Vixen FL102S


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Vixen FL102S
just a real fine telescope; sharp and contrasty; portable and
gives those higher priced apo's a run for the money on planets
and bright objects; for the money this is a best buy decision;
well constructed.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.50.198)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39240


Vixen FL102S
Oustanding optics. Mechanics may not be Tak or Ap quality but the price isn't either! A BEST BUY.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.178.11)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39242


Vixen FL102S
I have had the Orion/Vixen 4" fluorite refractor for about 18 months. It is as nearly perfect as can be expected of a telescope of this aperature. I have never seen any false color on Venus, Jupiter or the moon. Stars are sharp pinpoints and the star test is nearly perfect. One excellent night last summer I had it up to 460x on M13; a swarm of pinpoint stars resulted. Most nights won't allow crazy magnification like that, but planets are sharp and clear on average nights at 200-250x. Star colors are much better in the Vixen than in a Chinese 4.7" refractor.
I have the telescope on a Vixen GP-DX mount with a SkySensor. The combination is portable and sturdy as a rock, with the SkySensor adding excellent GoTo abilities.
Vixen makes great products at reasonable prices. This telescope is a winner.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.45.197)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39243


Vixen FL102S
I recently had an opportunity to look through a friends Vixen 4" Fluorite at a club benefit star party. It was my first look through such a scope and its was an excellent opportunity to compare it to other scope types as there were 14 others to choose from.

The fluorite produced nice pinpoint stars characteristic of a well made unobstructed telescope. However, I did notice color outside focus on Sirius, there was none evident in focus (which in my opinion is what counts). A look at Jupiter revealed a wonderful color-free view and plenty of detail on the disc. Saturn showed nice color gradation on its sphere and a crisp image.

However, a nearby Celestron C8 (older orange model) with a recently recoated mirror showed a much larger image and more detail with outstanding contrast.

A nearby Intes 6" Mak-Newt gave an awesome image as well, better than the flourite.

My lesson here is that aperture does indeed have a signifcant impact on what you can see. You quickly exceed the ability of the 4" fluorite to resolve detail as the aperture of competing designs increases. Let me be clear, I am not knocking the fine performance of the Vixen. It gave fine views and was well built. If a refractor is the design you seek you won't be disappointed. BUT on all counts the larger aperture instruments had more detail and more contrast than the Vixen. In the case of the 8" SCT the view was significantly improved, no comparison really. So one must be careful about all the hype surrounding refractors. Yes, inch for inch, refractors give better views, BUT you can easily exceed their capabilities, at siginificantly reduced costs, with other designs.

Please, don not take this post as refractor bashing. Someday I would like to have one for the build quality of the instrument alone. But when I go out to a dark sight, a newtonian will likely be my companion. Well made (quality achived by some mainstream versions sufficing), they provide stunning planetary views and have the ability to go deep. Many also provide very nice widefield views.

As always look before you buy, your viewing requirements and your final decision should be based on your needs and your PERSONAL EXPERIENCE with whatever instrument you decide upon.

Take care

Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.240.34)
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Vixen FL102S
As a previous owner of a Vixen Fl-102 and two Celestron 8-inch SCTs (a 1976 orange one as well as a 1990 black one), and as a present owner of a TAK FCT-100 my personal experience is very different from the previous mail: The old SCT was very good, maybe comparable to the Fl-102. The newer SCT was no match at all. And I would definitely never go back from my FCT-100 to any 8-inch SCT in the world!!!
A good Fluorite refractor due to its superior contrast delivers superior planetary images, equal globular clusters, only slightly inferior PNs plus absolutely uncomparably wonderful wide-field views of larger deep-sky-objects!
My only explanation for the inferiority of the above-mentioned Fl-102: Was it out of collimation or something?

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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.189.249)
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Vixen FL102S
To the above comments:

I did a star test and it did not appear out of collimation. It just did not seem to be able to keep up with the larger aperture scopes. Maybe it had nothing to do with the lack of quality in the refractor. Perhaps it was simply a case where the other two scopes we just fine examples of their designs. This coupled with their intrinsic ability to resolve more detail, because of their larger apertures, resulted in very fine views the refractor could not duplicate. For example, I'm sure the 10" AP Maksutov would have no trouble dispensing with the refractor because it's really about the quality of the optics more than it is about the design. Whatever it was, the refractor just didn't measure up. Perhaps it would be worth having another go with it as I have access to both scopes.

As an aside, I recently picked up an FC76 and love its performance. Very sharp and takes unbelievable amounts of magnification. Viewed Mars at 240X with little image breakdown - very nice.

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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.58.188)
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> For example, I'm sure the 10" AP Maksutov would have no >trouble dispensing with the refractor because it's really >about the quality of the optics more than it is about the >design.

