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American made middle of the road refractors

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19 replies to this topic

#1 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 11:17 AM

I know that “back in the day” a number of SCTs were made in America like Bausch & Lomb and Celestron. What about on the refractor front? I may want to add to my collection some US built scopes that are optically good and that are reasonably priced? I’m not looking for a museum piece so Unitrons are likely out, I’m wanting to get it out under the stars. Any suggestions around makes/models?

#2 Stellar1

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 11:22 AM

If I was to buy a second refractor right now without obliterating my account and a pan cracked across my head I would go with Stellarvue, out of Cali.

 

specifically the SVX127D

https://www.stellarv...et-apo-svx127d/


Edited by Stellar1, 06 August 2022 - 11:24 AM.

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#3 Mike W

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 11:36 AM

I know that “back in the day” a number of SCTs were made in America like Bausch & Lomb and Celestron. What about on the refractor front? I may want to add to my collection some US built scopes that are optically good and that are reasonably priced? I’m not looking for a museum piece so Unitrons are likely out, I’m wanting to get it out under the stars. Any suggestions around makes/models?

Unitrons were made in Japan.
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#4 fftulip

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 11:39 AM

Brandon / Vernonscope, smaller short focal length, some with Astro-physics optics.

 

D&G, long focal length achromats

 

Jaegers, various achromatic objectives used in ATM scopes


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#5 sdedalus83

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 11:48 AM

The Meade ED scopes from the 90s are pretty easy to find, as are the fast Jaegers achromats. Long focus Edmund and Jaegers are less common but not rare. Pre-war scopes like B&L and Mogey are even less common and will be less affordable, though you can get lucky with a seller who doesn’t understand the value.

 

A Brandon 94 is also worth waiting for - a Roland Christen triplet, typically in the $1200-1500 range.


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#6 NinePlanets

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 11:52 AM

Alvan Clark & Sons made one or two...  ;)


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#7 Jim R

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 12:04 PM

If I was to buy a second refractor right now without obliterating my account and a pan cracked across my head I would go with Stellarvue, out of Cali.

 

specifically the SVX127D

https://www.stellarv...et-apo-svx127

The linked Stellarvue would BOTH wreck my bank account AND get my head cracked!!

Jim

 

PS  Stellar1 said that.  I don't know how to properly use quotes, yet.


Edited by Jim R, 06 August 2022 - 12:05 PM.

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#8 Jethro7

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 12:06 PM

I know that “back in the day” a number of SCTs were made in America like Bausch & Lomb and Celestron. What about on the refractor front? I may want to add to my collection some US built scopes that are optically good and that are reasonably priced? I’m not looking for a museum piece so Unitrons are likely out, I’m wanting to get it out under the stars. Any suggestions around makes/models?

Hello Carolinabanker,

It has been a while sense your last post, good to here from you.  Plus one for Stellar1's post. The Stellarvues are the best option for the middle of the pack of the American made scopes. The only others are TEC and Astrophyics that I know of. Unless purchase used, it is a three year wait for a newTEC and if you order order a Astrophyics, it might be wise to put a alternative recipient in your Will. 

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro

 

P.S. The Stellarvues OTA's are about the same price as a excellent condition made in Japan, Unitron.  if you like classics owning a big unitron can be reallly nice for the collection. but the optics are in no way near the optical performance of a modern premium scope.


Edited by Jethro7, 06 August 2022 - 12:21 PM.


#9 vtornado

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 12:23 PM

Not what you asked for by Celestron 80 f/11 made by Vixen in Japan are stunningly good scopes, and can be found for

around $100.00 for the tube.

 

 

I've seen a few D&G pop up for around $1000.00 (5 inch)  They are very large so they require a big mount,

and are usually not shippable requiring you to drive to get it.

 

If you are willing to build your own surplus shed sells NOB Wollensack achromatic lenses.

