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Raycraft vs. Zambuto primary mirror

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#1 DannyL

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:41 PM

I am going to purchase a Teeter Telescope with either an 8" Raycraft or Zambuto mirror. The Zambuto has an excellent reputation, but so does the Raycraft. Does anyone have an opinion about either? Danny

#2 Fred1

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:29 PM

I went with Zambuto after several years of mooching views from club buddies who own various sizes and makes of mirrors in their Dobs. At that time, there was only 1 other Zambuto mirror in the club. Now, counting mine, there are 4. I've not used a scope with a Raycraft, so I can't comment. You should call both makers to find out delivery timeframes, coaters used and pricing.

EDIT: After having my Zambuto f/4.3 mirror for some time now, the subtle (but appreciable) difference in contrast is still quite apparent to me whenever I look through a non-Zambuto scope. It's not day and night different but different nonetheless.

As a side comment, Carl Zambuto doesn't do sub-f/4 mirrors because the contrast that Zambuto mirrors are known for diminishes below f/4 beyond what he desires in his product. Take that for whatever it's worth to you but I think it's a testament as to the extent of control he puts into his end result.

#3 photiost

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 04:57 PM

If you want a fast mirror - look at Lockwood custom optics.

He does sub-f/4 and his mirrors get great reviews.

#4 David Castillo

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 06:23 PM

Kennedy optics also offers sub-f/4 mirrors.

#5 Fred1

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:47 PM

I believe I've misled the respondents with my reply to the OP about Carl Zambuto only doing f/4 and longer focal ratios. With the OP purchasing an 8" instrument I doubt he's interested in a sub f/4 mirror, especially since he didn't state that he was looking for one.

So, my apologies to DannyL. I'll edit my post accordingly so that future visitors to this thread can answer your question more directly.

#6 paul hart

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:57 PM

Granted the Zambuto may be "slightly" better but I don't think you would see a difference. BTW my 14 has a Raycraft mirror that I am very happy with. I based my decision after I picked a bunch of brains of amateur astronomers. I find the atmosphere is the largest factor as to what magnification I can use.

#7 Astro88

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:50 PM

The Zambuto has an excellent reputation, but so does the Raycraft. Does anyone have an opinion about either? Danny


I've wondered the same thing. Alan Raycraft is not as well known as some of the other mirror makers, but everything I've read indicates he does have an excellent reputation. If you haven't done so already, search the Yahoo starmaster_scopes group for Raycraft. There are quite a few posts. The comments I have seen there about his mirrors include "excellent" and "superb".

#8 dyslexic nam

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 07:07 AM

I think it is somewhat telling that the debate always seeems to come down to Zambuto or mirror maker x. This isn't in any way meant to detract from the skill of the other opticians, but the fact that Zambuto is pretty much ever-present in these debates seems to indicate that you wouldn't go too far wrong choosing one of his mirrors.

#9 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:16 AM

I have a 16 inch Zambuto and you can have it when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

But seriously, he's the best in my opinion. His waiting period is about 9 months though if I recall.

#10 Darron Spohn

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:33 AM

Granted the Zambuto may be "slightly" better but I don't think you would see a difference. BTW my 14 has a Raycraft mirror that I am very happy with. I based my decision after I picked a bunch of brains of amateur astronomers. I find the atmosphere is the largest factor as to what magnification I can use.

+1

I have a Gordon Waite mirror in my Teeter STS and it is excellent. As quoted, atmospheric conditions are more important than the picayune differences among various premium mirrors. Do you want to observe the wonders in the night sky or go around comparing equipment? If the former, save your money for a tracking platform. If the latter, have fun.

#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:08 AM

I think it is somewhat telling that the debate always seeems to come down to Zambuto or mirror maker x. This isn't in any way meant to detract from the skill of the other opticians, but the fact that Zambuto is pretty much ever-present in these debates seems to indicate that you wouldn't go too far wrong choosing one of his mirrors.


Zambuto clearly has a name and well deserved reputation but there are others who are at least as good and will tackle more challenging optics. Some of the names are familiar.. some not so much..

Jon

#12 backwoody

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:14 PM

I would consider Lightholder Optics for your primary. On their website, a 8" f7 is priced at $850.

You'd be hard pressed to beat the quality from any maker. Edit: check links on the Lightholder Optics website for test results in Europe of fast mirrors from several sources. Zambuto's rate well, but not at the top in this particular test.

#13 blueman

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:28 PM

Zambuto mirrors have earned their reputation by surpassing peoples expectations.
Blueman

#14 DannyL

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 03:08 PM

Thanks to all who contributed their ideas. I decided that I could not go wrong with the Zambuto, so I purchased one of his. Because he was out of Pyrex, I was able to get a special 200 mm quartz mirror for the same price as the regular 8" Pyrex mirror. In addition the mirror and the scope will be ready in time for the fall Staunton River State Park Star Party. Danny L.

#15 blueman

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 03:44 PM

Thanks to all who contributed their ideas. I decided that I could not go wrong with the Zambuto, so I purchased one of his. Because he was out of Pyrex, I was able to get a special 200 mm quartz mirror for the same price as the regular 8" Pyrex mirror. In addition the mirror and the scope will be ready in time for the fall Staunton River State Park Star Party. Danny L.


Congrats! :)

#16 Darron Spohn

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 09:56 PM

Enjoy your Teeter STS. You have ordered an exceptional telescope.

#17 tomjones

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 08:11 AM

I had my 8" f/5 Antares mirror refigured by Raycraft.
The result is like WOW! Now it's a dream scope at 1/14th wave.
Trying to juggle focal lengths or secondary size is trivial pursuit compared to a hi-quality main mirror.

#18 photiost

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:57 AM

I had my 8" f/5 Antares mirror refigured by Raycraft.
The result is like WOW! Now it's a dream scope at 1/14th wave.
Trying to juggle focal lengths or secondary size is trivial pursuit compared to a hi-quality main mirror.


Antares used to sell their 8in f/6 version and those mirrors were advertised (guaranteed) to be 1/8 wave ..

I was lucky to get one just before they switched and the f/6 mirror on my sample is actually very good.

Congrats on your 8in f/5 !

#19 choran

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 10:05 AM

In addition to the fact that the Zambuto mirrors are superb, there is another realplus--Mr. Zambuto now does his own coatings.

#20 pstarr

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 04:21 PM

I have owned both Zambuto and Lightholder mirrors and the Lightholder mirror is every bit as good as the Zambuto was. John Lightholder is also a great guy to deal with.






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