Lomo Astele 102


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Brand and Model:Lomo Astele 102
Price ($USD):$579.95
Type:Maksutov-Newtonian
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:102mm
f Ratio:f/5.5
Focal Length:560mm
Finder:built-in 30mm
Electric Power:n/a
Mount:n/a
Tripod:n/a
Weight (lbs):9 lbs
Dimensions (w/h/d):102mm
Description:The Revolutionary Astele 102 MN is a Maksutov Newtonian with a built-in finder. The finder objective lens is behind the secondary mirror in a ultra-precision rotating housing. This housing allows rotation between the telescope and the finder. Whatever eyepiece you are using at the time is your finder eyepiece. So, you can have a low power finder or a high power finder depending on which eyepiece you have in the Astele 102 MN.

Vote Highlights Vote
Lomo Astele 102
The optics on this scope are quite good, with stars coming to nice sharp points. The crispness of stellar images are better in the Lomo than an SCT in that regard. Build quality is generally solid but unrefined in a typical Russian way, although for some reason Lomo uses plastic caps at both ends of the scope (behind the primary and over the corrector) rather than metal, which is disappointing. You can remove the rear cap to speed the cooling of the primary, although I've not yet to determine how much this really does speed the process.

The major drawback to this scope is that the secondary obstruction is significantly oversized in order to accomodate the finder assembly. This causes a noticeable reduction in contrast relative to my conventional newtonian which has a proportionally smaller secondary. Contrast on the Lomo is similar to that on my C-5 more or less. Many other Mak-Newts on the market have proportionately smaller secondary obstructions and are often said to have apo-like views. The MN-102 gives a sharp image, but the contrast loss is noticeable and a bit disappointing.

The motions on the assembly that rotate between finder and main optics are smooth, and the views through the finder are surprisingly good. There are times I've had to check to see if I'm looking through the finder or the main instrument. On the other hand, because the finder eyepiece is at a right angle to the scope, I have found it helps to affix a red-eye finder to the scope for rough sighting.

The focuser is a basic rack and pinion and works fine.

The most interesting thing about this scope was pointed out to me by Gary Hand of Hands On Optics. This scope can be used without a mount. From a seated position, cradling the scope in your lap, the eyepiece is at the perfect height for viewing. With a low power eyepiece, you can scan the heavens in finderscope mode, then once an interesting object is located, you just click the rotating assembly over to the main optics and you have a nice view through 4" aperture optics. Because of the weight and shape of the tube and the position of the eyepiece, it's possible to hold it steady enough for good viewing at reasonable powers like 25X with no mount.

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:7 Ease of Use:9 Value:8
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: KeithMolkner
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=158792

>The optics on this scope are quite good, with stars coming to nice sharp points. The crispness of stellar images are better in the Lomo than an SCT in that regard. Build quality is generally solid but unrefined in a typical Russian way, although for some reason Lomo uses plastic caps at both ends of the scope (behind the primary and over the corrector) rather than metal, which is disappointing. You can remove the rear cap to speed the cooling of the primary, although I've not yet to determine how much this really does speed the process.
>I have found that you can maintain a perfectly round Airy disc from edge to edge if you are using an eyepiece that supports the f/5.5 aperture. If you are seeing any blurry images with this scope, then suspect your euepiece is at fault!
>The major drawback to this scope is that the secondary obstruction is significantly oversized in order to accomodate the finder assembly. This causes a noticeable reduction in contrast relative to my conventional newtonian which has a proportionally smaller secondary. Contrast on the Lomo is similar to that on my C-5 more or less. Many other Mak-Newts on the market have proportionately smaller secondary obstructions and are often said to have apo-like views. The MN-102 gives a sharp image, but the contrast loss is noticeable and a bit disappointing. 
>The contrast loss is most evident at lower magnifications. At 160X or higher on lunar viewing, it is as sharp and contrasty as a refractor.
>The motions on the assembly that rotate between finder and main optics are smooth, and the views through the finder are  surprisingly good. There are times I've had to check to see if I'm looking through the finder or the main instrument. On the other hand, because the finder eyepiece is at a right angle to the scope, I have found it helps to affix a red-eye finder to the scope for rough sighting.
>The viewfinder magnification will always be about 1/3 of the main optical tube with any given focal length eyepiece. That preserves a brightness level equivalent to the main optical tube. At very high powers, the finder scope and main OTA may not align too well.  
>The focuser is a basic rack and pinion and works fine.
>It can be improved at high powers with a helical focuser. By screwing the front element of a Barlow into a Borg helical focuser, almost any 1.25" eyepiece should be able to focus.
>The most interesting thing about this scope was pointed out to me by Gary Hand of Hands On Optics. This scope can be used without a mount. From a seated position, cradling the scope in your lap, the eyepiece is at the perfect height for viewing. With a low power eyepiece, you can scan the heavens in finderscope mode, then once an interesting object is located, you just click the rotating assembly over to the main optics and you have a nice view through 4" aperture optics. Because of the weight and shape of the tube and the position of the eyepiece, it's possible to hold it steady enough for good viewing at reasonable powers like 25X with no mount.
>This scope excels at lunar and planetary viewing at 100X and up. It deserves to be put on a very good equatorial mount.

