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Televue 76 (or 85) for starter scope!?

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#1 Ddub

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 05:40 PM

Hi.  I've been doing my research for a suitable first telescope and, of course, an 8" dob is the smart move, yet, somehow, I've convinced myself a TeleVue 76 (or 85) would be the bees knees!  I'm not sure if this is brilliant of me or the makings of a costly mistake.  Thus, I'm hoping for some feedback (or a slap across the face.)

 

I'm coming at this as a casual birder and lazy binocular astronomer who appreciates good optics.  I just want to see more of everything - better than I can see it now in 10x bins.  I live in semi-rural Idaho with pretty dark skies in my yard (Bortle 4-5).  I also enjoy camping in the Owyhees which are DARK.  A big dob would be super fun here.  Yet, the small refractors are wooing me with their grab-n-go-ness and their robust portability.  I fear dragging a dob out of the garage, collimating it, then letting it cool for 30-60min would be a deterrent (I am lazy and always have other things I should be doing).  I also fear trying to take a 8" dob camping would be a bulky, dusty hassle and possibly damage the scope.  ("Camping" = miles of washboard followed by miles of off-roading.)  

Thus the appeal of the sleek little refractor...

 

I have considered just upping my binocular game.  But I can barely hold 10x steady so anything heavier or more powerful means IS or a mount.  And here I began asking myself - self, how much more will you see with a proper telescope than ANY pair of binoculars?  I think a lot.

 

So, TV-85 looks like a winner.  It's a great grab-n-go with respectable all 'round performance enough to keep most amateurs occupied for years.  AND easy easy to pack in the cab of my pickup as I beat down the backroads.  AND I get a spotting scope out of the deal!  Only down side is small aperture and high price.

 

TV-76 seems to tic all the same boxes AND (maybe) MORE !?  It might just be handier as a spotting scope AND might be easier to hike with as I can use my carbon fiber tripod (which is better/lighter than the telepod tripod but probably too light for the 85 per CN chatter) AND I'll save ~900 over the 85 (since it costs less and I don't need a new tripod.) AND it's actually in stock right now!  Down side is 9mm less aperture.

 

Questions:  Is this making any sense?  Will I hobble my nascent hobby by going 76 vs 85mm vs clumsy dob?  Will I be getting a big dob anyway? And if I get a dob now, will I be getting the TV-76/85 anyway? So which first?

 

PS.  Money is an object but I subscribe to the 'buy once cry once' philosophy...

 

Thanks for your help!

 

-Deric


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#2 zakry3323

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 05:55 PM

Don't fret so much. 

 

A quality short refractor is a thing of beauty that never gets old. If you enjoy using it, you'll always have it. If not, you can sell it in the future for very little loss. If you want more aperture to see those faint fuzzies better after a while, you can pick one of those up too! 


Edited by zakry3323, 22 January 2022 - 05:55 PM.

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#3 zakry3323

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 05:56 PM

Oh, and this was your first post! Welcome to cloudynights!!


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#4 MellonLake

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 06:02 PM

The TVs will be excellent. But remember, an 8" Dob has 7X more light gathering power than the 76mm. For DSOs, this is a huge difference. The small TVs will show you lots but the big aperture of the Dob will show you much more, especially in Dark skies. I have apertures from 90mm to 250mm and I have made comparisons in both light polluted and very dark skies, the 10" always wins on DSOs (except for a small few which don't fit in the 10"s field of view).

But as you noted, the Dob is big and clunky and may not get the use. If you think a small TVs will get more use then it is the right scope for you.

Really a small TV is a complementary telescope to the 8" Dob. The small TV for wide field views and the Dob for DSOs and planets.

Just my $0.02
Rob
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#5 cookjaiii

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 06:07 PM

I find 80mm aperture to be the minimum I need to really enjoy an outing, but my skies are very light polluted (Bortle 7).  If you have dark skies, the 76mm might be fine for you.  Are there any astro clubs in your area? A star party is a great way to look through different kinds and sizes of scopes.    


