Portable table for table-top scope / First scope questions

The place to discuss telescopes, binoculars, CCDs and other equipment

Moderators: joe, Guy Fennimore, Brian

David Frydman
Posts: 5371
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Contact:

Post by David Frydman »

That may be your point of view, but I have been using small refractors on sturdy altazimuth garden tripods, photo tripods and also spotting scopes for over fifty years and they are a lot simpler than equatorial mounts.
And at magnifications up to 150x.

Regards, David

P.S. and down to magnitude 13.4 in London with 123mm f/5 RFT.
David Frydman
Posts: 5371
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Contact:

Post by David Frydman »

Actually I used 160x on my 73mm refractor and 210x on the 123mm f/5 refractor using a 3mm Clave eyepiece with very good rsults.
The 6x to 100x 100mm lightweight Yukon spotting scope is wonderful at 100x on a 2.5kg Slik 88 tripod.
The 600mm f/8 Vivitar solid cat lens cleanly and easily separates epsilon Lyrae both components at 2.5 arcseconds. It is very small again on Slik 88.
A recent 70mm Maksutov spotter is tiny and fantastic at 120x. The Vivitar is used at 180x.
A 89mm Maksutov is excellent at 200x again on Slik88.
And yes the 80mm f/5, 100mm f/5 and Revelation 100mm spotter are all good on Slik 88.

And if you remain unconvinced. Horace Dall's folding Maksutovs fitted in his pocket with their mounts for his cycling tripa around the world and performed to theoretical limits.

Some people like equatorial mounts. I find them a hindrance with small scopes. Of course if you want to take photos an EQ is better.

Regards, David.
mike a feist
Posts: 3303
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Contact:

Post by mike a feist »

"Forget all this bunkum about spotting scopes" says "naplesnut".
The use of the word "Bunkum" which the dictionary says is "empty and meaningless talk" to describe the positive uses in astronomy of spotting scopes on alta-az stands is in my opinion unecessarily negative even if the poster prefers to use something else.
I will not re-detail any of the advantages previously put here by David and myself but will add I have this year observed three "awkward" binocular comets (which many observers were finding hard to locate), two McNaughts and Hartley 2 and have used binoculars and small spotting scopes (ie 60mm zoomed to x20 roughly) for each. ...and have on occasions viewed through the window glass and even sometimes hand-held and just supported. In my case, the convenience of getting it "in the car" was never an issue as I do not drive a car and if anything the scope might need to be carried to the park!....maf[/i]
Naplesnut
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:17 pm
Contact:

Post by Naplesnut »

To all the posters who didn't like my advice then remember 'thenagus' only has a £150 budget. I was of the view that spotting scopes of quality are relatively pricey??? Clearly David Frydman is a learned gent but I dont think a newbie would know some of the terms used such as Clave & Slik, or have any idea how good they actually are.I don't and I am not a newbie :?
7x50 bins, 80mm f5 refractor and Coronado PST on AZ3, 127mm MCT on EQ3-2, 150mm f8 refractor on EQ6 with dual axis drives, 300mm f5 reflector on Dobsonian mount. Doing astronomy the old-fashioned way, no Go-To just eyes, charts and time.
David Frydman
Posts: 5371
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Contact:

Post by David Frydman »

Sherwoods are selling the Celestron 102mm f/5 for £95 delivered.
A Horizon OVL tripod is about £70 to £80. Weighs 3.5 or 4kg. depending on head.
OVL 80mm f/5 on AZ3 is about £180 or less. 102mm f/5 on AZ3 is maybe £210.
Thenagus may have a good photo tripod. I got four professional Manfrotto tripods, on without qyick release plate, and a video dolly for £40 the lot from a charity shop. That is a lot of tripods. That should read one without quick release plate.
Thenagus does not have to go with a photo tripod. But they don't take up much space. And with a spotting scope or small refractor it should fit in his car boot. The AZ3 does apparently fold and you don't need the eyepiece fixed tray.
One of the Manfrottos I got extends to almost 7feet but is too heavy for me except in a fixed position.

A Clave is a high quality French eyepiece, and thirty years ago eyepieces less than 4mm were not commonly available.

Slik is a Japanese tripod maker of high repute. They still sell a large range of good tripods, now probably made mainly in China. The Slik 88 was a fine, now discontinued tripod. They are available secondhand for £30. But you must tighten them up to new condition and make sure they have the tripod studs which are still available for £11.

