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parallaxerr

TS Optics 102ED FPL51 - Any info/reviews/users?

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"... for DSO, which makes up 95% of my observing... "

Is this balance likely to change ?

If not, going for an ED for 5% of your viewing interests might mean accepting aperture compromises to DSO viewing. With your desire to upgrade the focuser and continue to use the AZ-4 mount, it's a tricky balancing act :icon_scratch:

William Optics used to market a 110mm F/5.95 FPL-51 ED doublet which might have fitted the requirements and it sells, when it comes up, for £500-£600.

 

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OK I think my mind is made up, 102 it is. Versus the ST120 option I lose a bit of aperture but also lose weight thus reduce mount vibration, gain portability, ED optics and a more premium scope all round.

Knowing what I can observe from home with my LP levels and available horizons, the biggest gains with any scope, for me, are going to be had by travelling to a more open dark site, which will hopefully become an option soon where any portability and weight gains will become a factor.

Now to decide which one...

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Jon, I'm sure your 102, if you go ahead and buy one, will do you proud - especially if you're taking it out to dark skies.  At home my skies are not too bad, but I've taken the AT102 to Kelling for the last couple of years in the Autumn, and wow!  Just like any scope that's taken to Kelling it will perform like a bigger scope in excellent transparent skies. In such skies the AT102 is a superb deep sky scope offering some stunning views - just a shame I have to come home at the end of my stay.  Still, only seven months until my next trip :smile:.  Best of luck.

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3 hours ago, John said:

"... for DSO, which makes up 95% of my observing... "

Is this balance likely to change ?

If not, going for an ED for 5% of your viewing interests might mean accepting aperture compromises to DSO viewing. With your desire to upgrade the focuser and continue to use the AZ-4 mount, it's a tricky balancing act :icon_scratch:

William Optics used to market a 110mm F/5.95 FPL-51 ED doublet which might have fitted the requirements and it sells, when it comes up, for £500-£600.

 

This is/was the dilemma John. The balance is not likely to change, however going bigger than the AZ4 is a definite no-no for the foreseeable future. Choosing the 102ED is as much about compromising size & weight as it is aperture.

I did look at the Altair 110ED, but it seems their refractor weights are on an exponential scale, even for a small increase in aperture.

First step is to take delivery of the AZ4 tomorrow and see how the 80mm F7.5 achro fits, that should give me an idea on how a bigger scope will sit.

Edited by parallaxerr
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4 hours ago, parallaxerr said:

Just when I thought I had it all worked out! I must admit, the ST120 went much deeper than I ever expected.

If I had another, I'd have to upgrade the focuser so the cost would be near the same as the 102ED. From experience I know this would put the scope at least 1kg over the specified 102 weight and I've become very sensitive to vibration, so I fear the 120 may push the AZ4 a bit further than I'm comfortable with?

 

Hi Jon,

Most of my observing is lunar and planetary, mostly because my site tends to be misty and not because I have no interest in dso's. Obviously, even if my site had really dark skies, a 4" scope will have limits with regard to light grasp. However, I've found by blocking out stray light from entering my eye from surrounding light sources by using a dark hood or blanket over my head and eyepiece,  I can attain a really good level of dark adaption. Rather than rushing from one dso to the next, I will spend some time observing each, even upto an hour depending on the intricacy or difficulty of the target. I think you'll find the 102ED to be a surprisingly good fuzzy finder. TeleVue designed one of the world's most popular 4" refractors as a visual rich field/deep sky scope, so if they ere not very good on dso targets, I think TeleVue would have dropped them decades ago.

I've attached a few dso sketches made from home on the outskirts of Burnley on the Lanc's/York's border. All sketches were made using a 100mm F7.4 apo. 

