Takahashi Mewlon 180

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Takahashi Mewlon 180
Superb optics. Great fit, finish, and mechanics. An excellent visual scope for planets and deep sky. Far superior to 4" APO refractors in every way except that the APO's provide a wider field of view. Very user-friendly. Extremely portable at only 22" long and 12 pounds. The only drawback, as with SCT's, is these are suceptible to mirror flop. Mirror flop is barely noticeable, however. Overall the scope provides a great mix of portability and performance.

Warning. Mewlon 180's are extremely (understatement) sensitive to collimation. If collimation is a little off, performance goes to hell. Fortunately, they are easy to collimate and hold collimation well.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
By: sleikind
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=119874

Takahashi Mewlon 180
This is my second M-180. Like my first (which I owned for a year before mistakenly "moving up"), it is a superb instrument with perfect optics in a very portable package.

I'm a mostly visual observer with varied interests and a small bias towards planets. I've been doing this for over 30 years, the last 12 in Southern Wisconsin, which is a tough place to enjoy visual astronomy. With the seemingly ever present clouds punctuated by clear nights with lots of high level turbulence (due to the jet-stream), nights of good seeing are rare; and here in the Badger State, perfect seeing is almost unknown. Throw in large temperature drops at night, bitter cold in winter and (on my exposed ridge) ever-present wind, and you might as well take up stamp collecting.

So... given the local conditions, we can quickly rule out a few classes of scopes

SCT's and Macs (and most mac-newts) are large sealed bottles of air that, even if cooled in advance, just can't cope with the rapid changes in temperature during observing sessions. (And with regards to SCT's, in over 30 years of amateur astronomy, not one of the dozens that I have used left me thinking that it was as ultimately sharp as a great newt or refractor).

Newtonians and Dobs, if well ventilated and having low mass (read: thin) mirrors, can handle the temperature change, but their large overall length makes them vulnerable to wind. Additionally, they are awkward to clock drive and not conducive to the grab and go type of operation that my conditions demand.

APO Refractors... well they can be quite wonderful, razor sharp and contrast.... contrast! I have owned several great ones. (A much beloved Takahashi FS-102 and fairly recent William Optics FLT-110 come to mind...) But, they too fall just a bit short here in this challenging environment. When they are big enough aperture wise (5" and up), they are heavy and require heavy, complex mounts that make you think twice before "taking a chance" on conditions here. Small ones (4" and under) are handy, and you do get outside often enough to make them worthwhile, but even a world class 4" fluorite APO is still only a 4" scope. And, there is a lot more to see, even here.

So, I want a scope that is razor sharp, is free of spurious color, has good contrast, cools quickly, is short and light enough to be used on a quick to set up and easy to cary outside mount, AND has enough aperture to show me all there is to reasonably see in Wisconsin's fickle skies... Simple, right?

Well, not exactly, but the Mewlon 180 is as close to perfection as I've ever come. Mine is usually mounted on a fairly light and elegantly simple Takahashi EM-10 motorized equatorial mount and, on those really "iffy" nights, can fly out the door on a Gyro class Alt-Az mount. Cooling is reasonably quick (20 minutes) and in winter is aided by "pre-cooling" the scope in my unheated garage. Temperature variations of 40 degrees F in four hours (that would have kept Saturn's rings spinning like a plate in a Mac or SCT) have been handled with no problems, thanks to the Mewlon's open construction and fast cool-down.

And, with regards to non-Wisconsin specific criteria, optically, it's a stunner. When collimated (uh-oh there's that word...), it can only be differentiated from a similar aperture refractor by a slight loss of contrast and a large bulge in your pocket caused by around $5000. (Remember, besides the APO's additional cost, there's that big, heavy, expensive mount to consider.)

I have directly compared my Mewlons to several top quality refractors (AP-130EDF, TEC-140, and FS-128's and a 152) and, yes, the wider views were nice and the contrast greater, but, only the FS-152 seemed to show as much detail in planetary use (and I suspect that even that was largely due to increased contrast). And, as very little, if any, of my interests require more than the nearly 1 degree view presented in my 27 Panoptic on the Mewlon, even that wider view advantage of the APO's fades.

Lastly, a note on eyepieces. Three Televue's are my core EP's... a 27mm Panoptic (80x, 51'), a 17mm T4 Nagler (127x, 39') and a 12mm T4 Nagler(180x, 27'). They handle 95% of my observing and make a dream set for the M-180. And for those rare magical "super-planetary" nights a few higher power Tak orthos lurk in my bag, but they sadly don't seem to get much use here in Packer Country .

-Specific note on the C9.25 in response to Tom: The Mewlon is critically sharp, the C9.25s I've used (and owned) are close, but not close enough, additionally the Mewlon has more contrast and can get by with a smaller mount (so most of the savings on the C9.25 is eaten up there).

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:9
Weight: 20 (Notable Vote)
By: von_Werner
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=401227

Takahashi Mewlon 180
Not trying to bash, so don't interpret it that way....this is my second Mewlon. The 180 was problematic from the start. Spot on collimation is IMPOSSIBLE due to gross primary mirror shift(and it's critical with this optical design). I've seen some cheap SCT's and some nice MCT's that fared better in this regard. Contrast is good, but not as good as a well baffled Mak or apo refractor. Very finicky about seeing and subject to the effects of light breezes. A smaller apo, larger Newt, and much larger Dob all experienced less trouble on more than one night.

It is the easiest to handle scope of this aperture you'll EVER use. Views can be great at times. When it comes to dew or frost, nothing beats a Mewlon, but.......

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:8 Ease of Use:7 Value:7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.205.131)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=428062

Takahashi Mewlon 180
my fifth telescope. i've used my tak 180 for 8 years now! my only comment would be," why aren't these scopes more popular?" even on those iffy nites of poor to average seeing this scope provides good to excellent images. open tube design works! i won't trade my 180 for any other design. the only drawback would be the relatively slow f/stop at f/12. but all in all a great preformer. lunar details very close to 5" apo's, with NO color fringes!! sold a fs128 several years ago, required a much heavier mount. my 180 is mounted on a sp mount, works great. the collimation factor is one to consider, but, this should not deter anyone from considering this wonderful ota. they hold collimation very well. i use a astro physics maxbright diagonal, which adds some weight, but the 2" eyepieces available today make wide field viewing easier. a 35mm panoptic or the 50mm tak 2" give the widest possible views i've obtained, a little better than 1 degree of sky. the 50mm tak is a great eyepiece! well there it is. i can not recommend another scope higher. from the usual tak quality, the light weight ota, the great finderscope/handle, detail and finish is top notch. one note on mirror flop. there has been some folks who have used 3rd party focusers, moonlite for one has a model for the 180 mewlon. i just don't feel as if this was nesesary for how i use the scope, mainly visually. i hope more folks have the opportunity to take a peek thru this very fine optical system which takahashi has provided to our wonderful hobby jim the soleman1.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.229.3)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=565898

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