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Tasco 99VR - Pics and impressions

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#1 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 06:21 PM

The Tasco 99VR came in today. WOW.

I got L-U-C-K-Y. This scope is not only 100% complete in the original packaging with all original inserts, but the entire scopes looks almost new. There are the expected small scratches on the finder tube from being mounted. But otherwise, nearly the entire kit is mint, as you can see in the photos.

There are a few minor spots on the coatings of the objective, it's nothing that a light cleaning wouldn't take care of. I think this scope was probably setup and used once or twice before being packed away until today.

Some first impressions :

1) This little scope is HEAVY for it's size. 99% of the entire scope setup is cast metal. The only plastic parts are the lens caps and focuser knobs. Everything else is heavy metal. This 300mm f/l Tasco OTA actually weighs more than my 700mm f/l Meade department store scope. The construction is very solid. I am quite impressed with the build.

2) The focuser is nice. Smooth, no backlash, and heavy cast metal. Again, a nicer focuser than I have seen on more recent scopes, including the Orion ST80 I used the other night.

3) The included accessories are top-notch quality compared to the plastic junk included with today's budget scopes. The barlow, zoom ep, eyepieces, diagonal, camera extension tubes, and everything is 100% metal. There is a nice 22mm KELLNER eyepiece that I was surprised to see - expecting the usual H,R,SR eyepieces. The little Kellner is heavy, typical Japanese quality, nice pristine glass. Also came with a short focal length Ortho and a Huygen.

4) optics are surprisingly crisp. The daytime views I just got using the 22mm Kellner were nice. I focused in on a cell-tower about 1/2 mile away and could easily read the writing on one of the dishes. Noticeably sharper than my 60mm Meade AZ-A2.

5) The slo-mo adapter is NICE. A big heavy chunk of metal. Again, the only plastic is the knobs. It's very smooth with a nice range of motion.

Boy, I am tempted to keep this one. If I didn't already have a 90mm short tube on the way, then this would be a definite keeper. I plan on using it tonight, although the weather is partly cloudy. I'm hoping for a few sucker holes in the clouds to give it a try out.

I am now officially addicted to vintage small scopes. Wow. Again, the quality of this item, which was considered a "budget" scope at the time is LEAGUES ahead of the budget stuff available now.

Clear dark skies...

MikeG

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1229743-tasco1.jpg


#2 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 06:21 PM

Another -

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  • 1229744-tasco-2.jpg


#3 Glassthrower

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 06:21 PM

One more -

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  • 1229746-tasco-3.jpg


#4 microbes

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 06:37 PM

Boy, I am tempted to keep this one.



I warned you. :lol: Wait until you point it at the pleaides and drop that 22mm ep in it.

I am quite impressed with the build.



It isn't exactly like my cometron, the finder mount is slightly different and the knobs are different (I think the earlier 9V model is the same as mine) but that is what impressed me about my little cometron, the things are really well built compared to the average 60mm DST. I don't think they cut corners trying to make them a Kmart blue light special.

#5 Steve_M_M

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 02:06 AM

I Knew you would like it. Note the circle Z. The 99VR is a Vixen/Tanzutsu (or something like that) mix. You also got all the Vixen adapters.

You could sell the 22mm K for what you paid and have a free scope :)

Have some fun before parting with it!

Steve

#6 Lew Chilton

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 02:47 AM

Very nice find. About what year would you say it was made? 1980s? Reading the posts of you small scope guys is giving me a new appreciation for these little refractors. Thanks!

#7 Glassthrower

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 05:13 AM

The inserts and packaging is dated 1984. A previous owner wrote a date in 1988 on the scope manual cover with an ink pen (the only "flaw" in all the inserts which look untouched).

1988 is the year I graduated from high school. I should have went down to K-mart and bought one of these!

Here is a pic of the little scope on my parallelogram mount that I normally use for my binos ...

Clear dark skies...

MikeG

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1230532-tasco-pmount.jpg


#8 strix

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 08:14 AM

Mike,

Really nice scope but your mount is inspiring :jump:

Clear skies and be careful to point this scope to Pleiades...

David

#9 Erik D

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 03:44 PM

I have a Celestron Cometron 80mmF5 short tube from the mid 1980s that looks very much like your Tasco except for the bigger objectives. Come with a vinyl carrying case and a nice metal table top tripod. I believe these were made by Vixen. Back in those days an 80mm refractor was a step above the commom 60mm. I believe Celestron offered them for sale for $399 pre Halley. I got mine for $99 in the post comet clearance. Look exactly like this one:

http://www.astromart...ified_id=461274

Mine came with a 25 mm Celestron EP but I often use it with a low cost 9mm Meade MA EP and 2X shorty barlow. Gives nice views of Saturn and Jupiter at 88X. I tried pushing up the power using a 6mm plossel and images started to break down. I used the same 1.25 in diagonal in my 6inF8 AP refractor till I purchased a 2 inch WO diagonl!

