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souls33k3r

Fast APO Refractor Recommendations

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Hi All,

Am on the hunt for another refractor so looking for some recommendations. 

I have a few of these in mind but not sure if there are any others that people would "HIGHLY" recommend. Price range under £1300

1) SW Esprit 80. I like this scope, only concern is the attached shoe which makes no sense to be on an imaging refractor. Good size, a bit on the heavier side as compared to WO Star 71 but roughly the same size in length. I know @Jkulin has modified his scope to remove the scope and added some WO rings (Mind if you can let me know which one you bought mate?) and dovetail. Slightly more money. I've seen (youtube) and heard issues with the stock focuser but they're only a few. Not sure about no lock on the dew sheild, does it retract automatically when pointing towards zenith?

2) Altair Starwave 70 EDQ-R: This is again a similar size to my current Star 71 (just a re-badged scope i presume but have heard that Altair make tweaks to their scopes and will only send out the best ones to their customers?) so nothing more to be said. Comes from Altair directly.

3) TS offerings? : A bit of a hit and a miss when them. Some scopes are good and some scopes are bad but it's not the scopes, it's who you deal with.

The scope needs to have a R&P focuser, should be fast (F/5 ish or faster), no pinched optics issues, not on the heavier side, does not lose collimation, most certainly not looking for a Tak because that's way above my price range :)

Thanks in advance.

 

Edited by souls33k3r

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I don’t have the 80mm Esprit, so can’t vouch for that one exactly, but if it is anything like my 100mm Esprit, it has to be a very serious contender. I am delighted with results from my Esprit and the build quality, while not the best on the market, has to be the best value. The Esprit 80 is £989 on FLO, with an extra £119 for the flattener which you would need to get too, so it’s under budget and I’m sure would be a joy to use. As for the lack of dew shield lock, I’m sure that the mounting rings will hold the dew shield in place, so no need for a lock.

I look forward to hearing what you go for and seeing the resulting images. Enjoy the hunt for your perfect new scope, because that’s half the fun!!

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15 minutes ago, PhotoGav said:

I don’t have the 80mm Esprit, so can’t vouch for that one exactly, but if it is anything like my 100mm Esprit, it has to be a very serious contender. I am delighted with results from my Esprit and the build quality, while not the best on the market, has to be the best value. The Esprit 80 is £989 on FLO, with an extra £119 for the flattener which you would need to get too, so it’s under budget and I’m sure would be a joy to use. As for the lack of dew shield lock, I’m sure that the mounting rings will hold the dew shield in place, so no need for a lock.

I look forward to hearing what you go for and seeing the resulting images. Enjoy the hunt for your perfect new scope, because that’s half the fun!!

Cheers mate, I'm not sure if it would be fair to compare 80 with the 100 because they might be giving you not only more glass for the money but also a few extra bits unless someone corrects me on that. 

The reason why 100mm is not on my options is because of the fov, I've been pampered with my star 71 view and the 80mm comes very close to that. Will. Most certainly be looking at the flattener. 

The fun has just begun, my wife already knows as I've been glued to my phone literally all day :D

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Not sure, but stay away from the 80mm f/4.4 six-element job from TS. It looks good on paper but will drive you :BangHead:. The vesion shipped isn't what's on the site, and trying to get a meaningfull BF figure from TS was like blood from a stone. Got mine sort-of working, provided you don't look too closely at stars on the edge.

Maybe their 80mm f/6 triplet and 0.79x reducer?

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3 minutes ago, DaveS said:

Not sure, but stay away from the 80mm f/4.4 six-element job from TS. It looks good on paper but will drive you :BangHead:. The vesion shipped isn't what's on the site, and trying to get a meaningfull BF figure from TS was like blood from a stone. Got mine sort-of working, provided you don't look too closely at stars on the edge.

Maybe their 80mm f/6 triplet and 0.79x reducer?

Hahaha was hoping I'd drag out some skeletons from the closet. Just the sort of thing I need to know what NOT to buy. I don't know if I'm wrong in saying this but anything other than a Tak or a Vixen VSD with more than 3 lens is just an ambitious design? Some good scopes come out and some end up in frustration. I ended up one with frustrations so now lookin for an alternative. I took a long time in deciding which one I wanted to buy not wanting ever to change my scope and now here I am yet again :D

This TS offering is really good, perfect FL but isn't this one of those where you have to unscrew the tubes to get the flattener attached or something weird like that? 

