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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 13:17   #1
PeteQuad
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Pentax PF80ED

I am looking to buy a scope in the next 3 months and want something with good optics but don't really want to spend the $2000 for a swaro or similar. The Pentax looks like it gets good reviews and I am wondering if I can save some money by using my existing eyepieces.

I currently have a 9mm Televue Nagler and a 22mm Televue Panoptic. Does anyone have any experience using these with the PF80ED? The 9mm should give me 57.5x - any thoughts on if that is too much for this scope and/or for regular use? The 22mm should give me 23.5x which should be useful but it is a massive eyepiece - anyone see any issues with that?

Also, I have heard this is a large and heavy scope - any thoughts on how it compares to other ~80mm scopes?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 13:36   #2
Binastro
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Hi Pete,
I don't know about how this Pentax scope is for birdwatching, but it should easily take 100x or even 150x without the image breaking down.

My Pentax 100mm f/12 could easily take 300x but was a superb astro telescope.
Even if standards have dropped, 57x should be easy.
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 13:49   #3
PeteQuad
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Thanks, that's good. What about using that magnification in general for birding? Is it too much? I've never owned a spotting scope before (have tended to use my 18x50 IS binos that I originally bought for astronomy).
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 15:07   #4
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I don't use my scopes much for birdwatching, but I think 57x is fine.
I have used my 18x50 IS for over 15 years. Wonderful binocular for me.

Not sure if the 22mm eyepiece needs a 2 inch fitting.
I don't know if the Pentax 80ED can take 2 inch fitting eyepieces or if a 1.25 inch fitting would reduce the field much or come to focus.
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 19:34   #5
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Ok, here's my take on the Pentax PF80ed

Size wise it's a bit longer than the Kowa TSN884, and it weighs about the same.

I had the Kowa and the Pentax side by side for a week at home. The Kowa beat it but only just. You really had to very critical to spot the difference. I really wanted the Kowa, it's a lovely scope, but I couldn't justify the price difference.
The Pentax with fixed EP's (and there are lots to choose from) is superb. I don't use a zoom much, you can swap out the ep's that quick if you need to, not having a zoom isn't a problem. I have a couple of BST Explorer ep's a 15mm and 12mm. They're not weather proof, but they are pin sharp, unbelievable value for money.

The Pentax is a superb scope. you won't be disappointed.
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 21:15   #6
Binastro
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Hi giosblue.
You seem to have a Slik 88 tripod stud on the bottom of the Pentax.

Thanks for the comparison.

Can the Hyperion zoom eyepiece be used with glasses?
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 23:06   #7
jring
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Hi,

the Pentax spotters certainly can't take 2" EPs. The Pano 22 is dual barrel with the 1.25" one protruding below the 2" one. If it comes to focus in the Pentax I don't know. The Nagler 9mm is known to work and should be great with a good example of the Pentax - see:

http://forum.astronomie.de/phpapps/u...a_z#Post954485

The Baader Zoom Mk3 had focus problem in the Pentax - I think Mk4 should work. ER of the Baader Zoom should be ok with the twisty eyecup down.

Joachim
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 23:25   #8
giosblue
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Well spotted Sherlock, It must be about 30 years old now.
Still works well, although I don't use it much for birding, I bought it for photography.
I don't wear glasses so I haven't tried it. I think you could though. The Baader is an excellent zoom, but I still prefer the fixed ep's. One thing I have learned is that even inexpensive ep's ( BST explorer ) are excellent. I mainly use Opticron 40809 32x and an older version of the 40810 23x. These are stunning on the Pentax. The only downside to having a scope with 1.25 fitting is you tend to collect ep's. I have a Pentax XW20, Pentax XF12. BST Eplorer 12 mm and 15mm, Opticron 22mm, Opticron 16mm and the Baader Zoom.
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 23:55   #9
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giosblue,
I have several Slik 88s and some spare studs. They were still available from an East coast shop.
The rubber around the stud hole on one curled and came away and Slik sent me spares but I think they don't have any more.

One Slik 88 supports the PST permanently, the others vary.
I periodically remember to check that it hasn't unscrewed itself, which could be expensive.
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 00:12   #10
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Thanks guys, this sounds like pretty good news. With the value of the Pentax plus not having to buy an eyepiece to start off, this could be a great savings for me.

Hopefully 57x won't be too much for normal use, but then I do have those excellent 18x binos so for less magnification they might serve well. If I get the Pentax (very likely now), I will let you know if there is any issue getting the 22mm Panoptic to focus.
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 08:43   #11
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Hi,

I use an old TSN-3 and SDLv2 zoom for birding and it's almost exclusively used at its maximum of 52x as it's quite sharp and has a nice wide afov there. With a cable tie sight and some practice I am on target very easily, so no zooming out to find and then back in needed.

