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Vixen ED80SF or Skywatcher Equinox 80?

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11 replies to this topic

#1
coliea

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At the risk of looking like an indecisive idiot I thought I'd run this past the experienced folks and hopefully be swayed one way or t'other. I'm looking to get my first telescope and can't see past the 80mm refractor (closed tube, low maintenance, easy to setup alt-az, good for photography, etc) and have narrowed it down to these two: The Vixen ED80SF and the Skywatcher Equinox 80.

At the moment I’m leaning toward the Vixen as it comes complete with a 9x50 finder, 2” eyepiece adapter, 1.25 flip mirror, tube rings, dove tail plate and case and is retailing with Ian King for £425 inc. VAT and delivery (and with the Porta mount for £579) http://tinyurl.com/3x94ut

The other option is the Equinox 80 which I can pick up from FLO for £370 http://tinyurl.com/2rdrsa or its clone from Telescope House for the same amount http://tinyurl.com/2shs26

The Equinox/Tele House scope seems to get universally good reviews (although the Vixen’s no slouch) but I’m not sure I can mount a finder/red dot on it? Maybe experienced folk don’t think it necessary on a wide-field scope but for a telescope virgin aren’t they handy?

The other question I wanted to ask was what difference (if any) the slightly different specifications would make in real life? The Vixen is a 600mm/F7.5 while the Equinox/Tele House is a 500mm/F6.25. Will this small difference have much effect on say, viewing and imaging the moon?

Sorry if I’ve rambled a bit but I’d rather measure twice and cut once if you see what I mean. I figure the more research I do now the more likely I am to use and hold on to whatever I buy. At the moment it’s looking like the Vixen.... would you do different?

If you’ve bothered to read this far many thanks.
Col

PS I’m going to post this in both the SGL and SPA forums – so if you’ve read one... save your precious time and ignore the other :D

#2
radioactive

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Well for reasons that I for now will keep to myself I would opt for the Vixen I think that whilst the others are are great scopes also I just want one of them Vixen 80s so if I had your money to spend I would spend it on that maybe Flo can get it for you I don't know :D

#3
John

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I'm a Vixen fan so I would probably go for the ED80SF. I believe it's optics are the same as the Skywatcher ED80 (the older model not the Equinox). Just one word of advice though - on my Vixen ED102SS the finder dovetail, although it looks just like a Skywatcher compatible, is actually a little smaller so you have to shave a bit off the finder foot to get non-Vixen finders to fit. Excellent scope otherwise though.

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#4
Brass n glass

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I believe the Vixen ED80sf is the Synta/Skywatcher/Orion ED80 with different paint and a flip mirror. The "f for fun" usually means thatthe scope is made in China while those without the f but with carry handles are still made in Japan. It's all a bit confusing, but a lot of quality refractors seem to be clones of something else - Hugh

#5
Aaron

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You are correct Hugh they are the same, I have both the 80 & 100 SF and what swayed me to the Vixen was purely the looks when compared to the Orion and Skywatcher tubes, with the Equinox you have the benefit of the retractable dew shield (portability) and the dual speed focuser, something that I wish mine had, other than that I'm really happy with them, which ever you choose they wont disappoint :D.

#6
Brass n glass

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I expect you get tighter quality control on the Vixen ones as well. I'm told they all go through the Vixen factory in Japan alongside the ones they make themselves. It's a bit ironic because the Chinese ED80s and 100s are copies of Vixen scopes of about 15 years ago. The fact that they're willing to sell the Chinese scopes under their own name is a good endorsement - Hugh

#7
coliea

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Thanks for the replies.

Cheers, Col.

#8
Brass n glass

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I've never seen the optics of the two compared, but the ED81S is about 1kg lighter than the ED80sf and is supposed to be a big step forward from the old Japanese ED80s from which the Chinese sf OTA has been copied. But there's a big price difference between the two, and the Skywatcher version of the ED80sf may get even cheaper as the new Equinox supersedes it. The price of the 120mm version of the Skywatcher ED80 has already been cut. But if I were in your position - and I had the money - I'd get the ED81S. I had a Vixen Japanese refractor some years ago and it was very well made and efficient in every way, but a lot of people would vote for the Chinese ones. Best of luck - Hugh

#9
coliea

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I've never seen the optics of the two compared, but the ED81S is about 1kg lighter than the ED80sf and is supposed to be a big step forward from the old Japanese ED80s from which the Chinese sf OTA has been copied. But there's a big price difference between the two, and the Skywatcher version of the ED80sf may get even cheaper as the new Equinox supersedes it. The price of the 120mm version of the Skywatcher ED80 has already been cut. But if I were in your position - and I had the money - I'd get the ED81S. I had a Vixen Japanese refractor some years ago and it was very well made and efficient in every way, but a lot of people would vote for the Chinese ones. Best of luck - Hugh


Thanks Hugh. I'm finding out that it's very easy to get carried away with all this telescope stuff... and I haven't even bought my first one yet. Consequently I've edited (i.e. deleted) the question that you've just answered - darn you're fast :D :D

I really like the look of the Vixen scopes, but as you point out there is a big price difference between the Sf (or Equinox 80) and the 81S. So I've got to force myself to behave - after all the scope is only the start as I'll also need a mount and a few eyepieces which will rack up the total.

With regards to the Skywatcher Equinox, if I did plump for that how would I go about mounting a red dot finder on it? And what difference would the 500mm/F6.5 specification make as opposed to the 600mm/F7.5 spec of the Vixen?

Sorry to reply to your very helpful advice with another question.
Thanks muchly.
Col.

#10
Brass n glass

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No worries Col. There's a Skywatcher red-dot finder that fits on the Equinox. For any given eyepiece, the shorter Equinox would give you a slightly lower magnification and wider field of view. All telescopes are a compromise, and amateurs will happily argue from here to Christmas about whether to go for the highest power you can extract from your objective or accept a lower power and have a wider field of view. A lot of people say the wider field is better for beginners because it makes objects easier to find - Hugh.

#11
coliea

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Cheers Hugh, you're a star... no pun intended :D

Col

#12
Helen

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....and if you get into imaging then a faster scope (ie smaller f number) is better for deepsky.

Helen




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