View Full Version here: : One Scope To Rule Them All

31-07-2017, 09:37 AM
If you could only have one telescope to use for the rest of your life, which one would you choose and why? For the purposes of this question and realism to most people, consider a sub $5k budget, ease of use, and portability. Specify if your choice is visual, imaging, or all- rounder.

Assumptions to level playing field:

If your choice is a scope that requires an EQ or Alt-Az mount, then the assumption is you already have a suitable mount.

Assume it must be transportable to a dark site in a car and can be used at home or in a home based observatory. No remote site operation.

For imaging choices it is assumed you have the necessary gear, choice is scope only.

Give your reasons for your choice.

Thanks for playing.:thumbsup:

31-07-2017, 09:42 AM

I like my TV85

1) Good for wide field visual scanning
2) Can get good planetary views with a 3-6 tv zoom
3) Fine for AP
4) Good for terrestrial viewing
5) OK for deep sky on large nebula under dark skies
6) Well made, light and easily portable

I have had it for 10 years and may never sell it.


31-07-2017, 10:17 AM
Sub-$5K doesn't buy me a new FSQ-106, so unless it was bought used, I guess I'd have no scope for life.

Quality costs, unfortunately

31-07-2017, 10:34 AM
Lewis why do you show other scopes in your signature?


31-07-2017, 10:42 AM
My thoughts too Lewis. An FSQ106EDX would fit that category. Although Suavi's new CFF106 is looking pretty good and that is under $5K.


31-07-2017, 10:43 AM
An FSQ-106N. :D


31-07-2017, 10:47 AM
Big glass - the Russian Tank plus a counterweight consisting of a Skywatcher 180mm


The 130 APO I had just didn't get used with these two to choose from.

31-07-2017, 11:03 AM
There is plenty of quality available to folks up to a $5k limit in this survey.
It might not say Takahashi on it.

31-07-2017, 11:30 AM
For me it would be a used TSA-120 although if it had to be new price I'd still possibly consider the FC100DL with its dedicated flattened/reduced or an Esprit 120.

31-07-2017, 11:31 AM
Because that is what I currently have. If I wanted one scope to do everything, then it has to be the FSQ line - FSQ-85, FSQ-106 or FSQ-130.

Only the -85is under 5K, but the Esprit does the same, just as effectively, though built NOWHERE near as nicely. Optically though, it's close enough!

No Glen, sorry, I cannot think of any other scope I'd want again than the FSQ's, both visually and imaging. I adore my A-P Star 12ED, but it is not particularly practical as an imager (I can reduce it to f/6 but that's it). Conversely, the Esprit is only a so-so visual scope. Happy medium and exquisite optics - FSQ.

It's not snobbery, it's reality, otherwise so many hundred top imagers wouldn't bother.

31-07-2017, 11:34 AM
OK based on all the above - a manual focus Nikkor 400mm f2.8 (or Canon equivalent, if you're that way inclined). Sure it's one telescope ( lens), yes, but used with various bodies and accessories (Teleconverters & focal reducers, etc -you didn't specify a limit there) it can give a wide range of focal lengths / performance and still maintain its speed, even relative to its telescopic brethren and is it's very sharp and portable.

1. On a FF body - 400mm f2.8
2. On a DX body - 600mm f4
3. On a FF body + a quality 2x TC- 800mm f5.6
4. On a DX body + a quality 2x TC - 1200mm f8
5. Or Adapted to a Mirrorless or Astrocam / CCD with focal reducer for even possibly faster / improved results

It takes 52mm filters which screw in to a holder that drops in to the lens body.The new AFs VR (you hardly need that!) versions are expensive with the most current at nearly $16,000 in Australia. The manual focus lens ranges from about $3000 - $5,000 used. Obviously the suggestion is focused on imaging, but you could always add a Nikon Lens Scope Converter or similiar gizmo for visual observation.


31-07-2017, 12:27 PM
JA, not wishing to offend, but perhaps there should be another thread survey on camera lenses. The question raised was about telescopes, which have historically had optical advantages over camera lenses. I realise lenses have made great advances but i think many here would argue they are not telescopes.

31-07-2017, 12:42 PM
$5K budget...... Takahashi FS128NSV
Or better still, a $5K TEC 8" Mak.......

31-07-2017, 12:52 PM
W.O. 132 ... with change for a focuser upgrade, (if required). Very impressive all round scope if you get a good one.

31-07-2017, 01:08 PM
I tried to give you the best answer to your question on the basis of all the parameters you proposed, including one which you didn't -good to excellent optical performance. A telescope is simply an optical device to facilitate an enhanced view. In the case I cited it was for imaging, which could also easily be extended to visual.

