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TAL 200K Telescope Televue and Vixen eyepieces

The TAL 200K Telescope

In august 2001 I bought my second telescope in 23 years, the Russian-made TAL 200K.

The TAL 200K is an 8-inch Klevtzov-Cassegrain on an equatorial mount. The telescope comes with a low built metal pier (or a sturdy wooden tripod), two eye-pieces (25mm and 10mm plossl), a short 2x Barlow , an 8 x 50 finder scope, a clock drive on the Polar axis, a moon filter, a transformer (220 to 12 volts), a manual written in English, and a lot of other accessories. Everything is packed into a big plywood case, which is perfect for storing and transporting the telescope.

Why did I buy the TAL 200K telescope?

  • the standard 8 x 50 high quality finder scope;
  • the standard clock drive on the RA (polar axis);
  • the low built metal pier, allowing sit-down observation;
  • easy and quick setup;
  • compact model that is easy to transport to a dark observing site (fit's in my small car);
  • it came with a lot of accessories, so I could start observing right away: two eyepieces, a good quality 2x Barlow lens, solar and lunar filter, a transformer (220 to 12 volts) with a 15 feet electrical cord to connect the transformer to the clock-drive, a cross-hair that fits in the 25mm plossl (to align the telescope and the finder scope) and a storage case; you can start observing right out of the box;
  • it was rated above average by Wolfgang Rohr, who tested the optics in his laboratory;
  • it fitted into my budget nicely, maybe not the most important factor, but surely the most limiting!

TAL 200K Telescope

I'm using the TAL 200K since august 2001. I am more than satisfied with this instrument. Apart from the pro's mentioned above, my TAL 200K delivers sharp images of the stars right to the edge of the field of view. The views I get from the moon and planets are very good. Under excellent viewing conditions the magnification can be increased up to 400 times easily.

Finderscope TAL 200K

The TAL 200K can be outdoors and setup within minutes, and is highly transportable. The finder scope was aligned on the day I bought the 200K. It did not move ever since. As for collimation or alignment, I used the TAL 200K for two years. It was hauled around my garden and transported to different dark-sky sites, varying from 20 to 80 kilometers from my hometown. Until now there is no need for collimation or alignment of the optical components. Maybe this telescope was build to observe, not to collimate! I only adjust the mirror of the diagonal every now and again. With the Helix laser collimator, this can be down within minutes.

All in all the TAL 200K is a great all-round telescope for a down to earth price.

There are however a few cons also. The TAL metal pier is built very low. When I want to observe near the zenith, I almost have to sit on the ground. This problem will be solved within a few months. I ordered the Catsperch Pro observing chair. This chair can be set as low as 8.5 inches above the ground.
Another option to solve this problem is to buy the TAL wooden tripod. This will not only allow you to get the telescope higher above the ground, you can also setup the TAL on more rugged terrain.

The mount is good for visual observing and short exposure astro-photography (sun and moon). I’m planning to do some deep sky photography in the next few years, so at the moment I’m considering to switch to a Vixen DX mount. With this mount I can have motors on both axes, and hopefully some more stability while focusing at high magnifications.

At my favorite dark-sky site, Sourbroth in Belgium, from time to time I have problems with dewing or fogging of the secondary mirror / corrector lens. In the area are a lot of swamps, and especially in the autumn this fogging or dewing of the secondary occurs regularly.
A fellow astronomer, Mr. Huub Willems , has constructed a heater for my TAL 200K, almost similar to the one he uses for his Meade LX90. It still has to be tested in the field. For more information on this (still experimental) heater, look in the accessories section under “TAL heater” .

TAL 200K

If you want more information on the TAL 200K telescope or other TAL products please visit the TAL site.

Wolfgang Rohr from Germany tested the optics of one of the first TAL 200K's. Click here for his test report.

A review of the TAL 200K in combination with a Bino-viewer from Baader Astro (Baader grossfeldbinokular) from Michiel Claessen and a review of a TAL 200K by Bill Brady.

And last but not least you can join a TAL discussion group for owners and makers of TAL Telescopes. The group consists of nearly 700 members. You can post and read messages, ask questions and browse through files and photographs, all concerning TAL telescopes. On Sunday's you can chat with other members.

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