Takahashi FS-102


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Brand and Model:Takahashi FS-102
Price ($USD):$2775.00
Type:Apochromatic Refractor
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:102mm (4")
f Ratio:f/8
Focal Length:820mm
Finder:None
Electric Power:N/A
Mount:None
Tripod:None
Weight (lbs):11 lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):114mm x 930mm
Description:The FS-102 is a state-of-the-art fluorite apochromatic refractor. It is capable of delivering ultra sharp high contrast images over the entire field of view. The images are totally free of chromatic aberrations. Stars appear as tack-sharp points of light on a jet-black background. The instrument is perfect for photo/visual studies of the Moon, the planets and is also a phenomenal wide field astrograph. Using the dedicated focal reducer, the FS-102 becomes a wide field astro camera with an amazing 5-degree field of view! Perfect for use with a 35mm camera or a medium format custom vacuum back 6x7 roll film holder (a Takahashi© exclusive). The FS-102's standard 2.7" focuser makes this possible.

The Standard mount for the FS-102 is the EM-10, but an optional EM-200 mount may be used for added stability and accuracy. Both mounts are all electric with built-in polar alignment telescopes and leveling bubbles to permit 2-arc minute alignment on level or uneven ground in a few minutes. An autoguider connection is standard.


Takahashi America's FS-102 Page
Cloudy Nights' Review
Cloudy Nights' AP Traveler vs. FS-102
Ed Ting's Review
Todd Gross's Review of the Tak FC-100

Vote Highlights Vote
Takahashi FS-102
The Takahashi FS102 is one of the finest 4" apochromatic refractors on the market. Solidly built, it is going to last the enthusiast many happy years. The all-metal construction is painted beautifully and all parts fit tight together...right down to the heavy, felt-lined lens cover! The focuser moves smoothly, even with heavy eyepieces and accessories attached. Optically, it is a real treat. Images are sharp across the FOV and there is virtually no false color thanks to the excellent Takahashi f/8 fluorite doublet. It is relatively light (in the neighborhood of 11 pounds) and is easy to transport, although it is a bit longer than the f/5 and f/6 apo's that are the current fashion. It is a real bargain compared to these shorter scopes and, in my opinion the FS 102 provides sharper, brighter images, as well. To anyone in the market for a 4" apo possessing solid construction, superior optics, and a reasonable price, the Takahashi FS 102 is an excellent choice.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:9 Value:9
Weight: 40 (Reputable Vote)
Date:
By: Sailcat
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=95142


Takahashi FS-102
Recently picked one of the last issue Takahashi FS-102 NSV model OTA's with the front fluorite element. Outstanding first rate optics!. Textbook star test with impressive spherical correction and only a hint of visable ca past 400 power on bright stars in poor seeing. Lunar/planetary/double stars are resolved with a high degree of sharpness and contrast. One thing that really strikes me about the fluorite doublet is the degree of image "brightness" for it's mere 4" aperature. Saturn at 205 power is much brighter than other 4 inchers I have owned and resolution and contrast are impressive on ring definition and surface banding. Lunar was a nice surprise too with a wealth of resolved information observed for a 4" class instrument on the terminator and other surface features. 2 small side by side craterlets observed in the floor of Plato as one example. Deepsky for it's aperature is also very good given the scope's high contrast sharp optics. I only gave "ease of use" a 9 because the focuser can get a little stiff during cold observing sessions but mechanics on the OTA are very good. Top quality clam style tube holder and finder scope bracket were also included. The Takahashi finder bracket fit a white Skywatcher 9x50 finderscope perfectly. A short standard Synta dovetail bar matched up perfectly with the 2 outer holes in the clam ring for use on my EQ mount.

Excellent instrument in the 4" apo market and money well spent.


Best regards. Stan Taylor Vancouver B.C.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: steamer
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=498535


Takahashi FS-102
I bought my tak fs 102 used on astromart.It came with the clamshell and 2in visual back'So i save a littel off new price which they are on sale now for $1895.Plus they have the new model with micro focuser and retractable dew sheild and the scope is 2in shorter.My scope is mounted on a gp-dx.Views are breathtaking'perfect startest/Excellent widefield views and does great on planets and lunar,Contrast is the best and sharpness hard to beat.No color on bright objects that i can see.Focuser is very smooth.but can't wait to add the micro focuser.All in all a great scope.thanks bob hart

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Ease of Use:7 Value:8
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: indybob
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=347429


Takahashi FS-102
I bought my Tak about 2 years now as a portable alternative to light bucket reflectors. I've found it gives pin-sharp views of planets and tight doubles and takes high power well when UK seeing permits. It also gives a meaningful improvement, on all objects, over a couple of 80mm apos I've tried.