2130794176_2019-02-1714_46_26.thumb.jpg.9efb96d8bf6d1c060d8aeb3d9d034705.jpg M82 

1183021051_2019-02-1714_44_36.thumb.jpg.51772a34362cee3941dcbfd766ebcbd3.jpg M33

1468958421_2019-02-1714_43_40.thumb.jpg.e2c553fbdcacf2490aa3ac910a558db9.jpg M97

1405080950_2019-02-1714_41_42.thumb.jpg.f536f2d7a96df6fee4d933cafdf52187.jpg M78

139519066_2019-02-1714_42_36.thumb.jpg.c7f873016e81f6544f2be9913e6b2eb5.jpg M42 

646146244_2017-07-1819_16_53.jpg.f8ca41786a61849a88e814bb8df5c71b.jpg M57 

1952923925_2017-07-1709_13_23.jpg.1b4937fa0f94c33a295227b0c22d5b77.jpg M27 

IMG_20160205_175527.JPG.8141fecf4ac4948e3e44ea9d7fe36d7a.thumb.JPG.df235ded44e4ab302812da1d85e00f92.JPGM45 

 

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1 hour ago, parallaxerr said:

This is/was the dilemma John. The balance is not likely to change, however going bigger than the AZ4 is a definite no-no for the foreseeable future. Choosing the 102ED is as much about compromising size & weight as it is aperture.

I did look at the Altair 110ED, but it seems their refractor weights are on an exponential scale, even for a small increase in aperture.

First step is to take delivery of the AZ4 tomorrow and see how the 80mm F7.5 achro fits, that should give me an idea on how a bigger scope will sit.

What is the main difference between the AZ4 and AZ5? I was thinking about the 5 myself?

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3 minutes ago, david_taurus83 said:

What is the main difference between the AZ4 and AZ5? I was thinking about the 5 myself?

I think the main difference I can see is the AZ5 has slomo cables. Think the weight capacity is the same.

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Yes, slow mo cables are the main difference. I went for the AZ4 because a) some say it actually handles more weight/is more stable b) it's ridiculously cheap now @ £170 with steel legs.

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1 hour ago, mikeDnight said:

Hi Jon,

Most of my observing is lunar and planetary, mostly because my site tends to be misty and not because I have no interest in dso's. Obviously, even if my site had really dark skies, a 4" scope will have limits with regard to light grasp. However, I've found by blocking out stray light from entering my eye from surrounding light sources by using a dark hood or blanket over my head and eyepiece,  I can attain a really good level of dark adaption. Rather than rushing from one dso to the next, I will spend some time observing each, even upto an hour depending on the intricacy or difficulty of the target. I think you'll find the 102ED to be a surprisingly good fuzzy finder. TeleVue designed one of the world's most popular 4" refractors as a visual rich field/deep sky scope, so if they ere not very good on dso targets, I think TeleVue would have dropped them decades ago.

I've attached a few dso sketches made from home on the outskirts of Burnley on the Lanc's/York's border. All sketches were made using a 100mm F7.4 apo. 

2130794176_2019-02-1714_46_26.thumb.jpg.9efb96d8bf6d1c060d8aeb3d9d034705.jpg M82 

1183021051_2019-02-1714_44_36.thumb.jpg.51772a34362cee3941dcbfd766ebcbd3.jpg M33

1468958421_2019-02-1714_43_40.thumb.jpg.e2c553fbdcacf2490aa3ac910a558db9.jpg M97

1405080950_2019-02-1714_41_42.thumb.jpg.f536f2d7a96df6fee4d933cafdf52187.jpg M78

139519066_2019-02-1714_42_36.thumb.jpg.c7f873016e81f6544f2be9913e6b2eb5.jpg M42 

646146244_2017-07-1819_16_53.jpg.f8ca41786a61849a88e814bb8df5c71b.jpg M57 

1952923925_2017-07-1709_13_23.jpg.1b4937fa0f94c33a295227b0c22d5b77.jpg M27 

IMG_20160205_175527.JPG.8141fecf4ac4948e3e44ea9d7fe36d7a.thumb.JPG.df235ded44e4ab302812da1d85e00f92.JPGM45 

 

Mike, those are fantastic sketches and testament to the 4" apo :)

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So I had a reply from the Stellarvue 102ED seller on ABS.

He is the second owner, only recently having purchased it as part of a bundle. It is 10yrs old, originally purchased from Altair Astro but he claims condition to be a solid 9.5/10. I've asked about the glass just to measure the pricing, but I'm 99% positive it's the FPL51 version.

So what would you do?

