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Everything posted by Andrew_B

  1. The TSA-120 would tick a lot of boxes although it's obviously at the lower end of your aperture range and may not be a big enough step up from your current FC-100. Never had the pleasure of using one myself but I know some of the members here own or have owned one. Stepping up to the TOA-130 would get you optics that are about as good as it gets but you'd have to find one on the secondhand market to be within your budget. An APM/LZOS scope might be an option but it would be the same situation as the TOA-130 of you needing to find a pre-owned example.
  2. @johninderby - just wanted to let you know that I picked up a cheap but surprisingly solid Svbony dovetail saddle that does the job brilliantly, so thanks again for your help. My ADM dovetail was ever so slightly too wide to fit it though so I took a file to the saddle and after removing probably less than a mm of metal it's now a perfect fit.
  3. That looks a really good setup - nice and secure with loads of protective padding around everything. As far as I can tell the Peli 1525 should be okay for carry on luggage on most mainstream flights with exceptions possibly if you were travelling by light aircraft somewhere. It was other makes of similar style cases that seemed to have loads of models that were almost the right size but which would be a bit too deep or too long for me to be confident that they'd be allowed onboard. Peli cases aren't cheap but when I think about the cost of what's going inside I'm not as bothered about paying a bit more to keep it all safe. I wouldn't just use it for holidays either because I'd take it with me when I wanted a little scope to use while I was out doing some astrophotography from a dark site. I ended up laying an outline of the internal dimensions of the case on the floor and then experimenting with different configurations of scope and accessories to see if I could fit a useful setup in the one piece of luggage and that showed it would do the job nicely.
  4. That's a good idea. Even expensive foam is a lot cheaper than a new case. If I was taking a scope abroad I'd probably have it and a few accessories in its own carry-on case and then put the mount and anything else that was fairly rugged in with my clothes in a checked bag.
  5. That orange case is smart looking and not a bad price. Less likely to fall over it in the dark than a black case as well. I've also been looking for a travel case for my little scope and the Peli 1525 seems to be the best option but it's quite pricey. It's surprising how many protective cases are almost carry-on sized but are ever so slightly too big in one dimension.
  6. WD40 was never designed to be a lubricant. From the outset it was a corrosion-prevention compound for the aerospace industry that was first used by Convair to protect the thin stainless steel skin of the Atlas ICBM!
  7. That's good to know. I've got an Astro Essentials 20mm Plossl which gives a great view in my 60mm and I wanted something a bit lower power that wasn't too big and kept to a 1.25" fitting. Doesn't seem much point pairing a tiny lightweight scope with a huge heavy eyepiece! Low power eyepieces give a lovely 3D view with that scope so I'm looking forward to trying it out. For £23 including delivery I'm not expecting spectacular performance, but simple eyepiece designs like Plossls seem to be fairly decent even when they're cheap.
  8. The Barlow screws onto the bottom of the 1.25" barrel on the Zoom rather than replacing it. The resulting combination is quite long but it's well secured and does the job.
  9. I've just ordered one of their 32mm Plossls which was really cheap so it'll be interesting to see what it's like. I'm not expecting flawless edge to edge performance but since I'll be using it with my 60mm f6 scope which has a fair bit of field curvature anyway I don't think it'll be a big problem. As far as I can tell it's the same eyepiece as the equivalent Celestron Omni Plossl, just with a different exterior and a much lower price tag.
  10. I wonder if it's a problem that Roland experienced in the past with silicone oils that has since been solved? I don't know either way, but if I had the choice of a silicone or non silicone-based grease I might be inclined to choose the latter just to be on the safe side.
  11. That's a clever design and looks far easier and quicker to set up than some of the travel dobs I've read about. Does the bike journey not knock your friend's scope out of collimation, or is it rugged enough to cope with any bumps and vibration?
  12. I think that's a good choice. I've got the AZ-GTi myself and it's easy and quick to set up and tracks well even at high magnifications. Given that you mentioned travelling to find dark skies I think the ruggedness of a Mak is a definite asset and should avoid issues of having to re-collimate your scope if it's been bumped around during the journey.
  13. You might have already have tried this but have you gone into the phone settings and told it to connect to the WiFi network with the name "SynScan_bb22"? By default my phone will connect to my home wireless and ignore the AZ GTi unless I specifically tell it otherwise. Once it's connected to the WiFi of the mount itself you can go into the app and tell it to connect which should give you control via the phone.
