Takahashi FS-128


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Brand and Model:Takahashi FS-128
Price ($USD):8000
Type:Apochromatic Refractor
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:128mm (5")
f Ratio:f/8
Focal Length:1000mm
Finder:7 per 50
Electric Power:
Mount:em200 takahashi
Tripod:
Weight (lbs):7,5 kg lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):
Description:Takahashi America's FS-128 Page
Todd Gross's FS-128 Review
Cloudy Nights Meade 127 ED vs Tak FS-128 vs AP 130 EDT

Vote Highlights Vote
Takahashi FS-128
The FS128 is as perfect a 5" aperture instrument as can be. The optics are superb, with perfect star test in and out of focus and excellent high contrast images in focus. Performs quite well on deep sky objects, even with the limited aperture. Performs on deep sky about equivalent to a 7" reflector.
The tube is hefty, well built and has been mistaken by many to be a 6" refractor. Although it looks heavy, it isn't, weighing in at 16lbs, it is very manageble for portability sake. It is the epitome of the optical craft, and is as pleasant to look at as look thru. The focuser is incredibly smooth and accurate. Holds focus dead on, even with heavy eyepieces. As for the finder, it's comparable to a 60mm apo in optical quality. You can actually see the airy disc and diffraction rings in it. The same goes for the polar scope. Quality optics through and through. My only pet peeve is the price. A bit expensive when compared to other 5" apos.
The EM200 mount is as smooth and solid as they get. Polar alignment is simple and positively perfect. The tracking in RA is MUCH better than rated and comes in at about 2-3 arcsec of periodic error. Widefield prime focus photos can be taken virtually unguided! For up to 20 minutes with NO star trailing. INCREDIBLE! It's almost a waste to have an autoguider port on it! The only criticizm I have for the mount is that it is much heavier than it has to be and is almost overkill for this optical tube. I now have an EM10 mount under it, and it is plenty stable and enhances the portability of the setup. I use the whole setup for visual use anyway. But, I feel it will hold up when used photographicly as well.
Now to the nitty gritty. I've been doing some comparisions, side by side with many other scopes I've owned and those owned by friends and other club members. First, I'll tell you that, this refractor is a marvilous instrument and against like apertures of other designs it wins quite handlily on image quality. But, I've discovered as I've suspected all along that quality aperture wins.
In less than perfect skies the 5" seems to beat larger aperture Newtonians and SCT's on planetary detail, but when the skies are steady they BEAT the 128 on resolution and CONTRAST as well. The scopes I've compared to it are as follows: C8, C9.25, Meade 10"SCT, 8" Dobsonian (F6), 10" Starmaster, 11" Starmaster, and a 15" Obsession, all were well collimated and had 1/5 wave or better optics. When the seeing allowed the others won out over the TAK. Granted, 75% of the time the Tak would outperform these others, but when seeing allowed, aperture won.(In Fact it's an aperture related thing, bigger the aperture the better the image)
As for deep sky, when it was at a dark sky site, there was NO CONTEST, the Tak lost handily.
The reasons that many percieve that refractors have better contrast and tighter images are several. I will list some of them: 1) Smaller apertures are less affected by atmospheric turbulence and cut through bad seeing better 2) they also aren't affected by light pollution as much and don't take in as much ambient light, because of their smaller apertures. This darkens the sky background and is percieved to be better contrast. But, this is not the case when looking at the object itself. (i.e. planets). 3)The smaller aperture images a larger airy disc, which looks like a tiny circle, and is easier to see. 4) Reflectors, need periodic maintanence and collimation to produce high contrast images. Many are not maintained by there owners properly and often image poorly as a result. 5) The folded light path of reflectors give tube currents (caused by temperature differences), more opportunities to degrade the image. There are other reasons, as well.
My conclusion with all of this side by side testing is that, there is NO BEST telescope. All designs are excellent if properly made and maintained. That is why I own several. At least one of each type. This is the reason for a 9 rating. YES, I'm a proud owner of a TAK! But, if I could only keep one scope, it would be my C9.25. Why? Because aperture WINS!

