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Show us your perfect Grab and Go classic scope

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#1 Dave Trott

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 12:26 PM

What is the perfect Grab and Go classic telescope? Which of your classics to you take out for a quick look at the Moon or Jupiter? Which one do you leave set up close to the door for convenience? Please show us a picture of yours.

 

What is “enough” aperture in a portable scope? Is 60mm the minimum? How about focal length. Do you need 800mm or will 500mm do? There is no wrong opinion here. It’s a matter of taste. What is your preference?

 

To be considered Grab and Go it should be:
1. Reasonably light weight and portable. No Cave 16 inch Newtonians, please!
2. Offer good performance with some detail for planetary, lunar and double star observing.
3. Quick and easy. One or two trips out the door to be ready for observing. No complicated extra pieces to assemble.

 

Here is my current favorite. It’s a Vixen Polaris SA-70-S. It has a 70mm aperture and 600mm focal length so it’s got a lot of punch in a convenient package. The equatorial mount adds some bulk but is very nice  for high power observing. And this scope can deliver! The optics are perfect and it is a triplet semi-apochromat, one of the early ones from the 1980’s. It was made to compete with the Takahashi TS65P triplet and it does so shiningly. You can actually see the 5mm aperture difference in careful comparisons. I was able to resolve the closer of the Epsilon Lyrae doubles more cleanly with this scope than with my TS65P.

 

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Edited by Dave Trott, 01 June 2022 - 12:30 PM.

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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 01:24 PM

Nice thread idea! I'll bite. 

 

At the moment, I actually have three favorites, listed in no particular order. I live in a small condo apartment at the time, in a quite light polluted place, so having a grab and go scope is essential. I very quickly ended up having not one, but three, each with their own little niche.  

 

1: 63mm Zeiss Telemator. Mostly used for solar H-alpha quick views these days, with my Daystar Quark. The optics and mechanics on this one needs no further introduction. Until recently, it was my default grab and go for everything, but the next scope on my list has stolen much of the spotlight recently. 

 

med_gallery_55742_4772_1589976.jpg

 

 

2: Vixen Planet RC-125M catadioptric Newtonian (often called "Bird-Jones" although it's really not...). This has become my primary deep-sky grab and go. It's very compact and lightweight, has a decent 1.6° low power field, despite using only 1.25" eyepieces, and has excellent optics, giving sharp views even at really high magnifications. It cools down fast and can be set up in minutes from the trunk of my car. This is important, because I need to drive to get to moderately dark skies. I initially struggled to get it collimated, but when I finally learned how to do it, it turned out to be easy enough, and the optics are amazing. The CO is around 33%, so it's not a planetary specialist, though, but deep-sky views are very good. The New Polaris mount has an RA drive motor from an EQ-3 mount, which fits perfectly and is cheap as chips. Tracking is very good. I also use this scope a lot more for quick lunar views, than I initially thought I would. Much smaller and lighter than the Zeiss, and goes MUCH deeper on deep-sky. I've made several much-needed upgrades to it, including a dew cap, a 6x30 RACI finderscope, better tube rings, and an 1.25" Baader Click-lock eyepiece holder, as well as the aforementioned RA drive. 

 

med_gallery_55742_4772_550596.jpg  

 

 

3: Bresser Pulsar 80/800 Dilworth Relay Cassegrain (yeah, that's not what they called it, but that's what it is!). Bought on a whim at ATT in Essen, mainly as a curiosity piece, but turned out to have respectable optics and stunning mechanics (for a small catadioptric). It's a surprisingly nice scope to have in the car for unexpected opportunities. It came only with a 25mm Kellner of mediocre quality, but I've found room in the box for a set of 20mm, 15mm and 10mm GSO Superview Erfles, which perform very nice in it. If you have a nice, solid table, it's a complete observing kit in a box. I've got a full aperture Baader solar filter for it, and it works very nicely for checking out daily sunspot activity, if there's a brief hole in the clouds and hauling out even the Telemator is too complicated. 

 

med_gallery_55742_4772_996193.jpg

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#3 Piggyback

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 03:38 PM

I consider my 1961 Zeiss AS 63/840mm a perfect grab and go. Easy to set up and take down it comes in the original wooden transport box. But in the end it is the optics that outshine the competition. After more than 60 years the Zeiss semi-APO air spaced AS-lens delivers breathtakingly sharp images sporting high contrast with just a tad bit of color. Planet images are most satisfying and to this day the scope is set to give most every other modern construction a hard run for the money.
 