I probably used it more often in the first month than I used my reflector in the previous year. Of course, aperture fever then set in and I had to have a 5". I bought a second-hand FS128 and sold the 102. Big mistake. The 128 was better than the 102 on DSOs but only marginally so on planets and the moon. However, I really returned to refractors for portability and the 128 is MUCH bigger than the 102. Certainly too massive for a lightweight mount. I part exchanged the 128 with the chap who bought the 102, which I am happy to say is mine again. It now sits on a Vixen custom alt-az for grab and go views, or a GM8 for high power work.

Finally, I have to say, much though I love the Tak the best view of the planets I've ever had was through an Orion Optics 250mm f/4.8 Newtonian on an exceptionally steady night. Deatil on Saturn in particular was incredible. When all else is equal then I think that more aperture really does win!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:8
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: Richard
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=186005


Takahashi FS-102
I love all telescopes and still own a 4" Tak, and it is a great scope...but the truth about performance has to be told...If I had to keep ONE scope it would be my EL12.5. Why, aperture wins. I believe that Scopes should be compared on a cost comparison, not strictly on like aperture. It's unfair to compare a $300 4" Newt to a $2900 4" refractor, even though many of them come pretty close in image quality. All my reflectors have handily beaten any 5" or less APO on planetary and deep sky detail. The only 2 saving graces for the smaller refractors is that they have quick cool down and can be used for extreme widefield use in excess of 3 degrees field of view. I owned 2 APs (Traveler and a 130) as well as 7 Taks (2 FS78, 3 FS 102s, and 2 FS128s), None even matched the performance of any reflector over 7-8" I owned regardless of make or manufacture, be it an SCT, Newtonian, or a MakNewt, whether on planets or deepsky. The price/performance ratio doesn't even come close. Many fail to remember that the most important consideration is aperture. As an example, even the 3 8" SCTs which I used to compare to two 5" Taks (these scopes were owned for nearly a year and directly compared side by side with the same premium eyepieces) beat out all these refractors on planets and deep sky detail, even in average seeing. I have never once seen more contrast or detail in the smaller scope, except when the seeing was exceedingly poor. Which was only about 20- 25% of the time.
If you consider that you can get a C9.25 with excellent optics with a computerized GP-DX mount for about $3300, it's a major value compared to about $2900 for just a Traveler optical tube. And it does beat it handily on all objects, except for those over 1 degree in size. But even then the intraobject detail is much higher and apparent in the larger aperture. As for ease of setup, it is about the same for both except that the Traveler can also be used on a large photo tripod for quick use.
I am absolutely convinced that refractors are perceived to perform better than reflectors because of: 1) Smaller aperture gathers less background light, and have darker backgrounds as a result...this is mistaken for higher contrast, particularly by novices and gives an aesthetically more pleasing image. The image contrast is higher in a larger telescope. 2) High quality refractors cool faster, and give excellent images within a short amount of time...large reflectors need a lot of cool down time, and are often not fairly evaluated at star parties because they did not reach thermal equilibrium 3) Comparisons are usually with reflectors that are not properly collimated, or cleaned 4) Most reflector owners of the cheaper dob and SCT variety use less than premium eyepieces, where a Tak or AP owner wouldn't even consider using less than premium ones on such an expensive instrument. Premium eyepieces can even improve a dept. store scope!!! 5) Lastly, the comparisons are made to less than premium instruments. An EL11, costs about $2600 shipped, mount and all. Add a dob driver and computer and your at about $3600. Considerably less than the $6-7000 for a premium 4" refractor setup. And the 11 beats it handily on every object under 1.5* in size.

Overall Rating: 5
Optics:10 Ease of Use:9 Value:4
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: Bernie
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=92098

This is a carefully considered statement by an experienced user, containing valuable insights that may prevent many a novice from running into a dead end. I needed three years and many expensive wrong turns to realize the truth of what Bernie is saying: If you want a tool for excellent views of all objects with fields below 3 degrees, get a big Dob. If you want beautiful widefield, get a Docter Aspectem. The FS-102 is a gorgeous instrument in the way a Jaguar is a gorgeous car - an extravagant collector's piece, not an efficient tool.
What an idiot.  I am still not sure what you are comparing since you did not provide any "review" on the FS-102. If you prefer a big Dob that's great, but what "value" have you added to a review of this or any other scope. What function or feature on the FS-102 did you provide input on. You obviously dislike many of them based on your rating. You "claim" to have owned several of them. Why did you keep making the same mistake by buying refractors when at best they would only be a marginal performer by your criteria?

You might also get yourself caught up on prices and products. You seem to be a graduate of the Enron school of accounting.  I guess your numbers serve your purpose, but they are not accurate by any means.  Check the FS-102 GM8 combo price, the check the ELT price. (the EL-11 is not a current model) In fact based on your criteria why waste your money on a 12.5 Starmaster when you can get a  Meade 16 inch Dob for about 1/3 of the cost. Since the Meade has a larger aperture it will obviously outperform the inferior Starmaster using your $ per inch ratio. 

