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What are peoples recommendations for a small, lightweight Maksutov for holiday viewing?


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First post but here we go.

I have my main scope but we often go on holiday and it would be nice to have something small (hand luggage preferably) to take with me.  We are off again to somewhere where the skies will be dark and the wine plentiful in 6 weeks time and I would like to get a small Maksutov before then - realistically for hand luggage I don't think I can go above 70mm.

I've done some research but it's slim pickings for advice in this area.  At the moment the main choices are:

Svbony SV41:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Svbony-Maksutov-Multi-Coated-Waterproof-Telescope/dp/B07GN9LL61

Celestron C70:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestron-52238-Mini-Spotting-Scope/dp/B001MUHQBI/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

I am not that concerned about the eyepiece with the telescope, I would be looking to swap it out for something I already have be that individual ones or my Baader Hyperion Zoom.  The lack of a finder scope isn't a huge problem either, I can make a simple one or attach a purchased one.

Has anyone had any direct experience with either of these scopes?  Any advice around image quality or portability?  Anything else I should consider in this type of range?

Thanks.

MM.

Edited by MonsterMagnet
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22 minutes ago, MonsterMagnet said:

First post but here we go.

I have my main scope but we often go on holiday and it would be nice to have something small (hand luggage preferably) to take with me.  We are off again to somewhere where the skies will be dark and the wine plentiful in 6 weeks time and I would like to get a small Maksutov before then - realistically for hand luggage I don't think I can go above 70mm.

I've done some research but it's slim pickings for advice in this area.  At the moment the main choices are:

Svbony SV41:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Svbony-Maksutov-Multi-Coated-Waterproof-Telescope/dp/B07GN9LL61

Celestron C70:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestron-52238-Mini-Spotting-Scope/dp/B001MUHQBI/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

I am not that concerned about the eyepiece with the telescope, I would be looking to swap it out for something I already have be that individual ones or my Baader Hyperion Zoom.  The lack of a finder scope isn't a huge problem either, I can make a simple one or attach a purchased one.

Has anyone had any direct experience with either of these scopes?  Any advice around image quality or portability?  Anything else I should consider in this type of range?

Thanks.

MM.

Quite a big discussion on the Svbony mini-mak in this thread:  

 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Shimrod said:

Quite a big discussion on the Svbony mini-mak in this thread:  

 

Thanks - I did have a look over that thread but I'll go have a proper read.

I couldn't really find an equivalent on the C70 but will take another look.  Happy to hear about any alternatives as well.

MM.

Edited by MonsterMagnet
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Why limit things to 70mm? I have taken a deforked Meade ETX90 (90mm Maksutov) on planes to the USA twice and into Europe in hand luggage. Weight was very low. 70mm is small for an obstructed scope. At that size I’d prefer a refractor. 

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6 minutes ago, Graham Darke said:

Why limit things to 70mm? I have taken a deforked Meade ETX90 (90mm Maksutov) on planes to the USA twice and into Europe in hand luggage. Weight was very low. 70mm is small for an obstructed scope. At that size I’d prefer a refractor. 

Hand luggage is restricted to 10kg within Europe with very harsh size guidance (something like 40cm x 20cm x 25cm - I haven't checked exactly).  They are a bit stricter internally than transatlantic.  I did look at the Celestron C90 but it looks to big for hand luggage and clothes for a week.  It's also a bit more expensive but that isn't the main concern.  I'll take another look but I want to take some underwear as well :).

MM

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2 minutes ago, Graham Darke said:

Ah, clothes yes….unless you stick to one pair of Speedos for the week and squeeze in the biggest scope you can 😉

Certainly an option.

Not sure the missus will be impressed though 😂

MM.

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30 minutes ago, MonsterMagnet said:

Hand luggage is restricted to 10kg within Europe with very harsh size guidance (something like 40cm x 20cm x 25cm - I haven't checked exactly).  They are a bit stricter internally than transatlantic.  I did look at the Celestron C90 but it looks to big for hand luggage and clothes for a week.  It's also a bit more expensive but that isn't the main concern.  I'll take another look but I want to take some underwear as well :).

