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Some price advice please, TOA 150 VS AP 155 EDFS

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#1 Rossmon

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:19 AM

Hi Folks,
I've been blessed with some coinage of the realm, in this case, a lot of the almighty $$'s
And so, its time to obtain a dream scope to go beyond my NP 127.
I've located two beauties.
The TOA 150 with 4" focuser for about 9k and the AP with 2.7 focuser and optional flattener for $10K. Both have cases/rings.
Lets not beat them up for which ones best for what as I have thought hard on that and I am leaning towards the AP for a number of reasons. A good starter would be weight for the field, even at home I don't have a permanent observatory or a good place for one.
I am most concerned about pricing.
I think the TAK price is right in there, but I don't know as much about AP values as I have never seen many available for comparison.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Ross

#2 Joe C

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:38 AM

Looking at Astromart at Sold adds, the range for the AP starts at $8500 and goes to nearly $12,000. There have been around 15 in the last 8 years. For the TOA, there have been around 30 postings and the sold scopes have gone for $7500 to $8500.

Congrats on whichever you decide on. I am sure they both will perform very well.

#3 johnnyha

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:43 AM

From a sheer investment standpoint, the Tak will decrease in value, and the AP will increase in value.

#4 Erik Bakker

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:50 AM

You raise a good point Johnny. Here is my view on the money side of things:

For one reason or another, A-P hold their value very well. In fact, the A-P 130 I bought new for around $ 4000 almost doubled in value in 10 years of use :) Yet I sold it with no regrets. Not to make money, but to move on for my observing needs.

At the current high-prices, I don't see much room for an A-P 155 to gain more value. So at best, it keeps it's current value. The TOA will likely depreciate a few thousand dollars over the next decade or so. But only if bought new. A second hand TOA150 will retain it's value very well. So since the A-P can only be bought used, why not do so with the TOA150 as well? And call it yours at a lower price than the AP155? Then you have your money safely invested in an instrument of heirloom quality in either case! And observe a decade or more for free.

But even more important than the financial rationale, I urge you to consider which instrument would make YOU the HAPPIEST at the eyepiece? (or camera). For that scope will be priceless. For YOU. And bring you more joy under the stars. And isn't that what it is all about?

So I wish you wisdom in choosing and look forward to your first light report with your new baby :jump:

#5 mmalik

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:05 AM

The TOA 150 with 4" focuser for about 9k and the AP with 2.7 focuser and optional flattener for $10K.


My assumptions are that you are a visual user and both scopes are used ones. If you are into astro-imaging, let us know because that changes things. A known drawback of Taks is flexure inherent in most of their designs; if you are confident you wouldn't suffer flexure depending upon your usage (i.e., visual) then my vote would be TOA 150. Reason I wouldn't recommend Astro-physics is mainly because I think as a company they have created this false sense of quality/value in astronomy industry because they produce ‘em in such small quantities. Thx

#6 Astrojensen

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:59 AM

Reason I wouldn't recommend Astro-physics is mainly because I think as a company they have created this false sense of quality/value in astronomy industry because they produce ‘em in such small quantities. Thx


Nonsense. A company in itself cannot create a sense of value or quality. Only the consumers have this ability. If nobody thought the A-P scopes were worth buying, they wouldn't fetch such high prices second hand. A-P makes a small number of scopes, because that is how they feel they have the ability to ensure the quality they want to provide. They don't do this to artificially increase the prices. If they had done so, they should sell their scopes at considerably higher prices than they actually do.

And no, I don't own any A-P products.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#7 Bowmoreman

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:02 AM

IME, any reports of FSQ or TOA sagging are by far the exception, not the rule. I hang a Denk II with power switch and dual Pan 24s on my TOA with about 4" of extension due to its big back focus with NO visible sag effects... And have never had visual or AP sag on my FSQ... They are built like tanks

If it did, I'd have Art on the phone at TNR... I got Taks BECAUSE of that solidity. Sag would mean it wasn't living up to its design goals and was a quality problem.

