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Top Opticians in the US for reflectors

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#26 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:36 PM

No one has been making mirrors longer than Dan Joyce of Chicago. He will e ven take on students and let them make mirrors under his instruction.


:waytogo:

I always hoped DJ would make a go at the commercial business, but he's just not motivated that way.

#27 azure1961p

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:50 PM

I'd be curious to know what happened to George Clements - the PARKS OPTICAL optician at least circa 1990s. Got two essentially perfect mirrors from him. Never hear of him however.

Pete

#28 Peter Natscher

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:29 PM

Steve Kennedy. He's produces larger aperture mirrors and they are among the best.

Everyone mentions Zambuto, Lockwood, royce and maurizio di sciullo for reflectors but no other names seem to surface. Another is out there - Peter Ceravolo in Canada comes to mind but little else . Anyone have any other names or comments?

Pete



#29 siriusandthepup

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:19 PM

I'd be curious to know what happened to George Clements - the PARKS OPTICAL optician at least circa 1990s. Got two essentially perfect mirrors from him. Never hear of him however.

Pete


+1

I would love to know about this guy also. I have one of his 8" f/6 Parks mirrors and it is exquisite! I wasn't able to track down much information for him at all.

#30 polaraligned

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:09 PM

Paul Jones at Star Instruments.

dan k.


Unless something has changed, as of a few years ago, Paul flat out was not doing parabolic mirrors anymore, and had not for a while. He had no interest in quoting me for a large mirror.

#31 ml96737

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:18 AM

There's quite a few people out there, both amateur and professional who can make practically perfect mirrors. Many of the names mentioned so far are very good, but even they have occasionally produced a "lemon" (Steve Kennedy made a big goof by undercorrecting a mirror by 1/2 wave or so, and John Hall of Pegasus produced several bad ones, and even tried to cover it up by false testing and threaten Mr. Rohr! http://www.astro-for...Newton-320-1500 )

Therefore, Carl Zambuto really stands above even this group of experts. AFAIK, he has never produced a "bad" mirror. What makes him so amazing is he has automated the figuring process by machine and can do it repeatedly and perfectly in a relatively short time. I think he produces around 50 or more "perfect" mirrors per year!

#32 Calypte

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:26 AM

What makes him so amazing is he has automated the figuring process by machine and can do it repeatedly and perfectly in a relatively short time.

He's not the only one who figures mirrors this way.

#33 Norm Meyer

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:12 PM

What about Mark Harry he makes excellent small to
medium sized mirrors. I have one of his 8" F7.5 mirrors
and it is excellent.

Norm

#34 Mike B

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:28 PM

...and John Hall of Pegasus produced several bad ones


I'm not a Pegasus "fan", and have never had one of his optics... i am unfamiliar with the backstory of the circumstances you've described. But i *do* note that the date on the forum notes you linked is over five years old.

These discussions of this mirror maker & that can sometimes turn ugly, and frequently sad stories get trotted out and re-aired. My concern here is that an event from five years ago, or ten years ago, etc. seems to NEVER be forgotten- the maker of a poor, or even less-good mirror seems to be forever haunted- even tho perhaps they have made dozens & dozens of perfectly fine optics, before, and since.

I would not wish such a standard be applied to myself or my work, which is no more or less "perfect" than anyone else's... nor would anyone wish to be pummeled unendingly with their past deviations from perfection.

Just sayin'... Be careful what allegations we toss about... be careful what tossed-about allegations we believe... and how they might (or might not) even be applicable to today's goals of acquiring a good scope.
:grin:

#35 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

These discussions of this mirror maker & that can sometimes turn ugly, and frequently sad stories get trotted out and re-aired. My concern here is that an event from five years ago, or ten years ago, etc. seems to NEVER be forgotten- the maker of a poor, or even less-good mirror seems to be forever haunted- even tho perhaps they have made dozens & dozens of perfectly fine optics, before, and since.


Yep, reputations take years to earn and minutes to lose.

In the case of the master optician, it's easy to imagine that every so often they could turn out a Dog.

What's unfathomable is that a small operation (often a one-man shop) could let such a Dog get out the door.

A moment of bad judgement and time/money pressures perhaps.

#36 John Kuhl

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:57 PM


There are great mirrors, but there is no such thing as a "perfect" mirror.

Best, John

#37 Mike Lockwood

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:45 PM

Yep, reputations take years to earn and minutes to lose.
In the case of the master optician, it's easy to imagine that every so often they could turn out a Dog.
What's unfathomable is that a small operation (often a one-man shop) could let such a Dog get out the door.
A moment of bad judgement and time/money pressures perhaps.

I don't think it's unfathomable - it's a very real possibility in the of manufacturing items that are difficult to test and manufacture. Probability says that defects happen.