MM

Doesn’t it depend on the airline? EasyJet don’t have a weight limit and will accept larger bags than that. I intend to take a small reflector.

https://www.mybaggage.com/shipping/airlines/easyjet-baggage-allowance/

 

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23 minutes ago, PeterStudz said:

Doesn’t it depend on the airline? EasyJet don’t have a weight limit and will accept larger bags than that. I intend to take a small reflector.

https://www.mybaggage.com/shipping/airlines/easyjet-baggage-allowance/

 

Possibly, most seem to stop at 10kg in my experience.  That info on EasyJet seems wrong - they say 15kg if you book a "large" cabin bag.

I'm not on EasyJet this time unfortunately.

MM

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25 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

Maybe go with this instead?

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p14791_Tecnosky-AC-62-520--Refraktor---optischer-Tubus.html

I'm inclined that it will give better views and will certainly allow form wider field without vignetting.

It looks good and I am sure it will give better views but it's 5.4kg without a tripod and the luggage limit is 10kg on these airlines.  If I often took checked baggage then it would be excellent.

MM

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5 minutes ago, MonsterMagnet said:

Possibly, most seem to stop at 10kg in my experience.  That info on EasyJet seems wrong - they say 15kg if you book a "large" cabin bag.

I'm not on EasyJet this time unfortunately.

MM

It’s correct. I’ve been there and done it before, although not with a telescope! 15kg is for checked baggage which you pay for. Cabin baggage has no weight limit  and is free. 

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15 minutes ago, PeterStudz said:

It’s correct. I’ve been there and done it before, although not with a telescope! 15kg is for checked baggage which you pay for. Cabin baggage has no weight limit  and is free. 

https://www.easyjet.com/en/help/baggage/cabin-bag-and-hold-luggage

Looks like the "smaller" cabin bag can be 15kg (which is quite a lot) and the bigger non-checked one doesn't have a limit.

Worth remembering for the future!

MM

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3 hours ago, MonsterMagnet said:

https://www.easyjet.com/en/help/baggage/cabin-bag-and-hold-luggage

Looks like the "smaller" cabin bag can be 15kg (which is quite a lot) and the bigger non-checked one doesn't have a limit.

Worth remembering for the future!

MM

I believe that’s out of date. From the 10th Feb things changed.

https://www.easyjet.com/ejcms/cache/medialibrary/files/business-partners-library/cabin-bags---tmcs---en.pdf

Mind, they have never ever checked the weight of my cabin baggage. Size yes. If they did then I’d just show them their own information  :) Although I’d be struggling to get a small reflector, mount and small tripod to weight over 10kg. 

 

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Before deciding on the Svbony over the C70 I did some research and it soon became apparent that the C70 had problems with a poor prism amd so so optics so I soon crossed it off the list.

The Svbony has nice sharp optics and has surprised me with how capable it is for an inexpensive little mak. The stock zoom is usable but using a better zoom or a fixed eyepiece is worth it.

F03CB240-673D-4123-869B-4EBA9FA61F15.jpeg

Edited by johninderby
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Like Vlaiv, I wonder why you'd go for a Mak? Long focal lengths are good for the planets but most people can see those at home. I watched a shadow transit of Jupiter from beneath a street light in a town, years ago. When you holiday under dark skies it is likely to be at a time of year with the Milky Way overhead and lots of gloriously starry fields on show.  A small scope will never be a great tool for viewing smaller deep sky objects but what a short FL can do well is give a wide field. Also, if you have a larger scope at home, might there not be something to be said for having a very different second scope like a refractor?

Olly

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1 hour ago, ollypenrice said:

Like Vlaiv, I wonder why you'd go for a Mak? Long focal lengths are good for the planets but most people can see those at home. I watched a shadow transit of Jupiter from beneath a street light in a town, years ago. When you holiday under dark skies it is likely to be at a time of year with the Milky Way overhead and lots of gloriously starry fields on show.  A small scope will never be a great tool for viewing smaller deep sky objects but what a short FL can do well is give a wide field. Also, if you have a larger scope at home, 

Olly

Thanks for the suggestion.

Do you have a specific one in mind?

You will need to remember the constraints of hand luggage only so that's 10kg max (including clothes etc) and 55cm x 40cm x 20cm for everything.

In the end it's for some fun and enjoyment whilst having a glass of wine in somewhere with dark skies so something that works is better than nothing.

