Vixen E.D 102/660

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Brand and Model:Vixen E.D 102/660
Price ($USD):1200
Type:Apochromatic Refractor
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:102mm (4")
f Ratio:f/6.6
Focal Length:660mm
Electric Power:D.C. 12V
Weight (lbs):9?O.T.A. lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):5X5X22
Description:1.25 inch star diagonal(mirror?)

Vote Highlights Vote
Vixen E.D 102/660
Wow: (adding material in 2018) I've had this scope for 13 years! So much has changed. The whole wave of Chines scopes for example. I have used it primarily on my C14 because when doing solo refractor work I have used a 5" apo (FS128, then GT130). I have had some great experiences solar viewing with it, using a Daystar Quark h-alpha. It's focal ratio is a little below optimal in that application, but the views of have been excellent (if you buy a refractor *specifically* for dual solar/night time use, get an f/7.5 if you can). When I bought this scope Daystar quark didn't even exist! The light weight of the scope gives it a ticket on top of the C14. My SV4 102 f/6.4 weighs 50% more, counting rings and dovetails on both. Too much mass I'm afraid. These little scopes are very rare on used market because most owners correctly figure the China apos won't let them get for this scope what they're worth. (I have seen it outperform low cost triplet apos). Planet performance is very good, you see details in bands of Jupiter and GRS, etc. I confess though that I mostly use it for wide field, because, sitting on top of a C14, I don't need it for planets. I'm afraid I've aged a good deal more than this little scope. I have no plans on selling it. Greatly pleased with Vixen in general and two years ago acquired the Vixen ED81s (f/7.7).

My original review in 2005:

Note: the price of $1200 is a typical used price; the OTA went for $1650 when new. The f/6.5 ED102SS was pulled from production due to work hazards in the factory related to the glass. Vixen will reintroduce a short fl refractor later. Apparently getting the right glass at reasonable price is not easy and for a while the company has gone back to f/8 and longer fl refractors.

I feel that I am just getting to know this refractor and what it can do after a dozen outings with it. I did replace the focus mechanism--it was very smooth, but the default 2" diagonal adapter used set screws and I prefer brass compression rings. With a Moonlite focuser the scope is a very classy piece of equipment.

I cannot at this time of the year try it on the Antares double which is so low that in my part of the world no one ever splits it anyhow. I have split the triple Iota cass and the four major Trapezium components in M42 were easily visible at 17x. I don't think one can see E and F at that magnification in any scope, at least not in upstate NY.

This scope excels on the famous wide field objects: the Perseus double cluster, both sides of the Veil at once, and my new favorite, the N. America nebula, which shows exquisitely in OIII and very well in white light. I have caught good surface details on Mars. My performance comparisons have included an SDF Genesis and NP101, as well as an AP Traveller. Unlike the other reviewer I find no significant differences between the Vixen and these other well known refractors.

The theoretical field of view is 4.25 degrees versus 4.5 for the traveller and 5.5 for NP101. Even with the Moon Lite focuser, the cost is half these other scopes so I consider it an excellent deal. It is a real treat to cruise Cassiopeia in this scope and I very much enjoyed objects such as IC 1396 (central triple star easily visible at 17x) and the trip from the Veil to the Rosette Nebula, which includes rivers of dark lanes.

My only comment on color correction is that a careful assessment showed that most of the color I was seeing came from eyepieces (such as the 24 Pan) and a cheap barlow. When I borrowed a powermate barlow and a different eyepiece the color wasn't there. I have viewed Mars at 200x or so and in focus there was no color. This is a great short fl scope, and if you want a fancy focuser it can be gotten aftermarket. Be careful when purchasing: be sure you are getting the f/6.5 ED 102SS: there is an ED 102S which is f/9 and a different instrument altogether.

When I set out to buy a used apo I originally sought an SDF Genesis but due to the vagaries of the used market ended up with this instead. I think it's a great deal, but after looking through the Traveller and the NP101 and the Genesis SDF in my club, I am glad to say that there are a number of fine choices out there. The ED 102SS delivers a very high quality wide field experience and will take magnification too.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Value:10
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
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Vixen E.D 102/660
I purchased this scope used and all I can say is its a steal for the quality you get, if purchased on the used market. New is less so, but still better than the rest of the high end refractor market.
Almost NO COLOR...NEARLY NONE! This sample is almost as color free as any of my Taks (102, FSQ, and 128) or APs (Traveler, Starfire 5") I used to own. The images match up to the best 4-5" scopes I've ever observed thru including an MN56. The tube and focuser is not as fine tuned as a Taks, TVs, and APs, but the optics are right there with them all, and even better than my AP traveler is. Definately a bit better than 1/6th wave when tested over several nights. Very good mechanical quality and smooth focuser, although not as smooth as the other premium scopes. 1" longer than an FS78. Only 9lbs, 26" long (20.5 with dewcap removed) and 4"s of unobstructed aperture. Definately airline portable when you remove the extension tube and dewcap. High contrast detail on jupiter and saturn. 6+ bands, GRS with detail within, festoons, streamers, blue ovals, band detail, shadow and lunar transits, A, B, Crepe ring, Cassini's division, and banding on saturn is all readily visible at powers from 100 to 240X. Very subtile features on the globe and in the rings, you can actually see striations, like a phonograph record. Very high quaility performance. You can't go wrong with one of these tubes on your mount. Real light weight and super portable with 20 minute cool down. Super versatile, visual to film to CCD. and reasonably fast at F 6.5. Focal reducers make them F 4 to F 5 for faster exposures. Probably the perfect 4" you can buy in this price range. It performs much better than the S&T review a couple years ago. If your in need of a versitile refractor at a reasonable price...this is it!!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:9 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Link to this vote:

Vixen E.D 102/660
Nice scope very good in fact.

Until it comes accross a really nice scope like a traveller or zeiss apq.

Some spherical aberation. Won't split Antares except in very best conditions. My 5 inch D&G always does!
Good for wide field scanning but the field is curved unlike a travellor.

Over priced.

Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
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