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Curious as to what's your "Top 5" list?

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#1 AstroSSM

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 12:06 PM

Lions, tigers, telescopes, oh my! It seems the list of different telescope manufacturers is never-ending. If you had to compile a "Top 5" list of best telescope brands, what would be your choices? Or perhaps a "Top 10" for those of us who want all of them lol.gif



#2 Raginar

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 12:37 PM

Takahashi. AP. Beyond that, I'm partial to ES (had good luck with their scopes).  I haven't experienced anything else.  


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#3 Bkmiller4463

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 12:41 PM

Alphabetically: AP, CFF, Stellarvue, Tak, TEC


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#4 SoCalPaul

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 12:43 PM

Oh boy, you've opened a can of worms...

 

I think Takahashi has to be on there somewhere.

 

And Zambuto for mirrors.

 

Regards,

Paul



#5 jerahian

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 01:20 PM

AP


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#6 SilverLitz

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 01:25 PM

By online reputation, with my only direct experience w/ : SVX130T (own), Esprit 100 (own), ES ED102CF (owned), A-P 142mm Starfire (1980's vintage, club, my initial night for AP).  On my own scopes:  SVX130T > Esprit 100 >> ES ED102CF.  My use of the AP142: it was only basically orientation, with the club's AP expert at the controls.

 

A-P (optically & mechanically top-notch)

TEC(optically & mechanically top-notch)

Tak (optically top-notch & mechanically nowhere near optical/price)

Stellarvue SVX (optically & mechanically top-notch); non-SVX: not on top-flight list, but better than mid-level

CFF (very little knowledge about what order)


Edited by SilverLitz, 29 September 2022 - 01:26 PM.

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#7 dawnpatrol

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 01:34 PM

From what I've owned or had some experience using (in alphabetical order):

A-P, CFF, Takahashi, TEC, TeleVue



#8 Swanny

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 01:36 PM

Tak

AP

TEC

CFF

TV

Agema

 

No specific order.


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#9 John Huntley

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 01:42 PM

In no particular order and restricted to those which I have some experience of (even if vicariously):

 

Takahashi

Astro Physics

Refractors with LZOS objectives

TEC

CFF


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#10 25585

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 01:43 PM

Takahashi *

Agema

AP

Vixen *

CFF

 

* = own

the rest want to own


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#11 Polyphemos

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 01:59 PM

Of the ones I own,

 

StellarVue 

Takahashi

AstroTech

Celestron-Vixen

AP


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#12 photoracer18

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 02:05 PM

By online reputation, with my only direct experience w/ : SVX130T (own), Esprit 100 (own), ES ED102CF (owned), A-P 142mm Starfire (1980's vintage, club, my initial night for AP).  On my own scopes:  SVX130T > Esprit 100 >> ES ED102CF.  My use of the AP142: it was only basically orientation, with the club's AP expert at the controls.

 

A-P (optically & mechanically top-notch)

TEC(optically & mechanically top-notch)

Tak (optically top-notch & mechanically nowhere near optical/price)

Stellarvue SVX (optically & mechanically top-notch); non-SVX: not on top-flight list, but better than mid-level

CFF (very little knowledge about what order)

Similar to mine and I agree with your list. My top 5 might all be A-P but I have never owned one but have played with a few (I am still on the lottery list for a Stowaway). Owned TMB, LOMO, TEC, Stellarvue, LZOS, Vixen FL. Worked at Hands on Optics when Gary was a Tak dealer I tried to convince Roland to make me a scope with the last set of Starfire 142 optics but he decided to make an imager out of it. At 75 all the really big TECs  and others are out of my physical range.



