View Full Version here: : TSA-120 and LX200R 10'

31-07-2017, 12:23 PM

I leave some note on my recent observation session since I'm very happy with acquisition of Takahashi TSA-120 from my friend Ian. (It was my milestone decision eating up my next few years telescope budget..!) :question:

Monday last week, I took both of my Takahashi TSA-120 and Meade LX200R 10' (I've got from Pete last year. Bit heavy but very very nice scope.. comma free, sharp to the edge of FOV) set up side by side to compare a difference on visual performance (at least I tried if I could :astron:) I chose my usual dark site in the somewhere North and started to set up just before the sunset and stayed around about 4 hours or so. A mid-day's high was around 20 degree and drop to a single digit :rolleyes: during night. It may be a bit harsh to SCT. Not even talking about I don't have any fan attached to clear hot air in the baffle of my LX. As expected TSA started to perform within a half hour or so, on the other hand LX struggle to stabilise for about 2 hours. I tested Jupiter first then Saturn. I should say the seeing was not very best that night but could be used 6 mm eyepiece comfortably on TSA (150x), and 12.5 mm on LX (200x).

My high power eyepiece range at this moment is Vixen NLV4, SLV6, LVW8, and Takahashi LE7.5 & LE12.5. I attached LVW8 first on TSA, and relatively being surprised with a good contrast and a wide FOV plus comfort. LE7.5 was brighter and slightly better contrast but probably due to the seeing condition an extra 0.5 mm didn't provide any significant advantage to LVW. Next level of my EP was SLV6. Although I'm not fond of this eyepiece (lacking contrast I feel), the 6 mm was the best magnification I could get that night on TSE.

On LX, initially I tested LVW8 but was too powerful then settled with LE12.5. A diffraction ring is concentric. I don't believe a collimation was out. The first 2 hours it presented a clear disturbance from the tube current (and perhaps seeing condition in certain extent) showing images dancing every half second. Within about 2 hours the images started to be stabilised. I could get slightly larger magnification than TSA, but in terms of the contrast and stability of images (hard to describe... TSA is sharper and crispy, and dead solid stable image) LX couldn't beat TSA. A potential solution to improve my LX could be further fine tuning on collimation. Last year, Pete took the OTA to Bintel to be collimated before selling to me. But it may be needed another tuning by now to maximise it's potential.:thumbsup:

It was a moonless night, therefore I turned the scopes to few typical deep sky objects. I tested Eta Carinae Nebula, Omega Centauri, 47 Tucanae, Trifid Nebula, Jewel Box Cluster, NGC3532, Tarantula Nebula.. I had a light pollution on the South from Sydney.. therefor some low hanging objects were not clear. I should say among all Omega Centauri was the best target that night. I used LVW42 on LX to observe this (it should be 60x), and used LVW17 (53x) on TSA. I also used Moonfish 30mm interchangeably both scopes. Although sharpness of stars on TSA was incredible :eyepop: (pin sharp!!!) amount of light gathered on LX's 10 inch mirror exceeded TSA :party:. Because of brighter image of the object, LX's image is appeared to have better contrast. Overall I was impressed with LX200R's performance on deep sky objects which was little unexpected (after sacrificed my large budget on TSA), but the same time I was also pleased with my SCT's performance.;)

Those comments are visual impressions only and nothing scientific (and pardon me I'm still early days on astronomy!!! :rolleyes:). During the observation, I have also swapped eyepieces and diagonals between TSA and LX to make sure any difference in the performance were not inherent to those parts.

I used a tracking mount - Vixen Sphinx for TSA-120, and NEQ6 Pro for LX200R 10'. Dew was absent during my observation, it was quite dry night, just needed a metal Astrozap dew shield for LX, and extension of standard dew shield on TSA. I didn't use dew heaters.

I think LX's performance should be increased if I attach some ventilation fan. Also I was told leaving OTA up on the focuser facing sky (without eyepiece) to let a warm air out. I could try this next time.

Cheers :hi:


ian fry
31-07-2017, 06:58 PM
Hi Hisanori

I recognise that TSA and mount ;) Nice first report, by the way glad you like the TSA and if you ever want to leave it with me :D

31-07-2017, 07:36 PM
That photo perfectly illustrates why I have always wondered why a
manufacturer would paint their scopes black.

31-07-2017, 07:55 PM
Ha ha hi Raymo, I couldn't even see where is my LX in the dark..

Hi Ian, yeah when you think TOA is too heavy, I could swap with TSA plus $ (or $$?).

02-08-2017, 08:36 AM
I did layby Nagler Zoom 6-3 mm from Bintel. This is my last purchase for this year :( Took out on a half moon night last night. I like it. Although FOV is 50 deg, my NLV4 is 45 deg, LE is 52 deg. I used it using a tracking mount, and have no issue for visual. In terms of colour and contrast, it resembles Tak LE. May be because it has the same 5 elements 3 groups structure.🤔 More light in comparison with NLV4. Definitely because less lenses.