Not my definition....

an optical instrument designed to make distant objects appear nearer, containing an arrangement of lenses, or of curved mirrors and lenses, by which rays of light are collected and focused and the resulting image magnified.

BTW - No offence taken.


31-07-2017, 01:34 PM
I find these threads to be interested get but also partially pointless......

Someone puts up a proposition about "One Scope To Rule Them All" then applies a list of conditions and limitations.

The fact is everyone will have different perspectives, preferences and constraints for their choice of what their "One Scope To Rule Them All" will be.

Based on the them but ignoring the constraints it would be my TOA150 as an alrounder as it's portable, a good imager, great visually, has no need for mirrors to be recoated

I would have said my Mewlon 300 but the main drawbacks are it's less portable, while I have seen very good Mewlon 300 images they are not ideal for that purpose and as it ages Mirrors need recoating. But its main advantage is excellent visual performance across all targets in a permanent observatory.

31-07-2017, 01:35 PM
See, now those are the choices of a connoisseur :thumbsup:

I am by no means well heeled financially presently but still capable of owning Taks snd A-Ps.

31-07-2017, 01:42 PM
I hsve made a lot of BAD choices in my long road to finding a Ruling Scope. Nearly all those poor choices were Chinese (the Esprit is proving the exception). I have yet to find a mirrored telescope that satisfies my needs though Maksutovs come close (I have found EVERY SCT I have used to be VERY sub-par).

So, I stick with what I know is good from LOTS of exposure to the rest.

31-07-2017, 01:44 PM
That is the point Phil, everyone will have different perspectives, etc and that's important. There are minimal constraints, just enough to create a bit of a level playing field. This is not suppose to be anything other than fun on a cloudy day.

31-07-2017, 01:57 PM
I'm not an imager so the answer is 'the biggest good quality dobs you can get for under $5k with Argo Navis and ServoCat'. However, the OP assumes that you have a mount so then the answer is the biggest newt OTA with a quality mirror for <$5k. I'd prefer it to be f/4.8 but I'd settle for f4.5 to f/5.

31-07-2017, 01:58 PM
I think the real benefit of these threads is to increase one's post count....
We all know there is no such thing as 'onescopetoruleall'. I have had a few nice scopes over the last decade and a lot of poor ones before that but if I had to pick one that stood out as an ideal scope for a senior citizen like me it would be the Tak FS128.

31-07-2017, 02:31 PM
Agreed Matt, there is no such thing as a one scope does everything. But as I get older I am starting to think about the interaction between ease of set up and the views provided. I have had my Obsession 18 inch classic for around 5 years now and have been around the sky 5 times with it. On every class of object, subject to cooling and seeing, it is hands down the best telescope I have owned in over 40 years. But, to be honest, my Nexstar 8SE is getting used more and more. Perhaps it is my job, typically working from 4p.m until midnight. I will give it a few years and make a decision. As a final only telescope I can see an Evolution 9.25, or whatever is around in that size when I need to make a decision. Visual only. LVW's.

31-07-2017, 02:48 PM
And it's raining.

31-07-2017, 03:13 PM
Hi Lewis
I have had an accident and only can type with left thumb.
I was looking specifically for your praise on the espirit.

31-07-2017, 03:30 PM
I certainly was not excluding dobs, and mount presence assumption only applied for those scopes requiring them, as otherwise the mount cost eats up the budget.. There are some great bargains among dobs up to $5k. The Skywatcher Stargate 18" truss dob is on sale right now at $4999; and you can get a full Goto 16" collapsible dob for less than $4k.

And for the record i don't care about my post count. At least thread topic relates to astronomy.

31-07-2017, 03:48 PM
Oh Dear, can I change my mind? I have just set up my old Vixen ED80 F9 on the Green GPD with Skysensor 2000PC for an evening with the moon. The Vixen is a thing of beauty.

31-07-2017, 03:50 PM
Optically, excellent. That's what matters.

Mechanically, pretty good focuser. Slips a little too easily under a surprisingly small weight, but adjustable. I have adjusted mine to my satisfaction. Time will tell if it holds.

Fit and finish - VERY average. Paint is poor (chips easily, looks like a very thin coat, orange peel evident). Fit of the parts to each other is good enough, but not great either. Really LOOKS like a half-arsed attempt at quality, but falls short. I have often considered refinishing it, and have gone so far as custom decals and a custom brass data plate so far. If I go further remains to be seen.