IMG_0884.JPG

 

 

 
 

 


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#4 BlueTrane2028

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 03:48 PM

51342274386_db9c74c836_b.jpg

Depending on your definition of "classic" I have a few different ones, but this one is the most original and fits the "grab and go" criteria well.

f/11 C90, only thing I changed was a 1.25" visual back and a proper finder base.


Edited by BlueTrane2028, 01 June 2022 - 03:49 PM.

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#5 Kasmos

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 04:08 PM

Mine is my first and most used telescope. A Mayflower 814

It's always set up and ready to use.

Mayflower-Flowers.jpg

It's a very light one hand carry out the door telescope that gives very good quick views.

 

 

 


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#6 Bomber Bob

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 04:43 PM

None of my g&g's are perfect, but from largest to smallest...

 

ATM 150 F4 Newt Restore S62 - DONE (LS FL).jpg Kenko SC125L S55 - Restore (Repaint Mounted NES).jpg  

 

** Good Golly Miss Molly!  Only Ole BB could forget about The Comet:

 

Mizar Comet 1st Set Up T08 - AR-1 FULL LS.jpg

 

[Yeah, it's behind my right shoulder as I type...]  This Little Newt proved to me that Mizar can make great scopes!

 

Mizar GT-80S Restore T73 - COMPLETE (RS CU).jpg Takahashi TS-65x500 VersaGo S04 -  Complete (LS FL).jpg

 

All 5 can ride on my "new" Orion VersaGo 2.  The TS-65 does very well on my Mizar FA-AZ -- sweeps with both clamps unlocked, or tracks with 360* gearing @ 175x.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 01 June 2022 - 05:35 PM.

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#7 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 07:03 PM

2 trip grab and go. Meade 826.

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#8 ccwemyss

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 09:13 PM

Pentax 85. One trip for the mount, second trip for the OTA and eyepiece case. Since this was taken, I've added a Pentax 1.25" prism diagonal and a Celestron Logic Drive that tracks very well, in part because polar alignment is so easy. The long RA slow motion cable was replaced with a knob on each side before I added the drive. It still has the chains for the spreader, that Dave made for it, which enables it to be quickly collapsed and carried through doors, with the counterweight hanging over one shoulder. This stays set up and ready to go. 

 

Pentax85 - 1.jpg

 

Chip W. 


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#9 davidmcgo

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 09:50 PM

Eother my 1965 Questar 3.5 or my 1976 C5

 

Dave

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#10 oldmanastro

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 10:07 PM

My real "grab everything with one hand and go" telescope is the old but trusty Sears (Towa) 60mm f/11 altazimuth mounted scope. It's been with me for 57 years and never failed. The replacement of the metal spacer ring in the objective with regular  spacers improved the optics a lot. The mount is shaky but a small counterweight hanging from the accessory tray improves stability. Therefore for a quick grab and go session, this is the chosen one.

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#11 Bomber Bob

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 10:07 PM

Well... a few more sessions, and I think my 1984 Tak FC-76 will bump my Mizar GT-80S off The List...

 

TAK FC-76 S12 - DONE Finder Rings (LS FL).jpg TAK FC-76 S16 - DONE Finder Rings (RS FL).jpg


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#12 jragsdale

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 10:36 PM

Eother my 1965 Questar 3.5 or my 1976 C5

 

Dave

Creepy, I was going to say my 1964 Questar or 1976 C5... 



#13 tim53

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 10:53 PM

Just one trip out the shop door to my observing spot.  I keep the scope fully assembled, and can leave the drive corrector and eyepiece box in the dolly under the tripod.  8" f/ Optical Craftsmen "Discoverer" primary in my 1981 Springfield:

 

At the 1981 RTMC:

 

8inf6_Springfield2_sm.jpg

 

And several years back with another Springfield mount head on the table next to it.

 

post-6788-14073029255405_thumb.jpg


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#14 tony_spina

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 11:03 PM

 

Does a 1995 Tele Vue  Ranger count as a classic yet?  If yes then it's my new favorite grab and go.... anywhere!

 

 

 

Ready for Hiking, Beach, Camping, Traveling, or anywhere else I want to go and observe. 