A lot of birders said 30x was better until they looked through that scope at 52x ;-)

Joachim
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 10:03   #12
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I have only seen one unit in person,and at the time ,and upon a fast visual test,it didnt have a lot of wow factor..It was a bit dull in fact,..On the other hand ,a member of this forum,i think based in South Africa,did extraordinay work digiscoping with a small reflex and the pentax 80,proving to own a very sharp spotter..so i think sample to sample quality variation would be the key problem with this model..This was true with all the pentax 65 i tested and owned a few years ago..My advice is to test a couple of units,if you are buying in person.If you order by mail,make sure you know how to test the scope ,at least in a basic manner,to rule out misaligned optics,or other problems.The scope should at least resolve 60x with good resolution..An 80mm scope that performs well up to 45x and start loosing image quality after that to give a bearly acceptable 60x image ,is not a good scope .60x is expected to be dimmer and requires the eye to adapt a little ,but should be pretty sharp still,(medium distance in a cool,clear atmosphere)

Last edited by mayoayo : Tuesday 3rd October 2017 at 10:09.
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 10:41   #13
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Well, I decided to stop researching and just pull the trigger, so we'll see how it looks soon I hope. The Televue eyepieces I have are both amazing eyepieces so I'm hopeful to get more use out of them. I also bought a Manfrotto MVH500AH head and a used Gitzo GT2531 - hopefully I didn't overdo it with the supports.
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 10:56   #14
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Hi,

the tripod and head seem fine to me (I have a 500AH too and some similar Velbon legs).

Please do a star test when the scope arrives and let us know the results.

Joachim
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 17:44   #15
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Well, it is arriving today. I'm not much good at star testing but I will try (if I can stay up that late ).
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 21:32   #16
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It arrived. I have to say, I really like the legs and mount, very nice stuff.

The scope itself looks great through the 9mm Nagler, although its a good thing I don't wear glasses since there is next to no eye relief. Unfortunately the 22mm Panoptic will not focus except very close. Its a shame too, because the views through it are very comfortable and have that wow factor.

I will try to do a star test tonight, although right now there is quite a lot of heat shimmer so hopefully it will cool down a bit. I can say that looking at leaves and such in the distance it looks crystal clear to me so far.

I do have a cheaper (Orion I think?) 25mm Plossl I can use for wider views. However, I am sure my 18x50 IS binos give better views than that. Although I don't have to lift the scope to view through it, and since the plossl is very small I guess I can always bring it along anyway.
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 22:24   #17
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Pete,
If you remove the barrel/s on the 22mm Panoptic, can you then reach focus?
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 23:22   #18
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Pete, if you lived in the U.K. I would lend you a couple of my ep's to try out. With the lenses you have you're not seeing the scope at it's best. The 9mm gives you about 57x, even the Kowa TSN 833 suffers at this magnification.
The BST 12mm and 15mm this gives you 42x and 34x a 20mm ep would give you 25x. For me these are probably the optimum for the scope.
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 23:24   #19
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I'm not sure how to do that. I will take a look and see if I can figure it out.

I just spent some time with it looking at an Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Bluebird, and a Northern Mockingbird and can honestly say I have never before seen such detail in a bird. It is quite amazing (I have not spent a lot of time with scopes - only quick views through other's scopes).
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 23:45   #20
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On many eyepieces the tubes just unscrew, leaving the head, but they may be fixed on the Panoptic, so don't apply much force.
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 00:27   #21
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It does unscrew easily enough, but there is a loose lens there once the barrel is removed. However, it does focus if I balance it all together.

If I cut away the metal surrounding the 1.25" extension, I bet I could get it close enough to focus, but I'm not sure I want to mess up a ~$300 eyepiece.
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 00:31   #22
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The 2" barrel on the 22mm Panoptic can be removed, but be careful! Both barrels have to be unscrewed together, then the 2" barrel unscrews from the 1.25" barrel. The operation must be done with the barrels pointing upward or the lens elements will come tumbling out when the barrels are removed.

edit: I see you've already tried it. Now just unscrew the 2" barrel from the 1.25" barrel and screw the 1.25" barrel back onto the eyepiece housing.

Last edited by henry link : Friday 6th October 2017 at 00:36.
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 00:38   #23
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Woot, you guys (and Televue) are the best! I unscrewed the barrel, then the 2" from the 1.25" and then re-screwed in the 1.25" separately and it appears to focus just fine now. I can't test all distances because it is getting very dark now here but from the way it jsut worked normally like my 9mm I would say I am good to go. The only downside is that there are some exposed threads on the outside of the barrel now, but not a big deal. Very good news for me :).
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 01:28   #24
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OK, I attempted a star test. First off, I can not actually get to infinity with the Panoptic - very close but not quite. I should still be able to use it for most birding I guess (although I honestly see myself leaving the Nagler on most of the time anyway).

Second, as far as I can tell, the star test looks good. I will try to check again later in the night before I got to bed (to let it cool off more), but I don't see any noticeable astigmatism and the inside and outside focus look pretty much like they are supposed to. No noticeable coma to me. I'm sure someone more experienced could give a more detailed review but I am just happy they look round and centered.
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 08:51   #25
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Hi,

congratulation on your new scope. Round and looking the same inside and outside of focus is a good start. Remember that the interesting part is just off the focus point - further out the disc gets very uniform regardless of quality.

Ideally a 6mm or shorter EP is used for an f6 instrument.

Here's star test images for good examples of different scopes:

https://teleskop-austria.at/support/...pochromats.jpg

Joachim

Last edited by jring : Friday 6th October 2017 at 09:24. Reason: added link
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