1. 10 year old Stellarvue SV102ED with Feathertouch focuser and nice clamshell ring. £600 + travel/postage

2. Brand new Altair Astro Ascent ED102 FPL51 with 2.5" R&P, std tube rings etc. £549 delivered to the door

To be honest I'm leaning towards the Altair version. I do like new.

Edited by parallaxerr

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2 minutes ago, parallaxerr said:

So I had a reply from the Stellarvue 102ED seller on ABS.

He is the second owner, only recently having purchased it as part of a bundle. It is 10yrs old, originally purchased from Altair Astro but he claims condition to be a solid 9.5/10. I've asked about the glass just to measure the pricing, but I'm 99% positive it's the FPL51 version.

So what would you do?

1. 10 year old Stellarvue SV102ED with Feathertouch focuser and nice clamshell ring. £600 + travel/postage

2. Brand new Altair Astro Ascent ED102 FPL51 with 2.5" R&P, std tube rings etc. £549 delivered to the door

To be honest I'm leaning towards the Altair version. I do like new.

My opinion (for what it's worth as I am a rookie) having done some reading around is that I love the look of the AA and it's a great price brand new. But I am the same as you, love new (or at least a very very trusted seller that when they say something is "as new" it really is... Haha 😀).

Just purchased a used ED100 off this site, for my nephew, and having seen the AA f7 am seriously considering treating myself.

May go for an AZ5 however, only reason is I already have a couple of spare steel tripods and I cannot find an AZ4 mount sold without tripod.

Whichever you choose wishing you the best with it. And thanks for starting this thread, otherwise I wouldn't have found out about the AA 😀

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I saw that 102 on ABS earlier as well. I am struggling to comprehend how at 600 it is a good value - even with FT focuser. IMO seeing AA focusers and if the one on AA 102 is anything like the one on Starwave 80 ED-r my brain can't go over the fact that you get exactly the same telescope but 10 years old for more??? money?? And we saw SW 100ED sold for 400 with accessories and on Ebay there is one for 380 starting price that seems can't be sold for months - with accessories as well. Strange pricing in Astro world. Or are we preying on 'newbies'? I know I overpaid a few things he he.

The same with 72 Megrez that popped up on ABS. 320 is the price while I bet very similar in performance SW 72 ( from reviews ) is 265 new???

 

Edited by heliumstar
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1 hour ago, david_taurus83 said:

What is the main difference between the AZ4 and AZ5? I was thinking about the 5 myself?

The AZ5 has slow motion controls in both altitude and azimuth but it isn't as beefy or as solid as the AZ4 Dave. I've had both mounts, and although I found the AZ5 to be reasonable for carrying my lightweight FC100DC, it wasn't as solid as the AZ4. I find the AZ4 on a solid tripod to be a very good Altaz. I use a Vixen GP mounted on a steel pier as my main work horse, but I also use a AZ4 on a heavy duty Vixen aluminium tripod as a light weight grab and go, and it is remarkably solid. If you fancy a solid altazimuth with slow motion controls, you might like to search for a second hand Vixen Polaris or Super Polaris mount. I've just given a Polaris mount to my friend Derek for use with his Sky 90. The weakest of these is the AZ5!

20190214_103827.thumb.jpg.24a3bb6f150916c9694ce68ee8ec1e98.jpg Derek with his Sky90 on VP

733377396_2019-02-1717_20_56.png.fe9be91485a4208393408774a551df84.pngAZ5282508358_2019-01-2819_57_27.thumb.jpg.c25000ecd4165d4770582965330af469.jpg AZ4

 

Vixen GP

20190213_093506.thumb.jpg.61632454f61cdd1c98b426d09d2b38b4.jpg

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29 minutes ago, heliumstar said:

I saw that 102 on ABS earlier as well. I am struggling to comprehend how at 600 it is a good value - even with FT focuser. IMO seeing AA focusers and if the one on AA 102 is anything like the one on Starwave 80 ED-r my brain can't go over the fact that you get exactly the same telescope but 10 years old for more??? money?? And we saw SW 100ED sold for 400 with accessories and on Ebay there is one for 380 starting price that seems can't be sold for months - with accessories as well. Strange pricing in Astro world. Or are we preying on 'newbies'? I know I overpaid a few things he he.