So, optically, yes, it's worth it. If fit and finish are of any consequence, then shop elsewhere as it's not as good as the budget end Vixens even (which are made in China to a higher standard than usual chinese products).

I like it, as thankfully the optics are superb, but it falls WAY WAY WAY behind a Tak FSQ-85 in every other respect.

31-07-2017, 04:20 PM
Hi Lewis
Most interesting
Thank you for taking the time.
My choice probably the 80 mm binnnos
Not flash but I enjoy them.

31-07-2017, 04:38 PM
It's gotta be two scopes: a 4" refractor for portability/visual/imaging and a larger aperture for visual DSO's.
Within the $5000 limit I might buy an Esprit 100 and a 12" Dob.

31-07-2017, 06:06 PM
One all rounder scope, my choice would be an 250mm Newtonian with an OrionOptics, or similar quality mirror, f6 or f5 in a light weight solid tube, that could be mounted as a dob or on something like an EQ6 via a set of rings.
Quality optics for visual or photography, enough aperture for dsos' and would give good planetary images and resolution with todays astro webcams. Would be small and light enough to fit in most cars for dark site travel and for most people to be able to manage, weight wise and would have change left over from $5 k .

31-07-2017, 11:11 PM
Oh dear...sorry Glenn

With my imaging head on, for me a Bigglier GSO RC would be awesome, ( waiting patiently for Paul to dump his on classifieds now he has his new toy..)just not sure it will fit in my shed.

But then again, the Tak FSQ106N for wide field...having lots of fun with that..

Soooo...No one scope that fits all, but 2 for less than $5k?(well...with a bare bones pre-loved FSQ OTA you could just about afford the focuser upgrade to go with the RC8)

We won't mention visual :whistle: or Collimation :whistle:

31-07-2017, 11:39 PM
Hubble :)

01-08-2017, 01:27 AM
A Tak FS-128 or a TEC 140 over a DM6 AltAz mount + Nexus DSC + High Qaulity Binoviewer.

Visual observer only here, for short time to start observing, grab&go setup and daily observations !! :D

If only I were not Just dreaming...

01-08-2017, 04:15 AM
The "One Size Fits All" principle ?

Well, for me I am happy with my ED110 f/7 travelscope. Lightweight and eligible for carry-on air travel and renders nice and crisp images even at 190x. With the field flattener, the FL is only f/5.6 (600mm) which makes really nice views with the Pan24 (2.7 degrees).

But when the budget allowance is $5000 (I assume Aussie dollars, not US$ or Euros, which is equivalent to about 3800 USD/EUR), I'd go for a WO FLT 110 f/7 (http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p1332_William-Optics-FLT-110-DDG-Triplet-Apo---Oeffnung-110mm-f-7.html) real triplet.
I do both visual and photography.
And the budget allows an extra 250mm Dobson for visual faint fuzzies if two scopes are allowed.
OR: one hand grenade (Nagler 31 or Pan 41 for A$1000) for excellent wide field views under dark skies.

About the CaNikon lens mentioned earlier upthread:
It is a telescope in this definition:

an optical instrument designed to make distant objects appear nearer, containing an arrangement of lenses, or of curved mirrors and lenses, by which rays of light are collected and focused and the resulting image magnified.

as it is an optical device that does this, but that is way beyond budget as my dream lens Canon 400mm f/2.8L or 600mm f/4L costs A$15000. Putting a DIY 32mm eyepiece adapter ( + diagonal + barlow) makes an excellent visual instrument of such a lens.
A nice 14cm APO refractor, even with Barlow it is f/5.6 resp f/8. And an excellent astrophoto performer.

01-08-2017, 07:53 AM
Skysurfer, i understand your enthusiasm for those lenses but in terms of this tread they are "Out of Scope" so to speak, and of course way over budget anyway. As with the Nikon 400mm f2.8, mentioned by JA earlier.

A separate thread exploring camera lenses only needs someone to start it.

01-08-2017, 07:57 AM
Only one scope? This feels like a nightmare...

Is it also to have only one mount and one EP?

Some years ago I was asked me if I could have any vehicle I wanted, what would it be? I said that I would have the largest telescope I could find, put 4 wheels on it and call it a car!

01-08-2017, 09:14 AM
Bob the mount is not inclusive in the budget, it is assumed. Likewise EPs are out of scope. Just looking at the scope itself. It can be any scope design, inc dobs, SCTs, Maks, etc.

01-08-2017, 10:33 AM
I've owned my 12" Lightbridge since new in 2006.

Both mirrors were checked an found to be exceptional in performance.

They have been recoated by Isaac at Chi Qin, in 2010.