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#6 alnitak22

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 06:59 PM

Hi and welcome! My beginner scope was a TeleVue Ranger as, like you, I had a dual interest of birding and astronomy.  It was a perfect choice. A TV76 or TV85 would of course, be an even better starter scope, especially where you live. I added a 6” Dob a couple of years after I got the Ranger and loved that combo until I got a TV85 and loved the combo even more. The 85 has been my most used telescope ever both by day and by night. I recently got a 6” Mak and have been thoroughly impressed by the high power, high contrast lunar/planetary views and with the TV85, it’s a perfect combo for me as I have to traverse a flight of stairs to get to my roof. I thought about a 7” Mak, but didn’t want to risk a tumble as it’s considerably more bulky and heavy than the 6”.  My vote would be go for a TV85 first. You’ll use it a ton both by day and night. Add a bigger scope later. Good luck!


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#7 alnitak22

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 07:02 PM

p.s., I’ve taken both the Ranger and TV85 camping all over the lower 48. The first night we camped at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I was literally up all night with the TV85 and 35 Pan.


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#8 Look at the sky 101

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 07:02 PM

Welcome to CN ,

Televue85 

 

Hi and welcome! My beginner scope was a TeleVue Ranger as, like you, I had a dual interest of birding and astronomy.  It was a perfect choice. A TV76 or TV85 would of course, be an even better starter scope, especially where you live. I added a 6” Dob a couple of years after I got the Ranger and loved that combo until I got a TV85 and loved the combo even more. The 85 has been my most used telescope ever both by day and by night. I recently got a 6” Mak and have been thoroughly impressed by the high power, high contrast lunar/planetary views and with the TV85, it’s a perfect combo for me as I have to traverse a flight of stairs to get to my roof. I thought about a 7” Mak, but didn’t want to risk a tumble as it’s considerably more bulky and heavy than the 6”.  My vote would be go for a TV85 first. You’ll use it a ton both by day and night. Add a bigger scope later. Good luck!

+1


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#9 Look at the sky 101

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 07:02 PM

Welcome to CN ,


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#10 PKDfan

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 07:15 PM

Hi Deric!

 

I think either will be a fine choice but not ideal.

Let me explain, the aperture you choose is critical to longterm happiness.

 

If you have never used a telescope I can understand not appreciating the subtlties of picking an appropriate sized look back machine.

 

I have had a C8 and a 70mm Pronto and now a perfect 100mm apo.

 

The SC was a nightmare to use. Sold. The Pronto was stolen but not before giving me a lifetime best view of the Flame nebula NGC 2024 and B33/IC434 the horsehead.

I think its superior polish really helped me to see it so great along with an excellent startest.

 

Ultimate transparency helped a bit too!! 😉

 

 

If circumstances could be redone then I'd never buy the C8.

Keep the Pronto as GnG, its perfect for that.

 

Definitely I would get the 100ED again but probably would not get so lucky as to find such an incredibly finely figured one that I did. Thats debateable I guess as the Sky-Watcher ProED/Evostar tube has been in production for nearly two decades, they know how to make a good/great one!

 

 

If birding is equal to astronomy then buy the 76mm IMHO. Lighter and cheaper then after using it for a time you'll see the nuances involved in sizing a refractor.

 

My 4inch apo is my life instrument with zero idea of a future upgrade as its perhaps little known/understood I think, but a fine apo(high Strehl) punches WAY above its nominal size. YMMV!!

 

 

Good hunting!

 

 

 

Clear skies & Good seeing

 

Edited to add my forgotten greetings, welcome to CN!!!


Edited by PKDfan, 22 January 2022 - 07:21 PM.

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#11 Dennis Tap

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 07:18 PM

Hi.  I've been doing my research for a suitable first telescope and, of course, an 8" dob is the smart move, yet, somehow, I've convinced myself a TeleVue 76 (or 85) would be the bees knees!  I'm not sure if this is brilliant of me or the makings of a costly mistake.  Thus, I'm hoping for some feedback (or a slap across the face.)