The 10" AP Mak should "dispense" a 4" APO of any kind.  10" vs. 4"?  What kind of contest is this?  The Vixen Fluorite is not in the same league as other 4" Apo's mechanically.  But, mine compares as good as every other 4" I have had a chance to compare it to optically.  This includes 2 TV 102's, 1 TV 101, 1 AP traveler and a few Tak 102's.  Yeah, the others have better focusers that make their use easier and more enjoyable but optically, the Vixen 102 is as good as any out there.

Vixen FL102S
To the above comments:

I did a star test and it did not appear out of collimation. It just did not seem to be able to keep up with the larger aperture scopes. Maybe it had nothing to do with the lack of quality in the refractor. Perhaps it was simply a case where the other two scopes we just fine examples of their designs. This coupled with their intrinsic ability to resolve more detail, because of their larger apertures, resulted in very fine views the refractor could not duplicate. For example, I'm sure the 10" AP Maksutov would have no trouble dispensing with the refractor because it's really about the quality of the optics more than it is about the design. Whatever it was, the refractor just didn't measure up. Perhaps it would be worth having another go with it as I have access to both scopes.

As an aside, I recently picked up an FC76 and love its performance. Very sharp and takes unbelievable amounts of magnification. Viewed Mars at 240X with little image breakdown - very nice.

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.58.188)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39247


Vixen FL102S
To the above comments:

I did a star test and it did not appear out of collimation. It just did not seem to be able to keep up with the larger aperture scopes. Maybe it had nothing to do with the lack of quality in the refractor. Perhaps it was simply a case where the other two scopes we just fine examples of their designs. This coupled with their intrinsic ability to resolve more detail, because of their larger apertures, resulted in very fine views the refractor could not duplicate. For example, I'm sure the 10" AP Maksutov would have no trouble dispensing with the refractor because it's really about the quality of the optics more than it is about the design. Whatever it was, the refractor just didn't measure up. Perhaps it would be worth having another go with it as I have access to both scopes.

As an aside, I recently picked up an FC76 and love its performance. Very sharp and takes unbelievable amounts of magnification. Viewed Mars at 240X with little image breakdown - very nice.

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.58.188)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39248

>To the above comments:
>
>I did a star test and it did not appear out of collimation.  It just did not seem to be able to keep up with the larger aperture scopes.  Maybe it had nothing to do with the lack of quality in the refractor.  Perhaps it was simply a case where the other two scopes we just fine examples of their designs.  This coupled with their intrinsic ability to resolve more detail, because of their larger apertures, resulted in very fine views the refractor could not duplicate.  For example, I'm sure the 10" AP Maksutov would have no trouble dispensing with the refractor because it's really about the quality of the optics more than it is about the design.  Whatever it was, the refractor just didn't measure up.  Perhaps it would be worth having another go with it as I have access to both scopes.
>
>As an aside, I recently picked up an FC76 and love its performance.  Very sharp and takes unbelievable amounts of magnification.  Viewed Mars at 240X with little image breakdown - very nice.

Vixen FL102S
views are extremely contrasty, detailed, clear, bright, etc. consistently outperforms scopes nearly twice it`s size at star parties.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.124.75)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39249


Vixen FL102S
Well, I get the feeling one of the notorious "back and forth" threads is developing. In my original post I indicated that I was not bashing the refractor but... Anyway, this my final post. For anyone reading these reviews as a means of assessing which scope to buy I ask that you go to SEVERAL star parties and look yourself. Be sure to look through all designs at various objects (planets, deep sky, doubles etc.). PLEASE, do not look only at the bright Messier list but consider what you tend to look at and how many objects will be visible in your telescope - how long will it keep you interested? Also, be sure to talk with knowledgable people so that the scopes you look through are good representations of their designs. TAKE YOUR TIME and go to several star parties, don't just do it once!

Finally, after having considered the above, consider what your purchase will be based on dollars spent, so in this case, $2500. What scopes can you buy for $2500? How did the views look through these scopes (ya know, the ones you looked through at the star parties). Be sure you don't compare an $450 dob to a $2500 refractor (or maybe you should!?). At $2500 you should be comparing, say, a 10" or 11" Starmaster EL or a mounted 7" Russian Maksutov Newtonian (or Maksutov Cassegrain) to the refractor. Then you will be able to make an informed decision, whatever it is.

Also, Jay Reynolds Freeman, a long time and well respected amateur, has some excellent articles for newbies (some reside on Todd Gross' site). These will give you some very good information.

Good luck.

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.58.243)
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Vixen FL102S
To the above post,
This page is about the Vixen FL102S..not your 'none' owning view on what people should spend thier money on!
Plus press the submit button once!

