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4" Longfellow Fracs? Any Recommendations?

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78 replies to this topic

#1 Matty S

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 05:34 PM

I'm sure this has been bantered over before, and I've heard varying thoughts on these here and there in the classic threads.
I've been considering a quality, classic long-focus refractor. Just one, a complete kit in premo condition.
Why? Because it's an impressive yard cannon, just big enough to still be manageable, and it makes me feel accomplished. smirk.gif
With those criteria in mind, what classic 4" long-focus refractors do you think fill the bill or are totally impressed with?

I'd prefer to hear about the ones that are actually found more often rather than the uber-rare AP's and Zeiss iterations.
I'm not really a fan of Unitrons, they just seem to be getting out of hand in pricing lately though the same can be said for Pentax and Nikon (Pentax is my weak spot. A Pentax 100 in particular).
But there's so many more out there that I know you folks have had (Asahi and GOTO for instance).

 


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#2 Russell Smith

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:35 PM

I would personally spend my money on Goto.

 


Edited by Russell Smith, 24 January 2022 - 06:37 PM.


#3 clamchip

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:36 PM

A Edmund Scientific 4 inch f/15 is one I can recommend.

White tube or a later red tube, they both came with the same lens.

You are probably going to ask, who made the lens?

I wish I could answer that, but I can't. The source I'm sure was a closely guarded

secret, probably only the old man himself knew. 

The last Edmund 4 inch f/15 red tube, the one with the friction

focuser, came with a Dr. Rank designed lens (same designer as the RKE ep's) and

this lens was made in house by Edmund. I want to try one of these out myself

before I can personally recommend it. It will be excellent I'm sure.

 

Robert


Edited by clamchip, 24 January 2022 - 06:40 PM.

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#4 deSitter

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:36 PM

There are several to go looking for - if you find a unicorn and follow it home they are everywhere :) All are f/15 more or less.

 

Unitron 100mm and 102mm - common

Meade 447 and cousins, same as Unitron, Nihon Seiko, very rare

Tasco 20TE 108mm, rarer

The grail scope, Yamamoto SYW 108mm. Good luck :)

 

There are owners who are regulars here.

 

-drl


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#5 Russell Smith

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:38 PM

I can't help but agree with Robert. 

An Edmund Scientific would be killer


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#6 apfever

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:41 PM

4" B&L, there are a few around, not many.

4" Edmund, more common, still desireable.


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#7 LunarObserver

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:47 PM

4 inch skylight telescope. 
David


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#8 John Rose

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:52 PM

4" F15 Parallax.  Used a Vixen Research Grade Lens.



#9 clamchip

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 06:56 PM

I thought of another one, a Antares 4 inch f/15.

These were built up in Canada and advertised as 'Vixen Spec research grade'  because the use of the

name Vixen was not allowed. The lens is actually Vixen, made by Carton. Carton made the lenses for

Vixen during the same time period.

The scope came as a complete optical tube or just a lens with cell, so you have a choice if you start

looking around.

I bought a lens with cell some years ago and built a scope for it and it's fantastic. I cannot tell the

difference between it and the Edmund 4 inch. 

 

Robert


Edited by clamchip, 24 January 2022 - 06:59 PM.

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#10 deSitter

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 07:00 PM

Found - what a beast!

 

https://www.cloudyni...1600-mm-review/

 

-drl


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#11 Bowlerhat

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 07:21 PM

4" unitron?



#12 Terra Nova

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 07:47 PM

I had both the Unitron and the Edmund 4” F15s on their respective GEMs. The Edmund was easier to set up and use and its images were superb. The Unitron was heavier and much more cumbersome but it was also much better made, the Edmund’s construction (not the objective) being downright crude. The Unitron is far more impressive to look at. The Edmund had a slight edge  optically, and got used much more, because it was not only excellent optically, but was so darned easy to use. I don’t have either anymore. If I were to get another, it would be a Unitron, but on a Unitron alt-az mount so I guess my recommendation would be what I never had, and that would be a Unitron model 150. If I could really have my wish tho, it would be a mint 4” Tinsley, but that’s going to be very hard to find.

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Edited by Terra Nova, 25 January 2022 - 07:57 AM.

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#13 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 08:04 PM

How 'bout some Eye Candy while you consider?

 

1950s Edmund:

 

Edmund 4 - OTA Done (Mounted) S04.jpg

 

1950s Unitron (Brass Tube!):

 

U152 Restore T041 - Filo Tripod Test.jpg

 

Neglected -- decades in a barn -- but she cleaned up purdee!

 

BB's 4" Dream Scope -- Carton CST-102KX:

 

Carton - CST100KX (Catalog Extract) P01.jpg

 

 


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#14 photoracer18

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 08:07 PM

In 4" the Unitron of course, the Edmund, the Jaegers, the Goto and a later one the 100mm F13 Carton (own this one). I like the Pentaxes also as I had a Pentax 85 F12 for several years. I got to see the impact spots from Shoemaker-Levy on Jupiter with it. I have vintage 60mm F15s and 80mm F11.3s all from Japan also. I had a Jaegers 6" F15 custom built by Barry of D & G too.