#8 ichdien

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:27 AM

Ross:

I've never used or even viewed through the Tak, so I can't make a comparison, but about a year and a half ago, when I was also fortunate to have some disposable income, I bought a gently used AP 155edfs. Like you, I don't have a permanent set up, but that's not a problem: the scope is so light that, combined with a DM6 and Rob Miller tripod, it's almost grab and go, which suits my lifestyle well--it's no problem to set up in the back yard for even brief observing sessions. Needless to say, the views are wonderful and, in typical AP fashion, the mechanicals couldn't be better. (For what it's worth, I bought a Traveler, new, in 1996, and all these years later it still operates flawlessly.) By the way, I don't know what a flattener goes for on the market (I'm visual only), but the price seems in the ballpark.

Best of luck with your decision. Sounds like you'll be happy either way.

Jim

#9 DeanS

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:41 AM

I had a TOA-150 and it is a very fine scope, for both visual and imaging. However it is HEAVY and awkward to mount. If you are going to be setting up each time then I would go with the AP.

If you do look at the TOA for the price, make sure it has the B model focuser as it is way better than the original version.

Dean

#10 Rossmon

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

Thanks for all the good advice. I do a combination of visual and video astronomy with my mallincam. I bought the mallincam universe ccd camera in order to dabble with that. Truth is, I may end up selling it in order to get one of the mallincams with the more sensitive chip.
The weight thing is important to me. I am heading up to our local mountain top for my clubs monthly star party(weather permitting) tomorrow and as I have gotten older the setup job gets tougher! Moving up from my lightweight np127 to the AP at about 27lbs is less of a concern than with the Tak. One thing that has me hesitating is the price.
The seller describes a tiny spot on the objective of the AP near the edge of the lens. You know how something like that robs an ota of value even if it doesn't hurt the views. The current owner doesn't want to clean it himself to see if its a permanent thing or just dirt and freely states that the lens has never been cleaned and he doesnt want to. At 10k the price is no bargain, but the highest possible asking price for one of these scopes.

Ross

#11 Paul G

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:03 PM

Thanks for all the good advice. I do a combination of visual and video astronomy with my mallincam. I bought the mallincam universe ccd camera in order to dabble with that. Truth is, I may end up selling it in order to get one of the mallincams with the more sensitive chip.
The weight thing is important to me. I am heading up to our local mountain top for my clubs monthly star party(weather permitting) tomorrow and as I have gotten older the setup job gets tougher! Moving up from my lightweight np127 to the AP at about 27lbs is less of a concern than with the Tak. One thing that has me hesitating is the price.
The seller describes a tiny spot on the objective of the AP near the edge of the lens. You know how something like that robs an ota of value even if it doesn't hurt the views. The current owner doesn't want to clean it himself to see if its a permanent thing or just dirt and freely states that the lens has never been cleaned and he doesnt want to. At 10k the price is no bargain, but the highest possible asking price for one of these scopes.

Ross


I've used a TOA150, own a 155edfs. The AP is light enough to be quite happy for your purposes on a Mach1 GTO or a G-11 and will cool down faster than the TOA. The TOA would require a larger mount.

I disagree with a previous post about the AP not increasing in value. It is worth significantly more than it cost new even in this down economy and should increase as the economy improves. And when Roland retires it should take another jump.

Before spending that kind of money I'd want to know what that spot on the glass is. Even if it doesn't affect the image through the scope it may affect its resale value. Three screws and you can remove the objective cell from the tube and clean it inside and out, hopefully the spot will come off.