I have an 8 inch Dob and it shows way more than a typical smaller scope (60mm - 130mm / 3-5 inch).

Uhmm....a first scope...I don't think that should be an expensive scope, like a TeleVue.

 

I'm coming at this as a casual birder and lazy binocular astronomer who appreciates good optics.

A dobson scope is not really suitable for viewing birds. However, a typical 5 inch Dobson (130mm; F/5) would be great for astronomy and would outperform a smaller scope/refractor.

 


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#12 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 09:23 PM

My first scope was a TeleVue Ranger (70-mm f/6.9 "semi-apo", aka achromat), and it was just the right scope for me. These days, however, I think there are more cost-effective choices than TeleVue for a small refractor.

I eventually purchased a 7-inch Dob, which became my main scope for many years. In fact I used it just last night, and it is a truly great scope. It shows things in far more detail than any small refractor, has a surprisingly large true field of view, and is an ergonomic wonder. Nonetheless, I still use my Ranger quite a lot both for terrestrial use and for quick looks where the cool-down time alone would prohibit the use of the Dob.

A small refractor and a scope in the 8- to 12-inch range is a wonderful combo. And there's a lot to be said for getting the small refractor first, so you will be thrilled when you increase the aperture instead of being disappointed when you decrease the aperture.

Also, using a small scope kinda forces you to become a good observer. When you use an 8-incher it's easy to be lazy and assume that the scope can do all the work for you.


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#13 Ddub

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 12:48 AM

Thanks for the thoughtful replies and the 'welcomes'. Much appreciated!  

Seems like a few of you started with TV Rangers so it's not a crazy idea after all...



#14 Ddub

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 12:51 AM

 Are there any astro clubs in your area? A star party is a great way to look through different kinds and sizes of scopes.    

Good suggestion. I know there's one in Boise (about an hour away) but didn't see any activities coming up on their website.  I'll keep monitoring though.



#15 sydney

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 01:38 AM

If you appreciate quality optics as well as birding, then you will not regret buying a small refractor. They are always ready to go with no hassle. After a time you may want to add something with more aperture, like a Dob or SCT, but you will likely keep the refractor. I also have a TV Ranger that I bought new many years ago. I mostly use it as a spotting scope these days. Don’t feel that you have to limit yourself to any one manufacturer. There are lots of good choices of quality instruments at different price levels. Make sure to budget for a few good eyepieces, but best to think in terms of quality rather than quantity. Don’t be afraid to buy used from well rated sellers on CN or Astromart. If not abused, refractors and eyepieces maintain their performance year after year.
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#16 Echolight

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 02:10 AM

It’ll be fine for a lot of stuff. On the other hand, it’ll suffer for many deep space objects. I enjoy using small scopes, but my best view of everything has come from either a 6 or 8 inch scope. I don’t have anything bigger.
 

And if you have a budget, a TV85 is a lot of money. And it’s a lot of money for a small scope. Also you’ll want at least a couple of nice eyepieces to get the most out of it. 

 

I haven’t yet fallen in love with a dob. I have one. An 8 inch f/6. But we just didn’t click.

 

Right now, my main big scope is maybe the most unconventional circa-2000 C8 with a reducer and 2 inch diagonal on a similarly old 40 pound capacity photo tripod with elevating central column. It’s about the least “clunky” 8 inch scope I could put together.

79F2C382-6E0D-4CD3-BA2B-343C57F1EB5F.jpeg

It gets about 1.75-1.8 degrees true field of view with a 28mm PWA eyepiece. And that is huge for a C8. A big advantage for a manual mount. Seems bigger. Frames the Pleiades really nicely. This is the scope I take out when I want to see a lot of nebulosity in M42. Or if I want to check out some globular clusters or search out other DSO.

 

I probably use a smaller scope just as often. And binoculars too sometimes. I have a hectic schedule. But I sure like looking through the bigger scope.

