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My Newborn Baby Q - The Unboxing!


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So, my new baby arrived this morning. My new Takahashi "Baby Q" FSQ85!

After many, many sleepless nights pondering over which new scope to get, I kept coming back to this one. Thanks to Olly and Euan (and others) for offering their thoughts and advice.

I was a little worried when I saw the FedEx man with it, he definitely didn't have a delicate, dainty touch about him. I needn't have worried. First layer, a load of snow. I mean, foam :

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These were the boxes hiding inside. Left to right we have : tube holder, offset plate, box full of various adapters, and the lastly the matched Takahashi reducer and extender.

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The telescope was inside a box inside a box inside a box inside a box. It really couldn't have been better packaged.

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This is the scope, with its dew shield extended.

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A shot of the reducer and extender. I end up with focal lengths of 328mm, 450mm and 675mm with them.

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I'd been warned about 'adapter hell' with a Takahashi, and here's what it looks like! It has taken me a while to work out what everything is and how it fits together, and it's not quite as bad as it looks. I have everything I need to attach both Canon DSLRs and my CCD camera and filter wheel combo with (hopefully anyway) the correct spacing, with the reducer, with the extender, or at prime focus.

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My first impressions are good. The focuser feels a little tight, but is very smooth. It's very much better than my Equinox's focuser. I could hang myself off the back of it, and I doubt it'll move.

There is a satisfying bulk to it, the overall quality feels great. The optics are virtually invisible.

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When the scope arrived, it was expected to be clear tonight for at least a few hours - how great would that have been? However, The Big Man realised his oversight, and it now looks like it's going to be cloudy all night. So, first light report when I get the chance.

In the meantime, I'm going to research eyepieces with a view to buying two or three decent ones. I know nothing about them, I don't really know where to start.

Edited by carldr
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If you look at the aperture and the price it looks insanely expensve. If you look at what it can do in imaging it looks... quite expensive but not beatable by any known instrument. I just love mine and cannot imagine selling it. A refractor at F3.9. Oh yesss.... This is optical and mechanical near perfection.

Olly

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My scope had its first light this evening. Not the best evening to do it really, we'd been out delivering presents so wasn't in the greatest of moods (Scrooge!), it was windy, the clouds kept rolling it, and I've got to be up early. But I just had to get it out!

I started visually, with the 25mm eyepiece which came with my C9.25 with my Ascension star diagonal. I'm hesitant to draw any conclusions from it since I'm inexperienced visually, and I don't know how good the eyepiece and diagonal are. Also, in my haste, I hadn't given the tube time to cool down.

But there is no doubting how flat the field is. Visually, in my other scopes (Equinox 80, C9.25) I hadn't really noticed the field not being flat, but pretty much the first thing I noticed with the Tak 85 is how "correct" it looked - It's just perfect! Crisp and flat and ... Nice! Everything looked so tight, even Sirius, more so that I remember from my other scopes.

The focuser is great too, it's really easy to get great focus, and it just holds it - No backlash, no loseness to it, it's just lovely to use. It's SO much better than the Equinox's Crayford, or the C9.25s focuser. A world apart, it's a joy to use. I can see a focuser upgrade for the C9.25 coming on.

I scanned around to M31, M42 and M45, but again, due to my inexperience, I can't really draw any conclusions from it other than I don't recall M42 being as clear in my Equinox. Jupiter was small in the wide field, but the bands were clearly visible and the four Galilean moons were lovely, tight spots. No false colour at all.

But I didn't really buy the Tak 85 for visual, so how is it with a camera hung on the back? With the cloud and wind, I knew I wouldn't really get indicative results, so I didn't bother setting up a guide scope or using the CCD, so I used the full-frame Canon 5D II at prime focus. The field this gives is MASSIVE. 4.5x3.0 degrees, or thereabouts I think.

The attached image is a single, unguided 30s exposure at ISO 1600, scaled to about 15% of the full size, with no processing. View the full, unscaled shot here (4.3MB, 5616x3744.)

It's nothing special of course, but compared to a 25s exposure I have from the Equinox 80, the stars are so much tighter, and there isn't the crazy green haloes evident in the Equinox's shot.

The second image I've attached is a comparison with the shot I have from the Equinox. On the left side, the Equinox's image was taken with a Canon 500D, 25s @ ISO 1600. On the right side, roughly the same area of the Tak 85's shot. It's rotated and of a slightly different scale, I've not tried to correct that.

It's clear to me that the Tak 85 is superior to the Equinox 80, but from the very limited time I've had with it, I'm not sure what judgments I can make at the moment. I'm so glad I bought the Tak 85 though, I know I'm going to have a lot of fun with it.

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Edited by carldr
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