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Posts Made By: John Hopkins

April 4, 2002 12:27 AM Forum: Takahashi

My set-up, At the WSP

Posted By John Hopkins

FSQ in the picture gratefully accepted by me! Arrived just this afternoon! Yee-ha!

August 13, 2002 06:52 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: Mystery reflector on ebay

Posted By John Hopkins

Missed this telling sentence the first time:

"In fact, this telescope was manufactured in the very same factory that makes optical products for Bushnell, Tasco, Konus and many other name brands."

/John H.

August 14, 2002 11:44 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Re: Mystery reflector on ebay

Posted By John Hopkins

Thanks Mark, but I was merely curious about this thing -- had absolutely no intention of ponying up for one. I'm trying to save up get my Tak back!

August 19, 2002 02:06 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Customizing Commercial Telescopes

Posted By John Hopkins

As always, "it depends." The XT8 I bought in January, for instance, was a good buy. Collimated, a center dot added to mirror and a Telrad put on -- which obviously isn't too severe as customizing goes. I'd be worried mainly about any apos you might mess with (you mentioned Taks), which seem to hold their value better than reflectors or sct's. On the other hand, if you find some modification to come in handy it's a fair bet someone else will, too. I read a review on Cloudy Nights the other day about a replacement focuser for Meade LX-series sct's, and since I once had one, it sounded like an improvement to me. If I had an expensive apo, though, I'd probably think twice before doing anything. Just MO.


August 20, 2002 11:57 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Orion XT8 vs. off-brand 10"

Posted By John Hopkins

re photography: no. I have the XT8, and a very fine scope it is, but all by itself it's not for astrophotos unless you're like me and are endlessly in love with the moon. (see my page at for what you can do with a handheld digital camera.) But even then, the lack of tracking -- or any motor at all -- makes for sometimes frenzied shot-taking. Dobs generally need a lot of modification for general astrophotography use.

August 23, 2002 02:47 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Last Question....maybe

Posted By John Hopkins

Actually a Dob will get you into looking at the sky, which is presumably the point. If you're *positive* you want to get into photography immediately, go halfway and get an 8" SCT like the LX90. The ability to accessorize is nearly endless with those, and with dedication and experimentation you can get pretty reasonable results.

While you *can* eventually put an 8" Dob on an EQ mount, due to size and weight it would need to be one monster mount. Most who really get into this hobby have more than one scope, and Dobs are great to start with because they're rock-simple and a little buys a lot of aperture -- you'd get plenty of use out of it while saving up for your dream astrophoto-ready machine. (This is exactly what I'm doing now. I have an XT8 and I'm on the AP waiting list for a 130.)

August 26, 2002 10:52 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Coronado solar filter first light!!!

Posted By John Hopkins


I want one of those max's SO badly....

Nice pic, but I HATE YOU. (for the time being, anyway)

/John H.

August 26, 2002 10:56 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

dob pic

Posted By John Hopkins

Not quite 'detailed,' but here's a pic of my XT8:

/John H.

August 26, 2002 11:51 AM Forum: TeleVue

TV 102

Posted By John Hopkins

>> (One of the key factors that influenced my decision was seeing lots of Meade and Celestron SCTs on sale here and other sites, but very, very rarely a Televue). <<

From personal experience, there's two reasons for selling a premium apo: 1) you went nuts and now have too many scopes, and 2) your bank account flipped out even worse and you need cash in a hurry. Apos in good shape don't languish for long on Astromart.

I suppose 3) could be "getting out of the hobby," but that's so bizarre I don't even want to think about it...

September 6, 2002 01:17 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

AstroPhysics Refractors

Posted By John Hopkins

Well, the price isn't so high if you actually wait it out on the list(s) instead of feeding a scalper's greed, but anyway...

It's a proven high-quality product, made-to-order instead of mass-produced. To me, that alone is appealing. You're much less likely to get one with problems that way. And of course there's glowing reviews all over the web from the people that have used them.

As Mike pointed out, APs scopes are in some cases cheaper than similar apos, it's just that the waiting list creates a small scalper's market, as it were. Some think this is so horrible that AP ought to change its ways, but I disagree. I think it's great that at least one manufacturer works this way.

/The other John -- who will probably get his AP130 in 2004...