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Z3roCool

Which Small Refractor would you go with?

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Z3roCool    19

Hi all, will be buying my first telescope in the next week. I have been reading through reviews, watching videos and reading books and come down to the choice of a small Refractor. I will be mounting this on a HEQ5 mount for DSO imaging with a Altair 60mm guide scope. 

The scopes I have narrowed down to are as follows:

- Altair Wave Series 80mm F/6 Super ED APO Triplet

- William Optics GT71 F/5.9 APO Triplet

- Orion ED80TCF F/6 APO Triplet

- Skywatcher Esprit ED APO 80 Pro Triplet

- Explore Scientific ED APO 102 F/6.7 Essential

For the Skywatcher and the Altair I would not be able to get a Field Flattener/ Reducer straight away but would buy one for any of the others when buying the scope. 

Just after people's advice on which they would go with over the others and why? I am jumping between them each day and think I just need to decide and go with it but just want to make sure I am not missing something.

Thanks for reading,

Tommy 

 

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LightBucket    431

The Skywatcher Espirit every time.. :)

Edited by LightBucket
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Alien 13    4,154

I would go for a Star 71 but might be above your budget... no faffing around with field flatteners etc.

Alan

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Andyk93    74

The skywatcher esprit doesn’t have tube rings so you would need a side by side adapter to guide. This and the fact you don’t need a flattener meant that I went for a WO star 71 II. They are expensive but I don’t think you can get a better refractor for imaging for the price

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Z3roCool    19
51 minutes ago, LightBucket said:

The Skywatcher Espirit every time.. :)

Have been leaning towards this in the last couple of days...thanks for comment

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Z3roCool    19
36 minutes ago, Andyk93 said:

The skywatcher esprit doesn’t have tube rings so you would need a side by side adapter to guide. This and the fact you don’t need a flattener meant that I went for a WO star 71 II. They are expensive but I don’t think you can get a better refractor for imaging for the price

Had not noticed that. Can a guide scope not be mounted where the Finder Scope site? Presume it is detachable?

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Z3roCool    19
45 minutes ago, Alien 13 said:

I would go for a Star 71 but might be above your budget... no faffing around with field flatteners etc.

Alan

Yeah, that was one I looked at and decided just too much for a first scope...had to give myself hard budget otherwise I would 'accidentally' spend too many £!!

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Luna-tic    310
1 hour ago, Z3roCool said:

Hi all, will be buying my first telescope in the next week. I have been reading through reviews, watching videos and reading books and come down to the choice of a small Refractor. I will be mounting this on a HEQ5 mount for DSO imaging with a Altair 60mm guide scope. 

The scopes I have narrowed down to are as follows:

- Altair Wave Series 80mm F/6 Super ED APO Triplet

- William Optics GT71 F/5.9 APO Triplet

- Orion ED80TCF F/6 APO Triplet

- Skywatcher Esprit ED APO 80 Pro Triplet

- Explore Scientific ED APO 102 F/6.7 Essential

For the Skywatcher and the Altair I would not be able to get a Field Flattener/ Reducer straight away but would buy one for any of the others when buying the scope. 

Just after people's advice on which they would go with over the others and why? I am jumping between them each day and think I just need to decide and go with it but just want to make sure I am not missing something.

Thanks for reading,

Tommy 

 

I noticed you have mostly 80-size scopes listed, except for the GT71 and ES 102. I have a friend who just picked up an ES 102 with the carbon fiber tubes, it is gorgeous, but he doesn't care for the focuser. I have no other experience with it, or any of the others except the WO scope. I have the GT81 20th Anniv. model. Any reason you chose the 71 when most of the others you're looking at are 80-ish? (Cost, maybe?) I'm floored by the GT81's quality and finish. The optics are superb and the focuser is smooth as glass.

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Alien 13    4,154
2 minutes ago, Z3roCool said:

Yeah, that was one I looked at and decided just too much for a first scope...had to give myself hard budget otherwise I would 'accidentally' spend too many £!!