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.195.47)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39212

>The FS128 is as perfect a 5" aperture instrument as can be. The optics are superb, with perfect star test in and out of focus and excellent high contrast images in focus. Performs quite well on deep sky objects, even with the limited aperture. Performs on deep sky about equivalent to a 7" reflector.
>The tube is hefty, well built and has been mistaken by many to be a 6" refractor. Although it looks heavy, it isn't, weighing in at 16lbs, it is very manageble for portability sake. It is the epitome of the optical craft, and is as pleasant to look at as look thru. The focuser is incredibly smooth and accurate. Holds focus dead on, even with heavy eyepieces. As for the finder, it's comparable to a 60mm apo in optical quality. You can actually see the airy disc and diffraction rings in it. The same goes for the polar scope. Quality optics through and through. My only pet peeve is the price. A bit expensive when compared to other 5" apos.
>The EM200 mount is as smooth and solid as they get. Polar alignment is simple and positively perfect. The tracking in RA is MUCH better than rated and comes in at about 2-3 arcsec of periodic error. Widefield prime focus photos can be taken virtually unguided! For up to 20 minutes with NO star trailing. INCREDIBLE! It's almost a waste to have an autoguider port on it! The only criticizm I have for the mount is that it is much heavier than it has to be and is almost overkill for this optical tube. I now have an EM10 mount under it, and it is plenty stable and enhances the portability of the setup. I use the whole setup for visual use anyway. But, I feel it will hold up when used photographicly as well.
>Now to the nitty gritty. I've been doing some comparisions, side by side with many other scopes I've owned and those owned by friends and other club members. First, I'll tell you that, this refractor is a marvilous instrument and against like apertures of other designs it wins quite handlily on image quality. But, I've discovered as I've suspected all along that quality aperture wins. 
>In less than perfect skies the 5" seems to beat larger aperture Newtonians and SCT's on planetary detail, but when the skies are steady they BEAT the 128 on resolution and CONTRAST as well. The scopes I've compared to it are as follows: C8, C9.25, Meade 10"SCT, 8" Dobsonian (F6), 10" Starmaster, 11" Starmaster, and a 15" Obsession, all were well collimated and had 1/5 wave or better optics. When the seeing allowed the others won out over the TAK. Granted, 75% of the time the Tak would outperform these others, but when seeing allowed, aperture won.(In Fact it's an aperture related thing, bigger the aperture the better the image)
>As for deep sky, when it was at a dark sky site, there was NO CONTEST, the Tak lost handily.
>The reasons that many percieve that refractors have better contrast and tighter images are several. I will list some of them: 1) Smaller apertures are less affected by atmospheric turbulence and cut through bad seeing better 2) they also aren't affected by light pollution as much and don't take in as much ambient light, because of their smaller apertures. This darkens the sky background and is percieved to be better contrast. But, this is not the case when looking at the object itself. (i.e. planets). 3)The smaller aperture images a larger airy disc, which looks like a tiny circle, and is easier to see. 4) Reflectors, need periodic maintanence and collimation to produce high contrast images. Many are not maintained by there owners properly and often image poorly as a result. 5) The folded light path of reflectors give tube currents (caused by temperature differences), more opportunities to degrade the image. There are other reasons, as well.
>My conclusion with all of this side by side testing is that, there is NO BEST telescope. All designs are excellent if properly made and maintained. That is why I own several. At least one of each type. This is the reason for a 9 rating. YES, I'm a proud owner of a TAK! But, if I could only keep one scope, it would be my C9.25. Why? Because aperture WINS!  
>
More resolution with a 15" scope than a 5"? I am in awe of this man's capacity to state the obvious. (By the way how much of a geek would you need to be to waste so much time posting these excruciating pseudo-lectures all over a site that is supposed to be for equipment reviews?)
OSSERVO DA DUE ANNI CON IL TAKA,TUTTE LE NOTTO MI SOGNO SATURNO  A 500 X.
QUELLA NOTTE SONO STATO IN PARADISO...........
MESSAGE FROM ITALY