Lomo Astele 102
Extremely nice 4" Mak-Newt. No longer in production. These were closed out for as low as $240 a few years ago. I gave $300 for mine, and possibly the best bargain in optics I ever found. They have now become somewhat hard to find.

Unique features: Finder and secondary mirror are one rotating unit built into the front corrector. You rotate the mirror 180 degrees to switch from finder view to main view. Finder mag thus changes with EP and is 1/3 power of main view mag.

Comes with nice tube rings. Screw on lens hood was available. Primary mirror cover is removeable and provides very rapid cooling of main mirror. Focuser is removeable and rotateable.

Extremely good star splitting scope when seeing conditions favor smaller apertures. Lunar views are very sharp up to 300X. This scope supports extremely high mags for its aperture.

With an OCA I found this scope to be a very good binoviewer scope for wideangle viewing that large scopes do not allow with binoviewers. With 1.8X OCA the focal ratio is only f/9.9 and that allows very large field of view with a 30mm Ultima, nearly 2 degree FOV.

Build quality is fairly high, and optical quality is very high. This scope blows away the cheap Chinese achromats that many buy for rich field astronomy. This scope demands very high quality EP's to reveal its true potential.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.35.155)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=565899


Lomo Astele 102
The only negative I have with this scope is the somewhat coarse R&P focuser, but for what I paid, there's not much reason to expect a Crayford. I piggyback this scope on an 8" Newtonian for star splitting duties. This scope will support very high mags without image breakdown. I screw a Barlow element into the nosepiece of a Borg 1.25" helical focuser to achieve critical focus at high mags. For splitting close doubles of near equal brightness, this scope has few equals for its aperture. When seeing is bad, it will beat far larger scopes in this ability. The aperture is too small to make a really good general purpose scope, but for double star and lunar viewing in bad seeing conditions, it's my favorite scope. It easily meets its advertised 1/6 wave P-V specification for image quality. It gives an excellent star test. The Airy disc is very small, perfectly round, with sharp edge. If you like to split doubles, you might want to piggyback one on a larger scope.

Since it is a 40% obstructed design, it needs a good cooldown before yielding its best images. The removeable mirror cover helps in that regard, and generally it gives very good images after about 30 minutes of cooling. Much better in this regard than larger Maks I have used.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.55.154)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=562320


Lomo Astele 102
I bought mine as new old stock for only $300. A few people got them for even less on closeout, but at even $500 this scope would have been a bargain due to the excellent optical performance. It's true that you will notice a loss of contrast at low powers due to the 40% central obstruction necessary for the rotating finder scope. However, you buy this scope for the crazy high mags it will support on bright objects. It's the best lunar scope I own for viewing early and late in lunar phase as the 4" aperture cuts through atmospheric seeing conditions better than larger scopes. It cools down much quicker than larger Newtonians and is more like a refractor in its cooldown time. A centrally obstructed scope beats a refractor in contrast on extended bright objects at approximately 2X to 3X the aperture in mm. That means that from 200X to 300X on lunar viewing this scope can outperform an expensive APO refractor. I have a Stellarvue Nighthawk achromat for doing low power deep sky scanning where the superior contrast at low and medium power that a refractor provides gives an edge over the LOMO 102MN. This scope has provided some of the best splits of double stars of similar magnitude. On lunar viewing, the scope can provide over 300X of mag if seeing permits. Crater shadows are jet black and there are a hundred shades of gray from snow white to jet black. You can do widefield scanning with the supplied 25mm Plossl while waiting for the scope to cool down, but high mag viewing of bright objects is what this scope is all about. The focuser is mediocre, so I use a Borg helical focuser for high mag viewing, with a Siebert binoviewer OCA of 2X power on the front of the Borg focuser. You will have to adapt the sliding foot of the LOMO dovetail to your mount. I attached a Vixen type dovetail to mine.