 

Although a TV85 does seem like a lifetime scope. But I have a similar size and weight 80mm apo, and these days if I don’t take out the C8 I’m more likely to just take out the ST80. Because it’s just so easy and carefree.

FAE903D5-4D52-4262-9CD8-A245841A75DB.jpeg

But the TV85 would be miles better than the ST80. And far more versatile. Just not better than the C8 and ST80 combined for my dollar.

 

I don’t want to deter you though. A TV-85 would be great. Given the choice, I’d pick the Stanley thermos green finish.


Edited by Echolight, 23 January 2022 - 02:13 AM.

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#17 Waynosworld

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 03:33 AM

I expect a refractor is the choice for someone that goes camping to do more than just observing the sky, an 8" dob is for observing the sky and "that is why you went camping".


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#18 TomK1

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:29 AM

Buy the TV85.  Aperture and quality are your friend.  The TV85 is a lifetime keeper.  One low, medium and high power wide fov eyepiece will keep you busy for a long time.   You might also consider purchasing a zoom eyepiece. 

 

An 8 or 10 inch mirror will show much more but you'll probably use the refractor much more.   Always tradeoffs.   You're lucky you live in a dark area

 

Many folks use their small scopes for terrestrial viewing.  I much prefer a dedicated water/fog proof zoom spotting scope for birding/hiking.   You should strongly consider a refurbished Diamondback HD 16-48X65 (angled) from AAOptics or a Celestron Trailseeker 65.   Either would make a good compliment to your binocular and are around $300.   Note that these are about the same cost as a Televue Delos eyepiece.   Obviously you can spend TV85 type $ on a higher quality larger spotting scope.  A spotting scope serves a different purpose.  Angled spotting scopes make for a neck aching, low magnification, lousy astronomical viewing but provide comfortable, rugged, quick change and reasonable magnification for terrestrial viewing.

 

Don't forget an adjustable chair.  And an astronomical app for your phone or a simple sky and telescope pocket atlas.  

 

Buy a good mount.   While objects do move across the sky it is surprising how many are directly overhead when you want to view them and just out of reach due to some mount limitations.    You may also want to consider getting a mount with encoders and a computer: this sort-of depends how lazy you are, your patience in locating an object and how quick you develop your star hopping skills.

 

Don't be bummed out when you view the same objects in someone's lower cost dob.  Enjoy what you purchase and don't covet aperture.   Buy an 85mm refractor first.  You'll really enjoy it at your dark sites.   If you enjoy this hobby, you'll probably buy a bigger scope in the future.

 

You mentioned shaky binocular image.   Did you ever buy a binocular mount attachment for your tripod?  It's surprising how many more stars you can see at 10x when the image is stationary. 


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#19 Tony Flanders

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 05:43 AM

But the TV85 would be miles better than the ST80. And far more versatile.


I'm not sure I agree. A Short-Tube 80 is a lovely, compact instrument that can be used on just about any mount, down to and including a lowly photo tripod. A TV85 weighs three times as much, bulks at least three times as much, and requires an expensive and fairly hefty mount to do it justice. So while it's true that the TV85 will give superior views of just about any object in the sky, I don't think I would call it more versatile taking convenience and usability into account.

 

Moreover, while the TV85 gives vastly better views of the planets, the difference for viewing deep-sky objects is much smaller.


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#20 LDW47

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 08:22 AM

Hi.  I've been doing my research for a suitable first telescope and, of course, an 8" dob is the smart move, yet, somehow, I've convinced myself a TeleVue 76 (or 85) would be the bees knees!  I'm not sure if this is brilliant of me or the makings of a costly mistake.  Thus, I'm hoping for some feedback (or a slap across the face.)

 

I'm coming at this as a casual birder and lazy binocular astronomer who appreciates good optics.  I just want to see more of everything - better than I can see it now in 10x bins.  I live in semi-rural Idaho with pretty dark skies in my yard (Bortle 4-5).  I also enjoy camping in the Owyhees which are DARK.  A big dob would be super fun here.  Yet, the small refractors are wooing me with their grab-n-go-ness and their robust portability.  I fear dragging a dob out of the garage, collimating it, then letting it cool for 30-60min would be a deterrent (I am lazy and always have other things I should be doing).  I also fear trying to take a 8" dob camping would be a bulky, dusty hassle and possibly damage the scope.  ("Camping" = miles of washboard followed by miles of off-roading.)  

