Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

Sign in to follow this  
GTom

Which not-so light travel scope: TMB 92 vs TS Photoline 90 vs Primaluce Airy 90T?

Recommended Posts

I am looking for an airline-compatible APO. However, small size is not the only factor, I want it to be a great all-rounder, performing well for both visual and photographic deep-sky work and visual planetary.

I'd also use the scope for daylight birdwatching/photography. 

Currently I have an C5 omni XLT, which I feel limited (lack of contrast). I didn't carry around the c5 too much, but provided I pick up a lighter mount (astrotrac...) this bulk and weight should be OK.

Currently I have 3 candidates:

  • 2nd hand TMB-92 Signature Series f/5.5
  • 2nd hand TS Photoline 90mm f/6.6 (a bit heavier but cheaper )
  • Primaluce Airy Black 90T or the equivalent but cheaper Technosky 90 (both should be Shaprstar scopes).

 

Which one would you suggest? As for mobility, the scope + mount head (sky adventurer??) must fit in a smaller hand luggage, the rest is not important, because I usually hire a car at the destination. 

 

Edited by GTom
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an airline portable APM 80mm F/6, but I ruled out the sky adventurer as being too light for it. The scopes you list are probably heavier. I have now snapped second-hand EQ3-2 (will pick it up next week) which should travel well enough in the hold, not hand luggage. I intend to make a light "counterweight" which I can fill with water or sand at the destination to save further weight. Not sure what the astrotrac weighs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

I have an airline portable APM 80mm F/6, but I ruled out the sky adventurer as being too light for it. The scopes you list are probably heavier. I have now snapped second-hand EQ3-2 (will pick it up next week) which should travel well enough in the hold, not hand luggage. I intend to make a light "counterweight" which I can fill with water or sand at the destination to save further weight. Not sure what the astrotrac weighs

I have actually two eq3's, none of them is airline portable. The complete astrotrack package is around 3-4kg. The scopes I listed are - except the longer+Aluminium tube TS Photoline - not really heavier than the typical 80mm unit. They are bulkier, except the TMB, which is <400mm packed.

2 hours ago, Cjg said:

Worth having a read of http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/, Matthew is @DirkSteele on here and has travelled with different set ups. Some lighter than others.

Good luck,

Chris

Thanks Chris, I'll take a look.

 

One question, regarding optical performance, the TMB is quite a challenging design at f5.5, does anybody has first hand experience if the fast f-ratio hinders the scope's planetary "skills"? Unfortunately no one tested the sharpstar scopes AFAIK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By all the accounts I have read, the late Tom Back did a rather good job with the design of the TMB 92mm.  I recall reading a review of it in Sky & Telescope many years ago and it was a very positive review.  Kind of the spiritual successor to the Astro Physics Stowaway which was an even faster f/4.9.

It was the scope I hoped to hunt down before I purchased the APM TMB 105 f/6.2 which is also airline portable but tips the scales at more than 6kg for the barebones OTA.  Sadly with Tom passing away, finding one new was becoming hard and nothing was on at the second hand market at the time.  The LW version which has a smaller focuser is probably the better choice if you can get it so it puts less strain on the light weight mount you will be using.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 03/11/2016 at 16:12, GTom said:

I am looking for an airline-compatible APO. However, small size is not the only factor, I want it to be a great all-rounder, performing well for both visual and photographic deep-sky work and visual planetary.

I'd also use the scope for daylight birdwatching/photography. 

Currently I have an C5 omni XLT, which I feel limited (lack of contrast). I didn't carry around the c5 too much, but provided I pick up a lighter mount (astrotrac...) this bulk and weight should be OK.

Currently I have 3 candidates:

  • 2nd hand TMB-92 Signature Series f/5.5
  • 2nd hand TS Photoline 90mm f/6.6 (a bit heavier but cheaper )
  • Primaluce Airy Black 90T or the equivalent but cheaper Technosky 90 (both should be Shaprstar scopes).

 

Which one would you suggest? As for mobility, the scope + mount head (sky adventurer??) must fit in a smaller hand luggage, the rest is not important, because I usually hire a car at the destination. 

