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Everything posted by GavStar

  1. Very nice! And Tak certainly do pack them well. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts regarding the amount of focuser travel - I've heard it's quite short and sometimes extensions are needed to get some eyepieces in focus?
  2. Andy, I was in a similar position to you about 18 months ago, ie wanting to do moon and planetary observation, for shortish 1-2 hour sessions and I live in SW London. I 'm pretty inexperienced but have some observations/thoughts that may be useful. After some initial research including browsing this forum, my first purchase was 6 inch SCT (celestron 6se). Whilst it is a nice scope and did give decent views it wasn't the right choice for me because: 1) in my opinion it wasn't that portable - the ota and mount head were fairly bulky and heavy. 2) the goto aspect meant that it took a bit of time to set up although I did get quicker and also needed a battery/electricity supply 3) cool down took a while 4) dewed up easily - definitely need a dew shield and possibly a dew heater 5) collimating it wasn't straightforward and I was never sure how well collimated it was. Perhaps the best advice I've read was that the best telescope is the one you use the most and I wasn't using the 6se as much as I wanted to since the set up and pack away was a bit of a pain. So I'm now a refractor convert, specifically doublet apo refractors. I've got a 60mm ( for overseas travel and daytime use), 85mm, 100mm and 120mm, all doublet ed or fluorite glass. If I was starting again I clearly wouldn't buy all these different sizes but don't want to sell any at the moment. My favourite currently is the 100mm which is nice and light (3.5kgs) so can be mounted easily on a vixen porta 2 alt az mount (I like the slo mo controls for viewing planets). It's a manual rather than goto setup and I can be outside observing in 5 minutes and the scope fully cooled nice and quickly as well. It means that if I see an opportunity to observe it's easy to me to take advantage of it. Given the light pollution I'm less focused on dsos but it does give good views of the brighter ones. For eyepieces I like ones with 20mm eye relief and I think these are the easiest for family and friends to use as well. I also like the Baader moon and skyglow filter for use with planets. Gavin
  3. Many Thanks Rowan. I've just ordered it from the link you posted. Looking forward to trying it out. Gavin
  4. Many thanks, this mount does look good and portable. I have a look at it. I assume its easy to fit to a standard tripod and the TV60 is easily attachable through the standard photo tripod fixings?
  5. I've got a tv60 which I take when travelling by plane. In order to be as portable as possible and keep the weight down I currently use just a normal photo tripod. However although the scope is great, and the tripod is ok for daytime, for astro the tripod is horrible. Any suggestions for an alternative tripod/mount combo that is very light, will fit easily in a suitcase and be able to support the tv60 nicely for objects high in the sky? I've also got a porta 2 which would work great but is far too bulky and heavy. I have been looking at manfrotto tripods and heads but am confused. Thanks Gavin
  6. An initial impressive from me is that the Tak does what I want it to - ie provide broadly similar views to the 120ED (which I prefer will need to wait for a side by side), but in a light-weight easy to mount grab and go form. The TV85 is a very nice grab and go, but for me doesn't give the same views on planets.
  7. Yes I'm keen to do a side by side of the 120ed vs fc100d, it will be interesting to see how much the aperture difference makes. However I agree I should take a bit of time to get used to the tak. I'll try my best to give a useful comparison but am no expert....
  8. My favourite is the 7xw which is very comfortable and also gives decent magnification for planets on my refractors. (But I also like the 5xw and delos 6 when conditions allow) Also agree that the 22mm lvw is very nice and so easy to use.
