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Skipper Billy

Esprit 100 or Takahashi 106 ???

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Skipper Billy    1,617

Last year I bought a fast newt and yes, it did take some effort to get it singing but I am now very happy with its performance - its a real photon hoover !!!

BUT

I have developed a deep seated hatred of collimation and diffraction spikes !!!

I am 99% certain that for the next season I will be having one of the two scopes in the title - the technical specs are

                              Esprit 100     Tak 106 

Focal length              550               530

f ratio                       5.5                5.0

Price                      £1725*           £4975 **

* with flattener and Es Reid checked and inc finderscope, rings, dovetail and storage box   https://www.firstlightoptics.com/esprit-professional-refractors/skywatcher-esprit-ed-100-pro-triplet.html

** exc. mounting rings and Losmandy plate and no finderscope etc  https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/takahashi-fsq-106edx4-f5-petzval-quadruplet-apo-refractor-ota.html

I am quite prepared to pay the 3 x Esprit Tak price if I am getting something 3x better than the Esprit

But am I ??  I have done lots of research and have found many people commenting on shall we say 'variable' quality control of late at Takahashi and I am also hearing people raving about the Esprit (although  I dont see many images from it ??!!)

They are both the focal length I am looking for, they are both reasonably fast, they can both be made into all screw together systems from focuser to camera to avoid droop etc and both can accept a Lakeside focuser - so technically they both meet my requirements.

I doubt I will ever use the massive imaging circle of the Tak so thats not important. Both scopes would initially be used with an Atik EFW2 and Baader NB and WB filters and an Atik 460 EX Mono camera - maybe a larger chip in the future but not much bigger.

I certainly dont want to start a whatsit waving competition or to excite the Takahashi fans but i would be interested in anyone's views to assist my decision making.

If I was sure my images from the Esprit would be >95%+ those from the Takahashi I would accept that as a reasonable trade off in terms of cost benefit but if it was <90% I would pay the extra for the Tak.

Things that don't interest me - labels, brand names, bragging rights

Things that do interest me - outright performance, after sales service, ease of use

It will be pier mounted in an observatory and our skies are DARK !

Any thoughts ???

 

PS - apologies for posting a link to a company other than the one that sponsors this site but FLO don't sell Takahashi.

 

 

 

 

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RayD    2,122
Posted (edited)

I have both and the Esprit is a cracker for the money, and performance wise I would say you need a pretty keen eye to notice any difference.  The main thing that I like about the Tak is the fact that I don't need to worry about spacing (to a degree).  This makes it easier to swap cameras etc.

Both are great, and if you are not interested in the larger image circle (the Esprit is pretty big anyway) then the Esprit will perform admirably.  I would advise getting it from FLO if you go this route and pay the extra bit for the Es Reid checks.

Edited by RayD

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LightBucket    430

I understand what you are saying, but I don’t think the jump in price matches the jump in performance and quality, by that I mean the Tak won’t be three times better, it would realistically be 10-15% better at most... :)

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swag72    5,888
Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Skipper Billy said:

......I am quite prepared to pay the 3 x Esprit Tak price if I am getting something 3x better than the Esprit.......

I don't for one moment believe that you will gain 3x better images from the Takahashi at 3x the price! If I was in a position to be considering these two scopes and I had DEFINITELY ruled out the image circle of the FSQ106 then I'd go for the Esprit for sure. The only other advantage I see with the Tak is the lack of spacing requirements..... but if you can get a ready made adapter that will get you bang on then I'd be happy with that.

After care service with the Esprit you have FLO (presuming that's where you'd buy it from) and you can be sure that they will do whatever it takes to get you a performing scope. I've not seen any Esprit 100 images, but there's enough out there from the 80 and 150 to confirm to me that they are a scope worth considering.

Will your images from the Esprit be 95% of that from the Tak? Well that all depends on your processing!! But I don't for one moment think that the data from the Esprit would be incomparable with that from the Tak.

From the end of your post I'd say the following...

Ease of use - Takahashi 
Outright performance - Equal enough to not matter 
After sale service - Esprit 

I'm not speaking as an FSQ106 user (I use FSQ85's) but if I was in a position right now to get a scope of that sort of focal length I'd go for the Esprit over the Tak for sure.

Edited by swag72
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RayD    2,122
2 minutes ago, swag72 said:

Ease of use - Takahashi 
Outright performance - Equal enough to not matter 
After sale service - Esprit 

 

As the user of both I'd say that's absolutely spot on.

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Wiu-Wiu    277

If I had a fixed observatory under a dark sky, and that amount of money to spend, I'd put the Esprit 150 on the table. 

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Jkulin    117
Posted (edited)

Hi David,

I can't speak about a Tak as never owned one, but I was really impressed when I switched to the Esprit 100, so much so that I then bought the Esprit 80 as well and if I had the money I would buy the 150!

Ray helped me out loads with the spacing and once I got that spot on the images were pin sharp.

I do like defraction spikes in some circumstances and really like some of the images you sent me, but if I had them all the time then I would be yearning for a refractor.