I have pimped the scope to my satisfaction: Good quality e/pieces + filters.

A mounted green laser, and 9x50mm finder.

Dew heaters for all the optics, and a 2" filter slide.

Recently I added the Nexus DSC.

Cases galore, wooden observing chair.

All in all, I'm sure I'm heading very close to 5K.

Which scope would I want?

Definitely the one I have! :D

01-08-2017, 11:32 AM
Sorry Lewis, FS128 is not ideal for imaging. I had a Tak FS152, beautiful for visual (still some of the best views ever for me) but not ideal for imaging, too much chromatic aberration due to being a doublet and not really an APO.


01-08-2017, 11:35 AM
Matt is purely visual, so imaging wasn't in the consideration Greg, but I understand your point.

01-08-2017, 12:43 PM
No one rules the air waves. Nothing is "out of scope". Conversation is just that.... Conversation. A free and open exchange. It's like short circuiting a brain storming session - you wont get the best discourse or result. If someone feels the need to filter such discourse, then let the mind do so, rather than doing it on the behalf of the community. Not directed at anyone, but in general terms, no one owns a thread - it is a community asset. If something goes somewhere in a thread, so be it. BTW since you've raised it again and my input on it, as an example in answering someone else, the Nikon 400m f2.8 I mentioned was within the $5000 budget purchased used as a manual focus version.

All good


Peter Ward
01-08-2017, 12:50 PM
I used to think along those lines...if I was to use one telescope what would it be?

It didnt take me long to realise if you are doing imaging, there is no such creature.

So in order of focal length my current ensemble is: FSQ85, FSQ106, AP130GTX, AP155, AP RH 305, Alluna RC16. They all bring something different to the table, but only the FSQ85 fits your constraints....

If I was to choose just one....Probably the AP155 for sheer perfection and versatility.

01-08-2017, 01:31 PM
Ok, I will try to play the game, since I can keep my 6 mounts and 60 EPs.

Mine would be a Tak 100mm F7.4 Refractor. Its light, gives great images (or there are some really talented liars out there!) and covers all the bases for me. I would use it for visual use only and most often on an altz mount.

I do not own the above, as it has too much overlap with my armada of other scopes.

HOWEVER, if asked 20 years ago, I would have said a 12.5 inch Dob. I would be up S**ts Creek now if that was my one scope for life!
Its not just the weight, my older eyes do not have the flexibility that they once had.

It would be interesting to ask the same question and break it up by age groups and perhaps ask if they could have any telescope for the next 10 years, what would it be?

Age has definitely moved me from being a big Dob fan to now being an admirer of small, quality refractors.

01-08-2017, 04:59 PM
Seems quality over quantity from every respondent thus far - Tak is ahead by a country mile.

01-08-2017, 05:36 PM
Tak is just too expensive for most of us to buy at new prices though. If you're buying new, the Esprit will give images which are equal to the Tak at a much lower cost. The brake on the focuser needs to be applied a little to stop the drawtube from drifting and the finish is decent, not far behind Tak. Tak paint will chip fairly easily too.

I've got two flash refractors (NP101is, TSA120) but I bought them used in near new condition. The finish on the Televue is the best I've seen on any scope.

01-08-2017, 06:07 PM
So that Aldi scope isn't getting a mention?

Edit: I'm bored. Trains are running late and out of timetable order

01-08-2017, 07:59 PM
Given the 5k limit, Which was my budget at one time, I went for a WO 132FLT. I bought second hand and it included the factory flattener.

Why.... as I like imaging, it doesn't need to be colimated, flexure of the tube is not an issue (as was a largish newt I used to use), the focal length of 924mm is ok for most nights seeing, i haven't had any issues with focuser creep, it is APO I haven't had any noticeable fringing etc from the scope, it's not so big that it becomes unstable on my mount.

All in all pretty much meets my needs, good value for money, which when I spend 5k is what I am trying to get.

01-08-2017, 09:29 PM
+1 for TV85.
It's a beaut scope that punches above it's weight.
Cheers Phil

02-08-2017, 08:43 AM
You have a very impressive collection of some of the finest instruments Peter!

I can imaging a lot of photons being captured by such wonderful ensemble on clear nights :thumbsup:

02-08-2017, 09:10 AM
As an all rounder I think a solid tube dob f5 or f6 (collimating a f4 sounds like a chore) with rings fitted so it can double as an imaging newt as well as reverting to a grab and go. And if you have the heebie jeebies about eyepiece position of a newt when eq mounted, a set of tube rotation rings would still fit in the budget.

