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johninderby

Opticstar AR80S Gold First Impressions

15 posts in this topic

Opticstar AR80S Gold 80mm f/5 Achro Refractor

Received this little scope today and here are my first impressions.

First of all it's very small and compact but surprisingly heavy. Feels very solid. The tube is finished in an off-white pebble type finish that was well applied with no blemishes. The single speed crayford has a very smooth focusing action and is very easy to focus precisely.The coatings on the objective were perfect. So high marks overall for fit and finish.

The tube ring is a one piece machined part that is tightened by a single screw on one side and has a couple of mounting holes on the bottom for attaching a dovetail or a photo QR plate. Surprisingly there's no felt lining on the inside of the ring. The retractable dew-shield is a very tight fit and takes a fair bit of pressure to slide open or closed. Thankfully the screw on lens cap only takes a couple of turns to unscrew.

I replaced the ring(s) with a set of WO guide rings as I wanted to be able to use the scope as a finder. The rings are only slightly bigger than the OTA, but enough to allow for alignment. I replaced the WO chrome thumbscrews with some nylon tipped grub screws. In daytime testing using high mag on a shiny aerial in full sunlight there was a purple fringe around black parts of the aerial. Not surprising with an f/5 achro I suppose. The optics were nice and sharp though. The seeing wasn't that good tonight but at least it was clear. Jupiter had a blueish fringe around it, but not too objectionable.I think a minus violet filter is called for here. However this is never going to be a planetary scope is it. The Pleiades were a magnificent sight though, nice and sharp and well defined, and showed what this scope IS good at.

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astronomy/Astro-Telescopes-Opticstar.asp?p=0_10_1_1_52

PROS

Compact

Solidly built

Excellent fit and finish

Good focuser

Sharp Optics

Value for money

CONS

CA at high mag

Focuser screws onto OTA so can't be replaced with a standard replacement dual speed crayford

Heavier than expected

AR80S Specs:

Aperture - 80mm

Focal ratio - F/5

Focal length - 400mm

Objective - Achromatic doublet

Optical coatings - Broadband FMC (fully multi-coated)

Optical tube - Internally anti-reflection coated, knife-edge baffles

Dew shield - Retractable with metal screw-type cap

Finder-scope mount - Yes

Focuser - Single speed Crayford

Focuser adapter - Accepts 2" and 1.25" eyepieces and diagonals

Focuser tube travel - 70mm (marked in 1mm intervals)

Tube rings - Single wide tube ring with photographic 1/4" thread

Tube weight (inc rings) - 2kg with single speed focuser or 2.1kg with dual speed focuser

Minimum tube length - 310mm with retracted dew-shield

Maximum tube length - 365mm with extended dew-shield

Tube diameter - 97mm

Frontal dewshield diameter - 110mm

Construction - All metal construction

Suitable for use with bino-viewers

Case Nylon, padded

So overall it's what I expected it to be, a compact and portable widefield scope with excellent build quality that can be used as a finder and should make a great guidescope later on.

John

Edited by johninderby

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Thanks for that!

I've looking at this scope and wondering. Have you had a standrard ST 80 to compair it to?

Cheers

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Thanks for that!

I've looking at this scope and wondering. Have you had a standard ST 80 to compare it to?

Cheers

I used to have an ST80 a while ago and going from memory I'd say the AR80s optics are sharper but CA would be very similar.

John

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Looks a nice scope John - thanks for the report :p

It seems in some ways to fit the niche that the Stellarvue Nighthawk used to - a step up in build and optical quality from the Synta ST80 ?.

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Have been looking at this scope too, looks a nice bit of kit.

Judging by the paint marks on the mount rings, they really need some felt don't they?!

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Have been looking at this scope too, looks a nice bit of kit.

Judging by the paint marks on the mount rings, they really need some felt don't they?!

Definitely, although fortunately there are no marks on the tube from the rings, but if you slid the rings along for balance a few times I think it could make some marks.

John

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Had the scope out again tonight. The seeing wasn't that good though. Nice and clear but a bit hazy.

Compared to last night CA wasn't as evident. Yes there was still some on Jupiter but greatly reduced. In moments when seeing briefly improved Jupiter showed a fair bit of detail. Star testing didn't turn up any problems (nice in and out focus patterns) and CA wasn't bad on even on brightest stars at high mag.

John

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Thanks for the review - the scope has been interesting me for a while!!

