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Posts posted by DaveL59

  1. Many thanks Bill. I don't know Gary but I know he's at East Cost and would refer him and have done here. I'd definitely send the better more important gear to him to overhaul should that be needed. While I may tinker I don't plan on wrecking something that is a quality piece. Most of my gear I've picked up at low prices so within my limits I've been happy to have a look at them, went a lot further on those HR/5's where I rebuilt the broken arm but again dirt cheap so was worth a go and a good result in the end as you know. 

  2. yep I can't claim the skills to do proper collimation, first to admit that. I'm wary to advise someone to dismantle stuff the way I do not knowing skill or equipment level etc. Where I may be willing to have a go to repair/improve others could just wreck a useful instrument. Then of course they have to be able to achieve a working alignment which is another minefield. Getting collimation in the proper sense well that's an area I've read a little and of course your various posts elsewhere, but have neither the equipment nor the expertise to be able to share or offer that sort of service to others. So far I've managed well enough on my own gear for my specific needs but I'm a very long way from being an optical tech. Has been a lot of fun and very interesting rescuing older binos and making them fully useful again tho 🙂 

  3. Having a closer look at the DX130 on their website I'd say it seems quite good, decent focuser on it so either that or the DX102 should serve well. One thing with reflectors tho, you'll need to learn how to collimate it especially if travelling a lot with it to the coast. That can seem daunting at first but time and patience its a skill that can be learned and becomes second nature. Just don't fall for laser collimators, a simple cap or cheshire eyepiece would do the job more than adequately and less cost/hassle.

  4. 19 minutes ago, MrZuiko said:

    Hi all,

    Quick update Nikon UK support have emailed me asking for some photo's so that they can identify my binoculars........hopefully they can help and you never know send me a file with a pattern so I can recover them easier! or better still sell me the leatherette already cut would be great! 😉

    Keep safe.


    if really lucky they may even be able to supply original coverings to restore them back to original look, they were after all a higher end model I believe 🙂 

  5. For this recovering I think we are only talking about separating the two side at the hinge rather than a full dismantle and moving the prisms. That shouldn't affect the alignment much if reassembled correctly should it?

    I'll bow to your expertise if you feel it would after all you are the optical specialist where I'm a mere fiddler 🙂

  6. No reason not to try the SPC webcam. I hooked mine into the LT70 some days ago and was able to get mars into view, ableit struggled to focus etc and its non-tracking so that fast became a chore. Not got around to trying a more modern webcam so far as I ended up using that for the skycam instead but when prices get back to more sensible levels I might give that a go too 🙂 

  7. 30 minutes ago, Pixies said:

    Celestron appear to have chosen a selection from their range of beginner - lower-intermediate scopes and added the StarSense setup to them.

    StarSense is much more than a gimmick. It isn't a basic star-map app with a compass/accelerometer to detect direction. It is an actual plate-solving system, which uses the mirror in the phone holder to direct a view of the stars. The app analyses the star patterns and works out where it is facing. A few on SGL have bought the cheaper models, removed StarSense for their own scopes, and passed on the remaining scopes to family members. The app requires a license key that comes with the kit. I recon that if Celestron marketed the StarSense kit seperately, it'll make a killing.


    So, if you really want StarSense, these scopes are what is available. If it's not that important (ie. you are happy to learn how to find things in the night sky and locate them in the scope yourself) you should be looking at other options. Although there are other GoTo systems available (at a price).

    So true Pixies and I'm guessing only a few have tried out the scope supplied given the dearth of comments on it 😄 

    For me I was curious and while I left the supplied accessories in the box other than the diagonal, I was pleasantly surprised. Using my TAL and Vixen eyepieces and the SVbony zooms the scope gave a creditable performance for such a low price point. Little false colour and quite sharp and I pushed it to x200 with reasonable views. The wobbles in the mount are the biggest detractor really, plastic focuser does work just fine but can be improved with a little DIY. Tempted to try mount it onto one of my EQ5's to give it a stable mount and see what it can really do, but then as it stands it's the easier of my gear to just pick up, plonk in the garden and start viewing so as a result I have used it quite a few times since it arrived given the brief non-cloudy periods between the endless rain lately.

    I believe Celestron also do a more expensive starsense setup that's in-built to the mount using its own camera, or at least used to. A big up-step in the price curve tho.

  8. 16 minutes ago, Sluke321 said:

    So the DX model may be better build quality but the telescope itself will be the same quality as the LT models? 

    no the DX models will have better quality scopes too. The DX130 I don't think is a BJ type from a quick look at the specs tho I can't be certain there.