  9. Thank you for your nice comments. Olly, I'd really like to go to your dark site one day, persuading my partner may be a bit tricky at the moment! I did also consider a TSA, which although I haven't looked through one, I guess may have slightly better colour correction. However, as I only do visual this wasn't as critical. After thinking about my priorities (and also based on my existing scopes), I decided that easy set up and mounting was key for me so that I could easily have short observing moments when the opportunity arises (not that often with my one year old daughter). I really like my ED120, but I found setting it up on my MiniTower 2 takes too much time for a quick look and my TV85 didn't quite give enough magnification on the planets (for my eyes anyway). After last night's outing, I think the FC100d covers both these points being easy to set up, very light (so easy to mount) and yet still easily go up to 150x when the seeing is good (with a 5mm eyepiece and 0.7 exit pupil, which is about the lowest I am comfortable with before it gets too dark/floaters etc). Jupiter was really beginning to show some details beyond the 2 main cloud belts and even Mars showed some surface detail (albeit limited)
  10. So after much umming and erring I decided treat myself to an FC-100DF, see the attached pic. It arrived today and I couldn't resist setting it up including adding a fine focuser to it. After a hour or so of playing I popped my head outside and was surprised to see some clear skies. So off I went to give my first tak a go. I'm not experienced but first impressions were very good. Cooled down quickly and had a nice view of Jupiter although it didn't seem to be taking much magnification - I tried 150x but it was a bit much and I got the nicest views at 110x. Also got my first ever view of Mars which was special. Stars were also very nice and sharp. No noticeable false colour imo. Very pleased with the focuser, the fine focused worked well. I'm probably deceiving myself since it's new, but I think it better than my tv85 and ed120 (despite less aperture). In addition to the lovely views, it's also very light (3.5kg) and my porta 2 handles it nicely, hence it's a grab and go. Finally I'm v happy I went for the Df version which has a bigger focuser. Although a bit heavily it has much more focus travel and I had no problems getting it into focus with all the eyepieces I tried - I think I may have struggled with the DC version which has only 1 inch of focus travel. All in all I'm very happy and looking forward to a longer try out soon. Gavin
  11. Mark, Thanks, I have sent you a pm. Interesting to hear that the NLVs are maybe not the best option. I note that you often use the binoviewers on the moon ("wow" factor), I'm keen on the planets more - is there less "wow" on these? My local astro shop did infer that this was the case...
  12. Mark, After your comments, I am thinking at staying at the cheaper end for now rather than flexing the plastic! I like the sound of the Baader maxbrights with the T2 diagonal. I think I saw that you bought Vixen NLVs for use in your binoviewers - how did these work? They have a nice 20mm of eyerelief? Gavin
  13. I was considering the WO binos as a good value entry to binoviewers but was concerned about having to use a 1.25" diagonal to get into focus which would result in quite a load on this smaller diagonal
  14. Many thanks for these responses. My scope is an Equinox ED120 (f7.5) mounted on an iOptron Minitower 2. (I have a TV85 as well, but will stick with this as a grab and go rather than try binoviewers for this) From your comments, it does seem like binoviewers would suit me better than big binos. I would like to aim to get up to 150x magnification, but also to have the option of reasonably widefield views as well. So in terms of focal lengths maybe a 12mm and 24mm set of eyepieces? Also I currently use Delos eyepieces but I guess they will be too heavy for binoviewers? On the actual binoviewers I have a budget of up to £2000, but is the Baader mark V really that much better than the Baader maxbrights? Also I'm confused about the barlows I may need and whether I will be able to use a 2" diagonal rather than 1.25"? Gavin
  15. I enjoy looking through my scopes but do find looking through one eye a bit uncomfortable and also have some issues with floaters at high mags. So I've been considering either binoviewers or some big binoculars. Binoviewers would be an obvious solution but they do seem a bit like marmite with very varied member experiences and this has made me think twice. In particular some experienced observers have decided to go back ditch their binoviewers. However big binoculars with interchangeable eyepieces are very expensive (eg kowa highlander) and there does seem to be collimation issues at higher magnifications. The new vixen bt-ed70 is within budget but I guess would only go up to 50x or so and i cant find any reviews of it. I prefer looking at planets and the brighter dsos such as m42 which I think points more to the binoviewers. Any views or comments welcome? Gavin
  16. Just noticed online that the new fc100d is now available to buy in the UK. I spoke to the dealer and he will be get his first lot in next week. This scope ticks a lot of boxes for me. I just do visual observing so doublet refractors are my favourite. Also it's nice and light at less that 3kg do should be ok on my porta 2 for a grab and go. Problem is that I already have a tv85 and an ed120 so I'm not sure that this scope will add much for me. I guess I thInk it's the biggest aperture I can buy that is easy to mount. Three key worries a) girlfriend if she sees another scope arriving! too close to tv 85 so will stop using the tv completely (and I have see a Japanese amateur review where I think he preferred his tv85 to the Tak) c) no reviews yet so the scope could be very disappointing. What should I do?