>The FS128 is as perfect a 5" aperture instrument as can be. The optics are superb, with perfect star test in and out of focus and excellent high contrast images in focus. Performs quite well on deep sky objects, even with the limited aperture. Performs on deep sky about equivalent to a 7" reflector.
>The tube is hefty, well built and has been mistaken by many to be a 6" refractor. Although it looks heavy, it isn't, weighing in at 16lbs, it is very manageble for portability sake. It is the epitome of the optical craft, and is as pleasant to look at as look thru. The focuser is incredibly smooth and accurate. Holds focus dead on, even with heavy eyepieces. As for the finder, it's comparable to a 60mm apo in optical quality. You can actually see the airy disc and diffraction rings in it. The same goes for the polar scope. Quality optics through and through. My only pet peeve is the price. A bit expensive when compared to other 5" apos.
>The EM200 mount is as smooth and solid as they get. Polar alignment is simple and positively perfect. The tracking in RA is MUCH better than rated and comes in at about 2-3 arcsec of periodic error. Widefield prime focus photos can be taken virtually unguided! For up to 20 minutes with NO star trailing. INCREDIBLE! It's almost a waste to have an autoguider port on it! The only criticizm I have for the mount is that it is much heavier than it has to be and is almost overkill for this optical tube. I now have an EM10 mount under it, and it is plenty stable and enhances the portability of the setup. I use the whole setup for visual use anyway. But, I feel it will hold up when used photographicly as well.
>Now to the nitty gritty. I've been doing some comparisions, side by side with many other scopes I've owned and those owned by friends and other club members. First, I'll tell you that, this refractor is a marvilous instrument and against like apertures of other designs it wins quite handlily on image quality. But, I've discovered as I've suspected all along that quality aperture wins. 
>In less than perfect skies the 5" seems to beat larger aperture Newtonians and SCT's on planetary detail, but when the skies are steady they BEAT the 128 on resolution and CONTRAST as well. The scopes I've compared to it are as follows: C8, C9.25, Meade 10"SCT, 8" Dobsonian (F6), 10" Starmaster, 11" Starmaster, and a 15" Obsession, all were well collimated and had 1/5 wave or better optics. When the seeing allowed the others won out over the TAK. Granted, 75% of the time the Tak would outperform these others, but when seeing allowed, aperture won.(In Fact it's an aperture related thing, bigger the aperture the better the image)
>As for deep sky, when it was at a dark sky site, there was NO CONTEST, the Tak lost handily.
>The reasons that many percieve that refractors have better contrast and tighter images are several. I will list some of them: 1) Smaller apertures are less affected by atmospheric turbulence and cut through bad seeing better 2) they also aren't affected by light pollution as much and don't take in as much ambient light, because of their smaller apertures. This darkens the sky background and is percieved to be better contrast. But, this is not the case when looking at the object itself. (i.e. planets). 3)The smaller aperture images a larger airy disc, which looks like a tiny circle, and is easier to see. 4) Reflectors, need periodic maintanence and collimation to produce high contrast images. Many are not maintained by there owners properly and often image poorly as a result. 5) The folded light path of reflectors give tube currents (caused by temperature differences), more opportunities to degrade the image. There are other reasons, as well.
>My conclusion with all of this side by side testing is that, there is NO BEST telescope. All designs are excellent if properly made and maintained. That is why I own several. At least one of each type. This is the reason for a 9 rating. YES, I'm a proud owner of a TAK! But, if I could only keep one scope, it would be my C9.25. Why? Because aperture WINS!  
>
Will the pig who keeps butting into these reviews with his "aperture wins" nonsense please get a life and stick to reviewing the products at hand instead of preaching his cult propaganda, (or better yet, refrain from writing anything at all)? He has no clue what the circumstances are for the person considering this scope. For some folks, a high quality APO just makes more sense for their lifestyle, personal health, family situation, storage space, etc, etc, etc. Folks considering the Starmasters, SCT's or anything else are welcome to click over to those reviews and read away. How childish.

>Now to the nitty gritty. I've been doing some comparisions, side by side with many other scopes I've owned and those owned by friends and other club members. First, I'll tell you that, this refractor is a marvilous instrument and against like apertures of other designs it wins quite handlily on image quality. But, I've discovered as I've suspected all along that quality aperture wins. 
>In less than perfect skies the 5" seems to beat larger aperture Newtonians and SCT's on planetary detail, but when the skies are steady they BEAT the 128 on resolution and CONTRAST as well. The scopes I've compared to it are as follows: C8, C9.25, Meade 10"SCT, 8" Dobsonian (F6), 10" Starmaster, 11" Starmaster, and a 15" Obsession, all were well collimated and had 1/5 wave or better optics. When the seeing allowed the others won out over the TAK. Granted, 75% of the time the Tak would outperform these others, but when seeing allowed, aperture won.(In Fact it's an aperture related thing, bigger the aperture the better the image)