    For the refractors, take the LT80 for example

    Same all plastic focuser as my LT70. On the other hand the DX102 is very different

    The focuser looks more substantial. Sad to see the same plastic diagonal pictured here tho so a better scope but mediocre accessories. Notice too the levers on the DX model for SloMo control, absent on the LT model other than the altitude control attached to the scope tube.

    So the DX will be smoother to operate but then I'm comparing the LT80 at £179 to a DX102 at £349 so you would expect the DX to be a lot better 🙂 

  9. 17 minutes ago, Sluke321 said:



    thanks for the reply. Why is that one more expensive than the DX 130? And what makes these so much better than the ones I previously mentioned? Thanks again for the help

    The DX models are on a more stable and expensive mount. Plus that 102 scope is a better build quality - focuser alone from the images is a non-plastic type where on the LT70 for example is all plastic and has a degree of flop as you adjust. So a chunk of that price uplift will be for the better quality components. The 102 aperture will be good for light gathering but more expensive to manufacture than the DX130 which uses mirrors. From what I can tell tho both the DX130 and DX102 are similarly priced with variation depending on supplier.

    If using by the sea, the salt air and spray might not be so good for a reflector scope over time being it is an open tube so both mirrors will be exposed to the elements, others may have experience here and be able to comment on that aspect. A refractor is closed so only the main objective lens would need occasional attention to carefully clean it.

    edit - I should add tho at this price point you could also look at something else on an AZ-GTI mount , a SW MAK 127 for example which others have good experience with. I can't advise there as I've no experience of those scopes

  10. I have both the SV135 (7-21) and SV171 (8-24) zooms, they are nicely made and perform well optically from the brief outings they've been able to have so far 😉 The SV171 is huge and heavy but potentially better optically but the smaller SV135 works very well and is a more "normal" size and weight. Adding a good 2x Barlow they still perform very well so to me they are an easy recommendation. Going direct to their store on Ali current retail is USD 49 and arrives in a week ish so they are a bargain at the moment.

    I'm sure the Baader will be better, but £100 better? Can't comment as I don't have the Baader to compare against but others will be along I'm sure.

  11. quite a bit above your budget but this one should do very well and looks to be of good quality build unlike the lower end LT70/80 will be

    Will give good light grasp and images of the planets etc and not need upgrading for some time if at all, other than perhaps eyepieces. It can be a slippery slop as you're likely realising, chasing better equipment and hoping to see more etc. Had I not already had the TAL100RS I might well have gone for this one 😉


    PS - shhh that site says in stock 😮 

  12. hi Ash

    oh yep, that pre-coffee moment can be problematic 😄 

    Luckily, being IF they should be easy to split, even CF ones aren't so hard really but then I've taken a fair few apart now and have various tools and loupes to see what I'm doing etc. Often there is a little grub screw in a larger slotted end bolt that locks it into place under the trim plate. The trick when reassembling is to get the tension just right so the hinge moves smoothly but is tight enough so as to not drift when holding only one side.

    I've not tried that rubber paint but it looks an interesting alternative, tho I too like the leather grain look rather than smooth. Looked pretty effective in that video tho didn't it and being able to easily peel it away if you wanted to change was pretty cool too 🙂 

  13. it does seem that their reflector range is to be avoided especially the BJ variants which most seem to be, apart perhaps the 130 I believe.

    The refractors tho aren't bad optically, comparing the LT70 against my 3-inch 1950's vintage and the TAL100RS which is a far better scope the LT70 still manages to give a nice image. I'd expect their LT80 and DX102 to be quite reasonable too. On the LT70 optically the lens seems very good, the plastic focuser works but can be easily improved - I recently added some teflon tape internally to reduce the rock when you change direction. A cheap motor focuser (Tasco 1603EF in my case) means fine focus with no wobble is easy to achieve too.

    Sure a MAK or ED refractor or a SW130 etc will outperform but that is quite a step up in price compared to the LT starsense range. If you can live with the wobbles the LT refractors do pretty well I think.

    One thing about Starsense, the app works, very well in fact and you can move the scope around the garden if needed and it will just figure out where it is aimed. No complex alignment etc, just plonk it down and go. It doesn't have the full range of objects compared to an expensive goto setup like SynScan etc but then it is targeted toward a starter audience. It also gives some nice detail info about the target you are searching for which is handy.