#13 Wildetelescope

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 02:12 PM

Frankly, I have positive things to say about every scope I own/have owned from my 50 dollar 60 mm Sears achromat to the new to me TMB designed APM/LZOS 105/650.  However in the spirit of the question I would tentatively rank the following refractor brands that I have owned

 

APM/LZOS (105/650)

AP(classic pre ed 127 a nd152 mm examples)

Televue(102)

Astro Tech (80 mm EDT)

Orion(80 mm Eon)

 

The APM and AP scopes stand out with respect to contrast and sharpness in focus.  Still getting to know the APM, but so far as I can tell the image is close enough to perfect for it not to matter for my eyes.  My AP Pre-ED versions show the smallest amount of lateral color at the eyepiece, but everything else is perfect.   The Televue also shows excellent contrast, but you will see just a bit of color on brighter objects, more so than with the Pre -ed glass triplets.  The 80 mm Astro tech scope is REALLY darn close to the TV, but just a touch less sharp, but frankly that could be observer bias.  And I would put my Buddy's AT 92 close to the AP scopes if not better(certainly with respect to color correction).  The Orion 80 mm Eon I owned was very nice and sharp, but it was too fast(F 6 or so) for a doublet and above 180X you really started see the image break down.    I cannot speak to other brands, as I have not used them, and I really enjoy/enjoyed the ones I have listed here.  I am sure that the Taks, CFF's, TEC's and Agemas are all excellent and rank up there with the AP and APM scopes, but I have never had the pleasure of looking through one.   Some Day:-). 

 

These are all of course subjective opinions:-) and I would reiterate that i love using them all.

 

Cheers!

 

JMD


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#14 Space_Race_T.J.

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 02:46 PM

These are some of my dream refractors that I would like to order some day.

 

Agema- SD 130

 

CFF- 92 F6.9

 

Stellarvue- SVX152T

 

Tak- FC-76DS

 

TEC- 160FL Binoscope



#15 RAKing

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 03:41 PM

The best stuff I have ever owned:

 

A-P  - Traveler, 130 EDF Starfire*

 

TEC  - 140 ED, 6-inch Mak

 

Tak - TOA-130, TSA-120, FS-128

 

TeleVue - 102

 

STF -  Mirage 8-inch Mak

 

All of these were beautifully constructed and wonderful to use.  The views through these have given me many years of enjoyment.

 

* - still have


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#16 Gabby76

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Posted 29 September 2022 - 03:47 PM

In no particular order,

 

FrT (Frank Theys, Belgium)

AOM (Astro Optik Manufaktur, Germany) 

APM (Markus Ludes, Germany)

Stellarvue (Vic Maris, USA)

Vixen (Japan)



#17 bobhen

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Posted 30 September 2022 - 04:40 AM

Of the scopes I owned...
In no particular order

 

Astro-Physics (155 and 152mm)
Takahashi (120 and 210mm)
SV OTA but with a LZOS lens (105mm)
Galaxy F5 mirror (15-inch)
University Optics "kit" refractor (80mm)
Celestron/Vixen (80mm Fluorite)

 

If I check my logs there may be more but these are some scopes that I did not own but observed with...

 

TEC (140mm)
Zambuto mirror (250mm)
Celestron/Vixen (102mm Fluorite)
D&G optical apo refractor (5-inch)
Astro-Physics (102mm)

 

I've owned and used other scopes that did not have superb optical quality but were still enjoyable and delivered what I wanted for a specific job.

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 30 September 2022 - 04:40 AM.


#18 soulprophet

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Posted 30 September 2022 - 06:56 AM

Top five refractors I've owned or wanted....

 

1. AP Traveler

2. Stellarvue SV90TF, the fluorite version in blue of course

3. AP 130GTX

4. Stellarvue 127 Dual-Fluoro in blue of course

5. Stellarvue 102ABV Lomo in blue of course

 

Always been curious about the TAK FS series, particularly the FS-128.

 

I was on the list for the AP 155 from almost 20 years ago....not bitter or anything, but it will never make any of my top scopes, lol.


Edited by soulprophet, 30 September 2022 - 06:57 AM.

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#19 csrlice12

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Posted 30 September 2022 - 11:09 AM

Celestron Omni 102 XLT f10 achromat on a CG4 mount.......because it is actually a good scope on a decent mount at a very reasonable price....yes, it mostly goes unused now, but without this experience, astronomy might not have evolved into the hobby it has.  Eyepieces, however, are another story.