The same with 72 Megrez that popped up on ABS. 320 is the price while I bet very similar in performance SW 72 ( from reviews ) is 265 new???

 

That pretty much sums up my thinking. I was wondering if someone was going to point out some outstanding feature of the SV that made it better value than the AA, but I don't think there is one.

Edited by parallaxerr

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55 minutes ago, parallaxerr said:

So I had a reply from the Stellarvue 102ED seller on ABS.

He is the second owner, only recently having purchased it as part of a bundle. It is 10yrs old, originally purchased from Altair Astro but he claims condition to be a solid 9.5/10. I've asked about the glass just to measure the pricing, but I'm 99% positive it's the FPL51 version.

So what would you do?

1. 10 year old Stellarvue SV102ED with Feathertouch focuser and nice clamshell ring. £600 + travel/postage

2. Brand new Altair Astro Ascent ED102 FPL51 with 2.5" R&P, std tube rings etc. £549 delivered to the door

To be honest I'm leaning towards the Altair version. I do like new.

I'm going new Jon, the AA scope is seriously good value, nice aperture, lovely focal length and a 'do it all scope', imho.

Paired with either a sky tee2 or the AZ4, its a win win for me.

Good luck shopping, hoping to get mine in the next month.

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Mike has confirmed my feelings on the differences between the AZ-5 and the AZ-4. The latter will hold more and hold it steadier IMHO. No slow motion controls though. Skytee 2 is a much more heavier duty mount again - mine holds my 130mm F/9.2 triplet refractor pretty well and that scope would completely swamp an AZ-4.

 

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Tha AA 102 for 599 is seriously inviting :D

It seems they have this new Ascent range. They don't mention the glass type though and it looks like 80 ED-re is out of stock. Would be interesting to see the difference in build quality. Something gotta give for the same price?

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3 minutes ago, heliumstar said:

Tha AA 102 for 599 is seriously inviting :D

It seems they have this new Ascent range. They don't mention the glass type though and it looks like 80 ED-re is out of stock. Would be interesting to see the difference in build quality. Something gotta give for the same price?

Haven't seen the glass type mentioned anywhere, with the f7 or f11

 

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If the glass type is not mentioned assume FPL-51 or a Chinese equivalent. The price would indiate that too. FPL-53 (or equivilent) objectives are quite a bit more expensive due to the cost of the ED glass blanks.

 

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I think it's widely accepted/expected to be FPL51. The lens has been around for years now.

Altair only really started declaring glass type when they moved up to FPL53.

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It's a very tricky one to judge. The only two things I would add are that I think Stellarvue's QC is (and was) excellent from what I've heard, so you could be sure the lens was a good un. Secondly, a Feathertouch is a Feathertouch, can't really argue with that.

Notwithstanding what I've said, I guess the thinking man's choice is the new scope.

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The Stellarvue ED102 is an older model I think. The 102ED Access has replaced it and I think they changed the glass in that one.

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Jon you could wait and go to the Practical Astro Show in Kettering on the 9th March - AA are one of the sponsors. You could ask them to bring along the scope to have a good look plus ask questions. You may even get a show discount.

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On 15/02/2019 at 17:50, parallaxerr said:

I've gone from an 80ED to 120ED and back to an 80mm refractor and I think it's clear now that I need to split the difference and settle for a one scope does all 4" ED.

If I could pick only one scope to do every role from observing to imaging of both planets and DSO, I'd likely pick a good 4" F7 ED refractor. 

Thankfully I'm allowed several scopes though 👍 

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7 hours ago, david_taurus83 said:

What is the main difference between the AZ4 and AZ5? I was thinking about the 5 myself?

David, I've had both of these and still have the AZ4. 

Whatever the spec says, the AZ4 is FAR more steady and will take a heavier load. 

The azimuth slow motion on the AZ5 comes out at such a strange angle from the mount that you will never be able to reach it if you have anything but a short scope - or you have very long arms!

True, the AZ4 doesn't have slow motions, but it is  smoother to push around, or at least mine is.

The AZ5 is prettier, but then looks aren't everything :smile:.

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