#12 Mike Clemens

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:44 PM

if it's an AP155 I would look for a late edition tube in pebble paint with the broadband multi coatings

#13 M13 Observer

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:46 PM

Thanks for all the good advice. I do a combination of visual and video astronomy with my mallincam. I bought the mallincam universe ccd camera in order to dabble with that. Truth is, I may end up selling it in order to get one of the mallincams with the more sensitive chip.
The weight thing is important to me. I am heading up to our local mountain top for my clubs monthly star party(weather permitting) tomorrow and as I have gotten older the setup job gets tougher! Moving up from my lightweight np127 to the AP at about 27lbs is less of a concern than with the Tak. One thing that has me hesitating is the price.
The seller describes a tiny spot on the objective of the AP near the edge of the lens. You know how something like that robs an ota of value even if it doesn't hurt the views. The current owner doesn't want to clean it himself to see if its a permanent thing or just dirt and freely states that the lens has never been cleaned and he doesnt want to. At 10k the price is no bargain, but the highest possible asking price for one of these scopes.

Ross


10K is not the highest possible asking price for an AP155EDFS. There was an AP155EDF with 4" focuser and field flattener listed within the past year for 15K and there were people interested. I think a 155EDFS went for close to 12k not overly long ago. You will find the AP to be a super telescope. The 2.7" focuser is solid and all that is required for most of the current crop of CCD cameras should you choose to go that way in the future. If you decide to explore imaging with a large detector CCD, you can always swap out the 2.7" for the 4" focuser.

Tak TOA150's are pretty nice scopes as well. Two detractions though. One is the weight. It is no lightweight OTA with a large mass of glass and cell on the business end combined with a significant counterweight on the focuser end of the tube. The other is that mass of air spaced glass and long large lens cell to hold it. It retains heat and will not stabilize nearly as quickly as the oil spaced AP155 under more rapidly changing temperature conditions.

The TOA focuser weakness under heavy load has been mentioned before. This is not something that impacts visual use, but if it does then there is something wrong in a major sense with that specific Tak focuser and it needs to be repaired. The heavy load droop that seems to be found on most of the TAK focusers will impact wide field CCD photography. The slightest droop on any focuser or tilting of the image train in any manner is quickly detected on images and can well be most frustrating to eliminate.

In my opinion, I would suggest that the AP155EDFS would be the better choice based upon your selection criteria but that you could likely be happy with either choice.

#14 EddWen

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:59 PM

I'm not familiar with the Flattener for the 155 EDFS nor what it costs. I do have a 155 EDF which has the 4" focuser and the 4" Flattener. The 4" Flattener is not cheap @ > $2,000. It is, however, an impressive piece of glass, 4" diameter (triplet?) in a precisely machined cell. Looks a lot like my Traveler lens.

If you value the smaller A-P flattener at $1,000 then the cost of the scopes are virtually the same.

I see the value of the flatteners often overlooked when comparing used scope values.

Note, the lens cell of the 155 is easily removeable and replaceable without loosing collimation. Therefore, if you want to send the lens to A-P for cleaning (which they do willingly for 3rd hand owners like me) at very reasonable cost, it is easily doable.

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#15 snommisbor

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

As long as the spot is not something like a fungus and can easily be cleaned, I would get the AP. Both are top of the class scopes so visually or AP wise you cant go wrong with either. But from a monetary standpoint the AP should hold its value and more than likely increase over the years. Also I dont know what the big deal is about cleaning the lens. I have cleaned mine. as long as you follow instructions like what is on Televue's website there is nothing wrong with cleaning the lens when it gets dirty. I think it is more detrimental to leave the crud on it for years.

#16 Erik Bakker

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:29 PM

Hi Ross,

For your intended use, a fluorite doublet like the FS152 seems a superb choice. Or the new APM LZOS Riccardi 6" f/8 doublet. Lightweight, wonderful distribution of weight with far better balance than even an A-P EDFS 155.

#17 mgwhittle

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:36 PM

Edd, is that a T-28 in the background of your photo?

Between a TOA150 and an AP 155, the Tak is currently available, so if for some reason you didn't want to keep the AP, you can always replace it with the Tak. It's a lot harder to do that in reverse.

#18 mmalik

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:36 PM

I do a combination of visual and video astronomy with my mallincam. I bought the mallincam universe ccd camera in order to dabble with that. Truth is, I may end up selling it in order to get one of the mallincams with the more sensitive chip.