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#20 Swanny

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Posted 30 September 2022 - 03:20 PM

Celestron Omni 102 XLT f10 achromat on a CG4 mount.......because it is actually a good scope on a decent mount at a very reasonable price....yes, it mostly goes unused now, but without this experience, astronomy might not have evolved into the hobby it has.  Eyepieces, however, are another story.

So Orion is your top brand?  What are your other 4……



#21 Scott in NC

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Posted 01 October 2022 - 08:28 AM

It’s hard for me to list “top 5 manufacturers,” as they all have their pluses and minuses, and those factors will differ in importance depending upon your observing or imaging goals.

 

But here’s a list of the top 5 refractors that I’ve owned, in no particular order:

 

1. TEC 140ED (sold, but will likely buy again one day, or maybe the newer FL version)

2. Takahashi FS-152, FS-128, and FS-102 (still own all 3)

3. AP130EDFS (sold)

4. Stellarvue SV115 TMB/LZOS (still own)

5. Stellarvue SV80S and SV80L LOMO (still own both)

 

Whoops…that’s more than 5, isn’t it?  But hopefully you get the idea.


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#22 donadani

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Posted 01 October 2022 - 08:38 AM

Zeiss

TEC

Astro Optik Manufaktur

Astro Physics

Takahashi

 

Ranking divers by size and priority of use.



#23 Eddgie

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Posted 01 October 2022 - 10:07 AM

Lions, tigers, telescopes, oh my! It seems the list of different telescope manufacturers is never-ending. If you had to compile a "Top 5" list of best telescope brands, what would be your choices? Or perhaps a "Top 10" for those of us who want all of them lol.gif

Only one refractor in my top 5 list of refractors, but I would never buy one due to cost.  

 

If you were to give me one for free though, it would be the Teleuve NP127. 

 

I have owned refractors from 60mm achromats to a 152mm Astro Physics and everything larger than the NP127 is to large, and everything smaller than the NP 127 is too small.

 

I had the Televue 101 and it was a spectacular performer, giving the most glorious wide field views I have ever had with any  standard telescope, but it was too small for planets.

 

Everyone wants a big refractor, but a 6" refractor takes a very robust mount, and I quickly grew tired of taking out a 6" refractor that could not match my C14 on anything, and the 6" refractor required the same size mount.

 

So, the NP127 is the only refractor that I would put on my top 5 list because it is probably the best all around refractor ever made. 

 

It disappoints me that other manufacturers have not made alternatives to the NP127.  The price of the 127 is simply too high for me to ever justify.  My $4000 night vision eyepiece was money far better spent (for me). 


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#24 Scott in NC

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Posted 01 October 2022 - 10:11 AM

It disappoints me that other manufacturers have not made alternatives to the NP127.  The price of the 127 is simply too high for me to ever justify.  

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here.  If other manufacturers could produce a quality alternative to the NP127 for a significantly lower cost then it would likely have already been done.


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#25 Eddgie

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Posted 01 October 2022 - 10:35 AM

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here.  If other manufacturers could produce a quality alternative to the NP127 for a significantly lower cost then it would likely have already been done.

It has been done to some extent.  The Vixen 120 and Vixen 140 both were four element designs, but neither used ED glass. Still, you could buy a Vixen 140 for $2000 new.  Had they used ED glass in the 120, or made it 130 and used ED glass, they could have probably brought it in for well under $3000.

 

Because the primary objectives tend to be f/10 or slower, even FPL-51 would likely have been good enough for a 127, but of course FPL-53 would give solid Apo performance. My guess is that this is what is used in the NP127.

 

I owned the Vixen 140 and it has superb wide field performace, but it had the same color as you would get from a 140mm f/10 achromat. It wasn't bad, but the ES 127 triplet was easily better on planets. 

 

Anyway, getting back on topic, the NP127 would be at the very top of my list for refractors. I have no interest in anything smaller or larger, and the NP127, except for it's limited aperture and cost, this is probably the lowest compromise refractor ever made. You can do almost anything with it and it will work on a mount that anyone could carry. 

 

So, to me, brand is not important as what the offering is.  Televue makes the 127, so by the nature of the post, then Televue would be the only manufacturer on my list


Edited by Eddgie, 01 October 2022 - 10:42 AM.

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