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- Orion Optics 300mm f4 -

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Added Nebulas by Canon 20D (04/11)

I am not a specialist in telescopes, and I appreciate the things I learn about them from reading amateur astronomers websites. With 34 years of camera experience behind me, I'd like to write a little about telescopes myself. I offer apologies to telescope enthusiasts because reading this maybe like reading a first year primer.

Seeing Mars by Orion 300mm f4 at August 27th (red dot is paint, not picture)About the Orion 300mm F4

When we call it Newtonian, we sound like experts, but more simply it is known as a Reflector. This type of telescope makes it possible to get a large diameter with a low cost.

I remember when I was a teenager, my dream was to own the Gotou Optic Company's famous Gotou reflector. I will never forget the image of Saturn I saw through the Gotou telescope. When I was young, I bought a Reflector telescope, but it was terrible quality and planned to get a larger diameter as an upgrade. I had no idea how to choose between reflector and refractor telescopes. I bought another telescope when I got older, and if Gotou was making a reflector, I may have bought one several years earlier. Unfortunately, Gotou had left the consumer market and specializes only in observatories today.

If beginning Amateur astronomers ask me today which style is better, reflector or refractor, I never suggest a reflector. When using a reflector, you have to spend time to adapt to the temperature and the collimating you have to do can be very troublesome. If I had a laser collimator to make it easier, then perhaps my poor reflector I had when I was young would not have been such a bad choice.

Anyway, I think beginners should get a refractor and spend much more time just to enjoy the view. Regarding Orion's products, I knew of them through reading some websites and I felt equally interested in their products and Russian telescopes (Russia has a space station while Japan does not). So when I learned TeleVue Japan started selling them, the smoldering thoughts around the Newtonian started to burn. I cannot write how difficult a time I had trying to make up my mind. (superfluity - A well known trouble, Takahashi's German equalizing mount has trouble under cold weather -20 degrees centigrade difference from when it was made means the users must have a heater to use it in winter. If you use the Russian German equalizing mount, maybe this won't happen...??)

However the time to see Mars close-up next summer is the last chance for my generation. So, I decided to upgrade. It was a little bit easier to make the decision because of the Orion's light weight, because I thought, I do not have to upgrade the mount at the same time. (Orion mean Orion U.K., not Orion U.S. / Orion U.K. made P-V 1/8 mirror as standard for their products which putted into Japan)

Additionally, people are always saying my pictures are good despite the small diameter telescope. So I felt, so what? If I took pictures with a large diameter telescope, what's the difference?

Then I wanted to make sure the pictures will be just as good with a large diameter and a digital camera. The larger diameter is good at seeing the galaxy - this is obvious, and I will report it as such on the Web. The problem is, if I choose the larger diameter telescope, it's automatically harder to carry out the preparations to see the stars, and so now it would not feel so easy to see them. My first impression with this telescope was that a big one this is. I was afraid to put it on the Vixen GP mount. It turned out to be the right feeling in regards to balance weight. I put on a counterweight which I had for commercial photo lighting boom arms, but it wasn't enough. So I added some dumbbells to make it balanced. Now I can't make up my mind to spend money for just a steel block. Someday I may have them, but not now. (and I already bought, actually at October 2003)

My Orion can chase Jupiter good enough. I bought a laser collimator and the Pala-corr with the Orion, and I learned to collimate it in three days. The laser collimator makes things so easy, that I can't imagine what I would do without it. There are so much to look forward to. I already ordered parts to attach the JMI Moto-focus on the Orion.

It will be almost perfect when it arrives. If I can push my luck, hopefully the German mount will be easier to set up with a polar axis by GPS. Something like a red LED to show ways to adjust, Up-Down/Left-right and a green LED to mean OK. -- Just dreaming....

I do not see any galaxy which I feel would be a good point for the larger diameter yet, but when i took a picture of the Moon and had to try Jupiter, I felt diameter size makes bad optics more serious.

 Also, refractor work is a lot of work on the mind, but reflector work is also a lot of physical labor -- I start to worry about my back.... Needless to say, lenses for the camera have no optical adjustment. I used to have a mirror lens which has a circle blur which was out of focus. This means when we can see the clear circle blur, the reflector is optically collimated. My photography knowledge works as a basis for telescope adjustment too. Even feeling the pain in my back, when I got a great focus on all of the Moon, I felt so happy.

The details in the picture has made a big difference compared to small diameter telescopes, such as how many photos you can shoot in the same bytes of a memory card. This Orion 300mm F4 has so many uses for domestic mobile consumers or even a self-made dobsonian by cost performance. Weight is not a factor when the telescope is settled into place, but how many people actually have a good place to set up, or even live, in a tiny country such as Japan?

Moreover, when it's troublesome to set up, some people hesitate to do so when it's down in storage. I think Orion's size and weight is ideal for people who only have temporary places to see the stars. I do know some people who go mobile with larger systems, but I feel awkward doing that. I enjoy the weight of this telescope, and thanks to the light weight, I can carry it to the mount by myself.

When trying to make the decision on whether this telescope is needed or not, I see the same graceful British practical mindset in the 4 wheel drive vehicle "Land-Rover" one of which I had imported for myself. One of Japan's astronomy magazines carried their impression report with this telescope. If something was wrong with it, they let you see who made it. I feel that improvement is part of the hobby when it comes to the reflector. I say you can find which way a magazine's reports are biased when you read several of them at once. Simply look at which company's advertisement has the largest exposure on that magazine. I'd like to thank Mr. Amatsu who sells Orion's products in Japan. Orion Newtonian is like Land-Rover, there is always something to fix or a new attachment to buy.


CopyrightDaisuke Tomiyasu 2001-2003  -My picture web main site-