Starlight Instruments - Testimonials
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I have a two-speed Feather Touch focuser with brake. First, this is really a great
focuser...thanks for making such a great product. It has really spoiled me - not
sure I will ever use an "ordinary" focuser again!
The Starlight Feather Touch FTF3035 Focuser - "when only the best will do" (from the Starlight Instruments web site)
What an incredible, smooth and beautiful focuser! The FTF3035 Focuser is a 'major league' upgrade (performance and functionality) from the stock TAK focuser, and even the Starlight TAK Micro Pinion Assembly Upgrade, which is the next step up over the TAK 2.7" stock focuser.
The FTF3035 draw tube just glides in-and-out of the main housing assembly. The sides of the draw tube exhibit an engraved scale that makes it extremely easy to return to a previous focus position or to better find focus.
The photos posted in the Starlight Instruments web site only begin to do any justice to the uniqueness of the FTF3035 Focuser assembly. Workmanship is excellent, and I can't imagine using any other focuser.
TAKAHASHI needs to offer your Feather Touch Focuser units as the standard focuser (to an otherwise excellent telescope).
Working with Jon, Christi (no longer with Starlight Instruments) and Adam at Starlight was a pleasure. They answered all my phone calls, and long list of questions during my upgrade experience. Always a timely exchange of ideas, good recommendations by Starlight, and excellent design drawings of the custom made adapter and focuser were the norm.
Highly recommended. Thank You!!!
Just emailing to say thanks. It literally took about 45 seconds to install the new focuser (on my FLT132). Everything was perfect. What a difference between your focuser and the one that comes on the scope. You guys do great work. I would order more, but now all of my scopes have Feather Touch focusers! Thanks again, Joel
Thanks so much for your products.....they are a joy to use. Allen
...thanks for the FTF2008BCR it's magnificent! Peter
The adapter is a beautiful piece of workmanship.
I will be using it this week on my 14" LX200-ACF at the west Texas star party my club is
having. I will take a couple of pictures of the adapter and the 2.5" Feather Touch® focuser
mounted on the 14" to send to you.
This is the fifth Feather Touch® focuser I have owned and can't imagine using anything else.
Charlie M. from Texas
I just wanted to let you know that I received the Micro Pinion Assembly for TeleVue Retrofit w/Brake and installed it on my TV-102 refractor. It is a beautifully designed piece of equipment and the workmanship is outstanding. Operation is incredibly smooth, and aesthetically, it complements the TV-102 in fit and finish. It took less than 15 minutes to install - including reading through the instructions three times to ensure I wasn't missing anything!
TeleVue should consider offering your focuser(s) as stock equipment!
Thanks, Chris Sheppard
Astronomers worldwide rave about the quality, workmanship, and timeless design of the
Starlight Instruments Feather Touch® focusers. They talk about the uncanny mechanism that drives
the focus tube in and out of its assembly with a precision, smoothness, and accuracy that can
only be described as "therapeutic." Instead of encountering the ever present frustrations
inherent in focusers of inferior quality, astronomers find themselves truly at peace with the
night sky and their most precious equipment. You don't "use" a Starlight Feather TouchÂ® focuser,
you "experience" it.
Oceanside Photo & Telescope
...The Stellarvue SV102ED has a dual speed crayford focuser while my ABV uses a 2 inch Feather Touch® made by
Starlight Instruments. The ED's focuser is a step down from the Feather Touch® (but almost every other
focuser is as well). My first night out with the ED, I immediately put a 2 inch diagonal and 31 mm
Nagler eyepiece in. This combination required a quick tensioning adjustment before the ED's focuser
would lift all that mass. With that tension, the focuser felt a bit tight on the coarse focus knob.