You have beautiful skies up your way and like Sara and Ray have said I don't think there would be a big enough difference to justify three times the price, I was lucky and got both of mine second-hand and unused at a bargain price.

If you go the Esprit route I believe Bernard at MA had some exceptional deals going with them.

I did look at the TS Optics Range as to look at you would swear that they came out of the same factory as the SW and I have read some fantastic comments about them, this one is a quad so no need for a flattener, just a thought.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p6478_TS-Optics-Imaging-Star-100mm-f-5-8-Quadruplet-Apo-with-field-flatener.html

Hope that helps?

Edited by Jkulin

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PhotoGav    2,524

I have just been through exactly this quandry and ended up purchasing the Esprit 100. Unfortunately conditions have meant that I haven't been able to complete my first project with it, yet. However, I have already collected many hours of data on the Leo Triplet and am certainly not sending the Esprit back! I haven't owned the Tak, so can't compare directly, but in my humble imaging world, I have been more than satisfied with the Esprit. Sure, it doesn't have that really solid, perfectly engineered feel of even my William Optics Star 71. Don't get me wrong, it is well put together, but just misses that solid gloss that a high end scope or other top piece of kit has when you hold it! Performance wise, the Esprit is doing extremely well. Spacing was no problem at all. I have the flattener and am within 0.5mm of the recommended spacing and the stars are perfectly round into all corners. That was with the scope straight out of the box too, no ES Reid tinkering went on before I received it. I am very happy that I didn't spend three times the money on the Tak as I now have funds left in my bank account ready for the next purchase. Would I rather have a Tak on the mount? Probably, but only because I am a believer in the best kit gives the best results, even if I just think they are better rather than they really are better! Am I happy to have the Esprit on the mount? Definitely, it was the right focal length and the optics are lovely and at that price, it's a no brainer really. I was pretty certain I wouldn't need the larger imaging circle, was happy to save over £3k and can rest in the knowlege that I can always sell the Esprit and buy a Tak in the future anyway!

Here are two very much WIP images with data from the Esprit 100 using a QSI 683 and Baader filters. Both images have had minimal processing beyond integration and a stretch in APP:

RGB (12 x 600s in each filter)

combine-RGB-image-St.thumb.png.2d79ceeaef4f071317d3b9d50a53ae1e.png

 

Luminance (24 x 1200s, with fairly poor sky quality!)

Stacked_L-lpc-cbg-St.thumb.png.946cd8564e9673398920d70220596370.png

Had I had more money than I knew what to do with, I would have bought the Tak, but I don't, so I compromised and went for the Esprit. However, thankfully the Esprit is giving me good data, is easy to use, makes me smile because I didn't have to spend vast sums of money for results that I am really happy with and will hold its very reasonable value over time. The thing that I would really most benefit from changing is the quality of and consistency of my skies, which so far this year have been pants at best!  I hope that all helps.

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Dinglem    66

Thanks @Skipper Billy for starting this thread as I'm hoping to replace my Newt with a frac at sometime soon. I had basically narrowed it down to these two scopes, the Esprit as no one who owns one has a bad word to say about them and the Tak as every picture anyone posts on here are brilliant, that though is probably more to do with their skills in processing. Looking at the responses so far I think the Esprit's value for money will probably win over the Tak, telling my sweatheart that I've saved us £3000 by buying the Esprit maybe a good selling point :grin:

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Lockie    4,221

I've not owned either, but I've heard often enough that after a point you are chasing very small increases in performance for a large increase in price. With this in mind and all the good press I hear about them I'd plump for the Esprit plus a nice holiday rather than the 106.

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pete_l    542
55 minutes ago, Lockie said:

after a point you are chasing very small increases in performance for a large increase in price.

That is the basic issue. Those small increases are only worth it if your imaging environment is of sufficient quality to allow the differences to (literally) shine through.

What would be very interesting is if some third party collected together a series of images from top of the line refractors (of roughly the same aperture / FL) and posted them here as a double-blind test for people to judge on their merit. Bearing in mind that hardly anybody has a properly calibrated monitor, that we view images in varying ambient brightness, backgrounds, colours and we all have different levels of visual acuity -  and that the display and images are limited to 8 bits per pixel / colour.

It would be very interesting if any clear consensus emerged to demonstrate the unquestionable superiority of any single "prime" instrument. I suspect that most of the benefits come from the skill of the post-imaging tweaking.

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jjosefsen    133

I would consider what else I could get for the price difference. Motor focuser? Camera rotator, etc..

Don't know if that makes any difference.. :)

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gazza    87

As a former Tak owner and current Esprit 100 owner, I'd never pay the extra for the Tak brand again. The Esprit is that good..... Interestingly I've seen many FSQ106's for sale secondhand, but very very few Esprits...must mean something.

cheers

Gary

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Andyb90    238

I see there is a reducer for the fsq 106 which takes it to f3.6. That may be a bit tempting :-)

Andy

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swag72    5,888
Just now, Andyb90 said:

I see there is a reducer for the fsq 106 which takes it to f3.6. That may be a bit tempting :-)

Andy

Then you have to factor in spacing and for me the big 'Ease' factor of the 106 then disappears :)

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steppenwolf    4,759

Spacing is an issue with any triplet and reducer/flattener and it is essentially obviated by the use of a Petzval type design. However, a suitable spacer only has to be tackled once and it is relatively easy to have one made to precisely the correct dimensions for under £80.00. The additional cost of the Tak 106 would be pretty hard to justify with this in mind. If the 100 is two thirds of the instrument that my 150 is then it will be a killer telescope.

