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What’s the refractor sweet spot ?


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On 22/08/2021 at 14:02, Deadlake said:

Someone who owns both, he sold the Baader. Mind hair’s breadth between them. He also had specialist application of NV. For visual very close.

Thank you Deadlake for correcting your post from reportedly “…. not as good”  to …. Hairs breath….”.

 

Words make a big difference in the message they convey.

 

I am aware that the Stowaway is made by Astro-Physics and Ronald has a huge die-hard, loyal following in the US, so much so that on CN one can say no wrong about AP scopes.

 

In fact, I owned several AP scopes, including the Stowaway, which I sold after getting the Baader 95/580 and still continue to own  two AP scopes.

 

My reason for selling the Stowaway and not the Baader TC is, for reasons mentioned above, the former was easier to sell in the US.

 

Doing a quick search on SGL, found the following post.

 

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/322208-travel-scope-baader-travel-companion-or-ap-stowaway/page/2/

 

If I may quote from the link @Gavstar, someone who has/had both scopes:

“I have done a couple of comparisons under the stars. One area I think the Baader possibly has an edge is transmission. On the trapezium the f star is slightly easier to see with the Baader than the Stowaway imo. “

 

I write this post so as to be fair to Baader, an excellent German company, as much so, as AP. IMO.

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As to the sweet spot for AP, if I had just one scope to keep, it would be the AP 130 GT, with the upgraded 3.5" focuser for the GTX. And for AP, use the 0.72x Quad Telecompressor Corrector. Just my two cents.

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7 minutes ago, mauzito said:

As to the sweet spot for AP, if I had just one scope to keep, it would be the AP 130 GT, with the upgraded 3.5" focuser for the GTX. And for AP, use the 0.72x Quad Telecompressor Corrector. Just my two cents.

I have an LZOS 130/F6 which is very good. For the Baader 95/580 I was tempted when Gavin put his up for sale, however as mentioned for NV usage the Stowaway was better. If the Baader is better for visual the other option would be to use the Baader for visual and then buy a fast achromat for NV usage, since colour is no long an issue and the faster the scope the better. Also in the NV case a FSQ-85 is another option.

Edited by Deadlake
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I’d also put this scope forward, compact mini TOE scope, very fast for wide field/NV applications.

https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/founder-optics-telescopes.html

Note: just because it uses the same tube as other Long Perng scopes does not mean same lens cell. Different dimensions to the FLO flavour.

 

Edited by Deadlake
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I’m a bit of a refractor fan having 40mm, 60mm, 76mm, 85mm, 92mm, 130mm and 160mm fracs.

As a general “cover all bases well” (lunar, planetary and DSOs) my preference is my AP130GTX which at f6.3 is still easy to lift, mount, transport etc. Obviously it still has limited aperture compared to a big dob but for me it’s the best compromise for a refractor. (In practice I would also want a 10-12 inch reflector of some description for galaxies, smaller nebulae etc). 
 

As a grab and go, I’ve found 100mm fracs (I’ve previously had a Tak fc100df and fc100dl) a bit too on the long side, particularly if I want to take it on a plane. So my preference for this role is an 85mm to 95mm. I did have all of the Baader 95mm tc, AP Stowaway 92mm, Tak Fsq85 and tv85 at the same time and enjoyed using them all and comparing them side by side. However, I knew that I was duplicating myself a lot at this aperture so made the decision to reduce the number.

The fsq85 was the last one I bought and it’s flatfield and fast f5.3 pairs with night vision use fantastically - it’s also really nice for planetary even with the limited aperture. So this is my preferred scope for overseas trips. 

The tv85 was my first refractor and I really liked it but it just wasn’t up to the quality of the others, so I sold it.

Finally, I decided I would pick between the stowaway or the Baader. I sometimes find over time my opinion changes with more use, and this happened with the Baader. Initial impressions were very positive and maybe there was a tiny tiny edge on lunar observing to the AP. But the Baader being f5.9 and having a shorter focal length did show more field curvature than the AP (both with and without Nv). The feathertouch focuser of the Stowaway is imo superior to the Baader focuser and generally I preferred the build quality of the stowaway. When I reflected on my observing sessions with each scope I just found that I had more fun with the Stowaway than the Baader. So I sold the Baader.

The fsq85 and Stowaway are the best scopes at this travel/grab and go aperture for me but obviously it’s just my personal opinion. Also I only do visual not AP (apart from some phone pics!). They are both keepers! :)

Edited by GavStar
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5 hours ago, GavStar said:

As a general “cover all bases well” (lunar, planetary and DSOs) my preference is my AP130GTX which at f6.3 is still easy to lift, mount, transport etc.

I find my LZOS 130/6 is great for length, aperture and transport. Could be a little lighter, however that would mean giving up on FT focuser and rings. Like the 130GTX the shorter tube versus a 4” is preferable for transportation.

Edited by Deadlake
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On 24/08/2021 at 15:06, GavStar said:

I’m a bit of a refractor fan having 40mm, 60mm, 76mm, 85mm, 92mm, 130mm and 160mm fracs.

As a general “cover all bases well” (lunar, planetary and DSOs) my preference is my AP130GTX which at f6.3 is still easy to lift, mount, transport etc. Obviously it still has limited aperture compared to a big dob but for me it’s the best compromise for a refractor. (In practice I would also want a 10-12 inch reflector of some description for galaxies, smaller nebulae etc). 
 