I also noticed that the coarse focus always felt a bit rough regardless of the tension. The fine focus
was smooth and easy to use even with the tension tightened. In comparison, the Feather Touch® is
buttery smooth and I've never needed to adjust the tension on it regardless of temperature or
Focusing at high powers was a easier with the Feather Touch®, but the ED's dual speed crayford was a huge step up over other single speed crayfords I've used -- both imports and high end models. Unless you've already been spoiled by using the Feather Touch® (or other comparable focuser) on a another scope, you will probably find the ED's focuser more than satisfying for visual use. As for me, even though the ED's focuser performs adequately, I'd opt for the Feather Touch® option on the ED (or on any scope for that matter), you won't regret it.
Excerpt from Review by Josh Walawender (originally appeared in Feb. 2008 issue of Astronomy Technology Today)
Please Visit Josh's Website for an exceptional visual treat and read the very good review in its entirety here: TwilightLandscapes.com
Hi Christi and the Starlight Instruments Team,
The TeleVue Retrofit arrived on 1/6/09… It is absolutely gorgeous, belying its “cosmetic second” disclaimer!! The mounting instructions were very clear. Replacing the original focuser on my Televue Genesis f5 with the Feather Touch®unit required about 10 minutes, including “tweaking” time (leveling the unit to achieve optimal interaction between focuser’s pinion gear and rack on the scope’s focusing tube). The fit is absolutely perfect, ZERO backlash or binding; the epitome of “buttery smooth”. The performance of the coarse and fine focuser movement reminds of those on the fine microscopes I am privileged to use (but could never afford!!) in my lab work. Thank you so much for opportunity to make a very beneficial upgrade to this fine old scope. I will never tire of the look and performance of this focuser.
Attached is the testimonial I had written for Werner before you guys took over.
The nice thing about that fact is... Nothing has changed :)
There STILL is nothing like a Feather Touch:
When I first started imaging the hardest thing I found after getting guiding down was really nailing my focus. Using a DSLR made this step even harder as using the viewfinder or a right angle magnifier didn't really help. At this point I switched to a "Stiletto" and although focusing became a bit easier this now made the next weak spot in my system more evident. Stock focusers! I decided that a Robofocus was the answer and for awhile it was. The one drawback I found was having to bend up the brackets and the hacked look that usually came with these setups. As they say It worked, but it wasn't pretty.
With the purchase of a TMB 130SS with the Feather Touch®3545 focuser came a revelation if you will. The fit and finish of the Feather Touch®was something that had to be used to be appreciated. I always laughed at the term "German Engineering" but here it was right in front of me -- A typical Starlight Instruments product, flawless fit, finish and execution. From that day on I swore every scope I owned would carry a Feather Touch® (And they have).
In looking for the ultimate in focus control I knew after using the Feather Touch®line of focusers that nothing else could be attached to them other than the Digital Feather Touch®System. At first glance the price may seem a bit intimidating but like everything else that carries the Starlight name the equipment is worth every penny. In reality, when compared to a Robofocus setup the Feather Touch®system is really quite reasonable. The system combines the ability to vary focusing speeds at the touch of a button. The manner in which the motor assemblies mount to the focusers provides a seamless match that makes the unit look as if it's one solid piece, not a hacked together setup. Everything about the system says Feather Touch from the machined hand control box to the hub to the actual motor assemblies themselves. It truly doesn't get any better than this. Installation is a 5-minute job with a finished look that no other system can come close to. And the software installation was just as easy. Updates are always available and the ASCOM based system performs flawlessly just like the rest of the package.
Some will say that you can't see what the system looks like in the dark and for some that may be good enough. For those who are like me, it needs to look as good as it performs.
The only problem I have with the Feather Touch®system is figuring out which is better.....The way it looks or the way it performs!
Thanks again for another incredible product from you guys!
"I have received my Feather Touch®Focuser in perfect condition. Here are my first
* WOWWWWWWW !!!!! as my first words when I discovered the focuser: really very nice, rock solid and beautifully finished focuser ! Same for the adapter.
Congratulations, you did a great great job !
* Adaptation on the scope: no problem at all, everything went without any problem
* 1st use on my scope: I can not understand why I did not buy one, 1 or 2 years earlier .... : Fantastic feeling, much more than any other focuser I have tried, period. I now have the best, and get the touch as advertised! I do not use my CN212 focus knob anymore. No slippery problems with all my CCD stuff plugged into. No ghost images at all during CCD work. I join the first Saturn picture taken with it. Not my best one, but it is the first one!
