I don't normally send direct feedback to companies, but I do when their products completely exceed all expectations.
My Feather Touch just arrived, and I can't even describe how great the quality is. I tried explaining it to my friend, but words can't do it justice - just using a Feather Touch in and of itself is an experience worth having, and something you need to experience first hand in order to really comprehend how good it is.
Thank you so much for this wonderful product!
No matter how good your mount, your camera, and your optic… if you can’t get and keep good focus, you’re done. This photo was taken with a Feather Touch focuser
There is no substitute for good focus… The Quattro 12” is a FAR better optic now than it was with the stock focuser.
Good Morning Wayne,
I hope you are fine!!
Last week I've spent few days in my observatory to install the new FT 3" plus the Kit, motor, flattener, etc... The feeling when I saw the Focuser it was wonderfull, well finished, good quality and more over, with a very good presicion! I have could tested the focuser during 3 nights, what I have to day is that I have got the 100% of my photos are harvestable, while with my old focuser I only could survive around 50% of the photos, so I can say that I have made a very good decision to purchase this focuser.
Please find you enclosed some photos about the final setup, including the TS 2,5" Flattener plus the adapters to reach the Back Focus with my RC14" truss at 91 mm.
Take care and thank you for your good services to me.
Thanks Wayne: the focuser arrived safely today for my Takahashi FSQ85
The focuser is an engineering marvel and an object of beauty. I am sure it will perform as well as my 3.5” focuser (on my WO 132FLT).
Please pass on my thanks to the team.
Regards and clear skies!
Now I know where the BEEF is... on my GSO RC!
onstrously stable. I thought it couldn't get any better until I installed the Boss Kit 2 Remote Control. Almost had to change my shorts! I look forward to many years of use from this amazing product. By the way, I spoke with Wayne (the manufacturer) before buying his Feather Touch focuser and was impressed with his knowledge and commitment to quality "While other manufacturers are trying to figure out how to make their products cheaper, I'm finding ways to make my products better"... He's not kidding. This is the best equipment you can buy and, besides mirrors, eyepieces and cameras, your focuser is NOT a place to skimp. Get one of these and you'll know exactly what I mean when you experience the difference.
Thank you again Wayne,
It’s always a pleasure doing business with you personally and as I’m sure you’ve heard for
years, the quality of your products is impeccable. I remember thinking “wow, I’ve arrived”
when I got my first Feather Touch and still feel the same way whenever I’m out under the
stars using one of them.
I'm expecting the shipment today ??
I would like to express my appreciation for all the work you did
in getting this order out to me.
You guys have a great company and it was a pleasure dealing with you.
I'm going to enjoy using the equipment very much and will be a proud owner
of these Starlight products for many years to come.
Thank you so much
I received the package today.
The 3'' focuser is a masterpiece. I am very impressed by the quality and design of the product.
I have a number of products sold by Astro-Physics using focusers provided by Starlight. I was fortunate to acquire one of their MAK-NEWT scopes and just installed your Boss Focuser II kit. While not inexpensive, the quality, fit and function of your product is equal to the many other products sold by AP. No one should question or doubt that buying a Starlight product is of the highest standard.
Just to let you know the focuser for my Takahashi TOA-130 arrived. Looks and feels magnificent. Fits perfectly. V-curves in Focusmax are excellent.
I had a slight elongation of stars in one corner with the original focuser - according to this CCD inspector plot that problem is solved!
The focuser arrived this morning and it's a really fine little machine. It's also a beauty. It's installed and aligned on the Starmaster and collimation's done.
My 43 year run in manufacturing plant management gave me an appreciation for finely crafted, close tolerance machinery and it was a real pleasure installing and assembling your fine product. I am quite sure it will be even more pleasurable to use and for a long time.
Best regards for you and your organization, Dick Gentry
I just receive my new Feathertouch 2,5” focuser and adapter to put on my Equinox 120.
