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FCT150 Takahashi With Ed Ting Review

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Bought for client - things change - now YOU can buy it.

Made 1994

Cleaned inspected and collimated at Texas 2016 used one time after that

Comes with the CASE

IF you could get a scope like this today it would be min $15000 without the flattener

Fluorite Crystal Triplet air spaced - HELLO!!

I have owned 4 of these over the years - all impressed.

The older ones - like this one - are better than the last versions made.

See photos - first come first served

Ask for Herb 800-850-2001

Anacortes Telescope

Comes with CASE

located in Texas so shipping via air will be around $300 +/- you pay whatever it is or drive to Texas to pick it up

3) Takahashi FCT150 3/30/01, 2/20/02
(6" f/7 fluorite triplet refractor, OTA only, $17,995 list, about $15,000-$16,000 street)
(Note: Please read related article)

Roughly speaking, people reading Scopereviews fall into three broad categories:
1) Shoppers earnestly looking for reviews and comparisons of equipment they plan
to buy, 2) Browsers who get a kind of simple pleasure out of reading my geeky
ramblings, and 3) Dreamers looking for the latest news on absurdly rare and
expensive equipment that no sane person is ever likely to own. The FCT150 is
for people in the latter category.

Think about this for a moment. Eighteen Big Ones for a telescope optical tube
assembly. Add the mount, finder(s), diagonal, eyepieces, etc and you could easily
be set back another $10,000. The FCT150 telescope is worth more than my car.
This sample was purchased by Todd Gross, who let me play with it for about while
he was busy searching for a suitable mount. While I deeply appreciated the gesture
from Todd, it scared the bejeesus out of me knowing this thing was lying around the

Don't tell your wife how much it costs:
Takahashi's magnificent FCT150
(Mount: AP900)

Mechanically, the FCT150 bears a superficial resemblance to the FS152. The
FS152 is a conventional doublet, while the FCT is a triplet. Theoretically, a three-
lens design allows you to correct for aberrations more easily than a two-lens
design, but at additional cost. These older FC-series models featured an uncoated
fluorite element (the newer FS series have multi-coatings on the fluorite element.)
Shining a flashlight down the tube does reveal two reflections that are slightly
brighter than the others. This, coupled with the fact that the scope is an air
spaced triplet, led to speculation that the contrast might not be up to modern

If you think about the fact that the FS152 already sells for $10,000, it would
seem that you are paying $8000 for one additional chunk of glass in this FCT150.
But it's not so simple. Any resemblance to the FS152 is purely coincidental.
The FCT150 is a completely different animal. Despite being about six inches
shorter, it weighs twice what the FS152 does at nearly 50 lbs. The scope
feels like a solid chunk of iron when you pick it up.

The FCT150 is the most physically beautiful telescope I have ever seen. Looking
the scope over, it starts becoming obvious that this isn't just another Takahashi
refractor, great as they already are. Everyone who came over during the review
period remarked on its stunning appearance. This FCT has a level of detail
lavished upon it that suggests the product was a labor of love for someone at
the factory. The fit and finish are extraordinary. Sliding off the silky-smooth
dust cap, or racking the focuser in and out, become sensual tasks. One club
member, after touching the scope, remarked, "I'm never washing this hand again."

Massive baffles line the dew shield

The FCT does not take standard Takahashi finder brackets. Instead, there's a
cast iron ring near the back of the scope that's been drilled for special adapters.
You can mount one finder, two finders, eight finders, three finders and two cameras,
four finders and a guidescope and an FC60, whatever strikes your fancy. I liked
this feature. The massive dew shield has three very serious-looking baffles in it.
But don't drop it; the replacement cost of the dew shield might exceed the price
of many complete telescope rigs out there.

I used the scope over several nights in March of 2001. I figured out a way to
couple the scope with Meade's LXD750, but mostly wound up using it with the
AP900, which proved to be excellent match for the tube. By the way, hoisting
this 50 lb telescope up to shoulder height above solid pavement will quicken
your pulse for a few moments. We did eventually get the scope converted for
use on the Losmandy Universal Dovetail Plate, but it still scared me whenever
I had to mount it. Upon mounting it the first night, three of us still had the scope
cradled in our arms, even after we all knew it was securely attached. We must
have looked like the Three Stooges in the dark. No one wanted to be the first
one to let go, just in case.

Detail on the 4" focuser

The FCT has an incredible star test. I saw no spherical aberration until we
pumped the power up to about 600X, which is superb. No false color was detected.
Even under modest seeing conditions, ten belts on Jupiter were clearly detected.
Under steady skies, Cassini's Division can be seen all the way around Saturn.
Like any great telescope, the FCT150 soaks up high magnification. Under good
conditions, it seems to ask you to pump up the power. Its contrast was excellent,
with even the dimmer, low-contrast objects like the more obscure galaxies in the
Virgo Cluster standing out clearly against the black background. For the first
time, I thought the mightly AP155 had a reason to be scared, and I called club
member David S to bring the AP over (Comparo coming up.)

After running initial tests, I just enjoyed myself looking at familiar objects. I did
a winter Messier tour and split some doubles in the area. The Eskimo looked
great, with plenty of mottled detail, at 147X. M35/NGC2158 and M38/NGC1907
were like diamonds on velvet, with the smaller companion clusters resolved even
at low power. There were a number of us present (I suddenly become a popular
guy around here when I have nice telescope to test) and every time I would
announce that I had something in the FCT150, a small crowd would gather
around the scope.

One problem I found was in the scope's focus travel. The Japanese do not
generally use diagonals, so their OTAs are often "longer" than the ones we
make here in the US. With a 2" diagonal in place, the focus plane was less
than half an inch from the visual back. I was unable to find focus at all when
a barlow was used. If you like to use high power -and this scope can certainly
handle it- you might want to invest in a TeleVue Powermate, which does not
affect the focus position.

I used this telescope every chance I had. I even set it up twice during cloudy
nights, hoping it would clear. I looked at everything I could think of, and then
went to my star atlases when I ran out of stuff in my head. It's a real joy to use,
a transparent window into the sky above. My only complaint about the FCT150
was that there wasn't more of it - someone want to loan me their FCT200??

It's a beauty...

The night the scope had to go to its rightful owner was a sad one indeed.
I took the scope off the AP900 for the last time, wrapped it in warm blankets,
and seated-belted it into the back of my car. While there are some well-heeled
astronomers out there who would call $18,000 a bargain for a telescope like
this, I am resigned to the fact that I will, in all likelihood, never be able to
own one.

So call me one of the dreamers...

Ed Ting