Takahashi FS-60 APO Review
By: Vlad Fedosov
Takahashi… Just the name brings the image of Japanese excellence to mind! Anyone exposed to the amateur astronomy community for any length of time is surely familiar with the fan following of Taks. Years ago I had a chance to own a somewhat rare Tak FC-50 APO, and still regret selling it to this day. To cure my Tak itch and see what all the fuss was about I decided to pick up a brand new Tak FS-60 as an ultra grab-and-go setup on a lightweight Tak Alt-Az mount. The little Tak has a focal length of 355mm at f/5.9 and weights in at a mear 2.9lb. All of this comes in at a cool $860 for just the OTA not including the ring, finderscope, diagonal… Let’s take a look at what this little but not inexpensive Tak can do!
I tested the scope out in my Mag 4 light polluted back yard on several occasions. The scope was outfitted on a Bogen tripod on top of a small Tak Alt-Az mount. To complete the setup the little Tak had a Tak finder, Tak ring, Tak prism diagonal. I primarily used a single Baader 24-8mm Zoom eyepiece to complete the grab and go idea. The entire setup is easily carried out the back door in one hand. Once outside and under the night sky it becomes clear that the operation of the entire setup was a pure joy. The mechanics of the mount are great and work great with this little scope. The focuser is a single speed unit which is quite substandard these days, but it is precise and works great at the low powers this scope produces.
The first night I had the scope out was accompanied by a quarter moon high in the sky. Pointing the little Tak at it, I was greeted with a very crisp and clean image of luna. Upping the power up to 44x(highest power with the zoom) still preserved a great image of the moon. Craters where clearly defined, and the lunar mare where a dice dark charcoal. Contrast was very good with the little 60mm. Secondary color was also not evident at all(though I would not expect it at this low power). After enjoying the views a bit I called it a night since I had stuff going on the next morning.
A few weeks later we had a bit more clear weather and I got a chance to have the Tak out again. Sirius was high in the sky and I decided to try and see how the color correction was on this little guy and to also see if I could make out the Pup. Grabbing a 2.25x Baader barlow I was able to get the scope up to 100x! After a little scrutiny to my surprise, Serius actually showed a fair amount of purple around the star even at the low power of 100x…. I was honestly not impressed and expected better from what is considered by many to be one of the finest optics in the world. I know this is only a doublet, but it does use fluorite witch these days is considered by many to be a gift to man from God himself(LOL). Seeing Serius B turned out to be a bit too much to ask for this particular nights seeing conditions.
Overall I really enjoyed using the Takahashi FS-60. The way I had the scope rigged up was perfect for an ultimate grab and go scope or one that would be very airline travel-friendly. I guess I’m a bit torn if I would recommend it to someone. If you are someone who has a lot of discretionary income that wants to own an ultraportable scope and want to know that you own some of the best optics in the world this setup is hard to pass up. If on the other hand you are one of us normal folks and a bit on a budget or do not care about the image of owning a Tak, I really, really doubt that you would not get the same optical performance out the current Astro-Tech 60mm and 72mm APO’s or the like.