eyepieces but it was again too windy. We are currently in a storm here in Hamburg.

 

For the moon, the telescope is definitely a WINNER! But the best thing about the telescope is the fact that it is so light and you don't have to worry about damaging it. I am impressed!  

 

I used my Svbony SV131 Plössl. Together with the star diagonal, an inexpensive but effective improvement in imaging performance.

 

Svbony_Plössl_set_skywatcher-Simon_01.jpg


Edited by Skywatcher Simon, 21 October 2021 - 02:48 AM.

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#8 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 04:26 AM

When I tried to use my 45° amici prism on the refractor, I realized that I couldn't get into focus at distant objects.

 

Astrolon_60_700_45amici_01.jpg

 

 

I think there are about 4mm missing.

 

Astrolon_60_700_45amici_3.jpg

 

 

But maybe it is also due to the Amici prism from William Optics. Unfortunately, I don't have another one at the moment.

 

Astrolon_60_700_45amici_02.jpg

 

 

I guess I have to be satisfied with the 90° star diagonal. laugh.gif


Edited by Skywatcher Simon, 21 October 2021 - 08:29 AM.

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#9 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 08:27 AM

So here as well: I used the Svbony Plössl for terrestrial observation in the 60/700 refractor and immediately noticed an optical improvement in the image quality. The image appears sharper and viewing is much more comfortable than with the original "simple" eyepieces. The comparison may not be 100% representative, as the sun shone very irregularly today and the tower was sometimes brightened and sometimes darkened.

 

Plössl_60_700_.jpg

 

 

PS: the star diagonal was also that of Svbony.


Edited by Skywatcher Simon, 21 October 2021 - 08:29 AM.

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#10 rexowner

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 08:47 AM

When I tried to use my 45° amici prism on the refractor, I realized that I couldn't get into focus at distant objects.

 

attachicon.gifAstrolon_60_700_45amici_01.jpg

 

 

I think there are about 4mm missing.

 

attachicon.gifAstrolon_60_700_45amici_3.jpg

 

 

But maybe it is also due to the Amici prism from William Optics. Unfortunately, I don't have another one at the moment.

 

attachicon.gifAstrolon_60_700_45amici_02.jpg

 

 

I guess I have to be satisfied with the 90° star diagonal. laugh.gif

 

Since the 45-deg prism has a shorter light path, you might be able to get it to focus with an

inexpensive extension tube e.g.:

https://agenaastro.c... extension tube


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#11 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 08:50 AM

Since the 45-deg prism has a shorter light path, you might be able to get it to focus with an

inexpensive extension tube e.g.:

https://agenaastro.c... extension tube

ok, thanks! 



#12 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 09:33 AM

Since the 45-deg prism has a shorter light path, you might be able to get it to focus with an

inexpensive extension tube e.g.:

https://agenaastro.c... extension tube

On your advice, I unscrewed my Barlow lens from the holder and used the socket as an extension tube.

 

extension tube_01.jpg

 

 

Unfortunately that doesn't help. On the contrary, the light path is now even longer. But it should be shorter. The 45-degree prism appears to have a longer light path than the 90-degree diagonal.

 

extension tube_02.jpg

 

But thanks for the advice!

 

 

By the way, with the Barlow, I come into focus.


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#13 rexowner

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 12:59 PM

On your advice, I unscrewed my Barlow lens from the holder and used the socket as an extension tube.

 

attachicon.gifextension tube_01.jpg

 

 

Unfortunately that doesn't help. On the contrary, the light path is now even longer. But it should be shorter. The 45-degree prism appears to have a longer light path than the 90-degree diagonal.

 

attachicon.gifextension tube_02.jpg

 

But thanks for the advice!

 

 

By the way, with the Barlow, I come into focus.

Thanks for your performing the experiment, and me being confused, I learned something.

 

When I checked into light paths for 45 degree diagonals (Baader Planetarium info was easiest to

find):

https://www.baader-p...e-aperture.html

do indeed have longer light paths because of the multiple reflections e.g. in an Amici Prism.

 

I assumed the opposite, but had the wrong impression.... 


Edited by rexowner, 21 October 2021 - 09:47 PM.

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#14 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 22 October 2021 - 09:12 AM

Today I connected my Canon 650D to the telescope to see how well the small refractor works as a telephoto lens.

 

Astrolon_refraktor_60_700_DSLR_01.jpg

 

 

Focusing was very easy. Both for distant targets and those at a distance of 30m. Even the tripod was stable enough to hold the camera.

 

Astrolon_refraktor_60_700_DSLR_02.jpg

 

 

The bright sun showed a little chromatic aberrations on the shiny chimney.

 

Astrolon_refraktor_60_700_DSLR_03.jpg

 

Nevertheless, I am very positively surprised by the refractor. I didn't think it was so versatile.


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#15 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 02:44 AM

This morning I took these moon pictures with my DSLR on the Astrolon 60/700. The sun had already risen but the moon was still bright in the sky.

With a little Photoshop I was able to make even more details visible.

 

Astrolon_moon_edited.jpg

 

 

here is a crop.

 

Astrolon_moon_crop.jpg

 

 

 

Here is the unprocessed image from the camera

 

Astrolon_moon_unedited.jpg

 

It's amazing what you can get out of a 60/700 refractor. smile.gif


Edited by Skywatcher Simon, 25 October 2021 - 02:49 AM.

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#16 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 02:10 AM

today i took pictures of the moon with the Astrolon 60/700 and the Svbony SV503 102/714 ED.

 

refraktor_comparison_moon.jpg

the photos were taken with my Canon 650D

 

With the 60/700 the exposure time was 1/30 sec, ISO 100. With the 102/714 the exposure time was 1/125 sec, ISO 100
The pictures are practically indistinguishable from each other. In the enlargement you can see color fringes on the 60/700.

 

refraktor_comparison_moon2.jpg

I have mirrored the moon on the right here.

 

 

 

When looking through the eyepiece, the image in the 60/700 is very pleasing. The light and dark regions are wonderfully dissolved. Even with a 4mm eyepiece, the view is still great.

 

With the 102/714 the moon is of course a lot brighter and the light-dark contrast is much stronger. Even with the 4mm eyepiece, the view is amazing!

 

 

Here are the unprocessed image data.

_MG_2939_60_Achromat.jpg

_MG_2945_102_ED.jpg


Edited by Skywatcher Simon, 28 October 2021 - 11:51 PM.

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#17 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 12:53 AM

Today I tried to photograph the Orion nebula with the Astrolon 60/700.

 

Orion_astrolon_60_700.jpg

 

here a crop.

Orion_astrolon_60_700_crop.jpg

 

Exposure time was 0,8 sec,  ISO 12800

 

There is practically nothing to be seen. Not really useful for deep sky photography. At least not on that azimuthal mounting AZ-2. Looking through the eyepiece was more fun. But of course a 60mm aperture is not enough to enjoy deep sky. For my taste at least.

 

 

To be fair, it has to be said that the moon was shining and I took photos from the balcony. On a moon-free night and outside the city, probably more details could be seen.

 

Moon_60_700.jpg


Edited by Skywatcher Simon, 29 October 2021 - 06:40 AM.


#18 Skywatcher Simon

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Posted 12 November 2021 - 08:52 AM

So, finally I found a suitable prism with a shorter light path. Now I can finally get into focus with all my eyepieces. The prism came with the Svbony 501P refractor.

 

Astrolon_prism_02.jpg

 

Astrolon_prism_03.jpg

 

Astrolon_prism_04.jpg

 

Astrolon_prism_01.jpg


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