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4 hours ago, souls33k3r said:

1) SW Esprit 80. I like this scope, only concern is the attached shoe which makes no sense to be on an imaging refractor. Good size, a bit on the heavier side as compared to WO Star 71 but roughly the same size in length. I know @Jkulin has modified his scope to remove the scope and added some WO rings (Mind if you can let me know which one you bought mate?) and dovetail. Slightly more money. I've seen (youtube) and heard issues with the stock focuser but they're only a few. Not sure about no lock on the dew sheild, does it retract automatically when pointing towards zenith? 

Hi,

I bought these from a member on here https://williamoptics.com/101mm-mounting-ring

So in fact any 101mm rings should do, I gently removed the pathetic shoe that was on it, and fitted these, I also fitted 30mm (or could be 40mm, I'll check if it helps) standoffs so that I could fit my Pegasus UPB underneath to keep everything tidy

Its absolutely rock solid, the dew shield can't slip and never has in my experience even before I fitted the rings.

I'm just truly amazed at the Esprit range and if I had the money a 150 would be mine as well.

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15 minutes ago, Jkulin said:

Hi,

I bought these from a member on here https://williamoptics.com/101mm-mounting-ring

So in fact any 101mm rings should do, I gently removed the pathetic shoe that was on it, and fitted these, I also fitted 30mm (or could be 40mm, I'll check if it helps) standoffs so that I could fit my Pegasus UPB underneath to keep everything tidy

Its absolutely rock solid, the dew shield can't slip and never has in my experience even before I fitted the rings.

I'm just truly amazed at the Esprit range and if I had the money a 150 would be mine as well.

Cheers for your input mate. That’s the only thing I don’t like about the Esprit 80 is that weird finder shoe. Just seen the price for the tube rings from Primulace and they’re £179 ... this scope with the field flattener and the ES Reid check and rings is going just around £1350 now. Worth it? I hope so because it is a contender so far. Not seen any better recommendations so far but will wait.

i do have my eye set on the Altair’s starwave 70 EQD-R, just seen not much of that scope anywhere so I don’t know.

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I haven't looked but I bet you could advertise for 101mm rings and get the a lot cheaper.

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29 minutes ago, Jkulin said:

I haven't looked but I bet you could advertise for 101mm rings and get the a lot cheaper.

Nice one mate, sounds like a plan. Cheers for your help matey. Was the plastic shoe hard to remove though? When you say gently removed it, it sounds like the bit that’s connected to the scope is glued or something?

also would you happen to know what the size (Height) of the dew shield is? I ask this because I would like find out if I can utilise the case that I have right now or not.

ta mate.

Edited by souls33k3r

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I'm not sure if the Esprit 80 would offer you anything significantly different to your existing Star71. They have a similar field of view with the 1600. Or are you thinking of a dual rig maybe?

Andy.

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2 minutes ago, Andyb90 said:

I'm not sure if the Esprit 80 would offer you anything significantly different to your existing Star71. They have a similar field of view with the 1600. Or are you thinking of a dual rig maybe?

Andy.

Hi Andy, the issue is unfortunately my Star 71 is not capable of holding its collimation even after being checked by ES twice now so i have been given the option for it to be returned and get a refund.  So that’s why I’m looking for another scope of similar’ish fov. 

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8 hours ago, souls33k3r said:

Nice one mate, sounds like a plan. Cheers for your help matey. Was the plastic shoe hard to remove though? When you say gently removed it, it sounds like the bit that’s connected to the scope is glued or something?

also would you happen to know what the size (Height) of the dew shield is? I ask this because I would like find out if I can utilise the case that I have right now or not.

ta mate.

Nah the shoe wasn't difficult but I like to be careful not to introducer anything into the OTA. All I did was remove the focuser and that allows you access to two nuts at the bottom of the OTA, hold them and undo the bolts on the other side of the show and the Voila, you are just left with two tiny holes that I taped over, easy to return to it's original state if I ever choose to sell, which I doubt will happen.