 

That Airy Black 90T looks like a lovely scope! I think id be tempted by the 90T more than the others because of its lightweight tube, and also as a visual planetary scope due to its F6.7 ratio being preferable. And with its FPL53 objective you'll get that wonderful icey cold fluorite view that's so appealing when viewing the planet's.

Mike

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

That Airy Black 90T looks like a lovely scope! I think id be tempted by the 90T more than the others because of its lightweight tube, and also as a visual planetary scope due to its F6.7 ratio being preferable. And with its FPL53 objective you'll get that wonderful icey cold fluorite view that's so appealing when viewing the planet's.

Mike

Mike - I've been following your comments about the Tak FC-100 on CN - you write very eloquently and convincingly.... so much so that at the moment I'm trying to establish if it is airline portable - it seems if you unscrew the dew shield and minimise the focuser end the ota will (just) fit in cabin baggage - have you taken yours on board an aircraft before?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Highburymark said:

Mike - I've been following your comments about the Tak FC-100 on CN - you write very eloquently and convincingly.... so much so that at the moment I'm trying to establish if it is airline portable - it seems if you unscrew the dew shield and minimise the focuser end the ota will (just) fit in cabin baggage - have you taken yours on board an aircraft before?

Mine fits in a Pelicase 1510 which is designed to be airline portable for those with the more generous dimension limits.

https://peliproducts.co.uk/products/cases/1510-protector-case-1030.html#

https://www.skyscanner.net/news/cabin-luggage-guide-hand-baggage-sizes-and-weight-restrictions

I noticed the other day that EasyJet have no weight limit for carry on baggage which is very useful if you want to take plenty of kit in the case too.

With the dew shield and focuser removed, the Tak FC100 is around 19" long, one reason I prefer it over the DL. It could easily be packed safely in a rucksack or other carry on bag. Note that I have yet to try this in anger but do plan to at some point in the not too distant future.

EDIT

Image added. The dew shield slides over the focuser end of the scope, and I put the lens cap over the obejective to protect it, bubble wrap stops any scratches.

From left to right along the bottom

Feathertouch focuser plus adapter

Giro-WR mount

then various filters and eyepieces.

With all this lot in it weighs quite a lot, but just the scope and mount are not too bad.

IMG_2700.JPG

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Highburymark said:

Mike - I've been following your comments about the Tak FC-100 on CN - you write very eloquently and convincingly.... so much so that at the moment I'm trying to establish if it is airline portable - it seems if you unscrew the dew shield and minimise the focuser end the ota will (just) fit in cabin baggage - have you taken yours on board an aircraft before?

To be honest I've never given it any thought! Stu's excellent reply to your question above seems to give you the answer. What I would like to add is that the FC100DC that I have differs fron Stu's FC100DF in its focuser arrangement. I understand the DF has greater travel on its R&P and so may be more airline portable. It's a shame the dew shield doesn't retract on any of the current FC100's, but Tak may make that option available in the future. As it stands, I'd imagine the DF version might be the better, though slightly more expensive option, as a travel scope. I've attached images of my focuser both fully extended and fully retracted and as you can see there isn't much in it. It's also worth being aware that the beautifully engineered lens cell of the FC occupies a significant portion of the dew shade, so removing it the 16cm long shade will only give you an 8cm advantage.

Mike.

2016-11-06 13.24.52.jpg

2016-11-06 13.23.46.jpg

2016-11-06 13.25.34.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Highburymark said:

Mike - I've been following your comments about the Tak FC-100 on CN - you write very eloquently and convincingly.... so much so that at the moment I'm trying to establish if it is airline portable - it seems if you unscrew the dew shield and minimise the focuser end the ota will (just) fit in cabin baggage - have you taken yours on board an aircraft before?

I forgot to say "Thanks for the complement." It's probably a good job my east Lancashire twang doesn't come across in my posts or any credibility I may have would likely dwindle rapidly. ?

Mike

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys for the replies - Stu I think your set up is so compact because you have a (removable) feather touch focuser. I've been in contact with Tak and they said the DF focuser should not be removed (unless obviously you are replacing it). They also said rather cryptically that part of the DC focuser can be safely removed for travel and reattached (as can the dew shield). That means both DC and DF models have a travel length of 534mm or 21". Right on the limit for cabin baggage. Much as I want to buy this scope, it has to be carry on portable for me - and I don't want to fork out for a feather touch focuser just for this purpose. 