  17. Michael, My 22m is a LVW - I enjoy the long eye relief and comfort. When I get to a dark sky I'm definitely going to have another look at M31...
  18. Ps I also forgot that I'm off to Gran Canaria in two weeks time and I'm able to take my scope with me, that could be an interesting experience.
  19. Thank you for these fantastic replies and sketches, very helpful indeed. Last night I was a bit limited for time so I was pleased to see these objects and it's nice to know that I did see Andromeda for the first time (2.5m light years - wow). Next time I will try to spend more time at the eyepiece on one object as suggested. I was surprised how much averted vision improved the view. I'm really looking forward to Jupiter and orion coming back up high in the sky in the next few months - the views I had of these last year were excellent. Also I think I will spend more time on the moon as well. Regarding double stars I saw Mizar the other week and really liked this, so will try a few others. My brother lives in Devon so he may well get a visit from me with my brand new 120ed and i can see what M31 looks like then. Gavin
  20. Since it was a clear and warm night I decided to try to find some of the objects in TLAO. The best summer objects were given as M13 and M27, and I found these quite easily with my TV85. Although they both looked very smudge like, they looked like TLAO indicated and I was very pleased with the views. I tried a range of eyepieces including 22mm, 14mm, 8mm and 4.5mm. My preference was 14mm, about 50x magnification. I then decided to try for the big galaxy, M31. I live in SW London and was observing in my back garden so the light pollution is I'm sure very bad. However, even so, M31 looked very similar to M13, ie a fairly circular smudge, I couldn't really see any oval shape. Is it possible that I saw something else? I was certainly in the broad area of M31 and had a good sweep of the area around it, but couldn't see any other smudges. I was surprised that it didn't look much bigger than M13....
  21. John, I completely agree. The 22LVW has taught me that. I thought I would sell it when I got the pentax's but I like it (and use it) too much.
  22. Thanks everyone for your comments. So following these I've decided to get the higher power LVWs. I'm hoping that I'll find them just as comfortable as my 22mm. I note that generally XWs and Delos are preferred though, so I've got some interesting comparisons to make since I can compare the 5LVW against the Delos 4.5 and 5XW and the 8lvw against the Delos 8 and 7XW. I was expecting to like the XWs much more than I do, so far I prefer the Delos'.
  23. I've got a range of Delos and XW's which give fine views. However, one of my oldest eyepieces is a 22mm LVW which I love - ultra comfortable and I just can't fault the view. Last night I did a side by side test of the 20mm XW and the 22mm LVW and the LVW won by a good margin for me on both comfort and view. I know it's a personal thing but I'm now seriously considering getting the higher power LVWs (5, 8, 13) and wondered if these were as good as the 22? Any comments much appreciated. Gavin
  24. I agree with a 10mm. I've got the 8 and 10 and like them both, but feel you would use the 10 more often. There was a problem reported on US sites with the 10, something to do with a plastic ring falling out of the bottom of the eyepiece. But I've never had a problem and haven't seen any more on this recently so maybe it was just a problem with one or two early ones.
  25. Many thanks for the replies and advice. Useful to hear that I can't attach an alternative tripod to the Miniporta so that's one idea gone. I will check out the other recommendations. Thanks. Gavin
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