But I have a weak spot for ED doublets. Much easier to move around a LOMO 102ED in either F7.78 or F8.7 and use it for bino-viewing or solar work. And why I have a new SVX127D as my final retirement scope, F8 and .992 Strehl.


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#15 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 08:10 PM

... a later one the 100mm F13 Carton (own this one) ...

 

What's the Carton like?  


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#16 photiost

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 08:40 PM

The Edmund 4 inch f/15 Red tube with the friction focuser and Dr. Rank designed lens,

 

 

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#17 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 09:05 PM

If Longfellow classic and not a Unitron 4 inch   hang in there and wait for the Edmund 4....

or a Longfellow Jaegers 4 inch would fit the bill

run a want ad periodically   be ready when one pops up

 

 

Photoracer18  is correct of course about ED doublets


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#18 PawPaw

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 09:12 PM

With those criteria in mind, what classic 4" long-focus refractors do you think fill the bill or are totally impressed with?

I'd prefer to hear about the ones that are actually found more often rather than the uber-rare AP's and Zeiss iterations.

 

Matty.....with your objectives in mind (Yes pun intended) I have experience with four long focus refractors from the 50's.  I will rate the ones I own on the following merits:  Optical quality, Mount quality, ease of use and setup, overall craftsmanship and value for the dollar........So five categories.....keep in mind I am only rating the actual scopes I own.  All four are complete kits. 

 

Goto Model 204  circa 1957

Unitron 150 fork mount circa 1955

Unitron 155  circa 1955

Edmund 4" circa 1958

 

Optical quality:  1:  Goto  2: Edmund  3: Unitron.................The Goto's optical polish and figure are excellent....The Edmund is also excellent and honestly could have been sourced from Goto  (who knows)  one of my Unitrons (155) is good but I have owned two other Unitron 100mm objectives that are downright poor. 

 

Mount quality:  1: Goto  2: Unitron  3:  Edmund...........The Goto's fit, paint finish and mechanical quality are excellent.......the Unitron is a close second....The Edmund mount works and has good mass but crude by Goto's and Unitron standards.

 

Ease of setup 1: Edmund  2: Unitron (150)  3: Goto  4:  Unitron (155)........The Edmund is the lightest of the three, especially the OTA which makes it very easy to setup and cool down time is excellent.  My two Unitron OTA's are both brass and very heavy.....The Edmund tripod legs are maple very solid and Goto's are likely oak or other hardwood....Unitron is unknown but good and solid.

 

Quality of overall mechanical craftsmanship  1:  Goto  2:  Unitron  3:  Edmund

 

Value $:   1: Edmund  2: Goto  3: Unitron

 

I still own all of these and have tested them side by side  and tested with DPAC on numerous occasions......  While my Goto model 204 is the top of the class (of my four) it is rare to find especially in a complete kit.  With that in mind your best chance of finding one in my opinion is a Edmund or a Unitron.  Just be prepared to find the 100mm objectives are hit and miss with all manufacturers..........You have to test to confirm the optical quality.

 

Cheers

 

Don


Edited by PawPaw, 24 January 2022 - 09:14 PM.

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#19 luxo II

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 11:10 PM

For steampunk with OTT bling... Moonraker is another... http://moonrakertele...riestripod.html

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Edited by luxo II, 24 January 2022 - 11:11 PM.

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#20 deSitter

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 11:14 PM

For steampunk with OTT bling... Moonraker is another... http://moonrakertele...riestripod.html

That is awesome but that guy's website is a disaster! :)

 

-drl


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#21 luxo II

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Posted 24 January 2022 - 11:29 PM

But wait, there's more :)

https://www.ft.com/c...99-c2a4754b5a0e



#22 Kasmos

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Posted 25 January 2022 - 12:10 AM

That Moonraker, well crafted but godawful gaudy.


Edited by Kasmos, 25 January 2022 - 12:28 AM.

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#23 RichA

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Posted 25 January 2022 - 12:20 AM

I thought of another one, a Antares 4 inch f/15.

These were built up in Canada and advertised as 'Vixen Spec research grade'  because the use of the

name Vixen was not allowed. The lens is actually Vixen, made by Carton. Carton made the lenses for

Vixen during the same time period.

The scope came as a complete optical tube or just a lens with cell, so you have a choice if you start

looking around.

I bought a lens with cell some years ago and built a scope for it and it's fantastic. I cannot tell the

difference between it and the Edmund 4 inch. 

 

Robert

Even later, shorter Antares refractor lenses were very good.



#24 mdowns

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Posted 25 January 2022 - 07:43 AM

I was happy with the 4" antares I had,very solid performer.

 

36887347_10212306294912842_3283833751439671296_n.jpg


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#25 Terra Nova

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Posted 25 January 2022 - 08:03 AM

That Moonraker, well crafted but godawful gaudy.

I think Mark’s telescopes in their neo-Victorian livery are truly a work of art. There’s really nothing else being made like them today now that Richard Day has shuttered Skylight Telescopes. 


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