What a fine piece of engeneering! When I ordered it, I thought, well it’s just another focuser, that’s all, as good as it may be……but when I took it out of the box I noticed it is not just another focuser by far, Holy Moly!
Just wanted to let you know that my focuser and focusing system arrived the other day. I have to wait for some warmer weather for installing, but I’ve taken everything out just for a peek. I have to tell ya….I’m originally trained as an engineer, and looking at the focuser, I see a work of art as much as a piece of equipment. Very, very nicely done, guys. I’m tempted to take it apart to see what makes it tick, but I promise, I won’t do that J. But now I have to visit for sure, hoping to get a look at the guts of these things.
Anyway, thanks again. This is great stuff.
I just wanted to thank all of you for such an outstanding product as your Feathertouch focuser. Initially I had balked at the cost, being content with the stock focusers that come with most new telescopes. I wasn’t convinced that there would be much difference.
Boy, was I wrong! I recently purchased a lovely used carbon fiber 8” Richey-Chretien scope on Cloudy Nights. It included a Feathertouch focuser as part of the deal. Needless to say, it has performed spectacularly.
What has surprised me the most is how well it maintains focus between imaging sessions. I have to drag my scope and mount on a hill up my driveway (I live on the side of a hill) by tractor, level it EACH time with bricks and polar and star align it. I would love a small observatory, but my geography won’t alow it ?.
Incredibly, the focus I set several imaging sessions ago has NOT budged at all! Everything continues to remain tack sharp and it shows in my astropics.
Looking at the standard Crayford focuser vs the Feathertouch, I can see the main focus tube shift in several axes when the knurled tightener knob is screwed down. Since this tightener is on the focus knob shaft of the Feathertouch instead, this problem is eliminated.
The only downside? I have to save the dollars to re-fit my other scopes! LOL
Clear Skies from a grateful customer,
I am so thrilled with the improvement to my imaging that I am now going to revisit M31 this week for a two panel mosaic so that I can fit it all in the frame. Thanks again for your help and to all of you at Starlight for building such great focusers!
Today I received the focuser.
I am very very happy to have it.
You never realize how excellent a Feathertouch focuser till you use something else.
The Feathertouch is simply superb in every aspect.
Great job ! Thanks a lot !
Got the unit and took it for a test drive...perfect! I just love the quality of your products, over the last 13 years I have purchased at least 20 units from you, OPT and Starizona, and every time I am just overwhelmed with the finish and function of your products. Nice job.
Hello Wayne, Just wanted to say thanks. I got the motor yesterday and it worked perfect. You guys really make some top notch gear and provide great service. It is really appreciated and great to know its all made here in the USA.
Thanks Wayne... Well it arrived today, so I am very pleased about that... Not sure where to start, but I am really happy with my item. Item arrived VERY well packed and this item is a piece of art. I have never seen one before and just went on reviews and information on the Ice In Space Forum... Your product is very well made and your instructions made the installation a simple task to understand. What an improvement over the Meade standard system this item is, and think I may not even need to use the electric focus system on my scope at all... To purchase the item from Australia did take some time and was a large price with the money conversion, however now I have it I can see it was worth the wait and cost, and will be suggesting to others to look at your focus products for there scopes..
Very Best Regards
Just wanted to let you know that the package arrived in perfect condition yesterday.
I am VERY IMPRESSED about the building quality of ALL the components and the packaging of each of them.
It’s not only Apple who knows howto make the customer feel they buy a top-quality product
I installed it and did a quick indoor-test and all worked just perfect.
Now I am looking forward to a clear night so it can be tested for real.
Wayne, I wanted to let you know just how pleased with the 3in. focuser I recieved. The wait was well worth it. The finish and workmanship are outstanding.The focuser works as advertised and was very easy to install. My Explore Scientific 127 apo is really uptown now. They should all be made with this focuser.
Thanks again. Ben Smith; Amite, La.