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.71.147)
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Vixen FL102S
First, I don't know why the post submitted twice, it was not intentional. Second, the last post was in response to earlier posts. Third, my post is completely relevant and based on first hand experience. I liked the flourite but explain its pros and cons. Ironically, it is your post that is completely irrelevant to equipment reviews and simply seeks to spew venom. It must be tough going through life full of this anger, I hope you can work out your issues.

Good Luck,
john

Overall Rating: No Vote
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Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.240.34)
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Vixen FL102S
I bought this scope many years ago, February 1991, in combination with a Vixen Super Polaris mount. I later changed the mount by a Zeiss Ib, very stable and accurate.
I use the telescope in my own backyard and at the public observatory which I am a member of.

The FL-102S still is my main instrument, for I never could find an instrument at an affordable price that could beat it.

The star test shows very, very slight difference in out of focus diffraction patterns. This difference disappears if a green filter is used. In focus the images are razorsharp and color free.

The views through the FL102S are superb, especially on planets and double stars.
Friends, club members and visitors of the observatory are stunned by the planet images, even just after they saw the same planets through the 12" Newton main telescope of the observatory.
My scope performs also very well in combination with a Starlight MX5-C CCD-camera.

Over years I compared the FL 102S with numerous other (larger) telescopes - side by side - such as 6" and 8" Newton Dobs, Celestron C8, Meade LX200 (8").
Images in these scopes were brighter than in the Vixen fluorite, but almost none of these could show the subtle details on planets the Vixen showed.
Equal double stars were often split better in these larger reflectors, as a result of the larger aperture. At unequal double stars however (delta Cygni, theta Aurigae), the Fluorite won.

I have to admit that the circumstances in Holland, where I live, the athmospheric conditions are mostly bad. Above comparisons may show other results under ideal seeing.

Nowadays the FL-102S is offered as 102mm f/9, also focal length 920 mm.
Mine however is f/8.8 (focal length 900 mm). Obviously the optics design has been changed.

This review concerns only the OTA. The mechanical quality of the tube is good, but not perfect.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.83.151)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39253


Vixen FL102S
To the above: I forgot my alias.
Greetings,
"Piet Fluoriet"

Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.83.151)
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Vixen FL102S
I recently purchased one of the Vixen 4" flourite refractors. It is approximately 10 years old. The tube is solid black without any manufacturers decals. People first walking up to it the other night to look at Jupiter and Saturn thought it was one of the newer Chinese achromats before looking through it.

It is relatively light (Orion specs for a new one says 8lbs) but I have a 2" focuser so that adds a bit of weight. The focuser isn't the smoothest, but for the cost of the scope (used or new) it's definately acceptable.

For three nights the past week I have been able to have long looks at Jupiter and Saturn. Two nights had decent seeing, one had very good seeing. The best night Saturn was able to be viewed at 230x (that's as high as I could go) and was still tack sharp. Jupiter wouldn't take as much magnification but still showed a tremendous amount of detail. The GRS stood out quite prominantly. One night while a shadow transit was taking place, between 2 8" SCTs, a 3.5" Mak and the Vixen refractor, only the Vixen was able to show the shadow.

Each night there was a great deal of contrast, sharpness and clarity to the planetary images. Each time the view would snap into focus. Way more detail could be discerned than compared with my 5" Celeston SCT.

A quick glimpse at M42 showed more than I expected for a 4" scope, but that's not what this scope is going to excell at. If you're looking for a small refractor that is cheaper than the AP's, TMB's or TV's, if this particular scope is a good sample of what the Vixen flourites are like, you'll be happy.

Cost-wise it can't be beat. The optics in mine appear excellent. The only slightly negative thing to say is with the focuser. Nonetheless I'd stil give this scope a 10.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.154.73)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39255


Vixen FL102S
Personally I find that hearing someones opinion on what telescope to get is helpful.

Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.82.9)
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Vixen FL102S
Personally I find that hearing someones opinion on what telescope to get is helpful. IT IS THE POINT OF THE SITE!!!!!!

Overall Rating: No Vote
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By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.82.9)
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Vixen FL102S
Hello,

I bought the Vixen FL102S 1,5 years ago. Since 25 years I'm looking to the Stars with Newton from 114 until 200mm and Refraktors from 60 to 120mm.
The Vixen FL102 shows the Stars very fine. On Mars I could see so much details like in no other 4" Refractor before using magnification until 250x. I can't find any false Color even on the brightest objekts with the highest magnifikation. The Vixen FL102 is cooling dow in a few minutes, even in the winter I don't have to wait longer than 20 minutes before I can use high magnification.
I think the Vixen FL 102 S plays in the league of the best 4" APO's on the world. Only the fokusser could be better - I have change the fokusser and use now a Moonlite CF2-V - wonderful!
The great scope gets from me the 10.

Best regards from Germany

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.241.216)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=504548

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