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tomato    452

I found this thread on Cloudy Nights, a sort of back to back imaging comparison of an Esprit 150 and AP 160.

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/478771-ap-160-vs-sw-150-esprit/

As usual, it prompted some lively debate about the validity of the test, but my view is that there was little to choose between them. Not sure if it helps you in making the decision, but after much research of the the experiences out there and careful deliberation, an Esprit 150 has been purchased (with ES Reid evaluation) for a collaborative imaging project.

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Ikonnikov    194

There is optical testing of both scopes on this blog (which is mainly in English although some older content is in German):

http://interferometrie.blogspot.co.uk/

The FSQ106 comes out best as expected, but the differences with the Esprit 100ED aren't great and are unlikely to be apparent when deep sky imaging. The Esprit 120ED does slightly better in these tests than the 100ED but this has quite a lot longer focal length at 840mm (though it has apparently been used successfully with the 0.75x APM Riccardi reducer bringing it down to 630mm).

If you have no plans to make use of a decent proportion of the FSQ's (giant) image circle IMHO the Esprit is the obvious choice (the Petzval design of the FSQ would be nice to have but I don't think it would justify the extra money alone).

 

Paul

 

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Skipper Billy    1,617

Thanks everyone for your valuable input and thoughts - its not an easy decision.

I dont mind paying for quality but I am not a muti millionaire either !

I think I am leaning towards the Esprit - close on quality - Es Reid checked - much cheaper - FLO after sales service.

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RayD    2,122
3 hours ago, Skipper Billy said:

Thanks everyone for your valuable input and thoughts - its not an easy decision.

I dont mind paying for quality but I am not a muti millionaire either !

I think I am leaning towards the Esprit - close on quality - Es Reid checked - much cheaper - FLO after sales service.

Good choice.

Don't dismiss the difference in build quality between the two; it is there, and it is very noticeable.  However, the impact on results, which is what most of us is after, is negligible, and certainly not quantifiable in the costs alone.

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Astroscot2    232
Posted (edited)

I owned a Tak FSQ 106N for many years, purchased secondhand and was the best I could afford at the time,  when paired up with a large chip camera the images it produced were stunning, really tight colorful stars and pin sharp to the corners .

My only reason for selling it was that I wanted something with a longer focal length and opted for a Newtonian which may have been a mistake, Ive spent a lot of money and time and never managed to get the Newtonian to really sing.

So only yesterday I pressed the button on an Esprit 120, at 840mm I still have a decent focal length for detail and back to the simplicity of using a refractor. From what ive read and seen online the Esprit range in the right hands can produce some stunning results.  I think value for money the Esprit is the way to go.

My Esprit arrived today, thanks FLO !  not had a chance to unbox it yet however there was a leaflet in the first box showing some new products one of which was a new 5 element super APO called the Integra, 105ED, no details I'm afraid only a picture.

 

Skywatcher-Apochromatic-refractor-AP-105-680-ED105-Integra[1].jpg

Edited by Astroscot2

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swag72    5,888
10 minutes ago, Astroscot2 said:

I owned a Tak FSQ 106N for many years, purchased secondhand and was the best I could afford at the time,  when paired up with a large chip camera the images it produced were stunning, really tight colorful stars and pin sharp to the corners .

My only reason for selling it was that I wanted something with a longer focal length and opted for a Newtonian which may have been a mistake, Ive spent a lot of money and time and never managed to get the Newtonian to really sing.

So only yesterday I pressed the button on an Esprit 120, at 840mm I still have a decent focal length for detail and back to the simplicity of using a refractor. From what ive read and seen online the Esprit range in the right hands can produce some stunning results.  I think value for money the Esprit is the way to go.

My Esprit arrived today, thanks FLO !  not had a chance to unbox it yet however there was a leaflet in the first box showing some new products one of which was a new 5 element super APO called the Integra, 105ED, no details I'm afraid only a picture.

 

Skywatcher-Apochromatic-refractor-AP-105-680-ED105-Integra[1].jpg

There's a thread on the Integra on CN...... But it was from 2016..... This is a slow burn :D  https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/558860-sky-watcher-105mm-integra/

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Astroscot2    232

Interesting Sarah, apparently positioned below the Esprit line?

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Andyb90    238
On 29/03/2018 at 00:43, gazza said:

Look at this fellow - using a Riccardi to take his Esprit 100 to F4.1

http://photonenfangen.de/instruments/skywatcher-esprit-100-ed/

cheers

Gary

 

That does look tempting. There are some images on Astrobin and the stars look good out to the corners. I just got the Esprit 80 and I think in theory the reducer should work with it aswell, but I haven't found any images yet.

Andy.

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