Jump to content

Sketches

First scope - 4" Refractor FPL-53 Doublet - Full Setup Target £2k


Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Elp said:

I would say the apo is best visually with a Newtonian a very close second. 

I'd also swap your choice of diagonal and eyepiece as you can get better or just as good for cheaper. If you're set on a 2" diagonal I found the Altair dielectric very crisp, I bought it thinking it will be future proof for 2" eyepieces, but I've never bought one or felt the need to. Hence stick with a 1.25" and save money in the process with your eyepieces. The WO dielectric diagonal is also good. For plossls the bst starguider eyepieces are decent, the lower power televues (high power I find the glass too small), the ES range, vixen npl and celestron Xcel LX are also good. You can get a 30mm, 20mm and a 2x Barlow lens which will make your eyepieces 15mm and 10mm, it's all you need to start.

Oh and get a Rigel Quikfinder or a telrad, a red dot doesn't compare.

I think I'd be hard-pushed to move away from the 102 APO now.

I will look into the 1.25 Diagonals.

Rigel Quikfinder looks to be worthy of consideration.

Thank you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, bosun21 said:

I am another thumbs up for the Starfield. The CA on it is minuscule even at relatively high magnification. I also am a fan of Dobsonians but have to admit that they are not for taking on hikes. With you living in an international dark sky site, it’s bordering on criminal not to take full advantage of it with a large aperture dobsonian. Oh well, if you’re not to be swayed from a refractor then I’d go for the Starfield. 

Living where I do is a bonus, dark-sky-wise, but my back garden is also surrounded by trees and nearby housing. I live in a valley so I don't have unobstructed views across the horizon. I do however have relatively access to these dark skies and 200m hills that require a short drive and then a walk. 

I hope this quality of Frac won't be too much of a compromise over an 8" dob.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Nitecoda said:

Rigel Quikfinder looks to be worthy of consideration.

The Rigel Quickfinder sticks to the telescope with dual sided tape. I had to modify mine to accept a standard finder shoe. The Baader skysurfer III or the V are great RDF’s and come with the finder shoe as standard.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t know if this helps, but have owned a fpl 53 102 EDR for 3 years now, AA’s version of the KUO scope. I won’t be selling mine ever, quality build, quality optics so good you wonder where the catch is for only 900 quid, except there isn’t one. Less than 250 buys you the wonderful AZ4 mount, the Starfield is absolutely rock solid on one, I know because I used one for years with scopes this size. Another couple of hundred pounds get’s you the equally lovely Baader zoom. Again with the scope you are talking about I used nothing else for a couple of years, wonderful things. Add a WO diagonal and red dot Finder and you have lots of spare cash left. Everything is currently in stock at FLO

Edited by Carl Au
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Nitecoda said:

This looks like a quality setup.

Bearing in my mind I have zero equipment to start with, i wonder where the savings are made specifically to get this in budget. Also, wonder how portable the tripod is for putting into a backpack and hiking uphill.

I know I looked at the Starfield option (because I think it's actually the exact same scope but branded otherwise) and thought it was the exact same price - but looking again, I think the price on FLO includes VAT, but not at Astrograph - that would make a 20% difference....

10mm and 16mm eyepieces are recommends then? Are they 2"? And a Baader diagonal by the looks of it - I'd go clicklock for ease. 

A 102mm f7 refractor, mount, tripod and accessories are more awkward to carry than you might think... 

However for their size, they are amazing instruments under dark skies especially. More aperture allows one to go deeper but these 4" scopes show you enough to keep you busy for a long time.

If you want to shave several hundred quid off the cost but get going with a quality refractor:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/starfield-telescopes/starfield-102mm-f7-ed-doublet-refractor.html £899

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-az4-alt-az-mount.html

£198

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/diagonals/SWdiagonal-20967.html £89

Zooms are like Marmite. I don't like them so..  BST Starguider 5,8,15 and 25mm eyepieces £220.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bst-starguider-eyepieces.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/astro-essentials-deluxe-red-dot-finder.html £49.

The lot will fit into this bag you can sling over your shoulder. Assuming you are relatively fit the weight (around 15kg) will be just about manageable for a short walk. Throw in some more padding for extra security: 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/telescope-bags-cases-storage/oklop-padded-bag-for-small-telescopes.html £55

If you envisage two people carrying the kit then pick up separate bags to share the load.

Everyone needs a starter book:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/turn-left-at-orion-book.html £23

 

£1533 inc. VAT.