So my conclusion is: I now have joined the legions of fully satisfied customers."
Jean-Pierre Prost, France
"I wanted you to know I received the focuser today and got it mounted on my TV85.
It is a beautiful piece of equipment you have made! The fine focus is just the thing
for Saturn, and the brake allows me to completely eliminate drift in position of the
drawtube and still have a light focus touch. I did reverse the knobs already to the left
handed position so that the fine knob is at the top of my case and that the scope is not
resting on it.
I do find I can just reach focus with a 22 Panoptic with the drawtube within a fraction of a mm of fully extended (my AP diagonal is a little longer path length than my TV, so I'm using that one). Since I can focus with every eyepiece I have, it seems like I will not need the riser. I'll of course let you know if I do decide I need the 0.65" spacer after all.
Anyway, the focuser works great, installation went perfect (having already spent an hour patiently digging the epoxy out of the factory set screw), and no change in collimation or anything like that."
Dave McGough, San Diego, CA
“I've had one of your focusers on my 20 inch Obsession for almost six years now and
also have your micro reduction units on three Astro-Physics focusers and am totally pleased
with all of them.
If you would ever make the replacement reduction units for the original TMB CNC German 4 inch and 3 inch focusers I would buy them too, in a heartbeat.”
"I recently purchased your Feather Touch®focuser for my new TAK TOA-130 through
Highpoint Scientific. Let me tell you this has definitely improved the TOA-130's
performance! I already have one on my NS11GPS for three years now so I am quite familiar
with its capabilities. The TOA-130’s focusing though good wasn’t quite good
enough when skies were not so calm and I could not get a clear image and for the investment
I made into the TOA-130 I decided it needed your focuser. Replacing it was easy and quick.
The supplied tools helped in the replacement process. The Feather Touch®focuser even looks
cool on the TOA-130! So I am recommending it to other TAK owners. Your product definitely
improves my visual viewing through my TAK. "
Mike Heuler, New Jersey
“Y'all definitely have the focuser thing figured out! It's beautiful! Just a
note of thanks for the wonderful job Starlight Instruments did on my focuser. I had many
observers comment on the buttery smooth action of this fine focuser, especially when critical
focus was needed on tight double stars. Keep up the great work!”
“The focusser arrived safely about a week ago. I have just returned from the Equinox
Star Party the biggest such event in the UK. The clear skies gave me a real chance to use my
NP101 with its new Starlight Focusser. The NP101 is in my view about the best 4" apo there
is for visual work. With the Starlight focusser attached the best simply got better. I am very
pleased with the upgrade which has outstripped all my expectations. Engineering of Startlight
Instruments quality is rare these days and caused quite a stir as folk looked over my upgraded
NP101. Under the dark skies of North Norfolk the scope performed exceptionally with the focusser
really improving the performance of the scope. Please pass on my best wishes to all at Starlight
Instruments. Your products are quite simply stunning.”
John Orr, UK
"I have owned 4 telescopes with Starlight Instruments Feather Touch®focusers and find them to
be of exceptional quality and value. Purchased my first Feather Touch®focuser for a
Celestron CGE 1400 SCT in 2003. Through the C14 OTA had very little image shift and
was easy to turn I found I needed something better for planetary imaging when using a web
camera. The Feather Touch®worked perfectly allowing me to make very fine focus adjustments
without the planet moving in off the CCD sensor.
When I started looking for a short focal length 80mm telescope for wide field astrophotography and as a grab and go scope, one of the main reasons I decided on the Stellarvue SV80S because it had a Feather Touch®focuser. After using the one on my CGE 1400 I just could not see buying a high end scope without one. I have had numerous comments on how well the focuser works on the SV80S.