While I try to improve my testing methods every day, I take the attitude that it's only a matter of time before I make a mistake. I hope not to, but it's possible, and I acknowledge that.

Think about it - a typo made when entering a radius of curvature, or when writing down the measured ROC will certainly cause erroneous test results. How often might that happen? Once every 500 mirrors? Every 1000 mirrors? Probability says if you make enough mirrors, it will happen eventually.

It is important to note, though, that a defect once in a great while is much different and far less concerning than gross, frequent, or systematic errors, which, sadly, I have seen quite often in mirrors that come to me for testing.

However, it's how one handles a mistake that is important. If it happens, I won't react with denial or by abusing, belittling, or blaming the customer - I will check out the mirror and fix it if there is an issue. I will also explain what happened to the client and do my best to never make the same mistake again.

#38 Mike B

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 06:03 PM

A moment of bad judgement and time/money pressures perhaps.


We've gotta give them permission to be human. They go thru "stuff" just like everyone, and it can affect their work, and their QC:
1) A simple typo, like Mike said above,
2) Normal & seasonal illness, maybe combined with deadline & business pressures... "not hittin' on all six" as they say,
3) Communication busts with staff... by their very definition, a "bust" can exist primarily because no one realizes it exists, or else they'd correct it,
4) Long-term issues, like a worker (or the boss!) with ongoing personal issues, a family loss, alcoholism, impending divorce, etc.

A lot of this is how they handle the problems that result, and how persistent the "issues" might be. Some folks have their act together, more-so than others. I'd dare say someone with CZ's long-term reputation is not only a great optician, but a highly organized & disciplined individual. Yet it doesn't mean that he's the ONLY one making fine mirrors; Mike L & others have certainly shown what can be accomplished!

Also factoring into this is how *WE* handle the problems that have resulted. Which is why i hate to see one who is likely a decent enough mirror-maker get hammered over past QC issues. Especially LONG-past issues.
:shrug:

#39 Starman1

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 06:54 PM

Mentioned so far:
Zambuto
Lockwood
Royce
di Sciullo
Ceravolo
Suchting
OMI
Waite
Raycraft
Wessling
Swayze
Ostahowski
Kennedy
Pegasus
MirroSphere
Fullum
Harry
Jones
Spooner
Joyce
Clements

Not mentioned yet:
Nova
Orion UK

It seems the list is well-populated, but would all of them be considered in a list of "Top Opticians"?
I had an Ostahowski mirror that was excellent, but my Zambuto is more excellent.
I've seen a nearly-perfect 16" GSO mirror that blew me away it was so good (as good as any mirror I've ever seen), but GSO wouldn't be in a list of "Top" mirrors because of variability from mirror to mirror.
Perhaps that is what differentiates the "top" makers from the "good" makers--an attention to perfection that results in every effort being superlative.

#40 Peter Natscher

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:15 PM

I read recently on the Zambuto Groups that CZ is now producing 200+ mirrors a year.

#41 Peter Natscher

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:29 PM

Each mirror maker offers different options. Some don't figure mirrors faster than F/4.5 or 4.0. Others don't make anything larger than 16" or 20" or less than 22" aperture. Before choosing a mirror maker, it depends on what kind of mirror you are after. For instance, Steve Kennedy and Mike Lockwood are the only premier fast mirror makers producing top quality mirrors below F/4.0 and at apertures far larger than 24" -- and these two really shortens the list. Steve Kennedy broke this important barrier first back in 2005. Steve came out of Celestron and has make over 2,000 mirrors to date. Before Steve K., there were only custom-figured mirrors at F/ 4.X and slower for amateurs. CZ only recently has moved to a faster F/4.0 after many years at F/4.3-5.X.

#42 davidpitre

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:00 PM

John Hall of Pegasus produced several bad ones, and even tried to cover it up by false testing and threaten Mr. Rohr! http://www.astro-for...Newton-320-1500 )

I don't want to pile on or hurt feelings, but John Hall has produced more than a few stinkers. I owned one, and have talked with a number of folks who felt likewise about their experience. I don't know about his better mirrors (and I'm sure some will chime in about their good mirrors) but because of consistency issues, he should not be listed with the "top".

#43 ausastronomer

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:19 PM

It is important to note, though, that a defect once in a great while is much different and far less concerning than gross, frequent, or systematic errors, which, sadly, I have seen quite often in mirrors that come to me for testing.

However, it's how one handles a mistake that is important. If it happens, I won't react with denial or by abusing, belittling, or blaming the customer - I will check out the mirror and fix it if there is an issue. I will also explain what happened to the client and do my best to never make the same mistake again.