As a grab and go, I’ve found 100mm fracs (I’ve previously had a Tak fc100df and fc100dl) a bit too on the long side, particularly if I want to take it on a plane. So my preference for this role is an 85mm to 95mm. I did have all of the Baader 95mm tc, AP Stowaway 92mm, Tak Fsq85 and tv85 at the same time and enjoyed using them all and comparing them side by side. However, I knew that I was duplicating myself a lot at this aperture so made the decision to reduce the number.

The fsq85 was the last one I bought and it’s flatfield and fast f5.3 pairs with night vision use fantastically - it’s also really nice for planetary even with the limited aperture. So this is my preferred scope for overseas trips. 

The tv85 was my first refractor and I really liked it but it just wasn’t up to the quality of the others, so I sold it.

Finally, I decided I would pick between the stowaway or the Baader. I sometimes find over time my opinion changes with more use, and this happened with the Baader. Initial impressions were very positive and maybe there was a tiny tiny edge on lunar observing to the AP. But the Baader being f5.9 and having a shorter focal length did show more field curvature than the AP (both with and without Nv). The feathertouch focuser of the Stowaway is imo superior to the Baader focuser and generally I preferred the build quality of the stowaway. When I reflected on my observing sessions with each scope I just found that I had more fun with the Stowaway than the Baader. So I sold the Baader.

The fsq85 and Stowaway are the best scopes at this travel/grab and go aperture for me but obviously it’s just my personal opinion. Also I only do visual not AP (apart from some phone pics!). They are both keepers! :)

Thank you for the detailed report based on your observations.  Much appreciated.

 

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I have the Baader 580/95, which is f6.1.  It has the same dimensions as the original 560/95, f5.9.

Visually, to my eyes, I could not see any appreciable differences between the Stowaway 92, f6.65 and the Baader 580/95, f6.1.  As for focusers, like many, I generally like the FT focuser, which I have on all my scopes except the Baader. But then, I cannot find fault with the Baader RT Diamond SteelTrack Focuser.  I also like the idea of fitting the SteelDrive II motor focuser with controller for heavier loads. 

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For visual observation I find myself reaching for my ED120 F/7.5 refractor an awful lot these days. It's not quite grab and go but it's readily portable and I can carry both scope and mount (usually the Skytee II) around the garden quite easily in one piece.

The scope can show a 3 degree true field at one end and can handle 300x or more at the other. Enough aperture to show quite a lot of deep sky objects, some resolution in globular clusters and good planetary detail. Resolves tough double stars really well too !

 

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35 minutes ago, John said:

For visual observation I find myself reaching for my ED120 F/7.5 refractor an awful lot these days. It's not quite grab and go but it's readily portable and I can carry both scope and mount (usually the Skytee II) around the garden quite easily in one piece.

The scope can show a 3 degree true field at one end and can handle 300x or more at the other. Enough aperture to show quite a lot of deep sky objects, some resolution in globular clusters and good planetary detail. Resolves tough double stars really well too !

 

Do you find your 130 F9.2 a little to big to get out most nights? 

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3 hours ago, Deadlake said:

Do you find your 130 F9.2 a little to big to get out most nights? 

Putting it and the T-Rex mount out takes a little longer and a little more effort than my other scopes. It's not massively different though. I just think the ED120 is pretty compact and easy to manage for a near-5 inch refractor. The Tak is the quickest and easiest of all of them though - practically no cool down time needed so you can get observing, even at high powers, straight away.

4refractors.JPG.8f6d06124d666c46dddb4a1fe31aea34.JPG

 

 

 

Edited by John
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I've just re-read the opening post in this thread and realized that it was about imaging scopes. None of mine are optimum for that purpose really :undecided:

 

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11 minutes ago, John said:

I've just re-read the opening post in this thread and realized that it was about imaging scopes. None of mine are optimum for that purpose really :undecided:

 

That dawned on me too, John. We do get carried away sometimes 🤣

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52 minutes ago, John said:

Putting it and the T-Rex mount out takes a little longer and a little more effort than my other scopes. It's not massively different though. I just think the ED120 is pretty compact and easy to manage for a near-5 inch refractor. The Tak is the quickest and easiest of all of them though - practically no cool down time needed so you can get observing, even at high powers, straight away.

4refractors.JPG.8f6d06124d666c46dddb4a1fe31aea34.JPG

 

 

 


The 130 mm is shorter then the 103 mm, makes it less wieldy to get out.

image.thumb.jpeg.c67702d8adaa358fdc64ae5dc5908501.jpeg


Also works well as an imaging scope if needed. 😃

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17 minutes ago, Deadlake said:


The 130 mm is shorter then the 103 mm, makes it less wieldy to get out.

image.thumb.jpeg.c67702d8adaa358fdc64ae5dc5908501.jpeg


Also works well as an imaging scope if needed. 😃

My 130 F/9.2 is around the same length as my ED120 when it's dew shield and focuser extension are retracted. For some reason I always post pics of it at "full length" :rolleyes2:

The 130 weighs around 2kg more than the ED120. Not a huge difference.

 

 

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9 hours ago, John said:

I've just re-read the opening post in this thread and realized that it was about imaging scopes. None of mine are optimum for that purpose really :undecided:

 

No problem it’s all good, fracs being so pricey I want to make sure I don’t end up with something very nice but too restrictive with what I can achieve with it.

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