When I replaced the CGE 1400 with a Meade LX200GPS 12” I upgraded the focus knob with a Feather Touch®Microfocuser. This made focusing much easier and precise but image shift was still a problem. The Meade LX200GPS has a motorized Microfocuser as standard but I kept wanting to just turn a knob instead of pressing a button so I replaced it with a Feather Touch. That made life much more enjoyable for visual viewing and I could replace the star diagonal with the Meade Microfocuser and have both while doing imaging.
I came upon the good fortune of obtaining an Astro-Physics 900GTO mount so I sold the Meade LX200GPS 12” and purchased a Meade LX200R 12” OTA. I kept the Feather Touch focuser and placed it on the LX200R.
The Feather Touch®focusers I have owned and have used on other scopes, the astronomy club I am a member of purchased one for their CGE 1400 and my brother has one for his 8 inch Newtonian, have always worked flawlessly and hold the Televue Nagler 31mm without even knowing it is a very heavy eyepiece.
I consider the focuser the second most important part of any telescope and Feather Touch® focusers are best I have ever used.
Starlight Instruments also has great support. One of the Feather Touch®focusers I purchased arrived not working correctly, the movement was hard and uneven. I was told the focuser was most likely dropped in shipment. A replacement was shipped to me from them directly from Starlight Instruments. It was very nice to deal with the company who makes the product and can correct any problems right away. Everyone has been a pleasure to deal with and I greatly appreciate all their help."
Visit William's Website
"Telescope makers would be wise to install Feather Touch®focusers as stock
equipment on every telescope they make. If they all did so, the world would be ridded
of focuser-related complaints! I won't be satisfied until all of my telescopes
say "Feather Touch" on them. Thanks for making such a well designed and beautifully
Daniel Perry - Visit Daniel's Website
"I recently purchased one of your focusers to replace the stock model on my
12.5 " Obsession. I just wanted to let you know what a pleasure it is to use the
Starlight focuser. The mechanics and finish are superior, and the smooth motion
makes observing a lot more comfortable and rewarding. Thanks very much.
Will Hopkins, McLean, VA
"I would like to say that if all companies in the world paid as much attention to the
quality of their product, and to customer satisfaction as Starlight Instruments do, we
would have nothing to complain about, ever again.
Already being a convert, using a Crayford Feather Touch®for the past few years, I have today received the TRF102 Micro Focuser for my FS128. What can I say, it is a work of engineering beauty, it is a shame to fit it to a scope, every home should have one on display, to prove to any doubter that perfection in a product is possible.
Not only is the focuser excellent, the instructions for fitting it are clear, well written and presented, and your customer service is a lesson to anyone. I am looking forward to enjoying the many years of use this fine addition to my telescope will give me.
I would have no hesitation recommending your product to the most discerning of astronomer."
Martyn Pitt, UK
“Starlight, Thank you for this fantastic focuser. I never dreamed a focuser could
add so much to the observing experience. I can finally focus my eyepieces without even the
slightest movement of my scope thanks to the ultra smooth performance of the fine focus knob.
I love it!"
George N. La Grange, IL
“I have just installed your zero backlash Feather Touch®Focuser TM on my Meade 16-inch
telescope. This focuser is the finest I have ever used! It is built with the precision of a
Swiss watch. Your superb workmanship has produced a focuser in a class by itself. I attached
a dial micrometer to measure the focus differential required for demanding CCD tri-color
imaging and cannot get over the smooth performance of this incredible instrument.
My Pictor1616XT and a large filter wheel have a combined weight of over 7 pounds. Even
bearing this heavy load, the focuser moves with micrometer precision. Thanks, Starlight
Instruments, for this wonderful contribution to my CCD focusing!"
"I have one of your focusers on a 25” scope and it is FANTASTIC!!!!!!!
Thank you for making the best focuser in the universe."
Peter Read, Victoria, Australia - SDM Telescopes
"The fit and finish of your work is extraordinary. The focuser works perfectly, up to
your usual standards. Thank you so much."
John, Northville, Michigan, USA
"I like to express that the Starlight support is just great. Thank you again for such
wonderful support, this is unfortunately rare in Europe nowadays."
Gradimir Petrovic, Switzerland