Thus the appeal of the sleek little refractor...

 

I have considered just upping my binocular game.  But I can barely hold 10x steady so anything heavier or more powerful means IS or a mount.  And here I began asking myself - self, how much more will you see with a proper telescope than ANY pair of binoculars?  I think a lot.

 

So, TV-85 looks like a winner.  It's a great grab-n-go with respectable all 'round performance enough to keep most amateurs occupied for years.  AND easy easy to pack in the cab of my pickup as I beat down the backroads.  AND I get a spotting scope out of the deal!  Only down side is small aperture and high price.

 

TV-76 seems to tic all the same boxes AND (maybe) MORE !?  It might just be handier as a spotting scope AND might be easier to hike with as I can use my carbon fiber tripod (which is better/lighter than the telepod tripod but probably too light for the 85 per CN chatter) AND I'll save ~900 over the 85 (since it costs less and I don't need a new tripod.) AND it's actually in stock right now!  Down side is 9mm less aperture.

 

Questions:  Is this making any sense?  Will I hobble my nascent hobby by going 76 vs 85mm vs clumsy dob?  Will I be getting a big dob anyway? And if I get a dob now, will I be getting the TV-76/85 anyway? So which first?

 

PS.  Money is an object but I subscribe to the 'buy once cry once' philosophy...

 

Thanks for your help!

 

-Deric

I think you already know what you want, what you will get. Your philosophy isn't as interesting as trying different scopes and you will, half the fun is going through the process that most of us have and thats owning many and a variety of types / sizes of scopes. Its a great journey so enjo your first scope, lol.


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#21 cookjaiii

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 11:34 AM

Good suggestion. I know there's one in Boise (about an hour away) but didn't see any activities coming up on their website.  I'll keep monitoring though.

It wouldn't hurt to contact them directly rather than waiting for an advertised event.  Our club has several members who are very willing to meet up with new or prospective members to help them get started.  


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#22 gene 4181

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 11:47 AM

   TV76   for all the reasons you laid out. 



#23 Echolight

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 11:53 AM

I'm not sure I agree. A Short-Tube 80 is a lovely, compact instrument that can be used on just about any mount, down to and including a lowly photo tripod. A TV85 weighs three times as much, bulks at least three times as much, and requires an expensive and fairly hefty mount to do it justice. So while it's true that the TV85 will give superior views of just about any object in the sky, I don't think I would call it more versatile taking convenience and usability into account.

 

Moreover, while the TV85 gives vastly better views of the planets, the difference for viewing deep-sky objects is much smaller.

Very true. The ST80 is just so handy. A couple of old Meade 8.8 and 14 UWA’s along with a barlow and a 26 or 32 Plossl are similarly lightweight and compact kit that covers most of what an ST80 is best at.. And even the little Bogen 3021 holds it nicely.

 

The whole setup is the epitome of grab and go. And to borrow from a previous poster, not too precious.


Edited by Echolight, 23 January 2022 - 11:58 AM.

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#24 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 01:12 PM

I own a 101mm Tele Vue refractor and have used it quite a bit over the years solo and in combination with much larger Dobs.  I love that large true field of view possible with that telescope but am well aware of the limitations imposed by a 4" aperture. 

Between the two refractors you're considering, I would opt for the TV-85, with definite plans for a larger aperture in the future to complement it.  However, I agree with Tony that there are a number of ED refractor alternatives nowadays that might be better choices.

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#25 Ddub

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 02:07 PM

I expect a refractor is the choice for someone that goes camping to do more than just observing the sky, an 8" dob is for observing the sky and "that is why you went camping".

This makes a lot of sense.  And why the small refractor appeals to me as a first scope.




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