    Here's the thread some of use have posted to about the mods we have made to get this working on our other scopes

    On page 7 Mark details his experience of the LT114 which may help inform you on the reflector version.


    @Sluke321 you don't say what the area you are viewing from is like, light pollution etc. That may well limit you in terms of the fainter objects but brighter targets like Moon, planets will be easily achievable as would clusters and doubles and brighter nebulae.

    One thing to bear in mind with any of the scope kits you buy - you will get basic eyepieces to get you started and a big step improvement can be had by buying better ones. That is even more the case at the lower price range but you don't have to go for the £50/each BST starguiders that often get suggested. In fact a low-cost good zoom can fill the requirement pretty well albeit a narrowed field of view, you effectively get multiple eyepieces in a single unit and convenience in use.

    • Like 1

  14. hi there and welcome to the forum.

    As noted a few of us have bought Starsense models recently, more because we wanted the finder part which you can't get on its own. I have the LT70AZ model as do a couple of others. One thing to note with the LT range is they are quite wobbly, the DX models are reportedly a lot better since they have a better mount but of course that is a jump in price of around £100. 

    For the LT70AZ that I have, in use it is quite competent in fact, the objective (main) lens is quite good in fact and I've been able to view Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, tho of course you don't see as much detail as you might on a bigger scope. The moon however is brilliant, being much closer to us its a nice easy target and certainly wows. It does wobble when trying to focus or move/adjust to the movement of the target, but it settles reasonably well and for £135 isn't bad really.

    The starsense app works very well if you have a phone it supports, figures out quite quickly where it is pointing and then directs to your chosen target with arrows showing where to move the scope. Cloudy sky will limit it however but for a beginner it is very useful.

    The limitations of that scope:

    • the diagonal is erecting type, useful for land use but loses a little for night sky. A replacement star diagonal can be obtained later quite easily as they are standard 1.25-inch units. I use a SVbony dielectric one for USD29 for example and that does improve things quite a lot.
    • The eyepieces won't be the best, I've never used the ones that came with the scope as I already had better ones and now use a 7-21mm zoom with it instead. Again can upgrade to better later if you wish to. The one I have is the SVbony SV135 which cost USD49.
    • No slow motion adjuster on the azimouth axis so you need to nidge the scope to track the target. The Altitude does have a SloMo which is adequate, just. The DX models I believe to have SloMo controls which are probably a lot better too.
    • The lightweight tripod is best used not fully extended, less wobbles that way.
    • 70mm will only grab so much light, so deep sky stuff really isn't viable tho might give you something if in a really dark site. The 700mm focal length means false colur is reasonably controlled and a 7mm eyepiece will give 100x magnification easily, with a 2x barlow reaching 200x. Things do lose resolution at that high magnification tho but depending on the target and conditions it can be done.

    In hindsight I'd have probably chosen the LT80 model for the slightly larger light grab ability but its £40 more and not in stock at the time, not to mention I've a few bigger scopes already. For me the plan was always to pass this on to my daughter and her 4YO daughter to use, having made up my own carrier to mimic what the OEM one does 🙂 It is a lightweight beginner scope and given that it does perform reasonably well but it is made to a budget as all similar models will be. That said I find it fun to use being so easy to set up and start to play so I'd happily recommend it, with of course the caveats above.

    As mentioned already, the reflector versions are it seems Bird-Jones so not the best tho @markse68 recently acquired one for similar reasons to many of us so he'll be able to offer comments on that one.

    hope that helps...

    edit - when you say "see the rings of saturn" - you'll see it has rings but may be pushing it to see the cassini division on the LT70, can't comment on the 80mm. You'd likely need to improve the diagonal and eyepieces & barlow to get the best performance in order to discern much detail but you'll be able to see that there are rings around the planet 🙂 

    They will look small tho, have you taken a read of the thread "what can I expect to see", worth doing so you have your expectations set right before plunging in.


    • Like 1

  15. Hi Mark

    yep one came on each of the TAL-1 and 100RS and then I bought another that looks to have the balsam failing. Think they are 35/38mm rather than 50 tho but they are optically excellent. That "spare" I bought is not in a 50mm finder holder awaiting me sorting how best to fit the finder shoe onto the old 3-inch vintage scope but could also be used on the SW130 if I wanted to. Did the TAL-2 come with a 50mm finder then?

    Hadn't realised the difference in bearings, makes sense tho being a heavier scope it has to carry. Twas proper engineering back in those days huh 🙂 

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