MM

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7 minutes ago, johninderby said:

How about the SW Evolux62 then? Super compact at only 295mm long retracted. I have the 82 mm version and am impressed at just good the optics and build quality are. Will take very high magnification which is one sign of excellent optics. 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/telescopes-in-stock/sky-watcher-evolux-62ed-ota.html

That looks very nice indeed.

2.5kg is probably OK although I would need a tripod and mount.  It's probably also right at the top or perhaps even more than I think I'm going to pay for something that will get fun but fairly rare usage.

I'm going to have a proper read of your longer thread on the SV421 today - do you still use it?

MM

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8 minutes ago, MonsterMagnet said:

That looks very nice indeed.

2.5kg is probably OK although I would need a tripod and mount.  It's probably also right at the top or perhaps even more than I think I'm going to pay for something that will get fun but fairly rare usage.

I'm going to have a proper read of your longer thread on the SV421 today - do you still use it?

MM

Yes I still use the Svbony 70 mak. super portable👍🏻

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11 hours ago, MonsterMagnet said:

It looks good and I am sure it will give better views but it's 5.4kg without a tripod and the luggage limit is 10kg on these airlines.  If I often took checked baggage then it would be excellent.

MM

I think that 5.4kg quote is whole package with included eyepieces, 45 degree diagonal for terrestrial and that case that all comes in. Scope itself is less than 2Kg as far as I was able to find online.

(check out Vixen A62SS and Orion StarBlast 62mm - same scopes from Long Perng as the one I linked and both quoted at ~1.5Kg / 3.1lbs=

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Leaving the scope choices to others and returning to luggage.
I have had 'discussions' with airline staff several times over the years.
Here is what has worked for me.

Find out, from the airline web site, what the size and weight restrictions are generally.
Check carefully for anything that may differ on your specific flight.
Print off the web pages - leaving the web address on the top of the page.
Make you have the pages with you along with your travel documents.

If you encounter problems, show them the printed information.
This proved essential when someone said I had overweight cases, wanting to charge me hundreds of pounds.
I pointed out it was within the airline dive equipment allowance and showed my dive certification as required. This apparently counted for nothing.
Then I produced the written evidence from their web site backing up my assertion. Begrudgingly it was accepted.

Some airlines require that you insert cabin bags into a frame or cage as a size gauge.
They get awkward and suspicious about about anything that looks a snug fit in the cage.
Charging you extra for an over size bag makes more profit than a straightforward ticket sale.
Other airlines aren't that fussed.

HTH, David.

 

 

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I have airlined with an ST80, Skymax 102 and ZenithStar 66.  The only reason I travelled south with the Skymax was for a Mars opposition - the planet was at its largest for 20 years, but was only at 10 degrees elevation at home.  Mars was a lovely big sight in the eyepiece, but my visit coincided with a planet-wide Martian dust storm - there was no detail to see, nothing at all!

The refractors performed beautifully for DSOs in dark sky surroundings however. The experience was better with the ZS66 not because the optics are sharper, but because I had also packed my 50mm finderscope, and I was ten years more experienced in finding stuff! Also I was backpacking in Nepal with the ST80 and a bulky AZ3 tripod, which I regretted every step of the way 😀, while the ZS66 had a carbon fibre tripod and light mount head.

I am looking at getting a Long Perng 90/500 semi-apo for future trips, and grab and go duties generally. 

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I can remember reading on here that someone had trouble with a “small counterweight”. I don’t know how small is small. The suggestion was that the counterweight (maybe plus bar) could be used as a weapon and/or to cause damage to the aircraft. In the end it had to go in the hold. I can see and understand how that could be an issue. Basically anything with significant weight that could also be used like a hammer. Then there’s tools like screw drivers. I’ve had a problem when, by mistake, I left a small-ish screw driver in my bag. It was confiscated. 

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I tried the sv41, it is possible that I got a bad sample because the collimation was way out, off focus the pattern looked more like a wankel rotor than a disc and any bright objects has noticeable flaring to one side. Having said that it has a 48mm thread which you can just screw a 2" to 1.25" adaptor to to take normal eyepieces.

I spotted this alternative, but not tried it

https://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/acuter-voyager-mak-80-telescope.html

I have ended up using an old 60mm refractor on a photo tripod with a fluid head for now.

 

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