The focuser system and controller arrived last night (FB-II KIT 2), well packed and damage free. Assembled the stepper motor to the focuser, hooked everything up (FTF3545B-A on a WO FLT132), manual stepper motor focusing with the hand controller works flawlessly.
Good install instructions sheet. If the winds ever die down I'll calibrate the focuser with FocusMax and begin using the system. It's an marvelous piece of engineering and fabrication. The finder bracket actually retains collimation with the main OTA after removal and re-attachment, I'm impressed!
For now I'm pleased. Hopefully my first light experiences will bear out the notion that " you get what you pay for". As this system wasn't cheap so I'll give it every chance to perform well. All it takes with new hardware and software is practice, practice, practice . . .
Have a good new year!
I am so pleased with the feather touch focuser. I have a Meade LX-90 ACF 12" and this is most probably the single best improvement that I have made to this scope. I am very pleased with the craftsmanship of this focuser and I appreciate the use of roller bearings vs. bushings. I am working on imaging Neptune and Uranus at this time and the precision by which I can achieve focus (without having to use a crayford and focal reducer and the entire mess of such) is absolutely wonderful. This should be stock equipment! And the installation was simple. I believe that it took me around three minutes total. And I was being very cautious. Thanks again.
Love how this fits on the scope and it works just wonderfully.
Thanks so much for the excellent service!
Thanks for the service. Focuser arrived today.
Nice piece of work and also the functioning is very smooth and great finish. All in all a piece of Art :-)
The FeatherTouch slid in like a dream.
Anyway, it's beautiful and the motion is butter smooth. First opportunity I'll try it out and give you a full report.
I Received the package yesterday. Everything perfect. I unpacked, checked the stuff and what a great material. That focuser is a masterpiece of mechanical assembly !!
Fernando Pinheiro Guimaraes
I put the focuser on my GSO 250RCCF f8 just now and understood why people praise your products.
Got the focuser today, it's beautifully made and perfectly adjusted!
I got the focuser from you guys a few days ago. It is truly a work of art, and like many have said, seems to belong on the TSA-102 more than the original focuser that came with the telescope. Many thanks for making my experience with Starlight Instruments a positive one. I will pass the word on about you guys.
All the best,
we have collected the parts yesterday. It is extremely beautiful and highly outworked design and the weight is really light for and the function is mega precise. It is really the "Rolex" among the focusers I would say.
I can't wait to set it in. It looks so nice!
Greetings from Kochel
Wanted to drop a quick note and say how impressed I am with your product. The installation of the Starlight feather touch focuser on my WO FLT 110 was simple to say the least.
After using it a couple of times all I can say is WOW! And you consider this a cosmetic second? I will not own another scope without one of these focusers on it.
I received the micropinion retrofit for the Televue 85 a few days ago. Installation was easy, and now I can really dial in those birds.
It is great, a beautiful precision instrument that works perfectly with this excellent telescope.
I wanted to let you know I received my focuser yesterday in perfect condition. Now in my hand I understand why it is #1 on the planet. It really is a fine piece of work. I'm looking very forward to installing it this weekend.
Thank you all very much,
I just bought a William Optics FLT 110 TEC with Feathertouch 3025 and I must tell you I am VERY happy with it. The focuser is very smooth and can carry lots of weight. The scope can be seen on my site :
Thank you very much for your products (I used to have a wonderful microtouch at the back of my C11 as well…).
Adaptor arrived today thanks.
The white finish is absolutely superb! It fits the ota exactly as per the drawing and the whole thing looks a million dollars
I've uploaded an image to the web page of the finished OTA end
Thanks again for building this for us, I know it's always very difficult to make things that are non standard but we couldn't be happier with the end result.
We have several of your Feather Touch focusers and feel that they are simply the best focusers available today - each is truly a fantastic component.