Alternative could be to NOT get any of the 150/155 you mention, rather get this... for imaging and invest the left over $ for a nice DSLR (5D Mark III.../60Da..., etc.) or CCD (SBIG). Thx

#19 Rossmon

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:10 PM

ok the seller and I are going to each drive halfway
so I can examine the scope and check out the little spot
on the lens. the owner says he cannot find the 3 screws to remove the objective. he will call ap to ask as he is curious about that too.
anyway, this fellow also owns a TOA 150 too, so I can check out both. the toa is described as In like new condition. And that's why he wants to sell one in order to free up some $$.

#20 aa6ww

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:39 AM

Hi Folks,
I've been blessed with some coinage of the realm, in this case, a lot of the almighty $$'s
And so, its time to obtain a dream scope to go beyond my NP 127.
I've located two beauties.
The TOA 150 with 4" focuser for about 9k and the AP with 2.7 focuser and optional flattener for $10K. Both have cases/rings.
Lets not beat them up for which ones best for what as I have thought hard on that and I am leaning towards the AP for a number of reasons. A good starter would be weight for the field, even at home I don't have a permanent observatory or a good place for one.
I am most concerned about pricing.
I think the TAK price is right in there, but I don't know as much about AP values as I have never seen many available for comparison.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Ross


Both are excellent scopes Ross for a 6" refractor. If your really looking for real advise, find the forums that support both models and talk to owners of those that actually use them the way you intend to. Too many out here live in forums and don't have a clue what they are talking about other than what they read.
You have to factor in the weight of each one, the accessories you can get specifically for what you are intending to do with them, and just that gut feeling you get from them when you see them. Don't forget about the TEC 160 also, another player in that arena.
For a 6" refractor, they are all going to be excellent, Neither is going to be better than the other in raw optical performance. If someone tells you so, they are clueless to what these refractors can do.
If your buying them to enjoy this hobby at the highest level that a 6" refractor can give you, the 3 mentioned scopes will all deliver that. If you want them to show off and just use as an investment, then invest in Gold and tell people your doing that.
Ive looked through both many times, they are as impressive to look at as they are to look through, provided you know the sky and can maneuver your way around the sky.
They are both premium 6" refractors and should keep you happy if this is what your looking for. If you buy them both used, neither will loose its value.
If you can swing it, keep the NP-127 also. Its portable and probably all you will need sometimes. Its a feather weight compared to what your going to have to deal with, with either of these two. Don't let the 1inch extra kid you, that's a huge one inch in how the mount will have to be larger and you will definitely lose the portability factor you have with your NP-127.

...Ralph

#21 Rossmon

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:41 PM

Thanks for all the advice, especially on pricing. My first deal fell through when the seller did not agree to send the objective to AP for a cleaning which I offered to pay for if it just needed a cleanup to remove the spot. If more than dirt, I was not interested in this particular AP! The seller thought this was getting too complex. You know, if a very, very, very expensive telescope has a potential flaw, it's actually very simple, no thanks, unless some Astrophysics pro's look it over.

I then got real lucky, my new 155 Starfire came from a local seller with a collection of fine telescopes who bought this one mostly as an investment, so used just a few times! Came with case, rings, FT upgrade and the chance to meet and talk with a fine older astronomer!!! Plus, check out a collection ranging from a tec140 to larger AP's and some TAK's.
The original shipping box is dated January 2003, so it looks like this is from the last production run and has the pebbled paint finish. Guess I will have to enjoy doing a first light report :)

Ross

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#22 Erik Bakker

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

Ross,

Congrats on a great new scope. A 2003 155 EDFS is as good as it gets, especially with such a low mileage on the glass :)

Enjoy!

#23 Joe C

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:27 PM

Congratulations Ross. You are going to enjoy it.

#24 Aquarist

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

Hey, congratulations on both the acquisition and the process. At the price you were looking to purchase, I too would have wanted Roland to look at it. But all is well that ends well!

#25 Paul G

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 08:20 PM

Congrats! Sweet scope!






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