I also received Power Mate 4x from IanP last night. I will test this out soon (bought for planetary / moon imaging bit could test for high power visual as well..).

Photos with hand-held smartphone :P

02-08-2017, 08:51 AM
That's a nice scope pairing Hisanori. Given the effort/time needed to cool the 10" it's probably easiest to use the TSA for planets, the 10" for DSO's, then point the 10" at the planets near the end of your observing session. If you get the 10" to ambient it should beat the TSA on planets.

02-08-2017, 12:30 PM
Thanks Tony your comment,

Yeah may be I have not maximised my 10 inch SCT's potential yet. Your comment is encouraging..! ;) Will make sure my 10 inch to beat TSA in optimal conditions!

ian fry
02-08-2017, 03:58 PM
Nice photos Hisanori, like the zoom image :thumbsup:

ian fry
02-08-2017, 04:00 PM
:lol: don't think I could part with the TOA but you never know.

02-08-2017, 09:15 PM
Hi Ian, I think you never know :D
Actually I have one more Nagler shot with smartphone. I should use proper camera next time.

08-08-2017, 01:22 PM
I tested 2" Power Mate 4x on Sunday.

I attached Power Mate to TSA-120 to take videos of Jupiter, Saturn, and the moon (Prime Focus). The images were too small and not able to process any decent ways (the moon was all right). For planets I may need another PM or Barlow to bring up images larger. I wonder to spend another dollars on Barlow (or PM) could be good idea :question: Since I'm not that serious about imaging (I just want casual imaging I could show to my friends on smartphone or something), I may get Baader Zoom with Barlow to attach my DSLR to use as Eyepiece Projection...:question:

Visual performance of Power Mate was great. Actually very surprised. I compared LE12.5 plugged into Power Mate 4x with Nagler Zoom 6-3mm. It is hard to tell any differences apart very slight better light and contrast on Nagler side.


08-08-2017, 05:42 PM
Few more pics.

14-08-2017, 09:42 PM
I tested my ZWO ASI224MC with TV Powermate 4x and TSA-120 in my backyard last night. Surrounded by neighbors air-conditioning units, back-burning haze and light pollution, Saturn came out ok.



15-08-2017, 12:43 PM
Are they just single frames Hisanori?

15-08-2017, 01:57 PM
Hi Tony,

Actually I took 2 minutes AVI with RAW8. Didn't know need to de-Bayered.. all came out with B&W after RegiStax. Realised after few readings to de-Bayer. I used FireCapture's deBayer.exe with HQ Linear mode before RegiStax. Then BW turned out in colur! Still not sure how to use RegiStax properly! Probably I need to polish images more on RegiStax. Not sure I go down to photo processing program at this stage.;)

17-08-2017, 08:23 AM
Tony, I'm learning.
After watching a couple of YouTube, fiddled around colour panel, contrast, gamma, bit more accurate alignment.. I've got this. I need to try out on my SCT as well.

17-08-2017, 08:53 AM
They look quite good. I haven't tried any solar system imaging yet, only DSO imaging.

17-08-2017, 10:51 AM
Yes, a bit of surprise. I feel like faking it because you don't see this detail on visual. I liked Vixen Sphinx mount. You could align any object.. I aligned against Jupiter, Saturn, alpha Centauri, and Acrux. Then f30 image stayed in a frame for 2 min without a guide scope...

17-08-2017, 01:47 PM
Sphinx is so easy for visual...and it stays tracked all night

17-08-2017, 04:30 PM
Yes Lewis, I think a tripod (HAL-130) is also good. Stable. Spreader arms to support each leg position nearly half way down unlike NEQ6 which supports only top section. I feel NEQ6 is wobbly.

02-09-2017, 07:27 AM
Amazed what you could do all those stacking and enhancing... Using AutoStakkert to stack up 65% of 2 min video took in my backyard on another night with TSA-120 and ZWO ASI224MC, then Wavelet with RegiStax produced better results. (with a couple recent moon shots).

20-05-2018, 09:47 AM
In 2 weeks ago, I took out my LX200R (10 inch) to my backyard, left there about 6 hours before observe planets.

Since a seeing was so good, decided to take videos! Using ZWO ASI224MC camera, Celestron 2x Barlow Ultima SV Series (made in Japan), and Astro-Physics 2" MaxBright Diagonal.

I still have Moonlite focuser though I thought should replace with Feather Touch focuser because I'm still not happy with collimations. Tried out no focuser (by attching SCT 2" EP holder straight on to the OTA) but didn't seem to have any difference with or without Moonlite.

I'm happy enough about images taken (in my standard). Let's stick with it little while and polish more my star-test collimation skills... and laziness (I had only 2 star alignments on NEQ6. Couldn't bother to align properly again before taking videos. Videos were taken less than a minute about 600 -80 frames only).