I think it is miles better than the alternatives you listed, I have yet to see a single image taken with even the popular Skywatcher Esprit ED APO 80 Pro Triplet.

Alan

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Z3roCool    19
7 minutes ago, Luna-tic said:

I noticed you have mostly 80-size scopes listed, except for the GT71 and ES 102. I have a friend who just picked up an ES 102 with the carbon fiber tubes, it is gorgeous, but he doesn't care for the focuser. I have no other experience with it, or any of the others except the WO scope. I have the GT81 20th Anniv. model. Any reason you chose the 71 when most of the others you're looking at are 80-ish? (Cost, maybe?) I'm floored by the GT81's quality and finish. The optics are superb and the focuser is smooth as glass.

I looked at the GT81 a lot but had to put a price I could go up to and it was just out of reach...trust me, i have thought a few times about just adding a bit on a credit card but having to be good :) Thanks for your input on ES 102.

Edited by Z3roCool

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Andyb90    238

I've been looking at the Esprit 80 too for dark site trips. It is possible to remove the mounting foot. So you could put it in a set of tube rings, but then it will be extra cost.

Andy.

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Z3roCool    19
25 minutes ago, Andyb90 said:

I've been looking at the Esprit 80 too for dark site trips. It is possible to remove the mounting foot. So you could put it in a set of tube rings, but then it will be extra cost.

Andy.

Was looking at this Guide Scope package which has rings included so hoping this will work?

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Andyk93    74
10 hours ago, Z3roCool said:

Had not noticed that. Can a guide scope not be mounted where the Finder Scope site? Presume it is detachable?

Yeah I would have thought you could mount it there but it needs to be solid as possible so tube rings are usually recommended. I was also told when I looked at one that the mounting shoe will not come off without taking the scope apart as the screws are inside

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Luna-tic    310
18 hours ago, Z3roCool said:

I looked at the GT81 a lot but had to put a price I could go up to and it was just out of reach...trust me, i have thought a few times about just adding a bit on a credit card but having to be good :) Thanks for your input on ES 102.

The Esprit 80 on your list is a good bit more than the GT81, although it is a bit faster (f/5 compared to f/5.9). I paid $1150 USD for mine, including the f/4.7 reducer/flattener made for it. The 20th Anniversary Edition comes with a set of guide scope/finderscope rings, mounted to a nice carry handle. It also has a dovetail foot like the Esprit 80, but unlike the Esprit, the foot unscrews from the bottom, and a set of 90mm rings is available from WO as an alternative to the foot. The carry handle also removes easily, and the finderscope rings can be removed from the handle. It's well thought out. The finderscope I have attached is the 9x50mm one that came with my Edge HD 8"

18 hours ago, Andyb90 said:

I've been looking at the Esprit 80 too for dark site trips. It is possible to remove the mounting foot. So you could put it in a set of tube rings, but then it will be extra cost.

Andy.

The dovetail foot is drilled/tapped so a larger dovetail can be affixed to it, same as my GT81. This is the option I chose; downside is it doesn't provide for rotating the orientation of the scope, but that doesn't bother me. I used a universal 13-1/4" Vixen-style dovetail. The two knobs on the dovetail are stops to prevent the scope from sliding off the mount saddle should the screws loosen. They fit in slots and allow forward-backward positioning on the mount to account for balance.

Not sure if the Esprit's body is long enough for a set of rings, They might impede the movement of the dew shield.

DSC00071.JPG

Edited by Luna-tic
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Z3roCool    19
1 hour ago, Luna-tic said:

The Esprit 80 on your list is a good bit more than the GT81

In the UK I can only find the GT81 at £1200 or there abouts. The Esprit comes in at£1000.

Cheers for the info on the scope :)

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Andyb90    238
13 hours ago, Andyk93 said:

I was also told when I looked at one that the mounting shoe will not come off without taking the scope apart as the screws are inside

That's what I read too on the Cloudy Nights forum. The focuser has to be removed to get to the screws for taking the shoe off. So that would leave one or more holes to plug. Perhaps tube rings aren't so practical for the Esprit 80. 