 

The kit includes the following:

 

Bag

- Endurax Large Camera Backpack Waterproof.      Dimensions: 17" x 12" x 5". 2.2LB

Scope and Stuff

- Tele Vue Ranger 70/480

- Tele Vue 1.25" Everbrite 90 degree Diagonal

- SVBONY 45 Degree correct image diagonal

- Tele Vue Qwik Point Red Dot Reflex Finder

- Tele Vue 32mm Plossl

- Meade 24-8mm Zoom

- SVBONY 2x Barlow (can unscrew the bottom for 1.5x)

- 1.25": OIII, UHC, and Moon filters

- 77MM screw in Solar Film filter ( hand made)

- 77MM UV Filter (when at the beach to protect the lens)

- 77MM screw in collapsable hood

 

Tripod and Mount

- SIRUI ST-125 Waterproof Carbon Tripod with Triangular Center Column, Compact Lightweight Tripod,150cm/59 inch, Load 12KG/26.4lbs

- StellarVue MC1 Mount

 

Portable Seat

- Travelchair Slacker 1389VR

 

Binoculars

- SVBONY 8x32ED SV202

 

This grab and go kit can be used for daytime terrestrial views, white light solar viewing, and of course nighttime celestial delights

 

The kit

 

IMG_2375.jpg

IMG_2378.jpg
IMG_2380.jpg
IMG_2383.jpg

 


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#15 Bowlerhat

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 08:47 AM

60mm asahi pentax

 

I like my 60mm asahi. It even lives in the same bag as the tripod.

Yes it's all mixed up with modern shaenanigans for convenience, but I used it with the original wooden tripod too before. It's easy to deploy.


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#16 Terra Nova

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 09:38 AM

Seeing that the OP seems to imply only one perfect grab-and-go telescope, I’ll show only one. The one that has been with me the longest, (almost 57 years, tho now the mount is different):

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#17 LukaszLu

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 09:50 AM

My definite favorite - Vixen Sky Scope 60L. A very simple model, with extremely simple and lightweight mount and tripod, but ensuring quite decent stability - incomparable with the average "classic" ALT-AZ Japanese mount.

 

Officially 60/800 mm, in practice 65/800. The whole thing could be lifted literally with two fingers, the tripod could be folded in one move. It could fit in every door, moving with it was no different than walking with empty hands.

 

Optically good, but not outstanding - but the comfort was incomparable to anything I've had in my hands so far. I have used it for a long time as a reference telescope when evaluating other instruments. In the end, I got rid of it because of its not very "classic" appearance - a metal tripod and a PVC tube.

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#18 clamchip

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 10:21 AM

My Coulter Odyssey 10 inch has been my "grab N go" for quite some time now.

I'm actually not going far, out my shop door and onto the drivewaylaugh.gif

Something more for tossing in a car this Davis & Sanford with C5 is great and

add a modern zoom eyepiece and something to sit on and you are a happy

camper.

Robert

 

IMG_0545.jpg

post-50896-0-94613900-1443304770_thumb.jpg

 

 


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#19 brian dewelles

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 01:34 PM

I really like to observe with my 85mm f/10 mizar/hino optical newtonian. I actually have two of these, the other one has original mount. They are very quick to set up and give a clean sharp view on all the showpiece deep sky and planets. I have had this scope for 17 years and i have bigger and better stuff but despite its looks, this is one of my favorites.

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#20 LukaszLu

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 03:07 PM

My real "grab everything with one hand and go" telescope is the old but trusty Sears (Towa) 60mm f/11 altazimuth mounted scope. It's been with me for 57 years and never failed. The replacement of the metal spacer ring in the objective with regular  spacers improved the optics a lot. The mount is shaky but a small counterweight hanging from the accessory tray improves stability. Therefore for a quick grab and go session, this is the chosen one.

Some time ago I renovated the same Towa 60/700 mm model. I did not have high hopes for it, it drew my attention rather with the "vintage" color of the tube. But it turned out to be one of my best optically "classics". It gives an razor sharp images - clear, full of contrast and color, but almost free of chromatic aberration, even though it is not the F / 15. I estimate that it is optically of the same class as the recently renovated Royal Astro R-63 60/700 mm.

 

I will not call it "grab and go" as the tripod is quite troublesome to transport and cannot be folded up quickly. The stability of the mount also leaves much to be desired, even though my variant has an additional slow motions knob. But optically it is an excellent instrument (and yes - it's Towa :-) !

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#21 Astrojensen

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 03:53 PM

My definite favorite - Vixen Sky Scope 60L. A very simple model, with extremely simple and lightweight mount and tripod, but ensuring quite decent stability - incomparable with the average "classic" ALT-AZ Japanese mount.