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Opticstar AR80S Gold 80mm f/5 Achro Refractor

Received this little scope today and here are my first impressions.

First of all it's very small and compact but surprisingly heavy. Feels very solid. The tube is finished in an off-white pebble type finish that was well applied with no blemishes. The single speed crayford has a very smooth focusing action and is very easy to focus precisely.The coatings on the objective were perfect. So high marks overall for fit and finish.

The tube ring is a one piece machined part that is tightened by a single screw on one side and has a couple of mounting holes on the bottom for attaching a dovetail or a photo QR plate. Surprisingly there's no felt lining on the inside of the ring. The retractable dew-shield is a very tight fit and takes a fair bit of pressure to slide open or closed. Thankfully the screw on lens cap only takes a couple of turns to unscrew.

I replaced the ring(s) with a set of WO guide rings as I wanted to be able to use the scope as a finder. The rings are only slightly bigger than the OTA, but enough to allow for alignment. I replaced the WO chrome thumbscrews with some nylon tipped grub screws. In daytime testing using high mag on a shiny aerial in full sunlight there was a purple fringe around black parts of the aerial. Not surprising with an f/5 achro I suppose. The optics were nice and sharp though. The seeing wasn't that good tonight but at least it was clear. Jupiter had a blueish fringe around it, but not too objectionable.I think a minus violet filter is called for here. However this is never going to be a planetary scope is it. The Pleiades were a magnificent sight though, nice and sharp and well defined, and showed what this scope IS good at.

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astronomy/Astro-Telescopes-Opticstar.asp?p=0_10_1_1_52

PROS

Compact

Solidly built

Excellent fit and finish

Good focuser

Sharp Optics

Value for money

CONS

CA at high mag

Focuser screws onto OTA so can't be replaced with a standard replacement dual speed crayford

Heavier than expected

AR80S Specs:

Aperture - 80mm

Focal ratio - F/5

Focal length - 400mm

Objective - Achromatic doublet

Optical coatings - Broadband FMC (fully multi-coated)

Optical tube - Internally anti-reflection coated, knife-edge baffles

Dew shield - Retractable with metal screw-type cap

Finder-scope mount - Yes

Focuser - Single speed Crayford

Focuser adapter - Accepts 2" and 1.25" eyepieces and diagonals

Focuser tube travel - 70mm (marked in 1mm intervals)

Tube rings - Single wide tube ring with photographic 1/4" thread

Tube weight (inc rings) - 2kg with single speed focuser or 2.1kg with dual speed focuser

Minimum tube length - 310mm with retracted dew-shield

Maximum tube length - 365mm with extended dew-shield

Tube diameter - 97mm

Frontal dewshield diameter - 110mm

Construction - All metal construction

Suitable for use with bino-viewers

Case Nylon, padded

So overall it's what I expected it to be, a compact and portable widefield scope with excellent build quality that can be used as a finder and should make a great guidescope later on.

John

John, thank you for your report. I am actively considering the AR90S Gold, and your report has given me confidence in the quality of Opticstar telescopes. I have been around the houses as far as choice is concerned apo/achro/newt???!!!, however for low hassle observing and VFM the achro seems a good bet. I am sure that the branded telescopes like Vixen, Williams et al are good quality but the price difference goes into sales/marketing/supplier mark-ups so with Opticstar you seem to be paying for the build quality rather than the overheads - it seems that Opticstar is a well ket secret! Your photographs are excellent as the web-site photos do not give a fair representation. Thanks again.

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For the build quality alone, this scope is a remarkable price !!

Andy.

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Amazingly compact little travel scope. Never mind airline portable, it would nearly fit in a coat pocket.

John

post-14522-13387770626_thumb.jpg

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If there was a prize for "cutest telescope", we'd have a winner.

Great review.

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I like that in one of the pictures you fitted a finder - to a scope you were thinking of using as a finder! The nesting opportunities seem endless...

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I am sure that the branded telescopes like Vixen, Williams et al are good quality but the price difference goes into sales/marketing/supplier mark-ups so with Opticstar you seem to be paying for the build quality rather than the overheads

Don't know about Vixen but WO don't make an achro, they are all ED doublets or triplets. Also they are longer then f/5. So the CA on a WO is a lot less then the Opticstar.

With WO you are paying for the quality of the lens as well as the rest of their scopes build.

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