Hi Mike,

You make some extremely good points and it's a pity all opticians don't take a leaf out of your book. Everyone is human and will make a mistake at some time in their life. How they handle it is what matters. If it's properly handled it will just fall through the cracks. The customer will be out a little in observing time and use of the scope, he won't be out of pocket financially. In these situations invariably the opticians reputation will remain in tact, if not enhanced due to the good customer service and fault rectification.

Unfortunately a couple of opticians who continually get glowing reports on internet forums; and already given a big rap by several people in this thread, have a less than favourable success rate IME and unfortunately have not even wanted to hear about the lemon they produced, or wanted to rectify the issues, when confronted about them. The people offering favourable comments on internet forums usually give their positive reports based on their sample of one good mirror that they may have experience with, and not be aware of the number of not so good mirrors these opticians have produced. I know you have had to refigure a couple of these lemons. Mark Suchting had to deal with another. In all cases at no cost to the optician who produced the lemon. I am aware of a couple more that are yet to be refigurred and the owner has continued to tolerate a less than acceptable optic for the money paid.

Unfortunately in the world of constant litigation which we now live in, people keep pretty tight lipped about their bad experiences.

It's a pity they can't all deal with a bad mirror in the fashion you have outlined.

Cheers,

#44 azure1961p

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:10 PM

Nice points Don. I'd bet they all can and have produced fine mirrors but consistency would seem to be one of the real TOP GUN attributes of the best.

Pete

#45 azure1961p

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:19 PM

I'd be curious to know what happened to George Clements - the PARKS OPTICAL optician at least circa 1990s. Got two essentially perfect mirrors from him. Never hear of him however.

Pete


+1

I would love to know about this guy also. I have one of his 8" f/6 Parks mirrors and it is exquisite! I wasn't able to track down much information for him at all.


Lol, love your qoute in your signature.

Yeah, I've googled for Clements and he's not to be found. I spoke to him once over the phone, its not like he was some old codger. It'd be interesting to find out what happened.

Pete

#46 Pinbout

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:24 PM

What about Mark Harry he makes excellent small to
medium sized mirrors. I have one of his 8" F7.5 mirrors
and it is excellent.

Norm



up to 14in and is quick. I wish I could get one of his... but I'm aflicted with poor artist syndrome... :grin:

#47 jpcannavo

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:30 AM

Unfortunately in the world of constant litigation which we now live in, people keep pretty tight lipped about their bad experiences.


And there is another force that might be at wok here as well. If one were to get a lemon from one of the "real big names", there may be fear that publicizing it, on a forum such as this, would rattle "cherished beliefs" and be taken as somehow being politically incorrect, possibly generating hostile responses. I myself fell victim to this sort of hesitance, not being able to bring myself to "out" the very well know optician who gave me a less than up to spec mirror, that moreover remained unimproved after returning it for a touch-up.
What we really need is some organized body of objective consumer reporting. We have some of this - Wolfgang Rohr, etc. - but not nearly enough. I do think I remember a while back Dave Bonandrini talking about an upcoming/ongoning report on the third party testing of a large number of commercial mirrors - including those made by our cherished premium "luthiers" - but I don't think it materialized. Interestingly, the big sources for objective info - S&T and Astronomy mag etc. - will publish monthly objective evals of commercial scope and equipment, but not individual mirrors. Wouldn't it be neat to see S&T have a monthly column called "Mirror Test Reports".
Given our intense focus (!) on optical quality, it is indeed strange that very little of this actually happens. This absence is even evident in our forums. While they do have review sections, look at the categories. There is no specific section dedicated to reports on mirrors. Sure they report on large and small dobs, etc, but this is not quite the same thing, and parallels the similar absence in our our magazines. Strange indeed.

#48 Darren Drake

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:26 AM

Yes Wolfgang Rohr's website is an amazing source of info on so many mirrors and lenses along with their detailed reports. It can be a little frustrating reading through the translated German but still I find myself going through the many reports frequently so as to familiarize myself with the general quality and consistency of various lens and mirror makers. I wish there were more sites like this one especially in English. The book Bonandrini mentioned here a few years ago has apparently been mothballed or seriously delayed. In any event I hope another optical testing site makes an appearance sometime in the not to distant future.

#49 EJN

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:56 AM

The book Bonandrini mentioned here a few years ago has apparently been mothballed or seriously delayed.


The so-called book, as well as a lot of other stuff Bonandrini claimed, is
about as real as Manti Teo's dead girlfriend.

#50 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:16 PM

The book Bonandrini mentioned here a few years ago has apparently been mothballed or seriously delayed.


The so-called book, as well as a lot of other stuff Bonandrini claimed, is
about as real as Manti Teo's dead girlfriend.


Careful. I got a similar post removed from the OTO for stating something very similar regarding David B's now mythical book.






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