Plus Brucie Bonus red light head torches - £18.99 for two.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vekkia-Flashlight-Headlight-Adjustable-Resistant/dp/B08YYBP86N

 

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
Torches
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Nitecoda said:

Thanks @Mike Q, great feedback. I don't think I'll get away with two 🤐

You will end up doing it eventually anyway so you might as well buy once and cry once.  Its easier to beg forgiveness then to ask permission LOL 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

57 minutes ago, Carl Au said:

I don’t know if this helps, but have owned a fpl 53 102 EDR for 3 years now, AA’s version of the KUO scope. I won’t be selling mine ever, quality build, quality optics so good you wonder where the catch is for only 900 quid, except there isn’t one. Less than 250 buys you the wonderful AZ4 mount, the Starfield is absolutely rock solid on one, I know because I used one for years with scopes this size. Another couple of hundred pounds get’s you the equally lovely Baader zoom. Again with the scope you are talking about I used nothing else for a couple of years, wonderful things. Add a WO diagonal and red dot Finder and you have lots of spare cash left. Everything is currently in stock at FLO

Cracking! The basket is looking a lot like this now - but I'm likley to go with a small selection of fixed eyepieces with a wide FOV.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

A 102mm f7 refractor, mount, tripod and accessories are more awkward to carry than you might think... 

However for their size, they are amazing instruments under dark skies especially. More aperture allows one to go deeper but these 4" scopes show you enough to keep you busy for a long time.

If you want to shave several hundred quid off the cost but get going with a quality refractor:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/starfield-telescopes/starfield-102mm-f7-ed-doublet-refractor.html £899

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/skywatcher-mounts/skywatcher-az4-alt-az-mount.html

£198

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/diagonals/SWdiagonal-20967.html £89

Zooms are like Marmite. I don't like them so..  BST Starguider 5,8,15 and 25mm eyepieces £220.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/bst-starguider-eyepieces.html

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/finders/astro-essentials-deluxe-red-dot-finder.html £49.

The lot will fit into this bag you can sling over your shoulder. Assuming you are relatively fit the weight (around 15kg) will be just about manageable for a short walk. Throw in some more padding for extra security: 

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/telescope-bags-cases-storage/oklop-padded-bag-for-small-telescopes.html £55

If you envisage two people carrying the kit then pick up separate bags to share the load.

Everyone needs a starter book:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/turn-left-at-orion-book.html £23

 

£1533 inc. VAT.

Plus Brucie Bonus red light head torches - £18.99 for two.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vekkia-Flashlight-Headlight-Adjustable-Resistant/dp/B08YYBP86N

 

It's starting to come together, I'm now discovering, and deciding where I'd like to save and where I'd prefer not to compromise. Thanks @ScouseSpaceCadet  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, Nitecoda said:

Cracking! The basket is looking a lot like this now - but I'm likley to go with a small selection of fixed eyepieces with a wide FOV.

Which is what I ended up doing in the end, the wider field of view, particularly planetary. Jupiter slides so slowly across the field of view in 82 degree eyepieces…..

which reminds me, my scope is outside and I have a small window to see Saturn through the 🌲 🌳….. better dash 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It’s been clear here this afternoon so I took my 4” refractor out at 4:15pm to cool down to look at Saturn and Jupiter.

Got togged up and went out at 4:35pm to start viewing and within 5 minutes I had 100% cloud cover.

🤷🏻🙁
 

That’s the good thing about 4” refractors, they can be put out and brought back in quickly 👍

Time for 🍷🍷

Edited by dweller25
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When buying diagonals, watch out for the ones with a curvy eyepiece holder.  They tend to have largish lips inside them restricting the use of widest field eyepieces in either 2" size for 2" diagonals or 1.25" size for 1.25" diagonals.  See the following thread:

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello @Nitecoda You've already had some great advice here and done lots of good research yourself.

From my side, a strong +1 for the Starfield and its equivalents (I have the TS Optics version - exactly the same scope). It's an excellent choice and honestly if I had to choose one scope out of my selection, this would be it. This is not my wisdom but was a major reason for getting this scope: The beauty of this size and class of scope is that you can use a very low power 2" eyepiece and get 4 degrees of sky in the field of view, and with a single change of the eyepiece you can be observing very respectable planetary views at 200x which makes it very flexible and arguably as close as you can get to a does-everything scope. Couple with that, it's pretty affordable, pretty portable, very high quality (as other have said I'm also yet to detect false colour at any sensible magnifications). 

Regarding diagonal choice I would strongly recommend getting a 2" for the reason above - 1.25" is going to limit the widest view you can get with this scope. I also want to second what @Louis D said about the Skywatcher (and other brand) 2" diagonals as for a very similar price you can get better options such as the GSO he mentioned. If it's within your budget, I would definitely recommend the Baader clicklock options because the clicklock system is extremely good. Personally find the other twist-lock options that I have tried to be good but definitely not as good as the clicklock.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your primarily interested in planetary and lunar with the specific intent to share these views with the family then your much more likely to enjoy this experience with a tracking equatorial mount. I have both an equatorial anf alt azm mounts. High power on these targets can be tiresome and tricky to keep centered in an eyepiece and a tracking mount removes this requirement allowing whoever is at the eyepiece to relax and enjoy the view. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Nitecoda said:

Ibis Obelisk Carbon Tripod with Ball Head

I've not heard of this manufacturer before but this tripod looks the same as a Zomei tripod I have. Perhaps this is a higher quality original that the Chinese have been copying but I suspect it is much more likely just to come out of the same factory at a higher price than found on eBay and Amazon marketplace. If so it is absolutely not suitable for an astronomical telescope. It isn't sturdy enough and there is a risk that it wouldn't hold the load of your telescope. I used mine to hold a 65mm spotting scope and eventually the connection between the 3/8" pin and centre column failed just from the force of panning left and right. 