Andy.

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Kaliska    87
9 hours ago, Andyb90 said:

That's what I read too on the Cloudy Nights forum. The focuser has to be removed to get to the screws for taking the shoe off. So that would leave one or more holes to plug. Perhaps tube rings aren't so practical for the Esprit 80. 

Andy.

Can someone confirm this? I have the Espirt 80 (only just got it) and was thinking of getting tube rings for it instead of the mounting foot it came with.

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Andyk93    74
3 hours ago, Kaliska said:

Can someone confirm this? I have the Espirt 80 (only just got it) and was thinking of getting tube rings for it instead of the mounting foot it came with.

When I was looking at one that’s what I was told. I was also told that you can’t fit tube rings onto it because the tube is too short 

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ollypenrice    18,823
19 hours ago, Luna-tic said:

The Esprit 80 on your list is a good bit more than the GT81, although it is a bit faster (f/5 compared to f/5.9). I paid $1150 USD for mine, including the f/4.7 reducer/flattener made for it. The 20th Anniversary Edition comes with a set of guide scope/finderscope rings, mounted to a nice carry handle. It also has a dovetail foot like the Esprit 80, but unlike the Esprit, the foot unscrews from the bottom, and a set of 90mm rings is available from WO as an alternative to the foot. The carry handle also removes easily, and the finderscope rings can be removed from the handle. It's well thought out. The finderscope I have attached is the 9x50mm one that came with my Edge HD 8"

The dovetail foot is drilled/tapped so a larger dovetail can be affixed to it, same as my GT81. This is the option I chose; downside is it doesn't provide for rotating the orientation of the scope, but that doesn't bother me. I used a universal 13-1/4" Vixen-style dovetail. The two knobs on the dovetail are stops to prevent the scope from sliding off the mount saddle should the screws loosen. They fit in slots and allow forward-backward positioning on the mount to account for balance.

Not sure if the Esprit's body is long enough for a set of rings, They might impede the movement of the dew shield.

DSC00071.JPG

This is essentially the solution I chose when I had a Tak FSQ85. I can see nothing wrong with it at all and it will give lots of room for balancing the scope and camera. These can be very back end heavy.

Olly

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Z3roCool    19
On 15/01/2018 at 22:07, gorann said:

Is there a reason why you did not include the large TS line of small refractors in your list? I would seriously consider some of them:

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/index.php/cat/c223_APO-Refractor-Telescopes.html

Cheers

Göran

Never heard much talk about them. Are they on a par with similar in the list?

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Z3roCool    19

Just read that you can have focus issues using a DSLR without the Field Flattener/Reducer on the Esprit 80. Can anyone confirm this as was planning on getting without to begin with.

Cheers,

Tom. 

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Kaliska    87
On 17/01/2018 at 19:10, Z3roCool said:

Just read that you can have focus issues using a DSLR without the Field Flattener/Reducer on the Esprit 80. Can anyone confirm this as was planning on getting without to begin with.

Cheers,

Tom. 

I’d be interested to read about this. I’ve just got the Esprit 80 and didn’t really notice any focusing issues, although I’ve only had one session of imaging.

edit..ah, just noticed you said without the FF..I have the FF with mine

Edited by Kaliska
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gorann    1,989
On 1/17/2018 at 01:19, Z3roCool said:

Never heard much talk about them. Are they on a par with similar in the list?

Sorry for the late reply. I would think that many regard TS as a quite serious supplier of medium to high quality gear. Like Skywatcher, the more expensive models are probably about as good as it gets (like the Esprits). I am myself looking for a good 5" refractor and I recently e-mailed them this question:

"How does the APO130f7-P compare optically to the APO130f6. I am puzzled by the large price difference."

and the answer was:

"The Apo130f6 has a completely different triplet lens with better color and off axis correction. It also has a higher quality and larger focuser."

So, I assume you get what you pay for also there. The less expensive models are probably at least as good as the Explore Scientific scopes.

 

 

 

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