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Baby Mak versus full on 'frac ?

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I have a hankering to acquire a longish tube refractor. Something along the lines of a Tal 100RS or maybe an Evostar 150.

The question I am tunring over in my head is this will be used solely for planetary and as I already own a small Mak (Celestron Nexstar 4) would I really get an improvement in views ?

The Mak is a pretty good planet killer so would it really be outclassed by a Tal 100RS (obvioulsy a 150 would up the ante) or am I just being greedy and wanting more kit ?

In any event wheatever I buy cant happen until the Nexstar 4 is sold - well not unless I see a Tal 100RS going at a VERY silly price.

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TBH I wouldn't bother with swapping the NS4 for the TAL100 R/RS, there's not enough of a difference to make it worthwhile. The TAL's views will probably be slightly better but at the expense of not having the grab and go capabilities of the NS4. The Evostar/Celestron C6R is a bit of a beastie, I was at Kelling a couple of years ago and it got a bit windy. An Evostar 150 sitting on an EQ5 got knocked over and sheared the mount head. Not very pretty!


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Ah, the Tal is a thing of beauty and wonder! If you can't have both then the Tal would be an excellent choice. Every collection of scopes should have 1 Tal in it, at least.

The 4SE is a great scope - I have the OTA on an EQ3-2 - and it is brilliant on the planets. I wouldn't swap it for the world. But I would have a Tal in an instant!

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I agree that, desireable though it is, even a good 4 inch achro like the TAL is not going to perform much, if at all, better than a good 4" mak.

I've recently acquired a 5" F/9.4 achro as I've always had a hankering for large refractors - it's a big old thing - nearly the same physical size and weight as the Skywatcher 150mm F/8. The views of Jupiter, the moon and tight double stars have been noticably better than my 102mm ED refractor and the false colour pretty well controlled for an F/9.4 achro so I'm enjoying it a lot. I guess a 127 mak would come close to it though .....


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hi AB

i have a 150mm f/8 SW, its a really nice scope, and gives good views on planets and moons, but it is big.

i think it should go nicely on your heq5 pro, as i have used mine on the heq5 pro i had before.


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Hello Mel

I recently obtained a S/H Meade LXD55 6" frac f8. It is very large and I needed an extra set of counterweights for CG5 mount. The weight of the scope when placing on the mount is not easy and I tend to stand on a small step to get it right. When in use and balanced properly it is great. On the other hand I also have a 4" APO frac which is wonderful as a grab and go on an alt/az mount or on the CG5 eq mount. I recently did a review on viewing DSOs with this scope.

I must admit I prefer a quality frac to a Mak Cass because you can obtained a good richfield view with the right EP (I have a 35mm Televue Panoptic) or obtained a high mag with a quality planetary EP (I have a Planetary 4mm EP). In my opinion the 4" APO frac gives me better views of the Moon and Jupiter than the 6" Achro frac - although the APO was alot more expensive!! The next test will be Mars

However, because you want to use the scope solely for planetary viewing in my view Mel I would stay with what you have.

I you can wait until the new year and you decide to come to SGL5 you are welcome to try out both my scopes and compare if you are still uncertain.



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In side-by-side (tererestrial) test, there was something attractive about the IMAGE from (even) an ST102 vs the MAK127. I guess it's "contrast"? But, despite that, the MAK was colour free and far better with detail. I sense a longer refractor might give the MAK more of a run for it's money tho' :hello2:

Good to hear what people are CONSIDERING though. After extensive... reading (LOL), I am pretty much convinced that I will avoid a bigger MAK, a bigger achromat etc. With a likely budget limit of £1K, I am increasingly convinced that my LAST(!) telescope will be either an Evostar 120ED or a Flextube (driven, GoTo?) 250. Might even swap the MAK127 for a '102 for true Grab and Go w/Synscan! :icon_eek:

Edited by Macavity
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An interesting thread, and I must pin my colours straight off to the Tal mast, being a Tal nutter:hello2:..I have Tal 100R, RS and the 125R and IMHO I don't think a Mak can compare with a refractor on image sharpness and "snap" factor..I haven't used the scope mentioned above, but I did have for a while a very nice OMC140 by Orion..the scope had hilux coatings which really do increase brightness, and the contrast was excellent, but the coodown factor, smaller field of view and central obstruction, for me, meant that I found myself going back to the Tal 100RS - a significantly smaller scope, but with no central obstruction. (See pics of all 3 scopes set up for action..).

The Tal 125R simply blew the OMC140 away in terms of double star separation and detail on Jupiter.

However, the grab n go aspect can be important for some and the Mak is certainly more portable than any Tal. Also, the Mak is effectively apochromatic, so colours tend to be slightly "truer" than with the Tal.

As ever, it's down to personal choice. If I wasn't a refractor man, I would definitely go for a Mak in preference to any other type of scope, and whichever you go for, Astro Baby, I just wish you some clear skies to point it at!!:icon_eek:






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I do like refractors, my Tv85 is a lovely widefield scope and will handle a 3mm eyepiece. However I was drawn to a mak for the easy of high power viewing. I bought a SM127 soon followed by an OMC140 1/6th wave. Now I haven't done a lot of side by side testing given the weather of late, but the thing that did surprise me was I could't write off the 127 straight away. Yes the contrast was much better on the OMC but also the image was dimmer, so sometimes I could pick out finer detail easier on the Moon with the skymax. That's why I haven't sold the 127 yet, it's a cracking little scope and more testing is needed.

I'd probably swap them both for a nice big frac though.

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I still have a 150 Synta f=1200mm (Helios/Skywatcher/whatever/whatever) down here and it rarely sees the dark of night which is a pity. It is a hell of a scope and they sell for nothing. Saturn is downright fabulous and perhaps better than in the 10 inch SCT. Jupiter is fiercely contrasty and does show a purple glow, though belt detail is brilliant and a fringe killer would probably nail it. I'n not au fait with what is the best of these blue/uv filters to use.

It is good in light pollution, as I remember from the UK, and certainly better than the 10 inch in that regard. I paid £400 for mine on an EQ3 so I don't feel it owes me anything.

Nice to read so many positives about the Tal refractor. I have never looked through one.


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