An AZ4/5 or EQ5 with steel tripod would make for a much more sturdy mount at the expense of ease of transport in terms of size and weight. As you are sharing this telescope with your children, a mount with slow motion controls may be more suitable as turning a knob to keep the object in view is a bit easier than nudging the scope. If you overshoot or go the wrong way it is easy to just turn the known the opposite direction. A motorised tracking mount would mean there is no need for anyone to master tracking while full goto would reduce the impatience of your children waiting for you to find an object for them to view. 

7 hours ago, Nitecoda said:

I can swap out the EVM SZ and take advantage of teh Baader Zoom and Barlow combination offer - at £303 - which is only a smidgen over the price of 3 x fixed length eyepieces......

Personally, I've not been overly impressed with the performance of the BHZ in my f6 scopes and so would stick with either your original zoom choice or a selection of fixed focal lengths. 

6 hours ago, Nitecoda said:

Living where I do is a bonus, dark-sky-wise, but my back garden is also surrounded by trees and nearby housing. I live in a valley so I don't have unobstructed views across the horizon. I do however have relatively access to these dark skies and 200m hills that require a short drive and then a walk. 

Views of the horizon are not necessarily useful or desirable. When you observe at low altitudes you have to look through significantly more atmosphere than at high altitudes and this massively degrades the image. As a result generally the aim is to observe an object when it is as high in the sky as possible. In addition, trees around your garden may block local light sources from direct vision while heading up into the hills means you can see them. In the end what really matters is how dark the sky is overhead and how dark adapted you can get (for DSOs). 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't forget to add the finder shoe if you're going with the Starfield 102ED.

The Starfield is an excellent scope and very capable for DSOs (obviously can't expect it to beat an 8"+ reflector though).  If you get the EQ5 mount (I use mine on this and much prefer it to the AZ4 as I find it better (imho) when switching eyepieces, but both mounts are very steady.   The EQ5 is rock solid with this scope and you've got the option of adding motors or even GOTO though...

I'd recommend looking at adding a visual finder though if you're interested in DSOs...  lots to choose from - I use the 30mm Right Angled Skywatcher as I think that's sufficient with this scope if the sky is dark enough although the 50mm will obviously show more depth at the expense of FOV.   Once aligned, with the 30mm finder as long as the scope is roughly pointing in the correct direction of the initial star to start, I always have it in my FOV of the finder.  I reserve a pointer (like the Rigel) for use with my dob where I have a much smaller FOV while using a 60mm finder so these then work very well together.

Good luck with the search...  it would probably seem never ending but try not to end in parallysis analysis! :)

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 14/11/2022 at 20:29, Carl Au said:

I take it you bought a scope, I notice FLO has one less Starfield these days for sale 

Actually, no, not yet. Now that I have learned more I have more detailed research I want to do but I have a very good idea of what I want, with thanks to everyone who has helped with this thread. 

I'm starting to know the things I didn't even know I didn't know!

The skies are incredible tonight and I'm getting lots of pleasure just looking at Pleiades and surfing the milky way with my 10x50 binoculars.

I really think there's value in taking my time in this decision and learning the sky along the way. 

I may even invest in a tripod for my binoculars and buy a better set of binoculars before I jump to a scope! I'm waiting for access to the classified ads so I can see if there are any deals to find from users here. 

I'm having so much fun in the slow way that I don't want to rush to the fast lane and miss out on the foundational learning. 

Edited by Nitecoda
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

56 minutes ago, Nitecoda said:

Actually, no, not yet. Now that I have learned more I have more detailed research I want to do but I have a very good idea of what I want, with thanks to everyone who has helped with this thread. 

I'm starting to know the things I didn't even know I didn't know!

The skies are incredible tonight and I'm getting lots of pleasure just looking at Pleiades and surfing the milky way with my 10x50 binoculars.

I really think there's value in taking my time in this decision and learning the sky along the way. 

I may even invest in a tripod for my binoculars and buy a better set of binoculars before I jump to a scope! I'm waiting for access to the classified ads so I can see if there are any deals to find from users here. 

I'm having so much fun in the slow way that I don't want to rush to the fast lane and miss out on the foundational learning. 

Sounds like a very sensible way to approach to things. After learning the sky with the naked eye I used binoculars for many years before buying my first scope. There are tons of things to see in binoculars especially if you are viewing from a dark site. I subscribe to the Binocular Sky Newsletter https://binocularsky.com/ you may find it useful.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, glafnazur said:

Sounds like a very sensible way to approach to things. After learning the sky with the naked eye I used binoculars for many years before buying my first scope. There are tons of things to see in binoculars especially if you are viewing from a dark site. I subscribe to the Binocular Sky Newsletter https://binocularsky.com/ you may find it useful.

Thank you, I'm fortunate enough to have Steve as relative neighbour and have taken a good look through his site and posts, thank you.

Edited by Nitecoda
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.