Takahashi FS-102


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Subject: Moved Message
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.197.67)
Date: 01/08/2002 04:29:36 pm PDT
I've owned over 40 scopes including 6 Taks. They are all excellent scopes, for their aperture. But, aperture wins....PERIOD!
My C8, C9.25, Meade 10" SCT, EL11, EL12.5, and Obsession 15 all beat the pants of all 6 Taks (2-FS78, 2-FS102, and 2-FS128s) on the planets and on deep sky, in a side by side comparison, even in average seeing. A 6" MacNewt beat the 102 by a bit, and a 5" was about a tie.
The only advantage of the 102 is that it needs nearly no cool down time and gives great images right out of the box. No need to collimate either. Larger reflectors need to be well collimated and lot's of cool down time (Up to 3 hours) before observing.
Don't get confused with background brightness (aperture related, NOT CONTRAST related), diffraction spikes, or secondary obstruction. If the optics are 1/4 wave or better, smooth, with good coatings. The bigger the better...
35 years and 40+ scopes later...
I wish I knew that before I bought my first, would have saved a lot of money...
My advise...don't fall for the hype...
You can get a top notch reflector and mount for about the same as one of these FS102 optical tubes alone. Just put it outside 2 hours before you view and keep it collimated well...you will never be disappointed.


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Subject: Moved Message
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.88.198)
Date: 02/12/2002 01:01:50 pm PDT
that last comment sounds familiar, i think i have read that somewhere else on this site.


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Subject: Moved Message
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.69.8)
Date: 02/18/2002 11:37:57 pm PDT
I looked through one of these (I don't own one).
At one point it got up to x410.
Very impressive. It was almost impossible to believe that the image wouldn't start breaking down, but it didn't.
I'd say it was better than the Televue 101, but I can't recall exact details when I looked through one a few months ago.
Wish it was 500 less though.


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Subject: Re: vote by xxx.xxx.105.187
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.151.92)
Date: 04/22/2002 05:59:46 pm PDT
>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.


This is the first time I have visited this web site. I am considering purchasing a Tak FS-102, and would like to know what people who own one think of it. The above review was of absolutlely no help to me in this regard. There is absolutely no mention of mechanical quality, fit & finish, or how satisfied this reviewer was with the optics of this particular telescope -- other than the somewhat standard comparison to reflectors or other larger aperture instruments. These things may all be important when deciding how to spend money on a scope -- they need to be discussed, but this is not the right place to do it - IMHO. I want to read about the FS-102, not these other issues.


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Subject: Takahashi FS 102
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.34.177)
Date: 05/19/2002 09:08:46 am PDT
Among the contenders in the highly competitive 4" refractor market, the Tak FS 102 is an attractive choice. Mechanically, it is solid, well-built, and operates smoothly. Optically, images are sharp across the field and airey discs possess one diffraction ring. I have seen no evidence of astigmatism nor spherical aberration in star tests using the one I own, although I must say I am not an optical engineer. Spurious color is non existent due to the FS 102's fluorite doublet. The OTA weighs around 11 pounds so it is light and easy to lift. It is an f/8 scope, however, and is a bit on the long side compared to all of the f/5 and f/6 scopes on the market that are the current fashion. Compared to these scopes the FS 102 has a strong price advantage because its excellent optics are easier, and hence less expensive, to produce than the complicated triplets the shorter scopes require. In other words, one needs to pay a 40-50% premium to reduce the length of the scope by 20-25%. To sum up, the Takahashi FS 102 is an excellent choice for a 4" apochromatic refractor from the standpoints of mechanical quality, optical precision, and price.


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Subject: Re: vote by Bernie
By: Sailcat
Date: 09/14/2002 07:53:55 am PDT
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.


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Subject: Re: vote by Bernie
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.120.13)
Date: 09/20/2002 08:09:03 am PDT
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


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Subject: Re: vote by Bernie
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.208.41)
In Reply to: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.120.13) (Original Message)
Date: 09/20/2002 10:40:15 am PDT
>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

To the last 2 replies...First, Please keep your personal comments to yourself. Second, I am NOT a dob lover, I'm a scope lover. Third, I have owned over 40 telescopes, How many have you owned? Finally, Until, you do a double blind study, LIKE I HAVE, and use experienced observers to rate each scope, YOU DON"T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOUR TALKING ABOUT!......Here is a review of the FS128. It's a great scope...but...read on...
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!
......I now own a C9.25, Starsplitter tube 8" with zambuto mirror, Obsession 15, and a Vixen 102ED. All fine scopes, but Aperture STILL WINS! However, the 102 does win out on widefield use most of the time....Bernie


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Subject: Re: vote by Bernie
By: Bernard
In Reply to: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.120.13) (Original Message)
Date: 09/21/2002 08:34:33 am PDT
>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
>
>


Well, the laws of physics don't lie......what do you have to defend your view? If the only way you can got your point accross is to insult me....than who is the real idiot? Finally, since an 8" scope's MTF curve is pushed to left TWICE as far as a 4", it has the upper hand in contrast and light gathering power, and would have to be a piece of junk to equal the 4", never mind beat it. The only advantage to the 4" is FOV.
The price of an 11" ELT is about $3150 shipped. A Tak FS102 with a GM8 is $3350 without shipping or a diagonal. The weight of the ELT is 60 Lbs, the Tak with mount is 53 Lbs assembled. The dob would be set up in less time because of fewer parts to assemble and is light enough to be carried as an assembled unit, if you have don't have to move it to far. An 8" SCT on a GP mount weighs LESS, and assembly time is the same. As for cost, that's not even close....
Finally, it's obvious you didn't even READ my review, or the others I've left. I didn't TRASH the scope. It is very well made and gives a pride of ownership thats hard to match with other designs, but IT'S ONLY FOUR INCHES!...and that's a lot of money to pay for only 4"s.
I'm trying to give newbies the benefit of 35 years of observing and scope owning experience. Help give them a different view here. A comparitive one. You will never see the detail that you will see in a larger scope....period.
You wouldn't understand unless you did the testing like we did (this is a group review of sorts, testing being done by myself and 8 of my club buddies), with double blind tests using scopes side by side, over at least 7-8 months at a time, sometimes longer, using Claves, UOs, Vixen, TV, Zeiss, Tak, and Pentax EPs. Objects included planets, star clusters, globulars, galaxies, nebula and planetaries. The larger apertures, many of lower cost, won constantly. We evaluted set up time, weight, convienience, and cost. We knew our conclusions would upset some.
Personally, I don't care what make a scope is, only that it performs. Hey, Sugar Ray Leonard is a great fighter but Joe Frasier would have kicked his butt! Why? Because he's bigger! Same goes for scopes....aperture wins....but you already know that, right?.....Bernie


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Subject: Re: vote by xxx.xxx.45.92
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.173.41)
Date: 09/23/2002 12:28:53 pm PDT
To the above comment, and now my comment:

>>They dont have a long wait until you get over 7inches.<<

Oh yea, know anyone who has taken delievery of a TMB 80? Perhaps two years isn't a long wait to you. My hat is off to your patience.

>>Takahashis show slight color if you train your eye to see it.<<

Am I missing something here? Why would I want to train my eye to see color that is not obviously seen and therefore not a bother? How about I not train my eye and never notice it.


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