Regards, David.
David Frydman
Posts: 5371
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Contact:

Post by David Frydman »

The tripod Slik stud is possibly unique. It attaches the camera or scopt to the tripod head. You must periodically check it has not rotated and loosened if the scope is permanently attached to Slik 88.

Slik have many patents for tripod design and lead the way in good photo amateur tripods. Now many other firms make good tripods.

It is essential that if you use a photo tripod for scopes, the tripod must be of good design, good construction and good repute. It will probably have aluminium or if you are lucky carbon fibre, not cheap plastic.

I also sometimes use a micro adapter between scope and tripod that works horizontally and vertically., giving fine movements. Using a photo tripod above 60x needs skill.

Mike uses much lower magnifications than I do. I mainly use the scopes for planets, Moon and double stars. Light pollution rules out deep sky objects here.

Mike has a much darker sky than me.

Regards, David.
David Frydman
Posts: 5371
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Contact:

Post by David Frydman »

Basic Acuter, Celestron and Revelation spotting scopes are good and quite cheap especially on offer. Cliff's Aldi or Lidl 60mm was £25 as was my Daily Mail one. They are basic but quite good.

And secondhand ones should be pretty cheap.

David.
David Frydman
Posts: 5371
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Contact:

Post by David Frydman »

The disadvantage of most astro tripods is that the have a central eyepiece tray, which gives stability, but which may be fixed or need fiddly screws to assemble if collapsed in car boot. These can easily get lost on going to a dark site.

The whole point of this exercise is that photo tripods collapse into a small package and out again more or less instantly with no attachment screws. They usually have self errecting stabilisers inside them.

A photo tripod of 4kg. and good construction is very stiff and substantial.
The AZ3 weighs apparently 6kg. If this is not a problem and if it collapses without having to unscrew anything then it should work well.
Similarly if any astro tripod collapses to put in the boot without having to unscrew anything, that is fine.
But I still don't like EQ mounts for small scopes, but again some people may like them.
So for me it is the simplicity and speed of action of a photo tripod that appeals.

Regards, David.
Naplesnut
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:17 pm
Contact:

Post by Naplesnut »

i never bother with ep trays. Just keep em in your pocket or have another system that enables location (red lite for example). A barlow and 2 or 3 well chosen eps should normally suffice for an observing session plus a set of bins or spotting scope for macroviewing!!!
7x50 bins, 80mm f5 refractor and Coronado PST on AZ3, 127mm MCT on EQ3-2, 150mm f8 refractor on EQ6 with dual axis drives, 300mm f5 reflector on Dobsonian mount. Doing astronomy the old-fashioned way, no Go-To just eyes, charts and time.
Davej
Posts: 3288
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:12 pm
Location: Sheffield (53° 21' N 1° 12' W)
Contact:

Post by Davej »

Naplesnut wrote:i never bother with ep trays. Just keep em in your pocket or have another system that enables location (red lite for example). A barlow and 2 or 3 well chosen eps should normally suffice for an observing session plus a set of bins or spotting scope for macroviewing!!!
Hi Naplesnut,
What is 'macroviewing' ?
All the best
Dave
Meade LX 200 (7"). Odyssey 8" Dob.
11X80 10x50 15x70 bins
Celestron Neximage ccd cam
Naplesnut
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:17 pm
Contact:

Post by Naplesnut »

Macroviewing is the opposite of Microviewing. That means large field of view (like with bins) versus very small field of view like X300 mag in an 8" reflector. So 5 deg fov vs 0.1 deg fov for example

As long as u keep the caps on eps then no reason at all not to keep them in a pocket or two.
7x50 bins, 80mm f5 refractor and Coronado PST on AZ3, 127mm MCT on EQ3-2, 150mm f8 refractor on EQ6 with dual axis drives, 300mm f5 reflector on Dobsonian mount. Doing astronomy the old-fashioned way, no Go-To just eyes, charts and time.
Davej
Posts: 3288
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:12 pm
Location: Sheffield (53° 21' N 1° 12' W)
Contact:

Post by Davej »

Naplesnut wrote:Macroviewing is the opposite of Microviewing. That means large field of view (like with bins) versus very small field of view like X300 mag in an 8" reflector. So 5 deg fov vs 0.1 deg fov for example

As long as u keep the caps on eps then no reason at all not to keep them in a pocket or two.
Hi,
Must be getting mixed up with my old photography days when 'macro' meant very close up work with a camera.
All the best
Dave
Meade LX 200 (7"). Odyssey 8" Dob.
11X80 10x50 15x70 bins
Celestron Neximage ccd cam
Post Reply