Thanks and best regards,
Craig & Tammy Temple
Just a quick note to say that I love the focuser; its simply beautiful. The quality and craftsmanship are tops. The adapter flange you machined worked perfect and was also a work of art. I should have made the decision to buy the Starlight focuser months before I did. I am a couple of months from seeing first light but during my bench testing with lasers, the focuser performed smoothly and I could not detect any movement in the laser beam as the focuser traveled through the ranges. So, it took me a while to make the leap to Starlight but it turned out to be one of the better decisions I have made on the 16" Ritchey project.
Good afternoon, Wayne.
I received the focuser today, unwrapped it and almost could not believe my eyes. This focuser is the most beautifully engineered and manufactured piece of hardware I have ever seen.
I believe you sent me one very fine looking cosmetic second. Other maker's cosmetic firsts should be so beautiful.
I will send you a photo once it is installed on the Odyssey. Fellow enthusiasts walking up to the humble, blue Odyssey are going to be in for a surprise.
The focuser arrived here today in good shape and fit into my scope without any problems.
Thank you for the good product and great service!
The focuser arrived yesterday, and has exceeded my expectations. I now see what all of the hype is about :-)
I'm using an AP 1.75" extension together with a diagonal to bring my old Meade Plossl eyepieces to focus with the Feathertouch at about 60mm. I intend to upgrade to some nicer Televue eyepieces in the future which will no doubt change this arrangement. I'm very pleased I went with the AP adapter - the focus train is very solid and looks great too.
Once again, many thanks. This is truly an incredible focuser and I'm very pleased with the purchase.
Just wanted to let you know that my NP101 focuser arrived safely today. And, it was very easy to install...
Thanks again for the great service and great product.
Thank you for your fast shipping. Focuser is already installed (very easy
setup!) and tested night time. Very smooth, precise mechanics. Focusing is a pleasure and it's now very easy. Maybe also mirror shift is decreased. Thank you!
Got the focuser today, nice, thank you very much indeed.
I've seen how you pay attention to detail, I appreciate your care and thought
Thank you very much.
I have the feathertouch on my Stellarvue SV80S and I can say that it is one of the best focuser I had ever used, silky smooth, no flexture with my QSI583WS CCD camera. I will not hestitate to use the feathertouch focuser in future.
I received my 7" objective cover last week. It looks quite nice and best of all...it fits!
I am so pleased with the focuser I bought for my WO FLT 132. It is a great piece of engineering.
I received your shipping yesterday, your focuser are simply great mechanics.
CNC Telescope SA
Starlight products are absolutely superb - I'm a big fan.
I received the focuser assembly and I'm absolutely delighted with it, and with your customer service!
When I'm trying to explain to people what it means to give excellent, "best in the world" customer service I'll be sharing this story and telling them that Starlight Instruments is the best of the best.
Many thanks to your Master Builder, and thanks again for taking care of this, I couldn't be happier.
The focuser arrived today and I'm pleased to say that the CNC adapter ring fits perfectly and the focus action seems very smooth. If the as of late very rare clear skies continue, I will try it out on astronomical objects this evening.
I would like to say how much of a pleasure it has bene using this awesome focuser.
Just received my 2" focuser and adapters.
What works of art. Functional and beautiful. Looking forward to installing these and putting to use!
Thank you for your wonderful product and service.
Hi Wayne !
Received the focuser and adaptor ring and the thing fits like a glove on the old Vintage 1987 F12 tube :)))) Perfect fit !!!!....It is amazing...and the looks...WOW
Wayne your dedication to customer service is unequal thank you!
My husband and I have been out with our scope several times and the Feather Touch focuser is so smooth and easy to use. It takes very little time or effort to get what we want to see in focus. It is a beautiful product.
Starlight Instruments Focuser
Buffy, my 25 year old Mistress (a 6" f/8 AP refractor) has proven to be hard to ignore. She tempts me constantly with her ultra-fine extreme off axis performance and diamond-sharp on axis sharpness.
When I aquired Buffy, I had no intention of ever spending much more money on the scope. The tube had been repainted somewhere along her journey through the cosmos, and while it was rough, a great deal of buffing made it passable.