ERik d

#10 LFOD1776

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 12:21 PM

So... are you all saying that my old Tasco is worth something? I never thought it was very valuable, except maybe the slow-motion control.

I got this as a present about 20 years ago. I've mostly used it as a spotting scope, but I found it a little ungainly as such and recently bought another spotting scope... only to find that the old Tasco had radically better resolving power.

Having re-learned the lesson that quality optics tend to cost lots of money, I finally bit the bullet and got a used Questar field model (which IMHO is the ultimate in quality, portability and ease of set-up). So bottom line, I don't need the Tasco anymore. Anyone interested?

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1505153-Tasco_99VR.JPG


#11 LFOD1776

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 12:23 PM

...and the box.

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  • 1505159-Tasco_99VR_box.JPG


#12 Glassthrower

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 12:50 PM

Hi LFOD,

Welcome to Cloudy Nights.

The old Tasco 60mm 99VR was made by Vixen and is a decent little scope. Of course, it can't compare to the Questar! (not much can) ...

I think I sold mine, the entire kit (which looks to be in identical condition to your's) for about $100. I have seen them sell for a little more and a little less, depending on demand. I have heard of them being used as a guide scope, astrograph, and one fellow rigged up a 99VR with GoTo. Vixen makes a .965"/1.25" visual back replacement that will allow you to use 1.25" eps without worrying about a hybrid diagonal.

I have no use for one any more (I satisfied my curiousity), but I am sure someone around here will make you an offer on it. Or, once you accumulate 10 total posts here on CN, you can post it for sale in the Shop and Swap forum.

Why not set up the Tasco side-by-side with the Questar and do a "Shoot Out" comparison/review....? ;)

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#13 BHunt

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 02:50 PM

Nice scope Mike hope you can enjoy it tonight!
Bill

#14 Robert Provin

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 07:29 PM

So... are you all saying that my old Tasco is worth something? I never thought it was very valuable, except maybe the slow-motion control.

I got this as a present about 20 years ago. I've mostly used it as a spotting scope, but I found it a little ungainly as such and recently bought another spotting scope... only to find that the old Tasco had radically better resolving power.

Having re-learned the lesson that quality optics tend to cost lots of money, I finally bit the bullet and got a used Questar field model (which IMHO is the ultimate in quality, portability and ease of set-up). So bottom line, I don't need the Tasco anymore. Anyone interested?


PM me, I'm interested!

#15 BHunt

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 08:01 PM

Wow Mike thats some mount you made there! Real nice. :bow:
Bill

#16 Glassthrower

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 11:10 PM

HI Bill,

I can't claim credit for the parallelogram mount. Fellow CN member AstroWood (Roy Hess) fabricated it for me. Roy does outstanding work and he is a craftsman in the old world sense of the word. I have just ordered a set of hardwood tripod legs from him! :)

About the Tasco - the guy I sold mine to put it on a single-arm Meade GoTo mount. He used the small lightweight model that is available on eBay from seller "Scopehed" and others. It was designed for a small Meade refractor, but the Tasco 99VR fits perfectly on it.

Hey Robert, are you going to use it as a guide scope on one of your long focus refractors?

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#17 paul

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 07:54 AM

Gotta love JIMMY PAGE!!!!!!
What the heck does that mean??

#18 Glassthrower

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:08 AM

Hi Paul,

Here is a website that contains one man's theory about the meaning of the symbol :

http://www.intheligh.../zososymbol.htm

I've been slowly rotating my avatar through all of the symbols. Last week was Bonham. This week Page. Next week Plant, etc.

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#19 LFOD1776

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 11:16 AM

I guess I won't be able to do that comparison... Robert's snatched up my old Tasco!

#20 BHunt

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:05 PM

Here is another one!
Bill
http://tinyurl.com/27pcj3

#21 OuterSpaced

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:13 PM

What is the difference between 99VR and 9VR ?

#22 OuterSpaced

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:14 PM

Besides the extra 9.

#23 BHunt

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:27 PM

Dont know I think he left out a 9. But I could be wrong. Sounds like a good question for Robert or Keith.
Bill

#24 Glassthrower

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:49 AM

The 9VR is stamped "Circle V" while the 99VR is stamped "Diamond K". Some of the 9VR models have the word "Vixen" stamped into the metal around the rim of the objective cell.

Other than this, I can't see any differences.

The 999VR came with a collapsible tripod and had slightly inferior optics compared to the 9VR and 99VR. (stopped down objective)

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#25 LFOD1776

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:11 AM

Different knobs, different lens covers (clear vs. black on with 99VR) different packaging, and it looks to me like the 9V didn't come with a barlow. Of course, this is just from looking at the picture; I've never seen a 9VR to compare it to the 99VR (which is a mere memory to me now).


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