 

VT


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#10 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 12:24 PM

Hello Carolinabanker,
It has been a while sense your last post, good to here from you. Plus one for Stellar1's post. The Stellarvues are the best option for the middle of the pack of the American made scopes. The only others are TEC and Astrophyics that I know of. Unless purchase used, it is a three year wait for a newTEC and if you order order a Astrophyics, it might be wise to put a alternative recipient in your Will.

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro

P.S. The Stellarvues OTA's are about the same price as a excellent condition made in Japan, Unitron. if you like classics owning a big unitron can be reallly nice but the optics are in no way near the performance of a modern premium scope.


Thanks man, it’s been a bit of a hiatus from observing due to work and weather. I did get my Cometron CO-62 and at low to mid power it’s a phenomenal little performer. The weather has been atrocious, but was out this week enjoying open clusters around Cygnus.
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#11 Kasmos

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 02:45 PM

There's not many choices for a 'back in the day' Classic American made refractor. I assume middle of the road means 'not too costly' so Edmund or Jaegers would be about it.  


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#12 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 03:11 PM

There's not many choices for a 'back in the day' Classic American made refractor. I assume middle of the road means 'not too costly' so Edmund or Jaegers would be about it.


I’ve seen the Jaegers 6” and have always wanted one, how are they optically?

#13 NinePlanets

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 03:39 PM

If the 6" Jaegers is as good as my 3-1/4" Jaegers, it is just fine. I have used it next to a 4" Unitron and prefered the smaller Jaegers. I have had smaller Jaegers lenses with no complaints too. It's a shame they have gone the way of the Dodo.


Edited by NinePlanets, 06 August 2022 - 03:39 PM.


#14 Senex Bibax

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Posted 07 August 2022 - 06:21 AM

Omcon, with their iconic blue tubes, were made in Canada with Japanese or Chinese optics

 

P 20210611 171034 P

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#15 tony_spina

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Posted 07 August 2022 - 08:59 AM

An old Tele Vue Pronto or Ranger may meet your needs. Made in the US and built like tanks


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#16 Terra Nova

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Posted 07 August 2022 - 09:05 AM

The Edmund 4” F15 and much rarer Edmund 3” F15. Also the little Edmund 60 mm Rank Voyager is quite good. 


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#17 Bomber Bob

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Posted 07 August 2022 - 10:57 AM

I’ve seen the Jaegers 6” and have always wanted one, how are they optically?

Do you mean the 6" F5?  Mine is excellent.  {My Jaegers 50mm F12 is outstanding.  Competes with my Tak TS-50Swift 838.)


Edited by Bomber Bob, 07 August 2022 - 10:59 AM.


#18 Terra Nova

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Posted 08 August 2022 - 02:29 PM

I’ve seen the Jaegers 6” and have always wanted one, how are they optically?

Just remember, Jaegers sold parts, not complete scopes. Edmund sold both. Any Jaegers scope (except the military surplus spotter and a couple of very small scopes), is going to be an ATM (nothing wrong with that it it’s done well). You could get the bare objective, or the objective in cell, along with most other parts you needed from them. They also sold mounts, very similar to Edmund mounts, with very minor differences AND always red knobs (on mounts and focusers). Edmund had all black knobs.


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#19 photoracer18

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Posted 08 August 2022 - 05:01 PM

D&G sometimes made scopes with Jaegers optics for people as I once owned one. It may have been a case where that someone was buying 2 really big scopes from them and they did it as a favor. But it was not as simple as that because D&G got someone to build the mount for the owner also. I also own that mount.


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#20 RichA

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Posted 09 August 2022 - 11:30 PM

I know that “back in the day” a number of SCTs were made in America like Bausch & Lomb and Celestron. What about on the refractor front? I may want to add to my collection some US built scopes that are optically good and that are reasonably priced? I’m not looking for a museum piece so Unitrons are likely out, I’m wanting to get it out under the stars. Any suggestions around makes/models?

Refractor forum.




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