The focuser likewise was serviceable, but lacked that "Little Black Dress" sophistication.
Buffy has turned out to be such a thrilling telescope though, and I found the scope to be getting as much use as my C14. In fact, I had to FORCE myself to choose one or the other for a night of observing, or I would constantly be jumping around between the two scopes.
I paid a lot of money for Buffy, considering the OTA was about 23 or 24 years old when I bought it. Spending more money on it simply didn't seem to make sense.
With each usage though, my opinion began to change. The old 6" AP is SUCH a wonderful telescope to view through. The on axis performance would be called "Semi-APO" by today's standards I suppose (though the amount of color is VERY low, it does not correct violet particularly well. No, the magic of this scope was NOT in its On-Axis performance, thought it is clearly the best 6" telescope I have ever used.
Buffy, ready for the ball in Rebar Green with Emerald metalflake
The REAL magic wroght by Mr. Christen was in the area of off axis performance. I don't know how he did it, but Buffy has so little off-axis aberration and such a flat field, that even with the WIDEST of wide field eyepieces, stars at the edge of the field remains literal pinpoints. Seeing the edge of a 2 degree field in a 31mm Nagler is a truly spectacular experience.
Ah, but this is when a good focuser is MOST appreciated. The old Byers that was fitted to the scope just didn't have the smooth, positive motion that I was looking for, and since the 31mm Nagler spends so much time in this scope, it became apparent that investing in a new focuser would indeed be a good thing.
Now I generally advise people NOT to spend lavishly on focusers because so many people turn around and sell the scope later that they don't get much of their money back. I have no intentions of selling the AP anytime soon though, so for me, it made more sense.
I considered offerings from both Moonlight Telescopes Accessories and from Starlight Instruments.
I am on record as saying that I could not understand why most mass market manufactures would stick with Rack and Pinion when it probably doesn't cost more to make a good Crayford focuser. That doesn't mean that I like Crayfords better though.. Quite the contrary. I PREFER a good rack and pinion focuser, but making a good rack and pinion focuser is I think much harder than making a decent Crayford.
I put a Moonlight on my Vixen 140 before I traded it for a mount for Buffy, and overall, I did like that focuser. It was a HUGE improvement over the worn out factory rack and pinion unit. Still, I didn't LOVE it. My concern with the Crayford was that I seemed to have to play with the tension quite a bit. I have noticed this with other Crayfords. My experience has been that if you do change from heavy eyepieces like the 31mm Nagler to light eyepieces like a 5mm Nagler, it is sometimes necessary to tweak the tension screw a bit. Not much really, but just a little bit.
By comparison, the best Rack and Pinion focusers seem to be more forgiving, allowing you to change from very heavy eyepieces to very light ones with little adjustment being required in most cases.
So, while I think that Crayfords are a huge improvement over cheap rack and pinion focusers, I believe that for now, the BEST focuser design remains the time-tested Rack and Pinion made to extremely high standards. That is not to say that it is a fair comparison because the best quality Rack and Pinion focusers are EXPENSIVE. So it goes.
And for that, there is only one game in town, and that is Starlight Instruments.
I had the added complication that neither Moonlight or Starlight carried an adapter. My 6" AP uses a 7" O.D. Aluminum tube for the OTA, and neither company really carried anything that would allow me to adapt the focuser.
I called Starlight to look at my options. The first option was to use the Byers mounting plate and open up the hole, then thread it so that the Feathertouch focuser would simply screw in.
Well, along the way of putting on a new focuser, I also decided that I would strip the tube and repaint it, and rather than going back to the simple flat back plate, that it might be nicer to have a new adapter made to update this scope for use in the 21st Century.
The people at Starlight Instruments were very patient. I sent them my old Byers, and they took measurements and provided two different adapter options. The one I selected had a shallow tapered cone shape that I thought was more in character with the telescope.
