Back to the Future:
Refractors have a well deserved reputation for high image quality, particularly with regards to image sharpness, contrast and definition.
Newcomers to astronomy might be surprised to learn this reputation was earned not by todays modern short focal length ED and APO telescopes but by traditional long focal length Fraunhofer design Achromatic Refractors. For the latter half of the 20th century they were mostly manufactured in Japan and sold under a variety of different brands.
With their long focal ratios, typically F12-F15, they provided very high performance for the visual astronomer and, in smaller apertures, were almost entirely free of false colour. But in the late 1980s, their long slow focal ratios fell out of fashion and were replaced by compact apochromatic and fast Chinese-made achromatic refractors.
Unfortunately achromatic refractors of f10 or less are prone to chromatic aberrations and only work well at low to medium magnifications. Those wanting higher performance from a modern refractor will usually consider a medium to slow focal ratio ED doublet or faster triplet.
Fortunately, for discerning visual astronomers, there is an alternative.
About this product
Part Number: STL80A-L
At F12.5 the STL80A-L has a shorter focal length than the STL80A-Maxi but maintains the advantages of long focal length/focal ratio refractors.
Some time ago the people at Scopetech found and restored an original 80mm F15 Fraunhofer refractor telescope. They were surprised to see how favourably the design compared to modern fast apochromatic refractors so decided to manufacture and reintroduce these classic telescopes to the modern market.
Though traditional in appearance, the STL80A-L is not an antique! It combines classic design and polishing techniques with modern Japanese manufacturing so is light (2 kg) and portable. It also features an anti-reflection lens coating and a decent 1.25" rack and pinion focuser.
Re-Introducing such a telescope has several advantages.
- A long Focal Ratio Achromatic refractor exhibits much less chromatic aberration than their faster Achromatic counterparts and, most importantly, has less spherical aberration.
- At F12.5 the optical collimation is stable and, unlike some faster Apochromatic designs, it retains its collimation over time and in cold conditions.
- It is cheaper to manufacture than a similar quality Apochromatic instrument.
- The glass types used are also stable and easier to polish.
During manufacture the inner surfaces of the telescope tube and lens edges are blackened to increase contrast and reduce ghosting. The main tube is also baffled and all air-to-glass surfaces feature an anti reflection coating to enhance light transmission.
Under the night sky this traditional telescope delivers outstanding performance. In good seeing conditions it will handle surprisingly high magnifications!
It is an excellent choice for relaxed grab-and-go astronomy and works well with a variety of mounts, including the Skywatcher AZ5, EQ3, EQ5, Televue Gibraltar, Rowan AZ100, etc.
In todays world of CNC mass production it is refreshing to see a traditional Japanese-made instrument manufactured to a high standard.
Please note these F12.5 instruments are manufactured and imported in small numbers so if it isn't in stock please be prepared to wait a few weeks.
Note: Unlike the STL80A-Maxi, the STL80A-L has a single layer of anti reflection coating.
What's in the box
- Telescope OTA
- 6x30 Finderscope & Bracket
- 1.25" Rack & Pinion Focuser with focus lock
- Vixen-style dovetail Plate
- Tube Rings
- 80mm F12.5 Optical Tube Assembly
- 1000mm focal length
- High Quality Fraunhofer design
- BK7/F2 air-spaced doublet optics
- Single layer anti-reflection coating
- OTA length 106 cm
- OTA Weight 2.1kg (6x30 Finder and Tube Rings additional)
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