I came to this review site to get some user feedback on the FS-102.  The current sale price makes the 102 very tempting.  After reading the reviews and then reading your "commentary" I felt I had to reply.  Actually I love the views through my 20inch Obsession, but it is a pain to move, setup, and use.  My AP155 is fantastic also, but I have it setup on a perminant pier and have to drive out to the country to use it.  Now that I have seen the price on the FS-102 GM8 combo and since a pro-Dob user like yourself feels obviously threatened by this little scope, in the end you DID help me make up my mind.  Thanks.  DJ
Bernie's commentary about the Takahashi FS 102 is completely irrelevent. It dwells too much on the debate on the subject of refractors vs reflectors and too little on the real issue regarding the quality and utility of the scope being reviewed. Bernie's vote is therefore useless and unwelcome. I recommend it be ignored.

Takahashi FS-102
I've owned many scopes. This was my favorite (in retrospect). A foolish sale on my part. Takahashi is almost Borg-like in their fondness for adapter systems, but you honestly couldn't do much better than one of these on an EM-10/11.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:8 Value:8
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: egage
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=581701


Takahashi FS-102
My third Tak having previously owned an FS78 and a TOA 130.I loved them all,with each having good and bad points but I have to say that I like the 102 the best.This 4'' beauty really has been an incredible scope for me and one that I definately will not part with.It likes to ''dig deep'' when it comes to increasing magnification! All Taks do,but the combination of size and aperature win out for me with this scope.I notice absolutely no false color on any object whatsoever.I would truly recommend this scope to anyone who wants a ''serious'' piece of astronomical equipment.
This model as well as other Taks really retain their value as well on the used market!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.192.225)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=577231


Takahashi FS-102
For years I admired these scopes and finally Takahashi made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I ordered one the first day of the price drop.

I’ve had it out five times now and can report that it is even better than I had hoped. With EPs ranging form a 32mm Tak Erfle, to a Tak 3.6mm HI LE, it has yielded consistently dazzling views. Nothing I have ever used comes close to its contrast. (After a recent side-by-side comparison with an otherwise superb AP Starfire, the AP owner went home shaking his head and wondering if he should send it back to AP for evaluation and possible repair!)

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: von_Werner
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=148769


Takahashi FS-102
I recently obtained the FS102 on a Tak EM-2 mount. Spectacular views. Perfect Airy disks; optics are just as tack-sharp as it gets. The EM-2 mount is extremely solid and stable... not a trace of the shakes.

I highly recommend picking up a Takahashi apo if you don't want to wait a long time to get another premium apo scope- you simply won't be disappointed.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: buzzygirl
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=122390


Takahashi FS-102
I want to give a fair an objective reveiw. I have a 102 on top of a 12" LX200. This is a very large setup. I previously had a TV85 as well as a Pronto and an AP. Compared to the TV the TAK is huge. Without diagonal it is about 33" long. I have Losmandy 5" rings on the 12". To get the TAK to fit I had to unscrew the focus knobs and insert the scope and then replace them. The TAK is 114mm normal tube diameter. The 5" rings are 125mm so it doesn't leave much room. The TAK dew shield is HUGE. It is overly large and in my opinion a little overdone. It screws off for access to the objective or cleaning. The lens cover is like a manhole cover and pushes into the dewshield with felt lining. Personally I like the TV screw-on cover better. The TAK cover also has a 2" screw out center for various use. The objective is gorgeous. It is VERY dark from the optical coatings. The focuser is very smooth and with a tension screw like the TV. I personally think the TV focuser is just as good but others may disagree. The overall styling is very bland. The focus knobs are blah and plain as is the light lime green paint on rear and the weird blue around the dew shield! On top of this TAK uses stickers to announce the presence of this fantastic optical instrument!! You would thing they could have come up with something a little better. The TV's definately has the styling edge. The TAK is very conservative (like most Japanese cars - I own an Acura TL. Go figure). Now... where the TAK makes up everything is in the viewing. I have done several star test and it is by far the single best refractor I have looked through. The inky dark backgrounds provide superb constrast to star clusters and double stars at high to medium powers. Low power views are also very dark and with a 31mm TV Nag I get 3.1 degree fov which is awesome on larger clusters. Planets are awesome. I recently saw a shadow transit on Jupiter (on a less than favorable night) better in the TAK than the 12" at approx. the same power. Color correction is perfect. I could go on and on about the views. As I said above optically this is the best available in this price range. Although, the appearance is somewhat bland the optical performance more than makes up for it. If you ask me this is what a scope is really about in the end. Because of this I gave it a 10.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.206.203)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=37969

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