Takahashi FS-128
The best compromise for a stunning scope for a visual observer. The star images are pinpoints without any color. Planetary views are stunning with excellent color fidelity and contrast. The caramel color on the surface of Saturn comes through with great clarity. Not the stark white surface seen through many triplet telescopes with oil spacing of elements,

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.252.78)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=576844


Takahashi FS-128
Just stepped up from a Tak 102 to a 128.
To put it mildly--WOW!
Viewed Saturn through the "soup" of the San Fernando Valley
in Ca.
The scope cut through it like a lazer, gave me Hubble like images I dreamt about looking through a scope.
Dropped in a 5 Nagler Type 6 and was blown away.
I can imagine what it's going to give me outside of the Valley
atop Mount Wilson.

The 128 is everything you heard, smooth focuser,
built like a tank and quick cool down.
I have it mounted on a EM200.
Setup, ease of use and stabilty is top rate.
Took 8 minutes to break down the setup and get everything
inside my house.
Everything is built so well, well worth the money.
Highly recommended.
John R
Ca.
11/7/02

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.15.62)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=146265


Takahashi FS-128
Great Scope, lots of contrast. Workmansthip on the tube not as refined as the astophysics. But image quality is incredible. some color on bright object inside focus, but better than televue 102.
Tony C

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.239.78)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=133594


Takahashi FS-128
Incredible quality...
400 power on jupiter is normally in one night with a good seeing,
the particulars on the surface planetary (wos, spot, condetation, rimae, etc) jump out with incredible easy,
the star test is very very near at perfection,
with image diffraction inside-outside identical.
pinpoint star and focus perfect. I don't think, there are
other telescope with this transparence of image like
Takahashi.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.231.29)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39215


Takahashi FS-128
Star test is perfect. Scope is used primarily for astrophotography. Brightness of image is very good. The exposure times required to capture faint DSO's appears to be significantl less than that required on comparable APO's by other manufacturers.

I use the NJP-160 mount and am very pleased with both the ease of polar alignment and the tracking of the mount. Using an ST-4 for guiding, the average guiding error is consistently less than 1 pixel both axis (i.e. A1/A2=0 more often than A1/A2=1)when seeing is 7 or better.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.183.35)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39214


Takahashi FS-128
I agree with the above, aperure wins. My f8 planetary 10" newt with 1/20 wave optics leaves the Tak way behind on a half-good night. But as a 5" scope it is virtually perfect. Only reason why I don't give it 10, the image shifts slightly on the (very smooth) focusser when racked in and out. Generally superb.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.131.65)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39213


Takahashi FS-128
Star test, both inside and outside of focue, is almost textbook (see H.R. Suiter), the outer ring might be just a tad brighter than the inner rings. I base this on a comparison with an FC-76, which is hand-figured and easier to figure than a 5" lens, which is perfect. The quality of construction is magnificent and the focuser is very smoothe. The baffels tend to reduce the effective aperature just a bit, but there is virtually no stray light. Coatings are very hard and can be cleaned with pure isopropanol and distilled water without leaving a trace. Voting did not allow a value between 9 and 10, but if I could I would rate it a 9.7 (by comparison, a TV-101 would be a 9).

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.153.92)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39210


Takahashi FS-128
Perfect star test observed in and out of focus. Incredible contrast on the planets. The optics makes eyepiece testing a snap. Easily points out the differences in design and optical quality. The tube I observed through came with and excellent 7x50 finder. The mechanical quality of the tube was first rate.

beerman@jump.com

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.221.43)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39209


Takahashi FS-128
Supurb telescope and mount (EM200). Perfect star tests inside and outside of focus. This is a SERIOUS instrument. The mount is rock solid, motor is whisper quiet. The folks who engineered and built this equipment clearly take pride in what they do. I returned another high end refractor to purchase this telescope and couldn't be happier. The instructions that come with the scope are poorly translated from Japanese, but you can fairly quickly grasp the concepts of using the polar finder. The mount legs are the size of 2x4's, I couldn't identify the wood. The attachment mechanism is excellent. The finder and reticule light are top quality. If you can get past the pain of the price you'll enjoy this scope for MANY years.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.195.201)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39208

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