My 10" f4.8 skywatcher dob is a great all rounder, fits in the back of my Daihatsu for traveling but is still light enough to ride on a Heq5 mount when imaging.

02-08-2017, 09:35 AM
I'd be keeping my Edge 8 and Esprit 100...sneaking in under budget :D

The Edge is light enough to piggy back on the Esprit, so I can have high magnification planetary and wide field imaging/visual (almost) at the same time...conditions permitting.

Even the Tak propaganda machine owns an Esprit ;)

02-08-2017, 03:36 PM
Gee ... I wonder who that could be .... :P

02-08-2017, 03:51 PM
"Once you go Tak yo never go back."
"Fluorite is the only form on glass."

02-08-2017, 04:12 PM
My search suggests, that there are not many telescopes using crystalline fluorite, most using the high-fluoride glasses. Exceptions are the older Takahashi APOs and TEC APOs. Interestingly, Takahashi seem to have stopped using fluorite because the mating element glass contained a lot of heavy metals (and because the fluorite blanks became so expensive), and Flourite is relatively soft.
Many manufacturers are now using FPL-53 glass, i don't think TAK can claim the high ground there.
How many of the Taks listed in this thread are the heavy metal Flourite variant and how many are simply the now common FPL-53?

02-08-2017, 04:18 PM
Gee Colin, for an educated man you have a poor memory. It's Fluorite: anything else is just glass" :P :)

Academics these days... :P

02-08-2017, 04:19 PM
Why? All the modern Tak fluorites are PURE fluorite / CaF2 again - the FC-100, the FC-76, the FS-60, the FOA-60 and so on. REAL, GENUINE FLUORITE.

Not just in the older models.

Only Tak and TEC use fluorite in it's real form (Zeiss and Vixen did). William Optics DO NOT and never have despite their widely known BS advertising (which they HAD to change due to misinformation). A "Fluorostar" does NOT have single piece of real fluorite in it - the glass used though is FPL, which is fluorite ENRICHED glass.

02-08-2017, 04:20 PM
Another reason why my Q will be pried from my cold dead hands. :P

It delivers the goods; though, the idiot behind it could be a bit more competent!


02-08-2017, 04:20 PM
Nah, the idiot does alright, but can be a bit of a gumby :) :P

02-08-2017, 04:25 PM

I was in a weak financial moment - leave me alone, oroit :P :)

It does it's job. Lots to improve on, but it's at least optically very good.

As for the A-P...well.....side by side right there with Tak, to the point I preferred it over the Tak. I paid the same for the A-P as I did for the Esprit 80 lol...yes, I got an ABSOLUTE BARGAIN (once in a lifetime!). If/when it goes up for sale, I assure you the price will be at minimum TWICE what I paid for it :rofl::lol:

02-08-2017, 05:03 PM
I'll remember to offer you a 1/4 of the asking price when you advertise it next week then :lol: :P

02-08-2017, 05:06 PM
I knew I had it wrong but I couldn't quite remember it. Figured I'd get it close enough ;)

Only remember things of importance ;)

02-08-2017, 05:13 PM
:lol: :lol:

Give me the heads up when you sell it Lewihashi, and I'll remember to wait 30 minutes until after the first price drop :P

02-08-2017, 05:19 PM
Yes, but the second element is still ... just glass.

02-08-2017, 05:37 PM
Hi Lewis,
Don't forget Borg - they also use fluorite from Canon Optron.

Peter Ward
02-08-2017, 05:37 PM
I had the pleasure of side by side testing Tak150 and AP155. We pushed both telescopes to insane magnifications...about 1200x if memory serves. The Tak got a little touchy...in that the airy disk wasn't perfectly circular and showed a minuscule bit lateral colour.

The AP remained, well perfect, we couldn't fault it....but a sample of one, from each manufacturer, I freely admit was statistically insignificant.

I however much prefer AP's simple and robust approach to accessories/adapters. Tak literally have adapters for adapters...and they are dammed expensive.

My advice...if you ever see an AP refractor come up for sale, grab it!

02-08-2017, 06:05 PM
So does Agema Optics: http://www.agemaoptics.com/telescopes/

02-08-2017, 08:21 PM
Glen, I believe you made an excellent choice. You are about to enjoy the velvet pleasure of zero collimation and pinpoint stars and for "fumble-butts" like myself, one of the massive benefits of a good APO is that, if the image is "off" it's not the equipment, it's you! For the not so competent (like myself) shortening the diagnostic process is immensely valuable and a huge benefit of a solid APO.
Over and above all this.... as your "forever scope" the WO is super cool to look at, being easy on the eye is important when you're planning a long life cycle.