With a Siebert Star Splitter in the focuser, the scope will maintain a sharp Airy disc from edge to edge on stars. I suggest you get a heater strap if using in a humid climate as the front corrector will dew up rather quickly. This is only the second scope I ever bought that came perfectly collimated and has remained that way ever since. The construction looks rather robust. The focuser is removable, and the finder is built into the corrector, so this is a very easily transported scope and makes an excellent backpacker scope. The total lack of false color makes it a great scope for high power planetary and double star viewing. The low power contrast isn't bad, but you will definitely do better there with a good rich field refractor as long as it's not one of the fast Chinese scopes with lots of false color. It rejects ambient light better than a Mak-Cass, so it's good in town around streetlights. I suggest getting a Baader Neodymium Moon & Skyglow filter for any small reflector or APO if viewing in a light polluted area. The bottom line is that the LOMO professional scope heritage shows in this little Mak-Newt. It's no toy, but instead a small scope for a very serious amateur astronomer that needs portability in his instrument.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.55.174)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=559431


Lomo Astele 102
I purchased the 102mn for $248 including shipping. My rating of the scope takes in consideration that it is half the price of its nearest competitor. The things I liked about the scope: 1. (PORTABILITY/TRANSPORTABILITY)built in finderscope won't be damaged when transporting scope
2.(OPTICAL QUALITY/COATINGS) Once cooled scope star tested very well, edge to edge pinpoint stars
3.(BIULD QUALITY) Solid tube, metal focuser and camera adapter,

The things I didn't like:
1. cool down times of one hour or more are a little long for a portable quick look scope
2. the large obstruction introduced by the built in finderscope does reduce low contrasts detail on Mars and Jupiter for example. Not bad though, grs and shadow transits still visible

The scope handles high powers very well. Absolutely no sign of breakdown when looking at Jupiter and Saturn at high power. Sky appears very black and stars are pinpoint giving evidents of a very well directed cone of light coming off the primary. However the central obstruction of 1.5" does reduce contrasts slightly.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.206.107)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=333549

This scope continues to impress me.  I originally stated that there was a noticable loss in contrasts on the planets when compared with say an 80mm apo refractor due to the large central obstruction.  However steadier skies has improved the contrasts on the big planets.  But where this scope is impressing me is on the fainter objects where its blacker background allows it to outperform longer focal length scopes such as the xt4.5.


>I purchased the 102mn for $248 including shipping.  My rating of the scope takes in consideration that it is half the price of its nearest competitor.  The things I liked about the scope: 1. (PORTABILITY/TRANSPORTABILITY)built in finderscope won't be damaged when transporting scope
>2.(OPTICAL QUALITY/COATINGS) Once cooled scope star tested very well, edge to edge pinpoint stars
>3.(BIULD QUALITY) Solid tube, metal focuser and camera adapter, 
>
>The things I didn't like:
>1. cool down times of one hour or more are a little long for a portable quick look scope
>2.  the large obstruction introduced by the built in finderscope does reduce low contrasts detail on Mars and Jupiter for example. Not bad though, grs and shadow transits still visible
>
>The scope handles high powers very well.  Absolutely no sign of breakdown when looking at Jupiter and Saturn at high power. Sky appears very black and stars are pinpoint giving evidents of a very well directed cone of light coming off the primary. However the central obstruction of 1.5" does reduce contrasts slightly.

Lomo Astele 102
I wanted a smaller scope that was easily transported by back pack or ATV into my nearby mountains, but with good optical quality and high durability. I also wanted to spend less for the scope than I did my car, so that left out the higher quality short 4" refractors. After a lot of consideration I bought the Lomo Estele 102 and I'm glad I did.
I've found the scope very solidily built and easy to use. The novel design of the finder/ EP allows for viewing while sitting or rested over a pack. At 12 pounds and the 24", including the dew shield, the OTA is very comfortable to handle and hold.
The optical quality of the scope is much better than I anticipated with very bright, clear, and crisp images coming through all the way to the edges of the supplied 20mm EP.
If you're considering a quality scope that's portable, easy to use, and easy on the purse as well, you should give the 102 a closer look. You may be as plesantly surprised as I was.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.154.51)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=313913


Lomo Astele 102
I really love this scope...it is a solid performer and it's built like a tank...The optics are first class all the way around and the coatings are superb. I was lucky enough to catch this scope on close out...and only paid a little less than $240 for it delivered to my door. I already had an EQ mount for it...however, I suggest a small dobsonian mount...it just seems to make it even easier to use. I was really surprised with this small scopes ability to take crazy, insane magnifications with very little loss of image sharpness...There is no false color or chromatic aberrations...the star test was one of the most perfect I have seen. I would highly recommend this scope...and Apogee, Inc. has bought all the remaining models from LOMO...so buy before they're gone!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.12.142)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=247090

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