  14. Any suggestions for a particular product to use or are they all pretty similar? I ended up just putting a bit of vaseline on some threaded parts to stop them sticking and reduce wear. Something that puts me off using anything with silicone oils in is this quote by Roland Christen: "Be careful with any product containing silicone oils. It has a strong tendency to migrate. Can migrate up to a foot a year. If it gets on any optical surface, it will creep into the molecular structure of the glass. If this happens, any metal or oxide coating on the glass will lose its adhesion. THE COATINGS WILL LITERALLY FALL OFF, and there is no way that any new coating will ever adhere again , even if the glass is repolished."
  15. That's perfect John! Thank you so much. I thought there would surely be something that would do the job and that I couldn't have been the only person who's wanted to use their scope this way. Looks like I can get something that would fit the bill for relatively little money too.
  16. Imaging is very different from visual, especially when it comes to making use of the theoretical capabilities of a scope. A C14 under UK skies will likely never get close to being the visual instrument it would be for someone living on a mountain in Arizona. Lucky imaging and other techniques are a game changer but they can give a misleading impression of the relative performance of different scopes for the visual observer.
  17. Fast focal ratios seem to be much more demanding of eyepieces so a cheap eyepiece that looks great in an F10 scope might look mediocre in an F5 one.
  18. I've got a little 60mm telescope which I use for both astro and birdwatching. It's currently set up for astro viewing with its tube cradle bolted to a Vixen dovetail which then slots in to my AZ GTi mount. When I use it for birdwatching I'd prefer to mount it on the Manfrotto video fluid head (MVH501AH) I've got on another tripod since it's much better suited to spotting scope-style viewing. I can do this by taking off the Vixen dovetail and mounting the tube cradle on the Manfrotto quick-release plate but this kind of defeats the purpose and convenience of using a dovetail. Is there any way that I could adapt the dovetail to fit the video head to give me that quick change capability or am I out of luck?
  19. The Baader Zoom is a great eyepiece and as Peter said, it gives you an option to try out different focal lengths to see what works for you. I also use it with my 60mm scope to turn it into a spotting scope for birdwatching and the magnification range works very well for that combo. Consider getting it with the dedicated 2.25x Barlow lens. It's tiny and very good quality and when used with the Hyperion Zoom it gives you an equivalent range of 3.6-10.7mm to complement the 8-24mm of the standard eyepiece.
  20. Planewave do both RC and corrected Dall Kirkham scopes. I'm not sure who does standard DK designs other than Takahashi for their two smaller models of Mewlon.
  21. Thanks anyway. I'll create a separate post on here to see if anyone can help figure out the problem.
  22. That's got loads of good details. Is there anything similar for the phone/tablet app? I found this manual but it hasn't got enough info to properly troubleshoot the problem I've been having with getting alignment to work.
  23. That's a really good picture and I think he'd do well with any decent 60mm scope. The Z61 is (as far as I can tell) the same scope as various other 60mm offerings from other brands such as the Tecnosky 60APO and Astro-Tech AT60ED and they all seem to be well regarded. The advantage of the Z61 is that you get a bit more out of the box as a package with a padded case, Bahtinov mask built into the lens cap and a decent quality and usefully sized Vixen dovetail as standard. The adjustable flattener with a Canon adaptor would be another £184 on top of the cost of the telescope. I'm still learning my way around mine having started out just doing astrophotography with camera lenses but I did manage to get this image of the Pelican Nebula in Ha from 2h 30' integration time. It's not amazing but it was cropped from the right hand side of the frame and shows that stars are reasonably round even to the edges.
  24. Do you have a budget in mind? The William Optics Z61 works well and I've got one myself that I've used on a Star Adventurer. You will need a field flattener though and the appropriate M48 camera adapter so that needs to be included in your overall spend. A lighter option would be the Takahashi FS-60CB with a field flattener or reducer but it would be a bit more expensive.
  25. Hopefully they won't stop making it any time soon but I can see it becoming a collector's item like the FC-50 in years to come with its no compromise design in a relatively tiny package. Not long ago I wouldn't really have understood why someone would want multiple scopes of the same aperture but I totally get it now! I've got my little WO Z61 which I bought primarily for imaging and recently got an FS-60CB for visual which is a stunning little thing. I've also got the Q-Extender module so I can use it as an FS-60Q and both versions of the little 60mm are brilliant in their own way so really I'd like to have both without having to swap pieces in and out and the extender is really for my FC-76 so I'd have to buy the full FS-60Q (and not just because I want that red nameplate). On top of that there's the FOA-60Q which anyone into small refractors would want because it's the most perfect little telescope ever made.
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