But in a roundabout way, Stu has answered the op's question - the Tak 100 must be a contender for best airline travel apo. Just a question of whether it's possible without a new focuser

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't actually remember which model mine is, it just says FC-100D on the focuser? I'll check the box I guess.

Mark, I don't think there is any need to upgrade the focuser. On mine it just unscrews from the OTA very easily, I can't see any reason for the caution from Tak? The FT is more compact but overall the OTA length with the focuser and dewshield removed will be the same. I had 19" in my mind but I'll check, perhaps it is 21" but either way it is still definitely airline portable and fits in the Pelicase.

IMG_7297.JPG

IMG_7299.JPG

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just did a bit of checking. Apologies to the OP if this is off topic, but I must admit I do think the FC-100 is well worth consideration as an airline portable scope.

With dewshield and focuser removed, both very easy things to do, the OTA is under 19", call it 18 3/4" to be safe, so it's well under the limit and can be packaged safely whilst remaining under. It is a very lightweight OTA too.

I've included a comparison shot between my (unused) Tak focuser and the FeatherTouch with adaptor. Note that I do need an extension tube most of the time unless using the Herschel Wedge or binoviewing, but there is no need to upgrade the focuser to be able to get the OTA under the hand baggage limit.

Stu

IMG_7302.JPG

IMG_7304.JPG

IMG_7306.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One further comment, and apologies again, but this has been a bit of a quest for me over the years, and I do genuinely think the FC-100 is the closest I've got to perfection.

The trouble with smaller, or rather faster scopes down at the f5.5 kind of range is the field curvature that you get. One reason for taking a scope like this to a very dark site is to get those beautiful widefield views, but if you stick a 21mm Ethos in and end up with defocused stars at the edge of the field then it defeats the object doesn't it? I have had this issue with a number of smaller (and still premium) scopes, but at f7.4, the Tak just doesn't really suffer from this to any significant degree.

I'll be quiet now ;)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stu - thanks so much for your help with this - it's really appreciated. Looking at the pics you have the DC model, which is the lighter one of the two. The DF has the heavier focuser and is more geared for imaging. Think you have proved that this is one of the very best portable, all round telescopes ever made. 

(Apologies to the op for taking this thread slightly off piste.)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Highburymark said:

Stu - thanks so much for your help with this - it's really appreciated. Looking at the pics you have the DC model, which is the lighter one of the two. The DF has the heavier focuser and is more geared for imaging. Think you have proved that this is one of the very best portable, all round telescopes ever made. 

(Apologies to the op for taking this thread slightly off piste.)

That makes sense, I chose the lighter (cheaper) version knowing that I was going to swap the focuser straight away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By jadcx
      TS Optics Photoline 90mm Triplet
      On reflection (or should that be through the lens of reality?) this was overpriced at £800, so is now reduced accordingly  
      In excellent condition, I gave a small writeup about this when I bought it, and it is still an excellent scope.  However it has been losing out to the 60 and 76 Tak and now spends all of its time alone, safely flight-cased.
      Don't leave this scope to suffer a lonely and unused life.  Buy it and catch some great views this winter! 


      Payment: PayPal (buyer pays fees) or bank transfer (preferred).
      Postage: Not included.  Collection from Nottingham, UK is free (of course), otherwise you will need to arrange your own courier.
    • By Stefann
      Hi everyone, about a month ago i got my first telescope. Wasn't sure what to get but i wanted something portable and easy to setup and use. After some internet "research" i decided to go for a refractor on a manual alt/az mount. The telescope was on a 50% sale so i decided to go for it , the Meade infinity 90.
       