The people at Starlight then charged me an EXTREMELY reasonable charge of $85 to render the drawings and convert the measurements into their CNC machine for cutting of the part. The adapter itself was manufactured for about $175, bringing the total cost for the adapter to about $260. This is JUST for the adapter.
Was it worth it? OH, yes. I believe so. The new focuser looks beautifully integrated into the telescope, and the anodizing perfectly matches the focuser, which would not have been the case with the old Byers back.
As for the focuser, it is everything I had hoped it would be. I bought the 3025B with internal brake. I wanted a 3" tube to ensure that the front of the focuser tube did not cut into the light cone (which is something many people don't consider). The adapter plate was designed to push the focuser to the rear so that when fully retracted, the front of the focuser tube would be in the same position as was the original focuser tube.
The Feathertouch has three radial screws which allow for the rotation of the entire focuser. This ensures that the focus knobs always stay in the same orientation to the observer's hands.
The movement is wonderfully light, smooth, and precise. With Crayfords, I found that when you had the tension set high enough to hold a 31mm Nagler while the scope was pointed at zenith, the torque on the outer knob resulted in a slight "Rubbery" feeling when focusing. Even on the center knob with its geared reduction, I could feel this on the Crayford focuser. The Feathertouch by comparison seems to be a bit more positive even with my heaviest eyepieces (41mm Pan, 31mm Nagler, all of the T4s).
The internal break makes much of this possible, and it was again an important factor in my purchase decision.
Overall, this is without doubt the most pleasurable to use focuser I have ever owned. I could have been happy I think with a good quality Crayford, but I don't think I would have been QUITE as happy as with the Feathertouch. The movement is smooth and the grip is positive. Since getting the initial tension set to my preference, I have not had to TOUCH it again, and that is what I like in my equipment. The less I have to touch anything during a session the more I can study my target.
I did not like the Gold Anodized knobs on the original focuser. I called Starlight and they even agreed to swap them out for some knobs that were anodized in black (NOT shown in the picture).
The focuser is BEAUTIFUL. I had Buffy's tube powder coated in a Rebar Green color, with a clear Emerald Green metal-flake overcoat. The black anodized adapter and focuser body are a beautiful match to the painted black ring that is the edge of the objective cell.
All of this was not inexpensive. It was worth it to me personally only because I am so thrilled with the telescope itself that I plan on keeping it for a very, very long time. I am convinced that the Feathertouch was the right focuser for me, and this review is something of a "Thank you" to the people at Starlight Instruments for working with me on the adapter so that I could bring this old telescope gracefully into the 21st Century.
I believe that the Feathertouch represents the pinnacle of Rack and Pinion focuser engineering and design, and highly recommend the product and the company behind it.
The focuser showed up today, packed perfectly... What a gorgeous piece of mill work.
Thank you, Mark Bigham
Some days ago I got my repaired focuser back and mounted on my Takahashi scope. Yesterday I used my scope with focuser during an astronomical presentation. Everybody where full of surprise about your perfect service and assistance
I want to thank you herewith for your help and for your good work; I wish you all the best for the future, you and Starlight Instruments.
Good morning Wayne,
How are you? I took delivery this past weekend of brand new TEC 140 ED apo from Yuri & Sergei. Just wanted to say what an awesome & enormous FT #3545 focuser assembly! I asked TEC if they could substitute the Starlight Instruments 3.5" to 2.7" AP, 24tpi threaded endcap with Astro-Physics 2" adapter w/ 3 thumbscrews. Wow, the fit and finish from focuser flange to the AP 2" adapter (ADA2003) is really amazing, a true work of art! Keep up all the good work at Starlight Instruments, your focusers are 2nd to none (-:
Starlight Instruments in the best, like your product, very happy to to choose this brand.
"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
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
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 Touch® 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 load.
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
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 impressions:
* 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 executed product."
Daniel Perry - Visit Daniel's Website
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