The shoe was the only thing I didn't like about Esprit and I can't see why SW went down such a stupid route, the only other thing I did was to fit a SW guide mount and then fit my guide Camera to it, however that has now changed because of the way the Moravian G2-8300 MKII/FW/OAG combination, I'm having to go OAG on all of my Setups as it makes it so much easier, not that I think there is any gain on the 80. So yes the only other thing I removed was the Guide Mount shoe as that was superfluous to my needs.

HTH

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9 hours ago, souls33k3r said:

Was the plastic shoe hard to remove though?

I had an Esprit 80 and from memory the shoe is aluminium, not plastic.  It also has tapped holes in it, so you can actually just bolt a vixen or losmandy style plate to it if you don't want to remove it.

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For quality vs cost in your price range I think you're going to struggle to better the Esprit, but other offerings such as TS, Altair etc. do have mixed reviews, with good ones seemingly very good.  However, as you know with your WO, any one can be a bad one.

I actually had great results from my Explore Scientific until I broke it, but it probably isn't on the level of the Esprit.

I swapped my 80 for the 100 as it was never intended to be a travel scope, and my thought was that I could always do a mosaic if I wanted a bigger FOV.

Edited by RayD
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Are you open to another WO? I have the GT71 and I'm pleased with it. It's my first and only refractor though so I can't compare to others. Collimation was bang on when I got it. Barlowed Baader Zoom at 8mm gave perfect rings on Arcturus. Not 100% sure on the new 6A flattener just yet. I still get eggy stars in the corners but I am using a DSLR so large sensor. The flattener is adjustable though I don't know if it will work corner to corner or it's at it's limits. I've been waiting for the longer nights to do more tweaking. R&P focuser holds my camera+peltier cooler 1.3kg no probs.

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27 minutes ago, RayD said:

For quality vs cost in your price range I think you're going to struggle to better the Esprit, but other offerings such as TS, Altair etc. do have mixed reviews, with good ones seemingly very good.  However, as you know with your WO, any one can be a bad one.

I actually had great results from my Explore Scientific until I broke it, but it probably isn't on the level of the Esprit.

I swapped my 80 for the 100 as it was never intended to be a travel scope, and my thought was that I could always do a mosaic if I wanted a bigger FOV.

I agree with you mate, the WO was supposed to be excellent (still love it to bits) but it was one of them bad ones that just hit the nerve like a cheating ex (not that i've ever had an experience with it :D)

I would've loved a TS but i don't like the person who is their supplier because he gets very defensive very quickly and tries to blame you at every turn. So that's out of the window.

I have a good relationship with AA and two of their scopes have caught my eye "Altair Wave 80mm Triplet APO" and "Starwave 70 EDQ-R Quad" (yes another quad, just love it because no external reducers and spacers and faffing about).

Last scope is an Esprit 80 now. It's just a shame that what i'm looking for FLO don't have them all otherwise FLO is my first choice and you can't deny their dealings with their customers is top notch.

I'm not in to mosaics if i'm being honest, just want a perfect FOV for the object and at 350mm FL, everything fits just fine.

10 minutes ago, david_taurus83 said:

Are you open to another WO? I have the GT71 and I'm pleased with it. It's my first and only refractor though so I can't compare to others. Collimation was bang on when I got it. Barlowed Baader Zoom at 8mm gave perfect rings on Arcturus. Not 100% sure on the new 6A flattener just yet. I still get eggy stars in the corners but I am using a DSLR so large sensor. The flattener is adjustable though I don't know if it will work corner to corner or it's at it's limits. I've been waiting for the longer nights to do more tweaking. R&P focuser holds my camera+peltier cooler 1.3kg no probs.

Cheers mate, I wouldn't mind another WO but unfortunately FLO don't stock this particular version. I would much rather go back with FLO than try someone new. Just coming out of a bad WO scope means i'm a bit traumatised with the experience and can only go with people who i trust will look after me and the scope if anything bad was to happen to it. 

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4 minutes ago, souls33k3r said:

I agree with you mate, the WO was supposed to be excellent (still love it to bits) but it was one of them bad ones that just hit the nerve like a cheating ex (not that i've ever had an experience with it :D)

😂 Oh the bad scope is much worse, you'll always miss that 😉

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12 hours ago, souls33k3r said:

Hi Andy, the issue is unfortunately my Star 71 is not capable of holding its collimation even after being checked by ES twice now so i have been given the option for it to be returned and get a refund.  So that’s why I’m looking for another scope of similar’ish fov. 