      The package:
      The scope came in one big box, everything was inside. Included was the optical tube, the mount, 3 eyepieces (6.3mm, 9mm and 26mm), a 2x barlow lens, 90 degree diagonal, red dot finder, an eyepiece holder for the mount and a few manuals. The optical tube:
      The tube has a 90mm (3.5in) aperture and 600mm focal length. It looks and feels as a quality instrument, it has a small dew shield and the focuser is smooth when you move it back and forward. As expected the lens looks to be coated. It has a dovetail bar on it with 3 holes for screws. The mount:
      Light but stable, made of aluminium. It has 3 extendable legs, and 2 slow motion cables (alt/az). One screw to mount the tube on on top (adjustable back and forward). The eyepieces and barlow:
      All 3 are modified achromat eyepieces, the lenses are made of glass and are OK for the beginner, but i would suggest upgrading if you can. The barlow is bad i even think that the optics are plastic (not sure), it is usable if you don't have other options but this should be the first upgrade in my opinion. Observing: First light:
      The telescope arrived in the morning so the first thing i did after a quick setup was to adjust the red dot finder. I looked at some mountains about 20km away, the view was nice and very detailed using all eyepieces. Combining the 6.3mm with the barlow got me a bit blurry view, but the barlow in combination with the other eyepieces was ok. Night came and it was a moonless and clear night (only light pollution from the city i live in). I saw orion right infront of me, "marked" it with the red dot finder where i thought M42 should be and looked through the 26mm eyepiece. It was a bit blurry but after adjusting the focus i could see some nice pinpoint stars and also something fuzzy, i realized it was the orion nebula. After letting my eyes adjust to the view for a few minutes i started seeing 2 faint "wings" on both sides and in the center were 4 very tiny stars, i didn't expect to see that on my first night. I followed my target for about 15 minutes using the slow motion controls , it was easy to do. Also tried the 9mm eyepiece and with it the 4 stars were more easily seen but the faint clouds got fainter so i moved back to the 26mm. Next target was venus, i tried all eyepieces + with combination with the barlow. It looked like a very bright half moon without any details. When using the barlow the view was ok but purple glow was showing around the planet, without the barlow the purple wasn't noticeable. I also looked at the star Sirius which looked nice, bright and much bigger then any other star i could see that night. After Venus went down i decided it was enough for day one. Moon:
      I expected it to look good, but not this good. I was observing the moon for a couple of nights until it got full. I could see a lot of details at the terminator , with low and high magnification. When the moon was full it was very very bright and it looked best with the smallest magnification using the 26mm eyepiece. Jupiter and Saturn:
      I got 2 opportunities to look at these 2, the first time i think the "seeing" was bad. I could only see Jupiters 4 moons and the planet was a bright disc without any details at any magnification i tried. Saturn also wasn't very good, i could see the rings but they were blurry and "dancing" around. But the next time i had the chance to look at these planets the conditions were much better, first target was again Jupiter. With the 26mm eyepiece i could see a white disc with 4 moons.With the 9mm i could see the moons again but now the disc had very faint 2 bands without any color. The view was best with the 6.3mm eyepiece, the 2 bands were clearly visible and on the upper belt on the right side there was a small dark dot, i am not sure if it was anything . Next target was Saturn, event with the 26mm eyepiece i could see that it has rings, i switched to the 6.3mm right away and wow there it was, Saturn and its rings clearly visible, i even think i could spot the cassini devision, but it might have been my eyes playing tricks. I tried using the barlow on both targets but it was making the image blurry, but at this point i had purchased a higher quality barlow and the views were very nice with it , but the  max magnification i could use that night was 133x, anything higher and the image was getting wobbly (probably that was due to the atmosphere that night). After that some clouds came in and it was time to get back to bed (got up just to see the planets in 4am). Conclusion:
      I think i got what i wanted, a small and very portable telescope for some basic amateur observing. I do recommend this telescope to anyone as a first telescope or even to an experienced astronomer who is looking for something light, portable and being able to set it up and start observing in 2 minutes. Also i would recommend you replace all of the eyepieces and the barlow. I got me a few plossl eyepieces and a nice barlow, it was worth it.
      Feel free to ask me anything regarding this telescope i will be more than happy to answer.
      Sorry for any spelling mistakes this review probably contains

      Also i am attaching a few images i took directly off the eyepiece using my smartphone (handheld).


      The Telescope

      The Moon:

      The Moon:

      Venus:

      Saturn:

      Jupiter:

    • By Spider-Man
      Hi, I'm keen to buy a small good quality refractor primarily for astrophotography of galaxies and nebulae.   I'd like to use my Pentax K1 full frame DSLR with the telescope.
      Reviewing YouTube & Google the; Altair Astro 72 EDF deluxe & William Optics 71GT look like they might be good models to go for.  I'd welcome the community's views on both, and any other alternatives people recommend.
    • By jadcx
      I bought this second hand, but it was almost untouched, and a relative bargain to boot.  New it costs 1199 EUR from TS (approx. £1035 as of 08/03/2019 but who has any idea how this might fluctuate).
       