 

Officially 60/800 mm, in practice 65/800. The whole thing could be lifted literally with two fingers, the tripod could be folded in one move. It could fit in every door, moving with it was no different than walking with empty hands.

 

Optically good, but not outstanding - but the comfort was incomparable to anything I've had in my hands so far. I have used it for a long time as a reference telescope when evaluating other instruments. In the end, I got rid of it because of its not very "classic" appearance - a metal tripod and a PVC tube.

That was my very first telescope!! But the words "decent stability" aren't what I would first associate with it...! It sure was lightweight, though. So much, in fact, that it toppled over in a brisk wind! I ended up modifying a much stronger alt-az mount for it from an old Japanese scope, and made a strong, wooden tripod. With this setup, I observed successfully for several years. 

 

 

Officially 60/800 mm, in practice 65/800.

Do you mean 55/800? Because the free aperture of the lens cell is certainly not larger than 60mm, from what I recall. 

 

Mine had very good optics and could show details on Jupiter, once I got some good eyepieces. I eventually experimented so much with the lens, that it got "worked to death". Oh well, it served its purpose and I learned a lot from that scope. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 04:26 PM

Every one of these classics deserves a like. Lots of great scopes.

 

My "perfect" grab and go scopes are all modern, short focal length Ed/apo refractors are hard to beat for versatility and handiness.

 

My favorite classic grab and go's:

 

- Asahi-Pentax 60 mm x 800 mm on that unique gear driven alt-az mount. Excellent optics, a stable tripod with legs larger than many 76 mm scopes. I've owned three of them. I gave away two of them in a downsizing effort. The third one is in SLC with Chuck Hards waiting for a trip to see the youngest in Montana.

5957564-Asahi-Pentax.jpg
 
My other favorite classic grab and go is just about any 80 mm X 900 mm. They're a nice balance between the low power prowess of an 80 mm F/5 and the ungainly high power performance of of a 76 mm F/16. My favorites are the Meade-Mizar 310s on the full circle geared alt-az mount. Solid with very good optics.
 
Meade 310 2018 -1.jpg
 
I guess you'd say I have a thing for the 80 mm F/11s. I once owned seven simultaneously. But they're all gone. It always seems like there's someone who needs it more than I do. I think they're great beginners scopes.. two of them ended up in the laboratory.. 
 
4579282-UCSD Schlieren cn .jpg
 
Jon

 


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#23 LukaszLu

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 04:38 PM

That was my very first telescope!! But the words "decent stability" aren't what I would first associate with it...! It sure was lightweight, though. So much, in fact, that it toppled over in a brisk wind! I ended up modifying a much stronger alt-az mount for it from an old Japanese scope, and made a strong, wooden tripod. With this setup, I observed successfully for several years.

This, of course, depends on the point of reference. If you compare this mount with the one I've shown in the photo of the Towa refractor, its stability is much, much better. Setting the object in the center of the field of view and keeping it there has never been a problem for me. First of all, there was no effect of the "tube dropping" after tightening the screw holding it in the horizontal axis, which is a real nightmare in the case of most mounts with a similar design. This model was made very reliably, with great technical culture. Despite the extreme simplicity, you could feel this quality.

 

Do you mean 55/800? Because the free aperture of the lens cell is certainly not larger than 60mm, from what I recall.

I mean exactly 65 mm of free aperture. The cell design is the same as in my Eschenbach Novalux 60/415 mm (in the picture below) - in both cases it's 65 mm instead of 60 declared.

 

Thanks for the message. It is probably a very rare model, I have never found any information about it on the Internet. It's nice to know that I was not the only owner in the world :-)

 

Eschenbach - before and after cleaning:

 

20200220_203324.jpg

20200221_155744.jpg

 

Sky Scope:

 

20210912_180257(1).jpg


Edited by LukaszLu, 02 June 2022 - 04:54 PM.

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#24 Eric P

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 06:40 PM

My main grab n’ go is a TV76/Telepod combo which is one trip out the door.  The ‘68Q/Astropier combo is the other grab n’ go for my office balcony. 

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Edited by Eric P, 02 June 2022 - 06:40 PM.

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#25 bjkaras

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Posted 02 June 2022 - 07:48 PM

This is the only thing I have that could be considered grab and go. It’s pretty portable though.

 

Cave 6” f/8 Student Deluxe

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