In that case I'd recommend the Esprit 80. I got one recently as its more portable than my 100. I'm intending to use it at a dark site. I like that the field flattener is optically matched to the scope. It works very well. There is enough spacing between flattener and sensor to fit in my filter wheel and OAG. I also like having all threaded connections rather than push fit.

Andy.

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10 minutes ago, Andyb90 said:

In that case I'd recommend the Esprit 80. I got one recently as its more portable than my 100. I'm intending to use it at a dark site. I like that the field flattener is optically matched to the scope. It works very well. There is enough spacing between flattener and sensor to fit in my filter wheel and OAG. I also like having all threaded connections rather than push fit.

Andy.

Sweet, seems like you and i (potentially) have the exact kit. 

Can i be a big bug bear and ask, what's the height in CM/MM of the dew shield? The star 71 is 90mm so wanted to confirm how big it is because storing a scope is something i have to consider too. If possible, can i have the exact height please?

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One question regarding the Esprit 80, does it have a camera rotator? One thing that I really loved about the star 71 was that there was a means for me to rotate the camera/FW in a position that I wanted. This was very helpful because my scope when pointing vertically would move in one direction and using a rotator moving the FW in the opposite direction would counter balance the scope movement. So does the Esprit 80 have a camera rotator?

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5 minutes ago, souls33k3r said:

One question regarding the Esprit 80, does it have a camera rotator? One thing that I really loved about the star 71 was that there was a means for me to rotate the camera/FW in a position that I wanted. This was very helpful because my scope when pointing vertically would move in one direction and using a rotator moving the FW in the opposite direction would counter balance the scope movement. So does the Esprit 80 have a camera rotator?

Not in the true sense of the word, but yes, you can rotate the camera independent of the tube by the way the end fitting screws on and is then locked off by a locking ring.

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7 minutes ago, RayD said:

Not in the true sense of the word, but yes, you can rotate the camera independent of the tube by the way the end fitting screws on and is then locked off by a locking ring.

Not sure if I can visualise it properly unless I’ve seen the scope :) but I’ll take that as a yes. So a silly question, would I by any chance when unlocking the ring potentially make things lose within the tube or any of it’s components?

Edit: Ok got it, just seen a quick video on YouTube and can see what you mean. This guy also mentioned that people have sort of complained about this rotating collar that it’s not really as good as it should be and could’ve been better lubricated? I hope I don’t make a right mess of it :) The only last concern I have right now is the potential of the focused hitting the dec puck. With my star 71 I had to rotate the scope within its rings.

Edited by souls33k3r

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6 minutes ago, souls33k3r said:

Not sure if I can visualise it properly unless I’ve seen the scope :) but I’ll take that as a yes. So a silly question, would I by any chance when unlocking the ring potentially make things lose within the tube or any of it’s components?

Hopefully FLO is ok for me to use an image from their site to demonstrate this as it is likely you would buy this from them if going ahead.

You unscrew the locking ring (red arrow) by rotating anti-clockwise towards the tube, and this then loosens the end cap which your camera is connected to (blue arrow).  Rotate the blue bit and then then lock up the red bit to secure.  You will then need to refocus.

828688100_ScreenShot2018-09-17at18_17_50.thumb.png.1b2a24e0b045cb66c253ccfd45efa8e1.png

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14 minutes ago, RayD said:

Hopefully FLO is ok for me to use an image from their site to demonstrate this as it is likely you would buy this from them if going ahead.

You unscrew the locking ring (red arrow) by rotating anti-clockwise towards the tube, and this then loosens the end cap which your camera is connected to (blue arrow).  Rotate the blue bit and then then lock up the red bit to secure.  You will then need to refocus.

828688100_ScreenShot2018-09-17at18_17_50.thumb.png.1b2a24e0b045cb66c253ccfd45efa8e1.png

Ah makes so much more sense. From the YouTube video i mentioned, i got the impression of this (see image below. Apologies FLO for using your image as well) as the locking collar. What is this any way?

You're right about that mate, i'm very much in favour of buying it again from FLO. You just can't beat a quality service :)

esprit.jpg.5aee0798de9ecc601aede10cd6cb6a26.jpg

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