      Highlights:
      Apo air-spaced triplet with FPL53 Multiple focus positions thanks to removable tube segments 2.5” rack and pinion focuser, rotatable, dual speed controls, 6kg payload, with printed scale CNC tube rings and dovetail supplied Retractable dew shield  
      First impressions:
      It’s a really nice box.  Whilst it’s described as a ‘transport case’ the supplied storage box is sturdy and well made.  Inside, the foam fit is precise bordering on tight.  It’s actually mildly difficult to get the scope out of the box.  Things get a little easier if you loosen the tube rights slightly, allowing for some tube rotation, and a longer term fix will be some straps to aid lifting the scope out vertically.
      The scope itself feels very well made, and is what I’m choosing to refer to as ‘reassuringly weighty’.  At just over 4kg (without diagonal, eyepiece, or finder) there are definitely lighter options available, but it’s hardly a heavyweight.  The finish is powered coat white, which looks and feels very nice.
      The focuser is very smooth (compared to my SW ED80) and feels pleasingly solid.  I’m not going to be testing the stated 6kg payload any time soon, but I can easily believe it will be able to handle it.
      The dew shield is held in  position with a single thumbscrew, and whilst it’s retractable credentials are clearly warranted, it only seems to extend a couple of centimetres.  As it happens, this takes the overall length down to 450mm which was the very top end of my acceptable range in order to meet my ‘travel’ requirement.  The focuser body also incorporates a finder shoe, but if you wanna  finder then you have to supply your own as there’s nothing included.
      The idea of having additional tube segments is that you don’t have to rack out the focuser so far, and so improves stability.  This also allows for multiple reducer/flattener options for imaging use.  The TS website details the specific configurations using their recommended equipment which provide a faster f/4.9 option for sensors up to 36mm, or a full frame flat image at the standard f/6.6.  I might be exploring these options later, but for now, this is going to be for visual use.
       
      First light:
      OK - this barely counts, but I was impatient.  Predictably enough, first evening with a new telescope and it’s raining.  But I did manage a pretty decent look at my neighbours TV aerial and chimney stack.  They need some re-pointing.

      The following evening (9th March 2019) was less rainy, but much the same for cloud, all but for about 30 minutes of relatively clear sky, interrupted regularly by patchy cloud.  So still not great.  However, my ambitious setup to allow for cooling paid off and I did manage a few minutes of actual use with a SW 28mm eyepiece.  The Baader Zoom I also treated myself to for my travel use is frustratingly still not dispatched.  And when I say set-up, I mean just carrying everything outside.  I’m using this on the SW AZ-Gti mount, and a Manfrotto tripod I had already, so it’s very easy to pick up and take outside.
      I was using the scope with one of the two removable sections in place (this is how it is stored in the supplied case) and was able to achieve focus with a 2" diagonal without having to rack out excessively.
      Sirius was an obvious target to the south, and an easy hit.  Brilliantly bright, as expected, and a blue-ish white colour.   The upper half (the rest was below my sightline from home) of Canis Major was easy to see, with several of the background stars also visible.  Despite the less than great seeing, the view was impressive.  Stars were tight and there was no obvious chromatic aberration.   Moving up to Betelgeuse, it’s orange-red brilliance was very pleasing, and again I was able to make out some of the fainter surrounding stars.
      Overall the view was very impressive, and bright.  My only real comparison is with my SW80, and of course I now have over 25% more light, so that’s to be expected.  But still, it makes an obvious difference.  I wasn’t able to note any CA or distortion, and a quick full visible spectrum (no filters) star test reflected spot on collimation and no apparent astigmatism.
      Alas, the break in the patchy clouds did not last long, and I was soon packing up for the night and heading out for a beer.  I’m looking forward to getting some more quality time with this kit, and who knows, I might even align the AZ-Gti next time and write a brief review for that too.


    • By 25585
      How good is this scope for rich/ flat field and reducing FC & CA?
      Much cheaper than Tele Vue equivalent. 
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.